Ohio Gadfly Daily

Authorizers are crucial cogs in the charter-school system in Ohio, both before a school opens its doors and while it is under contract to operate.

Triple double-dips, data scrubbing, parental choice info, and OTES take us from Cleveland to Newark to Columbus and back to Cleveland again.

Much debate on the Common Core State Standards has centered on traditional school districts, but the many changes already underway are being felt by charter schools as well.

Review of a remarkable book about a remarkable urban school defying all the odds in Dayton.

We take a look at the hubbub over Fordham's recent voucher toolkit with an Ohio insider's view.

Ohio earned a C- rating, placing the Buckeye State tenth in the nation in StudentsFirst’s second-annual “State Policy Report Card.” StudentsFirst is a national education-reform organization led by Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of D.C. Public Schools. The highest-rated states were Louisiana and Florida, which both received a B- rating. For its policy report card, StudentsFirst bases a state's ratings on three reform “pillars”: Teacher quality, parental choice, and fiscal- and governance-related issues. Fairly high praise for the Buckeye State, but as the mediocre rating indicates, Ohio still has plenty of room to improve.

According to StudentsFirst, Ohio’s areas of strength include:

  • Increase Quality Choices (B) – Ohio’s expansive voucher programs and performance-based charter contracts are cited as strengths.
  • Empower Parents with Information (C+) – Ohio’s new A-F school report cards are given high marks.
  • Spend Taxpayers Resources Wisely to Improve Outcomes for Students (C+) –Ohio’s improvements in fiscal transparency are commended. One example StudentsFirst cites is recent legislation that requires the department of education to display the link between school spending and academic outcomes.

The weaknesses include:

  • Value Effective Teachers (F) – Ohio’s minimum salary schedule for teachers (based primarily on seniority and credits-earned) remains in law, and is a significant barrier for education reform. However, not all is bleak in this area, as the report card rightly notes: Districts that participated in the federal Race to the Top program are now required to adopt a performance-based compensation system.
  • Provide Comparable Resources for All Public Options (D-) – Ohio’s school funding system is cited as inequitable. Public funds don’t “follow the child” and charter-school students receive less per-pupil funding than their district peers.
  • Use Evaluations for Personnel Decisions (D+) – Ohio receives low marks in this area, as it has not yet
  • ...

When a cherished part of your daughters' childhood is attacked, a Dad has to stand up.

Identifying gifted students and serving gifted students are two different things in Ohio, and neither area has data that inspires confidence.

2014 should be the year that quality trumps all other considerations when it comes to charter schools in Ohio.

We look at an ambitious experiment to try and ease the negative effects of high student mobility.