Mayor Frank Jackson names members of schools' advice panel, a 1st step in district-wide overhaul
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A key part of Mayor Frank Jackson's broader plan to boost academic performance in Cleveland took hold Monday when he named an advisory panel that will help set standards for charter schools in the city.
The new Cleveland schools' Transformation Alliance will review charter school applications and make recommendations to the Ohio Department of Education about which sponsors should be able to open new schools in the city. The advisory panel is one of the first moves in accelerating Jackson's plan to transform the district.
The panel is to meet next week to come up with the criteria on who is able to sponsor new charter schools.
"This committee is an essential part of improving education," Jackson said. "All we want is quality education for our children, whether in public schools or charter schools. That's all that matters."
The 30-member panel is weighted with corporate executives and nonprofit leaders who have invested their time in education. But it also includes parents, principals and teachers.
School officials also are taking part, including Eric Gordon, the CEO of Cleveland schools; David Quolke, the president of the Cleveland Teachers Union; Denise Link, the chairwoman of the school board; and Louise Dempsey, the vice chair of the board.
The Rev. Larry Harris of Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church and the Rev. Jawanza Karriem Colvin of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church will also serve on the alliance. Others include Bill Kitson, the CEO of the United Way of Greater Cleveland, Peter Raskind, the former chief executive of National City Inc. and Joe Roman, the CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership.
Jeffery Patterson, the CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority, and Sajit Zachariah, the dean of Cleveland State University's College of Education and Human Services, also are on the panel.
Jackson and Gordon pushed for the alliance as a way to promote quality charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately operated. The panel will help set standards for new charters that open in the city.
Originally, the Transformation Alliance would have had the full authority over whether new charters could open. But that was muted after charter supporters complained the panel would have too much power.
The panel also must proved an annual report on the performance of the district and the charter schools operating in Cleveland. It has until April 30 to set the framework.
Gordon said the alliance would perform a key function: It would offer a public examination of all public and charter schools in the city.
"Our goal is to get more kids in better seats (in higher performing schools) more quickly," Gordon said.
Other members of the Cleveland schools Transformation Alliance are:
William Sims, CEO of the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools; Alan Rosskamm, CEO of Breakthrough Charter Schools; Richard Frank, CEO of Guidestone Ohio; Vickie Eaton Johnson, executive director of the Fairfax Renaissance Development Corp.
Parents Della Cleveland, Erin Randel, Marlene Ridenour and Jessica Nelson; teacher Martha Figueroa and principals Julie Beers and Damon Holmes.
Ann Mullin, senior program officer, the George Gund Foundation; Helen Williams, program director for education, the Cleveland Foundation.
Deborah Rutledge, chief operating officer, the Rutledge Group; Judith Peters, executive vice president, the Centers for Families and Children; Victor Ruiz, executive director of Esperanza Inc.; Darlene Chambers, executive director of the Ohio Council of Community Schools; Sharon Sobol Jordan, CEO of the Centers for Families and Children; and Monyka Price, chief of education, office of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.