Additional Topics

  1. Our own Chad Aldis is quoted in this very brief look at the new NAPCS state rankings. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 1/20/16)
  2. A new report from the Ohio Department of Higher Education says that fewer college freshmen needed remedial courses in 2014 than need them in 2013. Props are being given to Ohio colleges for efforts to commonly define the core skills students need to have and be able to do in order to be considered “remediation free”. (Is that code? Perhaps for “lowering the bar?”) They are also being given props for their use of “co-requisite remediation”, in which students enroll in college-level courses instead of remedial classes and receive academic support to help them succeed. You can check out coverage in the Dispatch (Columbus Dispatch, 1/20/16) and the Plain Dealer (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/21/16)
  3. Count on the good folks at the Harvard Graduate School of Economics to kill whatever buzz the above-referenced remediation news may have generated. A new report from them suggests that the college admissions process needs to be “reshaped” in order to stop the escalation of what they call “achievement pressure.” Now THAT is definitely code. Probably for “less emphasis on
  4. ...

In recent weeks, two national publications have assigned Ohio grades for its education policies and outcomes. The first, “Quality Counts,” came courtesy of Education Week. It revealed that Ohio’s grades have fallen from previous years, moving the state down in national rankings. The second was a group of report cards that rated states on their support for public higher education. These grades were furnished by the Young Invincibles (YI), a national organization that seeks to represent the millennial generation. At first glance, the reports don’t share much in common. Quality Counts examines K–12 education and, despite lower rankings, still grades Ohio as middle-of-the-pack. The Young Invincibles report, on the other hand, examines higher education and gives Ohio a giant red F.

Closer inspection reveals that the reports both examine the connection between education and money. “Quality Counts,” for example, points out rising poverty gaps on Ohio’s NAEP results. Ohio’s gaps between poor and non-poor kids aren’t just large, they’re getting larger—the opposite of the national trend. The YI report, meanwhile, focuses on the financial difficulty of attending college in Ohio. While Ohio has seen some of the smallest tuition hikes since...

The metrosexual edition

In this week's podcast, Mike Petrilli and and Robert Pondiscio look at Jeb Bush's recently released education plan through the ESSA lens, knock a proposal to change college admissions from a group of elite schools, and debunk the idea that parents shouldn't help their kids with math homework. In the Research Minute, Amber Northern discusses how student teaching experiences affect attrition rates.

Amber's Research Minute

Dan Goldhaber, John M. Krieg, and Roddy Theobald, "Does the Match Matter? Exploring Whether Student Teaching Experiences Affect Teacher Effectiveness and Attrition," CALDER (January 2016).


Mike:                    Hello this is your host Mike Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute here at the Education Gadfly Show and online at and now please join me in welcoming my co-host, the revenant of education reform, Robert Pondiscio.

Robert:                 Does that mean I've come back from the dead?

Mike:                    Or just from a long absence, if you look it up.

Robert:                 It's only a week Mike?

Mike:                    Have you seen the movie yet?

Robert:                 I have not, but I'm looking forward to it honestly.

Mike:                    Oh you do see movies, this is good. You're absolutely like a [carmegene 00:00:43] about pop culture.

Robert:                 No, I'm not ... Yes.

Mike:                    It's quite a movie. I did it. It's yes, wow. To see Leonardo DiCaprio go through all kinds of hell, fascinating. You know what struck me though, see if you agree with this afterwards. This movie it's about Jeb Bush.

Robert:                 It is?

Mike:                    Yeah.

Robert:                 He's back from the dead?

Mike:                    Well maybe, if he comes back. If there is a comeback story, you know because he's basically been buried alive and yet, here he is trying to crawl.

Robert:                 Let's see how far we can beat this man into the ground. Deeper into the grave than Leo was buried in.

Mike:                    We're all back in the contention. Of course somebody on Twitter, who was it, I'm going to forget asked, "Who is the bear in that analogy?" To which I reply, "Well if you really have to ask that question, you haven't been paying attention to this years political contest."

Robert:                 Pretty much all the other candidates.

Mike:                    Well, one in particular.

Robert:                 Yeah, one or two.

Mike:                    Okay, speaking of Jeb Bush, we're going to talk about his new education plan and other education reform goings on this week. Clara let's play pardon the Gadfly.

