Confusion ensues when discussing community versus charter schools

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Across the heartland, neighborhood schools are offering an alternative when it comes to choosing a school within a local district or community. The Akron Beacon Journal and the News Outlet, continue reporting on the State of education in Ohio. John Veauthier brings us a vocabulary lesson on community schools, in the state and nationwide.

Like ears of corn in mid-July, neighborhood schools are popping up all over the country. The charter-school movement sprouted in the early ’90s and has grown continually ever since. However, in Ohio, they are called community schools. Is there a difference?

VEAUTHIER: Do you know what the difference is between a charter school and a community school?

Local Woman 1 (Jessica): No I don’t

Local Woman 2 (Shelia): I have no idea.

Greg Dennis, the manager of partner relations for National Heritage Academy, clears up the confusion over terminology.

DENNIS: They are the same thing. They are called charter schools everywhere in America except Ohio – the terms are used interchangeably.

Here’s Dean of Students P.J. Fields of Youngstown’s Stambaugh Charter Academy.

FIELDS: A free, public charter school, for the most part, allows our students to go ahead and receive the same type of education as in the public school with an extended time period.

John Charlton, associate director of communications for the Ohio Department of education, says although charter and community schools are the same, community and public schools are not.

CHARLTON: There’re certainly fewer regulations on community schools even though those schools are funded with public money. They have been given some flexibility to be more creative and more innovative.

From home, private, public and community schools, Ohio students have a variety of options, to make the grade. This is one in a series of stories The News Outlet along with the Akron Beacon Journal will bring you about education in Ohio.

Reporting for TheNewsOutlet.org, I’m John Veauthier.

More stories and information on charter schools

Some Ohio charter schools tight-lipped when asked about basic details

VIDEO: Getting information from charter schools difficult

FEATURE: Table showing responses from Ohio Community schools when asked for basic information

Board members at White Hat charter schools say they have little control over public funds

IRS criteria determines non-profit status for charter schools

TheNewsOutlet.org is a collaborative effort among the Youngstown State University journalism program, The University of Akron, Cuyahoga Community College and professional media outlets including, WYSU-FM Radio and The Vindicator (Youngstown), The Beacon Journal and Rubber City Radio (Akron).