Ohio’s Charter Schools: Are They Accountable

A public forum on April 20 will present varied perspectives on Ohio’s “community schools,” commonly referred to as charters.  Panelists for “Ohio’s Charter Schools:  Are They Accountable?” will include Aaron Churchill, research analyst of the Thomas Fordham Institute, also a charter school sponsor; Steve Dyer, an attorney, is education policy fellow of Innovation Ohio; and Mary Ronan, superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools.   Journalist Krista Ramsey will serve as moderator for the forum.

Charter Schools were authorized by the Ohio legislature in 1997 to offer urban school children an alternative to their public schools.   As incubators for innovation, they have fewer regulations so they can try different educational approaches.  They could also provide competition to public schools, which would need to improve in order to maintain enrollment.  They have proved popular with parents: about 380 are currently in operation, serving over 100,000 students.

Unfortunately, as widely reported in the media, many have not lived up to this promise.  In Ohio their performance has been lackluster – particularly among the for-profit schools -- and finances sometimes mismanaged.   Their accountability is in question.  Critics worry that charters are competing with public schools for scarce resources.  While acknowledging these problems, proponents of charters argue they have been allocated too few resources to operate more effectively.

The panel will address these issues:  cover basic facts about the founding and funding for charter schools, as well as their promise, performance, and strategies for improvement.  Speakers will present their findings and answer questions from the audience.  

The League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area sponsors the forum with these cosponsors: the Xavier University School of Education; University of Cincinnati College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Service; Cincinnatus Association; Parents for Public Schools of Greater Cincinnati; Woman’s City Club of Greater Cincinnati; Applied Information Resources, Inc., Prepare the Future Ohio, a project of Faith & Community Alliance., and the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio.  For more information and questions, call 281-VOTE.

Date: 
Apr. 20, 2015 -
7:00pm to 8:45pm
Event Location: 
Clifton Recreation Center, 320 McAlpin Avenue, Cincinnati, 45220