To the editor:

The fraud-ridden, low-performing charter school industry survives because it is a cash cow.

The charter business continues to survive and, in some places, expand for reasons noted below:

• First of all, it is a business funded by tax dollars and supplemented by high-dollar foundations and an array of super rich folks who are antagonistic to most public institutions, especially the public common school.

• Charter operators often create allied businesses such as management, real estate and consultant companies, each of which siphon off funds that should be used at the classroom level.

• The charter industry capitalizes on America’s obsession with the philosophy of the right to choose. The public good is often not given consideration when considering personal choices in education.

• In Ohio, the charter sponsor fee arrangement provides an incentive for sponsors to keep charters operating regardless of fraudulent activities or low performance.

• Deregulation of the industry permits unlimited marketing activities and campaign contributions, all at public expense.

• The parents of charter students don’t have a financial investment in the charter program. Since it is free to parents, they typically are satisfied with the charter program as long as their children do not receive failing grades.

If state law in Ohio subjected charters to the same transparency and accountability measures as school districts, the charter business would be cut in half immediately.

William L. Phillis
Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding