With findings reminiscent of those from the Gates Foundation’s recent MET study or Chetty’s teacher-effectiveness research, this CALDER paper widens an already well-worn trail. Using a comprehensive, five-year dataset of student-test scores for beginning teachers in New York City, the authors find that early value-added results (though imperfect) are strong predictors of educators’ long-term effectiveness and that relative teacher performance (based on student test scores) remains fairly constant. Among math teachers whose performance was in the lowest quintile after their first two years on the job, 62 percent still performed in the bottom two quintiles in their third through fifth year and only 19 percent ended up in the top two quintiles. Similarly, if a school adopted a policy of firing the bottom 10 percent of new teachers (averaged over years one and two), it would rid itself of almost one third of the future lowest-performing teachers and absolutely none of the future top performers (according to years three, four, and five averages). They also find that value-added in years one and two explained 27.8 percent of the variance in average future performance (compared with only 2.8 percent explained by a number of combined “input” metrics including teacher...

Hope Against HopeThe Friedman-ism that “every crisis is an opportunity” has, in the eyes of many, found dramatic and fitting vindication in the city of New Orleans. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the teachers union was washed away, while the city’s traditional public schools were almost entirely supplanted by a host of new charters, many of them answerable to a new state-level governing body. The value of these changes has been frequently quantified by test scores, college-attendance rates, and similar informative (yet reductive) data. Sarah Carr’s Hope Against Hope offers a rare view from the ground—one that humanizes education reform in the Bayou City. She profiles a trio of figures (a novice teacher, a veteran principal, and a high school student) as well as a handful of charter schools. The conflicts at the core of Carr’s book—between different measurements of and causes for student success (or failure) and between guarding community culture and finding pathways to the middle class—transcend the Big Easy. But do not look for conflict resolution here. Carr’s intent, instead, is to articulate vividly what’s at stake....

  • The state Board of Education selected Richard Ross as state superintendent of public instruction. Ross is currently the director of Governor Kasich’s Office of 21st Century Education and former superintendent of Reynoldsburg City Schools.
  • This year’s state Report Card marks the final year that districts will be graded on its current rating scale. In 2014-15, Ohio will move to an A to F system.
  • State Auditor Dave Yost put forward policy recommendations intended to improve the way that the Ohio Department of Education tracks student data.
  • Akron Public Schools has upgraded its Internet bandwidth and computer software in advance of the Common Core and its aligned assessments, the PARCC exams.

America’s fragmented, decentralized, politicized, and bureaucratic system of education governance is a major impediment to school reform. In Education Governance for the Twenty-First Century: Overcoming the Structural Barriers to School Reform, a number of leading education scholars, analysts, and practitioners show that understanding the impact of specific policy changes in areas such as standards, testing, teachers, or school choice requires careful analysis of the broader governing arrangements that influence their content, implementation, and impact.

Education Governance for the Twenty-First Century comprehensively assesses the strengths and weaknesses of what remains of the old in education governance, scrutinizes how traditional governance forms are changing, and suggests how governing arrangements might be further altered to produce better educational outcomes for children.

Paul Manna, Patrick McGuinn, and their colleagues provide the analysis and alternatives that will inform attempts to adapt nineteenth and twentieth century governance structures to the new demands and opportunities of today.

* Copublished with the Brookings Institution and the Center for American Progress


Governor Kasich’s budget plan, now being debated in the House, calls for expanding the state’s Educational Choice Scholarship program. This statewide voucher program is one of four public voucher programs currently available to parents and students in the Buckeye State. Together these programs allow about 22,500 students to use publicly funded vouchers to attend a private or parochial school of their choice. The governor’s proposal would provide, on a first come first serve basis, vouchers starting in 2013-14 for any kindergartner with a household income less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level – about $46,000 a year for a family of four. Voucher amounts would be up to $4,250 a year, and participating schools could not charge tuition above this amount.

In 2014-15, voucher eligibility would extend to all students in grades K-3 in a school building that gets low marks in the early literacy measure on the state’s new report card. The funding for the voucher will not be deducted from a school district’s state aid, but rather be paid out directly by the state. Kasich’s budget allocates $8.5 million in fiscal year 2014 for 2,000 new vouchers and $17 million in 2015 for up to 4,000...

Gifted students are our future engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs, and job creators; as such, we will depend on them to keep our state competitive with the rest of the country--and the world. Despite this, the majority of these students aren't receiving the education they need in order to reach their full potential. Learn more about the state of gifted education in Ohio and how to improve it at Educating Our Brightest: Improving Gifted Education to Boost Ohio’s Prosperity and Success.

