YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Wednesday, the state of Ohio took steps to remove local control of the Youngstown School District.
Part of the state’s plan calls for increased participation of charter schools. Thursday, WYTV took a look at what that would mean for students in the city.
Going by the latest state data, 2,000 students attend charter schools in Youngstown, instead of Youngstown City Schools. The state said school choice is an important part of its plan to improve test scores at the city district.
“What it does is it does provide alternative choices for students who attend Youngstown City Schools,” John Charlton with the Ohio Department of Education said. “And that’s the main goal, to make sure that we provide a quality education for all children.”
But when it comes to those state achievement tests, none of the charter schools that have operated in the city have returned better results than the public schools.
The state closed Eagle Heights Academy in June 2010 because the school wasn’t meeting academic standards.
Southside Academy opened in the same building, by the same sponsors, the next month. The school’s administrators closed the building and fired their management company for the same reason, in May of this year.
Ohio Department of Education data shows many of the charter schools are spending less money in the classroom than city schools and that most of the charter schools are also meeting fewer state standards than the city district.
“Charterizing is not the answer. Because they’re failing,” Youngstown City Schools Teacher Dennis Miller said. “And when we get them back in high school, they are three to five grade levels behind the students who have been with us in our district throughout.”
Miller has taught in the district for decades. He said the issue is based on poverty, not classroom opportunities.
“Those who come from disadvantaged communities, households, are at a disadvantage academically,” Miller said. “We’re playing catch-up, and we’re looked at as those to blame.”
WYTV reached out to several charter schools in the area for this story but did not hear back.