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Charter school amendments likely to be stripped

Credit where credit is due, the Governor's education Czar is also unhappy with the House Republican changes to the budget that creates a wild west charter school privatization system in Ohio.
House leaders refuse to say which legislator submitted the budget amendments. However, at least some were made at the request of major Republican donor and leading for-profit charter-school operator David L. Brennan, who runs White Hat Management in Akron.

Sommers told state board members today that school choice creates competition that will improve Ohio's education system. But both charter schools and traditional public schools alike must be accountable for student performance and public financing, and poorly performing schools must be shut down.

He also cited the need for "more transparency about funding for charter schools."
Clearly, pressure from all angles is causing some second thoughts, and hopfully the big loser in all this will be David Brennan and not pubic education and accountability.

Sen. Tim Schaffer (R) responds to JTF

State Sen. Tim Schaffer (R) wins the contest for the fastest response to our recent letter. Here it is.

Dear Join the Future,

Thank you for your email regarding Governor Kasich's biennium budget proposal and education plan. I appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with me.

As work on House Bill 153 begins in the General Assembly, I will be weighing all issues important to the state and my constituents. Much time and debate will go into House Bill 153 and I will keep your thoughts in mind.

Again thank you for your email. If I can be of further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.


Tim Schaffer
State Senator
31st Senate District

Didn't really answer our questions did it?

How deceptive is Rhee’s organization?

A short while ago we brought to your attention the partisan political nature of Michelle Rhee's organization - The Washington Post brings news today, of the deceptive tactics being used to push their school privatization agenda
Even teachers might be fooled into thinking the organization is all about helping them, when it is actually intended to bring down teachers unions which are often blamed for failing schools by protecting adults. That argument, of course, ignores the fact that the problems are the same in states where teachers are unionized and in states where they aren’t.

Rhee, by the way, appeared Monday at the national school choice summit of the the American Federation for Children, whose board chair is Betsy DeVos.

She is wife of Dick DeVos, who is the son of the co-founder of Amway, and the sister of Erik Prince, founder of the private military contractor once known as Blackwater USA and now called Xe Services LLC.

The DeVos family has spent millions to support efforts to promote vouchers and promote reforms that are furthering the privatization of public education.

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Lots of SB5 news from around the state

Yesterday, police from all around the state held mass efforts to protest SB5. It garnered a lot of local press coverage. Here's a sampler of some of those stories;

In related SB5 news, businesses seem to want to either back away form supporting the collective bargaining busting measure, or wholly support its repeal

We should start seeing some petition signature counts in the next week or so. Don't forget to return your petition books once you are done, so the signatures you have collected can be verified and counted. There's only about 50 days left until the June 30th deadline!

Un-Accountable Charters

There's so many things wrong with the elements of this story its hard to know where to begin, and even harder to understand why Republican lawmakers want to reduce an already weakened oversight system for charter schools
State payments to two charter schools will resume later this week, now that the state auditor's office has finally been able to complete audits.
The Auditors reports are due in a few weeks and we'll be sure to bring news of those findings to you. But back to the story of charter schools so messed up (and that's the best case scenario) that they can't perform basic accounting functions. The cost of such incompetence?
Teachers and other employees have gone without paychecks since the funds were cut off. Charter schools, which are public but run independent of districts, get most of their money from the state.
They may be public right now, but if HB153 passes, we'll see a proliferation of private schools receiving public money, with their accounts hidden from public view.
All three schools are sponsored by the Cleveland-based Ashe Culture Center, which is responsible for monitoring academics and finances.

Rainbow said the Arts Academies' relationship with Ashe had become "very strained" and they gave notice in January that they would seek a new sponsor.
The Education Department has been trying to take away Ashe's sponsorship authority since December 2009, mainly because of financial issues. The final decision will be up to the state school board after an independent hearing officer rules.

Audits are still under way at two other Ashe-sponsored schools -- Elite Academy of the Arts and Lion of Judah Academy, both in Cleveland -- that also were declared unauditable in November.
Ohio already has too many sponsors, and soon if changes are not made to HB153, even more - with the accounts hidden from public view inside of for-profit corporations. Only those who seek to profit from this undemocratic scheme are supporting it. As the Ohio Senate debates the budget bill, we'll have a clear view of just how many legislators the vampire squid tentacles have gripped.

The Columbus Dispatch has already been ensnared by the lobbyist for White Hat Management, the very person who helped the GOP House Majority write the current HB153 charter school wild west provisions.

(c) Join the Future