Education News for 04-01-2013

State Education News

  • Catholic schools embrace Common Core (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  • The Common Core isn’t just for public schools anymore. These days, private schools across the country are jumping on the public education standards bandwagon…Read more...

  • Lawmakers aren’t near a school-funding resolution (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Faced with an unpopular formula, a fast-approaching deadline, and an uncertain amount of money, Rep. Gerald Stebelton doubts a final school-funding plan can be crafted by the time the two-year state budget is approved…Read more...

  • Reports of child abuse, neglect increase (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Reports of possible abuse or neglect of children continue to rise in Franklin County, driven in part by more notices from schools, day-care centers and others who work with kids…Read more...

  • Ohio’s new chief educator is expected to seek change (Columbus Dispatch)
  • People who know Ohio’s new state school superintendent have called him provocative, direct and impatient…Read more...

  • Charter schools would receive 'F' in new standards (Newark Advocate)
  • Seven in 10 Ohio charter schools wouldn’t make the grade under Ohio’s new school rating system, which will replace ambiguous terms with an A-F scale…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Treasurer predicts fewer students will leave Akron for charter, private schools (Akron Beacon Journal)
  • Each year in May, Treasurer Jack Pierson prepares a five-year financial forecast for Akron Public Schools…Read more...

  • Lobbying not part of education panel’s expenses (Columbus Dispatch)
  • The Columbus Education Commission had spent just under $360,000 through February and had about $640,000 in city cash and pledges from the business community, officials said last week…Read more...

  • Campus Impact program helps students cope with bullying (Lorain Morning Journal)
  • In light of reports of bullying involving children, preventative programs such as Campus Impact are being sought locally to help students deal with the issue of bullying…Read more...

  • Linkage coordinators reflect on three years helping students stay in school (Newark Advocate)
  • In July 2010, Josh Devoll and Dava Kaltenecker became linkage coordinators…Read more...

  • Mathews teachers, board OK contract (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • Mathews schoolteachers and the board of education have ratified a three-year contract containing no salary increases for the duration of the contract and increased medical premiums in the third year…Read more...

  • Youngstown board members sound off on supt., each other (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • “Fractured” and “strained” are some of the adjectives city school board members used to describe their relationships with one another and with Superintendent Connie Hathorn — but so are “cordial” and "professional."…Read more...


  • Medina situation in a word: Disconnect (Canton Repository)
  • Medina residents are rightly upset about their school board’s lax policies on spending. They aren’t likely to rest until they’re satisfied that the board and administration are making resolution of this issue a top priority…Read more...

  • Give consideration to school consolidation (Lancaster Eagle-Gazette)
  • This past week, we raised the question: Does Ohio need 612 school districts? There is no clear-cut answer, but we believe it’s a question worthy of closer scrutiny…Read more...

The weakest "linkage"

Many changes are starting to ripple down to the classroom level as Ohio moves forward with its efforts to implement corporate education reform. One of those changes is the creation and increasing use of teacher level value add reports. We provided some basic background on value add here if you need a refresher.

One of the most important steps in producing these complex reports for each teacher is to know which teacher taught which student, in which subject, and for how long. We need to know this for every student and every teacher. It's a process called "linkage". Without this linkage teachers could not be credited with the instruction they provided to each student.

By 2013, it will not be just RttT districts and Battelle for Kids’ projects that will require this linkage to occur, but all school districts must “implement a classroom-level value-added program (HB 153; Section 3319.112(A)(7)).

These teacher-level value-added reports will be used to determine teacher effectiveness and will be a significant factor in teacher evaluations. So it is clear that being able to accurately link student to teacher per subject is going to be critical if this system has any hope of working fairly.

If one imagines common scenarios such as students moving, teachers getting sick and having a sub, and one multiplies that by over 120,000 teachers in Ohio and almost 2 million students - the opportunity for linkage error is simply massive, only surpassed by the sheer magnitude of the administrative effort needed to keep this whole enterprise from unravelling.

Battelle for Kids has spent part of the summer providing some training and webinars on this issue.

In spring 2010, more than 125,000 rosters were verified by educators in South Carolina, Texas, Ohio and Oklahoma. Recent analyses of linkage results from schools across the country yield alarming results, including

Everytime a student moves, someone will have to go into a computer system and remove them from each teacher's roster, and then when that student enrolls in a new school, someone will have to go into a computer system and add them to each of their new teacher's rosters. Ditto for students changing classes, ditto for teachers needing to be replaced and on and on. Hundreds of thousands of changes throughout the school year will need to be performed, and all this on top of hoping the initial set up of millions of teacher/student linkages is error free each year to begin with!

Because Value add is longitudinal, i.e. results from previous years are used to make current year calculations, any errors from previous years will also be carried over, so it isn't like each year allows for a fresh start either. Indeed, as time rolls by, the errors may be compounding.

According to Battelle's own presentation this system hasn't worked to date in South Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma, nor Ohio - which is set to expand it to every school district.

How much confidence can anyone have in a system that will be used for high stakes decisions such as pay and employment, that relies on such gargantuan administrative tracking that has proven to be as utterly unreliable as this?

Link Before You Leap