Ohio’s Kasich Advocates Accountability on Charter Schools

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In a year-end speech to the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Governor John Kasich announced his intentions of cracking down on underperforming charter schools in the state.

The “tougher rules” will come as part of his two-year budget plan to be announced next year as a result of multiple allegations of misspending and misbehavior among charter schools in the state.

“We are going to fix the lack of regulation on charter schools,” he said. “There is no excuse for people coming in here and taking advantage of anything. So we will be putting some tough rules into our budget.”

Two studies were released this month, discussing the issues surrounding Ohio state laws and regulations that allow the underperforming charter schools to remain in operation while at the same time allowing management companies to make money from the tax-funded privately operated schools.  According to both studies, charter school students had fewer days of learning than public school students.  In the end, it equates to 36 less days of math and 14 fewer days in reading.  Both studies came from the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, a pro-charter school foundation that advocates for more accountability for those schools.

Court actions and persuasions were ineffective at fixing the problems at some charter schools, according to Richard A. Ross, state schools superintendent.

Ross said the new changes will include increased state control over the charter-school sponsors, “operationally, financially and educationally,” in an effort to ensure all charter school students receive a high-quality education, writes Darrel Rowland for The Columbus Dispatch.

“We know we have a lot of room for improvement, but one thing to remember as we work on those reforms is that for a lot of parents, community schools are their last chance for choice,” he said.

Kasich continued his speech by discussing Medicaid and welfare reforms in the works.  State officials are working hard to ensure residents of the state do not need to depend on Medicaid and other welfare programs, instead creating a “help office” where people can come for food stamps, which come with a work or training requirement.  The office will connect people with businesses who can offer that work or training.

“We need to make sure we’re providing opportunities for folks who need the help but at the same time opportunities for them to become successful or independent,” Senate President Keith Faber said. “Anything that leads to a way of life of dependency is not going to be long-term sustainable.”

According to House Speaker William Batchelder, the government can only do so much to help people out of poverty, and should focus their efforts more on education improvements, especially in urban areas, reported  Jackie Borchardt for Cleveland.com.

“People have to be inspired to change their lives,” Batchelder said. “We cannot tell people in some military way what they have to do.”