Eye on Education


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The World of Ohio Charter Schools


Charter schools, known in Ohio as community schools, are publicly funded primary and secondary schools. They are considered public schools, so tuition is free. However, they have more flexibility in how they operate than traditional public schools. In Ohio, a charter school is operated under a contract with a sponsoring entity.

Approximately 95,000 of Ohio’s 1.8 million students were enrolled in charter schools in the 2010-11 school year.

Charter schools have been a source of conflict among Ohio’s educators and policymakers. Some champion charter schools as alternatives to struggling urban districts around the state and as an option for parents seeking schools that best suit their children. Others say charter schools siphon funding from local public school districts and do not offer students a better education.

In the 2010-11 school year, Ohio had 326 operating charter schools. Some were part of larger networks of schools run by a single operator. That operator can be for-profit or non-profit. White Hat Management, for example, is a for-profit company that runs about 50 schools around the state. Others schools are operated by their local school districts or groups focused on a single charter school.

Latest Posts

Governor on Charter Reform, Funding, and Youngstown Schools

Just two days after delivering his biennium budget proposal, Governor John Kasich visited a charter school in Cleveland. The E Prep & Village Prep Woodland Hills School is a successful elementary charter that is sponsored by the city’s public school district. The Governor used the moment to talk about charter reform, his distribution of school [...]

Teachers at Columbus Charter School Seek Union Vote

Teachers at a Columbus charter high school want to unionize–and the organizing effort is believed to be a first among the state’s 387 charter schools. A group of teachers at Franklinton Preparatory Academy have taken steps to force an organizing vote. They got help from the Ohio Education Association, and the group’s vice president, Scott [...]

New Report from State Auditor Points Out Charter School Disparities


Jo Ingles / Ohio Public Radio Investigators in the state auditor’s office swept through 30 charter schools to answer a simple question: how many students are showing up for class? For seven of those schools, auditor Dave Yost said investigators found a big difference between the number of students officials reported to the Ohio Department [...]

Debating New Legislation Rules for Ohio Charters

gov kasich state of state speech

Recent studies have given low marks to charter schools in Ohio in comparison to charters in other states. Governor Kasich is promising to take up the issue with legislation this year to improve charter school performance. While Ohio charter schools average grade may not be very good, they do show a wide disparity with some [...]

Local School Districts Are Subsidizing Ohio Charter Schools, Report Says

Ben K. Adams / Flickr A new study by an Ohio education watchdog group says local tax revenue is essentially subsidizing charter schools, which are non-traditional schools that are often run by outside groups. And the state’s charter schools have been taking a beating lately. In the last week, multiple studies have criticized their performance. [...]

Progressive Think Tank, Ohio Education Association Launch Charter School Website

A liberal think tank and the state’s largest teachers union have launched a website that provides Ohioans comparisons of public school districts and public and private charter schools in an area. But a spokesman for the pro-charter school group My School, My Choice claims the site has false statements about charter schools so data can’t [...]

State Supreme Court Hears Case Against Charter School Operator White Hat

The Ohio Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case that could change the nature of many charter schools in Ohio. Board members of 10 such community schools filed suit against their own management company arguing for more transparency on how the money they get from the state is being spent.

Teachers And Parents Defend Horizon Science Academies As State Probe Expands

Parents and teachers on Tuesday told the Ohio Board of Education that a recent string of accusations against the Horizon Science Academies is becoming a distraction to student education. Shahrazad Ali, whose grandson is a freshman at the Horizon Science Academy in Cincinnati,went as far as saying that opponents of charter schools are conducting a [...]

Department of Education Accuses ESC of Flouting State Law on Charter Schools

An educational service center in Northeast Ohio is in trouble with the state Department of Education after trying to open a charter school in southern Ohio. Department of Education spokesman John Charlton says the Portage County Educational Service Center violated at least three rules in sponsoring what was being called Hope4Change Academy. First, Portage County [...]

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