The Education Gadfly The Ohio
Education
Gadfly
A Bi-weekly Bulletin of News and Analysis from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Volume 5, Number 18. November 2, 2011.
In This Edition

New From Fordham: Florida and Indiana have a "reading guarantee" (third graders who can't read can't move on to fourth grade) but did you know Ohio has one, too? It just hasn't been implemented. Read our take on why this is worth revisiting. Also check out this year's (flat) NAEP scores, a look at Ohio's teacher evaluations in a national context, plus our analysis showing that voucher-using students outperform their peers.

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Editorial

Ohio needs a reading guarantee

Opinion

Why I support the education provisions in the hotly debated SB5

Short Reviews

Strong Support, Low Awareness: Public Perception of the Common Core State Standards

Developing Education Talent Pipelines for Charter Schools

News & Analysis

Putting Ohio's teacher evaluation reforms in a national context

Ohio's NAEP results no surprise

Voucher student performance promising, better data needed

Capital Matters

Local school and government leaders gather to discuss sharing services to improve performance

Editor's Extras

Teacher accountability making strides

Announcement

Charter incubators: the future of high-quality charter schooling 

Innovative pathways to teaching fair at OSU

Editorial

Ohio needs a reading guarantee
By Emmy L. Partin 

Ohio needs an elementary school “reading guarantee.” This was one of several recommendations for improving student achievement in Ohio that were pitched last week by School Choice Ohio at its event highlighting the research of Matt Ladner (senior advisor of policy and research to the Foundation for Excellence in Education). Ladner noted that Florida has embraced a reading guarantee as a key to helping improve student achievement (see Jamie’s blog for more about his research and SCO’s policy recommendations).

Ladner attributed Florida’s success to a set of reforms, one of which was the reading guarantee. In other words, Florida third-grade students cannot advance to fourth grade if they do not pass the state’s third-grade reading assessment. The logic behind this policy is that if students aren’t competent readers by fourth grade, they will struggle to comprehend tougher subject matter in late elementary and middle school and beyond, and will fall further behind academically. A report out last year from the Annie E. Casey Foundation supports this argument. It stated that while the failure to read is consistently linked to higher rates of dropping out of school, “of the fourth graders who took the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading test in 2009, 83 percent of children from low-income families—and 85 percent of low-income students who attend high-poverty schools—failed to reach the ‘proficient’ level in reading.”

Ohio should embrace Ladner’s recommendation, and in fact we already have. We just haven’t earnestly implemented it yet.

The Buckeye State has a history with a “reading guarantee” that goes back to 1997 and the Voinovich administration. Fourteen years ago lawmakers in Ohio acknowledged the fact that all fourth graders should be able to read and as such they enacted a reading guarantee. The legislature passed Senate Bill 55, which laid the groundwork for much of the state education accountability system we have in place today. Among its many provisions was a "fourth-grade reading guarantee." Set to take effect for the 2001-02 school year, it was a fairly stringent measure that stated if a child didn't score "proficient" or better on the state reading test, s/he couldn't progress to fifth grade..

 Ohio should embrace Lader's recommendation, and in fact we already have. We just haven't earnestly implemented it yet.  
   
 

Everyone from parents’ groups to teacher unions was outraged by the requirement. And given the strong local control and heavy local funding base of Ohio’s schools (especially at that time), districts didn’t take kindly to the state encroachment on their local grade-level promotion policies either. Before the measure could take effect, it was ruled an unfunded mandate in 2001 by the Ohio Supreme Court in one of the DeRolph (school-funding lawsuit) rulings. Subsequently, the guarantee was amended by the legislature and watered-down to appease opponents and let fourth graders who can’t read move onto fifth grade, and beyond.

Fast forward a decade and additional legislative changes to Ohio’s law. We still have a reading guarantee on the books (at the third-grade level now), but in practice nothing has changed. School Choice Ohio reports that “although 20 percent of Ohio third graders were not proficient in reading as judged by the state assessment, just 0.6 percent of them were retained in the 2010-11 school year.” Those students who do fail the third-grade reading test and still advance to fourth grade are supposed to receive reading intervention services, though there is little evidence such intervention is having much of an impact. Last year, 16.2 percent of Ohio fourth graders were below proficient on the state reading test and our NAEP reading scores have barely budged.

