Better late than never? It's almost time for Plan B

Every few months, it seems, someone calls for a moratorium on new charter schools in the Buckeye State until the current ones can be further "studied." Yet the one statutory requirement for an examination of Ohio's charter and choice programs has lingered without action for more than a year and its deadline is looming.

H.B. 79 (126th General Assembly) in December 2006 directed the Partnership for Continued Learning (PCL) to study and report back on the operations and oversight of the state's charter school program and the Educational Choice Scholarship Program (the state's voucher program). The PCL study was also to make legislative recommendations to the General Assembly by March 30, 2008. It wasn't until December 2007 that the PCL even released a Request for Qualifications inviting higher-education institutions to submit proposals for conducting the study. There were no takers, in part because the project was woefully under funded and the timeline was impossibly tight.

At its meeting last week, the PCL was slated to hear an update about the status of this study but the matter was tabled until the group's next meeting. That meeting will be held in May, more than one month after the legislative recommendations were to have been submitted to the General Assembly.

Should a study ever be conducted by the PCL, and we are not advocating for one, we would strongly encourage the research team to revisit the report the Fordham Institute co-authored with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and the National Association of Charter School Authorizers in 2006 entitled Turning the Corner to Quality: Policy Guidelines for Strengthening Ohio's Charter Schools (see here).

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