Ohio issues updated school charter sponsor evaluation rules

Richard Ross, Sept. 15, 2015
Ohio Superintendent of Schools Richard Ross. He defended the Youngstown Plan before the state Board of Education on Sept. 15, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio’s troubled evaluation system for charter school sponsors would be adjusted under guidelines issued Wednesday to assure that the sponsors face the same academic performance standards as traditional public schools.

Superintendent Richard Ross’ release of a framework for fixing the system follows the resignation of a state school choice director who acknowledged omitted certain unflattering data from certain sponsor reports. It dovetails closely with the recommendations of an independent panel charged with reviewing the evaluation system after former School Choice Director David Hansen resigned.

The new framework applies to the 2015-2016 sponsor evaluations, which will include academic data from the current school year.

The guidelines call for charter school sponsors’ evaluations to judge sponsors on the same academic performance criteria used in school report cards issued to traditional public schools and for rating the sponsors on their compliance with Ohio laws and administrative rules.

Ross said in a statement that the changes will make Ohio’s one of the most “transparent and comprehensive” sponsor evaluation systems in the country. Guidelines also call for public reporting mechanisms to be strengthened, so that certain state reports are presented directly to the sponsor’s governing board so that they can be publicly discussed.

Academic, compliance and quality standards contained in the guidelines will be scored on a simple zero to 4 point scale that the Ohio Department of Education said will make calculations and comparisons simple.

Hansen, the husband of Gov. John Kasich’s presidential campaign manager, acknowledged this summer that he omitted failing grades from the sponsor evaluations of certain online and dropout recovery schools in order to not “mask” successes elsewhere. Review panel recommendations included in the new state guidelines require grades at online and dropout recovery schools to be reflected in future evaluations.

Ross has announced his retirement at the end of the year.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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