Ohio’s charter school movement has faced a number of challenges over the past decade. A myriad of school closings and allegations of financial misconduct contributed to it being dubbed the Wild, Wild West of charter schools. Making matters worse, a comprehensive analysis in 2014 by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) found that, on average, Ohio charter students lost fourteen days of learning in reading and forty-three days of learning in math over the course of the school year compared to similar students in traditional public schools. To its credit, the Ohio General Assembly recognized these problems and in October 2015 passed House Bill 2 (HB 2)—a comprehensive reform of the Buckeye State’s charter school laws.
Ask any charter public school leader in the United States the thorniest issues they have to overcome in opening and running a great school and you will inevitably hear about facility challenges. Bottom line - the lack of affordable school facilities are a serious inhibitor to the growth and expansion America’s charter school sector.
The charter school movement includes a lot of very reasonable people. Case in point, last week the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools released the latest version of the model charter school law. Like its predecessor, this is an important and pragmatic document. Just as the original model law has been instrumental in the growth and success of the charter school movement, this more mature version will inform the evolution and growth of the charter school space for years to come. Of course, it is not perfect and getting consensus on every detail is an unrealistic goal. But after a long, carefully considered, and inclusive process, the updated version should prove highly useful—at least if we can find reasonable politicians to use it.
This morning, we released a major new report, A Model Law For Supporting the Growth of High-Quality Charter Public Schools: Second Edition.
Tomorrow the National Alliance is releasing a new charter school model law to serve as a resource for state legislators and advocates as they design and implement charter laws. Today we celebrate the accomplishments of the previous model law with our Senior Director of State Advocacy Russ Simnick.