Ohio Gadfly Daily

KIPP Columbus achieves extraordinary outcomes for its students, predominantly students in poverty and students of color—a fact worth celebrating by itself. In 2015-16 in Ohio’s Urban Eight cities, KIPP Columbus was in the top five percent of all schools (district and charter) on student growth and among the very best (top 3 percent) in Columbus. But it’s not just KIPP’s academic data that are impressive. KIPP Columbus, led by Hannah Powell and a visionary board, has a rare knack for forging powerful partnerships at every turn—ones that strengthen KIPP students, their families, and the entire community near its campus. This year, KIPP launched an early learning center in partnership with the YMCA of Central Ohio to serve infants, toddlers, and pre-school aged youngsters. In a neighborhood lacking high-quality childcare and early learning opportunities, it’s an investment not just for KIPP students, but for the community at large. KIPP Columbus also partners with the Boys and Girls Club of Columbus, Battelle Memorial Institute, and other community organizations.

This profile is about KIPP graduate Steve Antwi-Boasiako, an immigrant and first-generation college student now attending Vanderbilt University, whose entire family has been uplifted by the school. His story illustrates the depth...

  1. Loyal Gadfly Bites subscribers will be aware that your humble compiler knows little about politics and cares even less. So, without any ado, here are three election-related stories from around Ohio. Columbus City Schools’ levy passed. (Columbus Dispatch, 11/8/16) Cincinnati City Schools’ levy also passed. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/9/16) And Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s levy passed too. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/8/16) Fin.
     
  2. Lakota Local Schools once had among the highest pay-to-play sports fees in the state. District officials say that dramatic reductions in those fees this school year has resulted in the first full bowling team roster in district history...and no other discernable increase in participation. (Dayton Daily News, 11/5/16)
     
  3. On Monday, both the teachers union and the school board in Louisville outlined how the ongoing teachers strike could be ended. The two lists are, it seems, at odds. (Canton Repository, 11/7/16) The only winner so far in this strike appears to be the Repository – source for the only news on the strike. They are starting a series of fact-checking reports, trying to bring some truth to the rumor mill they say is in full operation in the district. (Canton Repository, 11/7/16)
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“If schools continue to embrace the potential benefits that accompany surveillance technology,” assert the authors of a new report issued by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), “state policymakers must be prepared to confront, and potentially regulate, the privacy consequences of that surveillance.” And thus they define the fulcrum on which this seesaw of a report rests.

Authors J. William Tucker and Amelia Vance do not exaggerate the breadth of education technology that can be used for “surveillance,” either by design or incidentally, citing numerous examples that range from the commonplace to ideas that Big Brother would love. We are all familiar with cameras monitoring public areas in school buildings, but as police use of body cameras increases, school resource officers will likely be equipped with them as well. The authors note that a district in Iowa even issued body cameras to school administrators. (Our own Mike Petrilli wondered a few years about putting cameras in every classroom.)

Cameras have been commonplace inside and outside of school buses for years, but now student swipe cards and GPS bus tracking mean that comings and goings can be pinpointed with increasing accuracy. Web content filters...

  1. Can you stand one more piece about the success – or lack thereof – of the Cleveland Plan prior to the election? Me too! And here it is, on the topic of how progress toward graduation is tracked for every high school student in CMSD. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/5/16)
     
  2. Hopes for that “quick” strike in Louisville seem to be evaporating. From what I understand, teachers are on the picket lines again today – Day 4. Over the weekend, a community event was held in a local park to “reunite” students and their striking teachers. Tears were abundant, I gather. Two things of note (to me at least): the organizer of the event is, I would say, in something of a tough spot during this strike, given her various family connections to the district; and what’s with the other nearby school districts having formed a new sports league former member without Louisville? Sounds stone cold to me, but I may be focusing on the wrong things here. (Canton Repository, 11/6/16)

Back in 2011, the Obama administration released its plan for improving teacher education. It included a proposal to revise Title II regulations under the Higher Education Act to focus on outcomes-based measures for teacher preparation programs rather than simply reporting on program inputs. It wasn’t a smooth process. Serious pushback and a stalemate on a federal “rulemaking” panel followed. Draft regulations were finally released in 2014, but were immediately met with criticism. Many advocates wondered if the regulations would ever be finalized.

On October 12, the wondering ceased—the U.S. Department of Education at last released its final teacher preparation regulations. While the final rules number hundreds of pages, the provisions garnering the most attention are those outlining what states must annually report for all teacher preparation programs—including traditional, alternative routes, and distance programs. Indicators are limited to novice teachers[1] and include reporting placement and retention rates of graduates during the first three years of their teaching careers, feedback via surveys on effectiveness from both graduates and employers, and student learning outcomes. These indicators (and others) must be included on mandatory institutional and state teacher preparation program report cards that...

