You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Editorials

  • A bounty of thanks
     For sewer, bridge and road projects throughout the city.
  • A questionable 'no'
    The legislature is used to paring or turning down requests for more money. But the Indiana Department of Child Services’ decision not to ask for increased staff next year merits further examination.
  • Ethics cloud hangs over new lawmaker
    If legislative leaders are serious about raising the ethical bar in the Indiana General Assembly, they suffered a setback with the election of Jon Ford on Nov. 4. He arrives at the Statehouse with some considerable baggage.
Advertisement

Cautionary tale comes from Ohio

Will the seven schools whose charters have been revoked actually close? Ohio’s experience suggests otherwise. Policy Matters Ohio released a report this month showing that eight of 20 charter schools shut down for academic failure continue to operate in the same location and with primarily the same staff, but under a different name. One of the seven schools is operated by Leona Group, the for-profit charter management organization that oversees Timothy L. Johnson Academy. Bill Coats, a former FWCS superintendent, is the founder and CEO of Leona.

“They’ve essentially kept the same schools,” said Piet van Lier, an education researcher and the report’s co-author. “It’s a shortcoming in Ohio law. It holds the charter school board responsible and has some sanctions, but it doesn’t hold the charter management company responsible.”

The same scenario could play out in Indiana, where charter school law was weakened two years ago to allow non-public universities and colleges to sponsor charters, as well as a new politically controlled state charter school board. The latter approved the Fort Wayne Urban League’s Thurgood Marshall Academy in the East Allen County Schools district and did not object when the school instead opened within FWCS boundaries. Grace College in Winona Lake is sponsor of Fort Wayne’s second new charter, the Smith Academy for Excellence.

“It’s something to be aware of and pay attention to,” Greg Richmond, president and CEO of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, said of the Ohio schools. “If a school approaches them, the most meaningful thing an authorizer could look at is past performance. These are schools that have a track record. That is real information about quality.”

If Indiana lawmakers are sincere in their effort to provide quality school choices, they will tighten charter law this session to prevent charter management companies from continuing to operate the same schools under new names and authorizers.

Advertisement