Ohio Education Gadfly
Volume 3, Number 2
January 21, 2009
"We got ours, good luck in getting yours"
How many governors does Ohio have?
Fordham's Flypaper blog
Top high schools in Ohio
From the Front Lines
Hey, Dayton schools are cool, and a lot more than just about education!
Terry Ryan / January 21, 2009
The public schools in Dayton have been struggling academically for years, battling Cleveland most years for the dubious distinction of worst school system in the state. But the city has been blessed to have three truly outstanding high schools. The Dayton Public Schools' Stivers School for the Arts and the Dayton Early College Academy charter school were both honored by U.S. News and World Report as being among America's top public high schools for 2009 (see here). And the city's Catholic high school, Chaminade Julienne (CJ), is another jewel, with many distinguished graduates that have excelled in business, athletics, academics, the arts, and politics.
The Dayton Daily News recently observed that four CJ graduates were sworn in this month as members of the state legislature (see here). The four, all Democrats, are Reps. Clayton Luckie of Dayton and Mike Foley of Cleveland, both Class of 1981; Rep. Roland Winburn of Harrison Township, Class of 1965; and Sen. Tom Roberts of Dayton, Class of 1970. For one high school to have four graduates serving in the Ohio General Assembly at one time is unprecedented. It illuminates and demonstrates the quality of education provided by CJ over many years.
It is odd then that three of these lawmakers-Luckie, Foley, and Roberts-have opposed the Ohio Educational Choice Scholarship Program (see here) that makes it possible for almost 1,400 children in Dayton to flee their failing public schools for private schools of their
Emmy L. Partin / January 21, 2009
When Gov. Ted Strickland gives his State of the State address next Wednesday and unveils his much-anticipated education-reform and school-funding plan in early February, which governor will show up?
Will it be the governor whose first biennial budget proposal in 2007 would have effectively snuffed out the charter sector in Ohio, or the one who now observes "I don't think all charters are bad; I think there are good charters" (see here)? Will it be the Strickland who, in July 2007, said that then-Superintendent Susan Zelman "has the skills to be a superb leader of elementary and secondary education in Ohio" or the one who, eight months later, struck out at Zelman, telling the Cincinnati Enquirer editorial board that "she's not a leader, she's not an advocate, she's not a good manager. She's an academician, a psychometrician, a statistician" (see here). Will it be the governor who launched a statewide tour to listen to the public on the topic of education, or the one who used his power to appoint State Board of Education members to seat two union-endorsed candidates who were recently rejected by their local voters (see here)?
In any case, we're certain to see a man who is hanging his gubernatorial success on his education plan, so even at this late hour, people continue to offer him their advice and hopes.
Ohio's philanthropic community weighed in this week with Beyond Tinkering: Creating Real Opportunities for Today's Learners
January 21, 2009
Catch Ohio angles on the Thomas B. Fordham Institute's Flypaper blog (see here). Last week Mike Lafferty commented on U.S. Sen. George Voinovich's decision to retire on Jan. 12; Emmy Partin blogged about the Ohio Board of Regents plan to streamline computer software and technology services to save money on Jan. 13; Terry Ryan commented on peace feelers between the traditional education sector and the charter school world on Jan. 14; and Mike Lafferty commented on what strings the feds should attach to education bailout money on Jan. 16.
January 21, 2009
What makes a great high school? In a new feature from Greatschools.net (see here) parents can find out what other parents of children in high schools are saying makes a high school great and study the schools for themselves. The list represents the diversity of Ohio's school sector-there are two district schools on the list, one charter school that serves drop-outs, an online virtual school, and a private school. Greatschools.net is an independent, nonprofit organization that rates schools across the country and it has the mission of improving schools by getting parents involved. The Top Five Ohio high school feature gives ratings for the following:
- Top Performing - Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati (see here)
- Top Performing Low Income - Wadsworth High School in Wadsworth (see here)
- Most Improved - Life Skills Center of Southeast Ohio in Columbus (see here)
- Parents' Choice Public School - Ohio Virtual Academy High, a statewide cyberschool (see here)
- Parents' Choice Private School - Heartland Christian High School in Columbiana (see here)
Congratulations to these schools and others that are meeting the diverse needs of their students.
Mike Lafferty / January 21, 2009
The Dayton Public Schools has decided on one way to handle the problem of low test scores and declining enrollment.
They've hired a flack.
That's right, faced with its annual inability to get it right in the classroom, the Dayton school board will begin paying $6,000 a month to Burges & Burges Strategists, a Cleveland public relations firm, to burnish the district's image and perform other types of PR work (see here).
Interim Superintendent Kurt Stanic, quoted in the Dayton Daily News, said the district needs to explain to the public how it is spending money from the passage of last year's school levy.
That's funny since Burges worked for the Dayton schools to get the levy approved.
Burges didn't have to bid on the contract and perhaps that's fair given its monumental challenge. The firm's assignment is to work on "image and brand enhancement," according to the Dayton Daily News' Anthony Gottschlich. Good luck. The Dayton schools are mired in academic watch (a D on the state report card), and the district has lost a quarter of its students in the last eight years.
Not every board member thinks hiring the firm is a good idea. "It doesn't look good," Joe Lacey said. "We're acting like a 30,000-student district and we're not....We're last place in the state in performance and I don't think the answer to that is to get a slogan with more punch to it."
In Cincinnati, the school board is taking
Beyond Tinkering: Creating Real Opportunities for Today's Learners and for Generations of Ohioans to Come
Chester E. Finn, Jr. / January 21, 2009
Ohio Grantmakers Forum
Editor's note: The Ohio-based Fordham Institute staff participated in the development of the Ohio Grantmakers Forum's (OGF) report Beyond Tinkering: Creating Real Opportunities for Today's Learners and for Generations of Ohioans to Come, which was released today. We were one group among 33 stakeholder organizations, and 43 people, involved in the months-long process to generate 11 recommendations for improving Ohio's K-12 public schools. As the introduction to the OGF report notes, "With a common commitment, this diverse group of Ohioans worked together for six months. There was give and take on many issues, but they pushed themselves to steer away from the lowest common denominators."
We signed our names to the report and endorsed it because we agreed with the goals of the report, and with the majority of the eleven recommendations. We agree fully with our OGF colleagues that Ohio needs to 1) significantly increase education attainment levels for all of its citizens, 2) align much more closely the knowledge and skills of its high school graduates with the expectations of college and the workplace, 3) close persistent achievement gaps, 4) better prepare its young people to compete internationally, and 5) make learning more relevant to young people's lives.
Where we respectfully disagree with the report relates to the recommendation that Ohio should "Reevaluate and revise its academic standards." Fordham's president Chester (Checker) E. Finn, Jr. explains why Ohio's lawmakers should march down this path