In Ohio, Fordham authorizes the state’s only KIPP school (KIPP Journey in Columbus). So we were excited to read Mathematica’s recent report KIPP Middle Schools: Impacts on Achievement and Other Outcomes. It has garnered considerable media attention and commentary—from belief to skepticism—for its finding that KIPP schools significantly improve student outcomes. A large portion of the coverage and commentary has honed in on KIPP’s positive impacts on student achievement, with less attention paid to the Other Outcomes part of the report.
The other outcomes part of the report, however, deserves its share of attention—especially, the report’s analysis of what school-based factors explain KIPP’s success. This analysis is intended to pinpoint one, perhaps multiple, reasons why KIPP charter schools work for their students.
To answer why, the researchers link individual KIPP school’s impact estimates, which vary among the schools, with a set of 14 school-based explanatory factors. Here are some of the more interesting findings:
•Length of school day: Especially long school days are associated with lower student achievement. But, the KIPP schools with especially long school days also tend to spend more time in non-core subjects, which leads to point two—
•Instructional time: More time spent in the core subjects (math, language arts, science, and history) relates to higher math and reading scores. And conversely, more time in non-core subjects relates negatively to achievement scores. The upshot of this and the bullet above: A longer school day
Dublin City Schools does a small yet nice honor for its high-flying students. In the midst of balance sheets and income statements, Dublin City’s 2012 financial report includes a page with the pictures of five students who achieved a perfect 36 out of 36 on their ACT exams. At the bottom of the page, underneath their pictures, was the short but sublime statement: “Less than five-tenth of one percent of the students taking the ACT nationwide will be able to accomplish what these Dublin Students have done.”
Though it’s a small honor—and yes, it’s buried on page 117 of a document that few people will lay eyes upon—Dublin City properly celebrates the hard work and smarts of these students. And, perhaps other schools could follow the lead of Dublin, and find ways to recognize the accomplishments of their high-achievers, even in official reports. For, it’s a powerful reminder to readers, amidst the tedium of governmental reporting, of the purpose of education in the first place—to give kids the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Many school leaders and teachers in Ohio are facing the full implementation across all grade levels for the Common Core Curriculum in Ohio - English Language Arts and Literacy next year and in Mathematics the following year. So, how have schools prepared and what are they doing to make the transition work?
As an authorizer of charter schools in diverse communities across Ohio, we want to hear from our school leaders – to inform and educate us on what is happening in their schools and in their classrooms in regard to the Common Core and PARCC assessments. Over the next several weeks, we will be reporting back on the following questions:
1. What's your biggest worry?
2. What do you need to put in place before this all starts?
3. Do you have all the technology needed for testing?
4. What skills do your teachers have that will make this easier?
5. What could ODE do to make sure things go as smoothly as possible?
6. What do you want your parents to know about CC?
We will be posing these questions to the following leaders in Fordham’s portfolio of sponsored schools:
1. Foresta Shope, principal of Sciotoville Elementary Academy
2. Dustin Wood, principal of KIPP:Journey Academy
3. Dr. TJ Wallace, Executive Director of Dayton Leadership Academies
4. Dr. Glenda Brown, superintendent of the Phoenix Community Learning Center
5. Chad Webb, head of school Village Preparatory Academy
6. John Dues, School Director of Columbus Collegiate Academy Main Street Campus
What do we think we might
Enticing our top college graduates to teach in America’s classrooms is a serious challenge, bordering on an epidemic in some of our poorer communities and neighborhoods. According to the 2010 McKinsey report “Attracting and Retaining Top Talent in US Teaching,” just under one in four of our entering teachers come from the top third of their college class. For high-poverty schools even fewer entering teachers (a mere 14 percent) are top third talent.
In the Buckeye State, the Ohio Board of Regents’ data corroborate McKinsey’s finding that neither the best nor brightest are entering Ohio’s classrooms as teachers. According to the Regents, the average composite ACT of an incoming teacher-prep candidate was 22.75, below the average ACT score of the overall incoming freshman class for relatively selective universities. The middle 50 percent of incoming freshman to the Ohio State University, for example, had composite ACT scores between 26 and 30.
What deters the best and brightest from entering (and staying) in our classrooms is, of course, a complicated issue with many hypotheses: low pay, stressful working conditions, rigid certification requirements, lack of prestige, and archaic remuneration systems that fail to reward high-performing teachers and backloads benefits are all plausible explanations.
Since 1989 Teach For America (TFA) has worked to improve this bleak human capital situation, and has brought the nation’s top college graduates into a small, but increasing slice of America’s