For over a decade, Ohio law has dictated where charter schools can open. Expansion was unlimited in Lucas County (the “pilot district” for charters) and in the “Ohio 8” urban districts (Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown). But, in any given year, charters could open up in any other district that was classified as a “challenged district,” as measured by whether the district received a state “report card” rating of “academic watch” or “academic emergency.” This is a performance-based standard.
Under this system, there was of course very rapid charter proliferation in Lucas County and the “Ohio 8” districts. Only a small number of other districts (around 20-30 per year) “met” the performance-based standard. As a whole, the state’s current charter law was supposed to “open up” districts for charter schools when the districts are not doing well.
Starting next year, the state is adding a fourth criterion: Any district with a “performance index” in the bottom five percent for the state will also be open for charter expansion. Although this may seem like a logical addition, in reality, the change offends basic principles of both fairness and educational measurement.
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