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Stephen Dyer: Charters Widen Ohio’s Achievement Gaps

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Author: dianeravitch

Stephen Dyer writes about a new report from the White House, detailing state achievement gaps.

“Recently, the White House put out a report outlining the country’s student achievement gap, and the news wasn’t great for Ohio.

“We had the nation’s ninth largest reading gap between our highest and lowest performing schools, the second-largest math achievement gap, and the fourth largest graduation gap. While much of this difference can be explained by the high performance of our highest performing schools, the gap is and should be a serious concern for Ohio’s educators, parents and policy makers.

“What the data show, however, is that far from being a solution to the achievement gap issue here, Ohio’s charter schools are part of the problem.”

He writes:

“Here are what the data tell us:

“Despite making up 8% of all Ohio school buildings, charters represent 13% of the worst-performing math buildings, 31% of the worst-performing reading buildings, and 78% of the buildings with the worst graduation rates.

“Ohio’s achievement gap is 6% bigger in math, 8% bigger in reading and a whopping 23% bigger in graduation rates than they would be if the analysis included just local public schools.

“And while the state’s achievement gap is still too large, in all three cases, eliminating charters from the calculation drops Ohio’s achievement gap ranking. Math drops from second to fourth greatest. Reading falls from ninth to 11th greatest. And the state’s graduation rate gap tumbles from fourth to 14th highest.

“The achievement gap is greater in charter schools for math than it is in the local public schools.”

Dyer warns:

“Folks in Youngstown and other places should take note of this federal data: Relying on charter schools to close achievement gaps in Ohio has not worked. In fact, it has led to greater gaps in student achievement overall. So before the new CEO in Youngstown decides to turn all of that city’s schools into charters or something, here’s hoping he or she looks at the evidence first and carefully considers district options.”

The post includes specific data and is worth a read.

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