A photo illustration of what it’s like giving state money to charter schools.



As a charter sponsor, the Ohio Council of Community Schools had 50 schools receive an academic rating of zero last year, but now they will get a clean slate because of a loophole in state law.

Another charter school sponsor, another controversy. We’ve heard this tune about unaccountability for profiteering charters nauseatingly often. Ohio’s Republican political leaders refuse to learn their lesson.

From Cleveland.com:

A prominent charter school sponsor will avoid potential penalties for the failing grades of its schools thanks to a special exemption in state law and by formally splitting from the University of Toledo.

In the minds of charter school critics, it’s a move that provides an “outrageous” free pass that lets poor management of charter schools continue. But it’s just a paperwork adjustment in the minds of supporters.

“I see through the back door grandfathering of this maneuver and it cannot be tolerated,” said State Rep. Teresa Fedor, a Toledo Democrat.

Lenny Schafer, the head of the sponsor, the Ohio Council of Community Schools (OCCS), disagreed and said he is just following a procedure spelled out in law.

“We’re not skirting anything,” Schafer said. “We’re not gaming any system.”

Lenny, it’s not a good look when your first defense is to try to declare you’re not gaming the system. You are clearly taking advantage of a loophole in state law in order to get away with your charter schools failing their students.

Let’s learn more.

The council and the university have been partners for 15 years in sponsoring – creating and overseeing charter schools – after the state decided to let more organizations beyond the Ohio Department of Education sponsor schools. While the university was the official legal sponsor, it created the council as a non-profit to do all the oversight work.

The relationship has been a controversial one, drawing accusations over the years of favoritism and nepotism. …

Most recently, the state rated the two as “ineffective” as a charter sponsor last fall after their 50 schools landed an academic rating of zero – the equivalent of an F – as a group. Those schools include 11 in Cleveland.

If student test scores did not improve by the end of this school year, the partners would have been booted out of the sponsorship business.

Not anymore.

By splitting from the university, the Council moves on with a clean slate and the poor results will be assigned to the university.

So, 50 schools landed an academic rating of zero, but this sponsor will get a clean slate because of a loophole in state law. That’s not gaming the system? That’s not zero accountability? Give us a break. This is shameful. This is allowing private profiteering interests to fail Ohio’s children, to fail at their purpose of education, and giving them a free pass.

Ohio children deserve so much better.

Read the whole article. It only gets worse.