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Internet charter's perfect attendance record is drawing attention

Public schools, OH Dept. of Ed taking a look at Internet schools that claim 100% attendance.
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It's a fact that some public schools feel threatened by the burgeoning charter school movement, and to add insult to injury, an Ohio Internet charter school is reporting an unlikely perfect attendance record, reports theCleveland Plain Dealer

The Ohio Department of Education is scrutinizing 20 state-funded public charter schools that have students do their coursework online, due to reports of perfect or nearly perfect attendance.

"This sounds like just another way that charter schools are gaming the system," said Lisa Zellner of the Ohio Federation of Teachers.

The Internet charter schools' attendance rates have raised a red flag for the Ohio ED. Charter schools in Ohio do not count students who've been expelled for non-attendance. It would be impossible for a school to have perfect attendance if it expelled any students for missing 21 days of class, said Todd Hanes, executive director of the Education Department's Office of Community Schools.

Regular public schools calculate attendance by dividing the number of days each student shows up for class by the number of days in the school year. Schools must have an attendance rate of at least 93 percent to meet the attendance standard that is part of the state's rating system.

Online students need to perform 920 hours a year to have perfect attendance, Hanes said.

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