Ohio Gadfly Daily

Are you a school choice supporter or just interested in learning more about this issue that is gaining national prominence? Ohio parents, students, schools, and advocates will be holding a rally on Tuesday, May 2, 2017, at 11 a.m. on the steps of the Ohio Statehouse. And you’re invited to attend.

The event, supporting school choice in all of its many forms, is happening during National Charter Schools Week.

Image courtesy of School Choice Ohio

You can find more details about the event here. And you can register by clicking here

  1. Our own Aaron Churchill is quoted in this piece looking at the proposal being floated in Ohio to water down graduation requirements. Spoiler alert: Aaron is against said watering down. (Columbus Dispatch, 4/9/17)
  2. There’s something new and cool coming to Cleveland next year – Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School – part-tech, part-career, all awesome. Davis has a couple of precursors out there, including the Toledo Maritime Academy charter school – both of which intrepid journalist Patrick O’Donnell visited to get an idea of what the new school will offer students. Nice. And yes that is the second mention of Toledo Maritime Academy today. Well spotted! (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 4/10/17)
  3. Speaking of school choices, it seems that a lot of “rebalancing” is going on among leagues and divisions in high school sports in central Ohio, especially among private schools. The discussion centers around “base enrollment”, which is not explained. But basically if a school’s population is going up, it’s likely moving up into a division against other schools of similar size. If you’re immersed in school choice discussions like your humble clip compiler is, you can see the impact of vouchers in some of the growth.
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  1. All six members of the new five-member Lorain Academic Distress Commission were named simultaneously yesterday. Not only will this ADC avoid the “when is a teacher not a teacher?” conundrum that delayed work in Youngstown for months, Lorain actually has an alternate for the teacher seat just in case the first one is busy. (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 4/6/17) The Journal went looking for local reaction to the appointees, and got it. It seems that all of these comments are either empty platitudes or non-sequiturs, but that’s probably just me. But it is clear that all the comments have to do with “big people stuff” and nothing whatsoever to do with kids or teaching or parents or the district’s history of academic distress. The journey is still uphill and it’s still steep. (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 4/6/17)
  2. Speaking of districts with CEO-style Academic Distress Commissions, the Youngstown school board’s finance committee met this week for what I think is the first time in a while. It doesn’t sound like they did any productive work, but the discussion as reported is enlightening. I was surprised to learn that there is apparently a definition of what the job
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In March, Ohio’s Educator Standards Board (ESB) released six recommendations for revising the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System. In a previous piece, I explained why its two most significant recommendations are a solid solution to a myriad of problems within the system. These suggestions were 1) to update the observational rubric in collaboration with a national expert and 2) to embed student growth measures into the revised rubric. In this piece, I’ll investigate the remaining proposals.

Of the four remaining recommendations, two are intertwined with the ESB’s call to embed student growth measures into a revised rubric. The first is to eliminate shared attribution, the flawed practice of evaluating non-core teachers based on test scores from subjects they don’t actually teach, such as reading and math. Policymakers should heed this recommendation and ditch shared attribution as soon as possible.

The other recommendation seeks to incorporate aspects of Ohio’s current alternative framework into the newly revised observational rubric. This includes student portfolios, student surveys, peer review, self-evaluation, and other district-determined measures. Several of these methods—like student surveys and peer observations—have research to support their use. The revised evaluation rubric should definitely include...

NOTE: The Senate Education Committee of the Ohio General Assembly is hearing proponent testimony this week on Senate Bill 85, a proposal that would significantly alter Ohio’s voucher programs. Below is the written testimony that Chad Aldis gave before the committee today.

Thank you, Chair Lehner, Vice Chair Huffman, Ranking Member Sykes and Senate Education Committee members for giving me the opportunity today to provide testimony in support of Senate Bill 85.

My name is Chad Aldis, and I am the Vice President for Ohio Policy and Advocacy at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. The Fordham Institute is an education-focused nonprofit that conducts research, analysis, and policy advocacy with offices in Columbus, Dayton, and Washington, D.C.

Fordham has long supported school choice in its many forms, including charter schools, open enrollment, magnet schools, homeschooling, and private school choice. We believe that it’s essential to empower all parents with meaningful, high quality educational options. While supportive of school choice, we’ve been a critical friend at times. Our advocacy work to improve Ohio’s charter sector is a good example of that. We’ve also funded research to study the effectiveness of charter schools, vouchers, and—coming soon—open enrollment. We...

