Ohio Gadfly Daily

It’s one of those perennial ideas in education reform that never seems to get across the finish line: raising the standards for who can teach in our schools. Advocates on the left and right argue that if we could emulate the highest-achieving nations and recruit from the top of our college classes instead of the middle or the bottom, we’d see higher achievement too. (We could also cut lots of red tape and focus on empowering talented educators to make more key decisions.)

To its credit, Ohio has already revamped its licensure system in an attempt to raise the bar. (For more on how the system works, see here.) Ohio’s teacher residency program is a key part of this structure. Beginning teachers must take part in the four-year residency program. The program offers new teachers mentorship, collaboration with veteran educators, professional development, and feedback. It also includes the Resident Educator Summative Assessment (RESA), which requires teachers to electronically submit a portfolio that demonstrates their teaching abilities based on the Ohio Standards for the Teaching Profession. In order to earn a renewable professional license, beginning teachers must pass RESA and complete four years in the residency program.


  1. Just like other online general education charter schools and even brick-and-mortar charter schools before them, dropout recovery schools in Ohio are currently being ECOTted. That is, tarred with a brush meant for the much-reviled-in-whatever-form Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow. Herewith, testimony from supporters of dropout recovery schools given before the House Speaker's Task Force on Education and Poverty last week, trying to rebuild a reputation for their school model that they probably didn’t think needed rebuilding as little as a month ago. (Gongwer Ohio, 10/13/17)
  2. The Cleveland Transformation Alliance announced last week that the state had not concurred in its efforts to keep St. Aloysius Orphanage from opening new charter schools in Cleveland. State Supe Paolo DeMaria did load a few new requirements onto St. Al’s in the realm of communication and reporting, but that is far short of what the Alliance was asking for and some members seem quite unhappy. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/14/17) Speaking of Cleveland, thank heavens DeMaria was around to explain this multi-district collaborative around teaching social-emotional skills to students in Northeast Ohio. "People have always been doing it," says the supe. "We just haven't been as deliberate about it." That makes sense
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  1. Big changes in the district became breaking news in Youngstown this morning. To wit: the district’s administration building is being emptied – with a number of departments already having relocated to vacant space within district school buildings without notice or fanfare – in order for that building to become the new home of Youngstown Early College High School. The stated reason for this change is that the popular (and successful methinks) YEC has no room to grow in its rented digs at Youngstown State. But unstated is that whatever cost the district has been incurring to rent space at YSU will go away or be greatly reduced by a move into a district-owned building AND administrators will be closer to the daily lives of their staff and students. Wow! Sounds like a great idea to me. Wonder what the objection(s) will be? In 3… 2... 1… (Youngstown Vindicator, 10/13/17)
  2. Oops. A “systemic data compilation error” is to blame for errors in several portions of the report cards issued last month for career tech providers statewide. The changes are supposed to be minimal, but I’m sure the CTE folks are eagerly awaiting the revised data. (Columbus Dispatch, 10/13/17)
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  1. A statistic from a Fordham study regarding charter school attendance is referenced in this piece looking at education in central Ohio over the last 25 years, including both K-12 and higher ed. Nope. Me neither. (Columbus CEO, 10/9/17)
  2. Speaking of CEOs, here is a nice profile on the Bright New Leaders for Ohio Schools Program, a public/private partnership aimed at recruiting, training, and placing strong leaders into the state’s neediest schools. (The 74 Million, 10/11/17)
  3. You’ll have to click the link if you want to see the whole thing, but here is the list of the top 100 public high schools in Ohio as ranked by Performance Index scores. While there are a couple of surprises in the back of the list, the top schools are fairly predictable if you know wealth distribution patterns in Ohio. However, I would draw your attention to No. 19 – The Bio-Med Science Academy STEM School in Portage County. That would be a non-district, standalone school open to all students via lottery. And, apparently, it kicks booty. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/11/17)
  4. Ugh. Less than 16 months after successfully ending state-mandated fiscal watch status – a designation it labored
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Most American teenagers plan to head off to college after high school. In my organization’s recent survey of over 2,000 U.S. adolescents, a strong majority reported plans to attend a four-year university (62 percent), while another quarter said they’ll attend a two-year college or trade school. According to survey data from Learning Heroes, 75 percent of parents expect their own child to earn a college degree. Almost 70 percent of high school graduates do in fact matriculate directly to college.

Kids’ and parents’ aspirations are admirable, as data show that adults holding bachelor’s degrees tend to fare better. A four-year degree is associated with higher lifetime earnings, lower unemployment rates, higher rates of homeownership, and more lasting marriages. While there are many “good jobs” available to people without a bachelor’s degree, it’s still a good bet to earn such a credential.

But how many of Ohio’s young adults have actually made it “to and through” college?

Data from the 2011-15 American Community Survey indicate that 32 percent of Ohio’s 25 to 34 year olds—“millennials” roughly speaking—hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. This proportion falls just below the national average of 33...


