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Ohio Acknowledges it has Far More Failing Charters than it Originally Listed

The Ohio Department of Education is working to keep a $71 million federal grant for charter schools. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports says the agency is saying Ohio has a lot more failing charter schools than it initially claimed. 

  The state is telling the feds Ohio has 57 failing charter schools, not six as it claimed in its grant application, and 59 high performing charters, not 93.  The education department’s chief legal counsel, Diane Lease, says it’s not that the schools are getting worse; it’s that the state and the feds have different definitions for “high performing” and “poor performing” schools.

“We’ve asked the feds to use the updated state definition because it is a more stringent standard.”

But that updated definition still only deals with brick and mortar schools, not online ones.  The feds stopped the grant after the state’s former school choice head admitted leaving out failing grades for some online charter schools on statewide evaluations.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.