Clara:                     Jeb Bush recently released his campaign's education plan. What are the highlights and where did he fall short?

Robert:                 Jeb the revenant Bush.

Mike:                    Jeb the revenant Bush. Here he is. Yeah, he has a plan out and it's quite good.

Robert:                 Okay. That's not surprising.

Mike:                    That's not surprising.

Robert:                 All of that the gang of how many there are left, he's got the deepest resume on education by far.

Mike:                    He does, now look, his track record in Florida was stellar. It's been a big part of his post-governor life. He's going around the country helping other governors, especially Republican governors craft education reform plans and he got great results.

Robert:                 I think it's not a national issue but ...

Mike:                    Yeah, I mean look at the state level, Florida made huge gains under his tenure. You'll be accused of [nisnepary 00:02:24] if you say that you can prove that's because of his policies, but it sure seems like something did something to get student achievement up dramatically for low income kids in Florida. It was probably those set of reforms certainly had something to do with it.

Robert:                 Among the most choice friendly states in the country.

Mike:                    Choice friendly as well, we are reminded that by a big rally for school choice in Tallahassee just this past weekend. A lot of good stuff. Now here's the trick, is that of course congress just passed a big overhaul of the 'No-child left behind' act, his brother's big education bill so there's really not much to be done in the K-12 front going forward. None of these folks are going to do much on K-12 education, because they're not going to re-open this new ESSA. His most interesting stuff is really at the pre-school level, and at the higher-ed level.

Robert:                 There is always that bully pulpit argument.

Mike:                    And there is the bully pulpit stuff. You know what's interesting Robert and kind of still ... It makes you scratch your head. He as one of the leading Republicans on this issue, he makes the case, both at pre-K and at college to try to focus scarce resources on the neediest kids.

Robert:                 Right.

Mike:                    It's the Democrats who talk about universal pre-K and universal free college.

Robert:                 Right, the holiest word in the biblical lexicon, universal, yeah.

Mike:                    Universal, I don't get it. Why is it that the Democrats are the ones that want to give free stuff to rich people and it's the Republicans who only want to give free stuff to poor people?

Robert:                 Here's what I don't get. Right now, our presidential choices have been narrowed to one party has narrowed it down to 2 old white candidates, and the other party is the Republicans.

Mike:                    Yes it's very well said, very well said Robert. You should be on Fox News with that kind of commentary, I love it.

Robert:                 Just trying to keep it moving Mike.

Mike:                    Look, who knows if Jeb is the revenant and can actually come back from the dead. Probably not likely but his education plan may live on. It's certainly something that a Marco Rubio could pick up, or other senator candidates if they were to find themselves in the White House. Okay topic number 2.

Clara:                     A group of elite colleges are out with a proposal to change college admissions, is it praise worthy?

Mike:                    Are you going to praise it brother Pondiscio?

Robert:                 Well-

Mike:                    Can we get an amen?

Robert:                 Not quite. Look, you know me Mike, I am not a cynical guy right? Would you describe me as a cynical guy? I'm a fairly earnest fellow right?

Mike:                    No, but you're skeptical, rightfully so.

Robert:                 Yeah but appropriately.

Mike:                    You called the high raising graduation rates bullshit last week.

Robert:                 I did, I kind of used that word, didn't I?

Mike:                    Yeah.

Robert:                 I'm sorry about it, well I'm not going to use it for this report, but I'm tempted. I mean look, there is this report out from a group of higher-ed institutions led by the Harvard graduate school of education and look full disclosure, I did not have a chance to read this report in depth, I'm going to read it tonight, I'm going to write about it tomorrow, but Frank Bruni wrote about it in the New York Times yesterday, because I'm not Frank Bruni, he gets the advanced copy, I do not.

Mike:                    Yeah.

Robert:                 But look the issue here is they are saying there is too much pressure on high achieving kids, they are taking hundreds of APs, there's this kind of academic arms race in the colleges you're saying, that's got to stop. But a glance at this report, they're not taking that many meaningful steps, it's all messaging. They want to promote meaningful contributions to community service, engagement with the public good, et cetera, et cetera. That's their concern, that there is too much pressure on kids. They're putting too much pressure on themselves to be super achievers. They're forgetting the common good. They're lacking in empathy. It's starting to sound like forgive me, they are concerned about a 'kumbaya' gap.

