ODE Understated Number of Failing Charter Schools by 950%

When ODE Applied for a Federal grant to expand even further the number of charter schools it Ohio, it lied on its application form. they were quickly caught, because no one was going to believe only 6 charter schools in the entire state were failing. Embarrassed and forced to correct their lies, the new wishful thinking number they have come up with is 57 - a 950% increase in failing charter schools in the state.

They have also cut the number of schools they claimed were successful by 50% - down to just a paltry 59.

According to ODE's own performance data, the latest of which that is available is for 2013-14, even these numbers seem suspect.

Performance Rating of Ohio's Charter schools 2013-14.

Performance Rating of Ohio's Charter schools 2013-14.

More than half of all Charters in Ohio are rated D or below, and those rated A? Barely perceptible on the chart.

What Are Standardized Tests Measuring?

If the same test produced different results depending upon whether it was taken online or on paper, what exactly is being measured? Here's ODE recently

And here's an article from Real Clear Education titled "PARCC Scores Lower for Students Who Took Exams on Computers"

Students who took the 2014-15 PARCC exams via computer tended to score lower than those who took the exams with paper and pencil—a revelation that prompts questions about the validity of the test results and poses potentially big problems for state and district leaders.

Officials from the multistate Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers acknowledged the discrepancies in scores across different formats of its exams in response to questions from Education Week.

“It is true that this [pattern exists] on average, but that doesn’t mean it occurred in every state, school, and district on every one of the tests,” Jeffrey Nellhaus, PARCC’s chief of assessment, said in an interview.

“There is some evidence that, in part, the [score] differences we’re seeing may be explained by students’ familiarity with the computer-delivery system,” Nellhaus said.

In general, the pattern of lower scores for students who took PARCC exams by computer is the most pronounced in English/language arts and middle- and upper-grades math.

ODE would be better taking the time to understand exactly what all of its tests are actually measuring before getting too excited about how many students took paper vs online tests.

Is the College Ready Crisis Overblown?

Buried in a Dispatch article about the failings of ECOT is news that one of the tests used to measure whether students headed to college required remedial classes was useless

For years, the Compass test determined which classes students should take when they enrolled at Columbus State Community College.

But it turns out that too often, Compass, a diagnostic exam sold by the folks who make the ACT, indicated that students needed remedial classes when they didn't. A few days in the classroom or a separate diagnostic test would show that the student should have been in a college-credit class.

Beginning with the spring 2017 semester, incoming Columbus State students will take a different test. The college already was looking for an alternative when ACT announced in June that it was dropping Compass, said Allysen Todd, dean of Arts & Sciences. ACT has said inaccurate student placements were part of the reason.

Is the "Career and College Ready" mantra proclaimed by corporate education reformers all based upon bad data coming from a diagnostic test that was unable to diagnose the need for college remediation?

And just how much money have parents and students needlessly spent on unnecessary remediation college classes because of this erroneous test?

Ohio Legislator Threatens Teachers Who Advise Testing Opt-Out

HB420 was supposed to be a simple bill meant to shield schools from having their ratings adversely affected by parents who chose to have their children opt-out of standardized testing. Then the author of the bill ,  Kristina Roegner (R), instead issued a substitute bill that would criminalize teachers for advising parents to opt their children out of testing.  

Here's the offending language

Sec. 3319.152. (A) No employee of a school district or public school shall negligently suggest to any student, or parent, guardian, or custodian of that student, enrolled in the district or school that the student should choose to not take any assessment prescribed by section 3301.0710 or 3301.0712 of the Revised Code. This prohibition does not apply to an employee of the district who is a member of an IEP team when determining individual appropriate accommodations that are necessary to measure the academic achievement and functional performance of a child with a disability on state and district-wide assessments for purposes of the child's IEP.

(B) On a finding by the state board of education, after investigation, that a school employee who holds a license issued by the state board has violated division (A) of this section, the license of that employee shall be suspended for one year. Prior to commencing an investigation, the state board shall give the employee notice of the allegation and an opportunity to respond and present a defense. 

(C)(1) Violation of division (A) of this section is grounds for termination of employment of a nonteaching employee under division (C) of section 3319.081 or section 124.34 of the Revised Code.

(2) Violation of division (A) of this section is grounds for termination of a teacher contract under section 3311.82 or 3319.16 of the Revised Code.

Educators have not responded kindly. The Ohio Education Association issued this statement

Sub. HB 420 creates an extreme and misdirected penalty for school employees based on the wildly vague and subjective standard of “negligently suggesting” a student opt-out of a state assessment. 

OEA will not stand for this hostile “gotcha” legal trap and it must be removed from the bill. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Kristina Roegner (R- Hudson), has said that the provision will be removed. But we still urge OEA members to contact their representatives and voice our strong opposition.

You can contact Rep Roegner here and tell her to drop this shameful language from HB420.

Ohio Charters Fail in Comparison to Big 8

With the release of school performance data, comparisons between traditional public schools and charter schools can be performed. The Dispatch has been first out the gate comparing charter schools to the Ohio Urban schools (or the big 8 as they are often referred).

Ohio’s charter schools are struggling to make gains in student performance, making the large urban districts they were meant to reform look good by comparison, state report-card information released last month shows.

More than 80 percent of charter high schools got an F on the latest state report cards or their ability to graduate students on time in four years. Those failing schools listed enrollment that totaled more than 42,000 students; more than 30,000 of them attended three Internet-based charter schools, including the state’s largest, ECOT.
[...]
Of the 19 charter and urban high schools rated A in graduating students on time, two were charters. No charters were in the top 10 schools. The Dispatch did not include the state’s “dropout recovery” charters that target high-school dropouts; their numbers are even worse.

Imagine the comparisons if the dropout recovery schools were included! As usual the Charter school boosters have the excuses ready for yet another year of terrible performance

The Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools said in a statement two weeks ago that the release of the latest state numbers should be “viewed within the context of the student demographics of public brick-and-mortar charter schools and the grades they serve,” and that Internet charters such as ECOT should be excluded.

Chambers is arguing that if only the ratings were calculated illegally, her charter schools performance would look better! If you recall, excluding e-schools is what got ODE and David Hansen (the husband of Gov. Kasich campaign manager) in hot water and eventually fired.

However, we agree that ECOT and the other eschools are a major problem. But, rather than simply excluding their performance os it can be hidden from public view, the state should simply close them all down. Tolerating this annual failure is past the sell by date.