The school "choice" expansion in Ohio from $0 to $1.1 billion annually is having a draining effect on traditional public schools. With most of money lost to lower performing, unregulated charter schools. This rapid unregulated expansion is also taking a tremendous toll on "choice" schools themselves.
The Columbus Dispatch reported in January that 17 charter schools in the city had failed this year alone.
Nine of the 17 schools that closed in 2013 lasted only a few months this past fall. When they closed, more than 250 students had to find new schools. The state spent more than $1.6 million in taxpayer money to keep the nine schools open only from August through October or November.
The problem is not isolated to Columbus, as the Toeldo Blade reports
Secor Gardens Academy’s short tenure in Toledo came to an abrupt end, as the school closed its doors over the weekend because of financial struggles.
Comically, the leader of this "school" couldn't even provide an enrollment figure. According to the Department of Education FY 14 Detail Funding Report this charter was receiving $220,952.70 for FY 2014. We wonder if the leader of this school is unable to account for that, too.
The charter school, which opened in the fall, was based in the back of the Armory Church, 3319 Nebraska Ave. School Superintendent Samuel Hancock and others involved with the school realized the school’s finances had become untenable, said James Lahoski, superintendent of North Central Ohio Educational Service Center, the school’s sponsor.
According to the dispatch 29% of Ohio's charter schools have closed, and the pace of opening and closing is accelerating
It took 15 years for Ohio’s list of closed charters to reach 134; then that number grew by almost 13 percent last year from charters closing in Columbus alone.
We expect the acceleration to continue, as the Cincinnati Enquirer notes, Forty-five new charter schools opened in Ohio this academic year, but with only 600 new students. That isn't sustainable. Schools cannot properly run with just a handful of students attending them, and they certainly shouldn't be ran out of the backs of churches. Students need a stable learning environment, with quality facilitates in order to thrive.
Charter schools in Ohio have been allowed to epxand faster than the pool of students wishing to attend them, and the oversight of the quality of the schools being opened has been cast aside.
The School Choice movement and the legislature in Ohio needs to step up and put an end to this train wreck, and take a long hard look at the charter school authorizing process.
According to a survey by the National School Supply and Equipment Association, teachers spent $485 of their own money, on average, on supplies during the 2012-13 school year.
Most teachers say spending personal money on supplies is just part of the job. But while teachers could deduct as much as $250 of that from their taxable income in the past, they won't be able to going forward.
"We love our jobs too much just to worry about that tax thing," Foster said. "We're going to do our jobs whether we get the tax break or not."
"You need supplies to make sure to enhance what your kids are learning," he said. "If the parents don't have money to buy kids a lot of supplies, that's where teachers come in and make sure they have enough."
Congress let that tax break expire at the end of 2013 along with a bunch of others. Some lawmakers are working to bring it back, but for the moment, it's gone.
Mary Kusler, director of government relations for the National Education Association, said this isn't the first time the tax break has expired. Each time, it has come back, she said, and it probably will again.
Until it does, local teachers will make do with that they have.
A report titled "Reliability and Validity of Inferences About Teachers Based On Student Test Scores" by Edward H. Haertel of Stanford University, published by ETS Research & Development Center for Research on Human Capital and Education Princeton, becomes yet another paper that casts grave doubt on the use of Value-add for the purposes of evaluating teachers
Policymakers and school administrators have embraced value-added models of teacher effectiveness as tools for educational improvement. Teacher value-added estimates may be viewed as complicated scores of a certain kind. This suggests using a test validation model to examine their reliability and validity. Validation begins with an interpretive argument for inferences or actions based on value-added scores. That argument addresses (a) the meaning of the scores themselves — whether they measure the intended construct; (b) their generalizability — whether the results are stable from year to year or using different student tests, for example; and (c) the relation of value-added scores to broader notions of teacher effectiveness — whether teachers’ effectiveness in raising test scores can serve as a proxy for other aspects of teaching quality. Next, the interpretive argument directs attention to rationales for the expected benefits of particular value-added score uses or interpretations, as well as plausible unintended consequences. This kind of systematic analysis raises serious questions about some popular policy prescriptions based on teacher value-added scores
The whole report, included below is worth a read, or at least a skip to the conclusion
My first conclusion should come as no surprise: Teacher VAM scores should emphatically not be included as a substantial factor with a fixed weight in consequential teacher personnel decisions. The information they provide is simply not good enough to use in that way. It is not just that the information is noisy. Much more serious is the fact that the scores may be systematically biased for some teachers and against others, and major potential sources of bias stem from the way our school system is organized. No statistical manipulation can assure fair comparisons of teachers working in very different schools, with very different students, under very different conditions. One cannot do a good enough job of isolating the signal of teacher effects from the massive influences of students’ individual aptitudes, prior educational histories, out-of-school experiences, peer influences, and differential summer learning loss, nor can one adequately adjust away the varying academic climates of different schools. Even if acceptably small bias from all these factors could be assured, the resulting scores would still be highly unreliable and overly sensitive to the particular achievement test em- ployed. Some of these concerns can be addressed, by us- ing teacher scores averaged across several years of data, for example. But the interpretive argument is a chain of reasoning, and every proposition in the chain must be supported. Fixing one problem or another is not enough to make the case.
