Valerie Strauss: Founder of IDEA Charter Chain Apologizes for Spendthrift Ways

Diane Ravitch's blog

Valerie Strauss writes here about the abject apology by Tom Torkelsen of the IDEA corporate charter chain for his company’s lavish spending.

The head of a Texas-based charter school chain publicly apologized for “really dumb and unhelpful” plans that included leasing a private jet for millions of dollars and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on San Antonio Spurs tickets.

It’s not the first time he has acknowledged errors in the chain’s operations.

Tom Torkelson, chief executive of IDEA Public Schools, issued a letter (see in full below) to the IDEA community saying he has sometimes “pushed us to a place that’s hard to defend” in his effort to be “entrepreneurial and different from traditional education systems.”

“I’m sorry I put IDEA and our friends in that position,” he said.

Charter schools are publicly funded but privately operated. Supporters say they offer valuable alternatives to families that do not like…

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