Matt Barnum of The 74 writes about Ohio’s Charter sector and the news is not good. Mired in financial scandals, lousy performance, and sudden closures, even charter proponents are vocal about an unaccountable and mostly low performing charter sector that they consider to be unacceptable. Greg Harris, Director of Students First Ohio had this to say: “We think charters have a role in the education base, but we also think most of the charters in Ohio stink.”
Ohio should serve as a cautionary tale for charter proponents on: How an unregulated charter sector can amass so much money and influence that it can fail students without consequence; thwart attempts by elected officials to curb mismanagement and corruption; and keep parents —the agents of choice in a free market system — in the dark.
A 2014 report from Stanford University-based Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), which has compiled a number of major charter studies, shows Ohio’s charter schools performing on average significantly worse than traditional public schools. Overall, students who attended charters had less academic growth on both reading and math tests than students with similar backgrounds who attended district public schools.
And she’s right that the news is not all bad — CREDO estimated that low-income students in Ohio benefited from attending charters and that Cleveland’s charter sector was strong. Still, the overall picture remains mixed at best, bleak at worst.