Education News for 05-07-2013

Local Education News

  • Urban League might lose Head Start grant (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Two nonprofit groups have been offered federal Head Start grants to serve needy preschool children in central Ohio, but not the Columbus Urban League…Read more...

  • Argument over access (Warren Tribune Chronicle)
  • Parents who are unhappy with the Champion School District's refusal to provide access for their special-needs son to attend Central Elementary School have filed a complaint with the Department of Justice…Read more...


  • Bus money (Akron Beacon Journal)
  • Since 2005, Ohioans have enjoyed a 21 percent reduction in individual income tax rates. The Ohio House has proposed an additional 7 percent…Read more...

  • Hospital study is timely for parents (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Probably every parent wishes at some point that he or she could just bubble-wrap their little one. But guarding kids so closely for fear of injury…Read more...

  • Another blow to city schools (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Thursday’s records seizures at 20 Columbus high schools by the state auditor ought to prove convincing to those who have blindly defended…Read more...

Education News for 11-28-2012

State Education News

  • Black grad rate lags in Ohio (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  • Ohio is the sixth worst state in the nation at graduating black students from high school on time, a new federal study says…Read more...

  • Ohio’s grad rates show racial disparity (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Ohio has one of the nation’s lowest graduation rates for black students but one of the better rates for white students. The gap between black and white students’ success is so wide — white students’ rate is 26 percentage points higher…Read more...

  • House tweaking schools legislation (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Majority Republicans in the House say legislation to ramp up the school accountability system and create new report cards for schools and districts could be voted on as early as Thursday…Read more...

  • Ohio ties for 8th in U.S. for high school graduation rates (Dayton Daily News)
  • Twenty two states have better high school graduation rates than Ohio under a new, more uniform method of calculation, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education…Read more...

  • Local HS Introduces Unique Texting Program (WJW)
  • A Lake County high school is now using a unique text messaging program which allows students to anonymously send tips about any potential dangers at their school…Read more...

Local Education News

  • New Albany levy passes; district will build a school (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Voters approved a New Albany schools tax that will pay for a new school building, according to final, official results the Board of Elections certified yesterday…Read more...

  • Vanlue, Kenton agree to share school treasurer (Findlay Courier)
  • Vanlue and Kenton school districts have agreed to share a treasurer, school administrators announced this week…Read more...

  • Mansfield school district rethinking budget situation (Mansfield News Journal)
  • A gamble by the Mansfield City Schools Board of Education backfired at the polls this month, and the district will operate with $4 million less next year…Read more...

  • No comments for proposed 'double dip' (Newark Advocate)
  • No one spoke up at a public hearing Tuesday concerning the proposed retirement and rehiring of the superintendent of the Career and Technology Education Centers of Licking County…Read more...

  • Austintown teens learn work skills (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • Hartford Orchard has hosted many families and events throughout the season, but on Tuesday, those visiting the orchard were put to work…Read more...


  • Plenty of big questions facing Ohio's schools (Chillicothe Gazette)
  • When it comes to the state government in Columbus and big issues involving Ohio’s public schools, there are more big unknowns than knowns at the moment…Read more...

  • Ohio ready to reform tests, data (Warren Tribune Chronicle)
  • At long last, Ohio seems on the brink of simple, common-sense school reforms. One would compare the performance of students to those in other states. Another would eliminate the bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo…Read more...

Education News for 10-16-2012

State Education News

  • Grad rates tumble under new rule (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Call it the ugly truth. Many Ohio schools saw their graduation rates plummet after the state required them to track whether every high-school senior…Read more...


  • School Reform, But From Whose Perspective? (Education Week)
  • Public K-12 schooling is a popular subject in all forms of media these days, with the majority of coverage highly critical of both the professionals who work within the system…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Bluffton board OKs new policies (Findlay Courier)
  • The Bluffton school board approved a number of new policies Monday, including one to provide reading intervention to students who may need it. Superintendent Greg Denecker said most of the policy changes were made because of changes in the laws…Read more...

  • Tri-Rivers levy would fund job training, upgrade facilities (Marion Star)
  • Tri-Rivers Career Center is talking job development as it seeks a tax levy that officials say is needed for updating the building and equipment…Read more...

