WASHINGTON — Below are statements from the American Federation of Teachers and the Ohio Federation of Teachers on the U.S. Department of Education’s approval of Ohio’s $71 million charter school expansion grant.
Last fall, the federal government called the grant “high risk” because of questionable oversight, accountability and transparency of the state’s charter schools, and it included many accountability measures with the grant.
AFT President Randi Weingarten: “Charter schools were supposed to be incubators of innovation and part of a larger public school system. Students attending charter schools should have similar opportunities and protections as students in traditional public schools, but due to mismanagement, fraud and waste in Ohio’s notoriously lax oversight system, too many students in Ohio do not. Charter schools should be held to the same accountability standards as other public schools for their academic, managerial and financial performance. While we wonder why the grant was given at all, given Ohio charter schools’ history of poor academic performance and assorted scandals, the grant’s restrictions are a vital step toward holding the state and its charter schools accountable to students, their families and taxpayers.”
Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper: “Ohio’s charter school system has produced an unending record of failed performance, suffered from an overall lack of meaningful state oversight and been party to numerous scandals, including a falsified application for this grant. This $71 million could be put to far better use—for example, by expanding community schools with wraparound services to address the nonacademic barriers that impact students’ ability to learn. These programs have been wildly successful where they are available for students in Ohio.”
Information for this story was provided by the AFT and OFT.