Ohio Education Gadfly
Volume 2, Number 22
October 22, 2008
Politics trumps the law and what's right for children
News and Analysis
Charters fight against constant guerilla warfare to survive
News and Analysis
National report: don't stretch the test
Delisle to take over ODE in interesting times
School accountability is a hot button topic in Ohio and across the United States. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) made school accountability a federal matter when, in 2001, Congress and President Bush reached across the political divide to set ambitious goals and accountability standards for all schools and children. Since then, however, school accountability has become a partisan pinball and children have been the losers. Nowhere is the politicization of school accountability more obvious than in the Buckeye State.
Exhibit one is the state attorney general's ongoing legal actions against troubled charter schools seeking their closure for allegedly violating the state's charitable trust laws. At the behest of the Ohio Education Association (see here), former, and subsequently humiliated, AG Marc Dann spent untold energy and scarce public resources going after four underperforming charter schools in southwestern Ohio. One of the cases was shot down in a Montgomery County court last month (see here). The judge ruled the attorney general has no statutory or common law charitable trust oversight over public charter schools. Despite this defeat, and the obviously partisan nature of the legal action, current Attorney General Nancy Rogers is considering an appeal, while the Democratic candidate for AG, Richard Cordray, insists the "suits have merit" and he would appeal the case (see here).
Meanwhile, Ohio has 99 public schools (nine are charters) serving about 66,500 children that have failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)
Mike Lafferty / October 22, 2008
Charter-school supporters are calling a Toledo effort to require every new school to have a cafeteria, gym, and other facilities the latest skirmish in an on-going guerrilla war against charters.
Faced with strong opposition to the measure, the city plan commission tabled the proposal until Dec. 4 (see here). It would not only require a cafeteria and gym but also a media lab, library, and outdoor play area in every new school or any school that is expanded by 10 percent.
Unlike public district schools, charters don't receive any state building money from the Ohio School Facilities Commission (which has provided over $5 billion to local districts for new school construction since 2002), said Jennifer Dillion, who is the sponsor representative for the Madison Avenue School of Arts in Toledo. She called the proposal unfair.
A finance officer for another charter school said adding a cafeteria could easily cost $130,000 using an estimated construction cost of $100 per square foot. A 50-foot-by-50-foot gym could run $250,000.
"Toledo has been very resistant every time a charter school comes in and (they) keep finding more and more reasons to prevent us coming in," said Ron Adler, president of the Ohio Coalition for Quality Education, a Dayton-based pro-charter group. He said the proposal, if adopted, would amount to a de facto moratorium on new charters in Toledo.
Adler said the proposal doesn't take into account that some charter-schools, such as drop-out recovery schools, aren't required to provide
October 22, 2008
Two very important questions face educators in determining when an Ohio high-school senior should become an Ohio high-school graduate. First, how much does that student know? And, second, exactly how should that question be answered?
With educators in many states, including Ohio, looking at using the ACT and SAT as high-school graduation tests, a new report says they should proceed with caution.
The Report of the Commission on the Use of Standardized Tests in Undergraduate Admission, issued in September, says it would be wrong to stretch these tests, twisting them to measure knowledge or ability for which they are not designed. The report comes as Ohio educators are increasingly chit-chatting about using the ACT to replace the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT). Certainly, something new is needed, if for no other reason than the OGT measures only what a high-school student may know up to the 10th grade. Gov. Strickland is interested. In his series of meetings with education stakeholders, the governor has hinted at using the ACT-in combination with other measures-to replace the OGT (see here).
In 2004, the Stark Education Partnership conducted a study (see here) that recommended that the state should grant waivers to districts to use the ACT and/or ACT WorkKeys in place of the Ohio Graduation Test in conjunction with end-of-course tests or in conjunction with the social studies component of the OGT. In 2007, Kentucky began using the ACT and its related exams to help inform
Emmy L. Partin / October 22, 2008
When Deborah Delisle takes the reins at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) she will face a long list of challenges, not the least of which is getting to know a very large set of new bosses.
Delisle, the superintendent of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights schools, was the unanimous pick of the State Board of Education to become the next state superintendent of public instruction (see here). She will start her new job no later than Dec. 1 and replace Susan Tave Zelman, who is leaving her post at the end of the month to become a senior vice president at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Delisle, however, may not get to know many of the current board members before a large number of them leave. The panel that hired her will not be the one she works for three months from now as more than half of the 19 state board seats could change hands by January (see here).
There's also the governor. Though Gov. Ted Strickland's chief of staff was a member of the search committee and Strickland had glowing things to say about Delisle after her appointment, the governor has not officially given up his intent to effectively takeover ODE by appointing a cabinet-level director of education. Although the superintendent doesn't work for the governor, he's a definite factor. Strickland forced Zelman to leave her post after nearly 10 years in the job and Ohioans will be wondering
October 22, 2008
The National Governors Association
In 2005, each of the nation's 50 governors agreed to implement a formula for calculating a common high-school graduation rate known as "The Compact Formula" to provide consistent and reliable high-school graduation information. States agreed to implement the formula, which uses a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate, improved data collection, and expanded outcome measures to gauge student performance.
Since the governors signed the compact, a number of states have begun making progress toward integrating the formula into their data-collection systems. Other states are moving toward augmenting their student tracking systems to gather data on student performance as an interim measure prior to implementing the formula.
Ohio is one of six states trying to implement the formula by 2011. Ohio already has a mechanism in place with four years of student-performance data as well as systems measuring college readiness, graduation rates, and dropout rates and that assess data quality, validity, and reliability.
Recognizing that it takes time for all states to reach full implementation of the formula, the task force provided short-term recommendations that would help states progress toward the formula goal. These recommendations include suggesting how states can extract student performance data from existing data systems and identify short-term ways to measure graduation rates using existing data. Read the report here.