Ohio Gadfly Daily

Since their inception in 1999, Buckeye charter schools have grown rapidly. According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), Ohio had just over fifty-nine thousand charter students in 2004–05; ten years later, that number had more than doubled to 122,000 students, representing 7 percent of the public school population. These statistics demonstrate the impressive and sustained growth of the charter movement in Ohio; but where do most charters students live? Are they evenly distributed throughout the state or heavily concentrated in a few areas? Which cities have the largest charter “enrollment share,” and what areas of the state have very few charter students? Answers to these questions can help us identify opportunities for growth and partnership—and even make the case for policy change.

To conduct this analysis, I use the enrollment data from the state’s District Payment Reports (FY 2015: Final #3 payment). These reports display the number of charter students who live within the jurisdiction of each district (on a full-time equivalent basis), so we can count students by their districts of residence.[1] This analysis of charter enrollment yields three main takeaways.

The majority of charter students live in urban areas...

Details to follow. Check back soon!

Since the passage of House Bill 2, much attention has been paid to how Ohio’s charter sector can build on policy reforms and improve itself. With the imminent (we hope) arrival of federal Charter Schools Program grant dollars, Ohio has a better opportunity than ever to raise its charter game. There are already several charter networks and schools doing great work, but the Buckeye State still has tens of thousands of students, especially in urban areas, enrolled in low-quality schools. It’s time for Ohio to start recruiting top-notch charter management organizations (CMOs) to increase the number of high-quality seats. But how?

Enter a recent report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) that examines the best way for state and local leaders to recruit high-performing CMOs. The report is based on a 2015 survey conducted by NAPCS and the Foundation for Excellence in Education of over twenty high-performing CMOs. Authors compiled the results and pinpointed the elements that CMOs consider when deciding whether and where to expand.

One of the most useful aspects of the report is its analysis of the three types of charter markets: “emerging,” “risk-reward,” and...

  1. We’ve mentioned previously that Ohio’s “value added” measure is going to undergo some scrutiny in the state legislature. The first round took place this week as “placeholder” HB 524 got its first hearing in the House Education Committee. Prior to the hearing, Fordham was namechecked in this piece looking ahead to the value-added hearing. (Gongwer Ohio, 4/25/16) Additionally, Chad was actually quoted in this piece from The D, summarizing previous discussions about value added and what if anything might augment or replace it. (Columbus Dispatch, 4/26/16) Both the House and Senate Education Committees got a presentation from the Ohio Department of Education on value added – what it is, how it’s calculated, and how its been used on state report cards in the past. Gongwer has a good summary of the presentation and of the testimony from House Ed. More to follow. (Gongwer Ohio, 4/26/16)
     
  2. What’s that they say about a free lunch never really being free? Having made the district 100% free lunch last year, Columbus City Schools are now choking down a big old irony burger. They have erased a long-standing deficit in their food service budget (replaced with a healthy surplus thanks
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  1. Andy Boy, Founder and CEO of United Schools Network here in Columbus, had a great commentary piece in the Dispatch this weekend on how high-quality schools like his can help close achievement gaps for poor and minority students. And I don’t just say it’s great because Fordham sponsors USN’s schools. I say it because Andy knows what he’s talking about from long and successful experience. (Columbus Dispatch, 4/23/16)
     
  2. Patrick O’Donnell continued his profiles of the top five candidates for state superintendent. That’s right, we’re back to five again, as noted peripherally in this profile of Dayton’s Tom Lasley. Quite a career, I’d say. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 4/22/16)
     
  3. No one is saying that there is a direct line from Reynoldsburg City Schools to the upper echelons of the Ohio Department of Education… Well, maybe Patrick is saying it a little bit in this profile of current Reynoldsburg supe Tina Thomas-Manning, another of the top five candidates for state superintendent. There’s lots to dig into here, but I would draw your attention to two of Thomas-Manning’s reference letters, among the application materials posted on the PD website. One is from former Reynoldsburg supe (and current Fordham board
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  1. The PD continued its series profiling the top candidates for state superintendent. Candidate Bob Sommers’s profile notes (among other things that are probably more important) that his application contained a reference letter from former Fordhamite Terry Ryan. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 4/20/16)
     
  2. Speaking of Mr. Sommers, the proposed additional location for his Carpe Diem charter school at the Underground Freedom Museum in Cincinnati is a no-go due to a lack of sufficient space. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 4/20/16)
     
  3. Staying in the Queen City for a moment, we’ve told you about changes afoot in Cincinnati City Schools before: moves, expansions, grade band changes in buildings, scuffles between district and arts agency, etc. Here is a more detailed look at the seven affected buildings which gets a little “turf-y” for lack of a better word. Hannah Sparling’s occasionally-disdainful tone (also evident in the above piece) doesn’t aid in following the details. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 4/21/16) P.S. – I think this future piece will probably explain the “turfiness” in more detail for us outsiders.
     
