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A StateImpact Ohio Series: Do Charter Schools Work?

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Friday, October 7, 2011 at 1:22 PM

Students at Pearl Academy, a charter school in Cleveland, practice what they're learning on computers.

Thirteen years ago, Ohio began its charter school experiment. Fifteen charter schools opened in 1998. Today, more than 300 charter schools are in operation and will receive more than half a billion dollars in state funds this year.

More than 113,000 students attended a charter school in 2010-11: That’s about one out of every 15 public school students.

Charter schools were supposed to offer students who weren’t succeeding in traditional public schools—either because of the school or the student—a good education. They were supposed to apply competitive principles to Ohio’s public school marketplace by encouraging traditional public schools to improve in order to retain students.

Has Ohio’s charter school experiment succeeded?

Next week, StateImpact Ohio will start to answer that question.
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Over the next few weeks we’ll be producing a series of online and broadcast stories answering questions about Ohio’s charter schools:

  • How do charter school students perform academically?
  • Are there different types of charter schools?
  • Who manages charter schools and how much money is involved?
  • What are the rules that govern charter schools?

Along the way we’ll introduce you to people such as David Hovis, a Cleveland father who worked with a group of parents to found a charter school as an alternative to local traditional public schools.

You’ll hear from Tom Barrett, president of the state’s largest for-profit school management company, White Hat Management.

And we’ll take on some of the common misconceptions about charter schools and answer your questions about how charter schools operate and how they’ve changed Ohio’s educational landscape.

To start things off, check out this Q-and-A between StateImpact editor M.L. Schultze and reporter Ida Lieszkovszky.

[audio href="" title="The ABC's of Ohio Charter Schools."]Listen to this Q-and-A about the basics of Ohio charter schools.[/audio]

Got a question already? Think there’s an angle we ought to pursue? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or email us at