Ohio Education Gadfly
Volume 1, Number 11
April 26, 2006
Teaching Rating Deadline Looms
By Kathryn Mullen Upton
Hope for America's Schools: Lessons for Ohio
Can Ohio Handle Union-Sponsored Charter Schools?
The Schools That Dare Not Speak Their Name
A Consumer Guide for School Operators
Be a Part of the GreatSchools Network
Kathryn Mullen Upton / April 26, 2006
The school year’s end approaches, and teachers in Ohio are scrambling to make sure they are “highly qualified” by the last day of class, as required by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
Under NCLB, a teacher must have at least a bachelor’s degree, full state licensure, and competence in the subject areas they teach to be considered highly qualified. The requirement differs slightly for charter schools, where teachers may hold any state license (full, temporary, conditional, or substitute) and still be considered highly qualified. This gives charter schools the flexibility to hire non-traditional educators.
Despite Ohio’s best efforts to meet the federal highly qualified requirement, it is unlikely that all teachers in the state will be highly qualified by the end of the school year. As of late 2005, the Ohio Department of Education reported that just 92.5 percent of teachers met the federal definition of highly qualified.
And what if Ohio fails to have 100 percent of its teachers rated highly qualified? Well, our state won’t be alone. Very few, if any, states are expected to have 100 percent of their teachers so labeled by this summer. U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, recognizing this fact, announced last October that states will not lose federal funds if they are making good faith efforts to comply with the law. However, if they employ teachers that have not met the requirements, school leaders will have to send letters to parents alerting them to the
April 26, 2006
This essay is authored by Kati Haycock, director of Education Trust, and presents an overview of the themes she will discuss on May 10 at her an address in Columbus. The event, which is open to the public, is sponsored by KidsOhio.org. To register, click here.
Every year countless children enter America’s schools lacking the knowledge and skills we expect of them. Sometimes it’s poverty that’s to blame. Other times, there is a language barrier or family problem. Regardless of the reason, however, the fact remains that they’re behind.
If we were to organize our K-12 educational system to attack early on the gap between those who enter school prepared, and those not prepared, we could lift these children up. Yet we’ve done the opposite. Instead of giving those children lacking fundamental skills more of what they need to improve, we give them less.
How does that happen? Sometimes policymakers' decisions affecting the education of poor and minority children are to blame. For example, policies that send fewer state and local dollars to schools serving advantaged children than to those serving concentrations of poor children.
But other times, it’s the decisions made by educators and school boards—especially in Ohio, where spending on high- and low-poverty schools is more equitable, and where high-minority-population schools receive a little more per student than low-poverty schools—that can be most influential. These include choices about what to expect of whom, what to teach to whom, and perhaps the most damaging
Terry Ryan / April 26, 2006
Both the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) and the Ohio Education Association (OEA) have hinted in recent weeks that they are going to work to unionize charter school teachers. The move is not unique to Ohio. The American Federation of Teachers, for example, now represents teachers in 30 charter schools scattered across ten states.
Moreover, in New York City the United Federation of Teachers has opened an elementary charter school and has plans to open a secondary school in September. In California, Green Dot Public Schools operates five high-performing charter schools in Los Angeles and the teachers are part of Green Dot Public Schools’ teachers union.
But the overall good will that exists between charters and the unions outside Ohio is not to be found here. That’s because the OFT is aggressively trying to stop charter schools. Consider the case Ohio Federation of Teachers et al. v. Ohio State Board of Education, which is pending before the state Supreme Court. Both supporters and opponents of charter schools are watching to see if the high court rules in favor of the OFT, and decision that would mean:
- Ohio’s charter school statute violates the Ohio Constitution;
- further appropriations to charter schools would end; and
- A Writ of Mandamus will be issued that compels Ohio to recover state funds—hundreds of millions of dollars—that have been appropriated to charter schools since 1998.
It’s easy to see why charter supporters in the Buckeye State believe the efforts of the OFT
Chester E. Finn, Jr. / April 26, 2006
That Oprah has discovered school reform is probably a good thing, if only because she adds middlebrow legitimacy and an immense audience to most of the causes that she embraces, and because far too many Americans (middle-, high-, and low-brow alike) need reminding their schools, too, not just those across town, need a kick in the pants.
Her two-part discussion on April 11 and 12 had millions of viewers. It had some fine moments and did a competent job of framing “the problem” with primary-secondary education in the U.S. It included an impassioned, convincing talk by Bill and Melinda Gates about the urgency of radical reform, in which their foundation is investing many millions. The two-part show also profiled three terrific schools that have succeeded in boosting the achievement of disadvantaged kids, thus illustrating what can be done despite the many barriers to change erected by the education establishment and the political system. Sacramento’s St. Hope Public Schools, San Diego’s High Tech High, and the District of Columbia’s KIPP school are all swell examples of schools that beat the odds.
What nobody on the Oprah show let their millions of views know, however, is that all three of these fine educational institutions are charter schools—and schools of choice. The word “charter” was never uttered—not by Oprah, not by the Gateses, not by the people describing these schools. The very omission of the word begs the conclusion that the show’s planners and producers banned
Kristina Phillips-Schwartz / April 26, 2006
In Ohio, educational management organizations (EMOs) play a significant role in educating children in charter schools. In fact, many charter schools in Ohio are operated by EMOs, and these serve an ever expanding percentage of the state’s charter students. Unfortunately, there has been very little research available to show what impact these providers have had on children’s actual learning.
A new report by the Comprehensive School Reform Quality Center (CSRQ) is one of the first in the nation to quantify the impact of CMOs on education. The CSRQ Center Report on Education Service Providers evaluates the effectiveness and quality of seven of the largest EMOs in the country; most have some schools in Ohio.
Overall, the study found that only one model, Edison, has a solid body of evidence that it has steadily and consistently improved student achievement. The other models either don’t have enough evidence to rate one way or the other, or declined to give evidence to the researchers.
To read this important report click here.
April 26, 2006
GreatSchools.net, the nation’s premier provider of online K-12 information, is embarking on an ambitious new project to provide quality educational information to Dayton parents. This project, a part of the GreatSchools Network, will bring comprehensive, audience-appropriate material to Dayton parents in conjunction with personalized workshops to help parents choose the right school for their children and support their children’s educational success.
The Dayton Outreach Program Manager will work to bring these resources and services to Dayton parents. Most work will be conducted from Dayton; however, occasional travel to the GreatSchools San Francisco office may be necessary. To get more information on this position and how to apply surf here.