Ohio Gadfly Daily

It’s no secret that school attendance is a significant factor in student achievement. In elementary school, truancy can contribute to weaker math and reading skills that persist into later grades. Students who are chronically absent often experience future problems with employment, including lower-status occupations, less stable career patterns, higher unemployment rates, and low earnings.

That’s why Ohio has spent the past few years overhauling its student attendance and absenteeism policies. It started back in December of 2015, with the introduction of House Bill 410, whose major provisions prohibited districts from including truancy in their zero tolerance discipline policies and required them to assign truant students to an absence intervention team that would create a personalized intervention plan. These changes were made because schools often dealt with absenteeism by suspending truant students instead of helping them. This punitive system forced students to miss even more school and exacerbated negative impacts. The bill also changed the state’s definition of chronic absenteeism to be based on hours instead of days, a shift that aligned attendance policies with the state’s instruction requirements that were changed from days to hours during the 2014–15 school year.  

Meanwhile, in 2017, the...



KIPP Columbus hosts naturalization ceremony

One hundred fifty immigrants became American citizens this past week at an event at KIPP Columbus. The guests (from fifty-three nations) heard a speech from Armando Mora Perez (a KIPP high school student whose mother is waiting to be granted citizenship) and joined together to do the Pledge of Allegiance. You can find a video of the event on KIPP’s Facebook page and photos on their website.

Bruno Manno: How charter schools make their grads successful in college

Bruno Manno, the senior adviser for the Walton Family Foundation K-12 Program, in a recent op-ed praised the ability of some charter schools to help their graduates succeed in college. He explains how a number of charter school networks like KIPP, Uncommon Schools, Chicago’s Noble Network, and Green Dot Schools “are pointing the way and providing crucial evidence that K-12 education can provide a robust foundation for opportunity, upward mobility, and financial stability.”

School choice and community-building

Amy Lueck recently published a piece in the Atlantic in which she celebrates the civic purpose of the traditional American public high school and accuses school choice proponents of...

  1. Not much to report today in proper education news, but most of what we have is decently good news. So there’s that. First up, Lorain City Schools held an appreciation event this week to honor the 45 students who scored 21 or over on the ACT. That includes two high-flying eighth graders and one high schooler with a perfect score. The latter became the first inductee into Lorain’s Academic Hall of Fame that night. Nice! (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 11/1/18)
  2. The branch campus of Ohio State University located in Mansfield is working to build a pathway to the university—and to the teaching profession—for African-American students in Mansfield High School. Perhaps it is a bit limited in ambition and scope right now (just one CCP class before graduation, guys? Dream bigger), but hopefully the effort can pay dividends down the road. (Richland Source, 11/2/18)
  3. For me, one of the neatest things about working in our state capital is driving by the federal courthouse on the mornings when the citizenship swearing-in ceremonies are happening. Lots of individuals and families streaming into the beautiful old building together, dressed to the nines, carrying their all-important paperwork and flags as they
  4. ...
  1. Stop me if you’ve heard this before: “This report card is not an accurate depiction of all the work we do as a school district, which is what most superintendents in Ohio would agree (with), including those districts that received A grades.” I would agree with this too, but probably not in the same way as the superintendent of Reynoldsburg City Schools intends it. Nevertheless, Reynoldsburg is said to be working to improve parts of its report card ratings for the future, including test scores and a stubbornly high absenteeism rate. Which is good, no matter the grudging motivation. (ThisWeek News, 10/29/18)
  2. Liberty Local Schools is looking to remain in the black, budget-wise, for the next five years. While this positive projection is predicated on passing a levy next week (when isn’t it, I ask you), the real meat of this story is in the subtext. Liberty gained more than 130 students this year, and of course the state funding that comes with them. It is stated that more than 1/3 of those students have come in to the district via open enrollment and the rest are “district residential students”. Supe says that great new programs are
  3. ...

Although 90 percent of American parents believe their children are performing at or above grade level; in reality two-thirds of U.S. teenagers are ill-prepared for college when they leave high school. A major reason for this enormous disconnect is grade inflation.

According to a recent study conducted by American University professor Seth Gershenson and published by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, grade inflation is for real — and widespread. Analyzing statewide end-of-course exams in algebra from North Carolina, Gershenson found that between 2005 and 2016 many students who received As and Bs from their teachers struggled on the state tests.

This matters immensely, since he also found those exams to be far better predictors of students’ ACT scores and thus their academic preparedness for college.

