Columbus City Schools (Ohio) is renting an empty school site, but charter schools need not apply, writes Stephanie Groce, vice president of the school board. “The administration explained to me that they do not want to lease that building to any school that might compete for students with Columbus schools.” Learn to collaborate, Groce writes in the Columbus Dispatch.
Tucked away in a church in the Weinland Park neighborhood, just a few blocks from the vacant building, is Columbus Collegiate Academy, a public charter school that outperforms every middle school in Columbus City Schools. On its most recent report card, 100 percent of seventh-grade students scored proficient or better in math, a feat that none of our middle schools can claim. The students served by the academy are 94 percent economically disadvantaged and 81 percent African-American.
Columbus Collegiate needs room to expand. No dice. The district rejected proposals from Columbus Collegiate and two other high-performing charters. A music-education business will rent the building.
District leaders keep the city’s charters at arms’ length, she writes.
When I visited Columbus Collegiate Academy last winter to learn about its program, I asked the executive director: How many principals and administrators from Columbus City Schools have come to visit you? The answer: none. I guess there’s nothing we can learn from a school that outperforms all of our middle schools.
The district and its charter should “share best practices and resources willingly, including facilities,” Groce writes.
Fordham Institute authorizes Columbus Collegiate, notes Education Gadfly.