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Charter Schools are Failing in Columbus and Throughout Ohio

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega Charter Schools are Failing in Columbus and Throughout Ohio
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Ohio Charter schools are getting failing grades, according to a report that was released late last month. The report comes from knowyourcharter.com, a website which allows Ohioans to keep track of how the state’s charter schools are performing.

Ohio received $71 million of the $157 million in federal funds awarded to eight states in September, 2015. After such a large portion of federal funds was designated to charter schools in Ohio that were either closed or never opened, an investigation started into how the federal government allots the money in the first place.

“As a result, federal regulators quickly reversed course,” the report said. “This sudden reversal… begs a closer examination of not only how the US Department of Education awards these Charter School Program (CSP) grants, but also how well the recipients of these grants have fared in Ohio relative to other federal grant programs.”

Out of 292 of the awarded CSPs, 108 barely existed, with 26 that never opened and another 82 closed. They were slated to receive $30 million in federal funds.

Performance grades for every charter school in Ohio are available on knowyourcharter. The website was created by The Ohio Charter School Accountability Project (OCSAP), an organization intending to “shed light on the reality of charter schools in Ohio – how are they performing, how are they paid for and how are they spending their public dollars.”

The Columbus School District has 75 schools listed. Of those, 56 are receiving a grade of D or F. There is one A.

This report comes out after Gov. John Kasich had already received criticism from the public and the media on his record with education during his run for president. Under Kasich, traditional schools have been receiving less funding in favor of funding charter schools; this funding is going toward many schools run by for-profit companies; and the schools are notorious for their poor performances.

The state education office reported 93 high-performing and six poor-performing charter schools in 2015. After questions rose about the federal grant, the state changed its numbers, claiming 59 high-performing and 57 poor-performing schools instead.

“Charter schools were originally conceived as laboratories for innovation in the public school system,” said a representative from OCSAP. “Unfortunately, successful charter schools in Ohio are the exception, not the rule.”

According to the latest rankings by Edweek, Ohio ranks 23rd in the country. The state’s C grade matches the national average, but compares poorly with how Ohio was doing five years ago.

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