YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Twenty million dollars of taxpayers’ money has been taken from Youngstown City Schools when students leave for charter schools.
Many parents turn to charter schools, hoping for a better education for their children.
However, WKBN 27 First News found that state records show many charter schools are failing state standards, too, just like their public counterparts.
Rosalyn Stevenson sent her son Marquan to Mahoning Valley Opportunity Center (MVOC) before it closed. He was there to escape a bad experience at a different charter school.
“I think the school was working for him because he doesn’t have that many people in his class, and he can get his work done without distraction,” Rosalyn Stevenson said.
That’s despite the fact that the school had received state money for each of the former City School students it educated.
City Schools CEO Krish Mohip said public schools outperform charter schools, however, and those charter schools could put the money to better use.
“If a charter school were to be able to come in and provide a better educational opportunity for our children, then I would support that,” he said. “However, I do not see charter schools outperforming public education systems.”
Mohip said state report card scores support his opinion. In fact, in the entire city, only one charter school met one state standard.
Every other school in the city — charter and public — failed every single standard.
Jennifer Hutton, the principal of the Youngstown Academy of Excellence, said all of the schools are struggling.
“Our students come in, they are maybe two to three years behind,” said Hutton said.
Before schools can start teaching the state standards, they have to catch the students up first.
“Students are coming without basic knowledge, not knowing their letters, not knowing their numbers, not knowing how to spell their name,” Hutton said.
She said it’s better to look at performance indexes as a more accurate measurement. This measures student progress from year to year, and at her school, students know what is expected of them on the tests.
“The students get to know the language on the report cards, so they get to know words like ‘Performance Index Score,'” she said.
By that measure, charters are out-performing the public schools. That can make them attractive to students like those who attended MVOC, despite the risk that the school could close.
As for Marquan Stevenson, he said he’s done with charter schools. He’s going back to public high school to finish his diploma.