According to Cleveland.com, there seems to be a rather ridiculous loophole for charter schools in Ohio. A management partnership for charter schools between the University of Toledo and the Ohio Council of Community Schools, also known as OCCS, massively benefited from a dubious special provision in the state law which will allow the OCCS to continue to govern its charter schools despite receiving abysmal ratings from the state.
To give some background on the situation, the University of Toledo was permitted to sponsor charter schools after the state expanded sponsorship opportunities to organizations other than the Ohio Department of Education. After being given the right to sponsor charter schools, the university created a non-profit organization, the OCCS, to oversee the 50 schools sponsored by the university. Recently, the 50 schools sponsored by the university and managed by the OCCS received an academic rating of zero. Ouch. Unsurprisingly, a rating of zero is equivalent to a group rating of F-. Another ouch.
Here is where the drama regarding the loophole comes into play. The partnership was obviously being required to improve the school scores or face removal as sponsors/managers at the end of this school year. Instead of trying to actually improve the schools, and you know, help out the children, the OCCS chose a different path – they decided to split with the the University of Toledo. By splitting, the OCCS becomes a new sponsor, the university takes the blame for the horrendous scores, and the OCCS is granted three years, not one, to improve the school scores due to the label of being a “new sponsor.” Keep in mind, the OCCS has overseen (if that’s what you want to call a F- rating) the group of schools for 15 years, so the title of “new sponsor” seems disingenuous to say the least. But now, the organization gets three more years to manage the schools, so I guess, sorry about your education kids.
Not to worry though, Tony Cardinal, an OCCS official, had these gems for quotes:
“You will see no difference in the oversight we would provide” and “You wouldn’t even notice the difference, but in a few months when you see the financials it won’t say University of Toledo, but OCCS.”
Earth to Tony. There needs to be differences in the oversight you provide. The problem is the current oversight that lead to a F- rating, so a little change may not be the worst thing in the world.
While the move was technically permissible by law, it still rewards an ineffective, some may some incompetent, OCCS by giving them three more years to manage charter schools. At the same time, it punishes the kids who attend these grossly under performing schools. Perhaps, it’s time to revisit the provision in the law that allowed this to happen.