Senate Bill 329, introduced in April by Senator Joe Schiavoni, is finally getting a hearing by the Senate Education Committee this week. The bill is striking in its simplicity — it seeks to hold charter school owners & operators accountable for how they spend public dollars. The simplicity of this bill also reveals just how lax Ohio’s oversight of charter school spending has been for the last decade and a half.
Here’s the one-sentence addition to Ohio Revised Code in SB 329 that could have a drastic change in exposing how charter schools are spending public tax dollars:
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Readers of the Columbus Dispatch were treated to a recent report showing that board members of a North Side charter school asked their management company to reduce a $700,000 per year rent payment to a subsidiary so they could free up more money for things like reading materials, a school nurse and teacher pay. The response from the school’s management company, Virginia-based Imagine Schools, was tone-deaf and totally inappropriate:
An official with Imagine Schools Inc. suggested that the board “celebrate” teachers in other ways, such as having cake for them at the next board meeting….
The person who favors cake over compensation is [...]Full Story... →
During the last several months, Ohio newspapers have published a number of articles detailing chronic problems with the state’s charter schools. In particular, the Akron Beacon Journal and Dayton Daily News have performed stellar reporting as they informed their readers about issues related to problems associated with a chain of schools operated by Turkish immigrants that have ties to a controversial exiled Islamic cleric named Fethullah Gulen.
The Beacon Journal informed its readers that a number of the board members of the Chicago-based Gulen charter school chain officially called Concept Schools aren’t American citizens and that State Rep. Cliff Rosenberger, a leading candidate to become the next [...]Full Story... →
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel told the Canton Repository that he wakes up every day and wonders “how we can create an environment for a vibrant and growing economy. One of the main challenges we face as a state, as the baby boomers retire, we are seeing a shortage of skilled workers in many important fields.”
He made the comments while touring Brown Mackie College, a private, for-profit school.
Josh is a huge fan of for-profit educational endeavors, regardless of whether or not they turn out quality students or spend public money wisely. And some of those for-profit endeavors are [...]Full Story... →
Since charter (“community”) schools began in Ohio in 1998, they have continued to increase in number, taking an ever-growing amount of funding away from Ohio’s real community schools – public school districts. 99% of Ohio’s school districts lose state funding to charter schools every year — charters that are grossly underperforming their public school counterparts.
If you want to help stem the tide of charter school expansion in Ohio, it’s important to look at the past. Look at this chart that shows the number of charter schools in Ohio since 1998.
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It wasn’t necessarily the big news of the day Thursday, but when the current head of the State Board of Education, Debe Terhar, said she won’t seek re-election to that panel, it likely elicited cheers of joy from a group of education advocates who rallied at the Statehouse today to hold charter schools—and the powerful politicians pushing them like Gov. John Kasich, Department of Education chief Dr. Richard Ross and Terhar—accountable for spending upwards of $1 billion on charter schools whose performance is generally poor compared to public schools, and largely exempted from hundreds of standards public schools [...]Full Story... →
In an exclusive video interview Tuesday at Ohio Democratic Headquarters in downtown Columbus, David Pepper confronts incumbent first-term Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine for failing to act on the many scandals that became public last week, when four teachers who taught at Horizon charters schools in the Dayton-area brought their first-hand testimony to the Ohio Board of Education.
Pepper provided this exclusive comment following the regularly scheduled press conference at which he lambasted Ohio’s current attorney general, elected in 2010 along with other Republicans who won office with the help from Tea Party activists, for what he said called “revelations [...]Full Story... →
With a former student and teacher from the Horizon Science Academy flanking him Monday, Ohio Rep. John Patrick Carney charged Republican Auditor of State David Yost with not launching an investigation contemporaneous with the violations that the Ohio Board of Education heard last week from four teachers who worked for the charter school.
But the whistleblower teachers might soon find themselves under the microscope. The agency headed by Dr. Richard Ross, an appointee of Gov. John R. Kasich, whose future aspirations to jump into presidential politics in 2016 or sooner rests wholly on winning a second term this [...]Full Story... →
At the State Board of Education meeting this week, four former teachers from the Horizon Science Academy Dayton High School testified about years of questionable practices and behavior, some of which had been previously reported and ignored by the Ohio Department of Education.
The things the teachers observed while teaching at the school are nothing short of appalling and the teachers were told by school administrators to avoid contacting the Ohio Department of Education and they feared losing their jobs and jeopardizing their careers if they reported the incidents.
Former teachers Kellie Kochensparger and Richard Storrick, reported [...]Full Story... →
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 [...]Full Story... →
Bruce Nottke, an Athens City School Board member, sent the following letter to nearly every public school superintendent in Ohio. We thought it was worth sharing!
My name is Bruce Nottke and I am a board member for the Athens City Schools. I am writing to you in regards to my growing concerns about charter schools. My concerns rest not only with the loss of dollars to public schools, but more importantly with the poor quality of education our students receive from many of the charter schools currently operating in Ohio. The businesses that operate most of [...]Full Story... →