Like Captain Renault, the fabled Prefect of Police in Casablanca, Ohio citizens were shocked, shocked to learn that several charter school sponsors gambled recently when they opened a parade of new schools that quickly failed. But unlike the character played in the classic film by Claude Rains, these sponsors have few winnings to collect. Instead, they can anticipate increased scrutiny from the Ohio Auditor as well as new skepticism from the state’s taxpayers.
For those who are all too familiar, there is no shock that comes with the latest revelations of failure in the charter school industry. Instead, here’s what those [...]Full Story... →
In the 2012-13 school year, charter schools received over $829 million in state taxpayer dollars to educate just over 116,000 children – an average of $7,144.86 per child. By comparison, after this money was deducted from payments to Ohio’s local public school districts, those districts received just shy of $5.5 billion to educate the remaining 1.7 million children. While that may sound like a high dollar figure, it averages out to only $3,125.30 per student.
What this means is that last year, charter schools in Ohio received, on average, over twice as much (2.29 times, to be exact) per student [...]Full Story... →
In Cleveland, the Menlo Park Academy charter school serves children in grades K-8 and has very strict admission requirements. Menlo Park restricts their enrollment to only the best and brightest — those students identified as being gifted. Not surprisingly, these students consistently highly on Ohio’s standardized tests year after year, making it appear as though the school is performing at a consistently high level. The most recent changes to Ohio’s school report cards, especially the new grade given to a school’s impact on gifted students, gives us a reason to look more closely at Menlo’s program.
Wild, Wild West of Charter School Land
by Maureen Reedy
Welcome to the wild, wild, west of “charter school land” in Columbus, Ohio. Finally, it looks as though the sheriff is riding into town, thanks to the thorough investigative journalism of Greg Mild (Plunderbund ECOT series) and Dispatch reporters, Bill Bush and Jennifer Smith Richards (Dispatch, Charter Failure, January 12th).
Our schoolchildren have been victimized long enough by callous charter school operators who treat students as if they are commodities to be traded in the market place. Consider the quote regarding the record 17 charter school closings this year, [...]Full Story... →
Today the Columbus Dispatch reported that nearly 30% of Ohio’s charter schools have closed or been shut down since Ohio started its charter school experiment in 1997.
The City of Columbus saw a record-breaking 17 charter schools shut down last year for financial mismanagement as well as “health and safety problems — students weren’t getting nutritious lunches, or the buildings were unsanitary.”
Last week we also read two eye-opening letters from former charter school teachers that shine some much-needed light on K12 virtual charter schools and on a chain of charter schools run by a religious group out of Turkey.
The [...]Full Story... →
The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) is the largest charter school in the state of Ohio. The online school is larger than the vast majority of Ohio’s traditional school districts and received over $88 million in state funding last school year. This year that amount is expected to jump to over $92 million.
On the latest report cards released by the Ohio Department of Education, ECOT continues to rank below all of the 8 large urban schools that are often-criticized by legislators and in the media for their “sub-par” performance.
ECOT’s Performance Index Score of 68.1 earned them an F grade [...]Full Story... →
If it wasn’t so appalling, we might be able to laugh at the continued insistence that Ohio’s charter (community) schools are held to the same level of accountability as are traditional public schools. In fact, some charter school proponents actually insist that charters are held MORE accountable than their public school counterparts.
The Ohio Association of Public Charter Schools (OAPCS) promotes this idea readily through their website materials, including their Ohio Charter Law Guidebook (p. 12) and a PowerPoint that is titled Understanding Ohio’s Public Charter Schools. From page 5 of that presentation:
State Rep Andy Brenner seems to love charter schools. In January he introduced a resolution to create a “School Choice Week” in January to “honor the hardworking educators, staff and parents of students for their roles in providing a quality public charter school education within Ohio.”
Andy and his wife, Powell City Councilman and Conservative Blogger Sarah Marie, have no children attending Ohio’s schools, but Andy does represent one of the most affluent and high-performing school districts in the state, Olentangy Local Schools.
Earlier this week Greg reported that low-performing online charter schools and charter schools in neighboring [...]Full Story... →
The Olentangy Local School District is located in Delaware County, north of Columbus, and is in the top ten in the state in student enrollment with over 17,000 students. The district has received a rating of either Excellent (“A”) or Excellent with Distinction (“A+”) since 2005 from the Ohio Department of Education. Despite their top rating, the district has continually lost students to charter schools (see our post explaining why this is allowed to occur).
This year, with the new state report card, Olentangy once again received high marks with 6 A’s and 3 B’s. Using a traditional [...]Full Story... →
There are really very few secrets when it comes to school funding in Ohio. The formulas may be complicated and confusing, but if you know where to look, it’s possible to track down all of the numbers that comprise the funds going to school districts and charter schools – most of them on the Ohio Department of Education website.
One of the best, and most comprehensive sources, is an awesome spreadsheet the state puts out called the “Bridge Report”. The report for last school year was posted this summer, and for the first time it included a count of the [...]Full Story... →
It is generally understood in Ohio that charter schools are only popping up in the lowest-performing districts in the state. The Ohio Department of Education explains this very simply on its website as follows:
According to Ohio laws, sponsors may consider [challenged districts] as potential sites for Community Schools. Newly created new start-up community schools may be started in challenged districts only and the list represents all districts meeting that definition for the 2012-2013 school year.
This is spelled out in legalese in section 3314.02 of the Ohio Revised Code, which is lengthy, but [...]Full Story... →