Monday, January 13, 2014

Appalachia: Ohio's Third-Largest Charter School Funder

When most people think of Charter Schools, they think of urban districts. After all, that was how Charters were originally sold -- as a solution to a mostly urban problem of "failing" schools.

However, an interesting thing has happened in Ohio. According to the last payment report in December (which shows a record $888 million being spent on charters this school year), The state's top two districts, in terms of losing money to Charter Schools, are (not surprisingly) Cleveland with $140.4 million and Columbus with $114.7 million. However, the state's 34 Appalachian counties lose $106.6 million. Only Cleveland and Columbus lose more.

Of course, Appalachia is not one school district. But the fact that more money goes to Charters from Appalachian districts than from Cincinnati and Dayton combined is telling.

This is an outgrowth of the rise in e-Schools here in Ohio. E-Schools enroll kids from all over the state, including very high performing rural, suburban and urban districts. Yet their performance is really embarrassing.

Ohio's leaders need to focus more on quality choices, and less on choice for choice's sake. Let's hope that seeing that more money is being spent on Charters in Appalachia than anywhere but Cleveland and Columbus will make them realize that this isn't just an urban issue anymore.

It's an Ohio issue.

And they need to fix it.