Hopes are high for a new kind of school in Indianapolis. Purdue Polytechnic High School will open in the 2017-18 school year, admitting its first class of 150 ninth graders on the near Eastside. It is a STEM-focused charter school authorized by Purdue University that will utilize a project-based multidisciplinary curriculum intended to give graduates “deep knowledge, applied skills, and experiences in the workplace.”

The location of the school in the Englewood neighborhood is a deliberate step for Purdue, which is aiming to develop a direct feeder for low-income students and students of color into Purdue Polytechnic Institute in West Lafayette. To that end, the high school will teach to mastery—each student moving on to the next level in a subject once they have demonstrated mastery at the current level. If that requires remediation of work, so be it. The school model is designed to keep students engaged, challenge them to reach their maximum potential, and meet high expectations. More importantly, a high school diploma will be “considered a milestone rather than an end goal,” according to the school’s website. College is the expected next step for all Purdue Polytechnic High School graduates. In fact, the high school’s curriculum...

  1. Jeremy Kelly at the DDN reports that Ohio’s state board of ed may change Ohio’s new graduation rules even before they’ve taken effect. (Dayton Daily News, 11/1/16) Cathy Candisky and Shannon Gilchrist at The D think so too, going a step farther than Jeremy and calling it a “likely” outcome. In related news: congratulations Nola on your imminent graduation. (Columbus Dispatch, 11/4/16)
     
  2. The Youngstown Academic Distress Commission met yesterday to discuss the proposed improvement plan submitted by district CEO Krish Mohip. A group of teachers present at the meeting expressed concern that the proposed plan did not address “discipline, proper student and teacher representation, safety and overall respect in the schools”. (Youngstown Vindicator, 11/4/16) Members sent the plan back to Mohip for revision. He has 15 days. Additional coverage from local TV makes it clear that discipline and a culture of respect are among the specifics that the commission want to see addressed in the revised plan. Check out WKBN (WKBN-TV, Youngstown, 11/4/16) and WFMJ for details. (WFMJ-TV, Youngstown, 11/4/16)
     
  3. A decade-old afterschool program in the Old West End of Toledo shut down abruptly this week due to lack of funds. A
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  1. Fordham’s annual report card analysis is cited in this piece as the bestower of the “honor” that Leetonia Schools received this year as a “high-quality” school district. Thanks guys, but we’re not the source of the data. Appreciate the media hit though. (Salem News, 10/30/16)
     
  2. While the ongoing kerfuffle between Ohio’s largest online school and the state department of education over its recent attendance audit seems to be on the back burner simmering quietly in some darkened judicial or legislative chamber, the good folks at The D are keeping the topic alive and in the light by taking a look at absenteeism and truancy at ECOT. (Columbus Dispatch, 10/30/16)
     
  3. We’re in the home stretch for the vote on the renewal of the levy funding the Cleveland Plan. Wrapping up his look at the many aspects voters should consider before choosing, Patrick O’Donnell discusses the effort to replace or close failing schools in CMSD (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/1/16); the mixed-bag of results from various non-academic interventions in the district’s high-poverty “investment schools” (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/1/16); and the district-wide goals such as increasing graduation rates, partnering with high-quality charter schools, and the like. (Cleveland
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  1. One member of the Youngstown school board held a press conference on Wednesday to discuss her reasons for walking out of a board meeting earlier in the week. Seems like those reasons might be personal based on what is reported here, but she seems to be using them as a more general talking point. (Youngstown Vindicator, 10/27/16)
     
  2. Speaking of school boards, Parma is back in the news with a double whammy. The board finally approved a fiscal recovery plan to try and plug that multi-million dollar budget hole it still has (clerical errors notwithstanding). Immediately following, the board president resigned without explanation. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/27/16) If that all sounds a bit familiar, it is because this is the second Parma school board president to resign abruptly within a week. Meanwhile, the person appointed to fill the previous president’s seat on the board is under a bit of fire for some personal and business-related financial problems in his past. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/27/16) At this rate, there will be no one left to pursue the fiscal recovery plan. Just sayin’.
     
  3. A Republican state senator this week expressed interest in averting the conversion of Lorain
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Ohio’s charter school movement has faced a number of challenges over the past decade. A myriad of school closings and allegations of financial misconduct contributed to it being dubbed the Wild, Wild West of charter schools. Making matters worse, a comprehensive analysis in 2014 by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) found that, on average, Ohio charter students lost fourteen days of learning in reading and forty-three days of learning in math over the course of the school year compared to similar students in traditional public schools. To its credit, the Ohio General Assembly recognized these problems and in October 2015 passed House Bill 2 (HB 2)—a comprehensive reform of the Buckeye State’s charter school laws.

While HB 2 has only been in effect since February, there are already signs that the movement is changing for the better in response to the new law. Unfortunately, despite great strides forward, there is one group of charter schools in Ohio that’s still causing serious heartburn for charter school proponents and critics alike: full-time virtual charter schools. Attendance issues, a nasty court battle, the possibility that the state’s largest e-school (ECOT—The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow) could have to...

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