Ohio Gadfly Daily

  1. Details of Governor Kasich’s new biennial budget are emerging this week. Here are some peeks at the K-12 education portion of said budget from around the state. The Dispatch focuses on the governor’s assertion that school districts which have lost students should get less money from the state. (Columbus Dispatch, 1/31/17) Coverage from Dayton focuses quite a bit on Kasich’s idea to require school boards to have 3 ex-officio members from the local business community. (Dayton Daily News, 1/30/17) The DDN is so interested in this particular part of the budget bill that they published a separate piece covering reactions of some area school board members to the proposal. (Dayton Daily News, 1/30/17). As is its wont to do, the PD took a “wait and see” approach on the education budget but laid out all the details known so far. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/30/17) Ditto for Gongwer, who led with the declining enrollment piece but generally just laid out the facts. Kudos to them for also mentioning the Straight-A Innovation Fund, which is continued and funded at $50 million over the biennium. (Gongwer Ohio, 1/30/17) Our own Chad Aldis commends the continuation of the
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“Winners never quit and quitters never win.” There's a lot of truth in that cliché, but it doesn't seem to apply to education. When it comes to chronically low-performing schools, in many cases, the better – and more courageous – course is to “quit” and close a school that is simply beyond repair.

In recent years, attempts to turn around failing schools are most closely linked to the Obama Administration’s supercharged School Improvement Grant (SIG) program. Between 2010 and 2015, the federal government spent $7 billion in efforts to turnaround low-performing schools. In exchange for these funds, grantee schools pledged to implement prescribed interventions, such as replacing personnel or changing instructional practices.

The returns: Not much—or perhaps not clear—according to a massive study by Mathematica and the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The study examined schools in the 2010 SIG cohort and tracked pupil outcomes through three years of implementation. Using data from twenty-two states, their analysis found that SIG had no significant impact on students’ state math or reading test scores. Nor did they find any evidence that SIG increased pupils’ likelihood of high school graduation or college enrollment. Further, the analysts didn’t even uncover...

Ohio charter schools have long reported struggling in their efforts to secure school facilities. A soon-to-be released report, “An Analysis of the Charter School Facility Landscape in Ohio,” from the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the National Charter School Resource Center, the Charter School Facilities Initiative, managed by the Colorado League of Charter Schools, and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools surveys school principals to get the most detailed look to date of Ohio charter school facilities. The survey, which includes data from 81 percent of Ohio's brick and mortar charter schools, examines multiple aspects of charter facilities including the size, uses, and cost per student of each.

Please join Fordham and the Callender Group to hear the report’s authors share the data and Ohio charter schools/school networks talk about what the report means on-the-ground.

Thursday, February 2, 2016
8:30 - 10:00 am

Chase Tower - Sixth floor conference room B
100 East Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43215

Kevin Hesla, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and report co-author
Jessica M. Johnson, Esq., Colorado League of Charter Schools and report co-author

Tiffany Adamski,...

One of the hallmarks of school accountability is the identification of and intervention in persistently low-preforming schools. Under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), schools were required to make adequate yearly progress (AYP); if they fell short, they were subject to a set of escalating consequences. Much of the backlash against NCLB was a result of these consequences being imposed from afar with little flexibility. So when Congress geared up for reauthorization, it wasn’t surprising that the new law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), shifted the responsibility of identification and intervention to the states.

Last week, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) released an overview of its proposed ESSA state plan. This isn’t the entire plan—the full draft will be released for public comment in early February. In future posts, we’ll do some deep dive analyses of the key areas and potential impacts of the full draft. But in the meantime, there’s plenty in the overview to explore—including how the Buckeye State plans to identify its lowest-performing schools.

ESSA requires states to identify at least two categories of schools: comprehensive support schools (which include the lowest-performing schools in the state) and targeted support schools (which...

Parents make choices about their child’s schooling based on a variety of factors: location, safety, convenience, academics, extracurriculars, support services, and more. Many families choose their school by moving to the neighborhood of their preference, thus exercising “choice” when making homeownership decisions. It’s important to recognize that not all families have the same luxury. In fact, many don’t. For the most part, parents living in poverty can’t just up and move themselves to a neighborhood with higher-performing, better-programmed, safer schools. Yet their children deserve high-quality educational opportunities, too, in schools that work for them based on their unique learning styles, interests, and needs.

If we believe that parents of all income levels and backgrounds deserve the same choices we exercise for ourselves and our own children, then Ohio’s high-performing charter schools deserve our unwavering support. The 21,000+ events held across the nation last week for National School Choice Week demonstrate the pressing need—and support for—quality school options. Columbus Collegiate Academy (Dana Avenue campus), one of the city’s highest-performing middle schools, helps its eighth graders achieve math and science proficiency at a rate that’s more than double what the district achieves. Meanwhile, its eighth-grade reading proficiency rate is thirty-seven...

