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EdChoice


Students at Ohio charter schools show greater academic gains, report finds

/ EdChoice, Ohio

The Columbus Dispatch |

A new report found many Ohio students attending charter schools had larger gains on achievement tests, better attendance and fewer disciplinary incidents compared to their peers enrolled in traditional public schools.

Black, low achieving, and urban students at the tax-funded, privately operated, and tuition-free schools benefitted most, according to the analysis by Ohio State political science professor Stephane Lavertu, “The Impact of Ohio Charter Schools on Student Outcomes, 2016-2019.”

The report was commissioned by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an advocate for charter schools, which supporters say provide added educational opportunities for disadvantaged students.

What does a district court ruling mean for future right-to-education cases?

/ Beyond Ohio, BigPicture, EdChoice

Education Dive |

In a 55-page decision, a Rhode Island District Court judge dismissed Cook v. Raimondo, a prominent right-to-education case in which plaintiffs — who ranged from preschoolers to high school students — sued Rhode Island Education Commissioner Ken Wagner and the state Board of Education. 

Plaintiffs argued the state failed to provide an education that adequately prepared students to participate in civic life. In motions to dismiss the case, defendants argued the Constitution does not guarantee a right to education.

While Judge William E. Smith ruled in favor of the education commissioner and the board, among other state leaders, he said the case “highlights a deep flaw in our national education priorities and policies” and hoped “others who have the power to address this need will respond appropriately.” 

Ohio Supreme Court justices dismiss school choice lawsuit

/ EdChoice, legal, Ohio, voucher

WSYX/WTTE Columbus |

The Ohio Supreme Court dismissed Citizens for Community Values v DeWine, a legal challenge to legislation freezing EdChoice scholarship enrollment passed in January 2020.

The suit, Citizens for Community Values vs. DeWine et al., was meant to preserve the rights of thousands of Ohio schoolchildren in poorer-performing school districts to choose their preferred school and have the tuition subsidized by their home district, up to $4,650 – $6,000 per student. However, in the 2020-2021 school year, the number of schools deemed “poor” on the state report card more than doubled, from 517 in 2019 to more than 1,200 in the current year.

Public schools were in uproar over the potential budget hit, including many that had not previously been required to participate in EdChoice.

In late January, the Ohio legislature and Governor passed Senate Bill 120 to “freeze” the program at just 517 eligible schools — but did not include “emergency” language in the bill. As such, the freeze should not have legally taken effect until April or May, according to Citizens for Community Values, and EdChoice applications and processing should have begun as expected on February 1st. However, the Ohio Department of Education did not process any applications.

“ODE is violating the law by refusing to receive, process, and award EdChoice Scholarships,” the lawsuit stated, asking for an order from the Supreme Court to spur ODE to act.

Later in the spring an emergency coronavirus relief bill HB 197, accomplishing much the same on EdChoice as SB 120, was passed and signed into law.

On Thursday, the Ohio Supreme Court found that due to HB 197 the Citizens for Community Values’ point was no longer relevant and dismissed the lawsuit.

Read the full court opinion.

Catholic schools not the enemy of public schools

/ EdChoice, Perspective, voucher

Cincinnati Enquirer – Catholic Superintendents of Ohio |

“Catholic schools and public schools are not competitors, but partners. Parents deserve to choose freely from many exceptional school options, representing the best learning environment for their children. The Catholic schools in Ohio are grateful to the state of Ohio for leading the nation in supporting the parental right to choose the educational option that best matches their family values.”

Catholic Superintendents of Ohio

Catholic Superintendents of Ohio: Matt Daniels (Diocese of Toledo), Adam Dufault (Diocese of Columbus), Mary Fiala (Diocese of Youngstown), Susan Gibbons (Archdiocese of Cincinnati), Frank O’Linn (Diocese of Cleveland), and Deacon Paul Ward (Diocese of Steubenville).

