Editor's note: This post originally appeared in slightly different form at the Chartering Quality blog.
Back in 2006, NACSA, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute issued Turning the Corner to Quality, a tough report on Ohio’s charter sector whose message was summed up in its first major recommendation: “Clean House.” There were too many failing charters, oversight had gone from bad to worse after the legislature removed chartering authority from the state education department, and the state’s charter cap was effectively shutting out strong operators.
In the intervening eight years, a lot of good things have happened, including successful charter ventures like Cleveland’s Breakthrough Schools; a default-closure law that has eliminated twenty-four low-performing charters; and most recently, a concerted effort by the state agency’s Quality School Choice office, led by former NACSA staffer David Hansen, to bring accountability to the state’s multitudinous authorizers.
Yet the muck persists. Last week, CREDO at Stanford reported that on the whole, students in Ohio’s charters are getting fourteen fewer days of learning in reading and thirty-six fewer days in math than their counterparts in district-run schools. There are some bright spots. Cleveland charters outperform...