Editor’s Note: USA Today refused to publish the following response.
Regarding the March 20, USA Today article, Did charter schools game the system?:
There are real, pressing issues in public education—such as staffing shortages, learning loss, and why 1.4 million students left their district schools during the pandemic. Rather than tackling one of those topics, why is a national publication digging up a two-year-old story about the Paycheck Protection Program and including unfounded opinions of some people who don’t think charter schools should have been eligible to receive them?
Spoiler alert: it’s old news. And these public schools needed the money. To serve students and families. That’s why Congress authorized the loans and the Small Business Administration approved them. There was nothing illegal or improper. The American public, 61% of whom support charter schools, deserve more from a national reporter at a nationally respected newspaper.
We believe in full transparency and accountability for all public schools, including the public charter school sector. Which is why we believe all government funding for education should be held to the same scrutiny. The SBA acted with the full authority of the federal government to approve the funding they agreed was necessary. To go after schools that were doing everything in their power to serve students and families during a pandemic, and not tell the full story of how those public charter schools served their communities, is wrong, unjust, and abuse of journalism.
Nina Rees is the president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.