Fordham hides from facts

UPDATE: Fordham has now published our comment on their site, for which we are grateful. See the comments to this article for their explanation.

The Fordham Foundation, one of Ohio's more vocal charter school boosters, has a post on their website defending the high number of failing charter schools. The piece is written by Aaron Churchill, someone we have observed stretching facts and the truth before (Fordham loses its bearings). Like his previous piece's error addled analysis, his latest defense of failing charter schools goes to great lengths to obfuscate hard truths using indefensible "statistical analysis".

Rather than write a post here on JTF, we tried to leave a long comment pointing out just some of the errors in the post. Fordham has decided they would rather that comment be hidden and not be published, so we are publishing it below, in response to a Fordham reader asking us to

Aaron states "The chart shows that a nearly equal number of charters reside in the state’s bottom 111 schools"

Let's just assume that is correct. What if utterly fails to recognize is that there are orders of magnitude more traditional public school buildings than charter schools - so the fact that so many charter school buildings appear in the bottom 111 should be disturbing to everyone, not glommed onto as a point of false equivalence. As an overall percentage of school buildings charter schools dominate the bottom rankings.

Let's look at another claim made by Aaron...

"The fact of the matter is that taxpayers spend less on each child in a charter school then is spent on their district peers."

That claim is contradicted by the Ohio Department of Education (link here:

"The average of total expenditure per pupil for public districts is $10,110.72.

The average expenditure per pupil for community schools is $9,064. When broken out: For e-schools it’s $7,027. For non-eschool community schools it’s $10,165.

So only when one combines the cost of the laughably cheap (and ludicrously underperforming) e-schools do Ohio's charters look inexpensive - and that's using ODE as a source.

Aaron did a good job, as all charter school boosters do, of obfuscating the facts - which is that the vast majority of Ohio's charter schools deliver a poor quality education at an inflated cost.

Let's close them down and concentrate our energy on the schools that 95% of Ohio's students go to, and maybe learn some things along the way from the few charter schools that are getting it right, instead of this constant non-debate and excuse making about the terrible charter schools we all know exist in very high numbers.

Fordham likes to hide behind their advocacy for charter school accountability and quality, but whenever they are pressed on this, they obfuscate the difficult facts and revert to defending the rotten and the failing. They may talk a good game, but in the end they are no less a charter school booster as White Hat owner, David Brennan. Mr. Churchill's post and decision to avoid a discussion on it are further proof of that.

The Terhar debacle roundup

Fallout from State Board of Education President's offensive and ignorant Facebook post, comparing President Obama to Hilter spread far and wide yesterday.

The latest development has a tepid statement from the Governor's spokesperson saying "the governor has no comment about Terhar’s posting and no plan to remove her as board president". A true profile in courage and leadership.

The Ohio Department of education had its head resign over a serious ethics violation, and the current acting superintendent and his deputy are reportedly applying for district level jobs. Education leadership in Ohio is in disarray. Now the governor expects education professionals to take the State Board of Education President seriously after this disgraceful incident? Certainly her fellow board members don't think so

“I don’t think she can be perceived as being objective,” said Jeffrey Mims, a board member from Dayton. “Whether she wrote the statement or not, the fact that she harbored those statements on her Facebook page, I think you just can’t be associated with that.”

Ann Jacobs, a board member from Lima, said the board is supposed to be nonpartisan but Terhar’s posting is the latest sign of how partisan it’s gotten in recent years.

Here's a sampling of some of the coverage

Her continued presence on the board brings disgrace to the State Board of Education, Ohio's education system and all the professionals who strive everyday to bring excellence to educating Ohio's young people.

Debe Terhar breaks Godwin's law

The State Board of Education President Debe Terhar, in all her professional glory

State Board of Education President Debe Terhar said she was not comparing President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler when she posted a photograph of the Nazi leader on her Facebook page with a message critical of the administration’s new gun-control efforts.

But she does say we “need to step back and think about it and look at history” to see that tyrants have disarmed their citizens.

Terhar, a Cincinnati Republican elected last week by the 19-member school board to a second term as its president, recently posted the picture with this commentary: “Never forget what this tyrant said: ‘To conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens.’ — Adolf Hitler.”

The photograph apparently originated with the Facebook page of Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children, which features a variety of anti-Obama, pro-gun posts and photos, such as scantily clad women hoisting large guns, a polar bear with the words “Holy f*** I’m glad I’m white,” and another saying “Where’s Lee Harvey Oswalt when you need him?”

When the Sipatch asked her about her Facebook post she said, “I’m not comparing the president to Adolf Hitler, it’s the thought of disarming citizens, and this has happened throughout history. What’s the true intention of the Second Amendment? It was to protect us from a tyrannical government, God forbid.”

Why is the State Board of Education President trolling racist Facebook pages in the first place, let alone making offensive comparisons to a genocidal maniac?

In one simple Post, Debe Terhar shows herself to:

  • Have a serious lack of professionalism
  • Questionable judgment
  • The inability to apologize
  • Lacking in historical understanding
  • A belief that we are stupid enough to believe she wasn't comparing the President to Hitler

Apparently in Terhar's world, only educators are to be held accountable.

Education News for 11-09-2012

State Education News

  • Ohio official: Budget won't be 'business as usual' (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  • Ohio’s budget director says state revenues have “modestly exceeded” projections during the budget year that began in July…Read more...

