Archives for category: Ohio

Here is the video in which Margaret Raymond of CREDO explains to the Cleveland City Club how charters are doing in Ohio. At the 50-minute mark, she explains why the market model doesn’t work for public schools.

Read the key quote here.

Stephen Dyer, policy analyst in Ohio, went to the Cleveland Club to hear Macke Raymond explain her Ohio charter study.

He came expecting her
to address the obvious issues:

“How only in Cleveland does it appear that Ohio’s charter school sector is providing meaningful, positive benefits to kids. Or how CREDO’s methodology works (averaging kids in traditional public school buildings and comparing these “virtual” kids’ performance with real charter kids). Or how Ohio’s charter school sector has been making very minimal improvements over the years. Or that the state’s charter reform initiatives over the last few years haven’t had much impact on charter school performance. Or that Cleveland charters are doing a good job educating poor, minority kids. Or that 93% of Ohio charter schools’ proficiency scores are below the 50th percentile in the state. Or that 44% of charter school kids are seeing low growth and performance.”

But towards the end of her talk, she dropped a bombshell when she said that education “is the only industry/sector where the market mechanism just doesn’t work….”

Dyer wrote:

“Considering that the pro-market reform Thomas B. Fordham Foundation paid for this study and Raymond works at the Hoover Institution at Stanford — a free market bastion, I was frankly floored, as were most of the folks at my table.

“For years, we’ve been told that the free market will help education improve. As long as parents can choose to send their kids to different schools, like cars or any other commodity, the best schools will draw kids and the worst will go away. The experience in Ohio is the opposite. The worst charter schools in Ohio are growing by leaps and bounds, while the small number of successful charter schools in Ohio have stayed, well, a small number of successful charter schools.

“Raymond made the point too that parents are not informed enough to be true market consumers on education. Websites like Know Your Charter can help with that educational aspect of the parental choice, better arming parents with the necessary information to make a more informed decision. But to hear free market believers say that 20 years into the charter school experiment its foundational philosophy — that the free market’s invisible hand will drive educational improvement — is not working? Well, I was stunned to hear that.

“Raymond also made the point that the states that are seeing the best charter school performance are states whose charter school authorizers are focused on quality and have robust accountability measures — in other words, well-regulated. Yesterday, when the CREDO report was released, it was discovered that if online and for-profit charter schools are taken out of the equation, Ohio charters don’t perform all that bad. Problem is that more than 57% of Ohio charter school kids are in those schools. In fact, at Know Your Charter, we found that less than 10% of Ohio’s charter school kids are in schools that score above the state average on the Performance Index Score or have an A or B in overall value added.

“The point is that there are a few very high-performing charters in this state, like the Breakthrough Schools in Cleveland, or the Toledo School of the Arts, or Columbus Preparatory Academy. While these schools represent a smattering of Ohio’s 400 plus charter schools, the state’s failing charter schools are legion.”

Jan Rsseger here reviews the CREDO report on charters in Ohio. Jan lives inn Cleveland and has watched ruefully as civic leaders have anandoned the public schools.

She writes:

“Charter schools in Ohio are notorious because the state legislature, filled with money from supporters of some of the worst charters, has chosen hardly to regulate the charter school sector at all. On Tuesday, the Stanford Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) released a new study of the academic effectiveness of Ohio’s charters (as measured by standardized test scores).

The report is scathing: “First, recent efforts across Ohio to improve the quality of charter school performance are only dimly discernible in the analysis. Overall performance trends are marginally positive, but the gains that Ohio charter school students receive even in the most recent periods studied still lag the progress of their traditional public school peers… Despite exemplars of strong results, over 40 percent of Ohio charter schools are in urgent need of improvement: they both post smaller student academic gains each year and their overall achievement levels are below the average for the state. If their current performance is permitted to continue, the students enrolled in these schools will fall even further behind over time.”

“Compared to the educational gains that charter students would have had in a traditional public school, the analysis shows on average that the students in Ohio charter schools perform worse in both reading and mathematics.”

Market-based “reform” doesn’t work in education.

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank that authorizes charters in Ohio, sponsored an evaluation of charters in that state by CREDO of Stanford. CREDO is led by Margaret (Macke) Raymond and has completed many charter evaluations. Critics gripe that CREDO is funded by the charter-loving Walton Family Foundation and that Raymond is the wife of conservative economist Eric Hanushek, but it has nonetheless gained a reputation for balance and nonpartisan judgment.

Stephen Dyer here reviews the findings of the latest CREDO study of Ohio charters. There are good charters and bad charters, but on the whole, the findings are negative for students in charters. Over 40% of charters are doing very poorly. The students in these schools fall farther behind every year.

“Overall, kids in charters lose 36 days of math and 14 days of reading to their traditional public school counterparts. Of the 68 statistically significant differences CREDO found between charters and public schools, 56 showed a negative charter school impact, and 12 showed a positive one.”

Dyer points out that the state spends more than $900 million a year for these disappointing results. This money is taken away from community public schools.

