Berkshire’s perspective on the Betsy DeVos visit can be summed up by a quote made by Elida Treasurer Joel Parker while he and Board member Brenda Stocker were talking to her:
Parker, a Trump supporter, likens the growth of Ohio’s virtual schools, with their moneyed bosses and political flunkies, to the takeover of the garbage collection industry by organized crime in the ‘50’s. *The mob got into the business because it was easy, they could control it, and they could basically scare the people who tried to do anything about it.* The analogy is surprisingly apt. The mob moved into trash, not because of any particular affinity with garbage, but because cities were privatizing garbage collection. Plus, it was legal, and profitable public contracts combined with a lack of oversight from state and local officials meant that opportunities for what we might call innovative resource extraction abounded. Parker’s fear is that the big money and political sway of the charter industry magnates has enabled them to effectively *capture* the very agencies and officials who are supposed to be keeping an eye on them. State Auditor Dave Yost, who is running for Attorney General, has received campaign cash from ECOT’s CEO, and spoke at ECOT graduations in 2014 and 2015. *He’s never spoken at one of our graduations,* says Parker.
William L. Phillis, Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding