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

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Ohio's White Hat Charter School Protection Act

If you want to see what it looks and smells like when the corporate feeding frenzy begins in earnest on chunks of the three-quarters of a trillion dollars Americans spend on education every year, look no further than Ohio, where industrialist and ed exploitation artist, David Brennan, has bought sponsorship ofhis own bill to assure protection for his profitable charter racket, which has an unprecedented record of low performance that would have the corporate ed reformers screaming for blood if a public school had engaged in the level of corruption and ineptitude that Brennan represents.

From the Post-Dispatch:

Majority House Republicans proposed sweeping changes to state charter-school law that would make Ohio the only state in the nation to allow for-profit charter schools with no sponsors, but no one is rushing to take credit for the revolutionary plan.
More of the state's biggest school-choice supporters sharply criticized the plan yesterday. It was added to the budget last week by House GOP leaders who have not yet offered substantial reasons for wanting to give a major power boost to for-profit charter school operators such as David L. Brennan, an Akron businessman and major Republican donor who runs White Hat Management.
A spokesman for Brennan acknowledged yesterday that White Hat sought several provisions to reduce oversight and lift restrictions, but he also refused to take sole credit for the changes.
"There were more than a thousand amendments (to the budget bill) and there are numerous school-choice interests advocating for school-choice policies," said Tom Needles, a lobbyist for White Hat.
But other supporters were hard to find.
. . . . Amendments added by Republicans would:
• Give for-profit companies the ability to use tax dollars to open unlimited numbers of schools without disclosing how public funds are spent and without oversight from sponsors as now required.
• Exempt the school, if an operator is running it without a sponsor, from current law that allows it to be suspended or put on probation for failing to meet student performance requirements, for fiscal mismanagement, for a violation of law or for other good cause.
• Allow a governing board, if it contracts with an operator, to delegate all rights to the operator; specify that funds paid to the operator are not public and that property purchased by the operator belongs to the operator; and require the school to offer the operator the chance to renew its contract before seeking another operator.
• Require a charter school board to give an operator 180 days' notice before terminating a contract, up from the current 90 days. It also gives the operator final say over the renewal of a contract between a school and its sponsor.

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