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The standard argument holds that improving education will improve the nation’s economy. A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research not only affirms this argument but also demonstrates just how big the economic effects of school improvement could be.

From the start, it’s clear that this paper differs from its predecessors. Previous studies examined human capital and its effect on states’ economic development by measuring school attainment (high school graduation). This study points out that attainment is an imperfect yardstick—it incorrectly assumes that increased levels of schooling automatically suggest increased levels of knowledge and skills. A better way to determine the relationship between education and economic value is to measure a different outcome: achievement. Since “no direct measures of cognitive skills for the labor force” exist, the authors craft their own. They start by constructing an average test score for each state using NAEP, then adjust the test scores for different types of migration (interstate and international among them) in order to offset the high mobility of our population.

Hanushek, who has published multiple studies linking economic activity with enhanced educational output, offers several scenarios in his latest report. If every state improved to the level of...

  1. In case you missed it, Fordham Ohio’s latest report – Quality in Adversity: Lessons from Ohio’s best charter schools – was released today. Some preliminary media coverage has already taken place (huge thanks to all the outlets for that) and we expect more to follow in the next day or two. Check out the Dispatch (Columbus Dispatch, 1/27/16), the Enquirer (Cincinnati Enquirer, 1/27/16), and the Associated Press (Salem News, via AP, 1/27/16) You can also read the full report here….after you’ve finished your Bites.
     
  2. I’ve been avoiding clipping the various iterations of this next story because it’s really just a lame PR exercise. But when public media calls, you have to answer. Various small school districts around the state have been incited to send “invoices” to the Ohio Department of Education requesting payment for all of the dubloons “deducted” from their vaulted treasure caves over the years to pay for students who were educated outside their crenellated walls in charter schools. Our own Chad Aldis discusses the “theatrical” nature of this stunt with public radio’s Andy Chow. Now, who do district parents see about getting a refund for those college remediation classes they needed?
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  1. When I first looked at this story on the front page of the Dispatch this morning, I thought it was indicating a high success rate for Franklin County school districts in teaching English Language Learners. Turns out that “top” simply means quantity of ELL kids – quite an influx here, from all over the world – not quality of teaching or success rates. Neither of those topics is covered in this piece, but here’s hoping that’s part two of the story coming up soon. (Columbus Dispatch, 1/25/16)
     
  2. Not much else to report from the weekend, so we’re left with some commentary to celebrate the first day of National School Choice Week. First up, a Southwest Ohio teacher opining on why the state slipped from 5th to 23rd in the most recent Quality Counts report. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 1/24/16)
     
  3. Lastly, Canton-area commentator Charita Goshay opines on how much she dislikes charter schools. Hint: quite a lot. (Canton Repository, 1/24/16)

It’s often argued that improving education will improve the nation’s economy. A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research not only affirms this argument but also demonstrates just how big the economic effects of school improvement could be.

From the start, it’s clear that this paper differs from its predecessors. Previous studies examined human capital and its effect on states’ economic development by measuring school attainment (high school graduation). This one points out that attainment is an imperfect yardstick—it incorrectly assumes that increased levels of schooling automatically suggest increased levels of knowledge and skills. A better way to determine the relationship between education and economic value is to measure a different outcome: achievement. Since “no direct measures of cognitive skills for the labor force” exist, the authors craft their own. They start by constructing an average test score for each state using NAEP, then adjust the test scores for different types of migration (interstate and international among them) in order to offset the high mobility of the American population.

Hanushek, who has published multiple studies linking economic activity with enhanced educational output, offers several scenarios in his latest report. If every state improved to the level of...

  1. Our own Chad Aldis is quoted in this very brief look at the new NAPCS state rankings. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 1/20/16)
     
  2. A new report from the Ohio Department of Higher Education says that fewer college freshmen needed remedial courses in 2014 than need them in 2013. Props are being given to Ohio colleges for efforts to commonly define the core skills students need to have and be able to do in order to be considered “remediation free”. (Is that code? Perhaps for “lowering the bar?”) They are also being given props for their use of “co-requisite remediation”, in which students enroll in college-level courses instead of remedial classes and receive academic support to help them succeed. You can check out coverage in the Dispatch (Columbus Dispatch, 1/20/16) and the Plain Dealer (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/21/16)
     
  3. Count on the good folks at the Harvard Graduate School of Economics to kill whatever buzz the above-referenced remediation news may have generated. A new report from them suggests that the college admissions process needs to be “reshaped” in order to stop the escalation of what they call “achievement pressure.” Now THAT is definitely code. Probably for “less emphasis on
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In recent weeks, two national publications have assigned Ohio grades for its education policies and outcomes. The first, “Quality Counts,” came courtesy of Education Week. It revealed that Ohio’s grades have fallen from previous years, moving the state down in national rankings. The second was a group of report cards that rated states on their support for public higher education. These grades were furnished by the Young Invincibles (YI), a national organization that seeks to represent the millennial generation. At first glance, the reports don’t share much in common. Quality Counts examines K–12 education and, despite lower rankings, still grades Ohio as middle-of-the-pack. The Young Invincibles report, on the other hand, examines higher education and gives Ohio a giant red F.

