Sunday, September 8, 2013

Failing charter schools often close, reopen with little change - Education - Ohio

Failing charter schools often close, reopen with little change - Education - Ohio:

Failing charter schools often close, reopen with little change

By Doug Livingston 
Beacon Journal education writer

Mackenzie Samuel (front) and her classmate Mia Davis, (rear) both 9, get their reading books in Sami Conrad's fourth grade classroom at Imagine Leadership Academy. Romig Road Community School closed in the spring by order of the state for continually failing to meet academic standards. The school reopened this fall as Imagine Leadership Academy in the same building under the management of the same out-of-state for-profit company - Imagine Schools. (Mike CardewAkron Beacon Journal)
When Romig Road Community School in West Akron received its state report card a little more than a year ago, the news wasn’t good: Under Ohio law, it had crossed the line of no return.
The huge, publicly funded charter school’s academic performance was poor, it had failed to show improvement, and it would have to close at the end of the coming school year, 2012-13.
More than 450 children would have to find a new school this fall.
So, as the year came to a close, children brought home letters that left Kim Duckworth confused. All of the students, including her grandchildren, were invited to return.
A new school would open on the same site, run by the same company, but with a new name: Imagine Leadership Academy.
“What will be different from last year?” Duckworth asked. “That will be the determining factor as to whether I will take them back there.”
Not unusual
What happened on Romig Road isn’t all that new. Analysis of Ohio Department of Education records for years prior to 2013 show seven charter schools operated by for-profit management companies were closed for academic performance and were reopened under that same company, with only one exception.
And as for academics, three of the seven again are in academic emergency and a fourth is in academic watch.
On Romig Road, the manager continues to be Virginia-based Imagine Schools, one of the nation’s largest for-