In 4th century Greece, Cynicism was a kind of philosophy or social criticism, and legend has it that a man named Diogenes wandered the Greek countryside on a never-ending quest for an honest man. It was said that few Greek politicians exhibited that character trait, because society in ancient Greece was ruled by thoughts of personal gain, political corruption, and meaningless rituals.
It’s the 21st century in America, where thoughts of personal gain, corruption, and meaningless rituals continue to flourish for some within our political system. After extreme obstructionism led to many unproductive legislative sessions, a Public Policy Polling survey found that Congress is now less popular than root canals, head lice, colonoscopies, and cockroaches.
Is it any wonder that United States citizens are increasingly skeptical about the possibility of lawmakers compromising on meaningful legislation in the near future? Many voters have become so cynical that they even choose to sit out elections.
State lawmakers in Ohio began the 2015 general session with a long list of legislative priorities, and charter school reform was an issue that had bipartisan support. Everyone wondered what reforms would be put into place by a legislature that’s controlled by David Brennan of White Hat Management and William Lager of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow. They’ve been among the largest single donors to Ohio politicians – especially those from the party that now dominates state government. http://knowyourcharter.com/2015/01/21/policy-vs-politics-will-prevail-looming-ohio-charter-school-reform-fight/
Following controversial scandals, many legislative delays, and scathing editorials about Ohio’s failing charter school experiment, legislators finally passed the most sweeping, comprehensive and meaningful reform of Ohio’s charter school system since the program began in the late 1990s, as reported by Stephen Dyer, Education Policy Fellow at Innovation Ohio. It will keep track of Ohio’s operators, letting the public know where they operate and how they perform. It will force sponsors to do their job and hold schools to account, or else they won’t be able to sponsor schools. It will open up the mostly opaque world of charter schools so the public can better track the now $1 billion a year in state money that goes to charter schools. http://www.10thperiod.com/2015/10/a-great-day-for-ohios-kids.html
According to Innovation Ohio, the bill relies on the Ohio Department of Education to provide the necessary enforcement and oversight that will actually make HB 2 a success. Given the recent scandals and controversies that have engulfed ODE, there’s good reason to be concerned. And this is critically important because HB 2’s accountability provisions focus almost entirely on charter school sponsors, especially, the state’s evaluation of them. http://innovationohio.org/2015/10/14/hb-2-passes-now-to-the-details/
Cynics could rightfully say that real charter school reform will never be possible with a GOP-dominated state school board, legislature, and governor who answer to the corporate interests of education profiteers.
Ohioans must hold their legislators accountable in making sure that the Ohio Department of Education honestly and effectively evaluates charter school sponsors and their schools.
Unless that happens, legend has it that Diogenes will be doomed to wander the countryside for eternity in his never-ending quest for an honest man.
We are many. There is power in our numbers. Together we will save PUBLIC EDUCATION.