Ohio???s charter schools: Threats from within
Gadfly has criticized Ohio lawmakers for their efforts to water down charter-school accountability in the Buckeye State. If upheld in the state’s biennial budget (due to be finalized by month’s end), these provisions would downgrade the charter movement in Fordham’s home state to a “full-fledged contender for America’s worst.” An in-depth article in last weekend’s Dayton Daily News spotlights the worst of those legislative provisions and the man who appears to be responsible for them (despite denials by some House members): David Brennan, Akron industrialist and founder of White Hat Management. This firm is currently being sued by the boards of nine Ohio charter schools for illegally usurping their independent oversight and authority over said schools. But if the budgetary provisions passed by the Ohio House were to stand, that court case might be moot. White Hat would be allowed to continue operating all schools sans oversight, despite its slipshod educational-performance record: Two thirds of the schools it operates are rated D or F by the state. (To be fair, many of these schools serve kids who had previously dropped out.) It’s no wonder, then, that Brennan—who has lined GOP pockets with millions of dollars in campaign contributions—lobbied the Republican-controlled Ohio House to insert language that would allow White Hat to “keep secret details of how it spends… public money.” Gadfly is cautiously optimistic that this can get set right before the budget is completed. Two days ago, the heavily Republican Ohio Senate removed these harmful charter-school provisions from the budget bill. Now, however, House and Senate must work out their differences—and there is early evidence that the Speaker isn’t about to yield. Presumably Brennan isn’t, either.
“Charter oversight could be eliminated with new legislation,” by Tom Beyerlein, Dayton Daily News, May 29, 2011.
“Ohio Senate budget restores some aid to schools,” by Jim Siegel, Columbus Dispatch, June 1, 2011.
blog comments powered by Disqus