OEA President Frost-Brooks: Charters Need More Than Money

Copyright Brian Fenstermacher.From today’s Dispatch…

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Chester E. Finn Jr. acknowledged grave shortcomings of charter schools in Ohio (“How to boost Ohio’s charter schools,” Forum, Dec. 11). But these schools are not just “mediocre,” as Finn concedes; 60 percent of the charter schools in the state’s largest urban districts are in academic emergency or academic watch.

Finn’s top 10 charter problems include lax oversight by the Ohio Department of Education; poor choices by consumers; poor school operators and nonprofit sponsors; too much faith in “market forces”; and jumbled charter laws and policies. Too true.

But it’s a cruel irony to hear charter operators complain about the expectations they created and the system they designed for themselves. They leveraged their political campaign contributions to key legislators into hefty profits, rapid growth and minimum oversight during the first nine years of the charter-school program.

Finn wants to solve these problems with more money. Instead, charters need a dose of accountability from a legislature willing to honestly re-examine whether this $532 million-a-year program should be salvaged or scrapped.


Ohio Education Association