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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Another Brick in the Wall

The Columbus Dispatch wrote a compelling story today about how last school year in Columbus, 17 Charter Schools shuttered before the year was up. And there are serious questions about why the schools ever opened in the first place.

The key paragraph is here:
The state spent more than $1.6 million in taxpayer money to keep the nine schools open only from August through October or November.
The district likely will never see that money again. Again, Charters in Ohio are funded primarily by the state taking money meant for a school district to educate a child and giving it instead to privately run charters. However, once the money (which is almost always more than what the state would have paid the district to educate the child) follows the child to the Charter, if it shuts down, the money rarely returns to the district with the child.

This situation in Columbus was the result of a continuation of policies that are too lax on Charter School oversight in this state, especially of those who sponsor these schools, as the Dispatch story delineates clearly. Ohio needs to focus more on quality school options, not whether there are options. Charter Schools have too important a role to play in the education of our children. The state simply can't be wasting money on poor options.

Nearly $888 million is being spent on Charters this school year -- a 7.7% increase over last school year's record amount. Between Charters and Vouchers, Ohio now spends more than $1 billion a year on privately run schools. And the results are just not demonstrating success.

Perhaps with more stories like the one in today's Dispatch will motivate Ohio's leaders to address this serious problem that leaves too many kids, families and schools in the lurch.