Other Ohio districts should take a cue from Cleveland

We've been no fans of the Columbus City School District's treatment of charter schools within its boundaries. The district's icy and hostile relationship with charters is the norm when it comes to charter-district ???cooperation??? in Ohio (though people on both sides of the issue are admirably trying to change that fact).?? But while Columbus and other districts continue to fight against charter schools, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District is leading the way in partnering with high-performing charters, making good on promises made as part of the district's academic transformation plan.

As the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports, the district has opened up an application process for more charter schools to be authorized by the district (it currently authorizes three schools).?? The district is also willing to let charter schools lease vacant school buildings at little cost, or share buildings with district schools.

Such collaboration can benefit both sides.?? Ohio law allows districts that authorize or lease facilities to charters to include the test scores of those charter schools in the district's academic results, providing a much-needed performance boost to languishing urban districts (in Cleveland, for example, six of the top ten public schools are charters).?? For charters, a relationship with the district could mean access to back-office services, improved transportation for students, and lower facilities costs.

These developments might seem small to folks in charter-friendly cities like New York, Denver, New Orleans, the list goes on and on.?? But they mark a major and encouraging change of course in the Buckeye State.?? Let's hope other Ohio districts follow suit.

-Emmy Partin

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