A charter school is created based on an idea of developing a school that includes teaching methods different from traditional public schools, to better benefit students. Whether charter schools will fulfill this potential depends on how charter schools are designed and implemented. Since the breadth and depth of charter schools within the nation are so varied, the information within this page specifically focuses on information regarding Ohio’s charter schools.
What is a Charter School?
A charter school is an independently run public school granted greater flexibility in its operations, in return for greater accountability for performance. The "charter" establishing each school is a performance contract detailing the school's mission, program, students served, performance goals, and methods of assessment.
Charter Schools FAQ Source: http://uncommonschools.org/faq-what-is-charter-school
1974: Ray Budde publishes the paper “Education by Charter” That initially gets no response from the public, but would eventually set the foundation for charter schools that we know today.
1988: Budde publication from 1974 republished and distributed widely.
1988: Albert Shanker proposes the idea of teachers setting up new autonomous schools under the name first created by Ray Budde: charter schools.
1991: The first law allowing the establishment of charter schools was passed in Minnesota
1992: First charter school opens in Minnesota.
1992: California passes charter school bill; Bill Clinton is supportive of charter schools in his campaign.
1993: Six additional states including Colorado, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, enact charter school legislation.
1997: First charter schools were authorized in Ohio.
1998: First charter school opens in Ohio.
2000: Minnesota receives Innovation in American Government Award for the chartering law, George W. Bush prominently includes chartering as part of his education platform and is elected president.
2008: Cleveland had the largest charter school enrollment in Ohio (12,674), followed by Columbus (9,259), Cincinnati (6,794) Toledo (6,428), and Dayton (6,252); Barack Obama and John McCain include charter schools in their campaign.
2009: With more than 4 billion in federal aid, President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan pressure states to ease limits on charter schools.
2010: All but 11 states have chartering laws.
The chart below lists the differences in funding between charter schools and traditional public schools:
TRADITIONAL PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Charter schools face a lot of criticism about whether they have a higher, lower, or the same success rate as public schools. Most research has shown that charter schools, in Ohio, have the same performance levels as their public school counterparts. Charter schools have often been referred to as “flash and crash schools,” meaning that they are managed poorly and have a low teacher retention rate, however our research has shown that charter school performance is relatively comparable to Ohio’s traditional public schools.
Opinion on the Success of Ohio’s Charter Schools:
“Charter schools have been a source of conflict among Ohio’s educators and policymakers. Some champion charter schools as alternatives to struggling urban districts around the state and as an option for parents seeking schools that best suit their children. Others say charter schools siphon funding from local public school districts and do not offer students a better education.”
Ohio Charter School Performance Report for 2010-2011
This report provides detailed descriptions and graphics comparing the “success” of traditional public schools and public charter schools in the eight major urban districts in Ohio (Ohio 8): Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown. We have highlighted some of the findings below.
Chart 1: shows that a greater percentage of charter schools than traditional district schools had Performance Index scores of 100 or better. The Performance Index score is a weighted average of a school’s student achievement in all tested subjects in grades, three through eight, with the most weight given to students who exceed state standards.
Chart 2: shows the percentages of Ohio 8 charter and traditional schools in terms of where they fall in “Value Added Growth” categories. “Value Added” is a measure of the growth students made in both reading and math over the course of one year, compared with how much progress the state expected of them.
Charts 11 & 12: show the percentages of Ohio 8 charter and traditional schools in those districts in each performance category. From best to worst, those performance categories are: excellent with distinction, excellent, effective, continuous improvement, academic watch, and academic emergency. Note that more charter schools received the rating of “excellent with distinction,” even though charter schools also have more schools in “academic emergency.”