The response to a Cincinnati Enquirer article was originally issued on Aug 28th through the Ohio Catholic Conference. It was published as an Opinion piece on Sept 18th in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Supreme Court Rules Montana Religious Schools Can Receive Funding

NPR |

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Montana’s exclusion of religious schools from a state scholarship program funded by tax credits violates the U.S. Constitution.

In the 5-4 decision, the court said that states need not fund private schools, but once they do, they cannot disqualify some private schools because they are religious.

Canton schools join EdChoice lawsuit

/ EdChoice, legal, Ohio

Canton Repository |

The Canton City School District Board of Education on Monday voted to join or initiate a lawsuit against Ohio’s EdChoice program.

Earlier this year, Canton schools authorized the Ohio School Board Association to determine if the district and other public school districts had the grounds to sue, said Board Member Eric Resnick.

Canton will be part of a coalition of districts challenging the program. It will cost the district $2 per student — about $16,000 — to be part of the coalition.

Group that won Ohio school-funding suit now challenging vouchers for private schools

/ EdChoice, legal, Ohio, voucher

Columbus Dispatch |

The coalition sent messages this week seeking support from Ohio’s 600-plus public school superintendents, saying, “We cannot stand silent witness to the systematic dismantling of the public school system.” The lawsuit, expected in a few weeks, already has support from both teachers unions in the state.

EdChoice voucher reversal a struggle for Ohio families

/ EdChoice, legislation, Ohio

via Columbus Dispatch |

Some families who’d planned to send their kids to a private school now have to choose between paying themselves or sticking with a troubled public school.

State asks for Ohio Supreme Court dismissal in EdChoice lawsuit

/ EdChoice, Ohio

via Ohio Capital Journal |

The Ohio Attorney General’s office filed the motion last week saying the school groups and individuals lack standing in their lawsuit. The attorneys for the state said the parties “fail to assert a claim for which relief can be granted,” and the Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction over the lawsuit.

Which private schools use the most vouchers in Ohio?

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, Ohio, voucher

via Cleveland.com |

This list includes all of Ohio’s voucher programs, not just EdChoice, which gives high schools $6,000 per student and elementary schools $4,650 per student.

(more…)

Editorial: The Great Voucher Research Conundrum

/ EdChoice, Perspective, voucher

Mike McShane is a Forbes’ contributor who studies K-12 education, including entrepreneurship and school choice.

There has been a mountain of research conducted on private school choice programs. At our last count, more than 140 studies attempt to in some way measure the impact that these programs have on students.

In the popular perception (well, as popular as parsing the research literature on school choice can be) there is a conundrum at the heart of the research: students who participate in these programs are not helped by them, while students who don’t participate are.

How could this be? How could private school choice programs be more beneficial to the students who are left behind in public schools than those that use them to attend private schools?

Mike McShane

Opinion: Are vouchers a constitutional entitlement?

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, Perspective

William L. Phillis is Executive Director of Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding

Vouchers do not fit the mold of any constitutional provision for public education. There is absolutely no constitutional authority for vouchers. It is disheartening that the voucher fiasco looms large while the common school system has been unconstitutional for nearly a quarter century. The Ohio Constitution does not entitle anyone to a school voucher.

William L. Phillis

Editorial: Voucher puzzle – direct payments, based on income, would be fairer

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, Perspective

This editorial represents the opinion of The Columbus Dispatch editorial board, which includes the publisher, editor, editorial page editor and editorial writers.

Direct payments by the state would be fairer and more honest. Regarding eligibility, if a hybrid program — some vouchers based on school performance and some based on income — can resolve the House/Senate impasse, it’s worth considering. But the income threshold should be lower than 300% of the poverty level, which is part of the Senate bill. Lawmakers gave themselves extra time to solve this puzzle by delaying the voucher application period from Feb. 1 to April 1. They shouldn’t delay further; Ohio families and school districts need to make plans for next year.

Columbus Dispatch Editorial Board

DeWine To Meet With House, Senate Leaders On School Vouchers

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, legislation, Ohio

via The Journal-News |

This after a five-day period in which the voucher debate went from loud, long and public to eerily quiet.

