Earlier this week, Terry Groden, vice president of the North Olmsted City Schools Board of Education, wrote for the Policy Matters Ohio blog. Throughout the piece, Groden complains that public charter schools are misleading families by not sharing performance metrics in their advertising – radio and television to be specific.
If he and the Ohio School Boards Association had their way, they would:
• Require a charter/community school receiving public tax dollars to disclose performance metrics in all advertising, including but not limited to, the overall performance index and four-year graduation rate, and/or
• Prohibit a charter/community school from advertising if that school does not meet or report minimum academic and/or financial standards established by the State of Ohio.
Limiting anyone on how they advertise or what they put in their advertisements would violate their First Amendment right to free speech. Would Mr. Groden and school boards across Ohio ever suggest that traditional public schools stay mum on a topic they think controversial or worth talking about? Highly doubtful as we see them trying to corner public charter schools on a daily basis.
Mr. Groden is also ignoring the fact that tens of thousands of children and their families have chosen a public charter school because their traditional brick and mortar public school was failing them. Failing them. Mr. Groden, would you prefer to take away the rights of public charter schools so those children and their families who were desperately seeking something better have to go back to an environment that failed them already?
School statistics and information are shared on individual school websites and can easily be accessed through the Ohio Department of Education. Parents who are interested in making the switch to a school that may be better for their child are going to do their research and make the best decision. 123,000 students and their parents have made that decision together and critics like Mr. Groden and the Ohio School Boards Association need to trust parents. Parents are the ones who know what's best for the future of their children.