Additional Topics

  1. Gongwer noticed the release of Fordham’s report card analysis, released last week. Thanks! Love your spiffy new website too. (Gongwer Ohio, 9/30/16)
  2. The ongoing kerfuffle between Ohio’s largest online school and the Ohio Department of Education regarding an attendance audit took some sort of lurch on Friday when a judge rejected a preliminary injunction against the state agency sought by the school and some of its parents regarding the parameters of said audit. I can’t say that I understand it entirely, but I think it may go like this: the judge determined that a contract between the school and ODE dating from 2002/3 is not the guiding principal for the current attendance audit and that ODE's current/new definition of attendance is or should be. Unless that ruling is successfully appealed, the judge believes that all other lines of argument the school is currently using to stop the required payback (based on the audit results ODE released last week) will not succeed. Even if I’ve correctly summarized what happened, this ruling probably doesn’t mean that the kerfuffle is over. You can check out coverage of the ruling and what a handful of other, avidly interested, and probably better-informed folks
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  1. State Supe Paolo DeMaria was in Lorain earlier this week to participate in one of the many ESSA listening events going on across the state. Maybe roundtable discussion about state-level accountability doesn’t make for good newspaper articles, or maybe there are more pressing matters in Lorain. Either way, the Morning Journal was far more interested in talking to DeMaria about the new CEO-style Academic Distress Commission heading for Lorain in the very near future. (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 9/28/16)
  2. Speaking of those ESSA listening events, this guest commentary from State Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) published Wednesday is mainly an appeal to get more folks to attend the Cincinnati event – held Thursday – with a pretty good click-bait headline. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 9/28/16) In Queen City education news, the Cincinnati Schools’ board of education this week voted unanimously to sponsor a new Phalen Academy charter school, to be located somewhere on the city’s growing west side. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 9/28/16)
  3. We told you earlier in the week that “Sheriff” Krish Mohip laid down the law to the Youngstown school board, imposing meeting limits and taking control of those meetings’ agendas from here on out. The board
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  1. The attendance audit about which the state education department and the state’s largest online school have been kerfuffling for the last many weeks has been completed. A letter from ODE to the school earlier this week indicated that ODE’s student count is 58.8 percent less than that of the school. The kerfuffle continues. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 9/26/16) This story has gained some national attention, as you might imagine. Here is a piece from the EdWeek blogs discussing the kerfuffle, ODE’s findings, and the ongoing court case. For good measure, it includes Fordham among the list of charter advocates who have been arguing for more accountability for online schools. (Education Week digital education blog, 9/27/16)
  2. The last release of Ohio school report card data earlier this year saw a newcomer enter the field of test score analysis. And with the new report card data released last week, Mike Molnar, executive director of educational services for Amherst Local Schools in Lorain County, is back at it. Same as last time, his main area of interest is the difference in performance between districts using paper and pencil tests vs. those using online tests. His operative word this year: “seesaw”.
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  1. More analysis of state report cards over the weekend, from the usual sources. The Dispatch took a look at the fairly universally low eighth grade reading results. (Columbus Dispatch, 9/25/16) The PD’s Patrick O’Donnell took a look at the “Urban 8” district performance vs. state averages. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 9/25/16) Meanwhile, the PD’s Rich Exner tried to see how closely passage rates mirrored household poverty levels in Northeast Ohio. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 9/26/16) Finally, in the run up to a levy vote, Patrick tried to answer the question “Did CMSD schools improve as promised?” (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 9/25/16)
  2. Speaking of report card results, Lorain City Schools – already under the aegis of an old-style Academic Distress Commission – did not do well enough to avoid transition to the new-style ADC. That means a new panel of commission members, a CEO, less power for the board and supe, a new strategic plan, and a new ticking clock. All of this should start to take shape in October. (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 9/25/15)
  3. In other news, last week’s rejection of a tentative contract by CMSD teachers sets negotiations back by several steps. So far,
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  1. Jeremy Kelly is one of a handful of folks around Ohio who go the extra mile in analyzing report card results each year, and this year is no exception. We’ve already clipped his district-centric analysis. Today, we’re clipping his comparison of charter and district schools in Montgomery County. He quotes our own Aaron Churchill on the topic, which just makes this more awesome. Additional kudos to Jeremy for noting the results for Dayton Regional STEM School also. (Dayton Daily News, 9/21/16) Aaron’s recent Ohio Gadfly blog post on the shrinking “honesty gap” in Ohio was cited by editors in Columbus as they opined favorably on the substance of this year’s report cards. (Columbus Dispatch, 9/23/16)
  2. Our own Jessica Poiner was cited in EdWeek this week in a piece extolling the virtues of project-based learning. (Education Week, 9/21/16)
  3. Back to school report cards for a moment. Other reliable analysts of the annual data release are the Ohio Education Policy Institute’s Howard Fleeter… (Gongwer Ohio, 9/21/16) …and the Plain Dealer’s Patrick O’Donnell. Patrick’s been especially busy with a series of reports, including one which tries to compare previous years’ reports to this years' – an
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The special education edition

On this week’s podcast, Mike Petrilli, Alyssa Schwenk, and Brandon Wright take Texas to task for capping the number of kids eligible for special education services. During the research minute, Amber Northern examines efforts to replicate college mentoring programs at scale using technology.

