Make sure you catch the latest Ohio Education Gadfly! In this edition Terry comments on the state's snub of charters in its Race to the Top application and reminds us what good things charter schools are doing in Ohio;??Mike Lafferty shows us how Ohio's recent Quality Counts ranking is good news for adults ??? but maybe not for students; and Jamie and Eric examine the claims of success made by advocates of the evidence-based funding model. (Hint: other ???evidence-based??? model states aren't doing so hot!) Throw in some excellent Short Reviews, Flypaper's Finest and Editor's Extras, and you've got all your up-to-date Buckeye State education news and analysis in one neat little package!
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That's kind of what happened yesterday when Gov. Strickland announced in his State of the State that Ohio had won an award for ???the most innovative education system in the country.??? Turns out, Ohio was recognized (conveniently just moments before Strickland's speech) by the Education Commission of the States as recipient of 2010's Frank Newman Award, which ???recognizes states and territories for demonstrated excellence in shaping education policy.??? The basis for Ohio's win? Strickland's move to channel increased spending through new school reforms, enshrined in H.B. 1 (which, as I'm certain you know by now, we think are overly prescriptive and misguided).
Feel like you're standing in the snow staring at a glowing leg? Me too. We looked up the list of Frank Newman recipients for past years, and it's not a ranking of innovation so much as a student-of-the-month honor for states. Kentucky, Alaska, North Dakota, and Tennessee are the most recent winners, and while there's nothing to bash about various reforms in winning states (pre-k, technology, etc.), Ohio's receipt of this award is a far stretch from saying that it symbolizes that we are ???the most innovative education system in the country.???
But try telling that
An article in yesterday's Columbus Dispatch delivered two important reminders regarding teacher performance-pay. First, even in cities that have experimented with it for several years (Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo, Cincinnati) the results are incredibly difficult to measure. (Recall that even Texas, which has some of the oldest and most comprehensive performance pay plans, has mixed results.)??
Second ??? and most salient on everyone's minds ??? is the fact that performance-pay is very expensive. Districts relying on grant funding from programs like the national Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) or the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) eventually need to use their own funds to supplant grant money. The Dispatch provides an example:
The four Columbus schools that have been trying TAP the longest -- Easthaven and Parkmoor elementary schools, Champion Middle and South High -- are no longer funded by the grant, which means the district is picking up the tab. The grant for the four other schools -- Fifth Avenue and Lindbergh elementary schools, and Clinton and Starling middle schools -- will run out at the start of the next school year???. The district also must cut its budget by millions, a promise made by the school board in its 2008 levy campaign. There's no guarantee that TAP will continue.
With so many Ohio districts facing sizeable budget deficits (not to mention the tidal wave of costs resulting from Gov. Strickland's ???evidence-based??? mandates), maintaining ???
Ohio has joined 39 other states and the District of Columbia in submitting its Race to the Top grant application to the Feds. The Buckeye State is seeking $409 million for ???????radical change in a compressed time.??????? Whether or not Ohio's plan is bold enough, and competes well against other states, is now awaiting the determination of reviewers at the U.S. Department of Education.
But in Ohio, many policy wonks and journalists believe that politics will surely intrude in the USDOE's decision making. This despite that fact that Secretary Duncan and the department have repeatedly insisted that politics will play no role in determining which states receive RttT grants.
Skeptics in Ohio point to last week's election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts and the struggles facing Democrats across the country and argue political calculations will rear their head in RttT grant determinations. Consider that this weekend Ohio newspapers ran headlines like ???????Ohio voters lean GOP once again??????? and ???????Strickland trails Kasich in race for governor, poll shows.???????
Ohio' RttT application plays up big-time Gov. Strickland's recently passed education reform plan in House Bill 1. Specifically, the application argues ???????Governor Strickland has strongly committed himself to H.B. 1, the most significant and comprehensive education reform in Ohio for decades and the cornerstone of the strategy reflected in our RttT application.???????
There is little doubt that in his re-election campaign Gov. Strickland will point to
About the Editor
Michael J. Petrilli
Executive Vice President
Mike Petrilli is one of the nation's foremost education analysts. As executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, he oversees the organization's research projects and publications and contributes to the Flypaper blog and weekly Education Gadfly newsletter.
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