Ohio Education Gadfly
Volume 3, Number 31
November 11, 2009
The incredible shrinking Dayton
Ohio falls in line with common standards project
Timing of funding panel calls its impact into question
Making middle schools work
Another Ohio ed professor throws the baby out with the bathwater
Talking education in the Gem City
Tell us what you think
Terry Ryan / November 11, 2009
In the last decade the Dayton Public Schools (DPS) have contracted by more than 10,000 students; seeing enrollment decline from 24,916 students in 2000 to 14,393 students in 2009. During this same period Dayton has become one of the country’s leading charter school markets.
Annually since 2006 the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools has reported that Dayton is on its list of top 10 charter communities in the United States by market share. In 2009, Dayton is fifth on the list behind New Orleans; Washington, DC; Detroit; and Kansas City (see here).
Over the years such numbers and ratings have triggered angst and anger among district officials and their supporters. In 2007, for example, then DPS board president Yvonne Isaacs captured the feelings of many when she told a gathering of education journalists that “Over the nine years of charter schools in Dayton the district has lost $283 million that was transferred to charter schools. It would not have cost us nearly that much to educate 6,000 students, we believe” (see here).
But, there is more behind these numbers than meets the eye. Charters have played a role in draining DPS of students, but the city has lost even more children to the suburbs, other states, and private schools (1,568 children attend private schools in Dayton using a state-provided voucher), as illustrated in the chart below. Consider that in 2001 there were 25,638 Dayton students enrolled in public schools (22,590
November 11, 2009
Editor’s Note: Last spring Fordham released a report examining Ohio’s brain drain, Losing Ohio’s Future: Why college graduates flee the Buckeye State and what might be done about it (see here). We found that even though 88 percent of native Ohioans attending seven top universities are proud of this state, over half plan to leave Ohio after graduation. Among non-Ohioans, the reality is far worse—79 percent plan to go elsewhere after earning their degrees.
As an organization with deep roots in Ohio and a strong commitment to its future, we certainly weren’t happy to report that Ohio’s best-and-brightest college students are fleeing in droves, but the findings have spurred useful conversations among lawmakers, policy makers, and the general public about how - and why - Ohio needs to do a better job of retaining its top talent. As part of this continuing conversation, we invited Teach For America recruiter and Worthington, Ohio, native Courter Shimeall, who spends his days interacting with the state’s top college students, to share his insights on the relationship between Teach For America and Ohio’s brain drain.
I see the “brain drain” in action every day as a recruiter for Teach For America, a non-profit organization that recruits top college graduates from all academic backgrounds, trains them, and places them as teachers in America’s low-income schools. Because there is no Teach For America site in Ohio, an inherent part of my job is convincing talented Ohio
Mike Lafferty / November 11, 2009
Ohio has made official its plan to adopt common national academic standards for mathematics and English language arts in an effort to take advantage of opportunities to partner with other states and also better-position Ohio to tap a few hundred million dollars in federal Race to the Top education grants.
The Obama Administration has made it clear that common standards make more sense than 50 individual state standards, and that adopting common standards is a prerequisite for winning a piece of the more than $4 billion in discretionary federal Race to the Top funding. Ohio has been a participant in a 48-state effort to create common standards for mathematics and English language arts. However, Ohio’s intentions for the common standards effort had been unclear (see here and here).
Ohio Department of Education (ODE) officials advised the State Board of Education Monday that Ohio will adopt the Common Core standards in math and English language arts. State law requires the board to adopt new standards for math, English language arts, science, and social studies by June 30, and board member Michael L. Collins, from Westerville, said there should be plenty of time to get the work done.
The Common Core standards in math and English language arts will be released for review in December and should be completed by the end of January. ODE will then take the Common Core standards language in whole and add, as permitted by the Common Core
Emmy L. Partin / November 11, 2009
Alongside putting in place Governor Strickland’s “evidence-based” model of school funding, House Bill 1 – the state’s biennial budget – called for an advisory panel to issue “recommendations for revisions to the educational adequacy components of the school funding model,” among a slew of other charges.
