Ohio Gadfly Daily

Three years into his first gig as a recruiter/trainer at a job skills program in San Francisco, Mauricio Lim Miller recognized a striking contradiction that changed the trajectory of his life and work. As a person whose family had overcome great personal hardship and who was now trying to help others do the same, he could not reconcile the way he ran his own life with the way he was expected to run a social service program. The proscriptive, top-down structure of so-called benefits programs like his emphasized the “deficits” of their clients and often sought to substitute narrow program rules for individual options. Those rules were sometimes contradictory (as when multiple programs were involved) and sometimes self-defeating (e.g. child-care subsidies that lapsed if a program participant earned a little too much money from work). Even worse, he became convinced that such service programs were conferring greater benefit on their employees than on their clients. When he was invited to attend President Clinton’s State of the Union address as recognition for his work, Miller says he nearly declined out of guilt. As soon as he was given a chance by California Governor Jerry Brown to reshape the assistance available to...

It’s no secret that high-quality early childhood education can lead to significant and positive short-term impacts for children, particularly those from disadvantaged circumstances. Unfortunately, much of the current research also points to a troubling “fade out” trend—the gains that students make in preschool gradually decrease until they disappear completely.

A recent study from Mathematica seeks to add to this discussion by investigating whether the pre-K programs offered by some KIPP charter schools produce more lasting impacts. Researchers selected KIPP for several reasons, including the fact that it employs several practices that are considered high quality (such as well-educated teachers and low teacher-child ratios). Most significant, though, is that many KIPP pre-K students continue their education in a KIPP elementary school—increasing the probability that their elementary school experience will align with their pre-K experiences, and thereby potentially lead to longer-lasting impacts.

The study explored three research questions and used slightly different methods to examine each. The samples were relatively small, but the analysts were able to employ experimental methods that allow us to draw stronger conclusions about the effects of KIPP pre-K. A series of standardized tests (like the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement) were used to measure...

  1. The D took a look at some new national stats on chronic absenteeism and compared them with central Ohio districts. Some not-so-rosy findings, it seems. (Columbus Dispatch, 9/10/17)
  2. The calm start to the school year in Youngstown – as we noted on Friday – lasted exactly one day. On the second day of school, the teachers union filed a series of grievances against CEO Krish Mohip due to “unilaterally increased student contact time outside of the agreement”. (Youngstown Vindicator, 9/9/17)
  3. Speaking of district CEOs, the Morning Journal says that Lorain CEO David Hardy “shows heart” in facing up to the challenges to success in his district and in detailing the work he wants to accomplish to increase success for students. (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 9/9/17) In a follow-up piece, Hardy is said to be looking for “keys to excellence” among all of the public input data he has and continues to receive. If the experience of Youngstown is any guide, he may want to stay out of the teacher contract in his search for any keys. Just sayin’. (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 9/10/17)
  4. And continuing on the theme of district leaders, editors
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  1. Not much to report on today, but let’s not let that get us down. First up, we’ve got a bit more insight into that “final offer” from the Columbus City Schools board to the teacher’s union. Doesn’t sound super promising, especially in terms of the raise on offer, but we’ll see what happens when the rank and file vote on it next week. (Columbus Dispatch, 9/7/17)
  2. Lorain City Schools CEO David Hardy made his one-month report to the district’s Academic Distress Commission this week. The main thing of note in the Chronicle report is that the tight timeline for his first 90 days seems to be going well, especially from the standpoint of public input. Additionally, Hardy’s arrival full time in the district has been pushed forward by two weeks. (Elyria Chronicle, 9/8/17) The Morning Journal’s version of the meeting adds some interesting detail to both of these points. To wit: here are the top three concerns the public have reported to CEO Hardy: First is student performance (probably a no-brainer), second is a very high level of “distrust in the organization” (hmmm….), and third is a misalignment between the community’s passion in working with the
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  1. ECOT’s proposal to convert to a dropout recovery school has drawn predictable reaction (using words like “maneuver” and “switch”) especially in terms of the differences in accountability frameworks between general ed charters and dropout recoveries. Chad is quoted in this piece arguing that the real issue is sponsor evaluation writ large and the incentives embedded in it. Interesting. (Columbus Dispatch, 9/3/17) Speaking of ECOT, here’s a look inside their expenditures over the last 18 months or so, with legal fees high on the list of spendy items. Chad, for one, is not surprised at this. (Columbus Dispatch, 9/3/17)
  2. While Fordham, its sponsor, is not mentioned in this piece, feel free nevertheless to enjoy this in-depth look at the expanding awesomeness that is KIPP: Columbus. Their new high school opened this year, promising even more awesomeness to come. (Columbus Dispatch, 9/4/17)
  3. For the first time this year, schools can opt to add a “State Seal of Biliteracy” to students’ transcripts. That is, students who “demonstrate a high level of proficiency of a foreign language through one of a handful of approved exams, such as advanced placement or International Baccalaureate tests.” Awesomely, this includes native foreign
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In response to widespread fears that too many students would fail to pass the state’s seven high school End Of Course (EOC) tests, Ohio lawmakers recently created additional graduation pathways for the class of 2018. The pathway generating the most discussion allows students to receive a diploma by completing two of nine alternative measures, one of which is earning at least a 2.5 grade point average (GPA) during their senior year.