Reliability and Validity of Inferences About Teachers Based On Student Test Scores
At the onset of the great recession, Ohio employed 107,047 classroom teachers according to the ODE Teacher Information Report for 2008-09. The figure for 2012-13 stands at 100,156. That's a decline of 6,891 teachers during Governor Kasich's tenure. Barely less than the number of teachers in Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati - combined.
Beyond this massive attrition due to austere budget cuts made by the Governor and his legislative allies has also come onerous new requirements, most of which have been unfunded.
The implementation and execution of an evaluation system so crippling that the Ohio Senate recently passed a bill to fix it - unanimously, before OTES has even fully come online. A 3rd grade reading guarantee, common core, PARCC assessments - all with little or no money to fund implementation.
Not satisfied with draconian cuts to districts forcing a reduction of almost 7,000 teachers, the Governor and his allies have also expanded the choice failure. Combined, failing charter schools and unaccountable for-profit private schools are now draining over $1 billion dollars a year from traditional public schools.
If the Governor's goal was to push Ohio's public education system to the breaking point, he has succeeded.
We noticed a story in Politico a short while ago
NEW TACTIC ON TEACHER EVALUATIONS: Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, is launching a campaign against using value-added metrics to evaluate teacher effectiveness. Her mantra: "VAM is a sham." That’s a notable shift for the AFT and its affiliates, which have previously ratified contracts and endorsed evaluation systems that rely on VAM. Weingarten tells Morning Education that she has always been leery of value-added "but we rolled up our sleeves, acted in good faith and tried to make it work." Now, she says, she’s disillusioned.Having the President of the second largest teachers union come out against Value-add might not seem all that startling to most observers. Teachers after all have been leery of the whole idea from its inception.
But as study after study reveals who unreliable and inaccurate using student test scores to evaluate teachers is, the skepticism is growing wider and deeper.In Tennessee, the birth place of Value-add, policy makers are beginning to wise up to the problems too
Tennessee’s education leaders have been collecting national accolades since August, after the state board of education adopted a rare policy that ties teacher licensing to learning gains.
But not just in Tennessee, in Connecticut, the Governor is also asking for a pause in implementing teacher evaluations based on value add
At its meeting in Nashville on Friday, the board stepped away from the new policy, promising an April rewrite eliminating learning gains as the overriding factor in whether teachers can work in Tennessee.
the vote coincides with a bipartisan bill gaining ground in the legislature this session. The Educator Respect and Accountability Act, sponsored by Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, and Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, would prevent the state from yanking teachers’ licenses based on “any statistical estimate utilizing standardized test scores.”
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy has just asked for a “pause” in implementation of a controversial new teacher evaluation system that uses student standardized test scores to assess teachers
In his letter to legislators, the Governor was quite clear, the reforms are not working
However, I would like to make the case that these reforms will not result in improved conditions since they are not grounded in research, the evidence that supports professional decision-making, like a doctor or engineer. It is simply a matter of substance. The evidence is clear in schools across the state. It is not working.Meanwhile, here in Ohio, legislators are also realizing that the teacher evaluation system is flawed. SB229 would modify OTES to rely somewhat less on student test scores, however that bill which passed unanimously in the Ohio Senate is now stalled on the House.
The National Alliance for Public Charters, like so many charter school boosters appears to care more about the quantity of charter schools than they do the quality.
We have spent the better part of the last 12 years with a test-based accountability movement that has not led to better results or better conditions for children. What it has led to is a general malaise among our profession, one that has accepted a narrowing of the curriculum, a teaching to the test mentality, and a poorly constructed redefinition of what a good education is. Today, a good education is narrowly defined as good test scores. What it has led to is a culture of compliance in our schools.
We have doubled-down on the failed practices of No Child Left Behind. Not only do we subscribe to a test and punish mentality for school districts, we have now drilled that mentality down to the individual teacher level.
This is clearly evident when looking at their state rankings for charter laws
Nicole Blalock, PhD a postdoctoral scholar at Arizona State University writes
In four of the states with a statistical difference between charter school students’ NAEP scores and public school students’ NAEP scores, statistical differences were observed for all grade/subject pairs tested. This occurred in the states of Alaska, Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Until charter school boosters begin to care more about quality than they do quantity, we're going to continue to have horribly performing charter schools in Ohio that are not serving our students. We cannot continue to focus on quantity over quality.
The National Alliance for Public Charters state charter law ranking are absurd. Ohio should be ranked dead last, based on quality.
On average, in Alaska, students attending charter schools outperformed students in public schools by approximately 10 points in most grade/subject area tests and by more than 20 points in reading in grade 4. However, the National Alliance for Public Charters that ranked the 42 states with charter schools and the District of Colombia as per their charter school laws, ranked Alaska nearly the lowest (i.e., 41st of 43) for the “best” charter laws (“Measuring up to the model”, 2013). Put differently, the state whose charter school students performed among the best as compared to their public school peers just happened to be one of the worst charter states as externally ranked.
Otherwise, public school students outperformed charter school students in the other three states (i.e., Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) with consistent and significant score differences across the board. Maryland was one of two states to be ranked lower than Alaska for the “best” charter laws overall (i.e., 42nd of 43), and Ohio and Pennsylvania ranked in the middle of the pack (27th and 19th of 43 respectively). Each of these states demonstrated charter school student performance that lagged behind public school students by an average of 23 points.