Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ohio Charters and Phantom Students

Apparently some charter schools feel that choice is so important that they make sure to offer it to students who don't even attend the charters.

The Columbus Dispatch reported last week on some surprise headcount trips made by Ohio state auditor David Yost. Turns out that some charters are Below Basic when it comes to proficiency in counting.

On October 1, the auditors walked into The Academy for Urban Scholars Youngstown with a stated enrollment of ninety-five. Actual students that the auditors found in the building?


The explanation wasn't exactly encouraging. Students had been sent home at 12:30 because they had spent the morning prepping for the state exam. So it's not that the Academy was lying about students in school-- they just weren't actually teaching any.

A Youngstown tv station reported that the auditors made a follow-up visit in November. On that occasion, they found thirty-seven students in attendance.

Capital High School in Columbus claims 298 students. Auditors found 142 in the building.

Charters, of course, receive money for every student they claim. So every name on the rolls is money in the bank. It's not so much a perverse incentive as a just plain incentive for charters to enroll students who are the spiritual descendants of the legendary phantom voters of Chicago.

Of the thirty schools the auditors visited, over half had issues of at least 10%, with several showing discrepancies of over 30%.

Several of the schools who appeared to flunk counting were Dropout Recovery and Prevention schools-- charters whose selling point was that they would turn potential dropout students into successes. I suppose counting them as being in school when they aren't is one way to do that, sort of?

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