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In a report on the powerful and profitable virtual charter school industry in Ohio, Stephen Dyer of Innovation Ohio documents the failure of these schools. 35,000 students are enrolled in E-schools.
Not a single virtual charter school is rated A or B by the state. Most earn an F.
The graduation rates at the state’s nine virtual charters are abysmal. The worst-performing district in the state has a higher graduation rate than all the E-schools.
Since 2000, E-Schools have received well over $1 billion from the state that was originally slated to go to school districts. In return for this money, E-schools have delivered extremely poor student achievement results. And while the statewide E-Schools perform only slightly better overall than they did in the 2011 report, the tepid improvement is significantly tempered by the $60 million annual increase in their funding over the same period. In fact, the sector has grown from a $115 million program in 2006 to a $250 million program in 2014. At the same time, local taxpayers have been forced to subsidize their substandard performance.
Why does Ohio continue to fund these low-performing schools? Why are they never held accountable? Because the owners of the two biggest E-schools make generous campaign donations to important elected officials.