The Ohio Department of Education is declining $22 million in federal charter school grant money, saying some organizations that authorize charter schools are rated too poorly to qualify.
The decision to give up federal funds comes as Ohio charters are facing increased scrutiny, including from former U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich who is on a speaking tour this week to criticize charter schools in the state.
To receive federal funds to expand charters, sponsors—school districts, public agencies and non-profit organizations that authorize charters—are supposed to be rated “effective” or “exemplary.” Only five out of 65 sponsors received “effective” ratings and none were deemed exemplary in the fall, according to the Associated Press. See a list of sponsors and ratings by the Ohio Department of Education.
The Ohio education agency sent a letter earlier this month to the U.S. Department of Education, explaining that the state plans only to use $49.4 million out of $71 million granted in 2015 for charter expansions.
“While these numbers are lower than originally projected, we think the increased level of accountability will bolster the grant’s purpose of creating high-quality community schools,” states the letter by Steve Gratz, senior executive director of the department’s center for student support and education options.
Curator note: Ohio has a long history of implementing charter schools. See the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Ohio page on their website for a comprehensive, accurate and authoritative history of Ohio charter schools and the Fordham Institute’s involvement in developing oversight and accountability. The Ohio page provides excellent up-to-date news regarding Ohio education.
Also see a Pinterest page that has a number of local articles and studies about Ohio charter schools. These are not all mainstream media articles but many are.