Selected readings on US charter schools
The campaign for Issue 50, the Columbus City Schools’ property-tax levy that would for the first time share money with high-performing charter schools, has a Q&A on its website that asks: “Is a community school the same as a charter school?”
Its answer: “No. Columbus’ new community schools are a different kind of school unique to the State of Ohio, with increased local control.”
However, the real answer is: Yes. Community schools and charter schools are the exact same thing in Ohio.
The terms are interchangeable, referring to the governance structure and state laws that apply. While the public and press generically call them “charter schools,” they are created under a section of the Ohio Revised Code titled “Community Schools.”
Since 1997, Ohio has seen the continuing development “of public charter schools (called community schools) as a way to offer choice for families,” according to the state’s Community Schools 2011-2012 Annual Report.
Community schools operate under contracts, called “charters.” It’s these contracts that Mayor Michael B. Coleman would use to ensure that those getting local dollars are high-performing and nonprofit and serve high-need neighborhoods. Charter-school founders have traditionally shunned restrictions, saying they stunt innovation.
But no matter how you slice it, the levy would permanently fund charters to the tune of $8.5 million a year.
Source: The Columbus Dispatch – by Charlie Boss and Jennifer Smith Richards