- Members of Ohio’s board of education are calling for an independent investigation of the state’s Department of Education.
- On Monday, seven of the 18 current board members signed a letter saying state Superintendent Richard Ross was implicated in a recent dustup over charter school evaluations that led a top state education official to step down.
- The letter called for Ross to engage an outside firm to make sure the department is complying with state and federal laws, and fulfilling its mandate.
Ohio has been embroiled in a controversy over its struggling charter school system, spotlighted by the recent scandal. After the state’s school choice director obscured poor performance in evaluations of some of the state’s charter operators, board members began pressuring for additional insights into what happened, which culminated in the letter.
But the conflict has also centered on how much the state can intervene in schools. The letter calls for an investigation into the department’s involvement in recent legislation that will allow the state to appoint a CEO to run Youngstown, one of the state’s struggling districts. The provision was passed with little public comment or review and could have large implications for Youngstown, if the state takes a similar course to other state interventions. Elsewhere, state takeovers have recently resulted in teacher and administrator turnover and significant changes in academic direction, including moves toward more charter operators.