The Ohio Department of Education released the state test results Friday, so we feel obliged to tell you that once again, Ohio’s public school districts significantly outperformed their charter school “competitors”.  We’re growing tired of beating this dead horse…

We’ll be breaking down the numbers in more detail in the coming weeks, but here are some lowlights:

  • Of the 3,274 school buildings that received a Performance Index Score (a composite of standardized test performance), 228 of the 281 charter schools ranked in the bottom 25%.  To explain that another way, 81% of Ohio’s rated charter schools that fell in the bottom quarter.  And finally, one more way: 4 out of 5 charter schools had a rating based on student performance that was in the bottom 1/4 of all of Ohio’s schools. [Point of clarity – these rankings do not include “dropout recovery schools”]
  • 262 charter schools (93%) ranked in the bottom 50%.  9 out of 10 charter schools  fell in the bottom half.
  • Regarding the much-ballyhooed Third Grade Reading Guarantee, the “Holy Grail” of education reform for Ohio’s boys and girls, 81% of Ohio’s 3rd graders scored proficient or above on the 3rd grade OAA.  This number is down by 0.4% from last year, meaning that approximately 500 fewer 3rd graders scored proficient than last year. [Perhaps if teachers had been able to spend more time teaching and less time testing…]
  • While 81% of all students scored proficient or above on the 3rd grade reading test, the rate in charter schools was only 65.2% (the rate for public schools was 84.6%, a minuscule 0.08% increase over last year).  Put another way, 3rd graders in Ohio’s public schools scored at a rate 19.4 points higher than their charter school competition — charters who dragged the overall rate down this year.
  • In 2012-2103, just over 2/3 of both school districts and charter schools showed an increase (or maintained) in the percentage of 3rd graders reading proficient (according to the state test).  Last year, only 51% of of school districts and only 46% of charter schools showed an increase in the percentage of 3rd graders reading proficient. [Again, if teachers had been able to spend more time teaching and less time testing…]
  • While the Third Grade Reading Guarantee was supposedly intended to “help” struggling readers, the percentage of students scoring at the lowest level, Limited, actually grew by 0.7% (approximately 880 students).  Ironically, the percentage of students at the top level increased by 3.2%. [A small highlight, but not exactly the point of the law…]
  • ECOT, the state’s largest charter school and the 10th largest “district” in Ohio with a reported enrollment of 14,611, put up 7 F’s and 1 D in the state’s new graded categories. While the Cleveland School District was “so horrendous” that it got it’s own law to regulate its operations, ECOT’s 4-year graduation rate was 26 percentage points lower, and its 5-year rate was 24 points lower. [We’ll have to do an entire post explaining how ECOT wasted the $100,000,000 in state tax dollars they received last year.]
  • A special shout-out goes to Menlo Park Academy, the Cuyahoga County charter school for gifted students (only) for continuing to score very high on state tests while once again earning an F grade for “Gifted Value-Added”.

Remember, charter schools aren’t simply pulling students from the lowest-performing schools, they enroll students from nearly every single district across Ohio.  They aren’t just “competing” with the big urban districts, they have earned the right to be compared with everyone.

Last year, charter schools took over $900 million directly out of school district budgets at a rate of $7,497 per student. The public districts, meanwhile, averaged less than half that amount — $3,476 per student — in funding from the state.

Quite the investment we’re all getting, eh?

Thanks for spending our hard-earned tax dollars so wisely, Governor Kasich.