By Erik Gunn
In Cleveland, OH, a federal judge's decision first to throw out a voucher program that includes religious schools, then to permit students already enrolled in the four-year-old program to continue attending private schools for at least the first semester this year, sparked national attention and comment.
widely publicized have been a series of findings - reported initially in The Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper - exposing conditions so poor in some voucher schools that the Ohio Department of Education stepped in to rectify them.
One school taught almost exclusively with videos produced by a private Christian school in Florida. At another, the newspaper found safety hazards in the building and in the children's play areas, and mostly unlicensed teachers, one of them a convicted murderer.
State officials found that Golden Christian Academy relied on videos produced by Pensacola Christian Academy in Florida to teach its students, with parent tutors and workbooks supplementing the video instruction. State officials said the reliance on video instruction fell short of the minimum state academic standards required of voucher schools under the Ohio law establishing the Cleveland program.