On John Oliver's Last Week Tonight show last night, the host spent a good 20 minutes talking about charter schools, and, of course, singled out Ohio's sad, sordid history on the subject -- a history I am proud to say is changing in no small measure due to the work at Know Your Charter and pro-quality charter advocates.
So when I saw the stories of double dealing at Richard Allen academies, or the repeated references to CREDO studies singling out Ohio's horrible past, or the many other scandals at Ohio charters, I suffered flashbacks I didn't enjoy. There was even a trip to the way back machine from 2000 showing the infamous David Brennan declaring that schools are a business and if they're run like a business, they'll run properly ... unless Brennan runs the schools, given that his routinely perform the worst of any big Ohio charter chain.
But I digress.
I was surprised that Oliver didn't get into the fact that Brennan and William Lager, who runs the infamous Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow -- the nation's largest, for-profit K-12 school that doesn't even graduate 4 out of 10 kids, have given more than $6 million to mostly Republican politicians since the charter program started in the late 1990s. And schools run by them have collected one out of every 4 charter dollars ever spent in this state.
While I welcome the continued scrutiny on Ohio's charter past, I would hope that Oliver returns to Ohio over the next year or so to examine how even the "Wild, Wild West" of charter schools can be tamed. But, as I've said before, we still have a ways to go before Oliver could do that. But I'm hopeful that for the first time in years, there's a realistic shot he may be forced to do just that.