Labor steps up when charter school fails

The sudden closure of FCI Academy the day before school was supposed to start is a sad reminder of the urgent need to reform Ohio’s broken charter school system. However, how the Columbus School Employees Association responded to this crisis puts a spotlight on how important organized labor is to our schools, our communities, and our students.

After Lois Carson saw the news, she immediately contacted Columbus Schools Superintendent Dan Goode and said that we have to come up with a plan to “bring our babies home.” He agreed, and the Columbus Employees School Association began organizing a door-to-door effort to enroll these students back into the Columbus public schools.

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Lois is the President of the Columbus School Employees Association (CSEA/OAPSE Local 4). She and her union brothers and sisters are bus drivers, intervention aides, instructional assistants and special needs instructional assistants, secretaries, custodians, food service workers, librarians, grounds and maintenance, truck drivers and mechanics in the Columbus City Schools.

In the first weekend alone, the “bring our babies home” effort has reached nearly one-third of the affected families and CSEA volunteers are continuing to enroll students every day.

“We are the ones who work directly with the kids every day, and we see first-hand how important a good education is to their futures. The charter school left these kids and their families in a horrible situation, so we stepped in to bring them back where they belong – Columbus City Schools,” Carson said.

FCI Academy was a charter school on the north side of Columbus. According to KnowYourCharter.com, FCI’s scored an F on its Performance Index grade and drew over $2.4 million from the Columbus City School District.