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  1. If things go as planned, Cincinnati City Schools’ board of education will pass a resolution next week to authorize negotiations with Phalen Leadership Academies, a charter school network from Indianapolis, with an eye toward opening a district-sponsored Phalen school in the Queen City. The timing is important because formalizing the negotiation status will allow Phalen to apply for Ohio’s new charter school facilities funding, the deadline for which is fast approaching. You can read journalist Hannah Sparling’s pretty awesome description (if I do say so myself) of Phalen’s work in Indy here. But the three months since that piece was published seem to have soured Sparling on the idea. Or else it was her discussion with the leader of the Cincinnati Educational Justice Coalition that did it. CEJC leader Michelle Dillingham, also a candidate for city council, was quoted in yesterday’s piece vehemently opposing the district’s plan. She “doesn’t know enough about Phalen to rate the model one way or the other, but she didn’t see anything in Wednesday’s presentation that CPS isn’t already offering its students… ‘It’s not really clear what they’re innovating,’ she said.” There you have it. More developments next week, I’m sure. (Cincinnati Enquirer,
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In April, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report examining recent trends in the racial and socioeconomic composition of America’s public schools. Between the 2000–01 and 2013–14 school years, the study finds, the fraction of U.S. schools that were both high-poverty (75 percent or more eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, or FRPL) and high-minority (75 percent or more African American or Hispanic students) rose from 9 to 16 percent.

While the GAO analysts caution that their analyses “should not be used to make conclusions about the presence or absence of unlawful discrimination,” to headline writers at the Washington PostUSA Today, and the Los Angeles Times, the findings suggest “resegregation” in American schools. The Post editorial board declared a “resurgence of resegregation.” But is this a fair interpretation?

There are at least two problems with drawing such a conclusion. The first is that the GAO analysis doesn’t take into account overall demographic trends. During this time period, student demographics were changing in America. As a share of the national student population, Hispanic students increased from 16 percent to 25 percent from 2000 to 2014 (though African American pupils remained virtually unchanged as a fraction of the population). Due to the increase in...

  1. Krish Mohip, the newly-appointed CEO of Youngstown City Schools, came into town yesterday to sign his contract…and to meet with the school board, district staffers, and as much of the public as could be mustered on a Tuesday afternoon. There’s a lot to parse here and I may have more to say about this after I check out all the video from his public remarks. (“Scraped along with C’s”? Dude! Diligent work on the party of the Vindy though.) But I’ll leave you with three observations on the written piece: Mohip seems to have a pretty good track record in Chicago as he tells the story, including significant improvements to some difficult schools. He seems to be trying to be inclusive out of the gate (board, interim supe, teachers, public, etc.). Most importantly he seems to have solidified in his own mind some of the less-clear aspects of the new ADC/CEO framework, including the role he sees for the elected board and for their appointed superintendent. These will be important down the line if/when other districts come under the aegis of the new ADC/CEO framework. (Youngstown Vindicator, 6/8/16)
     
  2. Speaking of one of those districts, here is
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Editor's note: This article was first published on April 23, 2015. It was updated on June 7, 2016, when Hillary Clinton became the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee for the 2016 presidential election.

Hillary Clinton is America’s first woman to be a presidential nominee for a major political party. In November, she’ll take on GOP nominee Donald Trump and the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson (and his running mate William Weld). Clinton has been a public figure since 1979, when she became the First Lady of Arkansas, so she has said much about education over the last thirty-seven years. Here are some of her more recent views:

  1. Common Core: “Well, I have always supported national standards. I've always believed that we need to have some basis on which to determine whether we're making progress, vis-à-vis other countries who all have national standards. And I've also been involved in the past, not recently, in promoting such an approach and I know Common Core started out as a, actually non-partisan, not bi-partisan, a non-partisan effort that was endorsed very much across the political spectrum…What went wrong? I think the roll-out was disastrous…Remember a lot of states had developed their own
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  1. Kudos to Dayton Early College Academy (DECA) and sister school DECA Prep (sponsored by Fordham), two of the schools admitted to Ohio’s STEM Learning Network this year. They join a consortium of high-quality tech-focused schools across the state which include charters, traditional district, private, and standalone public STEM schools. Keep up the good work everyone! (Ohio STEM Learning Network, 6/6/16)
     
  2. Recall that StateAuditor! Man had some strong words for the Ohio Department of Education a couple of weeks ago. In a depressingly predictable turn of events, folks from all parts of the ideological spectrum seized upon his words to advance their own agendas. The D chatted with state board members and state legislators who were all over the map with ideas about how to “fix” the department, with little apparent agreement as to what the problem was. (Columbus Dispatch, 5/30/16) Yost himself took time to expand on his thoughts about ODE’s “problems” in a commentary piece in the Plain Dealer last weekend. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 6/3/16)
     
  3. Confession time: I loathe Facebook. The level of discourse I have found there – in general – makes Twitter seem Aristotelian by comparison. Imagine my reaction, then, when the
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Compiler’s note: We’ll be catching up today and tomorrow from last week’s vacation.

