Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Executive Summary

This paper addresses a key issue in the charter school debate, which is whether or not the existence of charter schools in a specific locality causes neighboring traditional public schools to improve their effectiveness. Measuring four student outcomes in Ohio counties where charter school enrollment represents at least five percent of the total public school-age population yielded mixed results. Standardized test scores in math and reading failed to keep pace with state averages but progress was made closing the gap in graduation rates and Performance Index Scores (the PIS is a weighted score given by the Ohio Department of Education that is a general measure of student performance). It is notable that charter schools in Ohio have made the greatest inroads into the community in counties that are demographically homogeneous, being poorer, less educated, and less ethnically diverse than other Ohio counties.