Josh Cowen of Michigan State University reviewed a report by the rightwing Thomas B. Fordham Institute about for-profit charter schools in Ohio. It was published by the National Education Policy Center.

The summary:

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute recently published For-Profit Charter Schools: An Eval- uation of their Spending and Outcomes. The report examines academic outcomes in Ohio’s nonprofit and for-profit charter schools; in addition, it explores whether differences in contracted services in for-profits appear to correlate with differences in their outcomes. Although the report finds that charters generally have higher academic outcomes relative to traditional public schools, for-profit schools perform slightly lower academically than their nonprofit counterparts, and they perform worse than traditional schools in some areas as well. In addition, the report finds that for-profits typically contract for either staffing or other services and that those contracting for staffing perform especially poorly. Based on these findings, the report includes cautions about overregulation of for-profit charters but also raises concerns about virtual and charter schools that contract out for nearly all services. Contrary to the report’s enthusiastic Foreword, written by Fordham executives Amber Northern and Michael Petrilli and containing implications that somewhat vary from those in the report’s body, there is little in the report to remove skepticism from the debate over for-profit status. Rather, the report includes negative findings such as fewer students in for-profit charters earning diplomas, and it reinforces concerns about for-profit schools— particularly those that contract out for staff. In addition, the report is limited in its focus on only Ohio, which has substantially more transparency than many states require for school choice options. As a result, the report offers little to inform policy and practice in dissimilar or nationwide contexts.