Tis the season, apparently, for reinvention in Ohio’s charter school sector. One such reinvention has made big news (you know the one I’m talking about), but another has occurred under the radar until now. The Ohio Council of Community Schools has quietly split from its longtime charter school sponsorship partner the University of Toledo. This comes in the wake of a poor sponsor evaluation for the duo which could have presaged an end to their authority to sponsor schools. As a result of the breakup, OCCS “succeeded” the partnership and has become a solo sponsor – a “new” sponsor in fact. Thus shedding the previous poor evaluation results and restarting the clock for future evaluations and any consequences thereunto. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 8/28/17)
The students who aren’t going to do well in college and in the workforce are those who don’t take their education seriously and a GPA increasingly both in research and in practice has been shown to be a far better indicator of a student’s readiness for college success and frankly for workforce success than any standardized test.
Whether, when, and how GPAs may be a better indicator of readiness than standardized tests is a subject for a different day. Let’s focus instead on the Superintendent’s assertion...
Fordham is namechecked in this story noting the first day of school in Columbus. Specifically, the crack journalists at Columbus’s Fox affiliate discussed the new lowered graduation requirements for this year’s seniors. Fordham is against this, as you all know well; the state supe says we are “out of touch with the times”. Gotta say, that stings just a little bit. (WTTE-TV/WSYX-TV, Columbus, 8/23/17)
Another thing that we – or at least I – am probably “out of touch” on is the decision by Dayton City Schools to lower the academic eligibility level for participation in sports. You will recall that the district’s entire varsity sports program got into some trouble last school year for, among other things, eligibility violations. No idea if this potentially catastrophic near miss factored into yesterday’s board decision, but apparently the 2.0 GPA level Dayton previously was supposed to hold to is not the rock bottom allowed by the Ohio High School Athletic Association – who sets these things on behalf of the entire state. What is rock bottom, you ask? Currently, a 1.0 GPA – or a D average. (I here refer the gentle reader to our illustrious state supe’s comments
Speaking of active online comments, folks in Youngstown seem to have quite a bit to say about the district’s plan to eliminate a requirement for students to carry see-through backpacks and instead instill a “climate of trust” between students and staff this year. Says East High School’s new principal: “A couple places you would expect to see... clear backpacks are airports and prisons. We are neither.” (Youngstown Vindicator, 8/20/17)
Confronted with the paradox of a simultaneous rise in high school graduation and college remediation rates, researchers from The Alliance for Excellent Education examined diploma pathways across the country for evidence as to how well they match college or career expectations. They found that far too many students leave high school with diplomas that do not signal preparedness for what comes next.
The Alliance’s new report looked at all fifty states and the District of Columbia and found that there were 98 different pathways to diplomas for the Class of 2014. Slightly less than half were deemed sufficient to prepare students for college or careers (CCR diploma pathways). While college and career ready can be defined in a number of ways, the Alliance’s criteria for a CCR diploma are: 1) Any pathway that requires students to complete four years of grade-level ELA, three years of math through Algebra II or Integrated Math III; and 2) Any pathways promulgated by state institutions of higher education that fully align with admissions requirements into those institutions. All of their analyses follow from these requisites.
The most frequent reason for a rating of “non-CCR” for a diploma pathway was a mismatch between...
Research continues to point to the correlation between socioeconomic status and educational outcomes. Three new initiatives in the Buckeye State are cause for cautious optimism that old methods of addressing poverty may be giving way to innovation and new promise, especially for our youngest citizens.
Founded by Hillbilly Elegy author and Ohio native J.D. Vance, Our Ohio Renewal is a bold new initiative that will explore statewide policy solutions to intractable problems plaguing poor families. Vance’s upbringing included divorce, drug abuse, violence, and multi-generational poverty. Yet his rise through the Marine Corps, The Ohio State University, and Yale Law School against long odds challenge the notion that demography is destiny and will undoubtedly inform his work on behalf of families.
The Family Independence Initiative takes a city-centric approach to disrupting the cycle of poverty for families. The brainchild of Mauricio Lim Miller, this initiative steps away from the traditional service provider role and instead takes on a coaching role for poor families – families like the one in which he grew up. “…[M]y mother figured out how to get me out of poverty,” Lim Miller said in a recent New York Times profile of his life
Charter opponents have long claimed that charter schools siphon resources away from the traditional public school system. The ideological motivation for this line of reasoning is clear when touted by teachers unions and their friends: i.e., calling charters parasitic unless they conform to traditional school practices, including mandatory unionization, makes that bias obvious. There’s also a technical basis for the argument, given how charters are funded in Ohio and in many states. Indirect or pass-through funding inevitably feels like a loss to districts and contributes to hostility toward charter schools for “stealing” students and “draining” the system.
But what impact do charter schools actually have on traditional public schools and the students who remain there? Are such loaded accusations deserved? Or might the presence of charters improve student outcomes through competition or as effective charter practices spill over into district schools?
Recent research from Temple University professor Sarah Cordes sheds needed light on this question. Cordes examined the impact of charter schools in close proximity to, or even co-located with, traditional public schools (TPS) in New York City over a fourteen-year time span. Her analysis departed from previous research examining charter effects at the district level or...