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After a year or more of wrangling, the Ohio legislature finally approved a bill to reform their scandal-ridden charter schools.
The bill passed with bipartisan support. Even charter school critics endorsed the changes.
The report in Cleveland.com says:
As we reported yesterday, the bill makes several small changes that, as a whole, will tighten operations of the $1 billion charter school industry that lags behind traditional public schools and is the subject of national ridicule, even from charter school advocates.
Among items adjusted or added to the final version on Tuesday are a “White Hat rule” that prevents private charter operators from keeping equipment bought with state tax money; a cautious approach to study, not adopt, a new way of rating schools; and modest adjustments to how ratings of charter school oversight agencies are calculated.
Still intact, with only minor adjustments, are changes designed to distance the often-cozy relationships between for-profit charter school operating companies and the school boards that govern the schools.
Charter supporters realized that the outrageous profiteering of a few well-connected charter founders had created a massive embarrassment for all the charters. In addition, charters are among the lowest performing schools in the state.
The Fordham Institute was a major player in developing the law, partly through its sponsorship of two studies that informed the debate — analysis of the academic performance of Ohio charter schools by Stanford’s Center for Research of Education Outcomes (CREDO) and a separate study by Bellwether Education Partners of what gaps Ohio had in its charter laws and support system.