School Finance

The schools that serve Ohio’s poor, urban and minority youngsters overwhelmingly fall short when it comes to academic performance. But there are a small handful of schools that buck these bleak trends and show serious achievement for disadvantaged youngsters from depressed inner-city communities.

This study profiles eight of these high-performing outlier schools and distills their successes, in hopes that state policymakers and educators can learn from them and create the conditions necessary for more schools like them.

To study the schools, Fordham commissioned two reseachers, Theodore J. Wallace and Quentin Suffren, who spent 16 days and hundreds of hours in eight schools in five cities to observe what makes them successful.

See the news release here. View the PowerPoint, an overview of findings and policy recommendations that we shared with state lawmakers at a Statehouse news conference on May 25, here.

Profiles of the eight Needles schools

Citizens' Academy (video)

College Hill Fundamental Academy (video)

Duxberry Park Arts IMPACT Alternative Elementary School

Horizon Science Academy - Cleveland Middle School (video)

King Elementary School (video)

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If you've been reading Flypaper lately you know that we released a new study yesterday, America's Private Public Schools, which identifies 2,800 public schools nationwide that serve virtually no low-income students. In some metro areas, upwards of 30 percent of white youngsters attend such schools.

Originally we posted lists of these schools for the 25 largest metro areas, but now you can check this list for "private public schools" nationwide. (The list is organized by state, and then school district.)

Did you attend a "private public school" as a child? Do you send your kids to such a school now? Check it out!

-Mike Petrilli

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A new report from Fordham today, authored by yours truly and our research assistant Janie Scull, identifies some 2,800 ???private public schools??? nationwide???public schools that serve virtually no poor students. More students attend these schools than attend charter schools.* And in some metro areas, like New York's, almost 30 percent of white students attend these exclusive schools. Because you have to be well-off enough to live in their attendance boundaries, these schools are more private than private schools???which at least give scholarships to some needy children.

These schools are open secrets in the education policy community. They are where lots of the children of the nation's elite get educated (if they aren't attending ritzy private schools). And taxpayers are spending upwards of $20 billion a year supporting them. Yet there's none of the outcry that surfaces when someone proposes vouchers so poor children can attend private schools at public expense. How come? And if the civil rights community is upset that charter schools serve ???too many??? poor and minority kids, why aren't they upset that these ???public??? schools serve too many white and middle class children?

Check out the report, and also lists of these schools in the 25 biggest metro areas.

* Interestingly, among the 2,800 ???private public schools,??? we identified 79 charter schools that themselves qualify because they serve virtually no poor students. Shame on them!

P.S. You might have noticed...

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Our new report, America's Private Public Schools (described below), is meant to pierce the tired rhetoric used by so many defenders of the status quo in education. Unions and others love to hide behind their fealty to "public education" when arguing that charters or vouchers will lead to "exclusive" schools, whereby their beloved public schools "serve all comers." Except, it turns out, when they don't.

But one thing that's fun about our little project is that we can actually look at the NAMES of these 2,800 "private public schools"--schools that serve virtually no poor children. And I suspect they will be quite familiar to you; as several readers have told me this morning, the school they went to as a kid--and their rival schools, and the schools that all of their friends went to--are on the list.

And in full disclosure, that's the case for me too. I didn't think to look until yesterday, but lo and behold, there it is: Claymont Elementary in Ballwin, Missouri, a "private public school" whose student body is 97 percent non-poor. Maybe I should no longer boast that I went to "public schools" from Kindergarten through college.

See for yourself; if you went to school (or send your child to school) in one of the 25 largest metro areas in the country, you can scan our lists and find out right now.

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Atlanta

Baltimore

Boston

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OhioFlypaper

The holiday season has arrived - and here at Fordham Ohio we're feeling pretty darn generous. ??We've decided to bestow upon you this week not one, but TWO Ohio Education Gadflies!

Hot on the heels of Monday's Special Edition, the regular Ohio Education Gadfly returns and you won't want to miss it!

This edition features a Q&A with Mark North, superintendent of Lebanon City Schools whose district is facing challenges from the unfunded mandates in H.B. 1. Jamie provides timely coverage of a report from The New Teacher Project that could have profound implications for improving teacher effectiveness in Cincinnati Public Schools. And be sure to check out a recap of Checker's recent keynote address at the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools Annual Conference. (You can find the full text here??and the Q&A session below.)

The Dayton Daily News asked today why the "big names" in education from the Dayton area weren't on the state's new "Ohio School Funding Advisory Council". The names referenced included Fordham's Terry Ryan.

Capital Matters overfloweth with timely coverage of the recent flood of education-related legislation. Among them are bills that address the Buckeye State's bid in Race to the Top, and the proposed changes to the Ohio school rating system and its all-day kindergarten mandate.

Rounding out the issue are several excellent short reviews and Flypaper's...

