This was a very scary read in the Columbus Dispatch. It seems a bill in the Ohio legislature, if passed, would require the Columbus City School District to share future levy funds with charter schools in the city. Some Democrats including Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman support the slap to Unions and voters. He and other supporters claim that the measure would improve education in the city but current science doesn’t support that view. The bill is another attempt to corporatize education and give a big pay day to Charter school operators.
The bill calls for a Columbus school levy on the fall ballot, along with a recommendation to share some of the levy money with successful charter schools. It also would create an independent auditor to investigate district operations.
The district is being investigated by the state auditor’s office and the FBI for changes in attendance data.
“We believe these checks and balances will prevent wrongdoing in the future and earn back the confidence of the community,” Coleman told the House Education Committee.
The bill is sponsored by Reps. Cheryl Grossman, R-Grove City, and Tracy Maxwell Heard, D-Columbus, who cited data showing that students are more likely to attend a high-rated school if they attend a Columbus charter school than a district school.
The attendance data issue was a witch hunt used to wedge open the door to privatization. Like many large urban school districts, Columbus City schools has had some management issues.
What is true about Charter schools is that they are non-union, cherry pick the type of students they accept, and are not accountable to voters like public schools. Charter schools also don’t do better than public schools:
That is the clear message of continuing analysis from the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University, which tracks student performance in 25 states. In 2009, its large-scale study showed that only 17 percent of charter schools provided a better education than traditional schools, and 37 percent actually offered children a worse education.
A study released this week by the center suggests that the standards used by the charter authorizers to judge school performance are terribly weak.
As Plunderbund reported earlier this year about several large Charter school operators here in Ohio:
Of [White Hat Management’s] 27 schools: 9 received a C grade, 11 a D and 7 received an F. Final GPA: 1.07.
Kasich spoke at ECOT’s graduation ceremony last year despite the long list of failures on the part of the school. Just to cover a few, ECOT:
Has had consistently flat or declining test scores for a nine year period
Has graduation rates of below 35% over that entire time (consistently 20 points lower than Cleveland Schools’ scores)
Has attendance rates that are consistently below the state average
Has student achievement scores that are significantly below state averages
Received 36% more in per pupil funding than the state average
Is run by an unlicensed superintendent and unlicensed assistant superintendent who are each being paid over $100,000 per year (above statewide averages)
Pays teachers an average salary of $34,450, well below the state average of $55,812.
And there is this:
While 92 percent of the state’s public school districts scored effective or higher on this year’s report cards, only 26 percent of charter schools did. Locally, no charter school fell in the top three ratings.
Only four schools, or 1 percent, of charter schools are at the highest rating. That compares to 138, or 23 percent, of public schools. Sixty-nine, or 19 percent, of charter schools are at the lowest rating, academic emergency. Only two public schools are there.
Treating education as product to be bought and sold without any oversight from voters is a road to ruin for this country. Nothing good really happens when you put profit over people. As the Dispatch article notes, the bill only applies to Columbus City Schools but could be expanded across the state.
I’m disappointed that any Democrat would even consider this scary bill. I want to keep my ability as a voter to oversee education in my district and I want any problems to be solved by working with the Teacher unions. If this bill makes it into law I can promise I will never vote for a Columbus school levy again.