Most American public school teachers are paid according to salary schedules that take into account their years of experience and degrees earned. This compensation approach has been criticized because it doesn’t anchor teacher pay to instructional effectiveness or other factors that merit consideration (e.g., specializing in harder-to-staff fields or working in higher-need schools). Instead, teacher pay depends on factors that research suggests are not closely tied to student achievement. Now a new study by Michael Hansen and Diana Quintero of the Brookings Institution takes a different look at teacher salary schedules, this time through the lens of equitable pay and patterns of school funding.

In terms of wage distribution, the analysts find that public school teacher pay is more equitable relative to other occupations. Using the Theil Index—a measure of equity—they find that teacher pay is more evenly distributed than for doctors or lawyers and just slightly more equitable than for nurses or social workers. This is not surprising, as salary schedules tend to fit teacher pay within a relatively narrow range; for instance, salaries for Columbus educators range from about $40,000 to $90,000. Within the teaching profession, the pay differences are explained mainly...

  1. In the wake of ECOT’s assertion that it will have to close its doors in January if the clawback of funds by the state continues as planned, the Dispatch wondered what might happen to said clawback if those metaphorical doors – and the funding spigot – did indeed close. Not to worry, says Auditor of State Dave Yost (…), Attorney General Mike DeWine is on deck to squeeze blood from whatever stones are readily to hand. No word on how credit for this putative “win-win” would be apportioned as yet. (Columbus Dispatch, 10/6/17)
  2. Speaking of dropout recovery schools (were we?), here’s some better news on the report card front from one such school. Findlay Digital Academy, sponsored by Findlay City Schools, met or exceeded standards for its students at risk of dropping out. School officials are proud of their numbers and are open to sharing their recipe for success, as they do here. (Findlay Courier, 10/9/17)
  3. Mansfield City Schools is fairly typical in facing a chronic bus driver shortage for the second year running. Training time, licensure costs, private and charter school transportation, and weird scheduling are all part of the negative alchemy that works
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School choice is becoming more and more common across the country, creating more and more stories of student and family success. The Foundation for Excellence in Education wants to hear as many success stories as possible and has launched a contest to find them.

The Choices in Education Video Competition begins soon and is seeking video submissions from students, parents, or alumni of existing school choice programs (public school choice, charter, magnet, private school, virtual learning, or homeschool) and even from students and families who want more choice in their state. The best part: the winners will be chosen based not on the quality of the video, but on the sincerity and passion of the story told.

Three Grand Prize Winners will each receive a $15,000 cash prize, one People’s Choice Winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize, and three Finalists will each receive a $5,000 cash prize.

So what are you waiting for? The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2017.

You can find more information and submission information by clicking here.

Good luck! 


When it comes to gauging the performance of Ohio’s public charter schools, unfair comparisons and generalizations are all too common. Apples-to-oranges comparisons between individual schools and entire districts, as well as casual disregard for charter schools’ high percentages of children in poverty (while contrasting their performance with wealthier children), are inaccurate forms of analysis at best. At worst, they’re intentionally disingenuous. But unless you’re a wonk at heart, these data offenses probably aren’t on your radar.

There’s another refrain from charter critics that disturbs me—not as a data analyst or researcher, but as a parent. It’s the implication that if you’ve moved your child to a school that performs lower on report card measures than the district school to which you are zoned, that choice isn’t a very good one.

I see this critique often from charter critic Stephen Dyer as well as from bloggers, teachers unions, and other choice opponents. Dyer frequently asserts that lower-performing charter schools “drain” public resources from higher-performing ones. You can see this logic at work in specific complaints or in sweeping statements appearing in just about every Innovation Ohio brief, like:

…half of all state money sent to charters goes...

  1. Not much to report today; which is probably fine. The hour-long panel discussion of Lorain’s journey into (and hopefully out of) Academic Distress recorded last week finally aired yesterday on Cleveland public radio’s Sound of Ideas program. Worth a listen. (WCPN-FM, Cleveland, 10/5/17) Meanwhile, Lorain CEO David Hardy is hiring a firm to perform a review of the district’s expenditures – the “culture of our spending,” as he puts it. (Elyria Chronicle, 10/6/17)
  2. Speaking of money, officials at ECOT said mere hours ago that the school’s cash balance will go from plus $17 million to negative $302,000 as early as January and that the school would be forced to close its doors unless the state Supreme Court halts the clawback of funds currently underway due to the results of the school’s attendance audits for the past couple of years. (Columbus Dispatch, 10/6/17)
  3. And since we’ve invested so much in the topic today, let’s conclude by talking about money. Outside of episodes of The Simpsons, interest in nuclear power is waning. As a result, one nuclear plant in Northwest Ohio has been downgraded in value by the Ohio Department of Taxation. The school district in
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