  1. Our own Chad Aldis was a guest on the weekly Statehouse News Bureau chat show “State of Ohio” this past weekend. He was joined by Innovation Ohio’s Steve Dyer to talk about the new Know Your Charter report on the history of federal Charter School Program (CSP) funds in Ohio. Very interesting discussion, starts at 8:40 on the video. (Ohio Public Media’s Statehouse News Bureau, 6/3/16)
     
  2. Aaron Churchill spoke to Cincinnati journalist Mike Brown about charter schools recently. Aaron’s quotes and several other Fordham historical references constitute a small part of this epic blog post (nearly 3500 words) that tries to tie the case study of one recently-closed area charter school with the entire history of charter schools in Ohio. Fascinating effort. Never knew this blog existed. (Cincinnatians for the American Dream blog, 6/1/16)
     
  3. Chad is quoted extensively on the adoption by the Capacity Committee of the state board of a set of changes
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The Family Feud edition

On this week’s podcast, Mike Petrilli and Alyssa Schwenk discuss the debate sparked by Robert Pondiscio’s recent article, the Department of Education’s proposed ESSA regulations, and Kansas’s school funding debacle. During the Research Minute, Amber Northern examines whether a teacher observation framework can affect student outcomes.

Amber's Research Minute

Andrea Lash, Loan Tran, and Min Huang, "Examining the validity of ratings from a classroom observation instrument for use in a district’s teacher evaluation system," WestEd (May 2016). 

Derrell Bradford

You can only watch a dragon eat its tail for so long before you feel compelled to intervene.

As I’ve watched the education community react to Robert Pondiscio’s argument that the Left is driving conservatives out of education reform, I’ve been increasingly frustrated to see so many people whom I like and respect (from Marilyn Rhames to Justin CohenChris Stewart, and Jay Greene) take aim at one another. I’m also convinced that the teachers’ unions are all having a good laugh at us while we play this verbal game of the Dozens amongst ourselves.

At the center of this conflict: A dividing line is being drawn between “markets” and “equity” as principles driving change in our schools. These two themes are both found in the underlying conflict of Pondiscio’s piece about the contrast between market/conservative solutions like school choice and the power of a movement like Black Lives Matter (with which the more progressive wing of the reform movement identifies).

I believe that Pondiscio’s piece only featured Black Lives Matter and the agenda of this year’s New Schools Venture Fund Summit (which I attended) as a proxy for capturing the changing view and face of the education...

Martín Pérez

Last week, a long-simmering debate about which kinds of diversity—ideological, political, socioeconomic, racial, or ethnic—should matter most in our education reform community boiled over into public view.

This debate comes at an interesting time in my life because I am in the middle of a year-long leadership development program—50CAN’s Education Advocacy Fellowship—that was created to provide an on-ramp for more people to serve as education reform leaders. This experience has led me to realize something so simple it’s perhaps overlooked in all the back and forth over this debate:

There is more than enough work to go around.

It is exactly because of the scale and complexity of the challenges we face, and the numerous gaps left unfilled, that the best work in education advocacy is increasingly being carried out by coalitions that span the traditional divides.

That means intentionally elevating both ideologically diverse and racially and socioeconomically diverse leaders—because we all have something unique and different to contribute. Making room for a greater diversity of voices doesn’t have to mean asking anyone to step back from their work.

During my time in the 50CAN fellowship, I have come to learn from and respect the contributions made by conservatives who...

Terry Ryan

I was the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s point person in Ohio for twelve years. I never met Robert Pondiscio but have followed his writing since leaving Fordham in 2013. I am also a former New Schools Venture Fund (NSVF) Pahara fellow (class of 2008). Pondiscio’s piece, “The Left’s drive to push conservatives out of education reform,” has triggered an important conversation about race, power, politics, and school reform.

I was the only Republican in my cohort of Pahara fellows, which included the likes of progressive education leaders John King, Cami Anderson, and Andy Rotherham. I had philosophical disagreements with some of my New Schools colleagues, and I wasn’t nearly as excited about the election of President Barack Obama back in 2008 as they were. But every single one of my NSVF friends treated me and my opinions with respect. What’s more, they actually wanted to hear what I had to say.  

I attended the New Schools Venture Fund Conference in California that was at the center of Pondiscio’s piece. My take is different from his. I was less offended by the “push” of the political Left than I was disappointed by how voiceless the conservative ideas around...

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