This week The New Teacher Project (TNTP) unveiled its Cincinnati-focused report on human capital reform. The report's recommendations for Cincinnati Public Schools and the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers (CFT) are similar (predictably so) to client reports for other districts, like Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and Chicago. That's because problems related to teacher quality are ubiquitous in American urban education.
Read the Cincinnati findings as well as the defensive reaction of the CFT, and you'll swear you could be reading a narrative of any city's human capital challenges: late hiring timelines prevent districts from snagging the best teacher candidates; evaluating teachers once every five years is meaningless; single step salary structures aren't the best way to recruit and reward excellence. It's chocked full of a lot of common sense. But common sense doesn't always translate into political action and policy reform.
Where TNTP's client cities part ways is in their willingness to truly make "teacher effectiveness" the helm of the human capital ship, and to measure this with student performance data. (There are other ways that districts/states can improve teacher quality but whether they place "effectiveness" at the core of their human capital philosophy says volumes.)??
In Ohio, the budget bill raised the bar for teacher tenure to seven years (the highest in the country among tenure-granting states) and made it easier to dismiss the worst teachers. These changes are positive, but ultimately don't overhaul the way that teachers
Our friend Colleen Grady at State of Ohio Education blog points out legislation (Senate Bill 210) that would mandate physical activity in Ohio schools and track children's weight over the course of their academic careers. Schools would be required to screen students' body mass index (BMI) in grades K, 3, 5, and 9 and physical education requirements would be increased to a full unit.
Colleen rails against the proposal because it requires fitness data to be included in Ohio's rating system for schools and districts (yikes, as if it isn't complicated enough already). An article in the Marion Star points out the obvious burdens the law might impose on schools: hiring additional staff, tracking more indicators, and putting responsibity on them for "fixing society's ills" ("ill" is definitely the appropriate word, as a recent study estimates that more than half of Ohio's population will be obese by 2018).
Whether (and how) schools should play a role in students' physical wellness is a never-ending debate. There are myriad questions about privacy (would you want your BMI score on record?), paternalism, discrimination (at one Pennsylvania college, only students with a high BMI are required to take a fitness course) and fairness (seriously, do you know how inaccurate BMI scores are for athletes?). Not to mention the economics of adding requirements to already cash-strapped schools, and cramping their instructional time with non-academic mandates.
But alas, from
The holiday season has arrived - and here at Fordham Ohio we're feeling pretty darn generous. ??We've decided to bestow upon you this week not one, but TWO Ohio Education Gadflies!
This edition features a Q&A with Mark North, superintendent of Lebanon City Schools whose district is facing challenges from the unfunded mandates in H.B. 1. Jamie provides timely coverage of a report from The New Teacher Project that could have profound implications for improving teacher effectiveness in Cincinnati Public Schools. And be sure to check out a recap of Checker's recent keynote address at the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools Annual Conference. (You can find the full text here??and the Q&A session below.)
The Dayton Daily News asked today why the "big names" in education from the Dayton area weren't on the state's new "Ohio School Funding Advisory Council". The names referenced included Fordham's Terry Ryan.
Capital Matters overfloweth with timely coverage of the recent flood of education-related legislation. Among them are bills that address the Buckeye State's bid in Race to the Top, and the proposed changes to the Ohio school rating system and its all-day kindergarten mandate.
Fordham's annual charter school accountability report, "Seeking Quality in the Face of Adversity," is now out! As many of you know, Fordham authorizes (called "sponsoring" in Ohio) six charter schools in Dayton, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Springfield. Each year we release a report outlining how Fordham-sponsored schools are doing, and contrasting them with charter schools statewide and schools within their home districts. The report also weighs in on timely political and legislative developments impacting charter schools in the Buckeye State. Highlights include:
- - A recap on why Ohio charters faced such a tough year in 2008-09 (politically, legislatively, financially, you name it)
- - A look at charter school growth since caps were placed on sponsors (unsurprisingly, fewer charter schools opened during 2007-09 than during 2005-07 period, and the sector as a whole is growing at a slower rate)
- - A summary of the financial predicaments faced by charters in Ohio, including dwindling state and federal start-up dollars, and funding inequities between districts and charter schools that amount to charters receiving roughly $2000 less per pupil (see graph below)
- - A brief narrative on Fordham's youngest charter schools, KIPP: Journey Academy and Columbus Collegiate Academy (a Building Excellent Schools affiliate)
- - An academic snapshot of Fordham-sponsored schools, including the good (almost 70 percent of students in Fordham-sponsored schools achieved "above expected growth" on Ohio's value-added measure) and the bad (students in Fordham-sponsored schools still don't make the state proficiency goal of 75 percent in reading and
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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