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Most Ohio Charter Schools Would Get F's Under New School Report Card System

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Friday, March 22, 2013 at 7:00 PM

New state report cards are coming to Ohio schools. The new report cards move from a system of ratings such as "Excellent with Distinction" and "Academic Emergency" to an A-F grading system.

It's going to be harder for schools to get top grades under the new system. The Ohio Department of Education estimates that about three-quarters of schools would see their grades drop at least one level.

That's a particular problem for charter schools:

Ohio’s charter school closure law says if a charter is failing two out of three consecutive years, it automatically has to shut its doors. Under the new school evaluation guidelines, ten percent of charter schools that get a C or higher today would get an F. Combine those two ingredients and you’ve got a recipe for a panic attack.

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As the new school report cards are phased in, charter schools and school districts will receive grades in several areas such as how well students perform on state tests, how many students graduate on-time and how much schools close the achievement gap.

They will not initially receive a single overall grade.

In several of those areas, more than 70 percent of charter schools would receive F's, Gongwer News Service reports.

When we first reported on this issue last spring, charter school advocates were optimistic that the system would be adjusted to keep so many charter schools from being labeled failures.

Gongwer reports the Ohio Department of Education appears to be holding firm:

"The first thing we need to do is be steadfast in our decision to hold the bar high and to be clear and transparent about sharing the brutal facts with the field," [Ohio Department of Education associate superintendent Tina Thomas-Manning said]. "From there, we need to support districts and schools and teachers and parents and children."

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