Thursday, September 20, 2007

Nonsense in Ohio

 This story from Ohio perfectly captures the dilemma of Democrats.  I cheered when Dems took over the governor's office and other key positions in this critical swing state, yet look at what these status-quo-lackeys are doing to charter schools.  To be clear, Ohio's charter school law is weak and there are a lot of bad operators and schools that need to be shut down, but that's not what Strickland and Dann are doing...  Here's the Center for Education Reform Newswire on the story:

A PERSONAL WAR. Ohio's current leadership, in office less than a year, continue their assault on school choice. First it was Governor Ted Strickland's promise to rid the state of charters, an action stopped thanks to  the grassroots efforts of families and legislators who support school choice.  Now, Attorney General Marc Dann is suing to close two charter schools. Dann, who has had a rough start of his own  thanks to multiple hiring and procedural gaffes (including hiring and subsequently firing his deputy security director when it was revealed the man was a convicted killer), is suing to close the two schools under the state's charitable trust laws, as he has no other authority to close down schools.  Dann, who aspires to be governor and might potentially be running against current Speaker of the House Jon Husted, a school choice champion, apparently didn't read the new charter school accountability laws the state adopted under Husted's leadership, which would have forced the schools to close next year anyway. But rather than let that happen lawfully, and allow the parents to address where to send their children next, Dann wants to force those students back into conventional public schools which are also in academic emergency --  as are 72 other low performing district schools in the state that Dann apparently didn't find reason to go after. Interesting that the schools he did target are in Husted's district. We're waiting for the day he files suit  against all failing public schools.

And here's what the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools says:

Mr. Dann's Star Chamber

14 Sep 2007

Running roughshod over charter authorizers, the state  superintendent of education, and the state legislature, Ohio's attorney  general Marc Dann is suing to shut two (soon three) charter schools by revoking their 501c3 status, saying they've strayed from their charitable  mission.
Look, this is not about whether lousy charters should be  closed. They should, and we called for that, loud and clear, a year ago. In  December the Ohio legislature responded by deciding to shut any charter on "academic emergency" three years running. Dann wants to jump the gun, ignoring clear legislative intent that gave the AG's office no role in the process.  (It's a helluva precedent when an AG tries to overrule legislated due process.)

The Ohio Gadfly nails it: "Right Struggle, Wrong Tactics".  And the Ohio  Alliance for Public Charter Schools comes out  swinging with a timely demand for disclosure of links  between the AG and the Ohio teachers' union.

Oh, by the way, there's no  evidence that Mr. Dann has any plans to shut any traditional schools. Fordham  says there are about 183,000 Ohio kids in district-run "academic emergency"  schools. But apparently they're not failing in their "charitable purpose,"  just screwing up kids' lives.

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