A real reading guarantee won’t be a silver bullet for Ohio’s academic woes, but it surely has enough merit to inspire renewed debate among lawmakers and state education leaders. And that debate can be informed by recent efforts in Florida and Indiana. The Hoosier State, for example, enacted a comprehensive third-grade reading guarantee as part of its sweeping education reforms in recent years and added additional reading support and K-2 diagnostic testing to help prepare students, teachers, and families for the requirement. If Ohio’s lawmakers are willing to debate (and in some cases legislate) school funding changes, expansion of school choice, reporting on students’ Body Mass Index, and religion in schools (and more), surely a frank conversation about how well our students can read and should be able to read, and what the state ought to do about it, is warranted. Ohio’s students – and this state’s future – deserve at least that much.

 
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Opinion

Why I support the education provisions in the hotly debated SB5
By Terry Ryan

Earlier this year I testified in both the Ohio Senate and the House in support of the education provisions embedded in the highly contentious Senate Bill 5. SB5, now known as Issue 2, is up for referendum next Tuesday and current polls show the bill will very likely be overturned. If that happens, it would be a shame because there are reforms in SB5 that education in Ohio needs to not only become more efficient and sustainable, but to become better for children.

As I shared in my legislative testimony, “Nothing matters more to student learning than teacher quality. The fact is that highly effective teachers routinely propel students from below grade level to advanced levels in a single year. The significant of this finding can’t be understated.” I went on to argue, “Ohioans, for the most part, understand that strong teachers and good schools are a critical investment in our children’s and our state’s future. Consider that in 2010, the state invested more than $18.3 billion in K-12 public education – roughly $2,078 for every adult living in the Buckeye State. In fact, school funding in Ohio has steadily increased over the past three decades. Just since 1991, when the first DeRolph lawsuit was filed, per-pupil revenue for Ohio’s public schools has risen 60 percent (even accounting for inflation.)”

This growth in spending saw the number of K-12 public employees statewide grow 35 percent (from about 181,000 to 245,250), while K-12 enrollment in the state actually declined about 1.5 percent. The math didn’t add up when I testified and it still doesn’t. In fact, it is not a stretch to say that education spending in Ohio, and indeed across the country, has peaked and we need to figure out how to educate children to a higher standard with less money.

To do this, school districts need more flexibility over personnel and especially personnel costs as they make-up about roughly 85 percent of school spending. Senate Bill 5 would provide districts with needed flexibility that includes:

  • Creating a salary structure free of automatic step increases;
  • Requiring performance-based pay for teachers and nonteaching school employees;
  • Limiting public employer contributions toward health care benefit costs to 85 percent.
  • Banning seniority as the sole or primary determinant of who gets laid off when lay-offs are unavoidable;
  • Requiring annual evaluation of teachers to include student performance date; and
  • Requiring that any lay-offs be based in part on these evaluations.

The bottom line, as the editorial pages of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Columbus Dispatch, Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Canton Repository have noted, Ohio can’t continue doing business as usual. Does SB5 need some improvements and fixes? Absolutely, and this is what the legislative process is for, but throwing it out completely and returning to the status quo will mean tougher times for school districts, more teacher cuts, and a diminishment of quality in a time when we need to do more with less.

Now is not the time to backtrack on reform. Hopefully Ohio’s voters will see it the same way, but if they don’t lawmakers should seek to move forward anyway. The state’s future is at stake here and doing more of the same is not an option.


News & Analysis

Putting Ohio's teacher evaluation reforms in a national context
By Jamie Davies O’Leary 

The State Board of Education has just eight weeks left to develop a model framework for teacher evaluations that will be used or adapted by over 1000 local education agencies (LEA) by July of 2013. (Ohio’s biennial budget – HB 153 – stipulated that the Board come up with a model by December 31 of this year.)  Skeletal requirements are spelled out in state law. Evaluations must: include measures of student growth (50 percent); be based on multiple measures; rate teachers according to four tiers of effectiveness (accomplished, proficiency, developing, and ineffective); and inform other personnel decisions, particularly layoffs (strict seniority-based layoffs were struck from state law).

