Quality Choices

Nationally and in Ohio, we strive to develop policies and practices leading to a lively, accessible marketplace of high-quality education options for every young American (including charter schools, magnet schools, voucher programs, and online courses), as well as families empowered and informed so that they can successfully engage with that marketplace.

Resources:

Our many choice-related blog posts are listed below.


Fordham’s choice experts:


Editor’s Note: As Ohioans await the start of the new governor’s term in January, and as state leaders look to build upon past education successes, we at the Fordham Institute are developing a set of policy proposals that we believe can lead to increased achievement and greater opportunities for Ohio students. This is the eighth in our series, under the umbrella of empowering Ohio’s families, and the first to be published following the election of Mike DeWine as Ohio’s next governor. You can access all of the entries in the series to date here.

Proposal: Remove the statutory provisions that confine startup brick-and-mortar charters to “challenged districts” (the Big Eight, Lucas County, and other low-performing districts). Currently, this policy allows charters to start up in just thirty-nine of Ohio’s 610 districts.

Background: Ohio has more than 300 public charter schools (a.k.a. “community schools”) that educate over 100,000 students. Though online (“virtual”) charters have received much attention of late—much of it deservedly critical—the vast majority of charters are traditional brick-and-mortar schools, almost all of which are located in the major cities and serve primarily disadvantaged children (see figure 3; charters are signified by orange dots). The last detailed evaluation...

 
 

 

Extending the New Markets Tax Credit

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) is urging charter school supporters to contact their members of Congress and ask them to support extending the New Markets Tax Credit, which expires in 2019. According to NAPCS, this credit “is one of the most effective tools to help charter schools access affordable facilities.”  

What does Governor-Elect DeWine mean for Ohio school choice?

In short, we don’t know for sure as it wasn’t a major part of the campaign. Fordham’s Jessica Poiner pieces together DeWine’s campaign materials and information from a variety of news sources to give us an overview of what we might expect from a DeWine administration in regards to school choice and education generally.

ECOT’s headquarters changes hands

The Columbus Board of Education recently held its first meeting in the former headquarters of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), which they purchased in the summer for about $4 million. The Dispatch explains that the board is currently weighing their options on how they’ll use the space.

Featured event: Ohio in a Post-Janus world

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a...

 
 

Research tells us what works to serve gifted and talented students, including how best to identify these students and how to use acceleration strategies appropriately. A new resource, Developing Academic Acceleration Policies: Whole Grade, Early Entrance, and Single Subject, offers direction and clarity to school districts on gifted education practices, guidance many practitioners lack today.

Gifted and talented children need and deserve appropriate levels of challenge and stimulation as they reach for their personal best. Unfortunately, far too many children experience low expectations in their classrooms. Recent research by Dr. Scott Peters and others reveals that up to 10 percent of children perform four or more grade levels above the grade level standards used in their classrooms.

Acceleration strategies—such as advancing students an entire grade level or in specific subjects—are one of the most effective approaches to help ensure all children who demonstrate readiness for more advanced instruction receive quality gifted and talented programming. They allow students to access curriculum content, skills, and understandings before their expected age or grade level. Rather than requiring gifted children to endure repetitive work with content they have already mastered, educators can use a variety of acceleration strategies to challenge these learners...

 
 

Editor’s Note: As Ohioans prepare to elect a new governor this November, and as state leaders look to build upon past education successes, we at the Fordham Institute are developing a set of policy proposals that we believe can lead to increased achievement and greater opportunities for Ohio students. This is the seventh in our series, under the umbrella of supporting great educators. You can access all of the entries in the series to date here.

Proposal: Establish a competitive grant program that would provide funds to implement human-capital initiatives aimed at attracting and/or developing classroom talent. These grants could be used to support innovative compensation strategies, such as differential pay structures, signing or performance bonuses, or assistance with paying off student loans. They could also be used to implement mentoring, evaluation, retention, and development programs that ensure great teachers remain in classrooms and take on instructional leadership roles. The grants should be open to districts, charter and STEM schools, as well as to consortia of educational institutions.

Background: Attracting talented individuals to the teaching profession remains key to developing a high-performing K–12 system. But in an increasingly competitive job market, schools have had trouble drawing top talent into...

 
 

 

KIPP Columbus hosts naturalization ceremony

One hundred fifty immigrants became American citizens this past week at an event at KIPP Columbus. The guests (from fifty-three nations) heard a speech from Armando Mora Perez (a KIPP high school student whose mother is waiting to be granted citizenship) and joined together to do the Pledge of Allegiance. You can find a video of the event on KIPP’s Facebook page and photos on their website.

Bruno Manno: How charter schools make their grads successful in college

Bruno Manno, the senior adviser for the Walton Family Foundation K-12 Program, in a recent op-ed praised the ability of some charter schools to help their graduates succeed in college. He explains how a number of charter school networks like KIPP, Uncommon Schools, Chicago’s Noble Network, and Green Dot Schools “are pointing the way and providing crucial evidence that K-12 education can provide a robust foundation for opportunity, upward mobility, and financial stability.”

