"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, May 17, 2010

Imagine Report from Policy Matters Ohio

Public Good vs. Private Profit:
Imagine Schools, Inc. in Ohio

Imagine Schools, Inc., is the nation’s largest for-profit charter school management company, with 71 schools nationwide and 11 in Ohio.

This report found that Imagine, Inc. has a poor record of performance in Ohio and a business model that includes elaborate school real estate transactions, high management and operations fees, overlapping business relationships with its main authorizer, low spending on classroom instruction, and tight control of school finances and board relationships. These problems have led to Academic Emergency ratings for five of the company's six rated Ohio schools for the 2008-09 school year (the sixth was in Academic Watch). Because of the management company’s poor academic record in Ohio, it was barred from opening new schools for the 2010-11 school year. Board members have resigned in frustration with Imagine practices, facility costs dramatically exceed recommended guidelines from charter experts, and teacher salaries are below those of other charters.

Ohio charters are granted only to non-profit organizations, but fully a third of the state’s more than 300 non-profit charter schools are run by for-profit management companies, many of them out-of-state operators like Imagine Schools, Inc. This report highlights the need to eliminate for-profit companies from the education picture in Ohio. Read this report to learn more.

Press Release

Executive Summary

Full Report

Click here for Charter School documents

Jason Bryant, an executive VP for Imagine, responded to policy paper with the typical Imagine rebuttal. Jason continues to claim Imagine does not operate for-profit even though there's quite obviously a for-profit branch of Imagine. And they still do not have 501c3 status, but, really, they're expecting it any day now (which they've been claiming for a very long time).

[Note: I've removed some brief facts about Bryant after a reader pointed out that not enough information was provided to show how this was relevant to Imagine. Point taken. I will, however, explain how this is relevant in the future.]

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