Tuesday, September 20, 2016

U.S. Department of Education Finally Begins to Regulate Charters: Thank You Sen. Sherrod Brown | janresseger

U.S. Department of Education Finally Begins to Regulate Charters: Thank You Sen. Sherrod Brown | janresseger:

U.S. Department of Education Finally Begins to Regulate Charters: Thank You Sen. Sherrod Brown

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Charter Schools are defined by their freedom from regulation and oversight, but that freedom has been so regularly abused by unscrupulous operators that it seems the U.S. Department of Education is finally deciding to crack down, under pressure in this case from Ohio’s U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown.
Three months ago, on June 20, 2016, Senator Brown wrote a letter to John King, now U.S. Secretary of Education, demanding increased oversight of a large grant—$71 million—the federal Department of Education made to Ohio on September 28, 2015 to expand charter schools.  The grant application had been written by David Hansen, who, by September, had already been fired by the Ohio Department of Education for hiding the abysmal academic record of the state’s so-called “dropout recovery schools” and omitting their scores from a system he was creating as the Ohio Department prepared to begin holding charter schools more accountable. Hansen had also bragged in his federal grant application that Ohio had already begun more aggressively regulating charters. After the U.S. Department of Education awarded Ohio the $71 million grant at the end of September 2015, however, it was pointed out that the Ohio legislature had not yet passed the regulations for which Hansen (in July) had given the state credit. (The Ohio Legislature later adopted the most basic and minimal charter school oversight when it passed Ohio House Bill 2 on October 7, 2015).
When Ohio Senator Brown wrote to U.S. Secretary John King in June, 2016, the $71 million Ohio grant had been put on hold for months, as the U.S. Department of Education investigated Ohio’s dealings with charter schools. In his June 20 letter, Senator Brown wrote: “In your November 2015 response letter to the members of the Ohio Congressional delegation, you outlined a number of steps ED has taken and will continue to take to verify the accuracy and completeness of ODE’s grant application. I appreciate these steps, but more must be done to provide order to the state’s chaotic charter school sector. In light of this report, I ask that you examine the performance of Ohio charter schools who have received CSP (federal Charter Schools Program) grants to determine whether grant recipients are failing or closing at a higher rate than those in other states and how the academic performance of CSP grant recipients in Ohio compares to CSP grant recipients nationwide. I further ask that when Ohio U.S. Department of Education Finally Begins to Regulate Charters: Thank You Sen. Sherrod Brown | janresseger:

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