Ohio policy makers just dismantled the high school graduation requirements for the class of 2018. This retreat harks back to the days of social promotion and state-sanctioned low expectations and should prompt some soul-searching as to what exactly we think young people need to be prepared for life after high school.
I’m all for high standards that are taken seriously by all concerned and that have real-world consequences. The point, after all, is to boost achievement, cause more learning by more young people, cause diplomas to mean something, and ensure that many more of our future citizens will be up to the challenges ahead.
But it’s also possible to demand too much. Witness the Chicago Public Schools: in addition to meeting basic high school graduation requirements like earning 24 credit hours in core subject areas and completing additional obligations such as service learning and consumer education, a new proposal requires high school students in the Windy City to prove that they have a “post-graduation plan” that includes a job or acceptance into the military, college, or a trade program.
Ohio’s plan is akin to providing high school graduates with flotation devices. Who cares if they...
At the end of June, Governor John Kasich vetoed a provision in the state budget bill that would have changed school grading calculations for purposes of evaluating the performance of Ohio’s charter school sponsors. Keep in mind that sponsors—as they should be—are evaluated in part on the basis of how well the charter schools in their portfolios are doing on state report card metrics. At issue here was the weight that the Ohio Department of Education places on student growth—or value added—relative to other measures. The General Assembly, seemingly unhappy with the current, bureaucratically derived framework for sponsor evaluations, had wanted to increase the weight on student growth from 20 to 60 percent. That change would have applied to the “summative” (or “overall”) A-F grades of charter schools when applied to the evaluation of their sponsors.
Transitioning sponsors towards a growth-centered system was a positive move by the legislature, and it’s disappointing that the governor vetoed the provision. Growth measures consider individual students’ academic performance over time and gauge a school’s impact on student achievement. They differ from status measures, such as proficiency rates, which are “snapshots” of student performance at a point...
As also originally noted in Wednesday’s clips, here is more on the third grade reading test “controversy”, from a Cleveland perspective. Same “problem” here as in the other districts who begged (and I do mean “begged”) the state board of education to do something to help them out – expecting the alternative tests’ cut scores to be lower than they were and being horribly wrong. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 7/13/17)
As noted in the clips a few months ago, Lorain is attempting to build an Alumni Club of high school graduates in the area. Here is more on the status of recruitment efforts. Last time, we noted that district and Catholic high school grads were being sought, but this time we learned that alumni can be from “any Lorain school.” Interestingly, the district’s elected board seems a bit standoffish with regard to the club
The Ohio General Assembly recently passed and Governor Kasich approved legislation that allows students in the class of 2018 to graduate without demonstrating competency on state exams or meeting career and technical education-related requirements. This means that there won’t be any assurance that those getting diplomas have learned much of anything. At a time when Ohio is trying to get reasonably serious about ending social promotion into fourth grade—via the Third Grade Reading Guarantee—voters and taxpayers should be outraged that it’s again reared its ugly head in connection with the promotion that matters most: exiting from high school into real life.
Why worry about social promotion? Consider an interview with Doug Lemov, the well-known author of Teach Like a Champion and co-founder of the Uncommon Schools charter network. Richard Whitmire recounts Lemov’s experience as a tutor at Indiana University:
One of the football players he tutored was a redshirt freshman who had gone to a high school in the Bronx. “He was a real gentleman, a decent guy in every way, but he was struggling academically. So I said, ‘Why don’t you write a paragraph about yourself,’ which he did. I took one look...
WorkKeys is an ACT-designed system that includes assessments, curriculum, and “skill profiles” for schools to use in building and measuring students’ workplace skills. Superintendent DeMaria specifically recommends the elimination of the assessment, of which there are three sections:
Applied math: a 55-minute assessment with 34 items. This test measures mathematical critical thinking and problem-solving techniques that are commonly used in the workplace, including negative numbers, fractions, decimals, and money and time conversions.
Graphic literacy: a 55-minute assessment with 38 items. This test measures how well an individual can read and interpret common workplace graphics such as diagrams, maps and floor plans, order forms, and flow
In case you missed it last week, the General Assembly passed the new two-year state budget and Governor Kasich signed it into law…making a record number of line item vetoes along the way. Jeremy Kelley took a look at 11 of those education-related vetoes and got some big names to help him make sense of the original intent of the language and the effect of the vetoes. Our own Chad Aldis is quoted on an item regarding charter sponsor evaluation rules. The legislature is due back in town tomorrow to possibly override some of those vetoes. Which ones and how likely they are to be overridden are still open questions. (Middletown Journal-News, 7/3/17)
Youngstown City Schools has a new interim superintendent, we discovered yesterday. He is a current district principal, well-regarded it seems, and will stay in the role at least until a permanent supe is found. In case you’re wondering: the previous interim was non-renewed, and the role of the supe in a CEO-style Academic Distress Commission district will apparently be as a communication liaison between the CEO and the elected board. Can’t imagine why they can’t find a permanent occupant. (Youngstown Vindicator, 7/3/17) The