Ohio Gadfly Daily

  1. Maybe they were too optimistic? Maybe there was a wink and a nudge? Who knows? Turns out there was only one bidder for the Africentric School site we told you about on Monday, so hopes for a big windfall to Columbus City Schools above the – admittedly tidy – minimum bid were dashed. But congrats to Nationwide Children’s Hospital anyway, who will be demolishing the building and putting up a parking lot. (Columbus Dispatch, 11/28/17)
  2. Here we have an interesting turnabout for readers who are students of Ohio school choice history. HB 418, introduced this week, would require speedy transfer of records between schools when students move. The bill was “inspired by a superintendent who spent weeks waiting to obtain records for official enrollment when a student was transferring from an online school to the district school”. Seeing as how charter schools and private schools accepting voucher students have had that very same trouble with districts for more than a decade, this bill is in fact an overdue fix for a longstanding problem. But don’t worry, it’s clear that the bill’s supporters realize the ironic history and that it will apply to districts even more so than
  3. ...
  1. We start the week with another update on Columbus City Schools’ upcoming surplus property auction. Among the buildings up for sale is the former Africentric School building (likely worth a pittance) and the land on which it sits (worth a ton, it seems, because of its proximity to resurgent Downtown and ever-tony German Village). Reporter Bill Bush takes pains to note that the Africentric property was pitched to charter schools first, but the $15 million appraisal was too steep for those operators to consider. Auction is planned for tomorrow. (Columbus Dispatch, 11/24/17)
  2. Speaking of money, we told you some time ago about the somewhat clunky efforts to reach out to Toledo Public Schools alums in order to connect them with the current Toledo school community shake them down for money. Here is an update on the TPS Foundation, the non-profit support organization which will be the beneficiary of whatever amount alums can shake loose. So far, they’ve managed to get enough money to hire an executive director, who has elaborate plans for what she wants to spend money on. Hmmm… That seems to be a common theme at TPS. (Toledo Blade, 11/23/17)
  3. Small-town Ohio is where
  4. ...
  1. Pretty busy meeting for the Columbus school board last night. Suspensions were approved for two more data scrubbing administrators. Both will retain their jobs after the sting of that wrist slapping abates. (Columbus Dispatch, 11/21/17) The board voted unanimously to reinstate the no-religious-music-at-graduations policy that should never have been taken out in the first place. (Columbus Dispatch, 11/21/17) The board also voted unanimously to hire as interim supe the guy who may have been responsible for the deletion of that policy. Quite an unlikely trajectory to that top seat, if I do say so myself. Check out the details in this piece if you doubt. (Columbus Dispatch, 11/21/17)
  2. Meanwhile, at Dayton’s school board meeting last night, members present voted unanimously to place Superintendent Rhonda Corr on leave, effective immediately, pending the outcome of a likely disciplinary proceeding. (Dayton Daily News, 11/22/17)
  3. Meanwhile, the Youngstown school board held a community meeting last night to try and get some support in their dislike for the CEO-style Academic Distress Commission under whose aegis they are operating. One board member from similarly-afflicted Lorain City Schools joined them in commiseration. (Youngstown Vindicator, 11/22/17) Meanwhile, the board’s allies in
  4. ...

Next September, Ohio districts and schools will receive an overall grade on their report cards. While the Buckeye State has generated overall ratings before—using labels such as “effective” or “academic watch”—this will be the first time Ohio assigns an overall A-F grade. Akin to our final GPAs in high school or college, these summative ratings roll up the disparate parts of Ohio’s report cards into a single, user-friendly rating. This letter grade will stand out: Parents, the public, and media will inevitably focus their attention on it.

Because of its prominence, the way Ohio determines these grades is of utmost importance. Ideally, policymakers would create a formula (i.e., weighting system) that strikes a balance between indicators of pupil achievement and growth over time. This ensures that schools are held responsible both for meeting proficiency, graduation, and post-secondary readiness targets—the achievement side of the equation—as well as boosting the year-to-year growth of all students, including those who have not yet met achievement goals or advanced pupils who easily surpass them. Given true differences in school quality, summative ratings should reflect those variations. For instance, a system that assigns D’s or F’s to the vast majority of schools is not helpful to...

For too long, the topic of school choice in Ohio has been divisive and polarizing. You are invited to attend a thoughtful and substantive discussion of school choice with experienced leaders from across the state. This effort to find common ground and collaborative solutions in support of students promises to be a great evening. We hope you can attend.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

6:00 to 8:00 pm

Capital University Law School

Room 229, 303 E. Broad Street

Downtown Columbus

Panelists: Stephen O. Dyer (Innovation Ohio), Andy Boy (United Schools Network), Mary Ronan (former Superintendent of Cincinnati City Schools), and Chad L. Aldis (Thomas B. Fordham Institute),.

Refreshments will be served, and there will be time reserved for you to ask questions and gain insight into school choice efforts currently underway across Ohio.

We hope you’ll join the conversation.

