Last year charter schools cost the taxpayers of Springboro $605,000 – money that could have gone to support our own schools, funded gifted and special needs programs, hired additional teachers, or helped pay for arts, sports, and other enhancements.
What did we get for our money? Two C rated charter schools, five D rated charter schools, and 3 charter schools with the mysterious N/A rating – all lower than our own rating of B – which we have due largely to a shortage of resources for gifted and special needs students and the way that the State of Ohio calculates value added. By most metrics, our district is among the best in the region and the state comparatively.
Odd that these underperforming charter schools are able to operate with a total lack of transparency and accountability, while at the same time our politicians seem hell bent on demanding a ridiculous quantity of these same things from our public and parochial educators at the expense of our kids actually enjoying learning. Our teachers are now mandated to spend countless hours teaching to the test so that we can pretend to measure their effectiveness as educators, when in reality these tests have marginal value in measuring anything other than one’s ability to take a standardized test. These rigid and rigorous accountability metrics that are professed by our political leaders as being vital to evaluating our schools, are noticeably absent when it comes to charter schools. If politicians believe we have to have an endless barrage of standardized multiple choice questions to truly gauge the effectiveness of public educators, why then would the same rules not apply to experimental models of education? It does not add up. Well, actually it does add up to the cost of $605,000 of taxpayer money in Springboro for, based on the limited data that is available, subpar educational choices.
The data would sadly suggest that all too often “school choice” is about politicians making the choice to funnel visible, local, accountable education dollars away from the kids it was intended for and into the pockets of wealthy for profit education vultures in exchange for a steady stream of campaign contributions.
I won’t go so far as to say that everyone who supports alternative models of education would support the current mismanagement that exists. That would be foolish, unfair, and untrue. I know better. I’m not even saying there is no role for charter schools or alternative models of education, however I will say this:
- The current system of school choice is broken and has not delivered an appropriate return on the investment of the education dollars of the taxpayers of Ohio.
- These educational or political experiments known as charter schools should not be conducted and funded at the expense of our already under funded system of public education.
- If these are truly educational experiments, shouldn’t the level of scrutiny and accountability be held to a significantly higher standard?
- People are getting rich from taxpayer money that is supposed to be educating children, which you should find troubling and sickening regardless of the educational model you believe is most appropriate.
- Election day is coming. Find out what the candidates on your ballot think about supporting public education, holding all types of educational models to high standards of accountability, and making sure that education related tax dollars are actually spent on educating the children of Ohio, and then cast your vote accordingly.
Want to know where your tax money is going and what you are getting in return?