Additional Topics

  1. Mike Petrilli and Fordham are namechecked in this guest commentary about the role of the local chapter of The Exchange Club in boosting civics education in Dayton. Fascinating. (Dayton Daily News, 2/15/17)
  2. Your humble clips compiler will admit to knowing nothing at all about the ins and outs of what might be termed “protest culture.” Case in point: I was both surprised and baffled by both sides of the argument in this editorial from the Toledo Blade in which editors implore parents not to homeschool their kids as a means to “avoid dealing with” new U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. That's a thing? (Toledo Blade, 2/16/17)
  3. We noted earlier this week that the state board of education heard from organized groups of district superintendents regarding flaws that they perceive in the state’s proposed new ESSA accountability plan. That theme continued yesterday as state supe Paolo DeMaria was questioned on same (and in a very similar manner) by legislators on the Joint Education Oversight Committee. (No, it’s pronounced “JAY-ock”.) (Gongwer Ohio, 2/16/17)
  4. Meanwhile, back in the real world, a veritable plethora of new security cameras was installed in Youngstown’s East High School this week.
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  1. The state board of education met this week and members heard testimony from a number of organized groups of superintendents on the state’s draft ESSA plan. Coverage was sparse. First up was a group of mostly-suburban districts from Northeast Ohio who said that the current version of the plan “ignores” public input and requested a rethink on certain items. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/13/17) What do they (and, by extension, “the public”) want instead? According to a whitepaper released along with their testimony, the they want fewer state tests, an end to A through F grades on state report cards, and changes to graduation requirements, among other things. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/14/17) Concurrently, a group of Akron-area superintendents opined upon the draft ESSA plan, with more (and more detailed) requests, including: keeping student subgroups at 30 (rather than the proposed drop to 15), not requiring the reporting of high school exam retakes for excused absences, and making wraparound services universal. (Akron Beacon Journal, 2/14/17)
  2. We have already noted that in his new biennial budget Governor Kasich has proposed requiring school boards to include 3 ex-officio members from the business community. As an extension of this new “business
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  1. Fordham Ohio staffers were quoted in some out-of-the-way places over the weekend. First up, Chad was among those quoted – and our HB2 implementation report was cited as welll – in a Crain’s piece discussing the state of play with regard to charter schools in Ohio generally (and in Cleveland specifically). There are a lot of moving parts for the business-minded to grapple with and the piece does a good job of laying them out. (Crain’s Cleveland Business, 2/12/17)
  2. Indeed the sheer volume of information seems to have overwhelmed the reporter for the West Virginia newspaper who interviewed our own Jamie Davies O’Leary in regard to the history of charter schools in Ohio. But the reporter is to be commended for going big in her efforts to interview charter sector players in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland as well as from the National Association of Public Charter Schools for her piece. Kudos! (Clarksburg (WV) Exponent-Telegram, 2/12/17)
  3. We end a slow news day with some good news/bad news in terms of teacher contract negotiations across Ohio. The (tentative) good news comes from Cleveland, where a possible contract agreement may have been reached after 8 months of
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  1. With less than a month to go until a new CEO-style Academic Distress Commission comes to Lorain City Schools, one elected school board member has decided to reach out to the ACLU to see if a possible civil rights case may be an option to halt ADC implementation, as if he’s just hearing about this situation for the first time. So weird. Additionally, I am shocked at the number of folks quoted here (and in the online comments section) who cannot seem to think of anything else the district could have done to avoid an Academic Distress Commission before yesterday. Academic… Distress… (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 2/9/17)
  2. It seems that Jefferson Township Local Schools’ books are in such poor shape that even StateAuditor Man! can’t figure them out. Akin to Lorain, above, it appears that no one quoted here can think of any way this situation of unauditable books could have been avoided prior to yesterday. But boy do they sound committed to fixing it after the fact. (Dayton Daily News, 2/9/17)
  3. Finally, some good news. World-renowned violinist Vadim Gluzman made a small tour of some awesome charter schools in Columbus yesterday. According to Twitter,
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  1. Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger published an op ed this week in which he opines on the necessity and early efficacy of charter law reform in Ohio. For the latter, he cites our recent report looking at the early implementation of HB 2. Nice! (Washington Court House Record Herald, 2/7/17)
  2. Springfield’s Global Impact STEM Academy is on the grow! The non-district, non-charter, public STEM high school is expanding to middle school starting next year with a $13 million building project which is on time, under budget, and looking pretty darn cool. Check it out. (Springfield News Sun, 2/7/17)
  3. Dayton’s school board this week unanimously approved a new three-year contract for Superintendent Rhonda Corr, citing some important positives that occurred during her first year on the job. While the biggest ones – a better-than-expected state report card and removal of the threat of an Academic Distress Commission – admittedly happened on the watch of the previous supe, the board president hinted at some further good news on the horizon: “We’re really excited about some reports you’re going to receive, and feel that this community will become even more confident in us moving ahead…” Well, played, Mr.
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Do incentives nudge students to exert more effort in their schoolwork? A recent study by University of Chicago analysts suggests they do, though the structure of the incentive is also important.

