“We are living in very strange times, and they are likely to get a lot stranger before things bottom out,” Dr. Hunter S. Thompson warned his readers more than forty years ago. But if the “Gonzo journalist” was accurate in his observations then, what would he say about the present?
For the last week, headlines in the US have started to tell the story about a once-obscure company called Cambridge Anayltica and its use of data mining techniques in the 2016 election. The full details of how a company, funded by the mega-rich right-wing Mercer family, snared the profiles […]Full Story... →
The results of Dr. Howard Fleeter’s recent comparison of the graduation rates of charters and real public schools should disturb all Ohioans, especially those who have the responsibility to protect students and taxpayers.
In a recent study, Fleeter found that, excluding dropout recovery charters, the charter graduation rate is about 45 percent compared to the graduation rate of 73 percent for Ohio’s six largest urban districts.
The charter promise in the 1990s was that charters would show the way to improvement in school districts. Of course, the idea that public education could be deregulated […]Full Story... →
Something strange is going on at the Ohio Statehouse.
The week’s headlines were dominated by the story of freshman Republican State Representative Wes Goodman, whose habit of chatting up young men online was revealed after his abrupt resignation over sex acts in his office. We’ll set aside the details of that story and let Wes and his wife work out their issues in private. The interesting part of the story is how it is being pushed from the sidelines and why.
ECOT, Ohio’s Scammiest Charter School
First, a quick review of the recent history of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow […]Full Story... →
As a charter sponsor, the Ohio Council of Community Schools had 50 schools receive an academic rating of zero last year, but now they will get a clean slate because of a loophole in state law.
Another charter school sponsor, another controversy. We’ve heard this tune about unaccountability for profiteering charters nauseatingly often. Ohio’s Republican political leaders refuse to learn their lesson.
A prominent charter school sponsor will avoid potential penalties for the failing grades of its schools thanks to a special exemption in state law and by formally splitting from the University […]Full Story... →
Deciding the money isn’t worth it, the Ohio Republican Party is returning $76,000 in campaign donations to Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow founder Bill Lager and one of his top associates.
The lede in the Columbus Dispatch story documents yet another chapter in the saga of ECOT, the notorious online charter school that has provided more than $2 million to the state GOP over the years. Previously, it had been reported that ECOT’s founder, William Lager, along with another associate, had donated $122,000 to state party coffers in just the last six months, at the very time the […]Full Story... →
Since Ronald Reagan’s presidency, many astute pundits, close observers of the behavior of prominent Republicans in the post-Gipper era, have variously labeled GOP types as masters of hypocrisy, projection and, even worse, authoritarianism. Does that amalgam sound a little bit like the elements of Trump DNA?
Though we might feel that many Republicans are indeed guilty of possessing similar DNA, it’s the hypocrisy trait that is most prominent in the mix.
On July 30, two happenings provide illustrations of that built-in hypocrisy trait among GOP types.
In a page one article detailing the history of the notorious […]Full Story... →
Taxpayer Dollars Must Not Be Wasted On Failing Charter Schools
by State Representative David Leland
I introduced HB 220 to improve charter school transparency and accountability by permitting the state auditor to track all taxpayer money received by the private, for-profit schools. I did this to shine a light on how charter schools spend taxpayer dollars, which has become even more critical after the ruling last week that ECOT, Ohio’s largest, failing online charter school, misappropriated at least $60 million in taxpayer funds by falsely inflating student attendance.
Ohio taxpayers deserve a full and complete accounting for every one […]Full Story... →
Last week, former Congressman Dennis Kucinich conducted a Statehouse news conference and four town hall meetings in Ohio regarding the realities of the charter school industry.
Steve Farber has posted videos from two of the events. You can watch them below.Full Story... →
Dr. Sarah Stitzlein, Associate Professor, University of Cincinnati has written an important article about “building support for public education on the heels of Betsy DeVos.”
Dr. Stitzlein, in her commentary, “We are not consumers, but citizens when it comes to schools”, pleads for citizens to support and sustain the public common school as the key institution for preparing citizens for democracy.
“We need good public schools now more than ever to help us solve our problems, especially in light of our politically divided country,” Stitzlein concludes. “Let’s build on the momentum we witnessed in response to DeVos to improve […]Full Story... →
Jeanne Melvin, President of Public Education Partners (PEP) has developed a graphic that can be used to show school district patrons how a portion of their school levy funds flow to charters. Some state officials have argued that no local funds are involved in chartering. They may be aware that the use of revenue from local levies is restricted to the operation of the school district; hence, they fabricated the following argument:
· Districts must use their local revenue first for their district students
· Districts must use their state funds first for charter students
Before Ohio expands funding for charter school facilities, state officials should seriously investigate the California charter facilities disaster.
A group called In The Public Interest (ITPI) engaged Dr. Gordon Lafer, associate professor at the University of Oregon, to research the flaws of the California charter facilities policy. An April 2017 report of Lafer’s findings reveals that hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent each year without any meaningful strategy. Funds are thrown to charters with no statewide plan or local plans for efficient and effective use of the funds. Charter facilities are being built in locations where school […]Full Story... →