Appointments have been made to the panel, and the group’s work will get underway soon. There has been much chatter around Capitol Square about who is on the council (a who’s who of players from the state’s political and education establishment) and what they’ll ultimately recommend (odds are they’ll call for directing more money to schools, see here). But such chatter, and the council itself, may be moot because of political timing.
The Ohio School Funding Advisory Council’s recommendations are due December 1, 2010, four weeks after the gubernatorial election. If Kasich prevails, it seems unlikely that he’ll heed the advice of a panel convened by the previous administration to improve its flagship policy initiative (in similar fashion, Strickland largely ignored the Taft-era Achieve/McKinsey report on Ohio’s education system, here, when he assumed office).
There is reason to believe that Governor Strickland won’t embrace the panel’s recommendations either, especially if they call for more resources to be poured into the system. Whoever takes the oath of office in January 2011 will assume a multi-billion dollar budget deficit (though the exact amount of that deficit is up for debate). A second-term Governor Strickland could have his
Jamie Davies O'Leary / November 11, 2009
Teacher quality is arguably the most important variable impacting student achievement. Americans have generally accepted this truism, either through common sense or nostalgia, and policy wonks and politicians (armed with substantive evidence that good teaching matters) are elevating teacher quality as a primary focus of reform and pursuing relevant policy changes.
Ohio House Bill 1 moved teacher tenure decisions back from the third to the seventh year of a teacher’s career, a move with potential to help weed out ineffective teachers. The legislation also lowered the legal bar for terminating teachers and laid out requirements for a four-year teacher residency program. Both are attempts to improve the quality or quantity (through retention or recruitment) of teachers.
On a national level, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has begun visiting America’s teacher colleges, calling for them to reform the way they train teachers and put an end to “mediocrity” (see his remarks here and here). Duncan references the teacher shortage: more than half of the 3.2 million teachers working in America’s schools are Baby Boomers nearing retirement, and the U.S. Department of Education projects one million new teaching slots by 2014. The message seems straightforward -- we need better prepared teachers, and we need more of them.
Two recent reports view the teacher quality issue through a slightly different lens. Education Sector’s Teachers At Work: Improving Teacher Quality Through School Design (see here) and Public Impact’s 3x for All: Extending the Reach
Kathryn Mullen Upton, Esq. / November 11, 2009
The Columbus Dispatch writes that "the truth about Columbus middle schools is brutal." More than 70 percent of the district’s middle schools are rated "D" or "F" by the state and none of them met federal Adequate Yearly Progress targets. Through perseverance and collaboration two Columbus charter schools are working to change this urban education narrative. Read the full post here.
Jamie Davies O'Leary / November 11, 2009
Standards-based reform in education is imperfect. The ways that states and districts assess kids, design tests, and attempt to hold teachers and schools accountable are bound to be flawed, lead to unintended consequences, and create many enemies along the way. But I wish the opponents of standards-based reform in Ohio would at least get a little more creative. Read the full post here.
November 11, 2009
On October 29, the Ohio Grantmakers Forum, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, the Frank M. Tait Foundation, and the Fred and Alice Wallace Memorial Charitable Foundation hosted an education forum in Dayton to talk about the state of education in that city as well as Ohio and the nation. Fordham’s Terry Ryan was a participant in the panel discussion “Making a Difference: What’s Been Accomplished and What Needs to be Done,” along with Tom Lasley, University of Dayton; Kurt Stanic, Dayton Public Schools; Margy Stevens, Montgomery County Educational Service Center; and moderator Scott Elliott of the Dayton Daily News. Check out selected segments of that panel on our website here.
November 11, 2009
As we consider changes and improvements to the Ohio Education Gadfly, we want to know what our readers think. We invite you to take a short survey about the Gadfly (accessible online at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=J3kL2UiqJG3CBosslxNEzQ_3d_3d).