By Sandy Theis
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien has the important and unique responsibility of investigating and prosecuting crimes in the state capital.
Even though there is good cause to believe that ousted Ohio Department of Education (ODE) official David Hansen could have broken several laws when he served as head of Ohio’s charter school oversight agency, O’Brien continues to sit on the sidelines.
So, ProgressOhio sent O’Brien a letter earlier this week officially asking him to launch a grand jury investigation into Hansen’s misdeeds. You can read the letter here.
When reporters called O’Brien for comment, he ducked, pointing to the state auditor as the place for action.
The AP explains:
“O’Brien said he’s awaiting findings of an ongoing investigation by State Auditor Dave Yost.”
O’Brien said this, even though Yost already announced that his special audit of the charter office would not include Hansen’s actions because no public money was ever disbursed to the affected charter schools.
More from AP:
“However, O’Brien said a regular audit of the Ohio Department of Education was still underway, from which referrals could be made.”
ProgressOhio did not go off half-cocked when it sought the probe.
Hansen resigned last summer after admitting he left out “F” grades received by some online and dropout recovery schools when calculating sponsor evaluations. Members of the state school said Hansen broke the law when he threw out those Fs. The flawed evaluations have since been retracted.
But, this controversy is really about the thousands of students whose parents have been lured in by these schools’ slick, deceptive advertising and a genuine desire to give their kids the best opportunities possible.
Here’s the truth: Students who take classes through online charter schools make dramatically less academic progress than their counterparts in traditional schools.
How stark are the findings?
Statistically speaking, the gains that online charter students saw in math were so limited, it was “literally as though the student did not go to school for the entire year,” said Margaret Raymond, the director of the Center for Research on Educational Outcomes at Stanford University.
This study comes from an organization that supports charter schools – good ones, not the ones that have been ripping off Ohioans for decades.
Prosecutor O’Brien, aka Mr. Scarecrow, those fingers should point to yourself.