Newly elected Ohio Governor Ted Strickland is set to strangle charter schools in his state. Calling charters "a dismal failure," he would impose a moratorium on new schools. (Hence, no KIPP Academy for Columbus, as is currently planned.) Worse, he would bind charters to "all other state laws and rules pertaining to public schools, school districts, and boards of education," thereby forcing charters to adhere to union contracts, teacher licensure, etc. This would leave charters with two choices: abandon their very essence and follow the law (i.e., become more like traditional public schools), or shutter their doors (see here). Of course, the Ohio charter movement isn't without fault here. It has consistently failed to police itself, as with the Harte Crossroads fiasco. But don't throw the baby out with the bath water, Mr. Governor. Ohio public schools are hardly a model of efficiency and high academic achievement. And Ohioans like the idea of educational choice, and charters in particular (some of which are doing very well--Citizen's Academy in Cleveland, ISUS and Mound Street Academies in Dayton, and the Graham School in Columbus, for example). So force authorizers to do their jobs (i.e., close bad schools), but don't tighten the noose on good schools that tens of thousands of children and their families have chosen, and then force students back into the state's failed public system.
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