Scott Dimauro: State report cards should be a wakeup call for Ohio’s charter, voucher hawks
At the Ohio Capital Journal, high school social studies teacher Scott Dimauro takes a look at how Ohio’s Performance Index scores include some bad news about non-public schools.
The state puts report cards together for school buildings and districts, too. In spirit, at least, they have the same mission, quantitatively assessing where our publicly funded institutions across the state are succeeding and where there is room for growth. And not surprisingly, after a year and a half of serious challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest round of state report cards shows there’s some extra room for improvement, with about a 10% drop in Performance Index (PI) scores for Ohio’s traditional public schools from the 2018-2019 school year to the 2020-2021 one. Chronic absenteeism also climbed to 17%, up from 7.5%, during that time.
But, over that same period, charter schools in the state saw a 25% drop in PI scores – a 2.5 times greater loss than traditional public schools. And chronic absenteeism in those institutions soared from 22% up to 45%, meaning nearly half of all charter school students in Ohio missed a big chunk of the last school year.
While the Ohio Education Association applauds the change in state law that removed letter grades from the state report card system, it is clear Ohio’s charter schools are not making the grade. As a teacher, I’d give them a D-minus at best.
This should be seriously alarming to Ohio’s taxpayers, who see their money taken from their local public schools to fund these poorer performing alternatives. The PI drop for KIPP, a charter school in Columbus, was 66% — more than double the decline seen in Columbus City Schools. The seven biggest PI drops in Ohio charter schools were Breakthrough Schools in the Cleveland area, which are often touted by charter advocates as shining examples of success, with PI scores plummeting 77% to 84%. Charter advocates often complain about comparing all school districts’ performance with charters, but last year, 606 out of 612 public school districts in the state lost scarce resources to charter schools.
There are more problems revealed by these metrics. Read the full piece here.