Ohio has one of the worst charter sectors in the country.

In 2015, The Cleveland Plain Dealer and Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post agreed that Ohio’s Charters had become a national joke.  Margaret Raymond, leader of CREDO, which conducts studies of state charter sectors, said to Ohioans, “Be glad that you have Nevada, so you are not the worst,” referring to Ohio’s charters.

Two-thirds of Ohio’s charters are rated failing by the state. Enrollment in charters is falling. The number of charters is declining. Ohio’s failing  charter schools drain $1 billion a year from Ohio’s public schools.

Why is Ohio taking $1 Billion a year from public schools to sustain failing charter schools?

In short, Ohio’s charter sector is a disaster.

So now is exactly the time when Aaron Churchill of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute attacks Bill Phillis, the retired assistant superintendent of education, a courtly gentleman who has warned about the fiscal dangers of charters for Ohio public schools for years and whose warnings have been prophetic.

Bill Phillis is a hero of education in Ohio and in the nation. He is paid by no one to tell the truth.

Aaron Churchill works for a rightwing think tank that is funded by Gates, and a long list of foundations, whose purpose is to advance the cause of privatization. (I was a founding member of that organization at a time when its endowment of $40 million was considered adequate, and I opposed the pursuit of outside funding, then turned against TBF’s goal of privatization.) TBF sponsors charter schools in Ohio (another decision I opposed because I don’t believe think tanks should sponsor charter schools).

Other than his employment at TBF, I have no idea who Churchill is. I think he owes Mr. Phillis a personal apology.

As you will see from this link, Stephen Dyer, former legislator, came to Bill Phillis’s defense.

As did Denis Smith, who worked in the Ohio Department of Education charter office.

As do I.

Stephen Dyer wrote in defense of Bill Phillis,

“I guess what I’m most disappointed by though is Churchill’s utter lack of deference and respect for Phillis, who more than any single person in the history of the state has held politicians’ feet to the fire on equal and adequate funding for all students.

”Frankly, Phillis has forgotten more education funding and policy than either I or Churchill will ever know. Churchill’s cheap, ad hominem attacks on this man who has spent his life fighting for all kids to receive a world-class education is truly distressing.”

This is a time when decent people echo the words of attorney Joseph Welch to Senator Joseph McCarthy at the celebrated Army-McCarthy hearings, “At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”