It’s a Friday afternoon in April, 2005. Eleven teachers at Oyler School are anxiously wondering if they will have a job the following year, awaiting the announcement of staff cuts.(Endnote-Shane) Oyler is a school in Lower Price Hill, a neighborhood on the west end of downtown Cincinnati. The school’s enrollment has been declining for several years, a trend felt by most Cincinnati Public Schools. (Endnote – CPS website) Is the problem that the parents of school-age children are moving out of downtown to Cincinnati suburbs? That is part of the problem. However, not all students are moving out of our downtown neighborhoods. Instead, some are choosing to attend charter schools.
Charter schools, also called community schools in Ohio, are public schools sponsored by organizations or businesses. The schools are funded with state and federal dollars, and most do not operate in conjunction with traditional school districts. According to Nathaniel Jones, “Charter schools are, simply put, a new network of ‘pseudo-public schools’ – educational institutions funded by the public, yet free of the standards and accountability required of regular public schools.” (Nathaniel Jones, The lesson of History, p4)
The purpose of this paper is to answer the following question: Are Ohio’s charter schools, in their current form, an ethical and legal use of public taxpayer dollars?
POINT 1 – Charter Schools Don’t Offer a BETTER Choice
The state of Ohio created charter schools in 1997 with the purpose of providing a choice to children who attend failing public schools. The goals of the legislation surrounding Ohio charter schools were, and continue to be, honorable and justified. However, because the state is creating these choices for parents, it should be the reasonable expectation that these choices provide a better academic solution for parents than the public schools at which their students are