In a recent Columbus Dispatch article you see a large, elderly, laughing man wearing a cowboy hat. He is David Brennan. He has obtained the use of several former Catholic grade school buildings and made them into a chain of scab schools. He has further enriched himself, and weakened the teaching profession. He also is against unionism and workers’ rights. He makes sure he gets government money in this process.
St. Benedict, St. Timothy, Holy Redeemer, Annunciation, Our Lady of Mercy, Our Lady of Lourdes, Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Saint Rose [all in Cleveland], and John the Baptist in Akron had parish grade schools that are now part of his Hope Academies. Recently, he has purchased the Annunciation campus cheaply. What belonged, and was built by many parishioners, for that many to use, now belongs to one man. This is what privatisation is all about — the concentration of wealth in the hands of those with greater wealth, and the stripping of the community for the benefit of an individual. The fraud and hypocrisy comes when this is passed off as altruism, which is its true opposite. But before Brennan, and his outfit, replaced parochial schools, he was active in replacing public schools.
Under Voinovich, Taft, and the Republican held legislature, the corporations wrote the laws that covered their industry/business for sixteen years. Now after four terrible years things are back to normal. The party of private privilege is back in charge. Legislators come cheaply, and they are willing to accept written commands and enact them on the commonwealth.
Brennan was Voinovich’s choice to head the newly created Governor’s Commission on Educational Choice in 1992. Brennan was a financial contributor to Voinovich (both bushes, Taft, Blackwell and a slew of others in the Republican party). He has given several million dollars to Republican candidates.
Beyond Ohio, White Hat manages other private schools. With the Ohio schools, the total passes fifty. Of all such charter schools, about half meet state progress reports; public schools about two thirds; one White Hat run school does. Several of these schools are now unhappy. Several White Hat run schools in Ohio have sued to break their management contract with White Hat. The upcoming state budget bill, with White Hat written provisions, may dismiss the lawsuit.
Brennan gets public money. Public money becomes private money. He demands not to be accountable. He benefits from public largesse, but wishes to be free of public scrutiny.
We know that public schools have severe problems. They are accountable to the public, and are a public football. There are some charter schools that perform well. Brennan's hat is not on them. His is the largest chain in Ohio, and he does what he wants, and laughs all the way to the bank.
postscriptum: 21 June 2011. Brennan is buying Corpus Christi, Annunciation, Sacred Heart, St. Procop and St. Rose properties (all in Cleveland). He may be looking for more.
Also, in the Cleveland’s bishop, Richard Lennon’s, capital campaign, Brennan and his wife, Ann, are among the honorary co-chairs. Brennan's wife is also on the Campaign Cabinet, Leadership Gifts Committee, and the Oversight Committee. Another co-chair, Umberto Fedeli, has done extensive insurance business with the diocese. Both Brennan, and Fedeli have been appointed by the, then, governor Voinovich to state positions. Other co-chairs are the Dolans, their son was a State Representative, and the failed Republican candidate for Cuyahoga County Executive. Voinovich has children employed by the Dolans. The list of the laity is heavily weighted with those that do business with the diocese. The list is also weighted with large contributors to the state Republican party; a lot of dove tailing.