Tickets are free but we urge you to register today....

  1. Fordham is namechecked in Jeremy Kelley’s look at the latest charter sponsor ratings. Makes sense since our sponsorship office (and two sponsored schools) is located in the Gem City. (Dayton Daily News, 11/20/17)
  2. It’s been five years since the Cleveland Plan was enacted and a progress report is due to the legislature from the state superintendent. Paolo DeMaria provided his take on Cleveland’s progress last week. Interestingly, the focus as put forth in his cover letter seems to be more on the district than on partnering charter schools. Hopefully the full report goes deeper, because I seem to recall that those charter schools have done rather better on several important success measures than the district itself. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/17/17)
  3. Speaking of the CLE, Patrick O’Donnell has two pieces on the possible benefits of the Say Yes to Education program which the city is attempting to launch at a cost currently projected at $130 million. Say Yes would provide substantial college scholarships to graduates of district high schools (and maybe charter schools, but that possibility has generally been a mere footnote in the reporting). Both of Patrick’s pieces are attempting to assess the economic benefits of
  4. ...
  1. New Ohio charter sponsor ratings were released this week. For the first time, there are sponsors rated at the highest level, which is good. The Dispatch is focusing on the bad – 10 sponsors rated “Poor”. (Columbus Dispatch, 11/15/17) The Plain Dealer is focusing on some specific good news – a better rating for Cleveland Metropolitan School District this year. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/15/17) Not so for Cuyahoga Falls City School District, which this year was rated “Poor”. It seems that they will appeal that rating. (My NEOhio, 11/16/17) As you can see, most of the initial discussion is around school districts and ESCs as sponsors, which always seems weird to me, especially when there are some other issues about the weighting of the factors which go into the ratings which could stand some more discussion. Gongwer’s take is a pretty good overall look at the results over time and the issues still outstanding. (Gongwer Ohio, 11/15/17)
  2. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but the Ohio Senate put up its Christmas tree already this week. And under it was SB 8, a bill whose final hodgepodge version hammered out in conference committee was intended to
  3. ...

Yesterday, the Ohio Department of Education released the second round of charter sponsor (a.k.a. authorizer) ratings. The Plain Dealer’s Patrick O’Donnell was quick out of the gate in noticing overall improvements from last year’s ratings (“Cleveland and other charter school sponsors doing a better job, new ratings show”) highlighting the Cleveland district’s own improvement as well as a high-level look at the grades. The Dispatch took a more negative spin, “Sponsors of 10 Ohio charter schools receive ‘poor’ ratings from state,” emphasizing that nearly half of sponsors earned a rating of Poor or Ineffective.

Indeed, 21 of 45 sponsors were deemed ineffective or poor for 2016-17. Yet the Dispatch omits the fact that all but six of these low-rated sponsors (one career technical center, one non-profit, and four educational service centers) were traditional public school districts. The story also took pains to note that those earning effectives did so “despite poor achievement ratings for some or many of their schools.” This is true, but it overlooks the reality that high-poverty schools across the board (charter or district) have struggled and will continue to struggle on achievement metrics until the state makes student growth over time a bigger...

Since 2012, the Center for Education Reform (CER) has released an annual “parent power index,”—a scorecard for states as well as an interactive tool for parents “to discover whether their state affords them power over their child’s education—and if not, what they can do to get it.”

The index rates states along five categories: (private) school choice, charter schools, online learning, teacher quality, and transparency—and then provides an overall score. It also offers quick facts on statewide achievement (NAEP proficiency and ACT scores) and student enrollment. On the latest index, Ohio ranks eleventh in the nation and scores well above the national average in all but one of the five categories.

How Ohio performed on the 2017 Parent Power Index

The question CER seeks to answer is an incredibly important one: how much power do parents really have? Unfortunately, this particular index is only partially accurate. Let’s take a quick look at what it got right, where it went askew, and how this local Ohioan views parent power in the Buckeye state.

School choice

The index gave Ohio a C for...

  1. Want a good read? Check out this little nugget on the Fordham-sponsored United Schools Network of charters here in Columbus, including a look at their new School Performance Institute. Just ignore the snarky subhead of the piece. They couldn’t help themselves, I suppose. (Columbus Monthly, 11/14/17)
  2. Sticking with the theme of good news for a moment, Dayton City Schools’ report card improved ever so slightly this week after a fix of some erroneous data as processed by the Ohio Department of Education. (Dayton Daily News, 11/13/17) The aforementioned erroneous data had to do with one aspect of graduation rates. The ways in which students reach graduation have, as my loyal Gadfly Bites subscribers are painfully aware, been a subject of much angst in various halls of state government for a year or more. Graduation pathways were front and center again during this week’s state board of education meeting. Specifically, three options were presented to the board by ODE regarding the current grad requirements, which includes a non-academic pathway which applies only to the Class of 2018. For now. (Dayton Daily News, 11/13/17) I have to apologize to all four of my loyal Gadfly Bites subscribers for
  3. ...