Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Charters in the 'Era of Accountability'

More than $900 million in state and local tax dollars, some of it approved by local voters, will be transferred this school year from local schools to nonprofit, publicly funded Ohio charter schools that did not exist 20 years ago. Who is watching how all of that money is spent? -- Columbus Dispatch
I'm just reading one of those tracts, attacking the idea of elected school boards, from a right-wing think tank, the Fordham Institute. The tract refers to this as "the era of accountability" and in this particular report uses the word accountability no less than 14 times or about twice per page. Another of Fordham's anti-school board screeds is actually called: Governance in the Accountability Era.

Coming from them, that phrase always makes me laugh. Why? Because the think tank also doubles up as as a school voucher proponent and one of the main sponsors of privately-run charter schools in the state of Ohio. And as I have pointed out before, here, here, and here, Ohio is the state with arguably the worst charters in the nation and the ones with the least public accountability. The Institute itself, has even referred to Ohio charters as "a laughing stock". And while Fordham talks a lot about Public accountability & private-school choice, they have also provided cover for some of the worst operators in the state, like White Hat's David Brennan. 

Part of the problem is that there's no school board oversight of privately run charters and the think-tankers want to keep it that way.

SEE HOW THEY RUN...Watch how operator Jim Sinclair of Lorain Preparatory Academy of Excellence, practically goes underground when a reporter tries to find out some basic information about his school. And...
That was not out of the ordinary in calls to nearly 300 Ohio charter schools — funded with state and local tax dollars and, by law, subject to the same transparency rules as traditional schools. The calls were made as part of a school-choice project by the Akron Beacon Journal and the News­Outlet, a consortium of journalism programs at Youngstown State University, the University of Akron and Cuyahoga Community College.  
Tea-Party Gov. John Kasich, speaking at the February meeting of the Ohio Newspaper Association, responded to a Beacon Journal editor’s question about inability to obtain basic information from charter schools.
“We’ll work with you any way we can. I’m not going to hide from you,” Kasich said. “In terms of this specific information, where you can’t get anything about these charters, we have to dig into that."
But why do we have to "dig", Governor? Isn't this the era of accountability?

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