Ohio Gadfly Daily

  1. Regular Ohio Gadfly readers will already be aware of the education positions of the various gubernatorial candidates here in Ohio. But the Dispatch went right to the sources for the info instead of scouring papers like we had to and got some more thorough details by doing so. Here are the stated education positions of the Democrat primary candidates. (Columbus Dispatch, 4/22/18). And here are the stated education positions of the Republican primary candidates. (Columbus Dispatch, 4/22/18)
  2. As you may have noticed in the clips above, most of the gubernatorial candidates of both parties are campaigning on a promise to scale back standardized testing in Ohio. This is presumably so that the Buckeye State’s school children do not end up being “just a number in a chart”. Should one of those candidates win and that winner actually make good on that particular campaign promise, what then might replace testing to determine how kids are doing across the state? How about an “engagement index”? Here is a detailed examination of such an index of self-reported data from students. With it, one can plot the admitted degree of love for learning and admitted student academic challenge on a
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Achievement gaps between poor and minority students and their peers are well documented and persistent. For years, data indicate that these students have generally been making slow but steady progress. But now results from the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) cast doubt on whether they remain on an upward trajectory. Nationally, the most recent trends have been flat to downwards for both black and Hispanic students, as well as for those in the bottom 10 percent in achievement.

Does Ohio follow the national trends? In this post, we’ll take a look at the NAEP data for Ohio’s low-income pupils and black students. Though not discussed here, average achievement among Hispanic students also lags behind their peers (their NAEP performance can be seen here). In contrast to Ohio’s state tests, which have changed in recent years, NAEP’s math and reading exams have remained largely consistent and provide a big-picture sense of the direction achievement is moving in Ohio. Keep in mind that NAEP takes “snapshots” of different students every two years; hence, it’s difficult to draw conclusions about what’s causing changes seen in the data. The shift to tablet assessments in 2017 may...


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  1. In case you missed it, panic ensued in schools newsrooms across the state on Wednesday when a glitch in the AIR login process required rescheduling tests in a number of school districts. Things were back to normal on Thursday; at least at the schools. One assumes the newsrooms were still on edge. Completely coincidentally, the power went out at my daughter’s school on Wednesday, sending everyone home at 11:30. I am still awaiting the calls to ditch the power grid in favor of squirrels on wheels. (Columbus Dispatch, 4/19/18)
  2. Back in the real world, some North Coast school officials are weighing in on proposed legislation that would scrap Ohio’s award winning school report cards in favor of something that looks like the gauges and dials on the dashboard of a non-award winning 1987 Yugo. Reading the piece in detail, it seems that said officials are more in the camp of “tweak” and not “scrap”. The report cards, that is, not the Yugos. Seriously, those things were junk. (Norwalk Reflector, 4/20/18)
  3. Staying in the real world for a moment, a school building in Cleveland is way under capacity and CMSD has determined that it’s too difficult and
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  1. Can you stand hearing more about A-to-F grading for Ohio’s schools? Me too! This piece posits two factions competing to redesign report cards before the overall A-to-F grading of schools and districts is implemented. One is the General Assembly via HB 591. The other is the State Board of Education via a lot of review panels. Both of these factions are against the idea of a single overall grade and want it stopped before it goes into effect, even if a replacement isn’t at hand by then. Added to the discussion are “outside” perspectives: a former state board member (who also doesn’t seem to care for overall A-to-F grades) and Fordham (whose detailed report card redesign—including overall A-to-F grades—is discussed and quoted here). I can just feel the love. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 4/17/18)
  2. At last! The Ohio State University has finally closed a deal with Columbus City Schools to buy up a long-vacant former school building. Last we heard, back in November, the two titanic bureaucracies were unable to finalize a deal despite preferential consideration for the university and a bargain-basement price offered to them. At that time, it was said that the labyrinthine nature of decision
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John Kasich is wrapping up his second term as Governor of Ohio and likely his career in public service. In a moment of reflection, he recently quipped, “I've tried to change two institutions during my career. One is the Pentagon and the other is the education system. And I've largely failed on both.”

His influence on military reform is best left to someone else to analyze, but let’s dig into his education record. What follows are a few of the most noteworthy K–12 reform efforts—in no particular order—occurring under his watch and a brief assessment of their likely long-term impact.