  4. The official job description for the new CEO of Youngstown City Schools has been posted, with a very short deadline for applications as expected. The
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  1. Editors in Columbus opined once again this week in favor of SB 298, the e-school accountability bill, and lamented its assignment to the Senate Finance Committee’s education subcommittee. (Columbus Dispatch, 4/19/16) Meanwhile, Mansfield City Schools announced it is going to be contracting with an outside company (go ahead, look them up by name) to provide online schooling to district students and others from outside the district (wait, does that math even add up?) in an attempt to “win back” kids from those dastardly online charter schools. The ironies in this story are not limited to online schooling either. Read on about the extra test-prep period that freshmen will be getting every day next year and how the district is petitioning to get out from under state fiscal oversight after proposing thousands of dollars of new personnel expenditures. (Mansfield News Journal, 4/19/16)
     
  2. Remember those Top 5 state supe candidates we told you about last week? Before poor Patrick O’Donnell could even do his first profile, the list was cut to 4 as one of them withdrew to take another job and that “profile” turned into a “see ya later” piece. Was it something we said? (Cleveland Plain
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When Mayor Nan Whaley came into office in 2014, she showed great political courage in making education a top priority, something no Dayton mayor in memory had done. To galvanize public support for change, she formed a broadly-representative City of Learners Committee, held “listening sessions” throughout the city, and published two reports updating citizens on the committee’s progress. The committee—and Mayor Whaley—have rightly identified preschool, afterschool and summer learning, business partnerships, mentoring, and (as discussed below) high-quality schools as urgent needs that, if successfully tackled, would definitely improve education in Dayton. That’s something just about everyone living in or near the Gem City recognizes as a grave shortcoming in our community.

For this to happen, more high-quality schools are absolutely essential; but this is where the City of Learners Committee hasn’t gotten it quite right. Its newest report, published earlier this month, uses 2013-14 state data to rank Dayton’s district and charter schools in three categories: high, intermediate, and struggling. Unfortunately, it paints a rosier-than-reality picture of actual school performance, thus giving a misleading impression of the depth of today’s school-quality problem.

Last year (2014-15), the Dayton Public Schools were the lowest performing of 610 Ohio school districts on the...

  1. Editors in Columbus today opined on who/what the next state superintendent should not be. (Columbus Dispatch, 4/18/16)
     
  2. Score one for Scooter Computer and Mr. Chips at last? Folks in central Ohio schools say that the first wave on online state testing is going well so far this year. Although I’m pretty sure that same story ran last year after the first week too. And last year’s was such a disaster that some districts were ready to dust off their abaci and slide rules. Just ask anyone. (Columbus Dispatch, 4/17/16) A couple of Dayton-area school districts were caught unaware by a change in science testing rules for their high school freshmen. I’m sure all those kids will be fine (the issue arose because they were accelerated in science as 8th graders), but take a good look at the difference in language used by the district reps between Kettering and Northmont over the exact same situation. Miles apart in attitudes toward testing. Also note the Northmont folks would have had trouble giving the test via pencil and paper if they’d been required to. Just sayin’. (Dayton Daily News, 4/17/16) Finally, folks in Elyria schools must believe their kids
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Is career and technical education (CTE) a path into the middle class for today’s high school students? It’s certainly the goal as modern day CTE attempts to give students the skills and training required for long-term success in today’s high-growth industries.

Unfortunately, little is known about whether “new vocationalism” improves student outcomes. In an effort to shed some more light on the topic, Fordham partnered with Shaun M. Dougherty of the University of Connecticut to study CTE in Arkansas. The new report, Career and Technical Education in High School: Does It Improve Student Outcomes?, uses a rich set of data from the Arkansas Research Center (ARC) to follow three cohorts—more than one hundred thousand students—from eighth grade through college and/or the workforce.

The key findings include:

  • Students with greater exposure to CTE are more likely to graduate from high school, enroll in a two-year college, be employed, and earn higher wages.
  • CTE is not a path away from college: Students taking more CTE classes are just as likely to pursue a four-year degree as their peers.
  • Students who focus their CTE coursework are 21 percent more likely to graduate high school compared to otherwise similar students (and they see
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