                                Now I mean come on, we're not going to be able to legislate away human nature. You're are always going to have ambition. The college presidents cannot message their way out of kids wanting to be in elite institution. But you know what, that's not even what bothers me most about this, what bothers me most about this is this assumption, this tacit assumption that the high end, the high end achievers, the affluent kids and their parents are what drives education in this country. We do not have a problem. I refuse to believe that we have a problem of over ambition and over served kids. We have just the opposite problem.

Mike:                    Right.

Robert:                 This just sends the wrong signals.

Mike:                    Well, look this is an issue for like 5% of the schools, these hot and how schools.

Robert:                 Thanks.

Mike:                    They happen to be the ones that many of our kids go to and the children of the media elites and et cetera so we pay attention to this stuff.

Robert:                 And we think that's universal, there is that word again.

Mike:                    Sure there are some kids who are stressed out in these schools, and then some of these schools may over do it, but on the other had, look if as a parent you don't want your kids stressed out? Don't worry about them going to Harvard.

Robert:                 Right.

Mike:                    I mean, there is a lot of other kinds of colleges that they can go to, where they can have a more relaxed atmosphere.

Robert:                 Here is my pie in the sky solution, you really want it in the academic arm's race Harvard, Yale, Princeton, do this.

Mike:                    Yeah.

Robert:                 Publish your criteria. Say, "We're looking for these scores. We're looking for this GPA, these many hours of volunteerism," whatever it is, publish it make it transparent. Every kid that applies who is qualified, lottery them in.

Mike:                    Yeah, people will hate that, but you're right, it's probably more fair. Let me understand ...

Robert:                 But it also-

Mike:                    Are they saying this in this 'kumbaya' proposal, are they saying, "Less focus on GPAs, less focus on SAT or ACT scores?"

Robert:                 Well that's the devil in the details. Are they willing to take kids with lower SAT scores? In other words, it's one thing to say, we're messaging that these other things are important, but unless you are clear in your criteria, kids are going to have to do everything they can to stand out from among this very, very crowded field.

Mike:                    Let me ask a difficult but frank question.

Robert:                 Sure. You don't know, I don't think so.

Mike:                    Is this about lowering the percentage of kids at these schools who are Asian-American?

Robert:                 You know what I think it is? And again-

Mike:                    Can I explain?

Robert:                 Sure.

Mike:                    I mean, look we see increasing evidence ... First of all there are some college campuses where there's a huge percentage of those kids are Asian-Americans right?

Robert:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mike:                    Those kids are by and large outperforming everybody else in America. They are outperforming most other people around the world, when you look at the ratings right?

Robert:                 Absolutely.

Mike:                    Incredibly high achievement, whether you look at test scores, whether you look at GPAs you look at kids taking these AP classes, they are crashing it on average, of course I'm talking about in generalities. I think some of this reflex white parent's anxiety that their kids cannot compete with Asian-Americans if you just look at test scores, if you look at GPAs, if you look at APs. Maybe if you start to look at these other warm and fuzzier things, their kids can look better.

Robert:                 Here is what I think it is, it's a variation on that theme. I don't want to reduce this to a demographic battle. But I think there is some legitimate concern and I don't minimize it on the part of a lot of parents said, "Hey my kid really is too stressed out. Hey my kid really is facing a lot of pressures to achieve and stand out." Rather than say what you just said, "Hey you know what? Maybe my kid is not going to go to Harvard, maybe that's okay." They still want that prerogative, so they want nobody to be able to stand out.

Mike:                    Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Robert:                 We've got to change the rules for everybody so my kid can still be less stressed and still go to Harvard.

Mike:                    Okay, topic number 3.

Robert:                 That's hypocritical.

Mike:                    Topic number 3.

Clara:                     Is it really true that parents shouldn't try to help their kids with their common core math.

Robert:                 Oh lord. Please.

Mike:                    We have to have our silly common core debate. It's been a little while but Robert, supposedly somebody important said that they, you know, "Parents stop trying to help your kids with common core math. You're too damn to do it, leave it to the experts."

