This is the story* of two third grade boys, Brady and Nick. The two 8-year old boys are neighbors and best friends living in Columbus in a fairly typical north-side neighborhood. As it so happens, the boys even share the same birthday — August 22, 2005 — and up until this year they attended the same school, Valley Forge Elementary, in the Columbus City School District.
At the end of last school year, Nick’s parents applied for and were granted an EdChoice voucher to send Nick to a private school. They chose to use the taxpayer-funded voucher ($4,250) [...]Full Story... →
When Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee law was passed, it required that the State Board of Education set the “cut score” that third graders would have to reach on Ohio’s standardized reading test in order to be eligible to advance to fourth grade. This decision was made on a single day — September 11, 2012 — during their regular business meeting after hearing a presentation by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).
During that presentation, Michael Sawyers, acting State Superintendent, and Sasheen Phillips, ODE Senior Executive Director of Curriculum and Assessment presented to the State Board with their recommendations. In that [...]Full Story... →
Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee law is based off of a law in Florida that has been in place for many years. In Florida, a student must reach a certain level on their state test, the FCAT 2.0, in order to avoid being retained in third grade. As in Ohio, there are a variety of exceptions for English Language Learners and special education students. Florida has supposedly had a great deal of success with their law and individuals from the Florida Department of Education even testified in Ohio when the legislation was under consideration in the General Assembly.
Let’s take [...]Full Story... →
It is common for those critical of education in America to link a teacher’s contractual schedule to their actual work and claim that teaching is a part-time job. In Ohio, the right-wing think tank Buckeye Institute has been doing this as they miscalculate the pay of teachers and post it online, and they reiterated their stance as part of their 15 Myths about Collective Bargaining Reform and Senate Bill 5 (myth #14). Let’s spend a little time discussing the absurd notion that teachers don’t put in considerably more hours than their contract requires.
The myth as the Buckeye Institute presented it [...]Full Story... →
With Governor Kasich heading to Medina to deliver his State of the State address tonight, it’s a good time to take a look at how his policies, specifically his state funding decisions, are affecting the Medina City School district.
The Medina City School District enrolls over 7,000 students. The district has received a rating of either Excellent (“A”) or Excellent with Distinction (“A+”) since 2006 from the Ohio Department of Education. Despite its top rating over the years, the district has continually lost students to charter schools – none of which is even located in Medina County.
Medina City has [...]Full Story... →
The Ohio House of Representatives was all out of sorts over the past week at the notion of increasing the number of calamity days for school districts across the state. What was initially thought to be a simple piece of legislation that would be fast-tracked when it was proposed the day after Governor Kasich called for it turned out to hit a wall with many House Republicans. The initial delay of its adoption by the House was the question of cost, specifically whether it was a waste of millions of dollars to pay “teachers for days they didn’t work” (Gerald [...]Full Story... →
Governor John Kasich has been fond of claiming an Ohio “miracle” of closing budget deficits while cutting taxes. Tell that to the least among us who, thanks to the Governor’s sales tax increase now have to pay more under his tax scheme, while his rich friends get another $6,083 tax cut. Add that to the decision Mr. Kasich made to increase all our future property taxes by 12.5% and you might understand why regular folks in Ohio are scratching their heads. This Governor’s plans sound less and less like a miracle and more and more like [...]Full Story... →
In the 2012-13 school year, charter schools received over $829 million in state taxpayer dollars to educate just over 116,000 children – an average of $7,144.86 per child. By comparison, after this money was deducted from payments to Ohio’s local public school districts, those districts received just shy of $5.5 billion to educate the remaining 1.7 million children. While that may sound like a high dollar figure, it averages out to only $3,125.30 per student.
What this means is that last year, charter schools in Ohio received, on average, over twice as much (2.29 times, to be exact) per student [...]Full Story... →
In Cleveland, the Menlo Park Academy charter school serves children in grades K-8 and has very strict admission requirements. Menlo Park restricts their enrollment to only the best and brightest — those students identified as being gifted. Not surprisingly, these students consistently highly on Ohio’s standardized tests year after year, making it appear as though the school is performing at a consistently high level. The most recent changes to Ohio’s school report cards, especially the new grade given to a school’s impact on gifted students, gives us a reason to look more closely at Menlo’s program.
Ohio Senate Bill 229, a bill designed to modify the new teacher evaluation system in Ohio, has finally made it to the agenda of the House Education Committee. Despite passing 33-0 in the Ohio Senate in early December and being assigned to the House Education Committee on December 10, Chairman Gerald Stebelton has delayed bringing it to his committee for consideration.
Senate Bill 229 would provide some much needed relief to Ohio’s principals who are being run ragged trying to keep up with the onerous processes required by the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) and better allow them to [...]Full Story... →
On Tuesday, Central Ohio television viewers were treated to an interruption of their regular television programming as local stations broadcast the live press conference of Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost as he released the results of his 18-month investigation (that was specifically requested by the school district nearly two years ago, by the way, and was delayed time and time again) into attendance and grade “irregularities” in the Columbus City School district. Yost proudly smirked his way through the hour-long performance, demonstrating an appalling level of professional bias from the outset as he revealed his PowerPoint slideshow with [...]Full Story... →