Ohio Charter Lawsuit

Fordham Foundation’s Terry Ryan takes a look at the lawsuit against charter schools in Ohio. Worth reading because it shows (a) how legally suspect the lawsuit is and consequently (b) how politically driven it is.

Ryan notes that:

This federal claim follows two unsuccessful lawsuits filed (against most charter schools themselves) in state courts by the other teacher union, the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) and its allies in 2001. In April 2003, Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Patrick McGrath issued a strongly worded opinion holding that charter schools are indeed sanctioned by the Ohio constitution and are a legitimate part of Ohio’s public education system if the legislature says they are. In a devastating setback to the OFT and its dozen co-plaintiffs (including the OEA, which filed an amicus brief), the court dismissed all constitutional claims brought against the program. Judge McGrath ruled that: a) charter schools represent a constitutionally-sanctioned component of Ohio’s public education system; b) they are legally funded and do not illegally siphon locally raised property tax dollars; c) they do not represent a violation of the DeRolph decision dealing with the legislature’s constitutional obligation to establish a “thorough and efficient” system of public schools; and d) they are not private schools receiving public dollars. Let it be said again: charter schools are public schools.

Ohio charter schools are not without their problems but this lawsuit is a distraction from addressing them and complete BS. More importantly, where is the left? Ryan’s analysis is solid but shouldn’t liberals be outraged at a (baseless) lawsuit aimed at curtailing opportunity for disadvantaged kids in Ohio too? And, isn’t this the sort of thing Juan Williams was talking about in last week’s NYT. More through the looking glass…

Afterthought: Hold the outraged emails about the Fordham Foundation, meaning don’t send emails attacking them unless they have a specific policy disagreement to cite (and saying they’re “against public schools” doesn’t count, that’s a stupid argument). Incidentally, Fordham is now going to be chartering schools in Dayton Ohio which puts them more on the front lines of this issue than most…

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