Bill Phillis, retired for many years as deputy state superintendent of education in Ohio and now the state’s most outspoken critic of charter fraud, writes on his blog about the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s lame defense of for-profit charters:

“The myth of Ohio’s ‘for-profit’ charter school system”: A Fordham Institute’s damage control effort

An August 20 Fordham article suggests the charter industry is getting a bad rap because of the cronyism of a few charter operators. The article also attempts to justify the use of for-profit management companies by charter schools.

The notion proffered is that ECOT and the White Hat Management Company are the only bad actors in the charter industry. What about the 250 or so charter schools that took state and federal money and closed or never opened leaving kids in an education lurch? What about the other charter operations that have been reported as fostering gross irregularities, such as the Gulen charters, but not appropriately investigated by state officials? What about the Imagine Schools Inc. charter school chain that requires the charter schools to pay absurdly high rent to a real estate company allied with Imagine?

Corruption in the charter industry in Ohio and elsewhere is not confined to just a few bad actors. The industry is rife with low performance, cronyism and corruption.

In the article, the author equates a charter board hiring a management company to operate its school to a school district purchasing buses, books, etc. from the private sector. An absurd stretch!

A management company that operates charter schools performs a governmental fiduciary function and thus should be subjected to the same accountability and transparency measures as school district officials. Bus and book companies don’t operate the schools to which they sell products.

The Ohio charter industry seems beyond repair but Fordham keeps defending it.

Be it noted that the NAACP report on charter schools not only called for a moratorium on them, but called for the elimination of all for-profit charters and the for-profit management organizations that manage charters.