Ohio Gadfly Daily

  1. The Path Forward series in Dayton started in a new direction (but still forward of course!) on Sunday when a lengthy interview with Dayton City Schools superintendent Elizabeth Lolli was published. As has been noted previously, the supe has a multi-point plan in various stages of development and implementation to, hopefully, improve the district’s report card for the 2018-19 school year. The stated goal is, of course, to “avoid state takeover”. I, as you might guess, would rather focus on improving academics for the benefit of students. Or even just “doing the job you’re supposed to do”. However you couch it, I personally remain skeptical that this plan can achieve the goals to the level needed. The Path Forward series now promises to look in depth at each of the areas Lolli’s plan is supposed to address, with the first being improvements to teaching quality, a big chunk of which is also contained in this piece. Perhaps once you read it you will share my skepticism. (Dayton Daily News, 9/30/18)
  2. “Every school has areas for improvement and we’re no different. … But we wouldn’t be continuing to add students and graduate larger classes if we weren’t making a
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In fashion these days are craft breweries, shabby-chic decor, and farm-to-fork restaurants. But what’ll get you a seat at the cool-kids table in the education world? At the top of the list is dismissing—or is it “dissing”?—standardized test scores. Just consider some of the latest reactions, fresh off the release of Ohio’s 2017–18 school report cards. An unnamed Columbus City Schools official told the Dispatch, “There’s far more to measuring a child’s learning and growth than what’s scored on the state’s annual Local Report Card, which offers only a limited snapshot.” The Zanesville superintendent told his local  paper, “When we look at that [report card data], I don't think it accurately reflects the work of our students and teachers.” Up in Northeast Ohio, a local school official told the Akron Beacon Journal, “I’m not panicked because state tests suggest we do poor in a certain area. I don’t necessarily think state tests are valid and reliable.”

It’s true that test scores don’t capture important intangible qualities of schools. And yes, students are “more than test scores”; they also need to develop character traits that enable them to live as responsible adults. But none of this gives us...



New charter school success story: Menlo Park Academy

Yesterday, the Fordham Institute released the latest profile in their Pathway to Success series. The profile features Menlo Park Academy in Cleveland. Menlo Park, a school designed to uniquely support gifted students, shows how the charter public school model can be used to serve an often overlooked student group. You can read the new profile here—and please do let Madison Yoder know if you have any suggestions for future profiles.

State Superintendent visits Columbus charter school

Yesterday, State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria visited the Columbus Collegiate Academy - Main campus. Several seventh and eighth grade USN scholars had the opportunity to participate in a discussion with the Superintendent and share their experiences as middle school students. You can learn more about the round-table panel on the campus’ Facebook page.

Columbus charter school parents having trouble with busing

Charter school students in Columbus continue to face some pretty big transportation issues. This has been a particular issue for Summit Academy, where some students have literally missed weeks of school at the start of the year due to problems receiving transportation from Columbus City Schools as a result...

  1. A town hall meeting was held in Dayton yesterday to give the public a chance to weigh in on the somewhat nebulous (IMHO) plans for turning Dayton City Schools around. Kudos to the parent who said, “I want the administration to have the long view in mind to make policy decisions first and foremost with the students in mind, not with (the Ohio Department of Education) and what will pacify them.” The list of areas that the plan will address, also included here, seems to be decidedly not that. (Dayton Daily News, 9/25/18) Parents met with staff in Lorain last night for the first of a series of such events scheduled throughout the school year. They included some good news and some stuff that the Chief Family Office in Lorain needs to work on. (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 9/25/18)
  2. The Dayton story, above, was incorporated as part of the DDN’s “Path Forward” series. For the latest installment of the PD’s similarly-named and similarly-themed “Pathways to Prosperity” series, here is a look at the “academies” model in use in some Cleveland Metropolitan School District high schools. That is, an effort to connect school work to the working
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At this month’s meeting of the State Board of Education, members debated a draft proposal for a new set of graduation requirements that would give students many paths to graduation. One would use grade point average (GPA) as an indicator of competency. Students would have to earn an average GPA of 2.5 or better for at least two full years of high school math and English, as well as a 2.5 or better across four semesters of any single subject included in the “well-rounded” category that comprises science, social studies, art, and foreign language. The upshot is that a student could earn an Ohio diploma by earning a 2.5 GPA in certain courses (not overall) and playing a sport for four years.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Ohio education officials want to include GPA in state graduation requirements. The strategic plan for education released earlier this month called for the state to develop multiple ways for students to demonstrate their competency, and the main goal statement purposely shies away from measures like standardized tests. There is also research that shows a link between college success and a students’ high school GPA. For example,...