Closer inspection reveals that the reports both examine the connection between education and money. “Quality Counts,” for example, points out rising poverty gaps on Ohio’s NAEP results. Ohio’s gaps between poor and non-poor kids aren’t just large, they’re getting larger—the opposite of the national trend. The YI report, meanwhile, focuses on the financial difficulty of attending college in Ohio. While Ohio has seen some of the smallest tuition hikes since...

The metrosexual edition

In this week's podcast, Mike Petrilli and and Robert Pondiscio look at Jeb Bush's recently released education plan through the ESSA lens, knock a proposal to change college admissions from a group of elite schools, and debunk the idea that parents shouldn't help their kids with math homework. In the Research Minute, Amber Northern discusses how student teaching experiences affect attrition rates.

Amber's Research Minute

Dan Goldhaber, John M. Krieg, and Roddy Theobald, "Does the Match Matter? Exploring Whether Student Teaching Experiences Affect Teacher Effectiveness and Attrition," CALDER (January 2016).

 
  1. Back from a bit of a break and catching up. Chad was quoted in a piece over the weekend talking about the new charter sponsor evaluation protocols being put in place in Ohio. Some folks think the highest rating is unobtainable; some think that’s just fine if true. Others – like the online commenters – are expecting some “wiggle room” to emerge. (Columbus Dispatch, 1/17/16)
     
  2. Leroy Elementary in Riverside Schools in Northern Ohio is being studied for closure due to declining enrollment and deteriorating conditions, among other things. Parents were encouraged to attend this week’s special board meeting about the proposal. (Willoughby News-Herald, 1/16/16). They obliged, and largely disagreed with the proposal. (Willoughby News-Herald, 1/19/16)
     
  3. Speaking of small town schools, the Poland district near Youngstown is considering changes to its school calendar. They say they need to start the school year earlier in 2016-17 in order to have more prep time for PARCC testing. Do you want to tell them, or should I? (Youngstown Vindicator, 1/20/16)
     
  4. Speaking of Youngstown, we’re still waiting for more courtroom action on the definition of “teacher” – a decision which is holding up the entirety of the Youngstown
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  1. As noted earlier in the week, the first installment of school and district report card data was released yesterday. As Patrick O’Donnell tells us: The results released “reflect only graduation rates, how well kids do on college exams like the ACT and SAT and how well schools help kids that have trouble reading in the early grades.” Big stuff, yes, but new calculations and incomplete data make it difficult for analysts to really dig in. Case in point, perennial report analysts the Thomas B. Fordham Institute (ugh, not those guys again), whom Patrick points out will not be publishing their analysis until more information is out and it can be properly parsed. Don’t worry Aaron, we still love you. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/14/16)
     
  2. We all know that the world of education in Ohio loves change and so, as you can imagine, everyone is thrilled and delighted by yesterday’s data dump. I jest, of course. A quarter of the data is already under review at the request of districts who feel this or that measure is not accurate, many districts are throwing up their hands as to what any of the ratings mean, and other supes and spokespeople are
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  1. Democracy can be messy. Nowhere is that more apparent than in school boards around Ohio. Take Akron City Schools, for example. A majority of voters opted not to reelect an incumbent board member in November. A majority of sitting board members opted to bring him back at the first meeting of the new year to fill an empty seat. (Akron Beacon Journal, 1/11/16)
     
  2. Charter schools can be messy. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the case of Andre Tucker. He led three charter schools that opened and quickly folded back in 2013. Litigation over a number of issues has been ongoing ever since, with Tucker representing himself in his defense and in scattering lawsuits of his own all over Franklin County courts. It is with some thinly-veiled glee that the formerly-Big D (sued by Tucker for reporting on him) tells us Tucker was slapped by a judge this week as “vexatious litigator”. It is hoped by the reporters that this will shut down Tucker’s efforts for good. Now, about that stalled litigation in Youngstown… (Columbus Dispatch, 1/13/16)
     
  3. A small sliver of news on the Youngstown Plan litigation in this piece – a hearing is set
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