Trends in Charter School Authorizing

As Ohio now has over 60 organizations sponsoring close to 300 charter schools, this new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute should be of interest to all anyone concerned about the state’s charter program.

Among the report’s findings:

1)   sponsors do not renew charter school contracts because of poor

      academic performance:

2)   sponsors are growing choosier about the schools they approve (in part

      because of the cost of sponsoring troubled schools);

3)   half of all sponsors, especially smaller and district sponsors, exercise limited  

      oversight of their schools.

4)   sponsors are underfunded, and the vast majority say they would use

      additional funds to hire staff to monitor schools’ academic performance; and

5)   sponsoring is still new and dominated by small-scale, school-district sponsors.

Of Ohio’s 60 plus sponsoring organizations, a full 75 percent are traditional districts that sponsor only one or two schools. These district sponsors tend to operate in the shadows, while other types of sponsors—higher education institutions, non-profit organizations, independent chartering boards, state education agencies, municipal offices and county education agencies—operate under the continual scrutiny of charter critics.

This report is a good first step in examining what types of sponsors do the best work, and how state policy can support the development of more and better sponsors.

To read the report, surf here.

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