Funding Sub-Standard Local Charter Schools At The Expense Of CCS Students

eyes.jpgThe ColumbusCitySchool District had approximately 9,220 students living within its boundaries attend a charter school during the 2007-2008 school year. Students living within the district’s boundaries attended a total of 67 competing charter schools, including statewide “virtual” charter schools. Over two-thirds of the students and state funding that should have gone to Columbus City Schools actually went to charter schools that were designated by the Ohio Department of Education as having a “D” or “F” rating.

Click on the jump below to learn more about how Columbus students– and the state money that followed them—were taught and spent in local charter schools in the 2007-2008 school year.

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Note: All charts and graphs will open in a separate window when clicked upon.

When student enrollment in charter schools was categorized by the institution’s academic rating, 3,496 Columbus students attend charter schools that earned the “F” (Academic Emergency) F designation—more than any other state report card rating. A further 3,298 were enrolled in charter schools designated with the D rating—Academic Watch. Slightly more than 700 students attended a charter school that had not been rated academically by the state.

Of the 8,518 Columbus students attending a charter school that had received a state rating for the 2007-2008 academic year, over 79% attended a school ranked D or F. In contrast, only 34% of CCS students attended a district school with a similar rating.

There were no Columbus students that attended any charter school rated Excellent or Excellent with Distinction in 2007-2008 academic year. Only 486 of the 9,220 Columbus students who had left CCS were enrolled in a charter school that was rated Effective.

While charter schools are championed by their advocates as an opportunity for students to escape low-performing traditional public schools, data provided by the Ohio Education Association proves otherwise. Of the 8,518 Columbus students that attended an academically rated charter school, only 5.7% actually transferred to a charter school that performed at a higher level than their previous district-run school.

Each student that attended a charter school diverted $6,872 in state foundation funding pass-through-funding-with-dollar-signs-final.jpgfrom the Columbus City Schools to the charter school they were enrolled in. In total, $63,363,615 in state foundation funding “passed through” Columbus City Schools to competing charters throughout the county and state.

When the pass-through funding is viewed by the academic rating of enrolling charter schools, over two thirds of the total funding ($43.6 million) went to charter schools rated in the Academic Emergency or Academic Watch category. In total, only $3.3 million of the $63 million in state funding allowed Columbus students to enroll in charter schools that performed higher than their previous CCS-run school.

The state of Ohio requires all public schools to administer a total of 28 achievement tests to students between grades 3 through 11. The district’s passage rates on 27 of the 28 achievement tests were higher than the charter school average pass rate.

When reviewing state achievement test results at the elementary level, Columbus ccs-ch-3-to-5-graph.jpgstudents enrolled in district schools passed at higher levels than did students enrolled in competing charter schools (according to the average charter school pass rate) throughout the elementary grades (3-5) for each of the 9 subject/ grade level tests by a total average of 14.6%.

Columbus middle school students attending district schools passed at higher rates for ccs-ch-6-to-8-graph.jpgvirtually all the state achievement tests administered in grades 6-8 than did students enrolled in competing charter schools, according to the average charter school pass rate. Charter school students passed the Grade 7 Reading test at a slightly higher rate (0.7%) than did students enrolled in CCS middle schools—the only one of the 28 state-administered achievement tests.

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At the high school level, students attending district high schools passed at a higher rate on each of the 5 tests in grade 10 and 11.

Sources: Ohio Department of Education, Ohio Education Association.