MEMO: For-Profit Charter School Fiascos Continue in Ohio


Subject: For-Profit Charter School Fiascos Continue in Ohio

Date: Oct. 7, 2015

Every day it seems like there’s a new story about Ohio’s failing for-profit charter schools — and how Ohio Republicans are continuing to enable the excesses of an industry that just so happens to contribute millions to Republican officials. You can be forgiven for missing an Ohio charter school scandal or two. In just the past two weeks, reporters have uncovered…

State lawmakers are moving forward with a charter school reform bill, but questions remain about a $71 million federal grant that will go toward expanding charters by one-third, from 300 to 400 schools statewide. The plan is for the new charters to replace public schools in urban districts, including Youngstown.

The official that wrote Ohio’s grant application, David Hansen, resigned after allegations surfaced that he broke state law by scrubbing charter school data — data that was included in the grant application. Hansen stepped down two days after submitting the application.

Hansen’s wife, Beth, is Gov. John Kasich’s former chief of staff and current presidential campaign manager. She worked on the Kasich administration’s legislative takeover of the Youngstown schools, a necessary prelude to the charter school expansion.

According to a Kasich spokesperson, the husband and wife never discussed the issue.

With all of the questions swirling around Ohio charter schools, the need for an independent investigation is obvious. However, Republicans on the state Board of Education stymied an attempt to call for an independent inquiry. Several members plan to raise the issue again at the next board meeting later this month.

Clearly there’s more to learn about Chartergate. In the pantheon of Ohio political scandals, Coingate could pale in comparison. We’re talking about hundreds of millions wasted on for-profit charter schools — schools that are failing Ohio’s kids.