File not found
Charter Schools

Education Next on Ohio's New and Improved Charter School Law

Aaron Churchill recently blogged about Ohio's charter school law changes, focusing on the vast improvements the state recently made. Ohio, known for its "Wild, Wild West" charter school sector, faced issues with fraud, low-performance, and poor oversight. As Churchill points out, however, the law can only take us so far.
With legislative reform in the rearview mirror, the critical work of implementing these provisions begins in earnest. One facet of policy implementation deserves special mention: Many of the reforms hinge on the  authorizer evaluations tasked to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). Can the state agency safeguard the fidelity, rigor, and consistency of the evaluation process, especially in the face of political pressure either to weaken it or make it overly harsh? Can ODE maintain transparency around the evaluation procedures and results, which is essential to determining whether state authorities are evaluating authorizers diligently and fairly? Can the Herculean task of evaluating all authorizers—Ohio has seventy or so of them—be done in a timely fashion? Much depends on the answers to these questions. Of course, the state alone doesn’t bear the responsibility of faithful implementation. Leaders at the authorizer, board, and school levels will need to follow and implement the new law as well. Will governing boards, for example, use their newfound leadership authority for the good of their schools? Will they enter into sensible contracts with management companies? Can they leverage objective information to make sound decisions about the financial and academic health of their schools?

Join the Movement