2018 PPI Score
School Choice Score: 75%
Ohio enacted its Income-Based Scholarship Program in 2013. The program offers private school vouchers to students from low- and lower middle-income households. These school voucher amounts vary depending on family income.
The Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship was enacted in 2011 and began serving students in 2012. The program provides students with disabilities school vouchers for private tuition and other educational services. The Ohio Department of Education sets school voucher limits for different types of disabilities.
Ohio’s “EdChoice” scholarship program, enacted in 2005 began in 2006. The program provides private school vouchers to K–12 students who are assigned to “low-performing” public schools. Participating private schools are required to accept the voucher as full tuition for students whose families are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
Ohio’s Autism Scholarship Program, the nation’s only private school choice program designed for students specifically with autism, was enacted in 2003 and began in 2004. The program offers reimbursement vouchers of up to $27,000 to students with autism who receive private educational services, including private schooling.
Ohio’s Cleveland Scholarship Program was enacted in 1995 and launched in 1996. Through this program, students who attend the Cleveland Metropolitan School District can receive vouchers to attend neighboring public schools or private schools.
Charter Schools Score: 72%
Ohio earns a low “C” this year, a result of numerous factors partially documented on the case study which follows this page. Some charter advocates have criticized Ohio for allowing too many low-quality charter authorizers. Critiques trace back to legislation passed between 2001 and 2003, which limited the authority of the State Board of Education to issue final approvals and recommendations for charter schools and allowed non-profit entities to become charter school authorizers. The latter change led to a dramatic increase in the number of organizations seeking to authorize charter schools and an increase in the number of schools. Not all performed well, and critics blamed a lack of authorizer accountability.
In 2015, the legislature passed House Bill 2, which placed stringent requirements on authorizers. The state education department has increased oversight authority and can close authorizers if schools do not perform to standard. This, in turn, has encouraged authorizers to heavily regulate their schools, constraining growth in the charter sector.
- Law passed: 1997
- Number of charters: 339
- Estimated charter enrollment: 121,000 (Down 8 percent from 2015-16)
- New brick and mortar charters are limited to the 8 major urban areas
- Virtual charter schools are allowed
- Charter schools can contract with EMOs and CMOs for management services.
- Ohio scores 6 out of 15 points for “authorizing.” Multiple organizations may become authorizers (including local boards of education, mayors, any of the 13 state universities, and non-profit organizations). But, the state acts as an “über authorizer; it heavily regulates authorizer decisions about schools.
- Ohio earns 7 of 15 points for “growth.” Charters may operate only in the eight largest cities, and each authorizer can authorize up to 100 schools. Virtual charter schools are capped at up to five new schools per year. These arbitrary restrictions have led to a decrease in the size of the charter sector.
- Ohio earns 12 of 20 possible points for “operations.” Charters receive a blanket waiver from state and local laws, but government heavily regulates authorizers and they heavily regulate schools. This regulation creates an environment where schools have far less autonomy than the law prescribes.
- Ohio earns 7 of 15 possible points for “funding equity.” Some equity exists in the law, but is rarely implemented in practice. For example, authorizers do not always provide transportation, although the law provides it. Charter schools are also entitled to per-pupil facilities funding. While the amount of funding has increased in recent years (especially for high performing schools) it is still inequitable when compared to what traditional public schools receive for facilities.
Teacher Quality Score: 82%
Delivering Well Prepared Teachers C+
Expanding the Pool of Teachers B
Identifying Effective Teachers B-
Retaining Effective Teachers C-
Exiting Ineffective Teachers C-
Overall State Grade B-