Staff Editorial – 11/13

Charter schools steal funds and opportunites from high-achieving districts


Is Ohio Governor John Kasich a modern-day Robin Hood? It seems he is, robbing from the “rich in academic achievement” to give to the “poor in academic achievement.” His most recent budget slashes funding to high-achieving school districts like Mason City Schools in order to reward a gift of $71 million to poorly-run, low-achieving charter schools.

Charter schools, or public schools of choice, are started by parents who do not want their children attending low-income districts. They require no tuition fee and are supposedly held accountable via their charters—but not by the state standards.

Meanwhile, we must endure the Common Core curriculum and a barrage of standardized tests, our scores on which will affect the rank of our teachers under the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System, which weighs both student growth measures and teacher performance at 50 percent.

This information is then compiled into a District Report Card to further pressure the community into a state of perfection, lest we risk even further hacks to the resources we need to keep our opportunities alive.

Yet all of these challenges are nonexistent in schools that fail even to report their failures.

The Cincinnati Enquirer said that the School Choice director for the Education Department, David Hansen, resigned after he omitted “F grades for online and dropout recovery schools off evaluations of charter school sponsors.”

The lie stood to garner even further benefits from an already gullible government.

The Akron Beacon Journal analyzed 4,263 audits and uncovered that “since 2001, state auditors have uncovered $27.3 million improperly spent by charter schools, many run by for-profit companies, enrolling thousands of children and producing academic results that rival the worst in the nation.”

These for-profit companies are often behind the online learning found in charter schools that has failed its students so miserably.

In the government’s nickel eyes, it’s not enough for us to be the investment – the students with the potential to serve the community as doctors, lawyers or teachers themselves.

Too often we give public schools the brunt of the criticism, paint them as unruly institutions filled with school-uniform-less anarchy.

Therefore, it has a nice ring when we can say we chose our school rather than attended the sub-par one in the center of our district. It’s true that charter schools highlight these inadequacies of education in low-income districts – but the solution to poor schools is not to create more poor schools.

By hacking away at funding for high-achieving districts, we risk the success of students who know how to make the best of what they were given rather than tossing it aside and moving on.