Ohio's education system ranked 10th in nation, but still earns just a C+

Ohio has gotten a lot of feedback on our education system in
the past few weeks. On January 10, the U.S. Department of Education released a
progress report detailing the Buckeye state’s accomplishments and challenges
with Race to the Top funds. (Here
is Fordham’s take on the report.) On January 12, Education Week released the
national report card Quality Counts 2012: The Global Challenge –Education
in a Competitive World

Each year, Education Week chooses a theme that serves as the
underlying message of the report, this year’s being “American Education from a
Global Perspective.” The report “takes a critical look at the nation’s place
among the world’s public education systems, with an eye toward providing
policymakers with perspective on the extent to which high-profile international
assessments can provide valid comparisons and lessons.” States are graded on
the following 6 criteria:

1.       Chance for Success: Looks at the
broader educational environment: from family income and parent English
proficiency to adult educational attainment, and takes into account the
lingering effects of the ongoing recession.

Score: C+ (78.4)

Score: C+ (77.6)

2.       K-12 Achievement: Examines at school
achievement: 4th and 8th grade scores on math and English
tests, the influence of the poverty gap on test scores, and high school
graduation rates.

Score: C- (71.2)

Score: C- (69.7)

3.       School Finance: Looks at the equity of
school funding throughout the state: the correlation between school funding and
property-based wealth, per-pupil expenditure, and the percent of total taxable
resources dedicated to K-12 education.

Score: C (76.0)

Score: C (75.5)

4.       Standards, Assessments, &
Reviews a state’s course- and grade-specific standards,
types of test items, assessments aligned to standards, and school

Score: A (96.1)

Score: B (85.3)

5.       Teaching Profession: Assesses teacher
quality initiatives, including coursework requirements for licensure, alternative
licensure programs, merit pay, and professional development programs.

Score: C (76.4)

Score: C (72.5)

6.       Transitions & Alignment: Was not
updated in 2012

Score: C+ (78.6)

Score: C+ (78.3)

Ohio ranked 10th nationally with an overall grade
of C+ (79.5); slightly ahead of the U.S. average of C (76.5). While Ohio should
be applauded for ranking 10th, a C+ is an average score that most states
also received. It seems the Buckeye State is simply the best of the mediocre
states. Results ranged from first place Maryland, B+ (87.8), to last place
South Dakota, D+ (68.1), and a majority of the states fell into the C range.

Ohio’s best performance was in the category “Standards,
Assessments, & Accountability.” This should come as no surprise. Ohio has
long been a leader in the standards and accountability realm, and while many
(Fordham included) have lamented that Ohio fell behind other states in recent
years when it came to reforms like adopting a strong teacher evaluation system,
our Race to the Top grant has helped spur changes.

Ohio’s worst performance was in the “K-12 achievement”
category. And again, this shouldn’t surprise many – the state’s performance on
NAEP (aka the Nation’s Report
) has been stagnate, and unimpressive, for years now.

As states look internationally to
countries like were Singapore, Japan, Finland, Canada, England, Hong Kong and
New Zealand for education policies and programs to help advance our students’
achievement, this report is useful to help Ohioans understand where we
currently stand.