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Debate Over State's Charter Schools Flares

Superintendent Richard Ross during the July meeting of the Ohio Board of Education.
Mark Urycki
/
State Impact Ohio

Four members of the state board of education walked out of the group’s meeting Monday. They wanted to ask questions about a data-rigging scandal at the Department of Education and a takeover of Youngstown schools by the state.

 

But board member Ann Jacobs says she and the others were told they would not be permitted to talk to the public over what was said in executive session.

 

“All we can do is really make our voices heard and hopefully make the constituents we have in Ohio aware of how serious the problems are like the charter schools on so many levels," she said. "And the Youngstown situation which already has a lawsuit pending. I mean there are just so many issue that are disturbing and have just sort of coalesced right now.”

Jacobs is one of the board members calling for an independent investigation into the department of education as well as State Superintendent Richard Ross.

Education Department spokesperson Kim Norris issued a statement calling the walkout “grandstanding.” She said the discussion of charter school evaluations will take place in public session Tuesday.

Now two Ohio teachers' unions have joined the chorus of groups calling for the state Board of Education to launch an independent investigation into circumstances surrounding the resignation of the school choice director David Hansen.

In a joint letter Monday to board Chairman Tom Gunlock, the Ohio Education Association and the Ohio Federation of Teachers said the outside probe is necessary to “restore public trust" in the department that regulates Ohio schools.

Superintendent Richard Ross has said he knew nothing of the omissions of failing grades for some charter schools.

Nearly 100,000 pages of public documents recently released by the department contained no evidence that Ross or Gov. John Kasich's office directed David Hansen on the matter.