But what else will the model framework include, especially for that remaining - and some would argue more important - 50 percent of a teacher’s rating? To what degree will districts and charter schools need to enact a replica of the state’s forthcoming model, or something closely resembling it, instead of merely repackaging their current systems? And how will teacher evaluations impact other key personnel decisions, if at all? Despite the fact that legislation clearly spells out a handful of requirements surrounding Ohio’s new teacher evaluations, the answers to these questions aren’t as straightforward as one might think.

In Fordham’s analysis of Ohio’s education legislation from the first half of 2011 (primarily the biennial budget, HB 153), we observed that when it comes to teacher evaluations, “the budget leaves many decisions to local districts.” Depending on whom you ask – this can be a recipe for watering down evaluations or it could be a fact worth celebrating, in that it allows districts themselves to take ownership and drive meaningful reforms to teacher effectiveness.  

Recent analyses from two well-respected national organizations put statewide teacher evaluations in national context. In State of the States: Trends and Early Lessons on Teacher Evaluation and Effectiveness Policies, the National Council on Teacher Quality summarized the state of teacher effectiveness policies nationwide, zooming in on 17 states and the District of Columbia (including Ohio) that require student growth to be a predominant factor for teacher ratings. (Note, NCTQ publishes a comprehensive annual yearbook on state teacher policies broadly that is also worth checking out.)

In State of the States, Ohio was among just a handful wherein teacher evaluation ratings aren’t directly tied to dismissal, certification, or tenure. That is, among the dozen and a half states under study, the vast majority have prescribed not only what shall comprise a rigorous teacher evaluation but also how it will factor into high-stakes decisions – whether rewards or sanctions.

Democrats for Education Reform’s Built to Succeed? Ranking New Statewide Teacher Evaluation Practices took it a step further and ranked states, attempting to measure “which of those [19 states plus DC] states’ laws are tough enough to withstand the challenges ahead and are most likely to succeed in increasing teacher quality.” DFER depicted Ohio as one of just a few states with “clear potential for weakening the evaluation process at the ground level,” ranking Ohio among the bottom third of states overall and bottom-most among states in the Midwest. When it comes to having real implications for poor ratings (dismissal, layoffs, placement, tenure, and compensation) Ohio earned only three points out of a possible 21. (In each strand, a state can earn zero to three points; there are a total of 20 strands in areas such as “strength of evaluation plan,” “employment implications,” etc.)

Fordham unapologetically supports accountability for educators, an end to LIFO (last in, first out) layoffs, and more performance-based decision making in schools generally. But it’s hard to escape the truth that no state – not even those heralded by DFER and NCTQ – has had teacher evaluations for long enough to be able to discern what impact it’s had on student achievement, and how or if it’s changed teachers’ behavior or ensured better teachers for the kids who need them the most. Lest this sound like backtracking on our beliefs around teacher effectiveness, let’s reiterate: Ohio must craft and implement more meaningful evaluations for teachers that differentiate for quality.

But perhaps designing that system and collecting data on teacher effectiveness (and sharing that data in a transparent, but low-stakes way) should be priority number one. Once the state has several years of data, a list of robust and meaningful assessments from which to draw that data (which the State Board of Education has been tasked with devising, but which doesn’t exist yet), and enough time so that educators can observe for themselves that the data make intuitive sense (namely that it accurately gauges their own abilities and those of their colleagues) – then the state can worry about tying meaningful rewards and sanctions to those evaluation ratings. Or possibly by that point, districts themselves will be motivated to do so on their own.

It’s understandable to want to improve teacher quality by pulling all levers at once. DC Public Schools and Harrison School District 2 have done phenomenal work in developing rigorous teacher evaluations that, while not perfect, are worlds better than previous systems and that educators on the whole seem to buy into. But we should keep in mind that these reforms happened on a local level; DCPS has 44,900 students and HSD 2 has just over 10,000 students, a splash in the bucket compared to Ohio’s 1.8 million students. Creating such a system for an entire state, let alone a state as large and diverse as Ohio, requires a lot more work (and a lot more cooperation and buy-in from schools and the people working in them).

