Waste and lack of accountability

Reported by the NEA: A new report highlights concerns about charter schools and how they operate. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General believes the concerns center on the relationship between charter schools and the companies managing them. The Inspector General’s report looked at 33 charter schools in six states–California, Texas, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York. Here is the pattern that emerged:

1) financial risk of waste, fraud, and abuse; (2) insufficient accountability over federal funds, the result of charter school boards ceding fiscal authority to management companies; and, because of these issues, (3) lack of accountability for following federal requirements.

Over the last decade, the federal government has spent more than $3 billion for charter schools, including the $71 million released to Ohio.



Many charter school sponsors failing

According to the Ohio Department of Education, nearly one-third of the state’s current charter school sponsors are not meeting standards. Twenty-one organizations received “poor” ratings, while 39 others were rated “ineffective.” These latter groups are barred from sponsoring any additional schools until they create improvement plans and show they are addressing problems. Of 65 sponsors, only five were deemed “effective, ” while none were rated “exemplary.” The sponsors manage 29 charter schools, all of which received “poor” state ratings. They won’t have to close, but many will have to find new sponsors. This evaluation is the first after the state was cited for omitting the results of failing schools and the Ohio Legislature passed reform measures.

Now, more than ever

CEA President Tracey D. Johnson recently commented at a United Way of Central Ohio Meeting: “There is something happening in our communities where our children have so many needs. Our children are more than a test score. They are coming to us with social and emotional and mental needs that we’re not equipped to deal with.”

During the meeting on Sept. 15 , which she was attending as a trustee, Johnson was responding tearfully to the news that 13-year-old Tyre King, a student at Linden-McKinley STEM Academy, had been shot and killed by police the night before. He was running from officers who were investigating an armed-robbery report on the Near East Side when he pulled a BB gun from his waistband.

King is the 28th student in the district to die, and the 24th to die as the result of violence. CEA’s Social and Economic Justice Committee, led by Johnson, is working to help our families and their neighbors improve their lives. Stay tuned in to the CEA Voice for the work of this important committee.  Get involved.

Our students need you, now more than ever.