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Ohio Dept. of Education Halts Evaluations of Charter School Sponsors

Board of Ed meeting this week. Dick Ross in white shirt, Peggy Lehner in blue stripes

The Ohio department of Education today announced it’s retracting its evaluations of charter school sponsors. The move comes after a department official admitted he had failed to include the grades of some very low-performing sponsors.  State Impact Ohio’s Mark Urycki has details.


Some of the worst performing charter schools in Ohio are online schools.  But their sponsors, or authorizers,  have been getting good evaluations by the Ohio Department of Education.   

The Plain Dealer reported last month that the Ohio Distance and Electronic Learning Academy and the Ohio Virtual Academy had received F grades but they were not included in the schools' sponsor evaluations.   The head of ODE’s Office of School Choice, David Hansen, admitted to state board of education members this week he had omitted some of those failing grades.   Republican State Senator Peggy Lehner who oversees the Senate education committee called that a violation of Ohio law. 

Hansen was once a vice president at the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.  His wife, Beth, was Governor John Kasich's chief of staff and now manages Kaich's presidential campaign.

Thursday, the ranking Democrat on the House Education Committee, Theresa Fedor of Toledo, called for the resignation of state school superintendent Richard Ross. 

Today, the head of the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools weighed in saying “If there was any law that was not followed, ODE should revisit the evaluations.”

The Department this afternoon released a short statement saying it would retract all sponsor evaluations and seek independent experts to make sure the methodology is credible.