The danger in launching fully ahead and tying all personnel decisions – layoffs, transfers, pay, certification, tenure, etc. – to evaluation systems before we’ve seen the accuracy of those evaluations systems is obvious: it threatens credibility and could foster hostility from districts and schools. Worse, by tying high-stakes rewards and consequences to an evaluation system that doesn’t exist yet, we risk creating dozens of incentives for principals to inflate scores instead of honestly evaluating teachers and providing them with meaningful feedback to improve.

This isn’t to say that high-stakes decisions shouldn’t eventually be directly connected to teachers’ ratings. But while Ohio ranks low according to DFER’s likelihood-of-watering-down scale, it also ranks low in terms of absolutely screwing up, unfairly dismissing teachers, or creating hostility. That may sound unnecessarily risk-averse, but caution in this realm may end up producing a better – and more importantly, more sustainable – outcome for Ohio’s teachers, schools, and students.

 
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Ohio's NAEP results no surprise
By Bianca Speranza

The 2011 NAEP results for reading and mathematics were released yesterday - see here for our DC colleague Mike Petrilli’s take on it. Nationally, fourth-grade reading scores remained the same from 2009, while eighth graders achieved a small increase in reading performance. Students from around the country continued the upward trend in math, with increases in both the fourth and eighth grade. Ohio’s state-specific results were more of the same, mostly stagnant performance compared to past years.

Chart 1 below shows that reading results for fourth and eighth graders in the Buckeye State haven’t budget for the last decade or so.  In 2011, 27 percent of fourth-grade students scored at the proficient level or higher, unchanged from 2009. Only 7 percent of fourth graders scored at advanced proficiency, down from the 9 percent that did so in 2009. Breaking down the data by racial subgroups, only 13 percent of Black students were proficient on the fourth-grade assessment, and 1 percent scored at an advanced level.

CHART 1

naep1.PNG

The results from the eighth-grade reading assessment paint a very similar story. The percent of students proficient in eighth-grade reading has remained virtually unchanged since 2002, with only 33 percent of students scoring at or above the proficient level in 2011. The achievement gap between Black and White students, as well as White and Hispanic students has not narrowed since 2009.

It is disappointing to see a continuing weakness in reading, but Ohio’s math results are slightly more encouraging. Chart 2 below shows Ohio’s fourth- and eighth-grade math scores over time. While the percent of fourth-grade students proficient in math didn’t change from 2009 (38 percent), eighth graders eked out a small gain. In 2009, 28 percent of eighth graders scored at the proficient level, and in 2011 Ohio saw an increase of 3 percentage points, with 31 percent proficient of students now proficient in eighth-grade math. Ohio was one of only a handful of states to see an increase in eighth-grade math results.

CHART 2

naep2.PNG

 
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Voucher student performance promising, better data needed
By Bianca Speranza 

Ohio currently has a basket full of publicly funded, private-school voucher programs, making it unique in America’s school choice landscape. Ohio has three separate programs for students in failing districts, students with autism, and students living in Cleveland. A voucher program for students with disabilities launches next year. Further, the EdChoice Scholarship program (which provides private school scholarships for students in failing public schools) was recently expanded to 30,000 scholarships statewide this school year and 60,000 next year.

A new choice bill is now being debated in the House that would vastly expand the number of students eligible to receive a voucher. HB 136 would create the Parental Choice and Taxpayer Scholarship (PACT) Program and give children who come from families with annual incomes of up to $62,000 a year a voucher worth up to $4,563. Furthermore, 25 percent of families in the state could be eligible for smaller vouchers awarded on a sliding scale for families with incomes up to $95,000. This expansive growth in school choice options via vouchers is contentious to say the least.

A myriad of opinions offering both support and opposition to the expansion of vouchers have been voiced over the past several months (see Terry’s recent op-ed here); however, one criticism in particular warrants a response. An October 12 Columbus Dispatch editorial, “Many Questions,” stated that “advocates should be able to show that students who go to private schools using vouchers do better than their peers who remain at the public schools they left. So far no one has collected such data.” While better data are certainly needed, what we have now is telling.

