Ohio Education Gadfly
VOLUME 6, NUMBER 24
December 19, 2012
Sandy Hook is an outstanding school
Should we care how much money charter school leaders make?
Executive compensation must be transparent and carefully considered.
NEWS & ANALYSIS
What next? Ohio’s education policy agenda in 2013
A review of 2012 and a look ahead at 2013
FROM THE FRONTLINES
If you don’t come to work, you don’t get paid: Q& A with Andy Boy
The second of a seven part series that profiles some of Ohio's most dynamic and effective school leaders.
NEWS & ANALYSIS
Massive open online courses: An end to the traditional classroom?
The question may be when, not if, MOOCs put an end to traditional education.
NEW FROM FORDHAM
Stalled Start? Will a Drop in Proficiency Rates Derail the Common Core?
Forecasting proficiency rates under the PARCC Exams. Also, the Ohio Annual Report Card Analysis, 2011-12.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Fordham Ohio’s 2012 publications
Get your 2012 Fordham Ohio reports here!
SAVE THE DATE
Beating the Odds: Inside Dayton’s high-performing public high schools
Join us at Stivers High School in Dayton to share ideas about what makes schools great. January 15 at 7pm.
Apples and innovation
Bits and bites of education news from Ohio.
Chester E. Finn, Jr. / December 19, 2012
There is very little to be added to what's already been said about Friday's horrendous murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School—President Obama has eloquently expressed the heartfelt feelings of millions, myself included.
But there is one small education point worth noting: Sandy Hook is a terrific school. Check out its solid "10" from GreatSchools, based on its as-good-as-any-in-the-state academic achievement. Read the glowing comments you will find there from half a dozen parents. You can also read the school's "core character attributes" in the school’s mission statement. And you will say to yourself, as I did, that this is the kind of school anyone would be satisfied indeed to have one's daughter or son attend. May those who perished rest in peace. And may Sandy Hook, in time, resume its outstanding education record.
Terry Ryan / December 19, 2012
How much is too much when it comes to compensation of district superintendents and charter school administrators?
In the last couple of months several newspapers have run front page stories on the compensation being paid school administrators in Ohio. In late September, the Cincinnati Enquirer ran a series of stories on what superintendents and treasurers in southwest Ohio and northern Kentucky were making, while just this past weekend the Dayton Daily News ran a story on the overall compensation paid a charter school administrator and her family to run seven schools in Ohio. And, the Youngstown Vindicator ran an editorial on Tuesday pointing out the insanity of the Youngstown City School District’s Cadillac health care plan for that fiscally and academically bankrupt district’s administrators and teachers. I also sit on my local school district’s business advisory council and one of the thorniest issues the group grapples with is compensation of top school administrators. Talking money and compensation for public sector employees is a highly sensitive issue politically, especially since the economic downturn of 2008.
My basic view on matters of compensation is pretty straightforward: Highly effective superintendents and charter school operators deserve to be paid well as they work long hours and deal with myriad and complicated human, fiscal, academic, and political issues. I believe the same thing about great teachers. Pay them what they are worth. But, public sector employee compensation should be transparent (no hidden benefits
Emmy L. Partin / December 19, 2012
The 129th General Assembly wrapped up its business last week. Included in the flurry of lame-duck legislation sent to the governor’s desk was House Bill 555. Its major provisions include:
- Moving Ohio from our current school-rating system (and its nebulous terms like Continuous Improvement) to an A-to-F rating system based on broader performance measures that more accurately gauge how schools and districts are actually performing;
- Establishing closure criteria for drop-out recovery schools;
- Establishing a new charter-sponsor evaluation process; and
- Adding a second application period for the Educational Choice Scholarship Program.
Unlike previous non-budget years, 2012 was a busy one for education policymaking. Two other major education bills were signed into law: Senate Bill 316 – the governor’s mid-biennium budget for education – and House Bill 525 – legislation formalizing the Cleveland Mayor Jackson’s Education Reform Plan.
SB 316 included many small tweaks to state education law; but it also included three big policy changes. Specifically, it:
- Established a third-grade “reading guarantee” and accompanying diagnostic and intervention requirements;
- Increased accountability for charter-school sponsors, drop-out recovery schools, and teacher-preparation programs; and
- Made explicit that “blended-learning” school models are permitted in Ohio.
HB 525, which applies only to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District:
- Gives the district superintendent greater authority to improve the district’s lowest-performing schools;
- Codifies a new teacher evaluation system, eliminates seniority as a sole/primary factor in personnel decisions, and gives principals more authority in hiring and evaluation of teachers;
- Establishes a “Transformation Alliance” to screen potential charter sponsors in the city
Ellen Belcher / December 19, 2012
In both our role as researchers and as a charter school authorizer we have come to appreciate over-and-over again the critical importance of school leaders in making schools great. In our “Needles in a Haystack: Lessons from Ohio’s high-performing, high-need urban schools” report from 2010 we identified school leaders as one of the keys to these schools’ success. School leaders drive success for their buildings, and in the schools we authorize (currently 11 buildings serving about 2,700 students) school leaders are pivotal in leading school success and improvement efforts. Public Agenda and the Ohio Business Roundtable have also made it clear how important great school leaders are in their excellent new research on high performing Ohio schools Failure is Not an Option.
There is no harder job than running a successful school building for high-poverty students; nor a more important job. Yet, there are school leaders across the state and the nation who do it day-in and day-out, and too few get recognized for their great work.
