Going overboard on charter school issue

Perhaps Ohio lawmakers ought to display a “moderation in everything” plaque at the Statehouse, at least when they are debating charter schools. They seem prone to going overboard on some aspects of the issue.

One might have thought the fiasco involving lack of oversight of online charter schools would have served as a cautionary tale. But another facet of charter school legislation has proven problematic. It involves student eligibility to attend state-subsidized charters.

One of the ideas behind charters is to provide alternatives for students in public schools that are failing them. A substantial number of schools in the Buckeye State fall into that category, as indicated by state evaluations.

But allowing students to attend charters reduces funding for public schools. Some of those on the state’s “failing” list should not have been there.

It was pointed out that some schools rated highly in most evaluation categories got the “failing” label because of even one “D” or “F” grade by the state.

That is, in a word, ridiculous. It penalizes public schools where staff clearly are trying hard to serve students and are succeeding in most respects.

Last week, legislators were trying to correct that flaw on eligibility for charter schools. Assuming they succeed, they should start soon to examine the whole gamut of charter school rules to avoid going overboard again.


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