Robert:                 Okay can we unpack what happened here. Jason Zimba who I know and respect, but he's a controversial figure right? He wrote the common core state math standards. He was one of the principle authors. He gave an interview, I believe it was the hechinger report a few weeks ago and the headline was ridiculous. The headline which had nothing to do with the report or what Zimba said was something to the effect of, "Butt out parents, don't help your kids with their homework." What followed after that was a reasonable story about doing just the opposite, helping your kids. I think it was Bright Bud or some other conservative website basically went after Jason Zimba and said, you know, "Here's this guy saying butt out, don't help your kids with their math homework." He never said that. He's got a piece on our blog that is a little bit more nuance and smarter, sorry [Bright Bud 00:10:11].

Mike:                    No and look, I think what Jason said, I remember years ago him making the case that we would have avoided a lot of the controversy and backlash if schools had been a little bit smarter about what they assigned for homework. For example, rather than sending home all of these stuff that looked really unfamiliar to all of us who didn't go through math this way, right about you know, graphing out the answers to your problems, now all of a sudden the number lines and all that stuff. Instead, just assign, especially for little kids, assign them to just practice their math facts, which is a big part of the common core, and which is a great activity to do at home with the flash cards, with apps on iPads, with all kinds of things. By the way, that's the kind of thing where you just need to take the time to take that practice so that as the standards expect you get those math facts down to automaticity.

Robert:                 Automaticity matters and one of the points that Jason made in his piece on our blog is exactly that. That whether you can help your kid with the more advanced math or not, you can do things like work with them on their math facts, play math games, et cetera. Look I'll be honest, I wasn't able to help my daughter with her math homework past probably 7th or 8th grade, math is not my best subject. We still played lots of math games. Still to this day, we play math games and we invent ourselves.

Mike:                    Plus that poker game you've got.

Robert:                 Oh yeah, that. But she beats me now, so I don't do that anymore.

Mike:                    All right, very good. That's all the time we've got for pardon the Gadfly. Now it's time for everyone's favorite Amber's research minute. Amber, welcome back.

Amber:                 Thanks Mike.

Mike:                    Hey did you see the revenant yet?

Amber:                 Just have no interest.

Mike:                    Really?

Robert:                 What?

Amber:                 Don't have any interest.

Robert:                 Oh.

Amber:                 I mean it's gory, what is it a guy fighting a bear. I mean, that's not great.

Mike:                    That's a small part of it, but yes.

Amber:                 Who cares, like every stupid trailer is him all bloody and dirty and gangly fighting a bear.

Mike:                    Oh but there are some great survival skills that are taught in this movie. I ended up sharing some details with the boys, of course I couldn't help myself and Megan started shoving me because I'm going to give them nightmares based on some of the stuff.

Robert:                 Oh you didn't take them yourself?

Mike:                    No I didn't take them, I didn't take them but I had to tell them about some of the things. It was amazing.

Amber:                 I don't know, maybe it's just for me I hate to be gender, but is it a female, is it a guy thing? Because all I see is him killing this bear? Because I'm just not-

Mike:                    It's definitely ... There's not a ... Well, it's probably mostly a guy movie, and ... But I think the bear was amazing, wait till you see the horse.

Amber:                 The horse.

Robert:                 Wait a minute. Here is all I know, what do the revenant and Washington have in common right now? A lot of snow.

Mike:                    Oh there it is.

Amber:                 This is why it is sort of funny because I want to see Brooklyn-

Robert:                 It's great.

Mike:                    I saw that too. See Robert and I, metro section style, we go both ways on these movies.

Amber:                 Oh no, that's the movie.

Mike:                    It's a great movie.

Amber:                 My husband's like, "Do we have to?" I was like, "Oh we're going."

Mike:                    It's goo, it's good but yes.

Robert:                 There is this podcast online, Mike and Rob go both ways. Okay, can I go now?

Mike:                    Okay, yeah. Why don't we get to the research.

Amber:                 All right, we've got a new study out by Colder with our buddy Dan Goldhaber. It examines a potential link between student teaching experience and both later teaching effectiveness and the likelihood of leaving the teaching profession. Okay?

Mike:                    Hasn't Dan done this study like 10 times?

Amber:                 Well ...

Mike:                    I'm sorry Dan, I had to say it.

Amber:                 No. He hasn't.

Mike:                    Okay, sorry.