David Brennan, Akron industrialist, operates Ohio’s largest charter chain. Most are low-performing. But Brennan donates generously to key politicians, and his schools are rewarded, not closed down.

Bill Phillis of Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy writes:

“Brennan strikes again: More money proposed for the drop-out recovery schools

The billion dollar charter school operator, David Brennan, is about to get a huge early Christmas gift. His charter school empire includes dropout recovery charter schools. One of his dropout recovery charter schools graduated 2 out of 155 students in four years. A provision in HB 343, which is currently sailing through the House, will allow drop-out recovery charter schools to enroll students up to 29 years old for GED or diploma programs at a cost of $5,000 per student.

This provision in HB 343 exacerbates the transfer of tax money to private hands. For decades, Ohio public schools have provided adult basic education programs with remarkable results. The Johnny-come-lately state officials may be unaware of this.

Ohio taxpayers need to be informed about this, yet another example of inefficient use of tax money in charterland.

William Phillis
Ohio E & A

Ohio E & A | 100 S. 3rd Street | Columbus | OH | 43215

Bill Phillis of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy fears that Governor John Kasich plans to privatize the public schools of Youngstown:

Bill Phillis writes:

According to a November 20 Youngstown Vindicator article, the state representative-elect from Youngstown said the Governor told her he would like to shut down Youngstown City Schools and replace the district with a great charter school. Could this happen? That scheme already exists in New Orleans. Look for it in the state budget bill to be unveiled by the Governor in February 2015.

Ohio law provides that charters are privately-operated entities with near zero accountability and transparency. A charterized Youngstown School system would signal that a private, non-transparent, unaccountable system is superior to a publicly-controlled, accountable, transparent system. It would signal that privatization is superior to democracy. It would tell the world that democracy has failed in Youngstown Ohio. What is next? A privatized city council for Youngstown?

Ohioans better wake up to the erosion of democracy via the charter school scheme. If the complete privatization of pubic K-12 education happens, democracy will be history.

William Phillis
Ohio E & A

Ohio E & A | 100 S. 3rd Street | Columbus | OH | 43215

This post was distributed by Bill Phillis of the Ohio Equity and Adequacy Coalition.

He writes:

The charter school industry does not exist to “fix” public schools; its ultimate goal is to privatize public education

Public common schools have been and still are the crown jewels of America, in the majority of communities across the country. But a cabal of greedy and ideologically driven people believes that anything done by public agencies and institutions undermines capitalism. These people are putting their desires for money and power above the common good.

Dr. Thomas M. Stephens Professor Emeritus, College of Education and Human Ecology, Ohio State University and Interpersonal Psychological Coach provides the following perspective.

Political operatives who favor Charter Schools have stacked the deck in three critical ways.

First, they hyped the failures of public schools by misrepresenting why public schools are unable to fully meet the educational needs of all their students. They are accomplishing this trick by attributing students’ learning problems primarily to the quality of teaching, while ignoring how family culture and children’s poverty affect teaching and learning. In doing so they fabricate the role that poverty plays as the major factor in student achievement.

This simplification, that teaching is the main reason for students’ school success, has also been widely claimed by teachers and their professional organizations, despite years of research evidence to the contrary. Thus the corollary of that falsehood has become a convenient hammer for enemies of public schools: mediocre teaching is the main reason for students’ failures.

Secondly, they create narrow and flawed metrics and standards that determine what constitutes successful schools. They further game this system by politically changing the metrics and standards so that ultimately fewer and fewer public schools will meet these phony standards. These requirements force public schools to waste precious resources in time and money to meet these figments of what constitutes “successful schools”. This clever deception is designed to phase out public schools like a block of ice that slowly melts away.

Third, they hype results of these “failures” to entice public school parents to get “free quality education” by enrolling their children in charter schools. They use paid advertisements with funds that have been transferred from public school tax receipts for this purpose. All of these machinations are facilitated by “bought” legislators who are indebted to the charter school industry.

These “stolen” public funds are also used to underpay instructional staffs while overpaying the for-profit administrators and their corporate sponsors. Excessive leasing and rental fees are also paid with public money to the same entities that own or are related to the charter schools. All of these actions are the result of elected officials who have sworn to uphold Ohio’s constitution!

Politicians are aided in this chicanery by several federal and state court decisions that have made theft of public school funding legal. These decisions allow corporations to use funds they received from public schools to support political campaigns and travel, lodging and sumptuous meals for politicians whose votes they are buying. All of this is provided with money that had been legally authorized for public education!

Those well-intentioned individuals and organizations who naively believe a public school/charter school collaboration can work for the benefit of our youth and their communities by tweaking current policies and regulations misunderstand the problem we face: the charter school industry does not exist to “fix” public schools; its ultimate goal is to privatize public education.

The single best way to stop this systematic destruction is for public school advocates and their organizations to unite under one umbrella. This coalition must include parent groups as well. Then put both political parties and their minions on notice. Expose their real intentions and help the electorate remove them from office.

