Since charter (“community”) schools began in Ohio in 1998, they have continued to increase in number, taking an ever-growing amount of funding away from Ohio’s real community schools – public school districts. 99% of Ohio’s school districts lose state funding to charter schools every year — charters that are grossly underperforming their public school counterparts.
If you want to help stem the tide of charter school expansion in Ohio, it’s important to look at the past. Look at this chart that shows the number of charter schools in Ohio since 1998.
Over the past 16 years, the number of charter schools increased fairly slowly at the beginning, jumped significantly from 2001-2005, flattened out for a few years (including the only two years that charter expansion stalled — 2008 and 2009), and the number of schools has started to grow again. It’s important to look at our state government for these various time frames to understand what was happening.
Here’s the political party composition of the Ohio General Assembly & Ohio Governor during Ohio’s charter school years:
Ohio has obviously been dominated by Republicans during this time frame and during the early years, when the number of charter schools grew the most, Ohio was led by a Republican Governor (Taft), and Republicans held super-majorities in both the House and the Senate.
In 2007, when Democrat Ted Strickland took the helm as Governor, the Ohio House also underwent a transformation, with Republicans losing 7 seats and losing their super-majority. It was during these years that charter school growth held flat. In year 3 of Strickland’s term, Democrats took over the majority in the house and the number of charter schools in Ohio actually decreased for the first and only time in our state’s history as charter schools were beginning to be held more accountable for their performance. While the chart shows a slight increase again in 2010, it still reflects a more stringent charter school approval process than was previously enacted. From 2008 – 2010, more charter schools closed down (58) than in any other 3-year stretch. Governor Strickland and the Democrat-led House had stymied the unfettered growth of charter schools.
Now, since Republicans have regained control of the General Assembly and the Governor’s office, the number of charter schools is growing every year as they work to expand “school choice” across Ohio and keep Ohio’s charters less accountable than the public schools.
Are you opposed to Ohio’s legislature continuing to promote the opening of new charter schools that divert state funding from your local schools while performing worse and being held less accountable?
VOTE BLUE all the way down the ticket this year to bring Ohio back into balance.