David Hansen is in charge of overseeing the expansion of charter schools in Ohio. As we found out last week, he’s also been active with ALEC, the secretive group responsible for Stand Your Ground laws.
Just how active?
Hansen not only attended meetings, he introduced model legislation there. The Charter School Growth with Quality Act creates a new state agency to more aggressively promote the opening of charter schools. The agency would literally create Requests for Proposals each year for new charter schools it would like to see in the state and then pick which company would operate it.
The agency would then be required to “secure” these “charter schools from regulatory interference by other governmental agencies.” Keep in mind the agency is wholly independent, so that would put schools authorized by them completely beyond the reach of the state’s education department.
And how would this new organization pay for itself and its dedicated staff? In addition to operating fees, the bill specifically allows them to “receive and expend gifts, grants, and donations of any kind from any public or private entity.”
Charter school operator David Brennan has given over $4 million to state Republicans in the past decade. Brennan wouldn’t have to open his wallet much wider and, in theory, he could fund the agency with sole regulatory power over any new schools he opened. Before dismissing this out of hand, keep in mind Brennan was tied to the largest illegal campaign contribution case in state history.
Coming from a state where one of the largest charter school operators is also the largest political donor, you would think Hansen would see the issue with this. Unless this bug is actually a feature.
Next week: Hansen and the confusing history of “quality”.