Ohio Policy

Guest Blogger

Ohio intern Rachel Roseberry wrote this guest post.

They say the pen is mightier than the sword. In this case, we can only hope. Ohio State Senator Jon Husted (former State Speaker of the House) recently penned a letter to Governor Strickland, the President of the Senate, and the current Speaker detailing Ohio's shortcomings in its personal Race to the Top. He states that he is proposing legislation to correct these deficiencies; namely to lift the various caps Ohio currently has on new charter schools and to revise Ohio's value-added assessments for teachers and principals.

Senator Husted notes that Ohio now has the chance to start making decisive steps towards complying with the Race to the Top guidelines and ultimately to put in place better practice. As our own Terry Ryan says, can we afford to stumble into this federal funding any longer?

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Will Compernolle

Quotable

"It's ironic as hell that a budget that gives less funding to schools than the last seven budgets is being cast as a constitutional funding bill. That's funny. That's just funny." --Bill Seitz, Ohio State Senator

Bucyrus Telegraph Forum: Schools face big changes - eventually

Notable

18 : The number of charter schools featured in U.S. News's list of the top 100 high schools in America.

Kansas City infoZine: Poor Economy, Poor Student Achievement Threaten Charter Schools

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Who better to report on the ???????brain drain??????? than college students themselves????? Check out this story from FOX affiliate Palestra.net , aka The College Network, featuring such luminaries as West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, III , and Fordham's own Terry Ryan .

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The media is awash with stories about Ohio's brain drain: in 2007, the Buckeye State saw 6,981 more residents between the ages of 25 and 34 leave the state than migrate into it.  What's worse, the more education these young people have, the more likely they are to leave the state.  The Thomas B. Fordham Institute has sought to shed light on this important problem--and explore possible solutions.

We commissioned the Farkas Duffet Research Group to create a survey tool that could investigate the attitudes of the state's top college students about their views of Ohio as a place to live, work, and invest themselves after graduation.  We also wanted to know how these students view working in and around primary-secondary education and what it would take to entice them into this field.

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland's education plan calls for modernizing Ohio's K-12 education system, including the state's school-funding system, but the plan's so-called "evidence-based" approach would actually scuttle any modernizing efforts, argues this study issued by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

The governor's funding plan "would prop up an outdated system of school finance that establishes funding levels based on convention rather than need, sustains institutions whether they work or not, spends money with little regard for results and holds adults accountable for compliance not results," says author Paul T. Hill, Corbally Professor at the University of Washington, director of that university's Center on Reinventing Public Education, Senior Fellow at Brookings and former senior social scientist at RAND.

In fact, Hill says, "Once one gets past the rhetoric, one finds that the main active ingredients in the governor's plan are spending increases towards helping schools and districts employ more administrators, teachers and support staff."

Hill was lead author on the six-year, $6 million, Gates-funded, nationwide study Facing the Future: Financing Productive Schools. This report, issued in December 2008, is the most comprehensive study of its kind ever conducted, prepared by more than 40 economists, lawyers, financial specialists, and education policy makers. It was comprised of more than 30 separate studies, including in-depth looks at Ohio, North Carolina, Texas and Washington.

Much of Gov. Strickland's evidence-based approach to school funding runs counter to what the Gates report recommended in December. That study shows that "schools and systems that work...

This yearly report covers Fordham's sponsorship practices throughout the year as well as newsworthy events related to our sponsored charter schools. You can also find detailed reports on all of Fordham-sponsored schools.  Each school report contains information on the school's academic performance, educational philosophy, and compliance for the 2007-2008 school year.

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, in partnership with Public Impact, analyzed the 2007-08 academic performance data for charter and district schools in Ohio's eight largest urban cities to produce Urban School Performance Report: An Analysis of Ohio Big Eight Charter and District School performance with a special analysis of Cyber Schools, 2007-08.

City-by-city analyses of school performance

Cincinnati

Cleveland

Columbus

Dayton

Toledo

As Gov. Ted Strickland concludes his 12-city "Conversation on Education" tour to gather ideas for reforming public education in Ohio, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute has put forth a report of five recommendations designed to keep improvements in the Buckeye State's public schools on track toward three critical goals: 1) maximizing the talents of every child; 2) producing graduates as good as any in the world; and 3) closing the persistent academic gaps that continue between rich and poor, and black and white and brown.

The five recommendations include:

  1. Creating world-class standards and stronger accountability mechanisms. 
  2. Ensure that funding is fairly allocated among all children and schools. 
  3. Recruit the best and brightest to lead schools and empower them to succeed. 
  4. Improve teacher quality. 
  5. Expand the quality of, and access to, a range of high-performing school options.

    The report offers relevant examples of the best practices and thinking from across the nation and world as well as within the state of Ohio. These recommendations were developed on the basis of the work over the past decade of many organizations, including Achieve, McKinsey & Co., the Ohio Grantmakers Forum, the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National Center on Education and the Economy, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and Ohio's State Board of Education and Department of Education. ...

    Since the piloting of value-added progress measures by the Ohio Department of Education in 2007, we at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute have repeatedly been asked by business people, journalists, philanthropists, educators, and others to explain "value-added" and what it means for schools and children.  In order to help answer this question and others--such as "How is it used?" "Should it replace standards-based assessments?" and "Is it a fairer measurer of school performance?"--we volunteered to produce a short primer to help non-specialists understand the basics of "value-added" in Ohio.

    Ohio can boast of praiseworthy gains over the past decade in making school funding more equitable across districts. The next step must be to make funding fairer within districts, according to this study from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. This imperative also gives Ohio the opportunity to modernize its public-education finance system to keep pace with powerful changes in the education system itself.

    To mitigate the school-finance inequities that remain within districts and gear school funding toward the realities of student mobility, school choice and effective school-based management, the report recommends that Ohio embrace Weighted Student Funding (WSF).

    Weighted Student Funding makes equity a reality within districts by allocating resources based on the needs of individual students and by sending dollars directly to schools rather than lodging most spending decisions at the district level.

    Today, one in seven Ohio students is educated in a school other than their neighborhood district school. Families increasingly change schools during the course of their children's K-12 careers and more and more of them select options other than their assigned district schools, options that include magnet schools, community (charter) schools, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) schools. Yet there is no mechanism to ensure that as students move from one school to another, resources move, too.

    And while Ohio has made a start at modifying education funding according to the singular needs of individual children, most school dollars are doled out without regard to student circumstances and needs-and even when they are, districts may...

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