Amid the recent scandals that have taken place among Ohio’s roughly 400 charter schools, legislators are taking action to right the intuitions that educate nearly 123,000 students in the Buckeye State.
“Ohio has been called the wild, wild west of charter schools because of scandals and lack of oversight,” said U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown in a press conference earlier today.
According to statistics stated by the senator during the conference, Ohio charter schools misspend their funding at a rate of four times that of public education entities.
In addition to misspending, charter schools have been cited to be failing to properly educate their pupils.
“Students who attend Ohio Charter Schools lose 43 days of math instruction and 14 days of reading instruction than students in public schools,” said Brown.
Despite the large-scale failures among the state’s charter schools, Ohio was awarded $71 million in federal grant money to expand the current scharter school system.
“We were very concerned that this money would be going into a broken system,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan. “Our children deserve better. I introduced the Charter School Accountability Act to increase transparency and oversight of the U.S. charter school system – the 123,000 Ohio students attending charter schools, and their parents, should never have to worry if they are getting the education they are owed. We must learn from the Ohio Department of Education’s mistakes and ensure charter school programs around the country make student success their top priority.”
During the news conference, Brown and Ryan outlined bicameral legislation that would increase the amount of accountability, transparency and community involvement in Ohio’s charter schools designed to help ensure a high-quality education for every child.
“Our children pay the price for the mismanagement of charter schools,” Brown said. “This bill would help ensure a high-quality education for every child. By including some of these measures in the Every Child Achieves Act, the Senate already sent a strong, bipartisan message that all our schools need to be held accountable—it’s time for the House to follow suit.”
Earlier this year, Brown introduced the Charter School Accountability Act – parts of which were included in the Senate-passed Every Child Achieves Act, legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Reauthorization Act. Today, Ryan introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In July, the executive director of the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Quality School Choice and the Office of Community Schools, resigned after admitting to deliberately leaving out failing grades of online charter schools.
The legislation intends to strengthen proper allocation of funds in order to prevent fraud and abuse and to ensure that all children who attend a charter school receive sufficient education.
The bill is supported by the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).