Here was his answer to why 3 out of 4 of his schools are failing, (according to the Gongwer (subscription only) story):
"The intent here is to demonstrate some projections, but the effect is that you've got comparisons," he said in an interview. "The problem with these projections and the perception that they create is that in so far as charter schools are concerned, this isn't an apples to apples comparison."Why isn't this an apples-to-apples comparison? Tell me if you've heard this before:
"Charters are basically in Ohio's urban areas dealing with predominantly disadvantaged children as the districts are with those kids in those areas. Therefore, they really need to be compared performance-wise with the schools in those specific urban domains to get a true sense of how charter schools are doing relative to their district counterparts."Bill Sims is a great spokesman for his group. He is always on message, but not even he can sell this bit of nasty news. The facts fail Mr. Sims. Completely.
The Big 8 Urban districts -- the ones Mr. Sims demand Charters be compared with -- only provide 53% of the state's Charter School kids. In other words, almost half of all the kids in Ohio Charters do not come from the districts Sims insists his schools be compared with.
In addition, 45% of the $774 million sent to Charter Schools in the 2011-2012 school year came from schools outside the Big 8 (Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Dayton, Toledo, Youngstown).
The Charter Schools' only argument to explain away their dismal performance is this: "Yes, our evaluations are lousy, but even though we get about half our kids and money from non-Big 8 schools, our performance should only be compared with Big 8 Schools. Because that is an apples-to-apples comparison."
Look, I am sick of Charters wanting their cake and eating it too. They accept money from every school district in this state (except one), yet only want to be compared with the most challenged districts in the state.
Meanwhile, 3 out of 4 Charters are failing. They cost more per pupil than the traditional public schools despite paying their teachers 40% less, being exempt from about 270 sections of Ohio Revised Code, and failing to need to bus children.
Not only that, but 40% of the money sent to Charters comes from districts that do better than the Charter on both the state's current report card and performance index score. And 90% of the money sent to Charters comes from Districts that, on average, score 18 points higher on the performance index score.
And as for the urbans? Big 8 urban buildings do better on the performance index score than their charter counterparts, with 10% greater poverty rates, according to the latest report card.
Are there good, even great, charters in Ohio? Yes. But when only 23 of 300+ Charters in this state rate above the state average on the performance index score, not nearly enough fit that bill.
I am sick of the excuses, especially when they mirror the exact arguments Charter advocates have so cavalierly mocked over the years. I am sick of Charters claiming poverty when their argument was they could do a better job at a cheaper cost, not the same cost as traditional schools. Given their lower costs, the fact we have a real debate about which system is more expensive is outrageous. I am sick of the really good Charters in this state being bogged down by the enormous weight of Ohio's incredible Charter failures.
After this budget, we're looking at somewhere on the order of $8 billion being spent over the 15-year life of this "experiment". That's about a year and a third of state funding for every child in Charter and Traditional schools. And what do we have to show for it? Three out of 4 Charters failing the kids of this state.
It is time for people of conscience in the Charter School community to stand up and acknowledge the obvious: This is not working for the vast majority of kids in Charter Schools. We need to make serious reforms to ensure that Ohio's Charter Schools are living up to the promises made so many years ago.
Want a place to start? How about only funding the 1 out of 4 Charters that aren't failing, even if they're only getting Ds rather than Fs?
Let's take the savings and provide property tax relief to the citizens of this state, just as the Ohio Constitution and Supreme Court have demanded for years.