Amber's Research Minute

Philip Oreopoulos and Uros Petronijevic, "Student Coaching: How Far Can Technology Go?," NBER (September 2016).

  1. Chad is quoted in this brief story about the federal Charter School Program grant being released to Ohio at long last. It’s so brief that the details are somewhat muddled, but Chad is on point as always. (WYSO-FM, Yellow Springs, 9/19/16) As usual with the Vindy, this piece opining strongly against charter schools is not clearly labeled as an editorial. But it’s either that or a poison-pen letter. (Youngstown Vindicator, 9/20/16)
  2. Ohio’s new-ish College Credit Plus program provides access to college courses – and college credit – for high school students free of charge to their families. First year stats are out and Gongwer’s got a detailed look. (Gongwer Ohio, 9/20/16) This is pretty interesting stuff, so for those of you not behind Gongwer’s paywall, the PD has an unvarnished look at the numbers. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 9/20/16)
  3. Jeremy Kelly at the Dayton Daily News continued his look at state report cards, focusing on end of course exams in regard to graduation requirements. Those who took the tests last year largely didn’t do so hot, but Jeremy does a good job of explaining how the new exam points system works and what will
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  1. As noted last week, lots of folks were up in arms about lower scores almost across the board for schools and districts on state report cards. Our own Aaron Churchill is quoted in this piece, laying down some reasons for the drop and what the results may mean for schools going forward. (Youngstown Vindicator, 9/19/16)
  2. Editors in Youngstown opined on the topic of the district’s report card. (Youngstown Vindicator, 9/18/16) Meanwhile, Youngstown CEO Krish Mohip has hired three new pairs of hands to get to grips with his district’s transportation woes, all three hired away from neighboring Austintown schools. “I found out she’s one of the best in the state,” said Mohip, talking of new transportation director Colleen Murphy-Penk. So he went and got her. “My blood runs yellow and I love what I do,” Murphy-Penk said. “I’m up for the challenge.” (Youngstown Vindicator, 9/17/16)
  3. School meals are on the minds of journalists in Springfield. Here is a very long piece on lunch and breakfast service in Springfield and other Clark County districts. (Springfield News-Sun, 9/18/16) Dietician and professor Diana Cuy Castellanos is quoted as a child nutrition expert in the meals piece above.
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College may not be for all, but it is the chosen path of nearly fifty thousand Ohio high school grads. Unfortunately, almost one-third of Ohio’s college goers are unprepared for the academic rigor of post-secondary coursework. To better ensure that all incoming students are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in university courses, all Ohio public colleges and universities require their least prepared students to enroll in remedial, non-credit-bearing classes (primarily in math and English).

Remediation is a burden on college students and taxpayers who pay twice. First they shell out to the K–12 system. Then they pay additional taxes toward the state’s higher education system, this time for the cost of coursework that should have been completed prior to entering college (and for which students earn no college credit). The remediation costs further emphasize the importance of every student arriving on campus prepared.

Perhaps the bigger problem with remedial education is that it doesn’t work very well. In Ohio, just 51 percent of freshmen requiring remediation at a flagship university—and 38 percent of those in remedial classes at a non-flagship school—go on to complete entry-level college courses within two academic years....

  1. Our own Chad Aldis was a member of the panel discussing charter schools at the Columbus Metropolitan Club forum on Wednesday of this week. First coverage of the event was from a business/politics news aggregator in New Zealand! No, Chad doesn’t have that kind of juice, but StateAuditor! Man (leader of the panel) does. (Foreign Affairs Publisher, NZ, 9/15/16) For event coverage closer to home, check out Gongwer. (Gongwer Ohio, 9/14/16) If no-holds-barred full video is more your style, look no further than here. (Columbus Metropolitan Club YouTube channel, 9/14/16)
  2. Earlier the same day, the US Department of Education finally released the $71 million Charter School Program grant that Ohio won many months ago. As you’ll no doubt recall, the release of the funds was put on hold when questions arose in regard to the application. As a result of those questions – and the answers provided by the state – Ohio’s grant award was declared “high risk” and a number of new conditions were placed upon it. Chad and others tell you all about it in the following pieces from the Dispatch (Columbus Dispatch, 9/15/16), the Beacon Journal (Akron Beacon Journal, 9/14/16) and
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