Charter Schools

Ben Postlethwait / Ohio Public Radio

Ohio’s charter schools recently received a $71 million dollar grant from the federal government. Some of those schools are known to have issues with student performance. And because of that record, the state’s auditor wants to track how the money is spent.

State Superintendent Richard Ross takes questions from the Ohio Board of Education during its meetings this week.
Mark Urycki / WCPN

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio has received a $71 million federal grant to expand charter schools even as state authorities review possible data scrubbing by a former school choice director and lawmakers push fixing charter oversight.

 

The U.S. Department of Education grant announced Monday represents the largest single portion of a new $157 million to expand charter school opportunities. Evaluators found "no weaknesses" in Ohio's grant application.

 

Arise Academy in Dayton is now closed, and former leaders of the school have been convicted of federal crimes.
User: Paradox 56 / Flickr/Creative Commons

At least two of the state’s school board members feel stifled in their efforts to investigate Ohio’s charter schools.

 

A.J. Wagner, who is an elected member for the Dayton area, says the more the Ohio Department of Education drags its feet reviewing the recent data-scrubbing scandal, the more skeptical he becomes.

 

“If they cheated on one thing, what else might they have cheated on? What are they hiding” Wagner said.

 

State Superintendent Richard Ross takes questions from the Ohio Board of Education during its meetings this week.
Mark Urycki / WCPN

Members of the Ohio Board of Education were able to question State Superintendent Richard Ross during the group’s meeting Tuesday. It was his first interaction with the board since the charter school data scrubbing scandal went public.

Debate Over State's Charter Schools Flares

Sep 15, 2015
Superintendent Richard Ross during the July meeting of the Ohio Board of Education.
Mark Urycki / State Impact Ohio

Four members of the state board of education walked out of the group’s meeting Monday. They wanted to ask questions about a data-rigging scandal at the Department of Education and a takeover of Youngstown schools by the state.

 

But board member Ann Jacobs says she and the others were told they would not be permitted to talk to the public over what was said in executive session.

 

Arise Academy in Dayton is now closed, and former leaders of the school have been convicted of federal crimes.
User: Paradox 56 / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Ohio Democratic Party is calling for an independent investigation into the state's Department of Education after a top charter school official admitted to scrubbing data for online and dropout recovery charters.

ODP Chair David Pepper compares this controversy to the one that involved bad state investments years ago.

“If people were upset about 'Coingate,' they should be about ten times as upset about ‘Chartergate,’ which is all about money but the victims are our school kids and their families,” Pepper said.

Critics React To New Charter School Details

Sep 7, 2015
Superintendent of Public Instruction Richard Ross with Gov. John Kasich at a Cleveland charter school earlier this year.
Mark Urycki / State Impact Ohio

Critics are reacting to details buried in more than 100,000 documents related to the Ohio Department of Education’s handling of charter schools.

The state’s head of school choice, David Hansen, resigned after admitting to leaving out failing grades of online and dropout recovery schools while evaluating charter school sponsors. And reviews of public records released by the department suggest that several employees knew, on some level, about the data-rigging, but not state school superintendent Richard Ross.

colored penciles, education, art
Alan Cleaver / Flickr Creative Commons

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio's public school superintendent has named a three-member panel to advise the department on evaluating charter school sponsors.

Superintendent Richard Ross says the state is committed to creating a system that evaluates charter school sponsors fairly while adhering to complex legal requirements. He says the independent panel will help do that.

Superintendent Richard Ross during the July meeting of the Ohio Board of Education.
Mark Urycki / State Impact Ohio

Seven members of the Ohio Board of Education have sent a letter to the state’s superintendent asking for an outside investigator to find out if he was involved in hiding poor charter school assessments.

Ohio Board Of Education Lacks Political Clout

Jul 30, 2015
Superintendent Richard Ross during the July meeting of the Ohio Board of Education.
Mark Urycki / State Impact Ohio

Members of the State Board of Education were upset at their meeting this month when they found out that some charter school sponsors may have been getting special treatment in their evaluations. Some state legislators are calling for the resignation of Ohio’s School Superintendent Richard Ross. The power to fire him lies in the hands of the school board. But as some board members found, that’s just about all the power they have.

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