William Phillis
Ohio E & A

Ohio E & A | 100 S. 3rd Street | Columbus | OH | 43215

Jan Resseger remembers a film made in a school in Ohio about 20 years ago, by Bill Moyers, before testing became our national obsession.

 

She writes:

 

In one of the film’s memorable scenes, a stalwart music teacher leads a school orchestra rehearsal—string instruments and classical music, I think—in a rural high school where the music room is directly under the gymnasium and where the basketball team is practicing at the same time. The cameraman stood somehow on the stairway and let the camera catch both activities happening simultaneously. As we hear the music, we watch the ceiling of the band room shake and feel the blows as the athletes’ feet hit the floor and the basketball bounces. Today here in Ohio the facilities would be better, but the school would likely not have a music program. Cuts in state funding in recent years would likely have left the district without elementary school instrumental music, which means that even if the high school tried to have a complete band or orchestra, not enough children would have learned to play the instruments needed to make up a full ensemble. And the pressure to raise test scores in the required language arts and math would likely have reduced the time for music and art.

Yesterday, in response to a reader in Ohio, I posted an “Ohio Alert,” warning that the State Board of Education in Ohio would soon consider eliminating teachers of  art, music, and physical education, librarians, social workers, and nurses in elementary schools.

 

Several commenters on the blog have disputed the claim and said it was not true..

 

This article seems to offer a definitive explanation.

 

It is NOT TRUE that the vote will be taken this week. The state board will vote on this question in December. Forgive my error!

 

What will the vote be about?

 

Patrick O’Donnell of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes:

 

The state board will vote in December, not this week as some have claimed, on whether to eliminate requirements that local districts have a certain number of elementary art, music or physical education teachers, school counselors, library media specialists, school nurses, social workers and “visiting teachers.”

 

Administrative code requires districts to have at least five of these eight positions per 1,000 students in what some call the “5 of 8″ rule. The state board is considering wiping out that rule and allowing districts to make staffing decisions on their own.

 

Tom Gunlock, the board’s vice chairman, said this morning that the proposed change isn’t to eliminate those positions, as some are charging, but to let districts make their own choices.

 

Should the state require districts to have these classes and services? Or is that a local decision? Tell us below.
“I’m sure they’ll do what’s right for their kids,” Gunlock said.

 

He added: “For years, people have been telling me about all these unfunded mandates and that we’re telling them what to do. They keep telling me they know more about what their kids need that we do, and I agree with them.”

 

Susan Yutzey, president of the Ohio Educational Library Media Association, is urging her members to oppose the change. In a presentation on the change posted online, Yutzey said she and other organizations are “concerned that local boards and administrators will see this as an opportunity to eliminate art, music, physical education, school counselors, library media specialists, school nurses and social workers.”

 

So, if we read Mr. Gunlock’s view correctly, the state will consider changing its requirement that elementary schools must fill five of these eight positions. Requiring that all elementary schools have teachers of the arts, nurses, librarians, physical education teachers, and social workers is “an unfunded mandate.” Schools facing budget cuts could get rid of the school nurse or the teachers of the arts or teachers of physical education or social workers or librarians. The choice would be theirs as the state code would no longer require that every school must fill at least five of these eight positions per 1,000 students.

 

If I were a parent of an elementary school age child in Ohio, I would be very alarmed that the state board is making these positions optional. For warning that the state board is even considering such a nonsensical “mandate relief,” I offer no apology.

On November 11, the Ohio State Board of Education will vote on a motion to eliminate crucial positions at elementary schools.

 

The Board will vote on whether to eliminate “specialist” positions, that include elementary schools arts teachers, elementary school music teachers, elementary school physical education teachers, school nurses, school library media specialists, school counselors, and school social workers.

 

Will they call it “reform”?

 

Here is Peter Greene, reporting on the same horrifying spectacle, with more detail.

 

He writes:

 

This morning comes word that the Ohio State Board of Education will vote this Tuesday on some revision to the school code. The most significant revision reportedly under consideration is one that would make end state requirements for elementary specialists.

 

Currently, school code states that for every thousand elementary students, schools must have in place five of the following eight specialists: art, music, counselor, school nurse, librarian/media specialist, visiting teacher, social worker, or phys ed.

 

The revision would eliminate the section that includes that language. What would be left is this definition of staff:

 

Educational service personnel are credentialed staff with the knowledge, skills and expertise to support the educational, instructional, health, mental health, and college/career readiness needs of students.

 

The appeal for districts is obvious. Let’s have one music teacher for 10,000 students. Let’s have no music teacher at all. Great. Let me mention that this article also came across my screen this morning: “Youngstown kids second poorest in nation” Do we really need to argue that the poorest, most vulnerable students are the ones who most need these sorts of services and enrichment? Is there somebody in Ohio prepared, seriously, to argue that nurses and music and art and phys ed are unnecessary luxuries, and kids should just pack up their grit and do without?

 

The Twitter hashtag for this abomination is #ohio5of8

 

 

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