  • New school could help lure jobs (Springfield News-Sun)
  • A major corporation’s sponsorship of the Global Impact STEM Academy not only secures help for the school but also provides a boost to local efforts to bring more businesses and jobs here…Read more...

  • LaBrae principal praises lockdown (Warren Tribune Chronicle)
  • LaBrae High School principal Rocco Adduci said he is pleased with the way staff and law enforcement secured the facility and took three intruders into custody…Read more...

  • TCTC decides against being part of solar project (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • The Trumbull Career & Technical Center board of directors has decided against participating in a proposed $8 million Solar Planet project…Read more...

Data proves voters increasingly supporting schools

Since we launched Join the Future almost one year ago, we have been tracking Ohio's school levy election results. Below we have plotted the passage rates for New and Renewal levies, and the combined results. As you can see, passage rates have been steadily increasing since the May 2011 primary. Let's hope that voters continue to support our public schools in ever greater numbers, despite the Governor's inexplicable call to vote against school funding.

Levy Date New Renewal All
May 2011 35.3% 91.8% 58.9%
Aug 2011 19.0% 100% 32.0%
Nov 2011 28.4% 88.6% 50.8%
Mar 2012 56.6% 98.1% 75.2%

Levy Trend Results

Virtual schools, virtually useless

Michael Morrison, writing for Decisions Based on Evidence, brings to our attention some recent reports on the failures of virtual schools (or e-schools) in places other than Ohio. Here's findings from Colorado

Minnesota is also finding similar problems

“While the number of course registrations has quadrupled over the last few years, full-time online students have become less likely to finish the courses they start. Course-completion rates for full-time online students dropped from 84 percent in the 2006-07 school year to 63 percent in 2009-10. During this period, several individual online schools experienced large and steady declines in course-completion rates, while only one program showed significant improvement.”

And in Pennsylvania, K-12 Inc.’s Agora Cyber Charter School's results are terrible.

Nearly 60 percent of its students are behind grade level in math. Nearly 50 percent trail in reading. A third do not graduate on time. And hundreds of children, from kindergartners to seniors, withdraw within months after they enroll.

We've mentioned K-12 Inc. before and noted they are Ohio's fastest growing virtual school provider. It appears there is a two fold reason why K-12 is Ohio's fastest growing, a reason that might also indicate why academic performance isn't so stellar. Stephen Dyer at 10th Period notes from K-12's financial filings

In fiscal year 2011, we derived approximately 13% of our revenues from each of the Ohio Virtual Academy and the Agora Cyber Charter School in Pennsylvania. In aggregate these schools accounted for approximately 26% of our total revenues. If our contracts with any of these virtual public schools are terminated, the charters to operate any of these schools are not renewed or are revoked, enrollments decline substantially, funding is reduced, or more restrictive legislation is enacted our business financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.

Dyer concludes

This means the laws in Ohio and Pennsylvania are so beneficial to online schools that one of the nation's biggest operators cannot exist without those laws remaining in place. As we reported last year at Innovation Ohio, Ohio Virtual Academy had a 51:1 student-teacher ratio, and this is on top of them getting enough state money to have a 15:1 student-teacher ratio and give $2,000 laptops to every child while still clearing 31.5% profit. In fact, they spend barely 10% of their money on teachers -- easily the lowest percentage of any of the major statewide eSchools. That means 90% of their $59 million in state money they got last year went to things other than teachers. But they don't have buildings, custodians, lunch ladies, or buses to maintain. So what where could the remaining $53 million in Ohio taxpayer money be going?

It would be a shame if K-12's milking the Ohio taxpayer to subsidize their other operations, as their SEC filing indicates it's doing.

An even greater shame that thousands of Ohio's virtual school students are being short changed a quality education at the expense of next quarters financial report.

Teacher attrition and education policy

One of the genuine major issues facing education is one of teacher attrition. Each year significant numbers of teachers leave the profession. From a human capital perspective, this is hugely expensive and impacts education delivery. A large number of studies have been performed to asses this problem. A recent study, published by the american Education Research Association looked at all the major studies in this area. The study can be found here (pdf). What follows are come of the concluding remarks.

