Ohio Gadfly Daily

Next September, Ohio districts and schools will receive an overall grade on their report cards. While the Buckeye State has generated overall ratings before—using labels such as “effective” or “academic watch”—this will be the first time Ohio assigns an overall A-F grade. Akin to our final GPAs in high school or college, these summative ratings roll up the disparate parts of Ohio’s report cards into a single, user-friendly rating. This letter grade will stand out: Parents, the public, and media will inevitably focus their attention on it.

Because of its prominence, the way Ohio determines these grades is of utmost importance. Ideally, policymakers would create a formula (i.e., weighting system) that strikes a balance between indicators of pupil achievement and growth over time. This ensures that schools are held responsible both for meeting proficiency, graduation, and post-secondary readiness targets—the achievement side of the equation—as well as boosting the year-to-year growth of all students, including those who have not yet met achievement goals or advanced pupils who easily surpass them. Given true differences in school quality, summative ratings should reflect those variations. For instance, a system that assigns D’s or F’s to the vast majority of schools is not helpful to...

For too long, the topic of school choice in Ohio has been divisive and polarizing. You are invited to attend a thoughtful and substantive discussion of school choice with experienced leaders from across the state. This effort to find common ground and collaborative solutions in support of students promises to be a great evening. We hope you can attend.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

6:00 to 8:00 pm

Capital University Law School

Room 229, 303 E. Broad Street

Downtown Columbus

Panelists: Stephen O. Dyer (Innovation Ohio), Andy Boy (United Schools Network), Mary Ronan (former Superintendent of Cincinnati City Schools), and Chad L. Aldis (Thomas B. Fordham Institute),.

Refreshments will be served, and there will be time reserved for you to ask questions and gain insight into school choice efforts currently underway across Ohio.

We hope you’ll join the conversation.

Tickets are free but we urge you to register today....

  1. Fordham is namechecked in Jeremy Kelley’s look at the latest charter sponsor ratings. Makes sense since our sponsorship office (and two sponsored schools) is located in the Gem City. (Dayton Daily News, 11/20/17)
     
  2. It’s been five years since the Cleveland Plan was enacted and a progress report is due to the legislature from the state superintendent. Paolo DeMaria provided his take on Cleveland’s progress last week. Interestingly, the focus as put forth in his cover letter seems to be more on the district than on partnering charter schools. Hopefully the full report goes deeper, because I seem to recall that those charter schools have done rather better on several important success measures than the district itself. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/17/17)
     
  3. Speaking of the CLE, Patrick O’Donnell has two pieces on the possible benefits of the Say Yes to Education program which the city is attempting to launch at a cost currently projected at $130 million. Say Yes would provide substantial college scholarships to graduates of district high schools (and maybe charter schools, but that possibility has generally been a mere footnote in the reporting). Both of Patrick’s pieces are attempting to assess the economic benefits of
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  1. New Ohio charter sponsor ratings were released this week. For the first time, there are sponsors rated at the highest level, which is good. The Dispatch is focusing on the bad – 10 sponsors rated “Poor”. (Columbus Dispatch, 11/15/17) The Plain Dealer is focusing on some specific good news – a better rating for Cleveland Metropolitan School District this year. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/15/17) Not so for Cuyahoga Falls City School District, which this year was rated “Poor”. It seems that they will appeal that rating. (My NEOhio, 11/16/17) As you can see, most of the initial discussion is around school districts and ESCs as sponsors, which always seems weird to me, especially when there are some other issues about the weighting of the factors which go into the ratings which could stand some more discussion. Gongwer’s take is a pretty good overall look at the results over time and the issues still outstanding. (Gongwer Ohio, 11/15/17)
     
  2. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but the Ohio Senate put up its Christmas tree already this week. And under it was SB 8, a bill whose final hodgepodge version hammered out in conference committee was intended to
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Yesterday, the Ohio Department of Education released the second round of charter sponsor (a.k.a. authorizer) ratings. The Plain Dealer’s Patrick O’Donnell was quick out of the gate in noticing overall improvements from last year’s ratings (“Cleveland and other charter school sponsors doing a better job, new ratings show”) highlighting the Cleveland district’s own improvement as well as a high-level look at the grades. The Dispatch took a more negative spin, “Sponsors of 10 Ohio charter schools receive ‘poor’ ratings from state,” emphasizing that nearly half of sponsors earned a rating of Poor or Ineffective.

Indeed, 21 of 45 sponsors were deemed ineffective or poor for 2016-17. Yet the Dispatch omits the fact that all but six of these low-rated sponsors (one career technical center, one non-profit, and four educational service centers) were traditional public school districts. The story also took pains to note that those earning effectives did so “despite poor achievement ratings for some or many of their schools.” This is true, but it overlooks the reality that high-poverty schools across the board (charter or district) have struggled and will continue to struggle on achievement metrics until the state makes student growth over time a bigger...

