Last week, the same day that John Kasich was screening his pro-charter school movie to supporters, Ohio Auditor Dave Yost was railing against a charter school (the very poorly-named Aspiring to Excellence and Achievement Academy) that his office cited for illegal hiring practices, overpaying administrative staff and failure to pay to taxes.
“These sloppy and incomplete records are a disservice to students, as well as Ohio’s taxpayers,” said Ohio Auditor Dave Yost in a news release about the audit. “Both public and community schools must be held accountable as we work to improve opportunities for students in Ohio. The results of this audit further prove why this school was unable to continue operating.”
The school finally ended up closing because its sponsor, Educational Resource Consultants, recognized the school was a disaster and did not renew their contract.
But under the budget bill recently released by House, this school wouldn’t even need a sponsor. And the bill would also remove current limits on charter schools allowing even more even more charter schools like this to open.
This isn’t the first charter school with which Yost’s office has found serious problems. And it certainly won’t be the last. Yost, like Mary Taylor before him, have seen first hand Ohio disastrous charter school oversight failures.
And yet – a few days after Yost attacked the financial failures the Aspiring to Excellence and Achievement Academy, an editorial by Yost appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer that provides a complete change of tone and a full-throated support of John Kasich and the legislature’s plan to increase the number of charter schools while decreasing oversight.
If I had to make a guess, I’d say Kasich’s people called Yost and bitched him out for not being on the bus. This opinion piece seems to be his apology, and he didn’t really put much work into it.
Yost seems to have pulled his talking points straight from Kasich’s lips: charter schools “often do as well as or better than government-run schools” and charter schools provide competition for public schools which “produces a better product for less cost.”
As we’ve shown again and again, both of these statements are lies. In Ohio, Charter schools cost 250% more to operate than public schools and they perform much, MUCH worse – with only 21% of charters rating effective or better (vs. 72 percent for traditional school buildings).
It’s bad enough that Yost doesn’t have the balls to stand up to Kasich, and even worse that he is pushing Kasich’s lies as though they are facts, but it’s absolutely ridiculous that the Auditor of Ohio is expressing support for legislation that will ultimately result in less oversight of charter schools given that HE is personally responsible for auditing these schools and his audits so far have uncovered some pretty damning evidence against expanding charters schools and for increasing oversight.