The (Youngstown) Vindicator, June 17

In a five-year period, the scandal-ridden Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow charter diverted $591 million from local school districts in Ohio, including $24 million from those in the Mahoning Valley.

So, what did Ohioans get for that financial raid on public education? An abject lesson in how special-interest politics influences policymaking.

The charter-school industry has operated in Ohio for more than two decades with comparatively limited oversight because Republicans in state government have been held hostage by the campaign contributions and other largess from the charter operators.

As a result, billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on this experiment in education that has largely proven to be a failure. Nonetheless, Republican decision-makers in Columbus continue to insist that charter schools are a necessary alternative to underperforming public schools.

But the now defunct Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, which was touted by the GOP when it was launched, is a stark reminder of the charter industry’s failure to deliver. …

Republicans who have enabled the charters have a lot of explaining to do.

Online: https://bit.ly/2ynoqhw


The Akron Beacon Journal, June 17

State Rep. Emilia Sykes urged last week: “… we need to do something to change this. It is 2018 and we can no longer stick our heads in the sand. This is happening and it has to stop.” The Akron Democrat made her point in a letter to John Born, the director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety. What is happening? Security officers have treated differently Sykes and others as they seek to enter the Statehouse, resulting in fair concerns about exceedingly poor judgment, persistent insensitivity and racial profiling,

Born has agreed to meet with Sykes. That is a good step. Yet this is a problem that has been around for more than two years, or since the beefing up of security at the Statehouse, overseen by the State Highway Patrol. Sykes has been patient, pursuing the matter through the chain of command. Which now has brought her to Born, who should make sure, as Sykes rightly demands, the misguided actions end. …

A remedy shouldn’t be so hard. Surely, Statehouse security can find a way to handle access fairly and equally, Ohio staying clear of gaining a reputation for being incapable, backward and just simply wrong.

Online: https://bit.ly/2lhY7jr


The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, June 17

The revelation that Ohio ranks No. 2 among the 50 states in the percentage of its drivers whose licenses have been suspended or revoked should galvanize state lawmakers to accelerate action on two bipartisan reform measures co-sponsored by Greater Clevelanders. The state rankings come from the auto insurance comparison shopping website Insurify.

… When poorer drivers lose their licenses, they often lose their jobs and then can’t work their way out the bind. People of means simply pay the reinstatement fee and move on — or they don’t get their licenses suspended in the first place because they can pay their original fines. And in Ohio, multiple license suspensions can create fast-escalating fees. …

Substitute House Bill 336, sponsored by state Reps. John Barnes Jr., a Democrat from Warrensville Heights, and Dave Greenspan, Republican of Westlake, would create a six-month amnesty period to get licenses reinstated, either for no fee or greatly discounted fees, depending on income and other eligibility requirements. It’s a sensible bipartisan measure that sailed through the House last December with only one “no” vote and unanimously passed out of a Senate committee last month with minor amendments. Greenspan says the Senate may pass it later this month. Ohio lawmakers should finish work on the bill and send it to Gov. John Kasich’s desk before they take their summer recess. …

Online: https://bit.ly/2thlYTJ