Amber:                 He analyzed data from 6 Washington State University based teacher-ed programs and they graduate about a third of the teachers in the state by the way. A ton of data on teacher candidates they're cooperating teachers where they did their internship, how long it was I think. They had all this administrative data relative to race and gender and education background and teaching endorsement, talk about a powerhouse of data. The sample included individuals who had completed their teaching experience between 1998 through 2010, so about 8,300 teaching candidates.

                                All right, good old Dan says about a million times that these are descriptive not calls or findings, okay?

Mike:                    Okay.

Amber:                 Because he's got all these models that are great and wonderful but at the end of the day, they cannot account for the non-random sorting that occurs here between teachers of schools and teaching positions. Descriptive, descriptive, descriptive, nevertheless, interesting stuff. Okay?

Mike:                    But descriptive.

Amber:                 But descriptive, teachers who taught ... Student-taught in schools with low levels of teacher turnover are low and behold, less likely to leave teaching. That's not real ...

Robert:                 Wow. Yeah, okay. Regardless of where they were place after?

Amber:                 Right, that's right.

Robert:                 Okay.

Amber:                 Second, teachers appeared to be more effective, this is really interesting when the student demographics at their school reflect those of the school in which they student taught.

Robert:                 Also makes sense.

Mike:                    Yeah.

Amber:                 For example students in a high poverty school are predicted to score about 0.15 standard deviation higher if their teacher taught in a school with the same free and reduced lunch percentage than if their teacher taught in a low poverty.

Robert:                 That actually strikes me as my only counter intuitive, I'll tell you why in a minute.

Amber:                 I've got my own anecdote, okay. Of interest, teachers are more likely to have student taught in a more advantaged school than their current school, okay, so 60% of teaching interns are student teachers, teach their first teaching gig in a school with a higher percentage of free and reduced lunch kids and their school where they intern.

Mike:                    Yeah, not surprising.

Amber:                 Not surprising. This means that students in disadvantaged schools are less likely than those in advantaged schools to have a teacher who's internship matches their school setting so advise ...

Mike:                    But they are also not putting up as student teachers.

Amber:                 They're also not putting up student ...

Robert:                 Oh, in the low SAS.

Mike:                    Yeah, I mean ... Right, the fewer of these high poverty schools actually have student teachers which you could argue is a good thing, we're not practicing on the poor kids.

Amber:                 Ah, the poor kids, okay. Their take, is that if teacher-ed programs are committed to teachers who can be successful in disadvantaged schools, then they need to be placing more teachers there.

Mike:                    Yup.

Amber:                 Anyway, I just thought, I mean there is no huge take away from Amber here except that, we don't have enough good research on teacher-ed schools, right? Because we don't have rock house databases like the one that Diana assembled together.

Mike:                    Right.

Amber:                 I thought, even though these weren't caused, that they were pretty intriguing and interesting findings.

Robert:                 Here is what I would like to say, and this is completely intuitive, no data whatsoever just one teacher's experience. I've always thought it would be, I would have been a better teacher if I had my first year of teaching in a high functioning ... How are we going to define this goal, regardless of demographics, but a school that was solid, stable high functioning. Then send me to the South Bronx school where I did my actual first year teaching because I spent so much time my first year learning the nuts and bolts, getting my discipline down that until I had that down, I couldn't really teach at all.

                                I'd rather come in, having learned my craft so to speak and then having my classroom management, my discipline down, and that makes me a better teacher.

Mike:                    Yeah. I definitely look, I think that we shouldn't put anybody in a bad school for student teaching or in a with a bad teacher for student teaching, right? I mean you definitely want people to see what it looks like when it's done right.

Robert:                 Yeah.

Mike:                    I think that is important. Now, I think you can find good high poverty schools out there and those are the ones that we want to try to place kids in. Look I definitely think that these teacher-ed programs should be having specific programs for urban education or for high poverty schools, and some do, right?

Robert:                 Not enough.

Mike:                    Recruit kids on the front end who want to do those mission based schools and focus everything on, "Hey, here's the curriculum that they teach in our big inner city district and let's make sure you're ready to teach them." Let's do the discipline and let's read [Lamave 00:17:48] and let's ... Does, do any of those ed schools exist?

Robert:                 Not a lot. Relay, much in Boston but not a lot.

Amber:                 Yeah. My anecdote is I had all AP kids in my student teaching experience.

Robert:                 Wow.

