National charter school experts implore Ohio Senate to fix charter provisions in state budget bill

The National
Alliance for Public Charter Schools
and the National Association of Charter School
have joined the chorus of charter school advocates and others who
are calling for the Ohio Senate to fix the charter provisions of HB 153 as
passed by the Ohio House.

In a joint letter to Senate Finance Committee chair Sen.
Chris Widener, Peter Groff and Greg Richmond, presidents of NAPCS and NACSA,
respectively, say:

Many of the provisions in HB 153
contradict the charter school model, thwart efforts to strengthen charter
school accountability and quality, and will ultimately undermine popular
support for Ohio’s community schools.  As
passed by the Ohio House, the charter provisions of HB 153 represent a
significant risk for Ohio’s community school sector.

They go on to explain their opposition to the House changes in detail
and offer up recommendations for how the Senate can improve HB 153’s charter
provisions.  Many of these
recommendations echo the 2006 report Turning the Corner to Quality: Policy
Guidelines for Strengthening Ohio’s Charter Schools,
which was issued
jointly by NAPCS, NACSA, and the Fordham Institute. They include:

  • Removing the
    ability of schools to seek direct authorization from the Ohio Department of
    Education, and strengthening the department’s oversight of current and future
    charter sponsors;
  • Guaranteeing school
    governing boards are independent and have control over the operators they hire,
    and strengthening ethics and transparency rules;
  • Eliminating the
    provision that allows for-profit entities to become governing bodies;
  • Providing greater
    funding equity and access to facilities for charter schools; and
  • Promoting the
    replication of high-performing charter schools.

Read the letter in full here.