Charter schools were supposed to be creative sources of innovation. They were supposed to show what could be accomplished when government got out of the way. The newcomers would give lessons to the professionals, who couldn’t be trusted.
But it hasn’t worked out that way. In Ohio, charter schools are some of the worst schools in the state. 83 of the lowest performing 84 schools in the state are charters.
Guido H. Stempel III, a distinguished professor emeritus in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, says that the people of Ohio have been cheated.
Stempl says the driving force behind charters is greed.
“There are 27 organizations, and 25 of those are for-profit. One of those, with 17 schools, is run by an Islamic minister.
We have a double standard. There are 200 state laws that apply to public schools and not to charter schools Qualifications of teachers are not checked as they are for public school teachers. Auditing of finances does not occur as often.
The names of public school board members are public and listed in a state directory. There is no record of who the members of school boards for charter schools are or how they are chosen. Public school boards must have a regular meeting schedule, and if they schedule additional meetings they must notify local media. The public does not know when charter school boards meet.
There is, in short, a lack of oversight.”
When the state ordered the state’s largest charter operator, David Brennan, to close two of his low-performing schools, “One reopened in the same place with a new name and the same staff. The other was the same story except that they replaced 30 percent of the staff.
“The charter schools are getting almost a billion dollars from the state. This year charter schools got bigger increases in state funding that the public schools did. Money was taken from appropriations for districts. More that a million dollars was taken from the five districts in Athens County.
Why do the legislature and governor protect charters from accountability?
Charter school owners contribute generously to political candidates.