Ohio Education Gadfly
Volume 6, Number 12
June 6, 2012
Peering into the future of blended learning
I’ve seen the future of blended learning and it is exciting. The Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust (CEE-Trust) organized visits to three cutting edge schools and Silicon Valley-based education entrepreneurs Junyo and Education Elements.
News and Analysis
Teach for America comes to Southwest Ohio
For more than 20 years, Teach For America (TFA) has taught children in some of America’s toughest schools. In August TFA will have teachers in the Buckeye State for the first time.
News and Analysis
Extreme school ratings: Ohio’s proposed gap closure indicator requires greater scrutiny
The U.S. Department of Education recently granted Ohio relief from No Child Left Behind’s (NCLB) most ponderous mandates.
From the Front Lines
Creating a charter management organization: Q & A with founder and executive director Andrew Boy
Columbus Collegiate Academy (CCA) opened in 2008, and it has now launched the newly-formed United Schools Network, a nonprofit charter management organization (CMO).
From Potential to Action: Bringing Social Impact Bonds to the US
Could educational institutions benefit from SIBs?
The Importance of Being in School: A Report on Absenteeism in the Nation’s Public Schools
Over the past few years, much has been made of students’ “time in learning”— but what about chronic absenteeism?
School Board Case Studies
School boards impact education big timeh
EVENT: Is American Education Coming Apart?
Terry Ryan / June 6, 2012
I’ve seen the future of blended learning and it is exciting. The Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust (CEE-Trust) organized visits to three cutting edge schools and Silicon Valley-based education entrepreneurs Junyo and Education Elements. The CEE-Trust contingent included 17 educators, new school developers and philanthropists from New Orleans, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Denver, Kansas City, Rochester, NY and Nashville.
The group visited the following charter schools:
- Aspire Eres Academy in Oakland. Eres operator is Aspire Public Schools. Aspire is one of the nation’s top-performing charter school operators and serves about 12,000 K-12 students in 34 schools across California. Aspire Eres is Aspire’s first foray into blended learning. The Eres Academy serves about 220 students in grades K-8. The student population is 98 percent Hispanic, 97 percent free and reduced-price lunch and 60 percent English Language Learners.
- Downtown College Prep (DCP) in San Jose. DCP opened its first building in 2000 and currently operates a high school and a middle school serving grades 6-7. The flagship high school serves about 400 students, while the DCP Alum Rock middle school is currently serving about 180 students. The middle school will serve grades 6-8 in 2012-13 and expects 300 students at full capacity. Students at DCP Alum Rock spend 90 minutes a day in a learning lab run by the school’s blended learning wizard Greg Klein. Klein and his team have developed a blended learning program that provides students with a variety of offerings including
June 6, 2012
For more than 20 years, Teach For America (TFA) has taught children in some of America’s toughest schools. In August TFA will have teachers in the Buckeye State for the first time. Last summer Governor John Kasich signed legislation that permitted TFA to place 90 teachers in 14 Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky schools over the next three years. Partner districts and schools include Cincinnati Public Schools, Covington Independent Public in Northern Kentucky, and Dayton-area charter schools (two sponsored by Fordham).
TFA officially launched in Southwest Ohio in late May when over 30 corps members spent the week in Cincinnati and Dayton visiting schools and acclimating themselves to the communities they will be working in. Corps members had the opportunity to meet with parents, teachers, and school leaders from communities in and around Cincinnati and Dayton.
At one orientation event, hosted by Dayton View Academy—a charter which will have two TFA teachers in 2012-13—Dayton community leaders discussed the city’s history, education challenges, and the potential for TFA to be a driving force for educational improvement. Ben Lindy, TFA’s southwest Ohio executive director, led the conversation between the corps members and Daytonians. Community leaders such as Dr. Tom Lasley, former dean of education at The University of Dayton; Dr. T.J. Wallace, current executive director of the Dayton Leadership Academies; and David Taylor, principal of the Dayton Early College Academy (DECA) all provided the new corps members perspective about Dayton’s past, present, and future.
Aaron Churchill / June 6, 2012
The U.S. Department of Education recently granted Ohio relief from No Child Left Behind’s (NCLB) most ponderous mandates. (Note, while the USDOE has approved this waiver the Ohio General Assembly has not yet passed the necessary legislation to make this all real). To receive relief from NCLB, Ohio was required to present a school accountability plan that would put its 1.75 million students on a college- and career-ready path. Ohio’s NCLB waiver promises a revamped accountability system based on three indicators of school quality: (1) student achievement, (2) student growth, and (3) achievement gap closure. The three indicator scores (reported as percentages) are summed and averaged—each given equal weight—to determine a school’s overall performance.
The proposed system’s third indicator, gap closure, is a newly-conceived measure of how well nationally-defined student subgroups (e.g., racial, economically disadvantaged, special education, English language learners) perform on standardized tests compared to a state-designated baseline test score—an annual measureable objective (AMO). All school buildings have at least one student subgroup; however, schools are only accountable for subgroup scores if they have 30 or more students in any of the nine NCLB-defined subgroups.
To gauge how well schools would perform under the proposed accountability system, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) simulated schools’ performance using 2010-11 report card data. ODE’s simulated results, however, put into question the validity of their gap closure indicator. .
Here’s why. Consider the distribution of Ohio school buildings’ overall rating (Figure
June 6, 2012
In addition to the policy and advocacy work that we do at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, our sister organization the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation sponsors eight charter schools in Ohio. In August Fordham will sponsor three new start-ups (one each in Dayton, Columbus and Cleveland). Columbus Collegiate Academy (CCA) opened in 2008, and it has now launched the newly-formed United Schools Network, a nonprofit charter management organization (CMO). United Schools Network will consolidate the operations of CCA and launch the new 6-8 Columbus Collegiate Academy- West Campus.
