Among the toughest challenges in education is keeping at-risk youngsters from dropping out of school. That does not mean institutions specializing in the task should not be required to meet some state requirements, however.
More than 18,000 Ohio children attend special "dropout recovery" charter schools, which are private institutions receiving government funding. Perhaps in recognition of the difficulty of coaching such youngsters through to graduation, state officials exempted such schools from some rules governing other institutions, both public and private. Among the exemptions is one that saves the dropout-recovery schools from being closed down if they do not meet certain criteria for academic achievement.
Gov. John Kasich has proposed removing that exemption. He believes dropout-recovery schools should be held to performance standards, too.
Without state funding, most of the state's 74 dropout-recovery schools would be forced out of business. In addition to some federal funding, the state gives them $5,653 a year for each pupil.
Proponents of the schools insist they ought to be given some breaks on performance standards, simply because of what they do. They are correct about that.
As public educators know, students thinking of dropping out of school are among the most difficult children to handle. Many are failing already. Some - and, it is important to note, their parents - just don't care. Convincing them diplomas are important, then getting them back into an academic groove, can be exceedingly challenging.
Still, simply handing over checks for taxpayers' money to schools that claim to be addressing the headache is not wise.
Indeed, allowances need to be made for the type of students in classes at dropout-recovery schools. But the governor is right that some standards should be devised and enforced. Legislators, after careful examination of the situation, should enact such rules.