Columbus Collegiate Academy, one of the charter schools the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation authorizes in Ohio, was just named one of only nine charter elementary schools nationwide to receive the silver EPIC award by New Leaders for New Schools for dramatic gains in student achievement.
New Leaders started EPIC -- the Effective Practice Incentive Community ??? in 2006 to link principal and teacher incentive pay to the wide-scale sharing of effective educational practices. EPIC recognizes are rewards school leaders and staff in these schools and creates comprehensive case studies of their successes so that others may??learn from them.?? The program has granted $7.3 million dollars in incentive awards to over 2,700 educators in 120 schools nationwide. Eligible staff at Columbus Collegiate Academy will earn much-deserved cash awards for their success.
We're incredibly proud of school leader Andrew Boy and his staff, who after only one year of operation led their inaugural class of sixth graders from just 35 percent proficient in reading and 41 percent proficient in math (as fifth graders) to 74 percent proficient in reading and 82 percent proficient in math, on the Ohio Achievement Tests. These academic gains earned the school recognition as the highest performing public middle school in Columbus, despite serving a student population that is 95 percent economically disadvantaged.
Ohio's charter school sector often has struggled to produce stellar results, and our governor and teachers unions haven't made
Despite a debate among residents and school board members in Worthington, Ohio, over global warming, the district has put itself on the map for installing rooftop solar panels on several of its elementary schools. The Columbus Dispatch highlights Evening Street Elementary School, whose solar panel project is ???the largest of its kind in a five-state region.???
Regardless of the dispute over warming (is there still a dispute?), Worthington Public Schools deserve credit for thinking creatively about cost-saving alternatives. (Granted, solar panels certainly have expensive up-front costs, and the Dispatch piece doesn't offer estimates for much money the green initiative will save.)
School districts' dramatic cost-saving measures are being underlined more and more in the news??? e.g. Kansas City is closing almost half of its schools in the face of a $50 million deficit; school districts nationwide are thinking about switching to four-day weeks; Toledo Public Schools might end all athletic programs. And a recent Fordham/AEI event focused on this very topic ??? A Penny Saved, How Schools and Districts Can Tighten Their Belts While Serving Students Better.
Despite what Worthington residents think about ice caps or rising temperatures, if the solar panel initiative at four of their schools ends up shrinking electricity costs ??? what is there to argue about?
-Jamie Davies O'Leary
Photo courtesy of Mridul kash at Wikimedia Commons.
This week's edition kicks off with a great piece by Terry discussing the unprecedented move by the Ohio Department of Education to close a charter school sponsor (aka authorizer) for fiscal mismanagement. Terry dives into the academic track record of the sponsor's schools (which is abysmal) and argues that Ohio is right to take action to close them. Nelson Smith from NAPCS says ???bravo to Ohio??? for this.
Next, read Checker's review of Diane Ravitch's The Death and Life of the Great American School System. The Dayton Daily News covers the Finn-Ravitch buzz and asks ???So we have, from right to left, Finn, Obama, and Ravitch? Or is it left to right????
Be sure to check out Mike Lafferty's report on Ohio's STEM meeting for excellent on-the-ground perspectives from parents, teachers, and business folks as to why STEM is important (and fears about how to fit it into the curriculum). Also read Mike and Tim's analysis of how much money Ohio could save through district ???consolidations??? (as in, sharing services, not consolidation ala Brookings' recent recommendations), and Emmy's piece that points out if Ohio is not a round 1 RttT finalist, we've lost a month of valuable time to make real changes to our round 2 application in order to be more competitive.
Finally, if you're curious to know what will.i.am and Pell (as in, Pell grant) have in common, or what Drew Carey is
The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) is seeking to close a troubled charter school sponsor (aka authorizer), the Cleveland-based Ashe Culture Center, Inc.
This blazes new territory for the nation's charter school program. While there have been many charter school closures over the years, there are no instances where a state has actually stepped in to close a sponsor. In fact, Ohio, Minnesota, and Missouri are the only states that give the state department of education the authority to revoke a charter school sponsor's right to authorize schools. (In most other states, authorizers are brought into being via statute, and they can only be decommissioned by the legislature. Ohio's General Assembly, for example, fired the State Board of Education as a charter school sponsor in 2003.)
According to press accounts the department wants to close Ashe for ???????not properly overseeing the spending of taxpayer money.??????? Specifically, Ashe has sponsored two schools that the state auditor has deemed ???????unauditable.??????? According to an investigation by the state auditor, the sponsor's chief executive officer took payments from a school where his wife ???????? a member of the school's governing board ???????? approved said payments to the sponsor. Considering the sponsor is supposed to represent the interests of the state ???????? including ensuring tax dollars are actually spent on the educational needs of children ???????? this seems an obvious conflict of interest.
Ashe's sponsored schools also have a woeful academic track record. Over two-thirds
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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