Mike:                    Yeah.

Amber:                 Then I went to Norfolk public schools, urban.

Mike:                    But did that help?

Amber:                 Well ...

Robert:                 Yeah, did that? ...

Amber:                 No. These kids are on a different ... Believe it I had at risk 9th graders and I just came from 12th grade AP students. I don't think it's ideal either way to go, like it's a shock to your system, right? Hey, one other fact I didn't get to. Interns assigned to cooperating teachers with advanced degrees are less effective once they enter the workforce.

Mike:                    I wonder what that is?

Amber:                 Head-scratcher, huh.

Robert:                 Interesting.

Amber:                 We know that teachers of masters degrees ... It's not predictive of more effective teaching so, anyway ...

Mike:                    Interesting.

Amber:                 I know I can ...

Mike:                    Hey, here's my other big question Amber, how many Dan Goldhaber studies have you now done on the research minute over the past 8 years or so?

Robert:                 All of them.

Amber:                 I know. I can't help it.

Mike:                    I think Dan is definitely the most of anybody, right?

Amber:                 Well, but Dan listens to the show and he knows when we cover his research and he thanks me for knowing it.

Mike:                    I know, so other researchers out there, pay attention. Amber is open to suggestions. If you want your study covering.

Amber:                 I know, I can be this way.

Mike:                    We're definitely into double digits on Dan Gold.

Amber:                 We are, and various NDR papers.

Robert:                 Dan is the research revenant, he'll be back.

Mike:                    But he's not even close to being dead.

Robert:                 All right.

Mike:                    No, Dan is more like the ... I have to think about this.

Amber:                 Get ourselves in trouble.

Mike:                    Okay. Thank you Amber fascinating stuff, and Robert till next time.

Robert:                 I'm Robert Pondiscio.

Mike:                    And I'm Mike Petrilli, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute signing off.

  1. Back from a bit of a break and catching up. Chad was quoted in a piece over the weekend talking about the new charter sponsor evaluation protocols being put in place in Ohio. Some folks think the highest rating is unobtainable; some think that’s just fine if true. Others – like the online commenters – are expecting some “wiggle room” to emerge. (Columbus Dispatch, 1/17/16)
  2. Leroy Elementary in Riverside Schools in Northern Ohio is being studied for closure due to declining enrollment and deteriorating conditions, among other things. Parents were encouraged to attend this week’s special board meeting about the proposal. (Willoughby News-Herald, 1/16/16). They obliged, and largely disagreed with the proposal. (Willoughby News-Herald, 1/19/16)
  3. Speaking of small town schools, the Poland district near Youngstown is considering changes to its school calendar. They say they need to start the school year earlier in 2016-17 in order to have more prep time for PARCC testing. Do you want to tell them, or should I? (Youngstown Vindicator, 1/20/16)
  4. Speaking of Youngstown, we’re still waiting for more courtroom action on the definition of “teacher” – a decision which is holding up the entirety of the Youngstown
  5. ...
  1. As noted earlier in the week, the first installment of school and district report card data was released yesterday. As Patrick O’Donnell tells us: The results released “reflect only graduation rates, how well kids do on college exams like the ACT and SAT and how well schools help kids that have trouble reading in the early grades.” Big stuff, yes, but new calculations and incomplete data make it difficult for analysts to really dig in. Case in point, perennial report analysts the Thomas B. Fordham Institute (ugh, not those guys again), whom Patrick points out will not be publishing their analysis until more information is out and it can be properly parsed. Don’t worry Aaron, we still love you. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/14/16)
  2. We all know that the world of education in Ohio loves change and so, as you can imagine, everyone is thrilled and delighted by yesterday’s data dump. I jest, of course. A quarter of the data is already under review at the request of districts who feel this or that measure is not accurate, many districts are throwing up their hands as to what any of the ratings mean, and other supes and spokespeople are
  3. ...
  1. Democracy can be messy. Nowhere is that more apparent than in school boards around Ohio. Take Akron City Schools, for example. A majority of voters opted not to reelect an incumbent board member in November. A majority of sitting board members opted to bring him back at the first meeting of the new year to fill an empty seat. (Akron Beacon Journal, 1/11/16)
  2. Charter schools can be messy. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the case of Andre Tucker. He led three charter schools that opened and quickly folded back in 2013. Litigation over a number of issues has been ongoing ever since, with Tucker representing himself in his defense and in scattering lawsuits of his own all over Franklin County courts. It is with some thinly-veiled glee that the formerly-Big D (sued by Tucker for reporting on him) tells us Tucker was slapped by a judge this week as “vexatious litigator”. It is hoped by the reporters that this will shut down Tucker’s efforts for good. Now, about that stalled litigation in Youngstown… (Columbus Dispatch, 1/13/16)
  3. A small sliver of news on the Youngstown Plan litigation in this piece – a hearing is set
  4. ...

