Wednesday, December 4, 2013

BJ sees need for transparency that's already transparent

The Beacon Journal today took gentle editorial note of the "potential"  conflict of interest on the State Board of Education by observing that it reinforced the "need for board transparency in such dealings".

Hold it right there?  If there are in fact such dealings, and they were fully exposed by the paper's own reporting, so much for the potential, right?

If you read Doug Livingston's piercingly telling  reports on how some board members are registered lobbyists  for their own private school clients, there shouldn't be any doubt by now that the public interest is not their primary mission.

In this raw corruption of public education service,  the spotlight has turned to Bryan C. Williams, the Akron Republican  who lobbies for the non-union Central Ohio Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.,  which operates the newly chartered Ohio Construction Academy.  Its tax-supported mission is apprenticeship.  It has a modest enrollment and operates outside of the oversight of public accountability.

One paragraph in Livingston's piece should awaken the BJ's editorial board of the problem that exists down in Columbus:
"Ohio Construction Academy has a strong connection in Bryan Williams, who sits on the state school board while lobbying for the builders and contractors, known as ABC.  Records show that he has advocated this year for favorable laws, funding and regulation  advantageous to his organization at the time  he also sits in an elected position on the board, which enacts regulations governing career programs and charter schools." (Italics mine)

Seems transparent enough to me.

The board's majority,  strongly influenced by charter school advocates,  is making policy for public education.  "There's no way to remedy that," one source close to the scene told me.  "They have the votes."

Regardless of the editorial writer's version,  I don't see any reason to regret my  impolite call for Williams to resign so he can spend even more  time with his client.

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