Top Fordham Ohio blog posts of 2016

Following the lead of our D.C. colleagues, we totted up the most-read articles posted on Ohio Gadfly Daily in 2016.

The Top Five editorial posts are a microcosm of the issues we address regularly in an effort to advance educational excellence in a very real way here in the Buckeye State:

1. House Bill 420: Opting out of accountability by Jamie Davies O’Leary (published January 25)

At the height of the pushback against Common Core-aligned testing in Ohio, HB 420 was born. It would have allowed schools and districts to exempt from certain accountability measures those students whose parents opted them out of taking standardized tests. We cautioned against the inadvertent deterrent effect on testing participation and the erosion of the state’s accountability system.

2. How will ESSA change Ohio’s school report cards? by Jessica Poiner (published June 13)

Ohio’s accountability and report card system was reasonably robust before the advent of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), but as we discussed in detail back in June, the myriad new reporting requirements would engender a number of changes for the Buckeye State to be in compliance with ESSA. Our point-by-point analysis is a must-read for anyone who wants to know what the state’s report card system will look like in the ESSA era.

3. ‘Elected’ school boards and the dangerous illusion of democracy by Aaron Churchill (published March 3)

Spurred by the suggestion that elected school boards are de facto “better” than appointed charter school boards, we dug into the data around that little slice of democracy known as the school board race and were not impressed.

4. The problem with graduation rate statistics by Aaron Churchill (published June 13)

The assertion that one school (or school type) should be judged more harshly because of its low graduation rate is missing the point, we argued in this piece. In fact, the way graduation rates are calculated in Ohio can mask important details about student mobility and its effects on both the “sending” and “receiving” schools’ graduation rates.

5. Where are Ohio’s teachers when we need them? by Jamie Davies O’Leary and Elaine Laux (published August 8)

Data released mid-year from the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) indicated a huge problem with teacher absenteeism across the country. Ohio was no exception and this dig into the data from our largest cities pointed out troublesome truths.

* * *

We hope you will visit Ohio Gadfly Daily throughout 2017 as these issues and more take center stage again.