Four years ago, I helped write an Innovation Ohio analysis of Ohio's E-Schools that was one of the first examinations of the statewide impact of those schools on Ohio's kids and districts. Needless to say, E-School performance was dreadful. The report kind of put IO on the map and was cited by many national outlets and in Diane Ravitch's most recent book.
Fresh off the revelations that the Ohio Virtual Academy -- the state and nation's second-largest for-profit school -- may have been fudging their enrollment data to get paid, I decided to take another look, this time with our partners at KnowYourCharter.com. The results are worse now.
Here are the highlights:
More than half of the money going from better performing Ohio school districts to worse performing charters goes to 6 statewide E-Schools
98% of all the children attending charters that performed worse than their feeder districts on all the state’s report card measures went to the same six statewide Ohio E-Schools – at a cost of $72 million
Local Ohio taxpayers have had to subsidize $104 million of the cost of Ohio E-Schools because students in E-Schools receive so much more per pupil funding from the state than would their local public school.
What else is remarkable is that the school districts that have the most similar rates of poverty also outperform E-Schools. By a substantial margin. And E-Schools provide a substantial portion of the money and children lost to the worst performing charters in Ohio.
Charters would still be a problem in Ohio, and their performance would remain worse than districts overall. However, the gap would be narrowed.