With the limited data available from the Ohio Department of Education (we can’t get at value-added growth or growth over time) we are able to compare the academic performance of students using an EdChoice voucher to those students who remain in voucher-eligible public school buildings, on a single-year, snap-shot basis.  

The results for Ohio’s “Big 8” districts (from which the majority of voucher students hail) are encouraging for school-choice supporters. The chart below provides a one-year snapshot for the performance of EdChoice students in Columbus versus students in voucher-eligible district schools. Voucher students outperform their peers in every subject and grade except one, and in some cases do so by a significant margin. Particularly, voucher students’ performance in the eighth grade is strong. Eighth-grade voucher students outperform their district peers by 31.9 percentage points in reading and 18.3 percentage points in math. These results are an improvement to a similar analysis we performed last year in which voucher students in Columbus out-performed their district peers in eight tested grades and subjects.

Chart 1: Columbus EdChoice Students vs. Voucher Eligible Students
Chart 1 Columbus.jpg

Source: The Ohio Department of Education

The results are also positive in Fordham’s hometown of Dayton.

Chart 1: Dayton EdChoice Students vs. Voucher Eligible Students
Chart 2 - Dayton .jpg

Source: The Ohio Department of Education

Last year, voucher students outperformed their district peers in seven of fourteen academic tests in Dayton. Perhaps most encouraging is the fact that they are outperforming their district peers in third grade reading by 22.4 percentage points (see Emmy’s piece above on the importance of early reading proficiency).

While voucher performance in Columbus and Dayton, is positive the same cannot be said for Canton. District students outperform voucher students in Canton in every subject and grade, and in the case of fourth-grade math they do so by 37 percentage points. These results are somewhat of an anomaly (voucher students in the remaining Big 8 districts perform fairly well comparatively), but it is still worth noting that while voucher students’ performance is strong in some urban cities, it is not necessarily the case for all.

The results are mixed, but overall a majority of students using vouchers are outperforming their peers who remain in traditional district schools. Reading proves to be an area of strength for students using vouchers in the Big 8 – in Cincinnati, for example, students using vouchers outperformed their district peers in reading in every grade. The Dispatch argued that if advocates of vouchers could show that voucher students are performing at higher levels than their district peers, such programs should continue.

While the data available for an analysis of this type are limited to one year snapshots, the data we do have has shown that in fact voucher students are performing well, and that in cities like Dayton and Youngstown, where traditional public school performance has languished years, vouchers appear to be a good option for the children using them. The lack of data available, however, is a yet another clear call for why Ohio needs a system of accountability for all publicly funded students that will not just show us raw achievement data for one year, but rather how schools, and students, are performing over time. Until such a system is created and put in place it is difficult to really tell what impact vouchers are having on student learning in the long run but what we can see now is that children using vouchers outperform those who stay in their district schools.

 
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Capital Matters

Local school and government leaders gather to discuss sharing services to improve performance
By  Bianca Speranza 

Can we work smarter together? That was the question on people’s minds at a forum last week sponsored by Fordham, the Nord Family Foundation, Ohio Grantmakers Forum, ESC of Central Ohio, Ohio Education Matters, and Public Performance Partners. The event, Working Smarter Together: Enhancing savings and performance for local schools and governments, featured several keynote speakers (including Auditor of State Dave Yost), and a panel discussion about real-world examples of efficiency and cooperation in local government.

C. Jack Grayson, founder and chairman of the American Productivity and Quality Center, kicked off the event with a discussion about the need to increase efficiency and productivity in the public sector, and especially in education. Grayson stressed that local governments and school systems must think differently when it comes to operating more efficiently. Grayson argued that the commonly used across the-board cuts hurt both efficiency and effectiveness, and more times than not lacks a thoughtful process as to who to cut and why, resulting in a loss of talented people and critical organizational knowledge. Instead, Grayson advocated for the need to focus more on process and performance management (PPM). "You cannot improve results by looking at results. You have to look at processes," Grayson said. "Whether you are the CEO or the custodian who cleans the toilet, you have a process, and you can improve it."

