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ERIC Number: EJ910568
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Authorizing Charters: Helping Mom-and-Pops in Ohio
Ryan, Terry; Lafferty, Michael B.; Finn, Chester E., Jr.
Education Next, v10 n4 p32-40 Fall 2010
The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation's long and deep immersion in Ohio education policy, particularly in the charter-school realm, includes a half decade of direct experience as "authorizer" of several charters. Initially, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) was chief authorizer of charter schools in the Buckeye State. After the state auditor released a scathing review of ODE's handling of its role, the legislature "fired" the agency and in early 2003 invited a host of other entities to undertake the challenges of school sponsorship. Along with state universities, and district and county school systems, the list of potential authorizers included nonprofit organizations that met certain criteria. If too few new authorizers were willing to step up to the plate, however, the legislature's move would orphan more than 100 extant charter schools, forcing them to close. The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation had long been active on the Ohio charter scene as critic, policy analyst, facilitator of new schools, and source of assistance (both financial and technical) to promising charter operators. After fruitlessly seeking new sponsors to take on the potential "orphans"--eligible organizations feared the political, financial, and legal-liability risks--and after much internal soul-searching and debate, Fordham decided in 2004 to apply to become a school authorizer and by June 2005 was occupying that hot seat. In this article, the authors recount and draw lessons from that experience. (Contains 1 figure.)
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio