Ohio House Preparing to Kill School Choice?


            3rd Rail received an anonymous submission indicating the Ohio House of Representatives may be working on a plan to prevent schools from converting to Drop-Out Prevention and Recovery schools. 

            As laid out in the document, the plan is simple. 

            By law, charters may only operate in challenged districts and serve challenged populations.  Many students attend charter schools because their local districts failed them, and as a result they have fallen dramatically behind in their academics.  If a charter school’s enrollment is made up of enough students who are far enough behind, the state classifies that school as “Drop-Out Prevention and Recovery,” or DOPR if they apply for such a designation.

            DOPR programs are still evaluated by the state, but in recognition of their unique characteristics, a DOPR program does not face the same harsh standards (like those that apply to mandatory closure) if its students do not achieve at high levels required by the regular state report card.  The reason is obvious:  the state recognizes that DOPR programs are educating kids who are on the verge of dropping out of school.  As such, it would be absurd to close them because their students are behind on academics.

            3rd Rail is told the Ohio House—including potentially some influential Republicans—are about to embrace that absurdity.  Their idea is to prevent charters with low report card scores from operating DOPR programs— even if the charter is without a doubt serving a DOPR population.  This latest gambit against school choice would punish charter schools for the poor academic performance of students that have transferred in with severe credit deficiencies-- and pretend it is the charters school’s fault.

            Sources tell 3rd Rail that this plan has not yet been widely circulated, but to expect something “soon.”