Community Schools…….and we thought public schools were in trouble

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In our continuing effort to “pull back the curtain” on issues impacting Lake County residents, we have to say that when we looked at our research on Community schools, also known as Charter schools, we could not believe the abject failure indicated by the numbers reported in the State of Ohio’s annual report.

Unfortunately, the State never seems to equate the $ invested versus the performance results.  We will provide that analysis.  Let’s take a look at the numbers and let you decide if we are correct in our assessment.

Here is a link to the 2016 – 2017 Annual Report prepared by Paolo DeMaria,
Superintendent of Public Instruction – Ohio Department of Education.

We will highlight some of the more revealing pages in the annual report.  Here is a definition of a Community school and their locations within the State of Ohio:

Community Schools in Ohio 2016 – 2017

There is currently one Community school in Lake County.  It is called Summit Academy Community School and is located in Painesville.  It teaches K-8, is a start-up, brick and mortar, and teaches children with special needs. It is 29.1% minority, 100% economically disadvantage, and 69.3% of the children have disabilities.  Their attendance rate is 94.0%, but their “Achievement Grade” was a “F”.

There were 362 total Community schools with 112,082 students enrolled – about 7% of Ohio’s student enrollment of 1.7 million.  They classify the schools into three types of curriculum: General Education (240 schools), Special Education (36 schools), and Dropout Prevention & Recovery (86 schools).  Here is the explanation of each curriculum: Community schools curriculum

How have the Community schools really performed on the State’s accountability system?   Here is how the State measure their effectiveness:

Community school report cards explained

Now let’s see the report cards for the “General Education” group of Community schools: General Education report cards

In 2016, the overall grade point average for 252 schools receiving grades (12 were not rated) was a .37 on a 4.0 grading system. Yes, you read that right……a .37 GPA!  In the 2017 school year, they improved slightly with a .47 grade point average for 266 rated schools. (10 were not rated)

Next up is the report cards for the Dropout Recovery Community Schools. Note that they do not use the conventional grading system.  They either meet the standards set, do not meet the standards, or exceed the standards.  Overall in 2017, 8 schools exceeded the standards, 51 meet the standards, and 27 did not meet the standards.
Dropout report cards

How do the Community schools compare academically against the traditional public schools?  This comparison is done against what is known as the Ohio 8, the State’s largest school districts.  As you can see from the next chart there is virtually no difference – they all fail miserably.  The traditional schools – 94.4% earned a “D” or a “F” in the “Achievement” component, while 95.4% Community schools scored a “D” or a “F”.
Ohio 8 comparison

So what did all of this failure cost the Ohio taxpayers?……hold on, this is not pretty..

School Year                           State Funding                Federal Funding             Total Funding
2015 – 2016                        $925,876,552                $124,851,402             $1,050,727,954
# of Students – 117,282
Avg. Spend/ Pupil                  $7,894                                 $1,065                            $8,959

2016 – 2017                        $897,990,670                $116,180,732             $1,014,171,402
# of Students – 111,272
Avg. Spend/Pupil                  $8,070                                   $1,044                          $9,114

In the 2017 school year, the average spend per pupil for all 607 school districts in the State of Ohio was $14,162.   So if it is any consolation to the taxpayers, the failure at the Community schools cost us less than the failure at the traditional public schools.

We should remove the schools that handle the education of the children with special needs from the analysis, since we believe it is the communities’ obligation to provide them with an adequate education. However, the school teachers and officials should also be judged by the standards established by the experts in those fields to determine if they are meeting the standards.


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