Cowboy Dann

If there's one thing Gadfly is not, it's an apologist for bad schools, and he therefore cannot quibble much with Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann's contention that two chronically-failing Buckeye charter schools should be closed. But when Dann, in a brazen attempt to bypass current state charter-accountability mechanisms, filed a creatively-reasoned lawsuit to strip the schools of their charters--well, such audacity Gadfly cannot abide. Ohio statute stipulates that charter schools must close after three years of "academic emergency" status. It also expects school sponsors and the state education department to take corrective action against failing schools. Yet Dann (whose actions have, unsurprisingly, garnered praise from teacher union leaders) apparently thinks it more politically prudent to lob lawsuits and ask judges to do what they do worst: decide complex matters of applied public policy. There's no question that charter advocates have struggled to find the perfect balance between autonomy and accountability, especially in Ohio (see here and here). But throwing a ton of bricks on one end of the scale hardly brings us any closer to that equilibrium.

"Ohio attorney general sues to close 2 Dayton-area charter schools," by Reginald Fields, Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 13, 2007

"Charter schools fire back at Dann," by Catherine Candisky and Bill Bush, Columbus Dispatch, September 14, 2007

"Dann: Right struggle, wrong tactics," by Terry Ryan and Michael B. Lafferty, Ohio Education Gadfly, September 14, 2007