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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Know Your Charter

Today at Innovation Ohio, we launched a new online tool called http://knowyourcharter.com/. On it, you will be able to compare Charter and Traditional Public School data side-by-side. It essentially boils down 18 Ohio Department of Education spreadsheets into one, easy-to-use format, adding an additional layer of transparency to this $914 million education sector.

One thing that I think this site will do is keep people like me honest. For example, when Fordham published a report published yesterday in Hannah saying how Charter Schools outperform schools in Ohio's major urban centers on Value-Added Measures, you can look at their methodology and see how shaky it is.

  • They didn't include any Charters that were closed after the end of the year, even if it was for academic failure
  • They didn't include any virtual schools, even though the urban districts lose more than $55 million a year to virtual schools
  • They didn't include any special education schools, even though there's a specific value-added measure examining the academic growth of disabled kids
  • They didn't include any of the state's 90 dropout recovery Charter Schools, which in some cases graduate 2 of 155 kids
  • They didn't mention that about half of all the money going to Charter Schools does NOT come from the urban core districts, so why are we limiting the comparison to districts from which only about 1/2 of the kids in Charters come from?
Go to http://knowyourcharter.com/ and you can find out pretty quick just how meaningful these methodological issues are with Fordham's analysis. This isn't to pick on Fordham, but it's also to let you know you can use the site to double check what I do to.

It is true that transparency is the best disinfectant. So please, disinfect away!