Policy Spotlight: Reform of Ohio’s Charter School Policies, Including Fair Funding for High-Performing Charter Schools
For fifteen years, Ohio has been viewed as the “wild west” of the charter movement, with a cascade of scandals and lackluster student achievement.
In 2014, The Thomas B. Fordham Institute-Ohio sponsored a CREDO study showing the horrible performance of the state’s charters, and, in a report authored by Bellwether, offered recommendations for reform. A year later, the legislature enacted many of these proposals. It worked: the number of authorizers went from 67 to 35, dozens of low-performing charters closed. In 2019, a new CREDO study showed marked improvement in Ohio’s charter sector.
But charters were still vastly underfunded. In partnership, Fordham-Ohio, Ohio Excels, NAPCS, and the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) advocated for the governor and legislature to support additional funding for high-performing charters. This year’s state budget did just that boosting funding by $60 million over the biennium, or $1,750 per low-income pupil. This will go a long way to erasing the funding gap and helping Ohio’s top charters to serve more students. Ohio has demonstrated the charter sector’s remarkable ability to self-correct and put the needs of students first.