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Stop double standard

Ohio lawmakers are reviewing Gov. John Kasich’s proposed updates to the state budget. It’s greatly hoped the governor and Republican-controlled General Assembly will use that process to start paying adequate attention to the quality and transparency of charter schools that collect state aid.

Charter schools are officially public schools, but they are not bound by many of the state regulations and union agreements that govern traditional schools. Some charter schools are run by universities and other community institutions; others are privately managed, for-profit operations.

More than 116,000 students attend Ohio charter schools. Proponents say they provide choice and competition that improve the quality of instruction in all schools, especially urban ones….

Yet too many for-profit Ohio charter schools have stayed open — and continued to pocket large taxpayer subsidies — less on the strength of their academic programs than on the size of their operators’ campaign contributions to Statehouse politicians. Oversight of charter schools, by the legislature and the state Department of Education, is not what it needs to be….

Primary regulation needs to return to the state. The House approved a bill last week that would tighten state oversight of charter-school sponsors; the Senate needs to go along…

If charter schools are to compete fairly with traditional public schools, they must be held to the same standards of quality and accountability. And if state government insists on maintaining its current double standard, its leaders need to tell taxpayers why.

 

The (Toledo) Blade