Ohio 8 Report Card Comparison:
Not private so there is no tuition
Provides families with alternative options to public schools in their area
All students can apply and be admitted to charter schools within their area
Tend to have smaller class sizes and smaller enrollment numbers
Some schools focus on particular disciplines such as science or math
Competition to maintain and gain academic success drives motivation and success in charter school because they always run the risk of being shut down
Some funding is pushed towards charter schools and taken away from public schools
Teachers are paid less than most public school districts
Compared to public schools, charter school have a higher staff turnover based on performance
Often funding and resources are not distributed appropriately
There is not a lot of evidence on charter school success as charter schools started in the 1990’s and are still a new idea
Most performance shows charter schools perform relatively on the same level as public schools
If more students apply than there are open spots, the admissions process becomes a random lottery
Often operated similar to businesses and business models as well as schools
Often charter schools limit their applications and enrollment based on targeted controls
Can often lead to less diversity based on target enrollment and the area
Link that lists all charter schools in Ohio: http://www.charterschooltools.org/charterSchools.cfm?stateID=35
There are many different charter schools in Cleveland and some examples of charter school groups are:
Over 2600 students in 7 schools
Each school in this system is part of a different model that works uniquely with students
Each school offers a different learning environment and classroom setting
I Can Schools
Most schools are K-8, but some are K-12
7 different schools
Prepare students for a college-prep level high school
Respect, Responsibility and Relentlessness
The Intergenerational Schools
K-6 and K-8
Goal is to create multi-generational learners and community members
Virtue-centered schooling and community involvement
Home visits before school year starts, extended school days,
The Prep Schools
Focus on preparation for college and making sure all students have academic success
Akron has a few charter schools and is considered one of the top 8 districts with urban schooling and some of these schools are:
I Can Schools
Most schools are K-8, but some are K-12
7 different schools
Prepare students for a college-prep level high school
Respect, Responsibility and Relentlessness
Hands-on learning through field trips, classroom experiments and community involvement
Students have strict dress codes, behavior plans and even restrictions on packed lunches
Next Frontier Academy
Agriculture based school
Participation in FFA, child nutrition and aquaponics
Free tutoring and Saturday classes
Entrepreneurship program and focuses on making students responsible for their own job searches
Use fun, integrity, and justice as part of their mission statement
Cincinnati has many different charter schools and one specific school is highlighted later on. A few more examples are:
Alliance Academy http://www.nhaschools.com/schools/alliance/en/pages/default.aspx
Free breakfast to all students and students may qualify for free/reduced lunch
Focus on school safety and individual attention/instruction
The curriculum and instruction also have a moral aspect involved
Carpe Diem http://www.carpediemaiken.com
Blended learning model: online and classroom based instruction
Students are not “labeled” by their grade level, but the school focuses on students mastering individual subjects instead
STEAM Academy http://steamacademycincinnati.org
Focus on STEM models of teaching, but also include Arts (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math)
King Academy Community School http://www.kingacademyohio.com
Focus on an academic, moral, physical and aesthetic education
Columbus has many different charter schools and one will be highlight specifically as long with highlights from a few other charter schools:
KIPP Public Charter Schools http://www.kipp.org/school-content/kipp-journey-academy
“Knowledge Is Power Program”
Focus on 5 pillars: choice and commitment, more time. power to lead, focus on results, high expectations
Goal to serve students that live in undereducated and disadvantaged communities
Graham Expeditionary Middle School http://www.gemsschool.org
Small school and classroom setting
Individual needs for all students known by teachers
Focus on hands-on learning and exploration
Project based learning
Blended learning high school
Provides an environment similar to college
Heavy focus on using technology and always staying up to date on new advances
Focus Learning Academy http://focuslearn.org
3 schools that focus on students age 16-22
Online learning with some face to face meetings for the core subjects
Self-paced learning and students can choose their own course of study
Cornerstone Academy http://cornerstoneacad.org
Core and Paragon Curriculum
School is similar to a magnet school with a focus on arts and technology
Franklinton Preparatory Academy http://www.franklintonprep.org
Blended Learning: traditional teaching combined with individuality of online schools
Students will work towards the four paths that the school focuses on:
Employment right after high school (wage based)
Teachers are encouraged to create individualized lesson plans based off of the school’s program, Accelerate It!
Canton charter schools are similar to those in Cleveland and Akron, due to their close proximity in the state. Many schools that are in the Canton area, students in Cleveland and Akron sometimes attend.
Dayton is another urban area with charter schools similar to those in Cincinnati including:
Richard Allen Schools http://www.richardallenschools.com
Focus on 5 strategies: early education, high expectations, focused core curriculum with direct instruction, parent engagement, technological support
The students learn that failure is not an acceptable option
Four schools that serve different grade ranges between K-9
North Dayton School of Discover http://www.nhaschools.com/schools/northdayton/en/pages/default.aspx
School safety and individualized instruction are top priorities
Focus on moral and academic instruction
Free breakfast, longer school days and Saturday classes
STEAM Academy http://steamacademydayton.org
Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics
Focus on being technologically literate
Mosaica school design: http://mosaicaeducation.com/paragon/our-pillars/
DECA Prep School http://decaprep.org
Dayton Early College Academy
Students that are considered to be first generation college students
Age appropriate extracurricular activities, rigorous curriculum and design for students planning college later in life
Horizon Science Academy http://es.horizondayton.org
Focus on science, technology and math
College prep curriculum and instruction
Bennett Venture Academy http://www.nhaschools.com/schools/bennett/en/pages/default.aspx
Moral and academic instruction
Safe and individualized needs are top priorities
Phoenix Academy http://www.phoenixtoledo.org
Educational environment that is for students needing “non-traditional” classroom instruction
Online learning to provide self-paced learning: students must be online 6 hours a day or 30 hours per week.
