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White Hat management is named for the white hats founder David Brennan is known for wearing.

White Hat Management: Ohio Charter School Giant

Background

White Hat Management is one of Ohio’s largest for-profit charter school operators.

In the fall of 2011, it operated 46 schools in six states, according to company materials. The Ohio schools it operates include traditional charter schools as well as online charter schools and charter schools serving students who had dropped out of school.

White Hat is based in Akron and is owned by former manufacturing company CEO David Brennan.

Brennan has played a major role in shaping Ohio education policy. He and his family members have donated millions to state legislators and governors over the past decade. And White Hat lobbyists have played significant roles in shaping Ohio’s charter school policies.

White Hat handles the day-to-day operations of the Ohio charter schools it manages, doing everything from hiring teachers to ordering school supplies.

White Hat has been sued by the governing boards of some of the schools it manages. According to the lawsuit, White Hat collects at least 95 percent of the schools’ tax funding. It also owns everything from computers to student files. The governing authorities of the schools involved in the lawsuit would like to gain access to the materials and equipment and to decide if they want White Hat to continue to operate their schools.

For the 2010-11 school year, no Ohio White Hat school earned higher than the equivalent of a “C” on its state report card. Most were rated “D” or “F.”

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David Brennan Says Parents Are the Best Judges of School Quality

Two weeks ago, Fordham Institute President Chester Finn Jr. wrote a nice letter to the Columbus Dispatch explaining why Ohio children should be grateful to White Hat Management founder David Brennan for “rebutting those who would keep them trapped in crummy district school.” White Hat is one of Ohio’s largest charter school operators and has been [...]

Why Kids Should be Grateful to White Hat Founder David Brennan

David Pearson / Flickr David Brennan, the founder of for-profit charter school management company White Hat Management, has become a “larger-than-life target,” writes Fordham Institute President Chester Finn Jr. in a Columbus Dispatch op-ed. (The Fordham Institute works to “strengthen accountability and expand education options.” Its associated foundation also sponsors charter schools in Ohio.) Lefty [...]

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Remember this ruling from Franklin County Judge John Bender ordering for-profit charter school management company White Hat to turn over their records to the school boards of 10 schools managed by White Hat? Two months after that, Bender issued another ruling saying that charter schools are public entities because they use public dollars and thus [...]

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Despite a decision out this week clarifying the definition of charter school management companies as most definitely public officials (because they run public schools funded by public dollars), the debate over charter school accountability is far from over.   The ruling by Franklin County Judge John Bender sprang from a lawsuit filed by 10 schools [...]

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Christian Petersen / Getty Images In order to operate a charter school in Ohio, you must have a sponsor. But being a charter-school sponsor isn’t like Nike putting a swoosh on Michael Jordan’s sneakers. In Ohio, a charter school sponsor is a non-profit organization or public educational entity whose main job is to provide a [...]

Surprise! Charter Schools are Public Entities

April Nagorsky before Preparatory International, the charter school she used to teach at before it was shut down abruptly.

The definition of a charter school just got a little bit clearer, at least by Franklin County Judge John Bender’s latest summary judgment. Bender is the judge in the White Hat Management case, in which 10 of White Hat’s school boards sued White Hat in order to get a peek at the management company’s financial [...]

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