Instituting A-to-F school grades

Governor Kasich’s first term included establishing a few significant academic accountability measures, most notably A-to-F school grades intended to make school quality data clearer and more useful for parents and the general public.

Implemented in phases over several years, A-to-F school grades have ruffled more than a few feathers. The pushback has been strongest in suburban areas where schools sometimes receive lower grades than popular perception would suggest they deserve. The complexity of some of the graded measures combined with the sheer volume of grades received by each school cuts against the purpose...


A recent paper from the left-leaning Center for American Progress (CAP) examined high school graduation requirements across the nation to determine whether they were aligned with requirements for each state’s public university system. By and large, the authors found a “significant misalignment” between states’ high school and college systems. This “preparation gap,” as the authors call it, forces students seeking admission to their states’ university systems to take additional coursework that isn’t required to earn a high school diploma.

To remedy this issue, the authors recommend that states require students to complete as part of their diploma requirements the fifteen-credit college-ready coursework that’s required by most public university systems. This includes four years of English; three years of math up through algebra II; three years of laboratory science, including biology and either chemistry or physics; three years of social studies, including U.S. or world history; and two years of courses in the same foreign language.

If there’s one big takeaway from the CAP paper, it’s that rigorous coursework requirements matter—not just for the students who are bound for college, but for everyone. Research shows that the fifteen-credit college-ready curriculum leads to beneficial outcomes for students regardless of...

  1. As you may recall from last Wednesday’s Bites, there is was a new bill introduced in the House that proposes to sweep most current aspects of school report cards right out the door in favor of a “dashboard” type rating system instead, and I use the term “system” loosely. Judging from this Gongwer piece, the multi-headed hydra known as BASAOASBOOSBA—a.k.a. “statewide education group(s)” in edublob-ese—is all for this proposed new system. Still using that term loosely. Our own Chad Aldis, seemingly alone in his objections, explains the problems he sees with this proposal. Again. (Gongwer Ohio, 4/13/18) But wait, do I hear OTHER faint cries of objection to this proposal to get rid of detailed, measurable A-to-F grading of schools and districts? Well, not exactly. At least two legislators do appear to be concerned with the bill, but that’s because it doesn’t address school districts operating under the aegis of an Academic Distress Commission. Specifically, because those two districts (maybe soon to be three?) are not automatically released from ADC designation by this new bill. Now why would they think that that should be the case, I wonder? (WFMJ-TV, Youngstown, 4/13/18)
  2. Despite the disclaimer—buried deep in this
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In case you missed the memo, early voting for the May 8 Ohio gubernatorial primary started this week. Building off our national Eduwatch coverage of the 2016 presidential election, Fordham Ohio presents a look at the primary candidates for governor.

Below you will find—in their own words as much as possible—the positions of candidates in the Democratic primary on various education issues in the Buckeye State. (We list them in alphabetical order.) It is worth noting that two of the candidates’ running mates currently hold positions relating to K–12 education.

The corresponding collection of quotes from the Republican primary candidates can be found here.


Richard Cordray (former Director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and former Ohio Attorney General). Running mate: Betty Sutton (former U.S. Representative)

1. ECOT: ECOT will be a key issue this year because it “represents the culture of corruption” under Republican rule. February 2018.

2. Charter schools: “The for-profit charter schools have been a scandal… We've got $70 million missing in Columbus that we're never going to see again. And $1 billion poured into charter schools that have been so scandal plagued.” March 2018.

3. Education governance: “It...


In case you missed the memo, early voting for the May 8 Ohio gubernatorial primary started last week. Building off our national Eduwatch coverage of the 2016 presidential election, Fordham Ohio presents a look at the primary candidates for governor.

Below you will find—in their own words and via direct quotes as much as possible—the positions of candidates in the Republican primary on various education issues in the Buckeye State. (We list them in alphabetical order.)

The corresponding collection of quotes from the Democratic primary candidates can be found here.


Mike DeWine (Ohio Attorney General and former U.S. Senator). Running mate: Jon A. Husted (Ohio Secretary of State)

1. School quality: Wants to place “a real emphasis on education”…encouraging and replicating schools that are propelling underprivileged children toward “their version of the American dream.” If they’re not serving that goal…they should be closed down. October 2017.

2. Schools serving at-risk youth: The good news is that today there are models for what yields good schools—models of schools that can make a difference in children’s lives. November 2017.

3. Career and Technical Education: Ohio should encourage some students to pursue vocational education as an...