June 4, 2022

Stephen Dyer: Don’t Forget

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Stephen Dyer reminds us that Ohio Charter Schools gobble up more state funding than ever.

I know it’s easy to forget, given all that’s happening with the recent attacks on educators and the meteoric expansion of Ohio’s private school taxpayer tuition subsidies, but folks, Ohio’s charter schools cleared more state funding last year than ever — over $1 billion. And after a slight dip and slowdown around the time of the implosion of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, money to charters is back where it’s always been — relentless and growing.

Just as relentless is Ohio charter schools’ failure to improve their outcomes. But, again, in Ohio high performance has never been a prerequisite for more taxpayer and legislative investment. So let’s take some readings on Ohio’s Charter School sector.

Performance Remains Quite Poor Overall

Charter Schools in Ohio have been among the most notoriously poor performing schools in the entire country. However, there was a hope when the state passed the much-needed House Bill 2 in 2015 that adding those basic checks would improve student and school achievement. Well, that hasn’t really happened. Let’s look at some of the measures (I won’t do straight grade examinations since 2019 because of the very difficult comparisons given COVID’s disruptions).

Graduation Rates

In 2021, Ohio Charter Schools didn’t even graduate 60% of the students that they could have. Meanwhile, districts that have been cited as reasons we need Charter Schools and Vouchers destroyed Charters on this measure. I’ve inserted a chart, but I think it’s important to understand that during the COVID year, Cleveland Municipal School District graduated more than 80% of their students — a remarkable achievement. They graduated students at a 1/3 greater clip that Charter Schools did overall.

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