Grayson said that everything involves a process and in order to improve outcomes we must evaluate the entire organizational process from the beginning to the end. He also discussed the need to reduce functional silos and the tremendous amount of waste associated with compartmentalization. He noted that most educational organizations are organized functionally with different silos focusing solely on individual task such as HR, instruction, and IT. Downsides of functional silos include redundancy, focusing more on improving the function rather than meeting the needs of the customer, which in turn produce large amounts of waste.

Grayson’s presentation was followed by a panel on increasing efficiency and cooperation across local government that included Bart Anderson (ESC of Central Ohio), Barbara Gellman-Danley (University of Rio Grande & Rio Grande Community College), and John Weithofer (Miami Valley Communications Council). These panelists, moderated by Public Performance Partners founder Hugh Quill, discussed the need to share services more now than ever before, and the challenges that sometimes lie in the way of doing so- such as political tension and legal barriers. Each panelist brought a unique and different perspective to the table.

To find out more about this important and timely issue and view footage from the event click here.

 
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Short Reviews

Strong Support, Low Awareness: Public Perception of the Common Core State Standards
By Daniela Fairchild 

While adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have spurred a hailstorm of activity across educator and policy circles alike, the general public remains clueless even as to what the standards are—never mind how they are being implemented or what the long-term implications of their adoption might be. Through this national poll (given to 800 registered voters), the folks at Achieve find that a whopping 60 percent of Americans have never heard of the Common Core standards—and another 21 percent have heard “not much.” Further, among voters who have heard peep about the Common Core, impressions are mixed: Thirty-seven percent view them favorably while 34 percent hold an unfavorable opinion (the rest are undecided). Despite this mixed reaction to the CCSS specifically, Americans overwhelmingly approve of the idea of common academic standards for all states: sixty-six percent support vs. 31 percent opposed. (Even a majority of Republicans like the notion of common standards.) But with so few people in the know, it’s clear that Common Core remains fragile politically. The good news, however, is that public-school teachers (most of whom have heard “a lot” about the Common Core) like the idea of common standards: Sixty-five percent of them are in support. That’s a promising indication that these standards might actually have some staying power in the classroom—if the public doesn’t come to dislike them first.

Strong Support, Low Awareness: Public Perception of the Common Core State Standards 
Achieve, Inc.
October 2011

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Developing Education Talent Pipelines for Charter Schools
By Bianca Speranza 

Strong teachers and leaders are undoubtedly critical to the success of any school system; research has repeatedly suggested that school leadership is second only behind classroom instruction in its impact on student learning. The autonomous nature of charter schools makes the need for strong school leadership even more crucial. Charter school advocates who are trying to increase the number of quality charter schools and replicate high-performing schools must consider not only how they are going to retain talented individuals, but also how to support a talent pipeline.

A recent report by Public Impact, with the help of Foundation Strategy Group (a social impact consulting firm), identifies six indicators that have the biggest impact on recruiting and retaining highly effective teachers and leaders. The report draws from two cities, New Orleans and Indianapolis, to demonstrate how these indicators are being used successfully in practice: 

  1.  A facilitator that focuses specifically on the talent pipeline: A strong facilitator that is a locally-based entity can help to identify gaps in the talent supply for charters and determine ways to fill those gaps. Examples of facilitators include New Schools for New Orleans and the Mind Trust in Indianapolis.
  2.  Local and national talent providers: Organizations such as Teach For America, The New Teacher Project, and New Leaders for New Schools provide help in recruiting highly effective teachers and leaders, and also provide them with ongoing development and support.
  3.  Political support: Having political supporters who will advocate on behalf of human resource policies and equal funding for charter schools is a crucial piece in order to create a sustainable pipeline of talent.

Both New Orleans and Indianapolis are utilizing a combination of the indicators mentioned above and have seen tremendous results. In 2011 Indianapolis charter school students were outperforming their peers in traditional schools. New Orleans charter schools continually outperform district-run schools, and over a dozen of their charter schools have demonstrated exemplary growth, the state’s highest rating.

Creating a teacher and leader pipeline is a difficult task and one that Ohio must think more seriously about developing. Ohio also faces challenges such as gaining political support, recruiting national talent providers to the state, and raising philanthropic support.