Since 2012, the Center for Education Reform (CER) has released an annual “parent power index,”—a scorecard for states as well as an interactive tool for parents “to discover whether their state affords them power over their child’s education—and if not, what they can do to get it.”

The index rates states along five categories: (private) school choice, charter schools, online learning, teacher quality, and transparency—and then provides an overall score. It also offers quick facts on statewide achievement (NAEP proficiency and ACT scores) and student enrollment. On the latest index, Ohio ranks eleventh in the nation and scores well above the national average in all but one of the five categories.

How Ohio performed on the 2017 Parent Power Index

The question CER seeks to answer is an incredibly important one: how much power do parents really have? Unfortunately, this particular index is only partially accurate. Let’s take a quick look at what it got right, where it went askew, and how this local Ohioan views parent power in the Buckeye state.

School choice

The index gave Ohio a C for...

  1. Want a good read? Check out this little nugget on the Fordham-sponsored United Schools Network of charters here in Columbus, including a look at their new School Performance Institute. Just ignore the snarky subhead of the piece. They couldn’t help themselves, I suppose. (Columbus Monthly, 11/14/17)
     
  2. Sticking with the theme of good news for a moment, Dayton City Schools’ report card improved ever so slightly this week after a fix of some erroneous data as processed by the Ohio Department of Education. (Dayton Daily News, 11/13/17) The aforementioned erroneous data had to do with one aspect of graduation rates. The ways in which students reach graduation have, as my loyal Gadfly Bites subscribers are painfully aware, been a subject of much angst in various halls of state government for a year or more. Graduation pathways were front and center again during this week’s state board of education meeting. Specifically, three options were presented to the board by ODE regarding the current grad requirements, which includes a non-academic pathway which applies only to the Class of 2018. For now. (Dayton Daily News, 11/13/17) I have to apologize to all four of my loyal Gadfly Bites subscribers for
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“Collective efficacy” is the sense among group members that they have the capability to organize and execute the actions required to achieve their most important goals. Researchers have, for twenty years, tested it as a key factor in explaining performance differences among groups attempting the same task in areas such as healthcare and manufacturing. The literature on collective efficacy in K–12 education is new and growing, spearheaded largely by Roger D. Goddard of The Ohio State University. A new report by a group of researchers led by Dr. Goddard seeks to unite quantitative and qualitative data on the subject.

The quantitative portion of the analysis was fairly straightforward, looking at the math achievement levels of 13,472 fourth- and fifth-grade students on a mandatory assessment given annually in one large district in Texas. Change between the two years of scores was the sole academic measure utilized and researchers looked at achievement gaps between different school buildings and between black and white students. A measure of collective efficacy was derived using a twelve-item survey, which was administered to 2,041 teachers. The survey rated teachers’ level of agreement on a scale of one to five with statements such as, “Teachers are here...

Youngstown City School’s CEO Krish Mohip recently announced significant changes to how his district will evaluate its teachers.

Under Mohip’s new system, 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation score will be based on classroom observations of instruction and 50 percent will be based on student growth. So far so good; on its face, this is identical to the state’s original evaluation framework. The difference between the two is how student growth is measured. Under the state’s system, value added scores and vendor assessments are supplemented, when needed based upon the subject and grade level taught, by locally determined measures. Mohip, on the other hand, plans to evaluate individual teachers based on the entire district’s progress using only one student growth measure—shared attribution.

For those who are unfamiliar, shared attribution is the practice of attributing value added scores—which are largely determined by ELA and math state tests in grades 4-8—to every teacher in a school or district, regardless of the subject or grade level a teacher teaches. For instance, since a sixth grade social studies teacher does not have a state test that produces value added results, her student growth score would be based on how her...

  1. We’re back after a little break on Friday, with a lot of central Ohio education news. Stay with me on this first one; it’s twisty. Twenty-some years ago, Columbus City Schools was embroiled in a lawsuit over the use of religious music—specifically Christian hymns and spirituals—used in its graduation ceremonies. To end the suit, the board agreed to implement a no-religious-music policy district wide. Well, somehow that policy disappeared from the district’s rulebook a couple of years back and its absence was noted last week. Some board members are trying to get it reinstated, some are wondering if it can be finessed, and still others are more concerned about how it disappeared in the first place and wondering whether the policy was violated while it was accidentally off the books. (Columbus Dispatch, 11/9/17) Some of the original parties to the 90s-era lawsuit are still around and are of course adamant that the no-religious-music policy be reinstated immediately. The ACLU is intrigued as well, and would additionally like to know how the policy got dropped in the first place. I think the word they’re looking for is “boilerplate”. (Columbus Dispatch, 11/10/17)
     
  2. The urban development guru at Columbus Underground
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