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August 16 Columbus Dispatch article on charter school enrollment decline warrants further exploration

A Fordham Institute official indicated in the article that tougher charter school accountability resulted in charter school closures, thus lowering enrollment. The same Fordham spokesperson was recently quoted in The Dispatch as supporting a measure in the state budget that relaxes charter standards that potentially will save about 50 low-performing charters from closing.

If the charter industry had been appropriately regulated and monitored from the beginning, charter enrollment would have been a small fraction of what it has been over the years; hence, only a small percentage of the $11 billion charter expenditures in Ohio would have been made. Much of the $11 billion has been on low-performing charters and the 300 charters that have closed or never opened.

Charter schools should be regulated and monitored as closely as school districts. The entire charter operation—from sponsors to charter management and real estate companies—should be subject to the same financial audits and public records requests as school districts.

Ohio citizens, especially those who are closely associated with school districts, should be outraged and demand state officials establish policies that completely regulate and monitor charters. The practice of using students as guinea pigs in this grand charter experiment should stop immediately.

William L. Phillis | Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding | 614.228.6540 |  o|
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