"Developing Education Talent Pipelines for Charter Schools"
Public Impact
Daniela Doyle and Lucy Steiner
2011

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Editor's Extras

Teacher accountability making strides
By Matthew C. Kyle 

  • Over the last decade poverty levels in American suburbs have increased by more than 50 percent.  As two-thirds of this dramatic increase came recently during 2007-2010, suburban communities have had to re-evaluate their community identities including how they fund local schools particularly in areas surrounding Cleveland.
  • Recent data on 8th grade achievement in math and reading compares the United States and the states individually to other countries around the world who also participate in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).  Results show that the United States as a whole lags behind in reading achievement (17th) but much more so in math achievement (32nd).  Meanwhile, Ohio is doing better compared to other states, ranking above the U.S. average for both reading and math. However, 25 other nations and 16 states are ranked ahead of Ohio in math while 10 countries and 10 states rank ahead of Ohio in reading.
  • While challenging traditional models and expanding student options, public charter schools are changing the national landscape of education. However, charter schools are constantly facing funding and political challenges. In this report, the Center for American Progress identifies methods and solutions as to how the federal government can best support public charter schools. 
  • In Washington D.C. the new IMPACT program for measuring teacher effectiveness is making great strides in properly rewarding effective teachers while also working to improve struggling teachers.  In the last year, 58 percent of teachers that were considered “minimally effective” improved displaying the program’s ability to provide valuable feedback to motivate teacher improvement.  IMPACT uses multiple measures to evaluate teacher effectiveness including: student achievement, three administrator observations, two third-party observations, collaboration with other teachers, and community involvement.  For more on the success of IMPACT, watch teacher interviews here!
  • Teachers and school officials in Cleveland City Schools are beginning to discuss the transition to teacher merit pay in order to help combat budget restraints that have forced over $13 million in cuts this year.

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Announcements

Charter incubators: the future of high-quality charter schooling

Going to be in the nation’s capital on December 7? Join us in our DC office for an interactive conversation on a new model for charter school growth that has taken root in several cities. Charter incubators are accelerating the launch and development of top-flight charter schools in communities that need them most. Co-sponsored by the Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust (CEE-Trust), this discussion will analyze the key findings from a new policy brief by Public Impact, and provide lessons on how federal, state, and local policymakers can help create an ecosystem that accelerates the smart-growth of quality charter schools. Click here to register. If you can’t make it out to DC that day simply visit our website, www.edexcellence.net, at 3:30 p.m. EST on December 7, and watch the proceedings live.


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Innovative pathways to teaching fair at OSU

Are you interested in becoming a teacher, especially in a high-need or shortage area? Students for Education Reform–OSU and StudentsFirst are hosting an “Innovative Pathways to Teaching Fair” on November 16 at OSU. The fair is open to the general public as well as to students. See the flyer below for more information or email Justin at justinschulze@gmail.com.

teacher fair.PNG

 

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The Ohio Education Gadfly is published bi-weekly (ordinarily on Wednesdays, with occasional breaks, and in special editions) by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Have something to say? Email the editor at ohiogadfly@edexcellence.net. Would you like to be spared from the Gadfly? Email ohiogadfly@edexcellence.net with "unsubscribe gadfly" in the text of your message. You are welcome to forward the Gadfly to others, and from our website you can even email individual articles. If you have been forwarded a copy of Gadfly and would like to subscribe, you may email ohiogadfly@edexcellence.net with "subscribe gadfly" in the text of the message. To read archived issues, go to our website and click on the Ohio Education Gadfly link. Aching for still more education news and analysis? Check out the original Education Gadfly.

Nationally and in Ohio, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, along with its sister organization the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, strives to close America's vexing achievement gaps by raising standards, strengthening accountability, and expanding high-quality education options for parents and families. As a charter-school sponsor in Ohio, the Foundation joins with schools to affirm a relentless commitment to high expectations for all children, accountability for academic results, and transparency and organizational integrity, while freeing the schools to operate with minimal red tape. The Foundation and Institute are neither connected with nor sponsored by Fordham University.


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