Ohio Gadfly Daily

  1. Ed Week takes a look at Ohio Governor John Kasich’s education record and tries to extrapolate what a President Kasich might do in that regard. Lots of in-state voices are heard in discussion, including our own Chad Aldis. (Education Week, 4/11/16)
  2. The judges of the 7th District appeals court were true to their word in rendering an “expedited” verdict in the Youngstown school board’s appeal over the definition of the word “teacher”. They announced on Saturday that “teacher” means “current/daily classroom teacher”, as has every other court/judge involved in this thing, and ordered the board president to appoint one of those to the Youngstown Academic Distress Commission by Monday…as in today. (Youngstown Vindicator, 4/9/16) As if they felt they needed to define the word “Monday” for some reason, the judges reiterated first thing this morning that that means “appoint someone by 4:00 pm on Monday”…as in today. (Youngstown Vindicator, 4/11/16) Crack Vindy reporters note that the prez is in Boston today for a conference. Fun. Crack Vindy editors probably had a nice quiet weekend as they likely locked down this op-ed on the topic long before the verdict arrived. (Youngstown Vindicator, 4/10/16)
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  1. The two head honchos of the Breakthrough Network of charter schools in Cleveland have a commentary in the PD this morning, making a case for increased funding for high-quality charter schools in Ohio. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 4/8/16)
  2. The legal battle to define the word “teacher” went yet another round in court yesterday. An “expedited” decision is promised. Again. (Youngstown Vindicator, 4/8/16)
  3. All 14 Dayton Public Schools preschool programs reviewed by the Ohio Department of Education were rated as five-star – the highest amount of starts possible. I think that means, among other things, they have top-notch applesauce at least twice a week. (Dayton Daily News, 4/6/16)
  4. Why yes, there ARE charter schools in Butler County. Why do you ask? (Middletown Journal-News, 4/7/16)
  5. The headline here says that Coventry Local Schools is seeking a path out of fiscal emergency. Step one on that steep climb: determining just how deep the hole is. Cue the heroic music as State Auditor! Man leaps into action. (Akron Beacon Journal, 4/6/16)
  6. Speaking of leaping into the fray, Cincinnati City Council passed a resolution this week urging the school district not to try and take
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  1. Another day, another round of praise for Youngstown Early College High School. This time, an editorial from the Vindy opining on its awesomeness, and noting that our own Jamie Davies O’Leary found YEC at the top in her recent blog post on high school awesomeness across the state. (Youngstown Vindicator, 4/6/16)
  2. A previously-awarded grant from Ohio’s Straight-A Innovation Fund for a project in Fairfield County has been rescinded due to troubles getting the project off the ground in a timely fashion. To the tune of $4 million. (Gongwer Ohio, 4/4/16)
  3. Dayton mayor Nan Whaley gave an update on her City of Learners initiative earlier this week. There are a few other items here, but her main focus seems to be the same as in most big cities in the state at the moment: high-quality preschool. Specifically, finding money to expand it. (Dayton Daily News, 4/4/16) Same goes for preschool in Cleveland, both in terms of expansion and funding. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 4/5/16)
  4. Also on the minds of folks in the CLE: the “digital gap”. 350 students in Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority developments will be receiving tablets AND broadband access through a federal
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Regular Gadfly readers know that we usually rely on two metrics when analyzing school performance—Ohio’s performance index and the value added measures. However, the state assigns A–F ratings along several other measures, including one called the “gap closing” component (a.k.a. annual measureable objectives, or AMOs). This measure deserves scrutiny now that state policy makers have the opportunity to retool the accountability system under the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA).

First implemented in 2012–13 as a modification to the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)provisions, AMOs are meant to hold schools accountable for the proficiency of student subgroups (e.g., low-income or race/ethnicity). Specifically, the measure compares the proficiency rates of a school’s subgroups to statewide proficiency targets—the “measureable objective.” The AMO methodology also gives partial (up to full) credit to schools when subgroup proficiency increases from year to year. The idea of AMOs is to maintain pressure on schools to close longstanding gaps between low-achieving subgroups and their peers.

Shortly after ESSA passed, the U.S. Department of Education notified states they were freed from using AMOs in their accountability systems. That doesn’t mean that low-achieving students will be forgotten: The new federal law requires an...

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

Millions of families in America depend on education as a pathway toward upward mobility. We owe it to these families and their students to provide highly trained teachers who are ready on the first day. Unfortunately, way too many teachers learn how to teach during their first year in the classroom instead of before it. For example, of all the preparation programs examined in NCTQ’s most recent Teacher Prep Review, not a single one met the standard for effectively training teachers to plan lessons. Only 11 percent of programs met the standard in classroom management techniques. Student-teaching is the only real clinical experience that many teacher candidates receive, yet only 10 percent of programs met NCTQ’s standard for a strong student-teaching experience. In short, most preparation programs are doing a lackluster job of teaching their candidates how to teach.

