New Ohio Charter School Sponsor Ratings Cause Crisis

ODE finally released their charter school sponsor ratings, after the initial effort to do so was marred by ODE insiders getting caught fixing the result.

Sponsors are graded using 3 framework components

  • Alignment of academic performance to Ohio’s report card;
  • Compliance with laws and administrative rules; and
  • Adherence to quality sponsor practice measures

Each of these components receive an equal weighting, which result in one of four possible grades: exemplary, effective, ineffective and poor, in descending order of performance - though we're not sure what sounds worse, being ineffective or poor.

Sponsors rated as poor can no longer sponsor schools, while those rated ineffective will not be allowed to sponsor new schools, and will also close if they do not improve over the coming 3 years

Not a single sponsor managed to grade out as exemplary. Here's the breakdown

Ohio Charter School Sponsor Ratings 2015-16

One third of Ohio's charter school sponsors, if they fail on appeal, will close, with another 60% not allowed to sponsor any new schools. That alone should be cause for massive concern, but the crisis only deepens upon further inspection.

Those charters currently being operated under the guidance of these 21 poor sponsors will not close, instead their sponsorship will transfer to ODE. 

ODE itself is already a sponsor. ODE's own grade is ineffective, with the academic performance of the schools they sponsor receiving an F.

Let's pause to contemplate this for just one moment. All but 5 sponsors of Ohio's schools are even marginally proficient, and the fall back to their failure is the state who itself is graded as ineffective. This is a real crisis.

Yet the problem is still not fully exposed. Of the five sponsors who are rated as effective, they do so not because of academic performance, the most important measure, but because they are good at paperwork.

None of the 5 effective sponsors scored higher than a D for academic performance. Instead they relied upon compliance and rule adherence to lift them above poor performance. Steve Dyer highlights this phenomenon in a post titled "Ohio Sponsorship Ratings: It Pays to be a Bureaucrat"

Finally, to round out the absurdity. The sponsors that oversee the charter schools with the highest academic performance are School Districts, but because of the ridiculous weightings,  we get this:

But it should be made clear that the 33 charter school sponsors that receive As, Bs and Cs on academic performance are all public entities.

Equally telling?

All 33 are rated ineffective or poor. Which means the state would say that the 33 highest rated charter school sponsors in academic performance would be banned from opening new charters, or in the case of the poor rated sponsors, would have to immediately shut down.

Meanwhile, regardless of all this charter school "reform" once again confirming how bad the sector is, schools like ECOT continue to provide substandard education to students while draining real schools of needed resources.

Below are the results for each sponsor.

Sponsor Name Overall Rating
Auglaize County ESC Ineffective
Barnesville Exempted Village Ineffective
Bowling Green State University Ineffective
Buckeye Community Hope Foundation Effective
Buckeye Local Ineffective
Cardington-Lincoln Local Ineffective
Cincinnati City Poor
Cleveland Municipal Ineffective
Coshocton City Ineffective
Cuyahoga Falls City Ineffective
Dayton City Ineffective
Educational Resource Consultants of Ohio Ineffective
ESC of Central Ohio Effective
ESC of Lake Erie West Ineffective
Fairborn City Ineffective
Findlay City Ineffective
Franklin Local Ineffective
Groveport Madison Local Poor
Hamilton Local Poor
Jackson City Poor
Jefferson County ESC Effective
Kids Count of Dayton, Inc. Ineffective
Lakewood City Ineffective
Lakewood Local Poor
Lawrence County ESC Poor
Lima City Poor
London City Poor
Lorain City Poor
Mahoning County ESC Poor
Margaretta Local Ineffective
Marion City Ineffective
Massillon City Ineffective
Maysville Local Ineffective
Miamisburg City Ineffective
Mid-Ohio ESC Ineffective
Montgomery County ESC Ineffective
New Philadelphia City Ineffective
Newark City Poor
North Central Ohio ESC Ineffective
Northmont City Ineffective
Norwood City Poor
Office of School Sponsorship Ineffective
Ohio Council of Community Schools Ineffective
Oregon City Poor
Pickerington Local Poor
Pleasant Local Ineffective
Reynoldsburg City Poor
Richland Academy Ineffective
Ridgedale Local Ineffective
Rittman Exempted Village Poor
Rolling Hills Local Poor
Scioto County Career Technical Ineffective
Southwest Licking Local Poor
St Aloysius Orphanage Effective
Summit County ESC Poor
Thomas B. Fordham Foundation Effective
Toledo City Ineffective
Tri-County ESC Ineffective
Tri-Rivers Ineffective
Urbana City Ineffective
Van Wert City Poor
Warren County ESC Ineffective
West Carrollton City Ineffective
Youngstown City Poor
Zanesville City Ineffective