Charter schools take badly-needed funds from neighborhood public schools. Are citizens getting better bang for their buck? Not in Ohio.
September 4, 2013

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For all of the ballyhoo over charter schools, no one is actually dealing with the fact that they're failing, not only in Philadelphia but across the country. When do our elected officials get a clue?

Via the Education Opportunity Network, a stunning statistic:

Republican state legislators enacted a law in 1997 allowing charter schools to locate exclusively within the boundaries of the “Big 8” systems.

Sixteen years later, charters statewide performed almost exactly the same on most measures of student achievement as the urban schools they were meant to reform, results released under a revamped Ohio report-card system show. And when it comes to graduating seniors after four years of high school, the Big 8 performed better.


But what started as an experiment in fixing urban education through free-market innovation is now a large part of the problem. Almost 84,000 Ohio students — 87 percent of the state’s charter-school students — attend a charter ranking D or F in meeting state performance standards.


Eighty-six percent of charters rated in this category scored D or F, compared with 90 percent of Big 8 schools.Just over 17 percent of Big 8 high schools ranked A or B in graduating students in four years, compared with about 7 percent of charters.

Pennsylvania is pouring $729 million into their charter schools. That's $729 million that isn't going to regular public schools. Even with that funding loss, public schools are somehow managing to perform as well or better than charters. The same is true in Ohio, and indeed, is a trend nationwide.

Education Opportunity Network:

Nationwide, the statistics on charter school “innovation” aren’t much better. The most recent comparison of charter school performance to traditional public schools nationwide found that more charter schools are doing better. But a careful analysis of the study showed only “a tiny real impact on the part of charter schools.”

Taken into context – being freed from regulation, having the ability toselect the most desirable students, implementing programs designed for test taking, having friends in high places to game the system – charter schools should be kicking the tails of traditional public schools, not barley eking out gains after years of promises and bluster.

Nevertheless, the myth of charter school magic is hard to crack.

In Louisiana, when charter schools recently failed and were closed by the state, they were replaced with … more charter schools. In Tennessee, the worst performing school in the state is a charter … protected by lobbyists. And cyber charters and other online providers in the K-12 sphere notoriously under perform traditional schools … but are being ramped upby policy makers in many states.

At what point do we declare charters a failed experiment and return the funds to schools that are managing to deliver educated students in spite of the systematic defunding they've undergone over the past 30 years?

Can you help us out?

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