  1. A new report from Learn to Earn Dayton showed some sobering data regarding the achievement gap for black students in Montgomery County’s district schools, especially boys. At an event unveiling the report, interventions in early education; raising of expectations in classrooms; and accessible, high-quality after-school programming were all put forward as parts of an overall solution going forward. (Dayton Daily News, 1/27/17)
  2. FutureReady Columbus appears to be interested in the same sorts of things in Columbus as Learn to Earn is in Dayton. Here is a primer on how the organization came to be and where it is heading in the near future. Interesting compare/contrast with Learn to Earn’s plans could be made, if one was inclined to make such comparisons. (Columbus Dispatch, 1/30/17)
  3. Ditto for Lorain City Schools, where wraparound services are in the limelight. I’ll let the new director of student and family outreach explain it to you: “Our main battle, I find, is the battle between home culture and school culture. Meaning, we do all these things we can for the student here at school, but then they go home and face whatever they’re facing. So it’s a constant battle for the
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  1. Kinda quiet in education news today. A decision has been made in Austintown schools on the fate of inter-district open enrollment, a hot-button issue as loyal Gadfly Bites subscribers will recall. The good news is that no students currently open enrolled in Austintown and who want to return will be barred from doing so. The bad news is that there will be no new students in grades 9 through 12 allowed to open enroll next year and that OE in the lower grades will be greatly restricted. There’s a lot of interesting nuggets in this concise story. Hope someone will do a proper bit of research on OE in the near future. (Youngstown Vindicator, 1/26/17)
  2. What’s the collective noun for a group of hard-bitten newspaper editors? A “column”, perhaps? (If that’s not it, it should. TM Gadfly Bites.) A column of PD editors today weighed in on the topic of Education Secretary-Designate Betsy DeVos and the unpaid fines assessed by Ohio on the organization she once led. Color me surprised. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/27/17)

The American Federation for Children (AFC) recently released its third annual poll on school choice. The national poll surveyed just over 1,000 likely November 2018 voters early this January via phone calls.

To determine general support and opposition, AFC posed the following question: “Generally speaking, would you say you favor or oppose the concept of school choice? School choice gives parents the right to use the tax dollars associated with their child’s education to send their child to the public or private school which better serves their needs.” By and large, the findings indicate broad support for school choice—68 percent of those surveyed support school choice compared to 28 percent who oppose it. These numbers are similar to AFC results from previous years: 69 and 70 percent of likely voters who expressed support for school choice in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

In addition to overall percentages, AFC broke out the survey numbers by specific demographic groups. Seventy-five percent of Latinos and 72 percent of African Americans support school choice compared to 65 percent of Whites. In terms of political affiliation, 84 percent of Republicans support school choice (up slightly from 80 percent in 2016), compared to 55 percent of...

  1. A commentary written by Elyria teacher and education activist Matt Jablonski – on the topic of Ohio’s putative “graduation rate apocalypse” – cites a 2014 blog by our own Aaron Churchill while opining. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/24/17)
  2. The current Academic Distress Commission in Lorain is sunsetting, with the new CEO-version getting underway in early March. Last week, Lorain school board members participated in a final assessment of the outgoing ADC (specifically, how well the district is following their approved academic recovery plan) with a panel of reviewers. Hint: not very well, as far as outcomes are concerned. Comments from all the interview subjects in this piece are tiresomely cagey and unnecessarily gloomy. Let us hope that all of this will be swept out when the “Lorain Plan” finally dawns. (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 1/23/17)
  3. Speculation is running rampant around the Statehouse on the topic of education funding in the upcoming biennial budget. To wit: this piece from Monday speculating on the likelihood of direct funding for charter schools. Some of the voices quoted on this topic are more credible than others. Just sayin’. (Gongwer Ohio, 1/23/17) Yesterday, Governor Kasich added some fuel to the
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  1. There was some further coverage of our HB 2 implementation report On the Right Track over the weekend. First up, Columbus-based public television station WOSU-TV included discussion of the report in its weekend public affairs roundup show. Video is here; discussion of the report starts at the 21:47 mark. (WOSU-TV, Columbus, 1/20/17) Editors in Akron opined favorably on the report and seemed “heartened” by its findings. What more could a think tank ask? (Akron Beacon Journal, 1/23/17)
  2. The Dayton Daily news this weekend featured a brief interview with new state board member Charlotte McGuire. (Dayton Daily News, 1/22/17)
  3. Here’s a nice piece on the students from Toledo Early College HS who recently competed in the Poetry Out Loud contest. Next year, let’s hope some boys participate. (Toledo Blade, 1/21/17)