Denis Smith worked in the charter school office of the Ohio Department of Education. He knows the problems of oversight of these deregulated schools.
In this post, he proposes 10 reforms to rein in corruption and malfeasance in Ohio’s charter sector.
The major reform that is needed is financial transparency. All schools–public and charter–should be subject to public audit.
Most of his recommendations focus on the misuse of public funds, for example, to pay for celebrity endorsements and advertising.
Here are his top three recommendations:
“#3: Administrative qualifications. Incredibly, there are no minimum educational or professional licensure requirements for charter school administrators. This situation needs to be addressed immediately if all charter reform efforts are to be viewed as substantive. After all, school is about education.
“#2: Citizenship requirement. In traditional school districts, board members have to be qualified voters – citizens – in order to serve as overseers of public funds. News reports in the last year have focused on one charter school chain where some of the board members and administrators may not be American citizens. If charter proponents want to emphasize the word public in the term public charter school, they should also agree that requiring American citizenship for board members is a no-brainer for the charter industry.
“And the Number One Needed Charter School Reform –
“Get the money out!
“The influence of charter moguls David Brennan and William Lager on the Ohio Republican party is well-known. Money talks, and in charter world, money speaks loudly. Public funds – the profits gained from running privately operated schools with public money – should not be allowed to unduly influence legislators. The fact that HB 2 stalled at the very time that another $91,726 arrived to replenish state Republican campaign coffers is no coincidence.”