Public, Parochial Schools Sound Off At Holiday Hearing On EdChoice Vouchers

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, legislation, Ohio

via WVXU |

Lawmakers and school leaders would normally have Presidents Day off, but instead they spent it at the Statehouse, as testimony on changes to the EdChoice private school voucher program went on. Most of the witnesses were firmly in one of two camps – public schools or parochial schools.

Voucher schools escape test score scrutiny

/ EdChoice, Ohio, Ohio Report Card

via Cleveland.com |

Ohio doesn’t assure that schools that accept vouchers are any better than “failing” ones.

Though public schools can be labeled as underperforming by their state report card grades, Ohio law doesn’t calculate graduation rates or issue report cards for any of the private schools receiving about $400 million in tax-funded tuition aid.

EdChoice Students, Parents Speak Out For Senate Plan To Keep But Change Program

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, Ohio

via Statehouse News Bureau |

One by one, EdChoice students and parents supported a plan passed by the Senate to expand income based vouchers to 300% of the federal poverty level while keeping 420 school buildings on EdChoice, which is based on school performance.

Current state of Ohio’s EdChoice school voucher program: Mixed messages, frustrated parents, students left in limbo

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, Ohio

via WLWT |

Public school advocates spoke out against EdChoice on Friday at Butler County ESC.

Ohio senator proposes offering vouchers to every student in Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, legislation, Ohio

via Cincinnati Enquirer |

Sen. Matt Huffman, R-Lima, is advocating for the same program found in Cleveland. The Cleveland Scholarship Program, which started in 1996, offers set amounts of public dollars to all students who live inside the city limits to help them cover the cost of tuition at private schools.

About 7,500 children currently use the program, according to Ohio’s Department of Education.

Superintendents oppose state school voucher expansion

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, legislation, Ohio

via Zanesville Times Recorder |

Public school boards in the Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center area are passing resolutions to oppose the voucher expansion, urging state legislators to amend the program.

Ohio Senate rejects House’s plan for EdChoice vouchers

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, legislation, Ohio

via Cleveland.com |

The Senate voted on whether to accept amendments to Senate Bill 89 that would phase out the part of Education Choice program that bases vouchers on report card grades of local public schools and move to base all vouchers on family incomes.

State groups support bill making private-school voucher income-based

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, legislation, Ohio

via Journal-News |

Leaders of the Ohio School Boards Association, Buckeye Association of School Administrators and Ohio Association of School Business Officials supported the provisions in Senate Bill 89, which was modified by the House to include EdChoice changes.

Opinion: School choice, and the vouchers that help make it possible, are for the public

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, Perspective

Frank O’Linn is the superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.

School choice is not the enemy of public schools; rather, it is a component of “public education,” the ideal in the State Board of Education’s vision that all Ohioans “graduate from the PK-12 education system with the knowledge, skills and behaviors necessary” for continued education or the workforce. District schools are one delivery system, but they are not the exclusive solution. Ohio is strongest when parents are empowered with choices: traditional public; magnet; and charter schools; as well as nonpublic, especially Catholic schools, which are indispensable to the future of Ohio.

Frank O’Linn

Opinion: Ohio House offers the winning arguments in debate over tuition voucher programs

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, Perspective

Thomas Suddes is a member of the editorial board for cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer.

Parents should have a range of choices for schooling. But Ohio’s current choice programs seem like a mishmash drafted on the back of an envelope. What the House wants is school choice that targets the one factor – poverty – that almost everyone agrees can hold back a young Ohioan. Equally important, the House’s plan is substantive as well as cross-party, the only kind of legislation that means anything amid our country’s hyper-partisan frenzy.

Thomas Suddes

EdChoice Voucher Battle Pits House And Senate Leaders Against Each Other

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, legislation, Ohio

via WVXU |

With just hours to go before families could submit applications for the state’s EdChoice private school voucher program on February 1, lawmakers delayed that window till April 1 till they could work out a compromise. And those chambers’ Republican leaders are holding fast to their different proposals.

