Matthew Blair, a Dayton-area teacher who said he personally witnessed grade tampering at a charter school affiliated with the Turkish Gulen movement, is asking for an investigation after he learned that the scandal was apparently covered up by the state agency that is supposed to police charter schools.
In an email sent Monday to members of State Board of Education of Ohio, Mr. Blair said he witnessed exposed wiring, mold in the school building and school administrators tampering with standardized tests.
Rather than look in the matter, Ohio’s top education officials launched a phony investigation, complete with instructions to those answering questions to keep their responses brief and “positive.” Translation: Dispute everything Mr. Blair said.
Public records show that the office of Dr. Richard Ross, Ohio’s superintendent of public instruction, forwarded questions that he wanted sponsors of the schools to answer. The questions are clearly NOT written to determine whether Blair’s observations were accurate.
For example, the only effort to address the cheating is this question:
“Does the school have a written testing security protocol and does your oversight include confirmation that the protocol is followed?”
The sponsors assured Dr. Ross and all of the schools have policies in place and, “We do not have any reason to believe that this is an active concern.”
Not any hint of whether anyone even asked about the specific cheating allegation: A teacher who came in on a weekend to find a group of Turkish men marking up standardized tests.
Blair’s request comes just two weeks after the Akron Beacon Journal disclosed that the FBI raided 19 Gulen-affiliated charter schools, including three in Ohio. Gulen manages 19 charter schools in Ohio, second only to Texas, with 44, the newspaper reported. The schools are associated with Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric exiled from Turkey, living in Pennsylvania.
It follows increased evidence that many charter schools are failing the kids they serve.
A new laws that requires 3rd grade students to read at grade level – or not advance to 4th grade – showed 88 of all students who took the test passed, but just 67 percent of kids in charter schools passed, according to NBC 4 in Columbus.
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