Ohio Policy

This report, prepared for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute by Public Impact, compares charter school funding and district school funding. It finds that charter schools are under-funded compared to their district counterparts, even after accounting for differences in students and grade levels. These findings should be taken seriously by those who argue that charter schools drain funds from district schools.

Prepared for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute By Public Impact

Much has changed in education in Dayton during the past two years. The remarkable election of a "reform" majority to the Dayton school board, and the selection of a new superintendent. Passage of a huge levy for school-building construction and renewal. The arrival of the No Child Left Behind Act and Ohio's Senate Bill 1. The dramatic growth of the charter-school sector and of controversy surrounding it. Some ferment on the high-school reform front. And much more. Thus, it seemed time to once again "take the community's temperature" with respect to a wide array of K-12 education issues. Herewith are the results.

Increasingly, charter schools are being held to the accountability standards of traditional district schools and are now also subject to the newest requirements regarding student achievement and accountability under the No Child Left Behind Act. Unfortunately, few charter schools have the financial resources necessary to hire full-time testing coordinators to help them navigate the intricacies of state and federal testing requirements. This primer is designed to aid charter school leaders in coordinating testing and test data reporting procedures as required by state and federal guidelines. The report seeks to answer the following questions:

  1. What are the roles and responsibilities of charter schools under Ohio's new accountability system?
  2. What do charter schools need to know to effectively administer the test?
  3. What are the responsibilities of charter schools regarding testing?

This report presents a summary of the administration and results of annual pre- and post-testing of pupils enrolled in charter schools in Dayton and Springfield, Ohio during the 2001-2002 school year. The assessment activities were a project of the Education Resource Center of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce (DACC). The efforts of the DACC were supported in part via philanthropic gifts from the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and other sources. The primary purposes of the assessment project were: 1) to help classroom teachers monitor individual student achievement and adapt instruction to promote learning; 2) to provide data for schools to assist them in gauging and improving their overall effectiveness; and 3) to foster public accountability and model the use of data to inform educational decision making.

This unique survey compares the views of parents with children in private, public and charter schools on the quality of their own schools as well as a range of education reform issues. Conducted in Dayton, Ohio,  home to one of the nation's fastest growing charter school programs as well as a strong private voucher program, the data show that, while public school parents are generally less satisfied with their children's present schools, the overwhelming majority of parents and non-parents support bold reform in the public school system. The survey also shows strong support among all groups for publicly funded vouchers, higher academic standards and performance pay for teachers.

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