How Charter Schools Are Using Sophisticated Marketing To Lure Students

Ohio charter schools are appealing to students' and parents' emotions in their advertising in order to persuade students their school is a better choice than regular public school, according to a story published by the Beacon Journal.

Ashley Morris and Brittany Landsberger of, a student journalism project, write that charter schools are finding success in advertising with phrases like "free," "flexible," "one-on-one" and "find your future" to attract new students.

Morris and Landsberger write:

The biggest charter school in the state is the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, or ECOT, an online school enrolling 14,486 students statewide.

Rob Palowitz, president of Palo Creative of Youngstown, watched a YouTube video produced by the Columbus-based ECOT. He said the ad worked because it triggers a parent's fear and emotion about issues such as bullying.

"A part of marketing is [creating] an emotional tie - an emotional tie of fear, fear of exposure, fear of other people," Palowitz said. "The emotional tie to fear of a kid, or kids, being exposed to bullying or feeling that they want to protect their child from those scenarios."

State audits suggest that some Ohio charter schools spend more than $400 in public money per student to attract them away from public schools.

You can watch ads produced and aired by ECOT Electronic here. is a student journalism lab based at Youngstown State University working with the Beacon Journal.  Read their story here.

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