Ohio Education Gadfly Biweekly

Opinion + Analysis: 
Much work has been done to transform Cleveland schools, with much more still to be done. We take a look at progress so far.
News and Analysis
Proposals to change Ohio's value-add calculation have passed the House and are moving on to the Senate; Aaron takes a look.
News and Analysis
A school tragedy hits home.
Gadfly Studios: 
Ohio education news and Fordham commentary, just what the doctor ordered
Editor's Extras
Columbus' newspaper pros try two different ways of looking at one education event.

No one said it would be easy. Two years ago, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, along with the city’s business, philanthropic, and education leaders, came to Columbus and asked Governor Kasich and the General Assembly to help them with legislation to reform the city’s long-struggling school system. The result, the “Cleveland Plan,” has drawn attention from around the state and across the...

The House Education Committee tucked two provisions into the Mid-Biennium Review bill that would alter the state’s calculation of student progress. They both relate to the value-added model (VAM), the state’s method for computing a school or district’s impact on student-learning progress over time.

Value added is a statistical model that uses student-level data, collected over time, to isolate the contribution of a school on learning. This calculation is a noble and necessary undertaking, given what research has shown, time and again, about the significant influence of out-of-school factors on students’ educational success (e.g., parents, tutoring, private art and...

Last week, I attended a forum at the Columbus Metropolitan Club, hosted by our friends at KidsOhio.org, which showcased efforts in the city of Columbus to meet the challenge of Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee. The district’s work thus far is impressive: multiple citywide family literacy events held over the last four months, recruitment of “literacy-buddy” volunteers for in-school service, extensive training for reading interventionists, and even mustering the support of school-bus drivers to encourage reading every day. Is all of this effort going to make every third grader pass the reading test before the...

Most of us are aware by now that Franklin Regional High School, near Pittsburgh, was recently the site of a terrible act of violence. That district also happens to be my home school. There, I had the good fortune to learn under the tutelage of many superb educators. The tragic consequences of the human condition struck home for me, as I’m sure they have for the families of Chardon, Columbine, Sandy Hook, and just last week for the parents and students of Liberty Elementary in Columbus. 

Yet I also caught a glimpse, through the news feeds, of humankind at its finest and bravest: Principal Sam King—a good man whom I remember from my high-school days—helping to disarm the assailant and young men and women casting...