Education schools are often hesitant to focus on clinical training because it seems too similar to vocational training. Instead, they spend considerable amounts of time on education theory, philosophy,...

  1. Our own Chad Aldis is quoted in this Q&A piece about the upcoming state tests in Ohio. No, Chad isn’t answering the questions. Journalist Ben Lanka is asking and answering based on his research. Chad is just a reasonable voice among the rhetoric. (Newark Advocate, 4/1/16)
  2. The 70s and 80s were a turbulent time in central Ohio. The City of Columbus was annexing any land it could get its hands on to forestall becoming landlocked in the future. At the same time, a desegregation decision rendered the city school district toxic to many in outlying communities where annexation was taking place. (I know, right?!) The result was a thing we like to call “Win-Win” around here. (Ironic, yes?) Y’all can keep your suburban schools but your land belongs to the City of Columbus and you owe Columbus City Schools money every year for that privilege. That agreement renews automatically every six year…as long as the school districts involved in the pact don’t object. Well, like the 17-year cicadas, Win-Win renewal time is back again. Seems like it might not be challenged again this cycle, but the clock is still ticking on that. The last renewal time was
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Last year, a few early childhood advocates blasted the Common Core State Standards for their “harmful” effects on kindergarteners, particularly in reading. While a careful examination of the standards reveals this claim to be overstated, the notion that we are killing kindergarten was gaining traction long before Common Core came onto the scene (2010 and thereafter). Until now, this narrative has been informed largely by anecdotal evidence, idealism, and good old-fashioned nostalgia. Noting that “surprisingly little empirical evidence” has been gathered on the changing nature of kindergarten classrooms, this paper attempts to fill the void by comparing kindergarten and first-grade classrooms in 1998 and 2010—capturing the changes in teachers’ perceptions of kindergarten over time.

Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, researchers compared survey response data from public school kindergarten teachers in 1998 and 2010 to investigate changes across five dimensions: teachers’ beliefs about school readiness, curricular focus and use of time, classroom materials, pedagogical approach, and assessment practices.

Overall, researchers found that kindergarten has become more like first grade. When asked to rate the importance of thirteen school readiness skills, 2010 teachers tended to rate all of them as more important than...

If you’re reading this, you are probably a subscriber to the Ohio Gadfly Biweekly email newsletter. Kudos. You have excellent taste in email newsletters.

We love an in-depth analysis and an insightful review just as much as the next person, but there’s more to Fordham Ohio’s work than just what you see in the biweekly Gadfly. (Hard to believe, I know.) Check out the Ohio Gadfly Daily for additional coverage, such as:

Social Impact Bonds (SIB), also known as “pay for success” loans, are a novel form of financing social service interventions, including education initiatives. First piloted six years ago in the United Kingdom and now making their way to the U.S, SIBs aim to leverage private funding to start new programs or scale proven ones. Broadly speaking, the instrument works like this: Private lenders and philanthropists deliver dollars—the bond—to a nonprofit provider that, in turn, implements the intervention. A government agency pays back the bond principal with interest, but only if the program achieves pre-specified results.

In its ideal form, an SIB has the potential to be a triple win: Governments receive risk-free funding to test or expand social programs that could help them save money; investors reap a financial return if the program works; and providers gain access to new sources of funding. To ensure the deal will benefit all parties, due diligence occurs on the front end, including selecting a program provider, estimating government savings, and developing an evaluation method. 

To date, the discussion on SIBs has been largely conceptual, engaging both supporters and skeptics alike. But a fascinating new report written by MDRC President Gordon...

NOTE: There are no April Fools jokes in here. That ain’t my thing. You want jokes, try here.

  1. Ohio has long been known as a net producer of teachers: as in, producing more ed school grads than new teachers needed in a given year. It seems however, that the overall numbers have been dropping in recent years, and grads with certain in-demand specialties (think middle and high school math and science, foreign languages, and physical education) have already fallen below the level of need. Fordham friend Tom Lasley and other heavy hitters weigh in on options facing ed schools – and K-12 schools – in the Buckeye State. Pretty active and interesting comments section on this piece also. (Columbus Dispatch, 3/31/16)
  2. One school district which seems to be experiencing the aforementioned scarcity of high school math teachers is Youngstown City Schools, if increasingly vocal parents and community members are to be believed. Many changes are afoot in Youngstown, all the leaders currently in place seemingly resigned to soldiering on without an Academic Distress Commission for the foreseeable future. One thing that they say will not change is the Youngstown Early College School, the “shining star” of
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