"The market works in supplying a quality product in the delivery of services because failure is not tolerated by the market. If you fail, you go out of business." -- David Brennan
To get a charter in Ohio, all you need it seems, is lots of money for local Republican campaigns and a white hat.
One of the nation’s largest charter-school operators, White Hat runs more than 30 charter schools across Ohio. The schools are funded by the state like traditional public schools but are privately operated. White Hat is run by David Brennan, the second-biggest Republican campaign donor over the past decade. He founded White Hat in 1998. His lobbyists wrote many of the proposals governing charter schools in the House’s proposed state budget this year, although most were removed by the Senate. No other state has for-profit charters like the ones authorized in Ohio. But Ohio's House Republicans acted as if they owed Brennan a return on his investment. The state of Ohio pays Brennan's White Hat Management Company $74 million a year.
Brennan's minions in the Republican-run Ohio House moved brazenly to reward their benefactor at the expense of Ohio's taxpayers. Ignoring a torrent of criticism, Thursday night the House passed a two-year budget bill that contained the unthinkable: It authorized creation of taxpayer-financed schools whose primary purpose is to turn a profit for their owners. And it reduced the oversight authority of the government entity that serves as sponsor of those schools. -- Cleveland.comNow,
A Franklin County judge ordered major GOP donor and charter-school operator David L. Brennan to turn over a detailed accounting of how his for-profit management company spends the millions of tax dollars it receives each year. For years, the company has refused to open its books, claiming such information was secret. The decision is good news for the nine schools suing White Hat and others who for years have tried unsuccessfully to learn what portion of the tax dollars the company receives is spent on teacher salaries, school supplies and other expenses, and how much it pocketed. -- Columbus DispatchA study released this year by a nonpartisan research organization at the University of Colorado-Boulder concluded that no large for-profit charter school management firm in the United States has a performance record worse than White Hat. Of the country's 51 White Hat-managed schools, one met a standard called "adequate yearly progress." That's a success rate of under 2 percent.
Brennan has been a darling of the power philanthropists has been a featured speaker at the Philanthropy Roundtable. Former Ohio Gov. Voinoivich had his son working at Brennan's law firm.
But even Checker Finn's right-wing Fordham Institute, themselves a sponsor of several Ohio charter schools, admits that the state's support for for-profit charters like White Hat has turned it into a "laughing stock."
But according to Progress Ohio,
"Brennan was helped along by the intellectuals of the Buckeye Institute and Fordham Institute. They provided valuable cover for free-market "education" plans, and eventually these institutions proliferated in Ohio more than in any other state in the union."