High school and a junior high
The Maritime Academy of Toledo http://www.maritimeacademy.us
Weekly individualized plans for each student are created based on needs and where they are going next in the curriculum
Hands-on learning and classrooms are set up in stations
Youngstown has many charter schools, which are similar to those discussed above and other neighboring cities, but a few examples are:
Youngstown Academy of Excellence http://youngstownacademy.org
Mosaica Design: http://mosaicaeducation.com/paragon/our-pillars/
Expectations for students to be computer literate and have hands-on experience with technology
Youngstown Community School http://www.youngstowncommunityschool.k12.oh.us
Low student-teacher ratios and smaller classroom settings for individualized instruction
Parents serve on the governing board
Focus on students with ADHD/ADD, Autism Spectrum disorders and other related disorders for alternative learners
Therapeutic Service based school
Martial arts classes
Sensory integration, learning, and accommodations are the central focus for building classrooms
Most students have an IEP
Low student teacher ratio
Highly qualified teacher in each classroom as well as a teaching partner that is a paraprofessional
27 schools throughout Dayton, Columbus, Cincinnati, Columbus, Youngstown, Xenia, Warren, Toledo, Canton and Akron
Students all wear uniforms
Attend to students age 5-22
How many students are enrolled in online charter schools?
- 34,555 students are currently enrolled in Ohio’s online charter schools
- All students enrolled in a charter school receive a computer and internet access to the school
How are online charter schools funded?
- Online charter schools are funded on a per-pupil bases from the state, online charter schools receive $5,475 per student
How many Online Charter schools are there?
- All online schools in Ohio are Charter schools
- there are currently 27 online charter schools in Ohio
- 12 online charter schools are open to students across the state, 15 online charter schools are based in specific school districts
How are students assessed?
- All students enrolled in online charter schools are required to take all standardized achievement tests including the Ohio Graduation Test and the Ohio Achievement Assessment.
How do students enroll in online charter schools?
- If interested in an online charter schools the first step is for a family to contact the online school about enrollment. No permission from the home school district is required.
- An e-school enrollment application must also be filled out, and can be found on the Ohio Department of Education’s website: http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/School-Choice/Community-Schools/eSchools
Pros and Cons of Teaching at Online Charter Schools:
Pros: There are many positives to teaching online. Virtual instructors are able to work from wherever they choose, and are not required to relocate to the area or state where their school is stationed. Because most online courses are taught asynchronously instructors are able to set their own hours while teaching an online course.
Cons: There are also several drawbacks that come with teaching at an online school. Some online schools have a pre-made curriculum that instructors are forced to use, and this prevents online teachers from using materials that were previously successful in past courses. Teaching online can also be very isolating, and many teachers prefer to work face to face with their peers and pupils.
Ohio Online Charter Schools:
Akron Digital Academy
Mahoning Unlimited Classroom
Alternative Education Academy (Statewide)
Marion City Digital Academy
Auglaize County Educational Academy
Massillon Digital Academy, Inc
Buckeye On-Line School for Success (Statewide)
Mosaica Online of Ohio (Statewide)
Cardington Lincoln Local Digital Academy
Newark Digital Academy
Electronic Classroom Of Tomorrow (Statewide)
Ohio Connections Academy, Inc (Statewide)
Fairborn Digital Academy
Ohio Virtual Academy (Statewide)
Findlay Digital Academy
Provost Academy Ohio (Statewide)
Goal Digital Academy
Quaker Digital Academy (Statewide)
Greater Ohio Virtual (Statewide)
Southwest Licking Digital Acad
Insight School of Ohio (Statewide)
Treca Digital Academy (Statewide)
Lakewood Digital Academy
Virtual Community School Of Ohio (Statewide)
Lorain High School Digital
West Central Learning Academy II
Dr. Brooks on Charter Schools: http://youtu.be/cb_l7cjDQP4
Video put together by Corinne Hastings in which Dr. Brooks discusses advice for teachers who want to teach in or begin a charter school, by drawing on his personal experiences of starting Franklinton Preparatory Academy in Columbus, OH.
Ohio Charter Schools Debate:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umAsPB0nbw4
News report describing President Obama’s ideas for educational reform, including his policy for “no charter school limitations”