Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Obama administration goes ahead with $71 million grant for Ohio’s scandal-ridden charter sector — but calls it ‘high risk’ - The Washington Post

Obama administration goes ahead with $71 million grant for Ohio’s scandal-ridden charter sector — but calls it ‘high risk’ - The Washington Post:

Obama administration goes ahead with $71 million grant for Ohio’s scandal-ridden charter sector — but calls it ‘high risk’



In October, the U.S. Education Department announced $157 million in charter school grants, including a recommended $71 million to Ohio, despite the fact that its charter sector has long been, at best, a mess.
At the time, many in the education world wondered why the department had given any money to Ohio, given that a newspaper had done an analysis revealing that the state’s charter sector had misspent tax dollars more than any other, including school districts, court systems, public universities, hospitals and local governments.
When asked, federal officials admitted that they hadn’t quite realized just how scandal-ridden Ohio’s charter sector was, and decided that it would investigate. In June, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown (D)  asked the Education Department to review its grant-making process and said that if the grant was to be given, tough restrictions should be put in place, including an independent monitor.
Then, on Sept. 14, the department said it would go ahead and release the grant with restrictions. According to a letter (see below) sent by the U.S. Education Department to  Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria, federal officials have completed a 10-month review and have decided to place the grant on “high risk status” but release the money to the state with unprecedented “high risk special conditions”  in place.  Steps the Ohio Department of Education must take, according to the letter, include:
* Hire an independent monitor to oversee all of the conditions placed on the grant.
* Submit documentation to the U.S. Education Department for approval of all withdrawals from the grant account.
* Submit budgets to the federal department for approval a few times a year, as well as semiannual financial reports related to the grant’s use, with those reports being made public.
* Form an advisory committee of parents, teachers and community members to oversee the grant’s implementation.
The letter says in part:
We support innovative models in the public school sector, including public charter schools that meet the highest standards in quality, accountability and transparency. Charters that are serving students well should be supported, and, as with all schools, those that are not meeting their obligations to students should be held accountable.
Held accountable? By getting $71 million in federal funds and having to prove they aren’t misusing it?


LATEST NEWS AND COMMENT FROM EDUCATION

LATEST NEWS AND COMMENT FROM EDUCATION
EduBloggers

Latest News and Comment from Education