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
Dayton panelists from left: Bob Taft, Rusty Clifford and Lori Ward
The word churn is used within a variety of industries. Just as customers leave businesses and migrate to competitors for other products or pricing options, students transfer between school districts and buildings. Churn is a reality within Ohio schools. But what are the reasons for this cycle? School leaders, parents, community members and others gathered yesterday in Dayton and Cincinnati to discuss student churn, what it means for their schools and what might be done about it. A crowd of about 100 gathered for each event.
In November, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Columbus-based Community Research Partners (CRP), and nine other funders released a statewide study of student mobility in Ohio. This substantial report was the basis of the conversations hosted by Learn to Earn in Dayton and The Strive Partnership in Cincinnati.
“Today’s event in Dayton was very eye opening,” said Chatoya Hayes, an audience member who joined the discussion from the United Way of the Greater Dayton Area. “I think the issue of student mobility is directly altering student success and is a major factor not usually considered.” Hayes said she found the comparisons between Dayton and other districts in Ohio to be especially beneficial to the thinking of audience members. Churn within schools can be associated with a variety of factors, whether academic,
In a Senate hearing on February 20, the Acting Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael Sawyers presented progress the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has made in the past six months on various initiatives. In what he deemed a “crash course,” Sawyers shared the changes being made to the state and district report cards distributed to schools, assessments required for students, and evaluations given to teachers. The superintendent seemed optimistic about the changes related to the Common Core. Sawyers, moreover, paid special attention to the introduction of new Common Core learning standards which he believes will “put the art back into teaching.”
In response to No Child Left Behind, passed in 2001, ODE was required to write academic standards that required teachers to follow specific guidelines. Sawyers then compared the 2001 standards against the new Common Core standards.
SOURCE: Michael Sawyers, “Education Reform Update: Presented to the Senate Education Committee,” PowerPoint presentation, February 20, 2013.
Sawyers explained that changing the language allows the Common Core standards to be “fewer, deeper, and clearer.” By wrapping these standards into clusters, teachers are able to creatively unpack what lessons they can teach their students, bucking the checklist of requirements that they had to consider before the Common Core. The new standards also ask the students to delve deeper into material, providing teachers the opportunity to create instruction that digs into
On Monday CEE-Trust’s Ethan Gray and I provided ideas to the Columbus Education Commission on ways that city could improve its schools. The following provides more details for some of the recommendations offered at that time.
Like much of urban America, Columbus urgently needs more high performing schools for its children, especially its poor and minority children. In 2011-12, nearly 30,000 (just under 50 percent) of all Columbus students attended failing schools (D or F on the state rating system). Within the Columbus City Schools, 60 of 117 buildings have been designated by the state as “persistently low-performing” – meaning they had been rated “academic emergency” or “academic watch” for at least two of the last three years. The city’s charter schools are equally troubled with 28 out of 59 being rated D or F by the state in 2012. In contrast, only 3,500 students attended schools with grades of A or A+.
Yet, turning around failed schools is nearly impossible, despite the best of intentions. Both charter and traditional district schools are stubbornly resistant to significant change—the kind that might actually make a difference, which generally entails replacing the entire staff and program.