Following up on part I of improving the budget, part II focuses on the unfairness of school funding vis-a-vi charter schools.
Innovation Ohio recently produced a report that should send shock waves through the "choice" community.
- Because of the $774 million deducted from traditional public schools in FY 2012 to fund charters, children in traditional public schools received, on average, $235 (or 6.5%) less state aid than the state itself said they needed.
- More than 90% of the money sent to rated charter schools in the 2011-2012 school year went to charters that on average score significantly lower on the Performance Index Score than the public schools students had left.
- Over 40% of state funding for charters in 2011-2012 ($326 million) was transferred from traditional public districts that performed better on both the State Report Card and Performance Index.
This indicates that far too many parents are being provided a false choice between a traditional public school and a failing charter school. That's a choice that Ohio's scarce education tax dollars should not be subsidizing.
Building off of this study, CREDO's recently release study of charter schools found
“We have solid evidence that high quality is possible from the outset,” Dr. Raymond said. “Since the study also shows that the majority of charter management organizations produce consistent quality through their portfolios – regardless of the actual level of quality – policy makers will want to assure that charter schools that replicate have proven models of success.”
Clearly, if we are to be evidence based, Ohio charter schools with a history of poor performance should cease to receive tax payer funding, and Ohio's charter school accountability laws should be stiffened to prevent failed charter schools from simply reopening under a different name, as is currently happening according to a report by Policy Matters Ohio.
Making Ohio's charter school more acocuntable, and permanently closing charter schools that underperform their traditional public school counterparts should be a priority in HB59 given that we are now spending close to $1 billion a year on charter schools.