State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria has defended the inclusion of GPAs as one of the options, saying that “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.”

DeMaria is partly right. Several analyses have found a link between students’ high school grade average and their college success. For instance, this study from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) found not only that high school GPAs are an “extremely good and consistent predictor of college performance,” but also that they “encapsulate all the predictive power of a full high school transcript in explaining college outcomes.” These other two studies found that...

  1. Fordham is namechecked in this story about charter school sponsorship in Cleveland. But in a good way. The story relates the concerns that the Cleveland Transformation alliance harbors about another local sponsor – St. Aloysius – and specifically its very close relationship with contractor/service provider Charter School Specialists. Thisclose. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 9/1/17)
  2. Speaking of concerns, Springfield City Schools seems very very concerned over what it says are mistakes made by a contractor – well, fraud actually – which allegedly caused the district to forgo nearly $1 million in Medicaid reimbursement for services provided to students due to paperwork fail. Legal action is underway. (Springfield News-Sun, 9/1/17)
  3. As we settle into the new school year, let’s check out what’s new in school buildings across the state. First up: spleems. You read that right. This week the state supe and a state board of education member visited Beavercreek City Schools to learn about PAX, one of several games included in the new Positive Behavior Intervention Support effort in the district. Although it may not sound like it, a “spleem” is something to be avoided, while “Granny’s Wacky Prize bag” is something you actually want. Oh, you’ll
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  1. 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)
  2. Charita Goshay opined today in the Canton Rep on the topic of charter school suckitude. No word on what she thinks about allowing dogs on restaurant patios, but props to her and the Rep for the clickbait based upon that topic. (Canton Repository, 8/30/17)
  3. A columnist in Pennsylvania opined today against Dayton City Schools’ new, lower GPA threshold for sports eligibility. Quite vehemently. So much so that I imagine his outrage could
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  1. Some dude was busted last week for receiving and selling public transit bus passes stolen from Columbus City Schools and intended for students in lieu of yellow bus transportation. As a parent who has relied on said passes for years, I hope they throw the book at everyone involved. As someone who has seen multiple similar attempts by adults to literally steal education from kids for their own financial gain, my reaction is less benign...and less printable. (Columbus Dispatch, 8/25/17)
  2. Despite some Herculean efforts by folks to stem the tide, families are still opting to send their kids to online charter schools across the state gosh dang it, including more than 3,800 such students in the Dayton area. Not heartened enough by either the drop in enrollment numbers last year (assuming those are right, of course) or the likely drop in this year’s numbers since ECOT is planning to change its metaphorical spots, Jeremy Kelley decided to try and find out why so daggone many families are still opting in. No answer was readily forthcoming in his discussion with Ohio Connections Academy. In fact, kids who have been persuaded by the news to leave ECOT seem to
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  1. ECOT’s transformation from general online school to dropout recovery school drew some additional ink this week. First up, the Dispatch suggests this is an effort by the school to avoid certain areas of accountability. Our own Chad Aldis is on hand to note that if that is the case, then a new light will surely be shone on the accountability levers for dropout recovery schools as a result of this newcomer joining their ranks. (Columbus Dispatch, 8/24/17) Andy Chow of statewide public radio has a more compact version of the same suggestion and same response from Chad. (Statehouse News Bureau, 8/24/17)
  2. In case you missed it, CREDO yesterday released a massive new study on school closures across the country over a seven year period, looking at where displaced students ended up and how they did compared to students in similar schools which didn’t close. Ohio data were reviewed by Gongwer, including commentary from Chad. (Gongwer Ohio, 8/24/17) Doug Livingston of the ABJ took a rather different tack with the Ohio data. Our own Aaron Churchill was not only able to follow Doug’s train of thought but to offer cogent analysis of his own regarding state
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