Ohio’s head school choice official has resigned after admitting that he didn’t include failing grades for some online charter schools when evaluating the groups overseeing those schools, according to the Associated Press.
Sponsors, also called authorizers, are the organizations that grant charter contracts and close schools if they fail to perform.
David Hansen, who up until Saturday had been the state education department’s school choice director, told the AP he felt the schools’ F grades “masked” other successes—they were all online dropout recovery programs.
But excluding the F grades from the evaluations raised the sponsors’ ratings, making them eligible for more state benefits.
Officials told the AP that Hansen was legally required to report all grades, and the evaluations have since been retracted.
Ohio’s Charter Schools Have Had a Lot of Problems Lately
Ohio’s charter schools have been under a lot of scrutiny recently, and multiple groups—both pro- and anti-charter—have been pressuring lawmakers to retool the state’s charter law.
A study released in December by the Stanford University Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) found that Ohio charter school students on average learn less in a year than their district school peers.
Following the release of the CREDO study, the state’s governor, Republican John Kasich, promised to revamp Ohio’s charter law.
In January, the state started using a new system to evaluate sponsors—one that could lead to a sponsor losing its right to authorize charter schools all together.
Finally, Ohio’s auditor, David Yost (a Republican), has taken up multiple investigations over the last year into charter schools, their management companies, and their sponsors.
Although lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill in April to create more oversight of the state’s charter sector, the legislature didn’t pass the measure before its summer recesses.
- Growth of Ohio Charter Schools Slows Following Rocky 2014
- How to Close a Charter School: Advice From Three States
- Report Exposes Divide Over Charter School Authorizing Best Practices
A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.