Ohio's charter school mess -- don't count on it being cleaned up

Ohio's charter schools are a mess. 

Here is what a study, commissioned by the pro-charter Fordham Institute, found out:

  • Of 68 statistically significant differences between charters and regular public schools, 56 show a negative charter impact with only 12 showing a positive one;
  • An average Ohio charter school student would have completed 14 fewer days of learning in reading and 36 fewer days in math.

The results are so bad that one official at the pro-charter Hoover Institution told the City Club of Cleveland, "I am actually a pro-market kind of girl, but it doesn't seem to work in a choice environment for education."

We already knew this. In the recent Ohio school report cards, charter schools received more Fs than As, Bs, and Cs combined. Over 60 percent of these schools earned Ds or Fs. (You can check all this out on Knowyourcharter.com.)

It is so bad that on Dec. 18, Gov. John Kasich pledged to get tough next year on underperforming charter schools.

I doubt it will happen.

The bottom line is that political donors will prevent any change.

Here is what is going on: The largest sector, and greatest failures, in the charter industry in Ohio are for-profit charters. Of the $920 million in public funding that goes to charter schools, $503 million went to schools managed by for-profit firms, according to an analysis by the Akron Beacon Journal

Two-thirds of this went to five, large, and very low-performing, charter companies. The biggest of these is the White Hat group, run by David Brennan. (In fact, of the 16 lowest-performing charter groups, for-profit companies run 14 of them.)

These companies give big dollars to politicians. For example, it seems that Mr. Brennan and family members have given over $4 million to Ohio Republican candidates. For this bribe, Mr. Brennan and his ilk (like Dennis Bakke of Imagine Schools that also operate, and fail, in Ohio and who also contributes heavily to pro-charter politicians) have received a charter law that allows them to conceal their finances, charge charter schools exorbitant rents for buildings they own and fail to provide an education to Ohio's kids.

(Read more at Cleveland.com)