To learn more about all this we sat down with CCA founder Andrew Boy to hear first-hand what he hopes to achieve through the United Schools Network.
Q. Why did you decide to form the United Schools Network (USN)?
A. While launching a high-performing, high-need, school in Columbus is challenging and satisfying, we want to do more. We recognize that we have a unique opportunity to do so. If CCA can create excellence in our flagship school, then there is no reason we cannot similarly create excellent schools in other areas of Columbus and in other parts of the Midwest. It is in pursuit of this goal that we have created an organization to support the growth and replication of schools based on the United Schools Network model.
Q. What will be the main function of USN?
A. A “home office,” which will house the Chief Executive and other key senior leaders of the organization,
Aaron Churchill / June 6, 2012
McKinsey & Company research consultants describe the potential of social impact bonds (SIBs) as an innovative financing tool for scaling social programs. An SIB is a “bond” in the sense that private investors supply capital to realize financial return. An SIB is “social” in that the investment capital is used to “scale up” social service programs to increase their reach and social impact.
SIBs differ from traditional social sector financing in two ways: First, SIBs are vehicles to grow proven intervention programs. Since governments tend to fund remediation programs (e.g., incarceration) and private philanthropy gravitates toward funding start-ups or capital projects, operating funds for scaling intervention programs remains scarce. SIBs would fill this financing void.
Second, unlike traditional social sector funding, SIBs involve a financier and private investors—which could range from pension funds to mom and pop investors. Traditionally, social sector funding has been one-directional, with a government or philanthropic entity directly financing a nonprofit. Under the SIB framework, additional actors are involved: a financier sells “bonds” to investors who fund the social service provider. If the service provider meets its service performance objectives, a governmental entity reimburses the financier who, in turn, returns the investment plus interest to the investors. The involvement of additional stakeholders increases the flow of funds, but also increases the complexity—and cost—of financing social programs.
Daniela Fairchild / June 6, 2012
Over the past few years, much has been made of students’ “time in learning”—whether more time on task while in class, extended school days, or more days in school each year. Yet little attention has been paid to chronic absenteeism—missing more than 10 percent of a year’s school days—mainly because few states track these data. Instead, most states report average daily attendance, which can mask high levels of chronic absenteeism. This exploratory study parses attendance data from six states (FL, GA, MD, NE, OR, and RI) and finds that, on average, 14 percent of students are chronically absent. To put this in perspective, if extrapolated to the national student population, the U.S would have more chronically absent students than charter school students.
In addition, this report offers information about who is most likely to miss class. The researchers found that low-income students are most likely to miss a lot of school, as are the youngest and oldest students. High-poverty urban areas see up to a third of their students miss 10 percent or more of their courses each year. Absenteeism is also a problem in rural poor locations. But neither gender nor ethnicity appears to play a role in chronic absenteeism.
In Ohio, as discussed in Building a Grad Nation, we need to do a much better job at tracking and solving the problem of chronic absenteeism. Although there are a couple of programs that are implemented at individual schools,
Hanif Abdurraqib / June 6, 2012
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW) examines school boards in 13 cities to see how the business community has played a role in school governance. The cities profiled were Atlanta, Austin, Bismarck, ND, Denver, Detroit, Duval County, FL, Laramie, WY, Long Beach, CA, Los Angeles, Newark, NJ, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Fordham’s hometown of Dayton, Ohio.
School boards impact education big time. They are involved in everything from setting policies on teacher evaluation systems, to hiring district leadership, to negotiating collective bargaining agreements.
The Chamber report analyzed the challenges and successes of school boards in cities with challenging social, political and fiscal issues. The authors studied cities that are in various stages of growth, or in some cases, decline.
Dayton, the only Ohio city profiled, is as a city with a declining population. The report described the Dayton Public School board as in various stages of disarray. Fordham’s own Terry Ryan was quoted as questioning whether Dayton Public Schools’ board can effectively govern a school district in a city that faces profound challenges, including poverty, diminishing financial resources, a weakened business community, and a collapsed housing infrastructure. “I think it’s fair to ask, Can any elected school board deal with the challenges of a place like Dayton?”
School Board Case Studies
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Institute for a Competitive Workforce
June 6, 2012
- It’s not quite time to celebrate for Ohio. The Buckeye State’s NCLB waiver was approved by the federal government, contingent on implementing a tougher school grading system. However, as of right now, state legislators have stripped the new evaluation plans from the education bill.
- The piece “Millions spent on improving teachers, but little done to make sure it’s working” by The Hechinger Report describes the state of professional development in schools, and it’s less than desirable. With federal money flowing through programs like Race to the Top and School Improvement Grants that are intended to improve on-the-job teacher training, the report explains that finding professional development vendors is left up to schools. New York City has 900 vendors, which makes finding one an extremely difficult task for administrators.
- Louisiana is starting one of the nation’s largest voucher programs this fall by giving students the money needed to pay tuition at 120 private schools in the state. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a case out of Cleveland that vouchers may be used to pay for religious education so long as the state is not promoting one faith over any other.
- Cities like Dayton, Ohio are realizing that to keep alive, they must keep college graduates. In order to achieve this, Learn to Earn’s Tom Lasley says there must be a change of mind-set: “We have to go from one where people think of themselves as being in a high-school-attending
June 6, 2012
For all the talk of gaps in achievement, opportunity, and funding between ethnic and racial groups in American education, a different divide may also be splitting our schools and our future. In his acclaimed and controversial recent book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, scholar/pundit/provocateur Charles Murray describes a widening class schism. On Tuesday, June 26, he will deliver a lecture on what that divide means for U.S. schools and education policy. Register now to webcast the lecture, from noon to 1:30 p.m. EST.