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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Know Your Charter Adds Data

When we started www.KnowYourCharter.com, some criticized us for only posting district and charter school data. They said the only "fair" comparison (even though it is districts that lose money from the charter school funding system, not schools) was to look at building-to-building data. We chose to look at district-level data first because it is districts, not individual schools in them, that lose money to charters.

Well, today we posted the building data as well. So now it is possible to compare every Ohio school building -- district or charter -- with each other, as well as districts. This adds to the comparative data available at Know Your Charter. Including the building level data increases by 17 the number of data points now available for the public to compare. Adding those 17 points to the 26 from the original site and there are now 43 data points for comparing districts, schools and charters.

Can we finally stop claiming Know Your Charter isn't fair? Everything is there for all to see. And what you'll see is that urban buildings more than hold their own with charter schools overall -- outperforming them on proficiency tests while having higher levels of poverty. You'll also see that less than 10% of charter school children are in buildings that outperform urban districts. Overall, urban buildings do better than charters, with a few exceptions in Cleveland and other places.

The time has come to stop debating whether the Ohio charter school program is working. It clearly isn't in the vast majority of cases. It's up to the state to figure out how to make it work better for the kids in the charters without unduly hampering the educational opportunities for the 90% of Ohio children in local public schools.

I've never been more encouraged that we'll see that happen than this year. But we must not let up on the pressure to make necessary changes. Our kids need us to do this.