The researchers conducted field experiments from 2009 to 2011 in three high-poverty areas, including Chicago Public Schools and two nearby districts, with nearly 6,000 student participants in grades two through ten. Based on improved performance relative to a baseline score on a low-stakes reading or math assessment (not the state exam), various incentives were offered to different groups of pupils, such as a $10 or $20 reward, or a trophy worth about $3 along with public recognition of their accomplishment. The analysts offered no reward to students in a control group. To test whether pupils responded differently to immediate versus delayed incentives, some of the students received their reward right after the test—results were computed on the spot—while others knew the reward would be withheld for one month.

Several interesting findings emerged. First, the larger cash reward ($20) led to positive effects on test performance, while the smaller reward had no impact ($10). This suggests that, if offering a monetary reward, larger payouts will likely lead to more...

  1. A bit more coverage of the Ohio charter school facilities report, with whose release we helped out last week, courtesy of statewide public radio. (Statehouse News Bureau, 2/6/17)
  2. Here is a story about simple, common-sense stress reduction efforts underway in three Columbus City Schools elementary buildings. By all measures presented here, these efforts have worked miracles for students and have aided discipline and focus building-wide. Even the teachers are said to have reduced stress levels. And while there is no mention of how much any of these steps have cost, none of them seems to be very expensive at all and a local non-profit is said to be involved. So stipulating, I will present you with the piece’s conclusion: “Ohio Avenue's academics still need to catch up, she said, but kids aren't being sent out of lessons so often for discipline problems. Feeling calm and secure, they might be absorbing more material. The hope is that test scores will climb accordingly.” And now I will ask rhetorically if any of my loyal Gadfly Bites readers can guess the question lingering in my mind… (Columbus Dispatch, 2/5/17)
  3. Speaking of improvements, here is an update on Youngstown
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  1. In case you missed, it Fordham assisted in the release of a new report documenting the opportunities and challenges facing charter schools in Ohio in terms of obtaining and maintaining proper facilities for their work. You can find great coverage of the report and of the release event we co-hosted yesterday in Gongwer. (Gongwer Ohio, 2/2/17)
  2. There was a little more talk yesterday about Governor Kasich’s proposal to include business leaders as ex-officio members of elected school boards across the state. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/2/17)
  3. Swanky Ottawa Hills school district in suburban Toledo is looking for a few good recruits to top out its student enrollment numbers. Just five kids would do the trick, but they have to be able to pay the out-of-district tuition, which is estimated at over $13,000 per year. “What?!” you ask. “How can it be that a public school district – open to all – could charge tuition when there is an existing open enrollment mechanism they could avail themselves of?!” You’re probably thinking this is about money. But let the soothing words of the school board president reassure you: “This isn’t about the money. It’s about populating our district
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  1. Details of Governor Kasich’s new biennial budget are emerging this week. Here are some peeks at the K-12 education portion of said budget from around the state. The Dispatch focuses on the governor’s assertion that school districts which have lost students should get less money from the state. (Columbus Dispatch, 1/31/17) Coverage from Dayton focuses quite a bit on Kasich’s idea to require school boards to have 3 ex-officio members from the local business community. (Dayton Daily News, 1/30/17) The DDN is so interested in this particular part of the budget bill that they published a separate piece covering reactions of some area school board members to the proposal. (Dayton Daily News, 1/30/17). As is its wont to do, the PD took a “wait and see” approach on the education budget but laid out all the details known so far. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/30/17) Ditto for Gongwer, who led with the declining enrollment piece but generally just laid out the facts. Kudos to them for also mentioning the Straight-A Innovation Fund, which is continued and funded at $50 million over the biennium. (Gongwer Ohio, 1/30/17) Our own Chad Aldis commends the continuation of the
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  1. A new report from Learn to Earn Dayton showed some sobering data regarding the achievement gap for black students in Montgomery County’s district schools, especially boys. At an event unveiling the report, interventions in early education; raising of expectations in classrooms; and accessible, high-quality after-school programming were all put forward as parts of an overall solution going forward. (Dayton Daily News, 1/27/17)
  2. FutureReady Columbus appears to be interested in the same sorts of things in Columbus as Learn to Earn is in Dayton. Here is a primer on how the organization came to be and where it is heading in the near future. Interesting compare/contrast with Learn to Earn’s plans could be made, if one was inclined to make such comparisons. (Columbus Dispatch, 1/30/17)
  3. Ditto for Lorain City Schools, where wraparound services are in the limelight. I’ll let the new director of student and family outreach explain it to you: “Our main battle, I find, is the battle between home culture and school culture. Meaning, we do all these things we can for the student here at school, but then they go home and face whatever they’re facing. So it’s a constant battle for the
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