Ohio Gadfly Daily

  1. Fordham’s report card analysis “Facing Facts” got another brief notice this week, Cincinnati style. Chili is not optional. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 3/15/16)
  2. Speaking of school report cards, editors in Sandusky want to remind readers that they were against testing and report cards before such hatin’ was cool. They opined with just such a reminder today, but still took a moment to give kudos to area schools who did well on the despised test. Sounds like the next big ride at Cedar Point should be called Ironclad Irony. (Sandusky Register, 3/16/16)
  3. For some reason, I am reminded of the beloved Star Wars character Admiral Ackbar when I read this piece. Two state legislators most vociferous in their hatred of the so-called “Youngstown Plan” (actually, a sharpening of Ohio’s Academic Distress Commission protocols currently narrowly focused on Youngstown) and the legislative process which brought it into being are offering a way out of the judicial impasse in which said ADC is currently mired. It does not involve defining the word “teacher”. Story developing, as they say. (Youngstown Vindicator, 3/15/16)
  4. A school district does not reach a state of academic distress overnight, and it takes even longer before
  5. ...

[Editor’s note: This is the third post in a series on improving teacher preparation programs. See here and here for prior posts.]

The traditional pathway toward becoming a teacher requires the completion of an undergraduate teacher preparation program. In Ohio, entry requirements for these programs aren't mandated by law, which means they are set by individual institutions. While some schools automatically admit all who apply, others have GPA or test score requirements. Unfortunately, these requirements often aren’t very rigorous.[1]

Low or nonexistent entry standards to teacher training programs have been identified as a problem in Ohio and nationally by many experts, including those at the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ). NCTQ argues that “sixty years of research and the experience of nations whose students outperform our own” have proven that raising the bar of admission into teacher preparation programs—filtering out potentially weak teachers at the beginning of the process, before they ever step foot in a classroom, even as a student-teacher—is a necessary first step in ensuring a strong teaching force.

While others contend that teacher licensure (which typically happens as a candidate finishes up her...

Ohio’s 2014–15 report cards are now fully available for all schools and districts except dropout prevention and recovery programs (due at the end of March). With ten graded measures and several ungraded components as well, there are dozens of ways to parse the data to learn how well Ohio public schools are performing—and more importantly, how well equipped students are for later life success. (Performance on the report cards is not the same as true college and career readiness; check out our recently released statewide report card analysis, Facing Facts, for more about that.)

Much of Ohio’s high school data is relatively new and merits exploration. High school report cards include traditional graduation rates as well as additional measures intended to gauge students’ college and career readiness. These “Prepared for Success” measures (rolled out in 2013–14) remain ungraded until next year, but they yield valuable information in six categories: 

  • College admission tests (participation rates on ACT/SAT, mean scores, and percentage receiving remediation-free scores),
  • Dual enrollment (specifically, the percentage of students earning at least three dual enrollment credits while in high school),
  • Industry credentials,
  • Honors diplomas awarded,
  • Advanced Placement (participation rates and test results), and
  • International Baccalaureate (participation
  • ...
  1. The 2014 CREDO report “Charter Performance in Ohio”, paid for by Fordham, is cited and our own Chad Aldis is quoted in this Politico piece on the education record of presidential candidate (and Ohio Governor) John Kasich. (Politico, 3/14/16)
  2. Our “Facing Facts” report analyzing Ohio’s report card data garnered a couple more notices. The folks at Gongwer took a long look at the report and seem to have found it interesting and informative. Not sure what’s up with that urban district teacher job fair notice tacked on at the bottom. Probably meant to be a separate story, but you have been informed. (Gongwer Ohio, 3/11/16) With journalist Doug “Dog” Livingston off dogging politicians instead of education folk these days, it falls to the ABJ editorial staff to “report” on K-12 issues. This includes editorial page editor Michael “Dog” Douglas, who perused our “Facing Facts” report before opining positively on the value of Ohio’s report card data. Maybe he was so positive because of the relatively-high value added scores of some otherwise-maligned Akron schools. Or maybe it was something Aaron said. Whatever the reason, new “Dog” is definitely going against the prevailing narrative on Ohio’s report cards
  3. ...
  1. Some nice coverage of Fordham’s new state report card analysis “Facing Facts” in the Dispatch this morning. Definitely a case of good news/bad news for central Ohio. (Columbus Dispatch, 3/11/16)
  2. The ironies in this brief piece about yet another online school forced to pay back money for kids unable to be accounted for are so loud that the outrage is being drowned out. Surely that’s why I can’t hear it. (Newark Advocate, 3/8/16)
  3. Speaking of technology, the Dayton Daily News is really really excited about the start of a pilot program giving a small group of Dayton City Schools’ students Chromebooks. How excited? They even note in this brief “breaking news” piece the time that the distribution will happen: 9:45 am. No mention of what time the boys are going to have to give them back (3:15? 3:45?); also no mention of what they’re going to do when Ohio gives up on computers in schools and heads back to slide rules and abaci. Stay tuned. (Dayton Daily News, 3/11/16)
  4. Speaking of avid journalism, the Enquirer has been avidly following (perhaps even stoking) the furor over the School for Creative and Performing Arts in the
  5. ...
  1. Editors in Toledo opined on the subject of state report card results, looking to outside analyses of those results to bolster their point. Fordham’s first-blush mini-analysis of the report card data from last week is one of those outside sources. Just wait gang, there’s more where that came from! (Toledo Blade, 3/9/16)
  2. The Blade must have written its editorial a few days ago, because there is no mention of the other shoe. That is, the growing hubbub over a “huge disparity” in value-added results for schools who took PARCC tests online vs. those who took PARCC tests via pencil and paper. We brought you the PD version of the story on Monday. Here it is from the D. (Columbus Dispatch, 3/8/16)
  3. The above-referenced failure of Scooter Computer and Mr. Chips was front and center at this week’s state board of education meeting. You can read coverage of this specific issue in the Plain Dealer (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 3/8/16) and the AP (Dayton Daily News, via AP, 3/7/16). In other state board of ed news, far less interesting other stuff was discussed. (Gongwer Ohio, 3/7/16)
  4. At the other end of the wire,
  5. ...

