Another report calling for charter school accountability

The Fordham Institute commissioned Bellwether Education Partners to study Ohio's charter school law and to formulate state policy recommendations. The report-The Road to Redemption-made public December 17, provides ten policy recommendations that would correct some of the charter debacles that are embarrassing to charter advocates in Ohio and beyond.

All the persons interviewed for the study are involved in the charter school industry and/or are charter advocates.

Many of the recommendations regarding accountability have been made repeatedly by charter critics. Possibly this set of recommendations from charter apologists will attract the attention of some state officials. However, according to a December 17 article in the Akron Beacon Journal by Doug Livingston, Colleen Grady, education advisor for House Republicans, responded to the report, saying, "In all fairness, over the past three years, we've put a variety of [legislative] pieces in place." However, recent legislation has not increased accountability and transparency of charters. (Grady is a former lobbyist for White Hat Management, the company that has received $1 billion in tax dollars for its mostly failing charter schools.)

As one would expect from a study commissioned by charter advocates, the report calls for more money for charters such as:

  • State and local dollars should follow students
  • Transportation funding should be provided to charters independent from school districts
  • Facility funds from the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) should be provided to charters

Charter schools don't have a local tax-base; hence, they should not be eligible for local revenue for operations or for OSFC funds. The notion of money following the child is diametrically opposed to the constitutional provision for a thorough and efficient system of public common schools. The Constitution requires a state system. The system, not the individual, is eligible for funding.

William Phillis
Ohio E & A