Ohio Gadfly Daily

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
  3. ...

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
  • ...

Editor’s note: This is the second post in a series about the performance of Ohio’s urban high schoolers. The first post examined graduation rates and ACT scores.

Recognizing that traditional four-year graduation rates send overly encouraging signals about whether students are ready for post-secondary education, Ohio rolled out six “Prepared for Success” measures in 2014 to create a more complete picture of high school success. In this post, I look at two of these metrics, Advanced Placement (participation rates and scores) and dual enrollment (percentage of students earning three or more college credits while in high school).[1] Three findings emerge.

First, while every Ohio Big 8 district fell well below the state averages for graduation rates and ACT scores, the same cannot be said for AP and dual enrollment. A few hold their own on AP participation and scores, and several outperform the state on dual enrollment. This likely reflects urban districts’ earnest attempts to close opportunity gaps for students, as well as their economies of scale and proximity to institutions of higher education, but it may also be caused by low state averages generally. Second, the data itself is worrisome:...

In a new policy proposal from Brookings, researchers suggest a straightforward way to help the thousands of students who fall behind each year to catch up: individualized tutorials. The proposal is based on a model developed in 2004 by Match Education at its high school. Match—a highly respected charter network with four campuses that span grades pre-K–12—implements a high-dosage tutoring program at all of its schools.

In 2014, Match formed SAGA Innovations as a vehicle to extend its model into traditional public school systems. It works like this: Two students who have fallen behind in math are paired with a single tutor. Tutorials occur every school day, in addition to regular math classes. The small tutor-to-student ratio allows for individualized instruction and meaningful relationships. Students begin at the lowest math skill they have yet to master and then progress into more advanced work as their proficiency improves. Frequent assessments measure progress and pinpoint new areas for growth.

To test how this program would fare in traditional public schools, researchers conducted a large-scale, randomized controlled trial during the 2013–14 school year in twelve disadvantaged Chicago high schools. With the help of Chicago Public Schools (CPS), researchers identified over 2,700 incoming male ninth and...

  1. Who’s that writing letters to the editor of the Boston Globe? Why it’s our very own Aaron Churchill, taking some exception to a previous Globe story on school closure. (Boston Globe, 4/14/16)
     
  2. I’m a bit late in getting to this, but here is a guest commentary from state Sen. Tom Sawyer urging action on e-school regulations in Ohio. (Akron Beacon Journal, 4/13/16)
     
  3. Negotiations between Dayton Public Schools’ board and Supt. Lori Ward concluded this week without agreement. Ward will step down in June. (Dayton Daily News, 4/13/16) Ditto for district Treasurer Craig Jones. (Dayton Daily News, 4/14/16) Anyone the DPS board interviews for the superintendent position will have to answer the question, “What will YOU do to keep us from having our own version of the Youngstown Plan enacted?” And don’t forget that a clock is ticking on Dayton in that regard and that any new supe may have as little as 2 years to fix a long-broken system to avoid takeover by an Academic Distress Commission. (Dayton Daily News, 4/14/16)
     
  4. Speaking of the Youngstown Plan, the first meeting of the new Academic Distress Commission in that district finally happened on
  5. ...
  1. Chad Aldis is often referred to as “the gift that keeps on giving” (mainly by me, but still). Case in point, an interview Chad gave last week – about candidate Kasich’s education record in his alternate life as Governor Kasich – is still generating media attention. This time, they are part of a larger discussion of the remaining presidential candidates. Nice. (Education Week Campaign K-12 blog, 4/12/16)
     
  2. Miracle of miracles! Youngstown actually has a new Academic Distress Commission (ADC)! With half an hour to spare before Monday’s court-imposed deadline, the school board prez rescinded her previous nominee and submitted instead a videography teacher from the local vocational school. The union was happy, the court was happy, and ODE was happy. Huzzah! NOTE: Teacher Vincent Shivers was apparently on the short list for this seat back in November, according to Vindy archives. Just sayin’. (Youngstown Vindicator, 4/12/16) The definition of "ADC" is Anxious to Dive in and Correct problems, it seems. The commission will hold its first meeting today, less than 48 hours after Shivers was named. Not only do they get to start working at last, but the final member of the group apparently also comes
  3. ...

If you follow Ohio education news, you’ve likely seen coverage of the breakout success of College Credit Plus (CCP). Local papers have called the program a “big hit” after participation numbers in the fall reached nearly thirty-two thousand students. Anecdotes abound from students and families who say the program saves them time and money and provides valuable experience. But what exactly is it? And is it better than the dual enrollment models of the past? Let’s take a look.

Dual enrollment of yesteryear

Prior to CCP, Ohio’s Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Program (PSEOP) was the primary way for high schoolers to earn college and high school credit simultaneously. PSEOP was established in 1989 by the General Assembly for students in grades eleven and twelve, expanded in 1997 to grades nine and ten, and then restricted in 1999 to students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Despite the program’s potential, a report available through the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) labeled PSEOP “under-utilized” because of low participation numbers. In its first year, only 630 students participated; that number increased tenfold by 1997–98, but still only reflected a 2.5 percent participation rate. Reports...

  1. Ed Week takes a look at Ohio Governor John Kasich’s education record and tries to extrapolate what a President Kasich might do in that regard. Lots of in-state voices are heard in discussion, including our own Chad Aldis. (Education Week, 4/11/16)
     
  2. The judges of the 7th District appeals court were true to their word in rendering an “expedited” verdict in the Youngstown school board’s appeal over the definition of the word “teacher”. They announced on Saturday that “teacher” means “current/daily classroom teacher”, as has every other court/judge involved in this thing, and ordered the board president to appoint one of those to the Youngstown Academic Distress Commission by Monday…as in today. (Youngstown Vindicator, 4/9/16) As if they felt they needed to define the word “Monday” for some reason, the judges reiterated first thing this morning that that means “appoint someone by 4:00 pm on Monday”…as in today. (Youngstown Vindicator, 4/11/16) Crack Vindy reporters note that the prez is in Boston today for a conference. Fun. Crack Vindy editors probably had a nice quiet weekend as they likely locked down this op-ed on the topic long before the verdict arrived. (Youngstown Vindicator, 4/10/16)
     
  3. You’ve all
  4. ...
  1. The two head honchos of the Breakthrough Network of charter schools in Cleveland have a commentary in the PD this morning, making a case for increased funding for high-quality charter schools in Ohio. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 4/8/16)
     
  2. The legal battle to define the word “teacher” went yet another round in court yesterday. An “expedited” decision is promised. Again. (Youngstown Vindicator, 4/8/16)
     
  3. All 14 Dayton Public Schools preschool programs reviewed by the Ohio Department of Education were rated as five-star – the highest amount of starts possible. I think that means, among other things, they have top-notch applesauce at least twice a week. (Dayton Daily News, 4/6/16)
     
  4. Why yes, there ARE charter schools in Butler County. Why do you ask? (Middletown Journal-News, 4/7/16)
     
  5. The headline here says that Coventry Local Schools is seeking a path out of fiscal emergency. Step one on that steep climb: determining just how deep the hole is. Cue the heroic music as State Auditor! Man leaps into action. (Akron Beacon Journal, 4/6/16)
     
  6. Speaking of leaping into the fray, Cincinnati City Council passed a resolution this week urging the school district not to try and take
  7. ...

Pages