Gov. DeWine Urges Lawmakers To Remember Purpose Of Vouchers During Debate Over Them

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, legislation, Ohio

via Statehouse News Bureau |

“School Choice was designed originally to focus on poor children and poor families who are trapped in a school that is not performing well.  And these children need the same opportunity that more affluent families have,” DeWine says.

Milford Schools pushes back against EdChoice program

via Clermont Sun |

Nancy House, superintendent, introduced a resolution opposing the State of Ohio EdChoice Scholarship (voucher) program.

In part, the resolution reads, “WHEREAS, private/parochial schools accepting students with public tax vouchers would not be required to accept all students but would be permitted to retain their selective admission policies without enforcement of other laws applicable to public schools, and WHEREAS, private/parochial school students are not subject to the testing standards required of public school students so that the actual performance of private/parochial schools subsidized with public tax dollars will not be known, relative to equivalent public school evaluation standards.”

Ohio House amends bill to phase out EdChoice vouchers

via The Plain Dealer |

The bill would change the existing income-based EdChoice voucher system to the Buckeye Opportunity Scholarship. Existing recipients of vouchesr would be grandfathered in for that system. The House placed several amendments into Senate Bill 89, which had dealt primarily with career-tech education. Just before the vote on the bill, multiple members of the House suggested this should be the first step toward totally revamping Ohio’s education system. 

Butler County school leaders react to delay in voucher program decision

/ EdChoice, SW Ohio

via Journal-News |

School superintendents welcome the recent postponement but only if legislators use the extra 60 days to make significant changes.

Ohio families, private schools file lawsuit to block school voucher deal

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, legal, Ohio

via The Plain Dealer |

The litigation seeks a writ of mandamus to compel the state to allow students to apply to schools on the voucher list that would have gone into effect Saturday, delay the effective date of the bill to May 1, and make it subject to a referendum.

The lawsuit raises two questions it wants the court to answer: the first is whether the list of voucher-eligible school buildings was a binding pledge to Ohio families and the second is whether the measure approved Friday night can legally take effect immediately.

Parents want letter grades on state report cards for Ohio schools, poll finds

/ EdChoice, Ohio, Ohio Report Card

via The Columbus Dispatch |

A new poll finds that 70% of parents prefer A-F grades or numerical scores over other state measures of a district and individual school performance. The Columbus Dispatch reports that the survey was commissioned by Ohio Excels and used an online polling of 655 parents with primary and secondary school students. The survey comes as state lawmakers consider changes to the report cards, a key component to Ohio’s K-12 accountability system.

Mt. Healthy: Dr. Cosby speaks to WLWT-TV about Ed Choice Impact

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, SW Ohio

via WLWT |

“The way things are set up now is that we would be impacted greatly,” Cosby said.

Cosby is worried about missing out on tax dollars she said her district desperately needs. The money in question would follow a Mt. Healthy public school student who receives an EdChoice voucher to attend private school.

“They take these dollars and they expect us to make up that money, which we don’t have,” Cosby said.

Ohio vouchers mired in confusion after heated debate, with clarity 60 days away

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, Ohio

via Cleveland Plain Dealer |

Ohio’s controversy over tuition vouchers sparked anger, political posturing and suspense in Columbus this week, with no clarity for anyone. That won’t come for two months.

Opinion: Ohio’s EdChoice is school deform

/ EdChoice, Perspective

Justin Jeffre lives in Clifton Heights and was a member 98 Degrees.

Ohio should not expand its school voucher program, but if it must, let’s finally hold these private schools accountable to their new funds, too.

Justin Jeffre

Opinion: Tax dollars belong to Catholic schools, too

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, Perspective

Rev. Jan Schmidt is Director of Pastoral Life, Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Bias against Catholics and their church is at the heart of state laws that prevent Catholic schools from receiving public funding.

Rev. Jan Schmidt

Opinion: U.S. Supreme Court tax-credit decision won’t change much in terms of public-school spending requirements

/ EdChoice, Perspective

Jonathan Butcher is a senior policy analyst in the Center for Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation.

