Currently Ohio has almost 100,000 students attending 339 charter schools, costing tax payers about $720 million a year. The Governors new budget seeks to significantly privatize public education further.
With so much at stake, there's currently a lot of lobbying going on, and lot of that lobbying is around this issue
In Ohio, a charter school must have a contract with one of 77 approved sponsors (also known as authorizers) who are responsible for overseeing academics and finances. Many are school districts or county educational service centers that sponsor only one or two charter schools, but a few are nonprofit organizations that sponsor dozens.
As introduced, Kasich's budget pins more responsibility on sponsors by forbidding them from adding schools if any of their current schools are in academic watch or academic emergency, the state's two lowest rankings.
Seems reasonable that we would want authorizers to only be sponsoring quality school programs. But there's a hitch, and it's a big one
That disqualifies just about everyone who's a sponsor now because almost all have at least one low-performing school, said Terry Ryan, who heads the Ohio offices of the conservative-leaning Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Its sister foundation sponsors seven charter schools in Ohio, one of which is in academic emergency.
One would think these organizations would want to spend some time fixing their current failing schools, but no, that's not what is being lobbied for in Columbus
Ryan would like to see that changed to allow, say, 20 percent of a sponsor's schools to be low-ranked. But he's quick to add, "We do not want to return to the days when 50, 60, 70 schools were being opened by people who did not have a solid track record. We're still seeing the repercussions from that."
20 percent! That's an awful lot of students being left behind. What does the Governor's education Czar think?
Sommers is amenable to a change.
Well of course he is. This massive expansion of charter schools has nothing to do with improving education quality. It's about the bottom line.