School choice and community-building

Amy Lueck recently published a piece in the Atlantic in which she celebrates the civic purpose of the traditional American public high school and accuses school choice proponents of...

 
 

 

Martin Luther King III visits KIPP Columbus

KIPP Columbus students had a special guest last week. Martin Luther King III visited the school, read his children’s book (My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.), and told stories. Judging by the student quotes in the Dispatch, it looks like he made quite an impact. Television coverage of the visit can be found here.

A big win for students and families: WA Supreme Court ruling

Washington’s Supreme Court ruled that charter public schools are constitutional, upholding their place in Washington’s public education system and ensuring that current and future charter school students will have access to a high-quality education. You can read the Washington State Charter Schools Association’s press statement here. For some background information on the lawsuit, El Centro de la Raza v. Washington State, see the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ release here.

How did MA’s charter schools become the best in the country?

On Wednesday, Education Next released a new podcast episode in which Marty West talks with Cara Stillings Candal, the author of a new book on charter schools in Massachusetts titled, The Fight for...

 
 

Editor’s Note: As Ohioans prepare to elect a new governor this November, and as state leaders look to build upon past education successes, we at the Fordham Institute are developing a set of policy proposals that we believe can lead to increased achievement and greater opportunities for Ohio students. This is the fifth in our series, under the umbrella of empowering Ohio’s families. You can access all of the entries in the series to date here.

Proposal: Authorize the ODE to develop and oversee a statewide course-access program. To implement the program, a funding mechanism should be created to pay online course providers and develop accountability tools that verify student learning.

Background: Traditionally, families and students have chosen a single school that delivers the entire educational experience. Although this “bundled” approach works well for many, the courses offered at any one school may not match the needs of every student in attendance, particularly in the upper grades. For instance, national data show that only half of U.S. schools offer calculus and just three in five offer physics. Closer to home, 139 Ohio districts—primarily rural—report that none of their recent graduates participated in Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB)...

 
 

Although ardent school choice supporters often argue that having options is an end in itself, the more pragmatic among us recognize that important real-life factors must be considered when describing the health of an area’s school choice landscape. Improvements in information dissemination and simplification of enrollment processes are making a difference in many cities, but a continuing obstacle is transportation. Even the best possible school option might as well not exist if a family cannot reach it. New research from the Urban Institute tries to identify the calculus that families must make in their efforts to secure the best possible fit.

Researchers Patrick Denice and Betheny Gross use data from Denver Public Schools, a portfolio system that includes traditional district schools, independent but district-run innovation schools, and charter schools. All Denver students are guaranteed a spot in a specific school or cluster of schools, but are free to apply to schools of any type for which they are eligible and they do so via a centralized application. School assignments are generally determined by lottery. As befits a system with this much choice and a simplified single application system, more than 80 percent of Denver students in typical transition years...

 
 

 

Are schools asking teachers to be superheros?

Eva Moskowitz recently argued that until we address the fundamental flaws in how we treat our educators, it will be difficult to make headway in improving outcomes for students on a broad scale. Moskowitz, leader of the high achieving Success Academy Charter School network, explains that we’re asking too much of our teachers. Her network and a number of others have moved toward a dramatically different approach to preparing, equipping, and supporting teachers.

Ohio charter school shares about facility challenges

The student population at Albert Einstein Academies of Ohio (AEA), a charter public school serving students in the Cleveland area, has grown significantly since it opened in 2012. This has brought significant challenges. Rebecca Woodson, the director of admissions and recruitment at the school, recently wrote about the financial and environmental hurdles that she and other charters face and explained her school’s process for planning to add a new campus.

NCSRC resource round-up

The National Charter School Resource Center (NCSRC) just released a resource round-up, which highlights some of their top resources from past years and new resources to start the school year strong....

 
 

Editor’s Note: As Ohioans prepare to elect a new governor this November, and as state leaders look to build upon past education successes, we at the Fordham Institute are developing a set of policy proposals that we believe can lead to increased achievement and greater opportunities for Ohio students. This is the fourth in our series, under the umbrella of maintaining high expectations for all students. You can access all of the entries in the series to date here.

Proposal: Starting as students enter middle school, Ohio should provide families with clear information about whether their children are on a solid pathway for success in college.

Background: As objective gauges of student achievement, statewide exams have several important purposes, including their use in school accountability systems. But perhaps the most important role of state exams is to offer information to Ohio parents about the academic progress of their own children, thus serving as an important “external audit” that supplements the grades they receive from teachers. To this end, the Ohio Department of Education produces family score reports based on state exams, akin to those that families receive after children take college entrance exams. The state’s score reports already provide...

 
 

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