UPDATE: Ohio Alliance for Charter Schools Chief: “There’s no accountability”

UPDATE: Via Plunderbund, here’s an excellent Ohio.com editorial from today that chastises the Ohio House Republicans’ latest shenanigans with charters and demands that someone in elected office step up and stop it.

Original post:

And he’s not saying this in a good way, at all. And he is not fringe and he is not alone.

Read the entire article in the Dispatch today, “GOP bill reduces charter schools’ accountability.”

And then be sure to refresh your memory of how White Hat Management, the most notorious for-profit charter school operator in Ohio, received $17 million of your money for ghost students.

Oh, and before you go on, recall the editorial from the Cincy Enquirer in 2009 about how money and charters don’t mix.

On what planet in what universe do some of these people elected by Ohioans, charged with spending Ohioans’ tax dollars, LIVE ON? (And Josh Mandel – you support charters, who clearly support you – what do you have to say to this evisceration of accountability with our money, given that you are the Ohio Treasurer? Fascinating note – the news article that reported on Mandel’s appearance at Ashland Univ. where he reportedly mentions support for school choice, charters and the elimination of the estate tax is now available only in its cached form.)

This quote from the lobbyist for White Hat and its chief, David Brennan, is textbook rhetoric, obfuscation and scamming:

[Tom] Needles said the charter-school concept is to allow greater flexibility and fewer restrictions so schools can be innovative and improve student learning.

Letting the Ohio Department of Education grant permission for charter schools to open and eliminating sponsors will direct more money into the classroom and remove another layer of bureaucracy, he said.

Let’s get something straight: The layer that needs to be removed is the FOR-PROFIT layer that sends my money into David Brennan’s profit coffer that then ends up back in the millions of dollars he gives to the very elected officials who are championing his garbage legislative proposals to help him earn more profit, not direct money to classrooms.

They have lied before to the public – blatantly so – and they are lying now.  Here are some of the proposals Brennan et al think are needed:

• Give for-profit companies the ability to use tax dollars to open unlimited numbers of schools without disclosing how public funds are spent and without oversight from sponsors as now required.

• Exempt the school, if an operator is running it without a sponsor, from current law that allows it to be suspended or put on probation for failing to meet student performance requirements, for fiscal mismanagement, for a violation of law or for other good cause.

• Allow a governing board, if it contracts with an operator, to delegate all rights to the operator; specify that funds paid to the operator are not public and that property purchased by the operator belongs to the operator; and require the school to offer the operator the chance to renew its contract before seeking another operator.

• Require a charter school board to give an operator 180 days’ notice before terminating a contract, up from the current 90 days. It also gives the operator final say over the renewal of a contract between a school and its sponsor.

These provisions represent the exact opposite philosophy of what is being argued by the same people as necessary for non-charter public schools accountability when it comes to our tax dollars.

And here’s another one: tell me why, according to the Dispatch article: “Some Republicans said privately that they hoped a number of the changes would be stripped from the bill.”?

Privately? You are saying it privately? What good does that do? Stand up for goodness sakes.  Who are you afraid of?

And by the way – two questions for the finance folks in the Statehouse:

1. Tell us how many students could be educated with the PROFIT taken by White Hat for David Brennan and given back to politicians?

2. Tell us how many of you send your kids to for-profit charter schools (I’ve been asking that for literally more than half a decade).

Governor Kasich, Tom Keen – for supposed leaders of our state that are supposed to be such firebrand pro-business reformers, you show yourselves to be completely disingenuous when you don’t slap down proposals like these.  You both, too, should be standing up.  Isn’t that what you’re supposed to be famous for, Governor – telling it like it is?

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