State Reps. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson) today announced they have introduced a series of bills to bring charter schools up to public school standards.

The lawmakers, both former public school teachers, said charter schools should conduct the same teacher evaluations as public schools, and that the state’s third grade reading guarantee should be equally applied to students on state vouchers. They also want to see a state study commission in place, one that would review the effectiveness of charter school regulations and issue findings to the legislature and governor.

“To truly provide an adequate and equitable education for our children, all schools must be at the same starting line together with the same final goals in mind,” said Rep. Fedor. “These bills would move our state closer to that balance while putting common sense reviews in place to measure the effectiveness of charter school regulations.”

Voucher students who are at risk of being held back are currently not guaranteed the same state third grade reading services as public students, such as intensive remediation or intervention for the child and their families.

State remediation and intervention includes a notification letter to the at-risk student’s parents; reduced student-teacher ratios; tutoring or mentoring; extended class time; summer reading camps’ and access to third-party reading instruction.

“Evaluation of students’ performance through standardized testing seems to be continually increasing, and so is the assessment of public school teachers,” said Rep. Patterson.  “It is clear that parents and taxpayers expect the same level of performance from whoever is in the classroom with our kids—regardless of if that classroom happens to be in a charter school.”

Charter schools do not currently follow state laws requiring the evaluation of teachers in public schools. Under the proposals from Reps. Fedor and Patterson, classrooms with voucher students would have to meet the same state standards as public schools for the third grade reading guarantee and charter schools would be required to conduct teacher evaluations.

Also, a new charter school study committee would be required to submit an annual report to lawmakers on the effectiveness of charter schools and charter school regulations in the state.

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