  • Northeast Ohio students move frequently in some school districts, study says (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • A new statewide study attaches numbers to a situation faced by many Ohio teachers every year…Read more...

  • Physical fitness being added to Ohio Report Cards (Willoughby News Herald)
  • Wondering how area elementary and high school students are faring in terms of physical fitness? Beginning with the 2012-13 Ohio Report Cards you’ll have an idea…Read more...

  • High rate of students suspended in Y’town, Warren (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • Ohio Department of Education records show high numbers of student suspensions in the Mahoning Valley’s two largest school districts…Read more...

  • Local schools feel the pinch from loss of state funding (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • Cuts in state funding for pub- lic schools and the diversion of funds from public school districts to charter schools and voucher programs have been a fact of life in Ohio for years…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Mansfield City Schools fiscally responsible (Mansfield News Journal)
  • Mansfield City Schools is on the right track, according to the school’s fourth annual Fiscal Accountability…Read more...

  • Defeat of tax issue will prompt tough decisions for Toledo Public Schools leaders (Toledo Blade)
  • The defeat of Toledo Public Schools' levy won't result in immediate cuts, but will prompt tough decisions by district leaders…Read more...

  • Teacher’s Post-Election Facebook Post Leads To Investigation (WBNS)
  • An election-related Facebook post by a Columbus City School teacher led to an investigation after parents complained. The Linden McKinley High School teacher posted, "Congrats to those dependent on government…Read more...

  • Local School Levy Passes By a Single Vote (WJW)
  • The final vote on an 8.1 million levy for the Massillon City Schools remains uncertain following Tuesday’s election when the levy passed by only one vote. Of 11,741 votes cast 5,870 voted against the levy, 5,871 voted in favor of it…Read more...

  • Youngstown school officials work to bolster students (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • Using data, visiting classrooms to monitor instruction and building relationships with students are ways principals at four city schools are working to bolster student achievement…Read more...


  • Damage control (Akron Beacon Journal)
  • On Tuesday, the voting pattern held on school issues in Ohio: The majority of requests for new operating funds were rejected…Read more...

  • With levy won, the pressure's on Cleveland schools leaders to perform (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • Cleveland schools chief Eric Gordon was, quite impressively, up and running the day after a thrilling election-night victory for the schools' critical 15-mill levy…Read more...

  • Guidelines necessary (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Ohio schools should welcome better guidance and clearer rules from the state about how and when they can use “seclusion rooms” to isolate out-of-control students…Read more...

Corporate Ed Reform a big election loser

Corporate education reformers lost big on election night in a number of states with high profile issues and races affecting public education. In no particular order, here's what went down

Florida voters defeated a measure that would have allowed the use of public funds for religious school tuition, effectively turning back an effort that was expected to lead to a state-wide voucher program. It only garnered 44% of the vote.

In Indiana, The Washington Post reports

Indiana voters tossed out controversial state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett and elected veteran teacher Glenda Ritz in his place, the Indianapolis Star reported.

The vote has resonance beyond Indiana because Bennett was a leader of the national market-driven school reform movement who pushed through a statewide voucher program and took other steps that critics said amounted to the privatization of public education.

Idaho voters voters

  • Rejected plans to mandate students to take online courses and for the state to spend $180 million on laptops - a boon for the profiteers, an economic disaster for districts.
  • Rejected merit pay for teachers that is linked to student standardized test scores
  • Opposed limits on the collective bargaining rights for teachers.

In California, voters approved Prop 30, which calls for a $6-billion-a-year tax increase, in part to fund public education. They also rejected Prop 32, the third attempt in 14 years to prevent unions, which represent 2.5 million workers in California, from using annual dues payments to contribute to state and local candidates or campaigns for ballot measures.

The Washington Post Reports, In Bridgeport, Conn.

voters rejected an expensive effort by the mayor and his supporters in the corporate world to win mayoral control over the Board of Education. Voters retained the right to elect their own school board representatives.

Corporate education reformers and union busters spent a lot of money on issues and candidates in election 2012 and left with a lot of heavy losses.

Education News for 10-12-2012

State Education News

  • Superintendent evaluation process varies (Hamilton Journal-News)
  • While Race to the Top and other education reform movements are putting an emphasis on teacher and principal evaluations, there is no uniform method for evaluating superintendents…Read more...

  • CTC programs take students from classroom to workforce (Portsmouth Daily Times)
  • The Scioto County Career Technical Center has changed faces since its old days as “VoTech,” with a significant growth…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Former Cleveland schools CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett to take over top post in Chicago (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard stepped down Thursday after a little more than a year in the post, a spokeswoman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel said…Read more...

  • Levy failure would result in loss of up to 20 teachers (Lorain Morning Journal)
  • Failure of Amherst schools 4.9-mill levy, Issue 28, would mean up to 20 more teaching positions would be eliminated, Superintendent Steve Sayers said…Read more...

  • Nonstudents enter LaBrae High, triggering a lockdown of school (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • LaBrae High School was on lockdown for 90 minutes Thursday morning after three young men walked into the school who were not students there and were noticed by a teacher…Read more...


  • Access denied (Akron Beacon Journal)
  • State agencies catch grief for layers of bureaucracy that waste time and money. Many times, the problem originates with the General Assembly. Ohio’s Statewide Student Identifier system…Read more...