I remember, back in my college heyday of ed. leadership classes, one significant major point: be wary of charters! It’s reductionist, but probably more correct than we would all like to think it is.
I worked in a charter school for two years and it was pretty amazing for the flexibility we had in how we educated our students (but we still had to take those pesky OGTs and now PARCC or OGT 2.0?? 😦 ), and I believe that our program is a sort of anomaly when it comes to charters, simply because it wasn’t birthed out of the political bandwagon of free-market school reform but out of a real need for kids.
However, I am pretty close to a couple of people who have worked in for-profit and not-for-profit charters, and the stories I have heard make my skin crawl. And I wonder, why so many charters? Why now? And what do we know about their effectiveness versus that of public schools?
ODE and OEA have started Knowyourcharter.com. Granted, it’s the OEA. They support public schools. But it uses public data and is basically just that—data. And the stupid letter grade that Ohio schools get, but whatever. You can see public schools versus charters side-by-side. Like when you get on Amazon and want to compare products. Sheesh.
The site is pretty easy to use, but there are no test scores on here. Which goes hand in hand with me wondering how they stack up when it comes to performance. The truth is, Ohio (or any other state, really) is sucking majorly when it comes to authentic and reliable assessment. We have no scores to use and the website offers up the misleading letter grade and that’s it.
I learned that the district where I grew up–Sidney, Ohio, has 600,000 dollars siphoned from it due to charters. There are no brick and mortar charters in Sidney, to my knowledge–that money is going to online charters. Take a look here. My guess is that not a whole lot of residents in Sidney know that much money is being redirected, but it is an always conservative county so I’m sure they voted for Kasich, who has expanded charters and desires to expand charter funding into local levies.
Knowyourcharter.com is a step in the right direction when it comes to educating citizens about allocation of funding and teacher experience.