E-Schools No Value Added

We received this analysis of the 2012/13 performance of Ohio's charter e-schools from the Ohio E&A Coalition. As you can see, despite the state investing almost $220 million dollars, not a single one of these schools added any value. They all received an F rating for progress.

Before drilling down on e-school finances and operations, an observation about the purpose of public education is in order. Public school educators, historically, have been committed to the growth and development of the "whole" child. As far back as 1918 when the seven cardinal principles of secondary education were set forth in America, it was determined that the concept of democracy must serve as a guide for public education. The seven cardinal principles included growth and development in the areas of health, command of fundamental processes, worthy home membership, vocation, civic education, worthy use of leisure time and ethical character. Can these goals be accomplished by a process that is primarily cyber-based, in isolation of wholesome on-going interaction among student peers and professional educators? Is the goal of education to provide a mere "credential" or to produce "well-rounded educated citizens" who assume personal and civic responsibilities?

American taxpayers fork over about $2 billion annually to mostly, for-profit companies that operate e-schools. In Ohio, last school year six for-profit charter school management companies collected $218,288,669.99 from public school districts' budgets for 33,149 students. The state report card results for these cyber schools were mostly Ds and Fs.

Below is a table which shows enrollment, money received and select state report card results in FY 2013. Source of data is Ohio Department of Education for fiscal year 2013 payment.

Online Charter School Enrollment Money received Per pupil funding Performance Index Rating (Achievement) Value Added Rating (Progress)
Alternative Education Academy 2,118 $13,440,600.33 $6,345.89 D F
Buckeye On-line School for Success 1,241 $7,864,039.31 $6,336.86 C F
Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow 13,721 $88,370,050.21 $6,440.50 D F
Ohio Connections Academy 3,122 $19,175,763.86 $6,142.14 C F
Ohio Virtual Academy 11,817 $81,591,503.56 $6,904.59 C F
Virtual Community School of Ohio 1,130 $7,846,712.72 $6,943.99 D F
Total 33,149 $218,288,669.99 $6,585.08

In FY 2014, the e-school coffers will overflow from money extracted from Ohio school districts. Another for-profit e-school has been approved for operation in FY 2014. The e-school expansion moratorium has been lifted and vocational and technical education funding has been made available to e-schools.

At least one of these for-profit operators runs both the virtual school and a company that sells its online curriculum to the virtual school. This cozy deal surely must be profitable-no marketplace competition here!

One of the Ohio online charter school operators contributed nearly $400,000 to a political party and to individual campaign funds in the past couple years. This operation serves less than 13,000 students. This company engaged nearly 50 lobbyists, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for political activities. State policy and funding for public education would look much different if each school district superintendent had $400,000 to use for campaign contributions each biennium.

One of the out of state e-schools operations, K-12 Inc., reported that its income increased 58 percent in FY 2013.

Just more shameful evidence of Ohio's failed charter school experiment.