Regardless of how the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Espinoza v. Montana Dept. of Revenue, public-school spending requirements won’t change, one expert says.

Jonathan Butcher

Senate Approves House Measure To Extend EdChoice Debate

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, legislation, Ohio

via Statehouse News Bureau |

Republican leaders in the House and Senate seemed to not agree on changes and a conference committee, made up of lawmakers from both chambers, did not reach compromise.

The extension moves the voucher application process to begin on April 1, giving the legislature 60 days to continue its work on the issue.

House Delays EdChoice Application – Extension Till April 1, Sends It To Senate

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, legislation, Ohio

via Statehouse News Bureau |

Talk of a 60 day extension came after a day of negotiations over a plan that would replace performance-based EdChoice vouchers going forward with income-based vouchers. It now has to go to the Senate this morning, and a statement suggests the vote there may run into problems.

Amendment Would Freeze EdChoice Voucher School List, Expand Income Based Vouchers Even More

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, legislation, Ohio

via Statehouse News Bureau |

The amendment would freeze the EdChoice eligibility list, which stands at 517 buildings but would balloon to more than 1200 without the change. Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) said schools that have met academic requirements can be removed, but no new schools will be added. In addition, it would further expand income-based vouchers to families making up to 300% of the federal poverty level – over $77,000 a year for a family of four. 

16 Montgomery County schools unite in concern over private school voucher growth

via Dayton Daily News |

The sixteen Montgomery County public school districts stood together last Friday to show legislators their “unified disagreement” with Ohio’s EdChoice voucher system.

Dave Melin, regional president for PNC Bank and an advocate on many regional education efforts, also spoke at the schools’ press conference. He said Ohio needs to create greater access to high-quality learning in all settings, and he called public schools “the backbone of all communities in the Miami Valley.”

Deal In The Works To Take Many Schools Off Voucher List

An amendment to an existing bill has been sponsored by Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) and would seek to make changes to the current voucher system.

  • Overall building grade of an A, B, C or D, would not be EdChoice eligible and stay that way for three years.
  • Incoming 9th graders at private high schools would be the only ones eligible for EdChoice vouchers if they haven’t attended public schools.
  • Income based vouchers would be expanded.

However, Ohio EdChoice advocates want lawmakers to leave the voucher program alone.

(more…)

SW Ohio Public school leaders voiced their opposition to Ohio’s school voucher program expansion Thursday evening

More than 40 school leaders from across Butler and Hamilton counties spoke out against the EdChoice School Voucher program Thursday at the Butler County Educational Service Center.

Below is coverage from local media.

Public school leaders speak out against Ohio’s school voucher program

(more…)

Expansion of Ohio’s EdChoice voucher program puts state’s complicated school funding formula in spotlight

via WLWT |

Tom Brinkman, a Republican state representative from Mount Lookout, voted to expand Ohio’s EdChoice school voucher program last summer. “School districts make out on this,” Brinkman said.

State superintendent tours BG High School, talks EdChoice

/ community, EdChoice, finance-funding, Ohio

Source: Sentinel-Tribune

“I see great public schools doing great things. I get that there are people out there who champion (school) choice. … I don’t want to project myself as not being for choice. For choice has its place, but at the end of the day, strong traditional public schools are what it takes to educate 1.7 million school children.” – Paolo DeMaria, Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction

Fix For Voucher Program Likely Coming Soon

via Statehouse News Bureau

“Our failure in this state is our grade cards and our testing system. We need to make certain we get those things corrected,” Householder said.

via Statehouse News Bureau – December 16th, 2019

Householder said a short term fix on the EdChoice voucher program is likely coming before the application process opens on February 1.

EdChoice to impact more than 400 schools in Ohio next year

/ EdChoice, finance-funding, legislation, Ohio

Next year, the Educational Choice Scholarship (EdChoice) Program will grow to more than 400 districts, which represents more than two-thirds of the districts in the state of Ohio.

(more…)