Will It Work?
“Will it work?’ is the vital question” is a compelling message to state officials, challenging the state’s practice of legislating assessment of schools and teachers without regard to whether the legislation can work.
This is not a new tactic regarding the “reform” of public education.
For about two decades, the state has plunged into the abyss of fads, typically popularized by those whose mission is to privatize public education.
Their strategy is to push for untested “reforms” that demoralize educators and cause public schools to be viewed as failing, particularly those which serve at-risk students.
The most conspicuous of the “reforms” is the charter-school fizzle.
This school year, Ohio taxpayers will pay a projected $1 billion into the charter-school industry. State officials launched this “reform” without due diligence.
Although the charter-school experiment is nearly two decades old, state officials never have commissioned a comprehensive evaluation. A study of charters was initiated by the Legislative Office of Education Oversight in the early stage of the charter movement, but powerful legislators did not like its unfavorable findings, hence, the office was discontinued and never replaced.
For-profit companies and many individuals seeking a lucrative business have hijacked the charter-school “experiment.”
The least state officials should do, at this juncture, is to halt the expansion of this deregulated, opaque, largely unaccountable business operation and study the results.
The Legislative Office of Education should be re-established to conduct research on charters and other public education policy issues.
William L. Phillis
for Equity and Adequacy