Ohio Education Gadfly
Volume 1, Number 45
November 8, 2007
Good charter schools can still lead resurgence in Ohio education
By Mike Lafferty ,
Today's New York Times published an article headlined "Ohio Goes After Charter Schools That Are Failing," noting that more than half of the state's 328 charter schools received either a D or F on the state's report card issued in August (see here).
These are troubling statistics. But as necessary as it is to root out poorly performing charters, those attacking charter schools in Ohio are missing the larger issue. Public education (and this includes district and charter schools) is failing too many children in Ohio. This is especially true of children of color living in the state's big cities. When the state report-card data came out in August 2007, it indicated that 183,000 district and charter school students in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Dayton were attending schools graded either D or F (officially, "academic watch" or "academic emergency"). That compares to about 75,000 students in D or F schools in the rest of the state (see here).
In Dayton, hometown of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, the numbers were especially grim. Fully 80 percent of children attending a public school in Dayton (district or charter) in 2007 attend an F or D rated school. The charter schools there actually outperform the Dayton Public Schools and do this with about $3,500 less per pupil in taxpayer dollars. The state report card makes clear that charters perform as well, or as poorly, as the district schools with which they