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Thursday, October 24, 2013

ODE Happy More Public Money Going to Private Schools

I have to admit that I was a bit shocked to see that the Ohio Department of Education was so excited about the explosion in Voucher programs this year, as Innovation Ohio had predicted.
"The Ohio Department of Education is pleased with the growth of the EdChoice program and the increased opportunities for children to receive a quality education," ODE spokesman John Charlton said."
So the fact that the expansion of Vouchers in the most recent state budget saw the number of private schools taking Vouchers jump from 331 to 444, or that the amount of money going from public schools to private schools as of the year's first October payment increased from $86.6 million last year to $133 million this year -- a 54% increase -- is good for public education in the eyes of the chief overseers of Ohio's public education system.

One complicating factor is this: New research indicates that kids in public schools, when controlling for demographics, perform better than kids in private schools on national assessments. This supports what we have known in Ohio for years -- that kids in voucher schools do no better and many times perform worse than kids in the public schools do.

So is ODE really excited that more kids can go to schools that generally do not perform as well as the schools they are leaving? This mentality reveals why Ohio so desperately needs to have a serious discussion about school choice quality

Because choice for choice's sake does not ensure a better educational experience for kids. School Choice proponents should be fighting for quality educational opportunities for kids. Worse options provide scant opportunity for kids, though it does permit private schools to fill dwindling enrollment on the backs of Ohio taxpayers.

So there's that.