This literature review provides a summary and critical evaluation of the recent published research on the topic of teacher recruitment and retention. We reviewed studies that examined (1) the characteristics of individuals who enter teaching, (2) the characteristics of individuals who remain in teaching, (3) the external characteristics of schools and districts that affect recruitment and retention, (4) compensation policies that affect recruitment and retention, (5) pre-service policies that affect recruitment and retention, and (6) in-service policies that affect recruitment and retention.

The reviewed research offered several consistent findings. The strongest results were those relating to the influence of various factors on attrition due to the widespread availability of longitudinal data sets that track the employment of teachers. Below, we summarize the findings that emerged in the recent empirical research literature.

  1. Results that arose fairly consistently regarding the characteristics of individuals who enter the teaching profession were as follows:
    • Females formed greater proportions of new teachers than males.
    • Whites formed greater proportions of new teachers than minorities, although there is evidence that minority participation rose in the early 1990s.
    • College graduates with higher measured academic ability were less likely to enter teaching than were other college graduates. It is possible, however, that these differences were driven by the measured ability of elementary school teachers, who represent the majority of teachers.
    • A more tentative finding based on a small number of weaker studies is that an altruistic desire to serve society is one of the primary motivations for pursuing teaching.
  2. Several findings emerged with a strong degree of consistency in empirical studies of the characteristics of individuals who leave the teaching profession:
    • The highest turnover and attrition rates seen for teachers occurred in their first years of teaching and after many years of teaching when they were near retirement, thus producing a U-shaped pattern of attrition with respect to age or experience.
    • Minority teachers tended to have lower attrition rates than White teachers.
    • Teachers in the fields of science and mathematics were more likely to leave teaching than teachers in other fields.
    • Teachers with higher measured academic ability (as measured by test scores) were more likely to leave teaching.
    • Female teachers typically had higher attrition rates than male teachers.
  3. Regarding the external characteristics of schools and districts that are related to teacher recruitment and retention rates, the empirical literature provided the following fairly consistent findings:
    • Schools with higher proportions of minority, low-income, and low-performing students tended to have higher attrition rates.
    • In most studies, urban school districts had higher attrition rates than suburban and rural districts.
    • Teacher retention was generally found to be higher in public schools than in private schools.
  4. The following statements summarize the consistent research findings regarding compensation policies and their relationship to teacher recruitment and retention:
    • Higher salaries were associated with lower teacher attrition.
    • Teachers were responsive to salaries outside their districts and their profession.
    • In surveys of teachers, self-reported dissatisfaction with salary was associated with higher attrition and decreased commitment to teaching.Teacher Recruitment and Retention
  5. Rigorous empirical studies of the impact of pre-service policies on teacher recruitment and retention were sparse. In general, few results emerged across studies, and the following findings were therefore not particularly robust:
    • Graduates of nontraditional and alternative teacher education programs appear to have higher rates of retention in teaching than national comparison groups and may differ from traditional recruits in their background characteristics.
    • There was tentative evidence that streamlined routes to credentialing provide more incentive to enter teaching than monetary rewards.
    • Pre-service testing requirements may adversely affect the entry of minority candidates into teaching.
  6. Findings from the research on in-service policies that affect teacher recruitment and retention were as follows:
    • Schools that provided mentoring and induction programs, particularly those related to collegial support, had lower rates of turnover among beginning teachers.
    • Schools that provided teachers with more autonomy and administrative support had lower levels of teacher attrition and migration.
    • A tentative finding was that accountability policies might lead to increased attrition in low-performing schools. The entry, mobility, and attrition patterns summarized

One can see from the results of these studies, creating a lower paid, less secure profession as some current corporate education reform policies would do, would create a situation of worse renention, to the determiment of students. The importance of workplace conditions, classroom resources, and support are also critical, and may be lost without the ability to bargain for them.

Clearly, delivery of high quality education at an affordable cost is a complex subject with many complex variables at play. SB5 and HB153's highly prescriptive, and simplistic appoaches to reform without any broad expert consultation are bound to produce sub-optimal results. Ohio should take advantage of it's localized control and delivery of education, and its vast expert resources in education and pedagogy to experiment in reform before committing to a one size fits all simplistic approach.

A second literature review on teacher attrition an be found here.