Kasich to revamp Ohio laws on charter schools?

Gov. John Kasich pledged yesterday to crack down on shady Ohio charter-school operators in his upcoming budget proposal.

In a year-end speech to the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the governor also threw out broad hints of possible tax changes, called for greater regulation on fracking wellheads and defended religious involvement in a new state-funded program with public schools.

“We are going to fix the lack of regulation on charter schools,” he said. “There is no excuse for people coming in here and taking advantage of anything. So we will be putting some tough rules into our budget.”

Two studies released this month blasted state laws and regulations that allow poor-performing Ohio charter schools to flourish and management companies to profit off the tax-funded privately operated schools. The studies showed that charter-school students receive fewer days of learning than youngsters at traditional public schools. Both reports were commissioned by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, a pro-charter-school organization urging more accountability of charter schools.

Richard A. Ross, state schools superintendent, said court actions and “persuasiveness” have failed to fix problems with some charter-school operators.

The changes will seek to exert more state control over charter-school sponsors — “operationally, financially and educationally” — to ensure high-quality educations for charter students, Ross said.

“We know we have a lot of room for improvement, but one thing to remember as we work on those reforms is that for a lot of parents, community schools are their last chance for choice,” he said.

(Read more at the Dispatch)