Since President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December, much discussion has centered on changes related to school accountability. Under the new law, a state’s accountability plan must include long-term goals, measures of progress toward those goals, and an explanation of how the state plans to differentiate schools. This revised system would replace the accountability plans that states developed under their still-operational NCLB waivers, and it would take effect during the 2017–18 school year. ESSA’s accountability requirements also involve the dissemination of annual report cards for the state, districts, and schools that contain a variety of accountability indicators and a plethora of data.
NCLB also required school report cards, so the idea itself is nothing new. What’s changed is what the report cards contain. For instance, NCLB required states to include information on state assessment results, the percentage of students not tested, graduation rates, and performance on adequate yearly progress measures. ESSA moves away from adequate yearly progress while mandating four types of indicators: achievement, another academic measure (probably growth for elementary and middle schools and graduation rates for high schools), progress for English language learners, and “other indicators of school quality and...
In April, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report examining recent trends in the racial and socioeconomic composition of America’s public schools. Between the 2000–01 and 2013–14 school years, the study finds, the fraction of U.S. schools that were both high-poverty (75 percent or more eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, or FRPL) and high-minority (75 percent or more African American or Hispanic students) rose from 9 to 16 percent.
While the GAO analysts caution that their analyses “should not be used to make conclusions about the presence or absence of unlawful discrimination,” to headline writers at the Washington Post, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times, the findings suggest “resegregation” in American schools. The Posteditorial board declared a “resurgence of resegregation.” But is this a fair interpretation?
There are at least two problems with drawing such a conclusion. The first is that the GAO analysis doesn’t take into account overall demographic trends. During this time period, student demographics were changing in America. As a share of the national student population, Hispanic students increased from 16 percent to 25 percent from 2000 to 2014 (though African American pupils remained virtually unchanged as a fraction...
Ohio’s second-ever school district CEO was chosen at the end of May by the members of the Youngstown City Schools Academic Distress Commission (ADC). He is Krish Mohip, a former teacher and principal and current school administrator in Chicago. He has a track record of turning around low performing schools in the Windy City and make no mistake that that is his charge in Youngstown as well.
Mohip was chosen from a field of nearly three dozen candidates and was introduced to Youngstown stakeholders and the public last week. So far he is enthusiastic, effusive, and inclusive. He told WFMJ-TV that he is thrilled to be in Youngstown and can’t wait to get to work gathering input and working with the ADC, teachers, parents, the elected school board, and the community to create the academic improvement plan that is his required first order of business. In an in-depth interview with Vindy Radio last Friday, Mohip was thoughtful and engaging but clear on his goals: all parents want the best for their children, all children can learn, and it is the schools’ job to make that learning happen. We are encouraged by Mohip’s track record and enthusiasm for...
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to incorporate at least one non-academic indicator—which might include (but isn’t limited to) factors like school climate or safety—into their accountability frameworks. That makes this study published in Educational Researcherrather well-timed. The authors set out to test the theory that reductions in school violence and/or improvements to school climate would lead to improved academic outcomes. Instead, the evidence they discovered suggests the relationship flows in the opposite direction: A school’s improvement in academic performance led to reductions in violence and improved climate—not the other way around.
The study’s authors point to serious gaps in past studies of school climate and safety, many of which illustrated only correlation (not causation) among the variables examined. This motivated them to test the assumption that improved school climate must come first in the chicken-egg scenario. Using six years of student survey results (from 2007–13) from a representative sample of 3,100 California middle and high schools, analysts employed a research design known for its ability to test causality when large-scale experimental designs aren’t possible. (For the curious, this is described as a “cross-lagged panel autoregressive modeling design,” which determines whether variables at different points in...