  1. The Dayton Daily News announced this week – with something akin to relief, or maybe glee? – that there are no changes to Ohio’s testing regimen for the first time in three years. Not for lack of trying, I’m sure. (Dayton Daily News, 4/4/17) I jest, of course. Obviously there were plenty of efforts to change things in regard to testing this year; just like there was when everyone and their brother ganged up to retire the OGT and to nuke the PARCC tests in previous years. And the efforts continue unabated. To wit: the state supe’s panel on assessments. This piece is ostensibly a look at one panel member – the director of CTE at a local high school – and what he plans to bring to the table. What is more interesting to me is the full list of panelists and the organizations or groups that each person represents (hint: none of them appear to be representing students or parents). A “stacked” panel, indeed, Aaron. (Canton Repository, 4/4/17) Like the Dispatch editorial board before it, editors in Toledo opined today in favor of a diploma that is more than a certificate for showing up 93
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NOTE: An addendum to this blog post, incorporating important new information, was published on Ohio Gadfly Daily on 4/17/17.

College Credit Plus (CCP) provides qualified Ohio students with the opportunity to undertake college coursework while still in high school. Students in grades 7-12 can earn college credit in three ways: by taking a course on a university campus; at the student’s high school where it’s taught by a credentialed teacher; or online.

As the program’s popularity has surged, there have been growing pains and calls to scale it back. Other folks claim that it exemplifies and perhaps even fosters inequitable access—it’s just too hard for some students to qualify. It’s true that not everyone interested in CCP is permitted to enroll. But the program wasn’t designed for totally open access; it was built for middle and high schoolers who could demonstrate that they were ready for college-level content. Other pathways are available for students who fall just below CCP standards but are still interested in challenging courses like AP, IB, and honors courses.

Unfortunately, proposals in Ohio’s pending budget bill would make it easier for unqualified students to enroll in CCP. Here’s what...

Research on individualized, in-school tutoring such as Match Corps has demonstrated impressive results. A report from the Ohio Education Research Center examines a tutoring intervention developed by Youngstown City Schools and Youngstown State University to help more students meet the test-based promotion requirements of Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee.

Called Project PASS, the initiative enlisted almost 300 undergraduate students who weekly tutored second and third graders outside of regular instructional time. Each undergrad committed thirty hours per semester and received course credit and a small monetary award in return. The tutors received training and used a variety of reading strategies. The evaluation includes about 300 students who participated in one or more semesters of PASS from spring 2015 (second grade) to spring 2016 (third grade). The evaluation was not experimental, and the self-selection of students into PASS limits the ability to draw causal inferences, as the authors note. Nevertheless, the researchers were able to match participants and non-participants based on demographic and prior achievement data (using a second grade diagnostic test given before program launch) to compare test score outcomes.

The results indicate that the tutoring increased their state test scores in third grade reading. PASS...

  1. Our own Chad Aldis today offers a suggestion or two for folks interested in reducing standardized testing in Ohio schools. (Columbus Dispatch, 4/3/17)
  2. Meanwhile, the Dispatch editorial board today opines in favor of keeping graduation requirements as high as possible in the Buckeye State, quoting Chad and former state board of education president Tom Gunlock in support of their argument. (Columbus Dispatch, 4/3/17)
  3. I don’t know how big the editorial board of the PD is, but it includes at least two people because said board is apparently split on the topic of Senate Bill 85, which would substantially expand Ohio’s private school voucher program. Fordham’s 2016 evaluation of Ohio’s EdChoice Scholarship program is namechecked in support of the group opining against voucher expansion. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 4/2/17) The group opining in support of voucher expansion states their case here. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 4/2/17) Color me fascinated.
  4. The spectre of Dayton City Schools losing their athletic eligibility (maybe just in football; maybe in other sports too) was raised this weekend in a detailed piece chronicling what sounds like a nightmare of adult manipulation, mismanagement, and blatant disregard for the rules and purpose of
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  1. What’s the biggest education news story going in Ohio this week? Hmmm… Let me see… Oh yes, here it is: the completely unfathomable and largely-abominable recommendations released this week by the state’s graduation requirement review committee. (Columbus Dispatch, 3/30/17) The D does a pretty good job of explaining the deets in its piece so there’s very little reason (VERY little) for me to enumerate further here. But I feel like this scheme is going to need a tagline or a hook in order to sell it to the public. Personally, I like “No test scores, no problem.” But perhaps the headline on this DDN piece would work too: “Ohio students should graduate without passing state tests”. Succinct. (Dayton Daily News, 3/29/17) However, I could be wrong about the need to work at all to sell these changes. The superintendent of Springfield City Schools is already on the bandwagon. (Dayton Daily News, 3/31/17) And when Fordham’s own Chad Aldis is one of only two voices out in opposition to the plan, perhaps this bill of goods is already signed, sealed, and delivered. (Columbus Dispatch, 3/31/17)
  2. OK. Anything else going on in education news? Here’s one:
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