Charter school rally: Husted, Mandel ignore accountability, profiteering, $$ they've received from Brennans

Read the news story here (as opposed to the splog accounts) from the Cleveland Jewish News.

A few points that elected officials who favor school choice never seem to address in these crowd-drawing, media-ready, splog-perfect occasions that highlight, legitimately, the successes in charter school experimentation:

1. There’s a name for it, for what ALL charters need to do and should be, but aren’t and are therefore the ire of Ohio taxpayers. But neither the news report nor the splogs indicate that this name was uttered, urged or emphasized by State Rep. Josh Mandel or House Speaker Jon Husted.

Can you spell a-c-c-o-u-n-t-a-b-i-l-i-t-y?

Maybe they did mention it – maybe they didn’t. I wasn’t there and I couldn’t find any other news reports of the rally beside the CJN’s and this one in the Plain Dealer. But they should be making sure that they do mention it and that that mention makes it into news reports. Because otherwise, they are being disingenuous as to how Mom and Dad’s school choice money is actually being spent, and planned on being spent by the Ohio legislature to which they were elected.

2. The CJN writes this:

Mandel echoed Husted’s sentiments and explained that he believes in school choice because “education is a key component to bringing back the Cleveland area, Northeast Ohio, and Ohio as a state.”

He added that during his campaigning days, he heard from parents afraid to send their children to schools such as Glenville. “It rings loud that the decision should be in the hands of Mom and Dad, not a politician or bureaucrat,” he told the cheering crowd.

Okay.

So justify this for the same Moms and Dads:

Why should the state allow the for-profit management of charters – entities from which both Husted and Mandel have accepted tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions? Entities which continue to be under scrutiny for financial and performance irregularities and failures, so much so that the current budget bill has new requirements for those entities to be accountable?

What evidence has been proffered that shows that for-profits in Ohio’s education works? Because I know we’ve read a lot about instances in which the for-profits don’t work in Ohio, at least not for the kids and families. Don’t you think before you give the legislative okay for Mom and Dad’s school choice money to go to the for-profits, they should demonstrate success far beyond what they have so far?

While I’m on this point, maybe Speaker Husted would like to explain this quote by him, from this Coshocton Tribune column:I can’t think of another government service that costs the same or less, people want it, and we’re trying to take it away,” said Ohio House Speaker John Husted. “The people who want to stop school choice are very well funded and in control.” My emphasis. Hmm – okay. I know you are but what am I?

Don’t you think Mom and Dad, if they understood and knew about this arrangment, might have a little problem with just how much money the for-profits take out of Mom and Dad’s school choice dollars, keep as profit and pass on to the politicians?

For example, why does White Hat Management get to make millions (yes, millions, despite this ridiculousness by White Hat’s people re: lying about how much they profit) while students go unserved, anywhere in the state?

Yes, there are successes. There are an observable, laudable number of successes. And I’ve written repeatedly about how, not long after charters were created, I studied, researched and wrote a lengthy memo for a former employer that concerned charter schools. And, as envisioned, they were schools to be initiated by parents and community folks who felt that the existing public schools had niches of students they couldn’t or weren’t serving. And I thought and I continue to think that that is a legitimate, excellent idea for alternative education.

But for goodness sake, let everyone know loud and clear that when you’re supporting school choice by Mom and Dad, you are not supporting profiteering and capitalism in the pursuit of education, that thing called the “…key component to bringing back the Cleveland area, Northeast Ohio, and Ohio as a state” by Rep. Mandel.

Unless, of course, you do in fact support school chice by Mom and Dad that also allows Mom and Dad’s school choice money to go to for-profit companies and, well, you – the politicians – the very people you said shouldn’t have a hand in a child’s schooling.

In sum, I fail to see how there is any room for that in Ohio’s budget or education future. And I cannot imagine any Mom and Dad, as they dole out their school choice dollars, as being happy to see those dollars go into the profits of David Brennan et al., and then into politicians’ pockets. Certainly not given the lopsided success of the White Hat schools.

P.S. Remember those Life Skills Center splogs? They were created on Monday, May 21, three days before the rally.

Strategery for sure. Excellent strategery.

2 thoughts on “Charter school rally: Husted, Mandel ignore accountability, profiteering, $$ they've received from Brennans

  1. Paul – I have been reading everything you write, including your great comment on the previous post about the charter splogs. I appreciate your nuanced opinions too – they people see that this is simply not a clearcut issue, but that it also does not have to be so divisive. The politicians make it so in order to divide voters easily. And that makes me maddest of all, to be honest.

  2. Jill:Another excellent post on the subject.One could observe that governments, at the local, state and national levels, exist today primarily to suck up an enormous fraction of our money and redirect it in ways that benefit the officeholders and their masters. Add this to the ever-increasing costs to run an election campaign, and you end up with politicians who become more interested in WHO gets the money than in WHAT it is supposed to be buying.One can imagine how the lobbying went. An idea floated through the Gen Assy about the kind of voucher system you describe. Then some lobbyist figured out that he had clients who might like to get in the education business and capture some of that newly accessible money, so the idea was broadened to make room for for-profit charter schools, and details like accountability were left out. The grateful companies such as White Hat showed their appreciation to the appropriate legislators with generous contributions to their campaign funds. The lobbyists benefited because their clients paid them well. The legislators benefited because they got more money for their campaign funds. White Hat benefited by getting its hands on our money and making a tidy profit with an inferior product. However, the taxpayers got screwed twice, once as the funding source and once again as the consumer.And yet we keep re-electing these people. Term limits aren’t the right control, as you sometimes throw out very good people. The trick is breaking the money cycle between politicians, lobbyists and those who want our tax dollars to come their way (which includes both business and organized labor, notably the teachers’ unions). Your vote might carry the same weight as mine during the general election, but the votes that count are those cast in the legislative chambers.And those are for sale.

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