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John Derbyshire is no optimist... that is when it comes to education policy. In an excerpt from his soon-to-be-released??We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism, he explains how education policy has nothing new under the sun. One particular common theme? That more money will solve education's ills. It's been tried countless times and it's failed each and every one of them. So what's new about there being nothing new? That these theme of spending more money on education is being endorsed by the current administration. "We must push our elected officials to supply the resources to fix our schools.??.??.??.??We can't pass a law called No Child Left Behind and then leave the money behind," Derbyshire quotes President Obama. He continues:

It is not quite true that there is nothing new under the sun, but there is nothing new in education theory, ever: just the same truths, revealed again and again, then pushed down the same memory hole by the same lying careerists, the same wishful-thinking fantasists, and the same parrot-brained politicians.

Zing.

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The Thomas B. Fordham Institute and Brookings Institution Press are pleased to announce the publication of From Schoolhouse to Courthouse: The Judiciary's Role in American Education (Paperback, $28.95, publication date: September 8, 2009). This important new book provides a wealth of critical information and insight for scholars, students, attorneys, and school officials alike, examining the effects that the courts have had on American classrooms over the last sixty years and are having today.

Edited by Joshua M. Dunn, associate professor of political science at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, and Martin R. West, assistant professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, From Schoolhouse to Courthouse brings together experts in political science, education policy, and law to paint a comprehensive portrait of the role of the courts in modern American K-12 education.

Contributors to the book: Richard Arum (New York University), Samuel R. Bagenstos (University of Michigan Law School), Martha Derthick (University of Virginia), John Dinan (Wake Forest University), Lance D. Fusarelli (North Carolina State University), Michael Heise (Cornell Law School), Frederick M. Hess (American Enterprise Institute), R. Shep Melnick (Boston College), Doreet Preiss (New York University), and James E. Ryan (University of Virginia School of Law).

Education Week posted a blog recently with a link to the slew of comments offered up by folks in response the U.S. Department of Education's criteria for awarding the Race to the Top (RTTT) funds (i.e., $4 billion dollars in competitive grants). There are over 1,500 comments from educational organizations, think tanks, policymakers, advocacy groups, teachers, you name it...One could spend days and days combing through the PDF files, but here are a handful that I opened to read:

AERA: Like others, AERA is off-put by the emphasis on school turn-around strategies. They recommend that "all turn-around strategies proposed by state and local districts be strengthened by requiring a theoretical and research-based justification..." Don't hold your breath on that one. Unsurprisingly, they are also not happy about using student achievement as a central measure to evaluate teachers and principals. They contend that tests have not been validated for such purposes and that states should "justify whatever assessment measure [they] use rather than fixing on a single procedure."?? In other words, use multiple measures and water down the significance of student achievement...

Kate Walsh over at NCTQ is concerned that the definition of alternative certification routes in the RTTT language "seems more consistent with a traditional undergraduate preparation program than a true alternative." She's not keen on requiring a "clinical/student teaching experience" and says that the same goals can be met via intensive mentoring support.

Then there's a lengthy...

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Late last Friday, when it would attract little or no news coverage, the National Education Association offered its detailed feedback on Arne Duncan's "Race to the Top" plans. 26 pages worth.

Strictly speaking, these are comments on proposed federal regulations that will guide the Education Department in disbursing these billions, including funding priorities, rules for eligible applicants, etc. This is the mechanism by which the Obama team is striving--against considerable Congressional and school-establishment opposition--to turn the education portion of the "stimulus" dollars into a driver of reform rather than simply a back-filling budget subsidy for strapped states and districts.

Duncan has been clear from the outset about his priorities. Here is how he stated them in late July when the guidelines were published:

States seeking funds will be pressed to implement four core, interconnected reforms. We sometimes call them the four assurances, and those assurances are what we are going to be looking for from states, districts, and their local partners in reform. For starters, we expect that winners of the Race to the Top grants will work to reverse the pervasive dumbing down of academic standards and assessments that has taken place in many states....That's why we are looking for Race to the Top states to adopt common, internationally-benchmarked K-12 standards that truly prepare students for college and careers. To speed this process, the Race to the Top program is going to set aside $350 million to competitively fund the development of rigorous, common state assessments.

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Education Next has just released an interesting and tantalizing debate on school funds. In the wake of Flores, issues of funding equity have again risen to the fore. It's lucky then that the participants in this debate, Eric Hanushek and Alfred Lindseth (authors of the tome??Schoolhouses, Courthouses, and Statehouses: Solving the Funding-Achievement Puzzle??in America's Public Schools) and Michael Rebell (author of the forthcoming??Courts and??Kids: Pursuing Educational Equity through the State Courts) are here to hash it out. Hanushek and Lindseth argue that spending the money already going into education more wisely is the ticket, specifically by reforming teacher pay scales to a performance-based model. Rebell counters that if you take a second look at the numbers, American education funding is actually neither adequate nor equitable. Definitely worth a read!

And if this topic interests you, Fordham (in concert with Brookings) will be publishing its own (slightly more general) contribution on this conversation in the form of the forthcoming book From Schoolhouse to Courthouse. Keep an eye out for its release in August.

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