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Fast Facts

    •Graduation Rate: 81.0%
    •Average SAT Score: 1635
    •Average ACT Score: 21.8
    •4th Grade NAEP Math Score: 48%
    •8th Grade NAEP Math Score: 40%
    •4th Grade NAEP Reading Score: 37%
    •8th Grade NAEP Reading Score: 39%
    •Per Pupil Funding: $11,204
    •Public School Enrollment: 1,754,191
    •Percent Enrolled in Charter Schools:6.7%


Ohio was an early pioneer of school choice with statewide reach, and is home to hundreds of quality charter opportunities for students. Parent power in the Buckeye State has improved over time, though not enough to stop one now famous mom from being thrown in jail for trying to get her daughter into a better public school. Teacher quality measures are above average, and strong online options abound despite hostile policies.

Scholarship programs exist and vary widely in scope and size, from an autism scholarship to a special needs scholarship serving up to five percent of students with disabilities statewide to a voucher program open to all students in failing schools across Ohio. Cleveland also has its own voucher program for low-income students capped at $23.4 million. The latest addition to Ohio’s choice portfolio includes the income-based EdChoice Scholarship. In all 29,000 students are being served by the state’s school choice programs. Ohio permits parent choice among public schools, allowing students to attend any public school in the state if there is room.

SOURCE: Voucher Laws Across the States Ranking & Scorecard 2014
SOURCE: Education Tax Credit Scholarships Ranking & Scorecard 2014

As a politically reactionary response to several studies that questioned the performance of Ohio’s charter schools and the accountability of its authorizers, we expect significant legislative activity in 2015 to “correct” the past. Well-intentioned legislation already introduced outlines what would be a comprehensive overhaul of most aspects of the state’s charter law but falls short of addressing what has really plagued the Buckeye State’s charter sector. Allowing all types of charter schools, brick-and-mortar and online, to open across the state without geographic restrictions, and improving charter funding, would go a long way in improving Ohio’s ranking.

SOURCE: 2015 Charter School Law Rankings State Analysis

Ohio offers a host of full-time online options for students, but they are limited in scope. Blended options do not exist and Ohio students would have better access to diverse options with policy updates for online course providers, such as allowing students to enroll with multiple providers simultaneously. At the state level, an Ohio Department of Education cross-office committee was created during the 2012 to 2013 school year to explore ways the Department can support the implementation of blended learning in local schools. Funding for online learning is holding back digital learning in the state.

SOURCE: Digital Learning Now!

Ohio’s teacher evaluations use multiple measures, and student growth must make up 50 percent of the overall score, although annual evaluations are not required by law. Teachers receive tenure after five years and it does not have to be tied to performance. Consistent ineffective classroom performance is grounds for dismissal and seniority cannot be a factor in layoffs or teacher reinstatement. In Ohio, teacher compensation is controlled by a state salary schedule based on years of experience and advanced degrees. Cleveland and other cities that have won federal grants are allowed to implement performance-pay systems.

SOURCE: National Council on Teacher Quality

Ohio’s department of education website is very parent-friendly. School report cards are featured prominently on the state department of education homepage, are easy to navigate, and offer a very user-friendly dashboard with summary measures of school achievement. The parents’ section of the website has information on all of the choice programs in Ohio. School board members in Cleveland are appointed by the mayor, but the other 611 local school boards are elected in November of odd-numbered years on the general election date.

  • Charter Schools are innovative public schools designed by educators, parents or civic leaders that are open by choice, accountable for results and free from most unnecessary rules and regulations governing conventional public schools. For more information about CER's annual charter law rankings, click here.
  • School choice means giving parents the power and opportunity to choose the school their child will attend. States that give all parents the opportunity to choose the best school for their child – whether public, private, parochial or charter – ensure Parent Power!.
  • Teacher quality comes with strong, data-driven, performance-based accountability systems that ensure teachers are rewarded, retained and advanced based on how they perform in adding value to the students who they teach, measured predominantly by student achievement, along with skills and responsibilities.
  • Transparency in education means giving parents access to good and objective information about their schools, student and teacher performance and options.
  • The movement toward improving education in the U.S. today includes a strong focus on online learning, an approach that involves a myriad of delivery mechanisms via online tools for students, no matter where they live or attend school. Online learning is opening up classrooms to the world and ensuring students access to some of the best content and educators.
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