Ohio Gadfly Daily

  1. It may be said that our own Chad Aldis keeps some odd company from time to time. Probably just a hazard of the job. Case in point: his comments in this piece that reads generally like a “greatest hits” from the early days of Common Core hit jobs. Mind you, Chad’s comments were totally reasonable and show a thorough understanding of Common Core, Ohio’s actual learning standards, and the surprisingly rational review process currently underway in the Buckeye state. The same cannot be said about the rest of the piece. (Heartland Institute blog, 5/6/15)
  2. Some folks in Cleveland appear to be observing National Charter Schools Week by celebrating a successful unionization vote in another I Can Network school there. Or maybe they were celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Who can tell? (ClevelandScene, 5/5/16)
  3. Ohio’s Supreme Court ruled this week that the state legislature can retroactively rescind funding from schools or other funded entities if some “discrepancy” pops up after funding has been received. The case stems from just such a “discrepancy” which occurred in a number of school districts in 2005 with regard to district-resident students who attended charter schools. Neither the widely-distributed AP version of
  4. ...
  1. I’m sorry to say that I missed this piece when it first ran last week. Sorry Jeremy! Redressing the balance now because it is a very interesting and detailed peek into the variations in teacher pay schedules among Dayton-area school districts. Since all of these variations are the result of collective bargaining over the years, it is interesting to see what is more valued (high starting salary vs. longevity pay, holding veteran transfers to the 10-year level regardless of experience, etc.) from district to district. (Dayton Daily News, 4/29/16) Apparently, DDN readers were equally interested in the piece. So much so that Jeremy Kelly researched and published an addendum with more information related to questions on pay schedules raised by readers. Also an interesting read. (Dayton Daily News, 5/2/16)
  2. A new new member should join the state board of ed at its meeting next week, and she’s no stranger to state government in Ohio. Why do we need a new new member? Because the old new member, appointed in March, withdrew before being sworn in. (Columbus Dispatch, 5/3/16)
  3. Also happening next week: the state board will interview the top 8 candidates for state superintendent. One
  4. ...

The federal Charter Schools Program (CSP), which provides seed money for charter start-ups primarily through competitive state grants, got an upgrade in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December. Around the same time, CSP got a 32 percent funding boost from Congress. At its highest funding level ever, the program is primed to help states grow their charter sectors—a worthy goal considering that over a million students nationally wait for open seats in charter schools. The new program prioritizes strong authorizing practices and equitable funding for charters, and it attempts to influence state policies toward those ends.


Formed just three years into the nation’s charter movement, CSP embodies Washington’s bipartisan commitment to charters and is responsible for helping launch or expand over 40 percent of today’s operational charter schools. CSP was first created in 1994 as an amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 via the Improving America’s Schools Act. At its outset, it was a bare-bones initiative that made competitive grants available to states to host their own sub-grant competitions (for which new start-ups or conversion schools could apply). Requirements were minimal: State applicants merely had to have a charter law, and school applicants had to adhere to the...

Auditor of State Dave Yost

I am a conflicted man.

Professionally, I lead Ohio’s auditing staff, a team of financial experts whose job it is to verify that tax dollars are being properly spent and to root out any misuse or theft of public money. That includes charter schools.

Yet personally, I’m a strong proponent of the charter school movement. I believe in the lifetime benefits of school choice and affording every parent the ability to choose the school that will best serve their children.

My friends sometimes question how I can be so tough on charters when I personally support them.

The answer, I tell them, is simple: We don’t play favorites. We can’t. We shouldn’t. Doing so would erode the public’s trust in our office, which we must faithfully and ardently protect. To ignore the misdeeds of the few problem charters would stain the great work of many. Turning a blind eye to the problems in a charter school, or any school, would mean that we failed our children, which is never an option.

It’s a conflict public officials often face when their official duties require them to make decisions that run counter to their personal beliefs.

The mission of the Auditor of...

Previous research has found that oversubscribed urban charter schools produce large academic gains for their students. But are these results related to test score inflation, defined by one assessment expert as “increases in scores that do not signal a commensurate increase in proficiency in the domain of interest”? To explore this question, a recent study examines state testing data from 2006 to 2011 at nine Boston middle school charters with lottery-based admissions. By exploiting the random nature of the lottery system, prior studies have found that these schools produce substantial learning gains on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS).

To carry out the analysis, author Sarah Cohodes breaks down the learning gains by the various components of the state assessment—akin to how one might disaggregate overall gains by student subgroup. For example, a math assessment contains several different testing domains (e.g., geometry versus statistics), with some topics being tested more frequently than others. The hypothesis is as follows: If the gains are attributable to score inflation, we might expect to see stronger results on frequently tested items relative to obscure ones. In line with their incentives, teachers might strategically focus instruction on items with the highest odds...

