A post from guest blogger and Fordham writer and researcher Emmy Partin .
It's frustrating to be a charter-school supporter in the Buckeye State. Charter performance in Ohio is, overall, barely equal and too often inferior to that of the district schools with which they compete. According to the latest data from the state, some 64 percent of Ohio's urban charter schools are rated "D" or "F" by the state, compared to about 50 percent of their district peers.
There are exceptions. In Fordham's hometown of Dayton , 6 of the 10 highest achieving public schools are charters. There, charter school students not only outperform their district peers on traditional measures of student achievement (47 percent of district students attended a school rated "academic emergency" while 28 percent of charter students were in such a school), but also on the state's new value-added growth measure (68 percent of Dayton charter students met or exceeded overall state growth expectations while only 37 percent of district students did). And there is more hope on the horizon. Ohio's first KIPP school opened its doors this month, and a trio of high-performing charters in Cleveland recently announced a new cooperative relationship .
A law intended to close chronically underperforming charter schools kicks in next year, yet just two charters (out of more than 300 statewide) will fall victim to it .
With a union-friendly, anti-school-choice governor aiming to take over the state's public education system and the state's tax coffers shrinking , Ohio's charter schools must prove their worth or risk being put out of business altogether. But if they aren't able to do this, even the most ardent choice supporters among us should not become excuse-making apologists for them.