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Now here is a conundrum: Why would the charter school lobby donate $50,000 to a candidate for State Attorney General who is already backed by the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the teachers’ union?
Steven Singer poses that question here. Pennsylvania is a state that is rife with charter school scandals. Such scandals would normally be investigated by the State Attorney General. Duh. If Josh Shapiro gets elected, let’s see how vigorous in investigating the scandals that Singer links to in his blog, and how vigorously he prosecutes the charlatans and frauds who are profiting off the gullibility of parents.
What’s the best way to avoid a charter school scandal?
In Pennsylvania, apparently you bribe the Attorney General.
That may be why Students First PAC donated $50,000 to Josh Shapiro, a Democrat running for the position.
This political action committee is not to be confused with the infamous national group founded by Michelle Rhee. Students First PAC is a state organization that typically contributes to charter school friendly candidates.
And $50K is quite a chunk of change in a State Attorney General race – the office in charge of prosecuting charter schools for breaking the law.
Charter school scandals have been an almost weekly occurrence throughout the Commonwealth. Chester Community Charter School, the state’s largest brick-and-mortar organization, is under investigation for pocketing $1.2 million “in improper lease-reimbursement payments.” As Philadelphia public schools are being closed due to a miserly state budget, “nonprofit,” charter operator Aspira Inc. was caught using public money to boost its real estate holdings instead of using those funds to educate children. Nicholas Trombetta, the founder of Pennsylvania’s largest cyber charter, an institution that operates exclusively over the internet, “was charged with fraud, for funneling $8 million of the school’s funds into his personal companies and holdings.”
It’s easy to see how having the state Attorney General on your side would benefit an industry rife with fraud and malfeasance.
Shapiro, chair of the Montgomery Country Board of Commissioners, is the odds on favorite to succeed Kathleen Kane as the state’s highest ranking law enforcement officer.
He is running for the Democratic nomination against Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli, and Allegheny Country Attorney General Stephen Zappala.
Despite strong corporate education reform ties, Shapiro has been endorsed by the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), the largest teachers union in the Commonwealth.