When then-Governor Ted Strickland issued his Evidence-Based Model (EBM) of school funding reform in 2009 we engaged Professor Paul Hill to provide an analysis of the proposals. We couldn’t think of anyone better to do the work than Professor Hill. His credentials are impeccable. He is founder and recently retired director of the University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public Education, and a former Senior Fellow at Brookings and RAND. Further, Professor Hill has roots in Ohio as a graduate of Ohio State University. He also has family in Dayton.
Professor Hill’s analysis of Strickland’s plan was largely informed by the research project he led, Facing the Future: Financing Productive Schools. That six-year effort, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was the most comprehensive study of its kind ever conducted. It concluded that America’s public-school finance systems are burdened by rules and narrow policies that hold local officials accountable for compliance but not for results. Facing the Future was the work of more than 40 economists, lawyers, financial specialists, and education policy makers. It included more than 30 separate studies, including in-depth looks at Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington.
Based on findings and recommendations from Facing the Future we asked Professor Hill to develop a “crosswalk” between the key findings of that seminal report and the policy recommendations in the Strickland’s Plan. Professor Hill’s analysis of Governor Strickland’s EBM was not kind. It stated bluntly, “Though Governor Ted Strickland asserts that his school-funding model is evidence-based, in fact there is no proven link between what’s proposed and what’s effective in schools.”
Fast forward to 2013, and another Ohio governor is proposing a school funding reform plan. Governor Kasich issued his Achievement Everywhere plan in early February, and as details came out over the following weeks we again asked Professor Hill if he would provide a review of the governor’s plan. Professor Hill took on the challenge and here the Thomas B. Fordham Institute proudly presents Steps in the Right Direction: Assessing “Ohio Achievement Everywhere” – the Kasich Plan, which should interest lawmakers, policy makers, journalists, and others concerned about the education of Ohio’s children.
As the title notes, Professor Hill observes that Governor Kasich’s reform plan will advance Ohio and it schools, but it could be better and bolder. Or, as Professor Hill concludes, “Governor Kasich’s Achievement Everywhere moves Ohio in the right direction, but it needs to go further if the ultimate goal is a world-class education for all students.”
We hope this report helps to inform and enrich the debate swirling around Governor Kasich’s education reform plan and ultimately helps improve it. We are profoundly appreciative of the swift, high-quality work by Paul Hill.
Download the report online here.