Further, over the years that he studied, grade inflation occurred in both high- and low-income schools. Like the Tar Heel State, Ohio uses high school end-of-course exams. Last year, just 61 percent of students were proficient on the algebra assessment. Given that algebra is required to receive a diploma, it appears that a large fraction of young Ohioans are passing the course even though they can’t demonstrate proficiency on an objective assessment of algebra knowledge....


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 sixth 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: Create a tax-credit program that allows employers to reduce their state tax liabilities based on the number of students who complete a state-registered apprenticeship at their worksite.

Background: In contrast to traditional career and technical programs, where training is delivered entirely by K–12 schools, apprenticeships include paid on-the-job training provided by employers or professional associations in addition to formal education. American high school students rarely participate in apprenticeships, though their counterparts in countries like Germany and Switzerland are far more likely to do so. Apprenticeships are slowly gaining traction in other states, including Georgia, Maryland, and Wisconsin, which have devised apprenticeship programs geared toward high school students. In Ohio, students aged sixteen or older can participate in one...

  1. It seems like every PD article on the Say Yes to Education program possibly coming to Cleveland starts with the same two paragraphs: a new incremental step, lots to iron out, not ready yet, questions remain, blah blah blah. Hardly interesting in itself anymore, but I couldn’t help wondering this time what the representatives for Say Yes—a high profile and big ticket program geared to getting low income students to and through college–think of Ohio’s ongoing efforts to eliminate standardized testing, to water down and/or obfuscate state report cards, and to remove academic pathways to graduation. A.K.A. – Ohio’s War on Knowing Stuff. Someone should ask them. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/26/18)
  2. Speaking of graduation requirements in NEO, here is the story of one senior in Springfield Local Schools and her quest to graduate. Her current difficulty appears mainly to be a time crunch, brought on by some bad advice. The news report here blames the trouble on her inability to access the non-academic diploma pathways given temporarily to the Class of 2018. But if you ask me, the true problem for her lies in the creation of those non-academic pathways in the first place. If she had
  3. ...
  1. My old high school recently got a grant from the State Library of Ohio to purchase a total of 278 non-fiction literature books for its library. No word on which books might have made the list, but the aim is to “better align the library’s resources and materials with the new Ohio Learning Standards for English Language Arts and the ELA Literacy Criteria”. While hardly the most interesting education news of the week, it seems like s a good thing, and it allows me to say something nice about my high school. A rare and pleasant happenstance. (Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, 10/24/18)
  2. So what is the most interesting education news of the week? Heck if I know. Some elected board members in Youngstown and Lorain seem Supreme-ly happy about this news. Even Coach Tressel finds “beauty” in it. So maybe that’s it. (Youngstown Vindicator, 10/25/18)
  3. Speaking of happiness, though, members and guests of the elected board of Akron City Schools actually broke out in cheers when their treasurer announced that nearly 500 fewer students living in district boundaries were attending charter schools compared to the year before. It is likely that these students are not attending Akron
  4. ...


Martin Luther King III visits KIPP Columbus

KIPP Columbus students had a special guest last week. Martin Luther King III visited the school, read his children’s book (My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.), and told stories. Judging by the student quotes in the Dispatch, it looks like he made quite an impact. Television coverage of the visit can be found here.

A big win for students and families: WA Supreme Court ruling

Washington’s Supreme Court ruled that charter public schools are constitutional, upholding their place in Washington’s public education system and ensuring that current and future charter school students will have access to a high-quality education. You can read the Washington State Charter Schools Association’s press statement here. For some background information on the lawsuit, El Centro de la Raza v. Washington State, see the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ release here.

How did MA’s charter schools become the best in the country?

On Wednesday, Education Next released a new podcast episode in which Marty West talks with Cara Stillings Candal, the author of a new book on charter schools in Massachusetts titled, The Fight for...

  1. Will Ohio’s report cards change in the near future? That is the ever-present question at the Dayton Daily News. The case for change is kind of sketchy here, if you ask me, but Fordham is namechecked within as part of the wide swath of folks supposedly aligned toward change. Somehow I don’t think our proposed changes match up with many others’. But I could be wrong, and I don’t write for a newspaper either, so what do I know? Another meeting of the workgroup tasked with making recommendations on same is today. (Dayton Daily News, 10/23/18)
  2. On the topic of graduation requirements in Ohio, the same dude who was last week attempting to shake down Columbus City Schools for more money is this week attempting to convince the state to extend the achievement-free graduation requirements gifted to the Class of 2018 to the next four graduating classes. To be fair, Columbus City Schools does seem to have more money than it has ability to graduate kids, so maybe dude is on to something. But this change affects everyone; not just your students members. (Gongwer Ohio, 10/23/18)
  3. The state supe visited tiny Tecumseh Local Schools in western
  4. ...