Blended learning: It’s the talk of the town and perceived favorably, but it hasn’t found widespread use…yet. Fordham’s May 2013 publication Half Empty Half Full: Superintendents’ Views on Ohio’s Education Reform surveyed 344 of Ohio’s 614 district superintendents: 59 percent of superintendents thought that blended learning would lead to “fundamental improvement.” However, despite the vocal support for blended learning, few superintendents (a mere 5 percent) report that it has achieved “widespread” use in their school district. In fact, 31 percent of superintendents reported that blended learning was of “limited or no use” in their district.
(Blended learning refers to an instructional model that mixes virtual education with traditional face-to-face instruction. The model can vary depending on what instructional model the teacher chooses to implement. Heather Staker and Michael B. Horn, Classifying K-12 Blended Learning, identify four blended learning models.)
Who are the most laggardly of the laggards in terms of using blended learning? It seems, as might be expected, that superintendents of rural districts are the most likely to report little to no use of blended learning. And, importantly, it’s not on account of attitudinal resistance to blended learning from these rural school leaders.
Chart 1 shows that rural superintendents view blended learning favorably—as favorably as their peers in larger, more urban districts. Sixty-one percent of rural superintendents view blended learning favorably, a percentage that mirrors that of urban (61 percent) and suburban superintendents (66 percent), and is considerably higher
Yesterday was the first day of public testimony on Governor Kasich’s budget proposal before the Ohio House Finance Primary and Secondary Education Committee. Terry submitted testimony on behalf of the Fordham Institute, as did Students First and others. Following is a good recap from Gongwer News Service:
Terry Ryan, vice-president for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, offered support for the budget, saying the funding offered through the formula would outpace that of almost every other comparable state in FY 14. He also offered suggestions for use in the budget or as the subjects of future legislation.
Firstly, he said all dollars should follow students to the schools they actually attend, but funding is still stuck in categorical programs and flows to the district but not necessarily the building attended.
Mr. Ryan also called for annual academic return on investment reporting for all public schools, both districts and charters. "Just as some districts are more productive than others so are some schools and these should be acknowledged and better understood," he said.
More mandates related to regulations, laws and contract should be eliminated if they force funds to be spent in certain ways in all schools regardless of student characteristics. He said the flexibilities of the Cleveland Plan should be expanded to all districts.
Like the administration, Mr. Ryan said the state should move away from hold harmless provisions and guarantees "that provide funding
When then-Governor Ted Strickland issued his Evidence-Based Model (EBM) of school funding reform in 2009 we engaged Professor Paul Hill to provide an analysis of the proposals. We couldn’t think of anyone better to do the work than Professor Hill. His credentials are impeccable. He is founder and recently retired director of the University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public Education, and a former Senior Fellow at Brookings and RAND. Further, Professor Hill has roots in Ohio as a graduate of Ohio State University. He also has family in Dayton.
Professor Hill’s analysis of Strickland’s plan was largely informed by the research project he led, Facing the Future: Financing Productive Schools. That six-year effort, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was the most comprehensive study of its kind ever conducted. It concluded that America’s public-school finance systems are burdened by rules and narrow policies that hold local officials accountable for compliance but not for results. Facing the Future was the work of more than 40 economists, lawyers, financial specialists, and education policy makers. It included more than 30 separate studies, including in-depth looks at Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington.
Based on findings and recommendations from Facing the Future we asked Professor Hill to develop a “crosswalk” between the key findings of that seminal report and the policy recommendations in the Strickland’s Plan. Professor Hill’s analysis of Governor Strickland’s
Innovation: It’s an education reform cliché. But what is innovation, really?
Ask most people about innovation and they’ll probably talk about products—airplanes, laptops, smartphones. But innovation also refers to process. That’s what blended learning is for education. It turns the process of teaching upside down.
Today, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, in partnership with Knowledge Works and Reynoldsburg School District, welcomed Anthony Kim, founder and CEO of Education Elements, to Ohio. Founded in 2010, Education Elements is a California-based company that advises schools on how to adopt and implement blended learning models. Education Elements has assisted charters (KIPP Los Angeles), traditional public school districts (Houston Independent School District), and parochial schools (Mission Dolores Academy in San Francisco).
Anthony Kim, founder and CEO of Education Elements
Kim began the conversation with an audience that included superintendents, teachers, lawmakers, and state board members by describing his blended learning model. According to Kim, blended learning has three goals:
- To differentiate teaching by breaking the classroom into smaller groups
- To increase the collection and use of student achievement data to improve teaching
- To create more efficient schools
How does blended learning achieve these goals?
First, blended learning can address some of the challenges of teaching students who read, write, and do math at different levels. Blended learning deploys a classroom rotation model: students are first broken into groups and then these groups rotate through different work stations throughout the school day.
Kim presented a three-station model, in which
June 19, 2013