Kinda quiet this weekend in terms of education news stories. First up, two previews of state board of ed action to occur this week. It appears that board members will hold their noses and approve a proposed set of criteria defining the term “consistently high-performing teacher”. Neither the committee that came up with the criteria nor the board members who have to vote on it seem all that thrilled with what is before them. Why are they going to vote for it then? Because they are required by law to set a definition by July 1 and this is what there is to vote on. Inspiring (Gongwer Ohio, 6/10/16) Also on the agenda this week, adjust the cut scores for two new high school end-of-course math exams that students took this spring. We told you last week that the initial results didn’t look so promising. So the question before the board is to keep the cut scores high and have loads of kids not pass, or lower the cut scores so larger numbers pass. This is such an important issue that our own Chad Aldis weighed in, landing on the side that says that “Diplomas have to mean
If things go as planned, Cincinnati City Schools’ board of education will pass a resolution next week to authorize negotiations with Phalen Leadership Academies, a charter school network from Indianapolis, with an eye toward opening a district-sponsored Phalen school in the Queen City. The timing is important because formalizing the negotiation status will allow Phalen to apply for Ohio’s new charter school facilities funding, the deadline for which is fast approaching. You can read journalist Hannah Sparling’s pretty awesome description (if I do say so myself) of Phalen’s work in Indy here. But the three months since that piece was published seem to have soured Sparling on the idea. Or else it was her discussion with the leader of the Cincinnati Educational Justice Coalition that did it. CEJC leader Michelle Dillingham, also a candidate for city council, was quoted in yesterday’s piece vehemently opposing the district’s plan. She “doesn’t know enough about Phalen to rate the model one way or the other, but she didn’t see anything in Wednesday’s presentation that CPS isn’t already offering its students… ‘It’s not really clear what they’re innovating,’ she said.” There you have it. More developments next week, I’m sure. (Cincinnati Enquirer,
Krish Mohip, the newly-appointed CEO of Youngstown City Schools, came into town yesterday to sign his contract…and to meet with the school board, district staffers, and as much of the public as could be mustered on a Tuesday afternoon. There’s a lot to parse here and I may have more to say about this after I check out all the video from his public remarks. (“Scraped along with C’s”? Dude! Diligent work on the party of the Vindy though.) But I’ll leave you with three observations on the written piece: Mohip seems to have a pretty good track record in Chicago as he tells the story, including significant improvements to some difficult schools. He seems to be trying to be inclusive out of the gate (board, interim supe, teachers, public, etc.). Most importantly he seems to have solidified in his own mind some of the less-clear aspects of the new ADC/CEO framework, including the role he sees for the elected board and for their appointed superintendent. These will be important down the line if/when other districts come under the aegis of the new ADC/CEO framework. (Youngstown Vindicator, 6/8/16)
Recall that StateAuditor! Man had some strong words for the Ohio Department of Education a couple of weeks ago. In a depressingly predictable turn of events, folks from all parts of the ideological spectrum seized upon his words to advance their own agendas. The D chatted with state board members and state legislators who were all over the map with ideas about how to “fix” the department, with little apparent agreement as to what the problem was. (Columbus Dispatch, 5/30/16) Yost himself took time to expand on his thoughts about ODE’s “problems” in a commentary piece in the Plain Dealer last weekend. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 6/3/16)
Confession time: I loathe Facebook. The level of discourse I have found there – in general – makes Twitter seem Aristotelian by comparison. Imagine my reaction, then, when the
The middle schools serve students who are over 95 percent and 82 percent economically disadvantaged, respectively; yet eighth graders at both middle school campuses outscored statewide averages for both reading and math proficiency by margins that the Dispatch calls “eye-popping.” UPrep serves students in grades K–2 and will be expanding to the third grade in the fall (and eventually up to fifth grade).
Auditor Yost toured the UPrep campus and visited classrooms. He also met with Andy Boy, who described the network’s future plans, the challenge of securing school facilities, and the overall impact that the schools have made on student outcomes as well as the neighborhoods in which they are located.
“Charter schools are accustomed to doing more with less. In the case of United Preparatory Academy, they’re doing a lot more with...