  1. The Akron Beacon Journal’s former education reporter Doug Livingston, current state Rep. Kristina Roegner, and others participated in a panel discussion last week on how awful charter schools are at the behest of the Hudson League of Women Voters. Nice summary article on the manifest evils of charter schools from the paper. No charter school supporters were invited to participate, for which Aaron is grateful. (Hudson Hub Times, 4/27/16) If you think that description of the event overblown on my part, I encourage you to check out edited video of the panel on YouTube. The well-timed gasps from the audience will tell you all you need to know.
  2. Back in the real world, Tornado pride is on the rise again, y’all! West Muskingum’s school board voted unanimously to eliminate pay to play fees for all middle and high school sports. I’m not sure from what new pot of money this largesse is emanating but lots of folks are happy about it. Honestly, reading some of those quotes from community members and staffers makes it sound like the old fees were really divisive on a very personal level. Perhaps the folks in West Muskingum need some perspective.
  3. ...

The passage of comprehensive charter school reform in the form of House Bill 2 was supposed to move charters past the controversies that had overshadowed the excellent work of good schools. The new era promised to be focused less on audits and academic failings and more on how charters can create more high quality education options for families in the Buckeye State. Unfortunately, a series of troubling recent developments involving online charter schools threatens to undermine the progress that Ohio has made. Rather than waiting until the clarion call for change is deafeningly loud, Ohio charter advocates should once again step up and lead the effort to improve their sector.

Online charters in the spotlight

While the academic performance of online charter schools has been criticized before, a national study released in October by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University provided the most compelling—and shocking—data to date showing the lackluster academic achievement of online charter school students. In Ohio, for example, the CREDO study indicated that online students lost seventy-nine days of learning per year in reading and 144 days in math compared to their peers in traditional public schools....

National education reform leader and author Kevin P. Chavous will visit central Ohio to headline the June 10 event with his presentation Building a Learning Culture in America. Through personal stories of his work as an educator, advocate, and change agent, Chavous will share his vision of how to reclaim a positive learning culture and to regain international leadership in education.

The program will also feature Ohio school leaders sharing their strategies for creating a culture of learning and engagement in their classrooms. Jim Mahoney, Ph.D., executive director of Battelle for Kids, will provide the closing keynote on Creating Highly Effective Teachers.

The OAPCS Charter School Leadership Event

Friday, June 10, 2016, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

The Conference Center at OCLC, Lakeside Room

6565 Kilgour Place

Dublin, Ohio 43017

Register today by clicking here....

Since their inception in 1999, Buckeye charter schools have grown rapidly. According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), Ohio had just over fifty-nine thousand charter students in 2004–05; ten years later, that number had more than doubled to 122,000 students, representing 7 percent of the public school population. These statistics demonstrate the impressive and sustained growth of the charter movement in Ohio; but where do most charters students live? Are they evenly distributed throughout the state or heavily concentrated in a few areas? Which cities have the largest charter “enrollment share,” and what areas of the state have very few charter students? Answers to these questions can help us identify opportunities for growth and partnership—and even make the case for policy change.

To conduct this analysis, I use the enrollment data from the state’s District Payment Reports (FY 2015: Final #3 payment). These reports display the number of charter students who live within the jurisdiction of each district (on a full-time equivalent basis), so we can count students by their districts of residence.[1] This analysis of charter enrollment yields three main takeaways.

The majority of charter students live in urban areas...

  1. Have you all been following the Proper Perspective series in Ohio Gadfly Daily? If not, you should. In it, our own Jamie Davies O’Leary exchanges views on important education topics with Innovation Ohio and KnowYourCharters guru (and former state legislator) Steve Dyer. And now one of those Proper Perspective entries – on the topic of testing opter-outers – has spawned a commentary piece by Jamie and Steve in the ABJ. (Akron Beacon Journal, 4/29/16)
  2. The state board of education added three more folks to the list of finalists for permanent state supe, bringing the total of candidates to be interviewed to eight. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 4/28/16). Interviews will start soon, which is good because the person holding the seat on an interim basis is actively looking for another job closer to home. Just like he said he would. (Toledo Blade, 4/28/16)
  3. I think we may be able to move Groveport-Madison schools from “maybe challenging” the Win-Win Agreement to “definitely challenging” the Win-Win Agreement. But I could be wrong. (Columbus Dispatch, 4/28/16)
  4. As our own Jessica Poiner has told us previously, Ohio’s new-ish College Credit Plus program – to give kids access
  5. ...