We are fortunate that some of these leaders work in schools that Fordham sponsors and it is our privilege to tell a little bit of their stories and the impact they are having on students in Ohio. This Q&A with Andy Boy, the founder and executive director of Columbus Collegiate Academy (CCA), is the second of our seven-part series on school leadership. (Please see our Q&A with Dr. Glenda Brown.) Boy leads
Aaron Churchill / December 19, 2012
Before we know it, the idyllic, tree-lined university campus with its stately brick buildings, grand lecture halls, and manicured lawns may become a relic of the past. What may prompt the demise of the traditional university? Massive open online courses, or MOOCs.
Whether (and when) this will actually happen was precisely the question at a recent seminar, hosted by The Ohio State University’s Harvey Goldberg Center. It was evident that MOOCs have some in the ivory towers spooked, for two reasons: One, they’re free—and how does one compete against free? Two, elite universities are kickstarting MOOCs. Coursera, of which OSU is a participant, is affiliated with top-notch universities like Stanford and Duke. MOOCs are also catching on in Europe as well. So, unlike for-profit online providers of education, such as the University of Phoenix, MOOCs are both free and linked to prestigious institutions.
Despite the upside to MOOCs, as they’re currently designed, it’s far from inevitable that they’ll outflank the traditional university any time soon. They don’t yet grant credit or degrees, and they certainly don’t field football teams. But, it’s clear they have the potential to send the traditional model of higher education into the artifact bin—especially if higher-ed costs continue to balloon.
MOOCs could put an end to the traditional K-12 education model as well. As currently designed, MOOCs could be used in upper grade levels. Gifted students or students with a particular, niche interest could take these
Aaron Churchill / December 19, 2012
Our annual analysis of Ohio’s public school performance data has been released, in full (parts and parcel were released in October). Using publically available data from the Ohio Department of Education’s preliminary 2011-12 Report Card data set, released in October, along with several other sets of data, we examine how schools—traditional public school districts and charter schools—do across the Buckeye State. The report especially focuses on public school performance in four of Ohio’s major cities: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Dayton.
The report includes ten-year trend data on student enrollment and proficiency rates, academic performance results for 2011-12, and a projection of proficiency rates when the Common Core arrives in 2014-15. In short, this report compiles fresh information for policy makers, educators, and parents about how well schools are serving youngsters across Ohio.
To access the report, click on the image below.
Looking for a stocking stuffer for that finicky ed-reformer in your family? Look no further than our collection of publications from 2012. This year’s research reports touched on timely and relevant topics for the Buckeye State such as teacher compensation, the implementation of the Common Core academic standards, student mobility, charter school governance, and special education. Check out our publications below and on our website.
The Louisiana Recovery School District: Lessons for the Buckeye State – by Nelson Smith
Is it time for Ohio to take bolder steps toward turning around its most troubled schools and districts? If so, what might the alternatives look like? In looking for alternatives to simply doing more of the same, Ohio policymakers are looking to the experiences of other states. Among the boldest and most interesting of these is Louisiana’s Recovery School District (RSD), which is accomplishing both significant gains in student achievement and consequential impacts on district-level standards. In this recent report by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute author Nelson Smith ask if and how the RSD concept might be a model for Ohio.
Teacher Compensation Based on Effectiveness: The Harrison (CO) School District's Pay-for-Performance Plan – by F. Mike Miles and Ellen Belcher
This report, authored by Superintendent Mike Miles, takes a detailed look at the Harrison (CO) School District
December 19, 2012
Fifteen percent of Ohio’s high schools are “drop-out factories” – schools that fail to graduate even 60 percent of their students on time. Those students who do graduate often aren’t ready for college or work: College-remediation rates top 70 percent for some of Ohio’s urban school districts.
Yet, some high schools buck these bleak trends and help their students not only graduate, but go on to successful post-secondary careers and opportunities.
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute recently studied six high schools across Ohio that prove that disadvantaged youngsters can learn at levels equal to or greater than their more fortunate peers in the suburbs. Fordham’s forthcoming report, Needles in a Haystack: Lessons from Ohio’s high-performing urban high schools, reports on these exceptional schools and how they help their students excel.
On January 15 in Dayton, two of these schools – Stivers School for the Arts and Dayton Early College Academy – will share their stories. Needles’ author, veteran journalist and former news editor of Life magazine Peter Meyer, will discuss what he learned in these schools and others in Columbus and Cleveland. The event will conclude with a panel discussion among the schools’ leaders and audience Q&A.
Questions we expect to tackle include:
- Can great schools help kids overcome poverty and tough home lives?
- Is there a secret sauce to the success of schools like Stivers and DECA? If so, what is it and can it be replicated in other buildings?
- What is the role of
Jeff Murray / December 19, 2012
- Neither the apple nor its juice falls far from the tree. A Sylvania Southview High School junior (a Toledo-area school) has created an experiment that was published in a professional journal this month. Jasmine Serpen studied the sugar content of bottled juices versus fresh-pressed fruit. She credits the science curriculum of her high school with giving her the tools to persevere and succeed in her research.
- Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was the keynote speaker at the Brookings Institution as it unveiled the 2012 Education Choice and Competition Index. Brookings awarded the Recovery School District in New Orleans with top honors for both the quantity of choices available to parents as well as the availability of information for families.
- The Cleveland Plain Dealer is urging parents to hold Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon’s feet to the fire when it comes to the promises made in his academic turnaround plan. The district is soon to unveil a dashboard on its website noting progress in the four-year implementation plan.
- Reynoldsburg City Schools Superintendent Steve Dackin is no stranger to innovation. With one guiding principle—an excellent education for all students—he led Reynoldsburg to an A+ rating in 2011-12. Check out the Columbus Dispatch’s profile of Dackin and Reynoldsburg.