November 07, 2007
The charter-school scene in Ohio is not one in which education reformers can take pride. Sam Dillon writes in the New York Times
that 57 percent of Buckeye State charter schools "are in academic watch
or emergency, compared with 43 percent of traditional public schools."
But that doesn't mean the entire charter school idea is a bad
one--plenty of institutions show that, when done right, charter schools
can offer great educations to kids who otherwise wouldn't have them.
Unfortunately, Ohio's Governor Ted Strickland and state Attorney General
Marc Dann are using the bad apples as justification to uproot the whole
charter-tree. Dillon's article notes that Dann is suing several charter
schools in order to shut them down, but he fails to report about how
novel and overbearing that legal strategy actually is. Dillon also neglects to mention that Dann got the lawsuit idea from the state's teacher union!
Lesson to states who don't want to repeat Ohio's experience: Demand
quality in charter-school applications and be rigid with oversight.
Otherwise, charter opponents will devalue the whole concept, with
failing schools as their ammunition.
"Ohio Goes After Charter Schools That Are Failing," by Sam Dillon, New York Times, November 8, 2007