“The Proper Perspective” is a discussion between Jamie Davies O’Leary, senior Ohio policy analyst for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and Stephen Dyer, education policy fellow at Innovation Ohio. This joint effort was hatched one afternoon after Jamie and Steve had a lively back-and-forth over email about (what else?) charter school data. Interested in many of the same data points and research questions, they decided to share some of this exchange more publicly, helping both to illuminate trends in Ohio public education and formulate policy recommendations through their insights.

In some areas, they’ll find opportunities to coalesce, and even celebrate. In a state often divided vehemently on public education, there’s value in finding alignment with those you may have disagreed with previously.

In other areas, interpretation of the same facts is bound to diverge. That’s OK. We’ll strive for thoughtful dialogue—backed up with research and data—rather than ad hominem attacks or the same ideological shouting that has marked Ohio’s education reform debate for too long. Thanks for joining us and for listening—to both of us. We hope it will be both entertaining and enlightening.


A decade...

As the days grew shorter and 2015 drew to a close, my colleagues gave you a recap of the big education stories that impacted the Buckeye State last year. With the new year upon us, it’s time to turn our gaze forward, polish the trusty crystal ball, and make some predictions about what will happen in the next twelve months.

But first, a few disclaimers. While I may possess some superhuman powers, it remains to be seen whether the power of prognostication is one of them. Check back in December to either gloat or pay homage to my soothsaying. Moreover, these are predictions, not necessarily what I want to happen. So keep calm and keep reading.

1. 2016 Elections mean not much of substance will actually happen

Election years always tend to tamp down the amount of legislation that winds its way through the General Assembly. This year, that tendency should be even more pronounced as Ohio’s own John Kasich battles for a spot on the Republican presidential ticket. This means no mid-biennium review bill and precious little action on education policy during 2016. It will likely be the quietest year...

Ohio has exemplary charter schools – beacons of quality that are helping students reach their full potential. Who are these high flyers and what can we learn from them? How can Ohio replicate, expand, and support great charters in every part of the state? Fordham partnered with Steve Farkas and Ann Duffett of the FDR Group to survey the leaders of these exemplary schools to capture their thoughts on charter policy, hear what makes their schools tick, and learn what we can do to make sure that good schools flourish and expand.

Quality in Adversity: Lessons from Ohio’s best charter schools will be released on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, in conjunction with this event. A fitting way to celebrate National School Choice Week!


Ann Duffett, Ph.D., the FDR Group


Andrew Boy, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, United Schools Network

Hannah D. Powell, Executive Director, KIPP Columbus

David Taylor, Chief Academic Officer, Dayton Early College Academy


Steve Farkas, the FDR Group


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Coffee and pastries will be available

Program begins at 8:30 am

Program concludes at 9:45 am




  1. The first pieces of Ohio’s state report cards – which will be incomplete anyway due to “safe harbor” requirements – are due this week, many months late thanks to the switch to PARCC tests last year. The remainder of what information we do get will arrive late in February. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/10/16)
  2. No news on the Youngstown Plan this weekend – the definition of “teacher” remains unsettled and therefore the entire Academic Distress Commission mechanism remains stalled.  But in Lorain City Schools, the only other Ohio district currently under the old-style Academic Distress Commission, they have a different conundrum around a definition. They know that they don’t want the “Youngstown Plan” to become the “Lorain Plan”, and they know that a clock is ticking on them to make that happen. But why exactly do they oppose the Youngstown Plan? Because the district supe defines the plan as the death knell for the public common school in Lorain (i.e. a problem for adults) and not as an effort to actually fix the schools there (i.e. a problem for kids). While the article is ostensibly about some efforts to avoid a new-style ADC in Lorain via business, community,
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