New Charter Website Compares Charter And Public Schools

For Immediate Release: September 30, 2014

“KnowYourCharter.com” – New Website Provides Detailed Comparison of Charter and Traditional Public Schools; Improves Data Transparency
OEA, Innovation Ohio Unveil New, Easy to Use Online Tool for Parents, Educators, Policymakers and Taxpayers

Columbus – The Ohio Education Association and Innovation Ohio today announced the launch of a new website for parents, taxpayers and educators that will allow detailed comparisons between charter schools and traditional public school districts. The new on-line tool – KnowYourCharter.com – not only provides access to the state’s most recent Report Card information, but improves transparency by aggregating this and other relevant data at a single, easy-to-use website. Previously, locating this data required visiting multiple sites and extracting the information from numerous and often confusing spreadsheets. At KnowYourCharter.com, visitors will be able to compare schools in a particular geographical area across a wide variety of indices, including State Report Card grades, the amount of state money the schools receive, the percentage spent on classroom instruction, and the average number of years of teacher experience.

knowyourcharter “With nearly 400 charter schools operating in Ohio, with fewer accountability standards than exist for traditional public schools, we believe it is important that parents, educators, taxpayers and policymakers have the tools they need to see the comparative performance of charters, as well as the costs they impose on local school districts,” said Becky Higgins, President of the Ohio Education Association. Greg Ring, Superintendent of the Lorain County Educational Service Center, agreed: “In my experience, there is far too little public understanding of how charter schools actually work, how they perform, or how they are funded. But without this knowledge, ‘school choice’ is a hollow and largely meaningless concept. By pulling back the curtain and presenting relevant information in an easy to use format, KnowYourCharter.com is providing an incredibly valuable public service.” At KnowYourCharter.com, for the first time:

  • Interested parties and the public at large can go to a single website to access data from 18 different spreadsheets for comparison and analysis;
  • Parents can directly compare their school district’s academic performance with that of area charter schools in order to help them make an informed choice about where to send their children;
  • Parents with children in traditional schools can learn how much money is being deducted from state aid to their school district because of the way Ohio currently funds charters;
  • Policymakers can easily see the financial impact charters are having on particular school districts;
  • Taxpayers can judge for themselves how well their money is being spent by comparing State Report Card grades for charter and traditional schools;
  • Reporters can quickly analyze the comparative performance and costs of charter and traditional schools in their respective media markets.

Said Innovation Ohio President Keary McCarthy:

“In addition to providing important comparative data on school performance, this new website provides an increased level of financial transparency and accountability that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle should welcome.”

Users can receive website updates by liking Know Your Charter on Facebook. The Ohio Charter School Accountability Project is a joint venture of the Ohio Education Association and Innovation Ohio. The Ohio Education Association represents more than 121,000 teachers, faculty members and support professionals in Ohio’s public schools, colleges and universities. Innovation Ohio is a progressive think tank headquartered in Columbus.