  1. The Dayton City Schools’ plan for improving educational outcomes for students (a.k.a. “avoiding state takeover”) is moving forward…starting with a shut down. Every school in the district will be closed for one day—spread out through October and November—so that all teachers can undergo training to solve what the supe says is a “lack [of] the quality instructional practices they need and want.” Should be a doddle, right? (Dayton Daily News, 9/22/18) Also in the DDN, the next edition of their Path Forward series. This time it is about job skills and retraining for today’s in-demand jobs. The only role for K-12 here, it seems, relates to career and technical education, a.k.a. CTE FYI. OK? (Dayton Daily News, 9/24/18)
  2. The exact same set of stories was in the Plain Dealer recently too. It went like this. East Cleveland City Schools, already staring down the barrel of the installation of an Academic Distress Commission to oversee the district, has sued the state of Ohio to “avoid state takeover”. The suit may not be heard until late November. Sigh. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 9/22/18) In the latest installment in the PD’s Pathways to Prosperity series, the topic is—you guessed it—CTE.
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NOTE: The Thomas B. Fordham Institute occasionally publishes guest commentaries on its blogs. The views expressed by guest authors do not necessarily reflect those of Fordham.

Postsecondary enrollment marks a critical transition point for students after they graduate high school.  It’s important that students enroll in some form of postsecondary education opportunity beyond high school—whether that be college, advanced training, or the military. This is particularly true for low-income students and other underrepresented populations. Unfortunately, a 25-percentage-point difference exists between high- and low-poverty schools (52 percent and 77 percent, respectively) when it comes to enrolling in college in the first fall after high school graduation.

In Ohio, students have a variety of options that can help them transition from high school to college. Most people have heard of College Credit Plus (CCP), but the lesser known early college high schools (ECHS) provide an important pathway to college—particularly for low-income students.

In fact, according to the Ohio Department of Education, ECHS programs must prioritize:

  • Students who are underrepresented in regard to completing post-secondary education
  • Students who are economically disadvantaged, as defined by the Ohio Department of Education
  • Students whose parents did not earn a college degree

ECHS provide mostly low-income...


Editor’s Note: As Ohioans prepare to elect a new governor this November, and as state leaders look to build upon past education successes, we at the Fordham Institute are developing a set of policy proposals that we believe can lead to increased achievement and greater opportunities for Ohio students. This is the second in our series, under the umbrella of ensuring seamless transitions to college or career. You can access all of the entries in the series to date here.

Proposal: State agencies should connect, or allow a research university to connect, students’ K–12 and higher-education records with workforce data, such as wages, career fields, or unemployment records. This proposal may not require legislation but would require state leadership to coordinate between agencies and ensure a secure IT system that protects sensitive personal information. With an integrated information system, the state could then begin reporting (though not necessarily use for formal accountability purposes) workforce outcomes by high school or college and university.

Background: For more than a decade, Ohio has reported extensive data on K–12 student outcomes on its school report cards and in publicly accessible databases. These data systems are integral to transparently reporting proficiency and growth on...


K–12 education in America is making greater and greater use of digital resources. Schools are using them for ease (group collaboration via Google Docs), expense (electronic textbooks and curricular materials are cheap and easily distributed), and convenience (group chats and electronic grade reporting make necessary communication quick and uniform). Additionally, the workplaces into which graduates will emerge run on digital devices—even in more traditional fields such as medicine and manufacturing.

It is easy for those of us old enough to have memories of yesterday’s analogue world to minimize this evolution. We adapted to email easily enough and were quick to trade our pagers for flip phones, after all. But the more that non-electronic alternatives bow out and the more our world is run by digital natives, we ignore inequitable access to technology at the peril of our young people. A new brief from ACT, Inc. shines some interesting light on the status of technology access among today’s students.

A group of ACT researchers surveyed a random sample of 7,233 American students who took the ACT as part of its national administration in April 2017. Students were asked a series of questions about the availability and use of electronics at...

  1. Quick show of hands: How many of you are as tired of talking about graduation requirements as I am? Luckily for Ohio’s students, Chad’s hand is placed firmly on the table. He is quoted here on the topic of keeping strong graduation requirements in place in Ohio. He is literally the only one. Again. What on earth is happening here? (Dayton Daily News, 9/20/18)
  2. Folks in Dayton—schools, businesses, the city—are said here to be in “lockstep” in their desire to raise Dayton City Schools from the achievement basement. There are not a lot of details here yet, but Godspeed, y’all. (Dayton Daily News, 9/20/18)
  3. There was a lot going on at the State Auditor’s office this week, it seems. If this piece is accurate, the auditor’s presentation on the history (and potential future) of his Ohio Performance Team was part nag, part brag, and part theater. I love it! What I don’t love is the possibility that 93 percent of school districts might be spending more than they take in within the next five years. (Gongwer Ohio, 9/19/18)
  4. The new Columbus City Schools supe—unanimously chosen by the board yesterday—is a familiar face. Kudos
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