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Record year for Ohio charter school failures is unnerving proponents

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The charter school movement in Ohio has to contend with a rash of failing schools in Columbus. Of the 17 that failed last year — an unprecedented number, according to the Columbus Dispatch — nine only managed to remain open for a few months before failing, leaving students scrambling to find a new school.

Since 1997, 29 percent of Ohio’s charter schools have closed, the Dispatch reported. The median life of an Ohio charter school is four years.

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A handful of large corporate charter school operators appear to be responsible for wide swaths of the problem. For example, The Talented Tenth Leadership Academy for Boys and the Talented Tenth Leadership Academy for Girls closed in October after inspectors at the schools discovered that students faced unsanitary conditions and poor management. Both schools were operated by the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center.

“Meals were not served at regular times and often were purchased at fast food restaurants,” Richard Ross, Ohio’s state school superintendent, noted in an announcement closing the schools. There are reports of several significant fights, thefts and property damage. … They did not ensure the safety of the students, they did not adequately feed the students, they did not accurately track the students and they were not educating the students well. It is unacceptable and intolerable that a sponsor and school would do such a poor job. It is an educational travesty.”

The North Central Ohio Educational Service Center also sponsored 21 other community schools in Ohio. In 2013, the firm attempted to open 16 community schools, including six schools that failed to open or closed within a few weeks of opening. Four more NCOESC schools should never have opened, according to Ross, as they were closed or not renewed by other sponsors. At least four schools are suffering from fiscal problems.

Several of the firm’s schools owe Ohio money for funding received based on inflated enrollment estimates, the release said.

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Sondland directly implicates Trump and Giuliani in ‘quid pro quo’ in bombshell opening statement

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European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland is directly implicating both President Donald Trump and attorney Rudy Giuliani in running a "quid pro quo" scheme to condition a face-to-face meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on launching an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden.

The Daily Beast has obtained excerpts of Sondland's opening statement that show the EU ambassador will make clear that Giuliani wanted a quid pro quo with Ukraine -- and that he was pushing for it with Trump's encouragement.

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Elise Stefanik shredded by local columnist for selling out to Trump: ‘She’s not one of us’

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Elise Stefanik (R-NY) has been dubbed a "rising star" by President Donald Trump for her sycophantic defenses of him during the House impeachment inquiry.

But Ken Tingley, a newspaper columnist at the Glens Falls Post Star in upstate New York, believes that her strident defenses of the president will cost her dearly in her district.

In his latest column, Tingley offers a scathing assessment of Stefanik's character by pointing out that she swooped into the district despite not living there after a career that suggested she'd rather be running the Republican National Committee than representing New York's 21st district.

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FBI officials are scared to look into Ukraine — because of what Trump did to the ones who investigated Russia: report

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According to Yahoo News, the FBI is interested in interviewing the CIA whistleblower whose complaint about President Donald Trump's phone call with the president of Ukraine triggered the impeachment inquiry — but at least some FBI agents are frightened of getting involved because of how the president declared partisan political war on the agents who investigated his campaign's contacts with Russia.

One former senior FBI official said that while many agents were eager to pursue this evidence, others "didn’t want to touch [the whistleblower complaint] with a 10-foot pole because of the Russia investigation."

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