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the Ohio Associated for Gifted Children are partnering to host an exciting discussion about gifted education and its impact on Ohio’s prosperity.

The event will feature a presentation from Fordham’s President Chester E. Finn, Jr. as well as a panel discussion moderated by the Columbus Dispatch’s Jennifer Smith Richards.  The panelists will include:

*Marty Bowe, superintendent of Perry Local School District (Stark County)

*The Honorable Bill Hayes, Ohio House of Representatives

*Carol Lockhart, principal of John Hay Early College High School (Cleveland Metropolitan School District)

*Ann Sheldon, Ohio Association for Gifted Children

Location: Columbus Museum of Art (MAP)
480 E. Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43215


The Center on Reinventing Public Education has released a new study by Marguerite Roza and Monica Ouijdani that examines the cost of class size reduction – what it would cost per student to create smaller classes, and how those costs can add up significantly. And perhaps more importantly, the authors discuss whether the funding needed to create those smaller classes could be more effectively utilized elsewhere in the education system.

The Opportunity Cost of Smaller Classes: A State-by-State Spending Analysis begins with an attempt to downplay the rhetoric about “skyrocketing” class size and to determine just what the average class size is state by state. This is made difficult by the fact that the most-current class-size information nationwide hails from 2007-08. The authors suggest that this lack of current information is what allows anecdotal evidence of class size expansion nationwide to trump any sober analysis of the numbers.

Roza and Ouijdani, using both National Education Association (NEA) and National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) data on student-teacher ratios (generally available through 2012), generated an estimate of average class size in all states where reliable information was available. Sadly, Ohio’s reported data from NEA and NCES in 2011-12...

Fordham’s gadflies have been buzzing over the past weeks, discussing Governor Kasich’s budget, Common Core, and Student Nomads. If you’ve missed any of these items, here’s your chance to catch up!

  • In a Columbus Dispatch editorial, Terry Ryan wrote in favor of the governor’s school funding plan. The plan, Ryan argues, is worthy of support because it “recognizes the fact that more and more of the state’s students attend schools other than their neighborhood district schools.” And by acknowledging this fact, Governor Kasich’s plan attempts to “target children and their schools as the locus of public funding, as opposed to funding just school district.” For more analysis of the governor’s funding plan, please see Steps in the Right Direction, a report conducted by esteemed school finance professor Dr. Paul Hill.
  • Emmy Partin was a guest on National Public Radio’s The Sound of Ideas, discussing Ohio’s impending transition to the Common Core State Standards in 2014-15. The conversation, which included representatives of the Ohio Department of Education, State Impact Ohio, Cleveland Teachers Union, and callers from the general public, spotlighted changes in classroom instruction, Ohio’s standardized exams, and graduation requirements that are and will occur under
  • ...

In both our role as researchers and as a charter school authorizer we have come to appreciate over-and-over again the critical importance of school leaders in making schools great. Yet, there is no harder job than running a successful school building for high-poverty students; nor a more important job. There are school leaders across the state and the nation who do it day-in and day-out, and too few get recognized for their great work. We are fortunate that some of these leaders work in schools that Fordham sponsors and it is our privilege to tell a little bit of their stories and the impact they are having on students in Ohio.

This Q&A with Chad Webb, the head of school for Village Preparatory School-Woodland Hill campus, is the fifth of our seven-part series on school leadership. (Please see our Q&A with Dr. Glenda Brown, Andy Boy, Dr. Judy Hennessey, and Hannah Powell Tuney.) Village Prep is part of the Breakthrough network of charter schools. Breakthrough operates the highest-performing charters in Cleveland—and, according to Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), are some of the finest charter schools in the nation. ...

In just two decades charter schools have grown from a boutique school reform strategy to an alternative public school system serving a significant percentage of the nation’s K-12 students. In 1996, just 19 states had charter legislation in place, and there were only about 250 charters serving some 20,000 pupils. Fast forward to 2013: 41 states and the District of Columbia now have charter laws on the books, and there are more than 2 million students enrolled in 5,600 charter schools.

According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, seven school districts in the nation have at least 30 percent of their public school students enrolled in public charter schools (in Fordham’s home state of Ohio Cleveland, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown each have 25 percent or more of their students enrolled in charters). An additional 18 districts have 20 percent or more of their public school students enrolled in charter schools. And, there are now more than 100 districts across the country with at least 10 percent of public school students enrolled in charters. Charter schools are undeniably one of the most popular and growing school reforms of the last 25 years.

But, there is still much work...