Days ahead of a John Oliver segment on HBO’s Last Week Tonight which targeted Ohio charter school performance and Governor John Kasich – state Democrats are calling for new legislation on Ohio’s charter schools.
The state Democrats feel the system is crippled with fraud, failure and waste – as millions of tax dollars pay for charter schools.
“I don’t think that people understand yet that these are property tax dollars that are going to fund these schools,” said Cathy Johnson, a Democratic candidate for Senate, to FOX28. According to Cathy, we paid more than $89M to fund charter schools last year.
Charter schools are different from public schools in that they are publicly funded by privately run. Charter schools are subject to fewer rules and regulations than public schools, and in turn receive less public funding, typically a fixed amount per pupil. Charter schools have major allies on both sides of the political aisle and is seen by many as a true bipartisan issue where both major parties genuinely support them, from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush, making them a major part of his No Child Left Behind act.
Despite the support, many feel that charter schools, designed to compete with public schools, hurt the teachers and the students.
“I’ve asked around, and there’s not any clear data on this, but I would say it’s a safe guess to say that 95 percent of the 5,000 charters in this country are non-union. The charters are mainly run by people who do not want unions, who created the charters not to have unions. It is a non-union movement.” Diane Ravitch, a historian of education, an educational policy analyst, and a research professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development said in a 2010 interview. There are now over 6,700 charter schools, an increase of more than 1,700 in six years.
State democrats will be proposing new legislation in their next session. The Republican majority did pass Bill 2 last year which saw more oversight and transparency for charter schools, but the revitalized interest has prompted the democrats to push for more.
“We’re going to keep pushing for reform in the statehouse. We encourage the state school board and local school boards to do what they need to do, but the truth is this will be solved only by a change of leadership,” Pepper said, asking voters to elect Democrats to the state legislature. Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper said to The Dayton Daily News.
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