I seldom comment upon local editorials about Ohio politics. (Ogden editorials about West Virginia politics are usually more than enough to keep me busy.) A sentence in the editorial, “Probe Charter School Fiasco,” caught my attention, however, and I couldn’t let it go by without some research and comments.
The editorial is about a probe by Ohio’s state auditor into the previous altering of grades for an Ohio charter school by the state’s charter school head, David Hansen, so that the school would continue to qualify for federal aid. (Read the Columbus Dispatch’s coverage of the probe here.) What caught my eye in the editorial was this sentence:
This is not a political issue, though some view it as a Democrats vs. Republicans duel. Both sides ought to want to know more about what went wrong, to keep anything similar from happening again.
Not a political issue? The Ohio Republicans apparently dragged their feet on this for three years and it’s not a political issue? Here’s an editorial from earlier this year in the Youngstown Vindicator:
Democrats have seized on the charter-schools debacle to highlight the unholy alliance between wealthy operators and Republican officeholders and candidates.
“Chartergate” was coined by Democrats about three years ago after Republican Gov. John Kasich’s handpicked charter czar, David Hansen, husband of Kasich’s chief of staff, was shown to have illegally manipulated grading reports to allow failing charter schools to draw down on more taxpayer funding.
Since then, other incidents of wrongdoing have been used to bolster the narrative from Democrats that the Republican majority in the General Assembly is owned by the charter school industry and is, therefore, unwilling to regulate the schools in the same way as public education is regulated.
We have long demanded accountability and transparency, and while various Republican officeholders have said all the right things, GOP lawmakers have been unwilling to put in place legitimate checks and balances.
Similar to this is an editorial from yesterday’s Columbus Dispatch about the auditor’s report:
But the report from Yost’s office nonetheless is important reading as a reminder of what can happen when bureaucrats who are supposed to be watchdogs are instead inclined to push a political agenda.
In the Ohio Department of Education, for too long that meant boosting and coddling charter schools favored by Republican elected officials who collected millions in campaign donations from charter-school profiteers.
I don’t regularly read the Youngstown Vindicator or the Columbus Dispatch. I doubt, however, that either are as biased toward Democrats as much as our local Ogden papers are toward anything done or said by the Republican Party in West Virginia or Ohio.
*Ogden Newspaper’s “Guidelines for Covering West Virginia State Government” explains how to assess political blame in editorials:
When Democrats control the government, blame Democrats for anything that goes wrong. If possible, blame Democrats when Republicans control the government. If it is too obvious that Republicans are in charge, blame the generic-but-neutral “legislature” or similar term. Under no circumstance should Republicans be blamed for anything.
(See here or here, for West Virginia examples.) Apparently, the same guidelines apply for Ohio.