Management sage Peter Drucker once said, “If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.” In recent years, policy makers have turned the page on Ohio’s old, outdated standards and accountability framework. The task now is to replace it with something that, if implemented correctly, will better prepare Buckeye students for the expectations of college and the rigors of a knowledge- and skills-driven workforce.

While the state’s former policies did establish a basic accountability framework aligned to standards, a reset was badly needed. Perhaps the most egregious problem was the manner in which the state publicly reported achievement. State officials routinely claimed that more than 80 percent of Ohio students were academically “proficient,” leaving most parents and taxpayers with a feel-good impression of the public school system.

The inconvenient truth, however, was that hundreds of thousands of pupils were struggling to master rigorous academic content. Alarmingly, the Ohio Board of Regents regularly reports that 30–40 percent of college freshman need remedial coursework in English or math. Results from the ACT reveal that fewer than half of all graduates meet college-ready benchmarks in all of the assessment’s content areas. Finally, outcomes from the “nation’s report card”—the National Assessment...

The White House has selected Columbus, along with nine other cities, as a focus site for two newly launched campaigns to address and eliminate chronic student absenteeism. The first is the My Brother’s Keeper Success Mentors Initiative, the “first-ever effort to scale an evidence-based, data-driven mentor model to reach and support the highest-risk students.” The program will connect over one million students across the ten cities with trained mentors, including coaches, administrative staff, teachers, security guards, AmeriCorps members, tutors, and others. The second initiative is a multi-million-dollar parent engagement campaign through the Ad Council, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education and the Mott Foundation, to “elevate the conversation about the devastating impact of chronic absenteeism.” The initiative will target K–8 parents through a campaign website with downloadable resources, billboards, and Public Service Announcements on bus shelters and in doctors’ offices and schools. Chronic absenteeism—missing more than 10 percent of a school year—is a strong predictor of low performance and eventual dropping out. Research shows that when at-risk students have caring adults in their lives, their likelihood of dropping out decreases. We’re pleased to see the campaigns’ selection of Columbus, a city whose district has the second-lowest attendance...

  1. In a leftover from late last week, our own Chad Aldis was talking to public media about the challenges facing e-schools in developing a system to take attendance and how he believes it can be done. Which is good, because they have to. (Statehouse News Bureau, others via public media, 3/4/16)
  2. Speaking of e-schools in Ohio, the D gave us tons more dirt on Provost Academy, an online school which – it was announced last week – was ordered to pay back something like 80% of the state funding it had received due to attendance discrepancy (see above for more on that “taking attendance” conundrum). And by “dirt”, I mean texts of emails and audio-recorded meetings. Ugh. Didn’t I see this on “The Good Wife”? (Columbus Dispatch, 3/6/16) Today, editors in Columbus put it all together for us re: the importance of not watering down e-school attendance tracking and reporting requirements. Helpful. (Columbus Dispatch, 3/7/16)
  3. In other news, Dayton City Schools is pushing back a bit on a couple of dings (yes, that is the technical term) in its most recent state audit. (Dayton Daily News, 3/6/16) Meanwhile, staffers from the Ohio Department
  4. ...
  1. Our own Aaron Churchill pushed a Kardashian off the front page of the 74 Million’s blog yesterday, talking about the “dismal democracy” that often is the local elected school board in Ohio. (The 74 Million education blog, 3/2/16)
  2. Our own Chad Aldis had no measurable influence over the Kardashian kabal while talking about some of the dismal demagoguery that attends charter school issues in Ohio. (Politico Pro Education Report, 3/2/16)
  3. Keeping up with the theme, editors in Nordonia Hills (no, I don’t either) opined against the “slimy influences” of “scoundrels” trying to undermine or even reverse charter school accountability measures in Ohio. (Nordonia Hills News-Leader, 3/2/16)
  4. Back in the real world, Dayton City Schools announced a new initiative that will give Chromebooks to every student in grades 3 through 8 during the school day, starting next year. A pilot program kicks off at one school this month. (Dayton Daily News, 3/3/16) Ditto for the kids (and teachers) at the Chaney High School campus in Youngstown, although YCS is going with Apple products. Interesting to note that the district received a grant from Apple for this tech two years ago, and it included
  5. ...