Tag Archive: Ohio

More kids passing grad test on 1st try | The Columbus Dispatch.

Here is some good news, I guess; more students passed all 5 sections of the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) this year than in past years.  This article by Jennifer Smith Richards, is worth a look through.

Statewide, 69.5 percent of

10th-graders passed all

five sections, up from

65.8 percent last year.

Are kids getting better at these tests, are the tests getting easier, are we doing a better job of educating students, or none of the above.  I was pretty disappointed that the Dispatch didn’t ask these questions but just reported on the results.  Our students were a bit below the average number of 69.5%, but overall they did very well.  I never look to the tests as high bars of success.  In fact, it is a lower bar of success compared to students achieving good grades in college courses.  Don’t get me wrong, I am ALWAYS excited when  students pass the tests.  I want them to be able to get through these, but they are not an indication of life-readiness or college-readiness.  We need to be cautious about what conclusions we draw when it comes to these tests and students success on them (again, not taking away a congratulatory pat on the back for the kiddos).  -Ed


Charter Schools: Let’s Find out What they Do.

This post is in relationship to a previous post entitled, “Reflection on National Charter Movement.”

I am just kicking this further out, but felt like this quote really captured the article well,

The powerful teachers unions, in small districts and large, have so demonized charters for so long, have so hamstrung local reporters and their Chamber of Commerce publishers, that most people – and most education journalists  – still think of the appearance of charter schools on the scene as the education version of the invasion of the body-snatchers.

Ok, so maybe the body-snatchers comment is a little over the top, but I liked it none-the-less.  I have gotten this look sometimes in the past when I tell people that I work for a public charter.  This was mostly when I began 8 years ago, but still now and again we are blamed for all of the public school ills (all of them!).  Anyways, a little light-hearted fun.  Enjoy the article!  -Ed

You work for a charter?!?

Just picked up this article from Time.com (thanks James).  In it, Andrew Rotherham considers the charter movement from a national perspective.  He clearly has a wide scope lens on this issue and I am a little shocked behind the paragraph pertaining to Ohio.  I think that first and foremost it should be noted that many of the RIDICULOUS ideas proposed by White Hat Management group have been dashed from the Ohio budget (in so far as I have read in the Dispatch).  Also, I am not surprised.  This is the educational equivalent of ‘if it bleeds, it leads’.  If there is bad news, it will overwhelm all of the good news and good people who are out there making a difference in the lives of students.  I am taking this article as a warning that we have a lot of work to do in our state (let alone our region, city, and building!) in order to be sure that all charter schools are serving the needs of the students and the community at large.

(I have pasted the article below but here’s a link if you like the reading with pop-up ads)

Backlash: Are These End Times for Charter Schools?

By Andrew J. Rotherham Thursday, June 09, 2011

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2076488,00.html#ixzz1OpF5BhtV

Is it the best of times or end times for public charter schools? Four thousand charter-school leaders, teachers, advocates and policymakers will gather in Atlanta this month at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ annual conference. The gathering of upstarts is larger than what many long-standing traditional-education groups can muster, but in states and cities across the country, charter schools are facing increased political pressure and scrutiny. In Georgia, the state’s supreme court just ruled that the arrangements for charter schools are unconstitutional. Welcome to town!(See what makes a charter school great.)

Charter schools, the first of which was created in 1992, are public schools that are open to all students but run independently of local school districts. There are now more than 5,000 of them educating more than a million students. Charter schools range in quality from among the best public schools in the country to among the worst. That variance is proving to be a political Achilles’ heel for charter schools, fueling a serious backlash.(See “KIPP Schools: A Reform Triumph, or Disappointment?”)

In New York City, the NAACP joined the teachers’ union in a lawsuit that would have the effect of curbing charter-school growth. That sparked a protest by families in Harlem, and the NAACP was roundly criticized for its stance, which apparently owes more to politics than kids.

In Rhode Island, Cranston Mayor Alan Fung wants to bring the highly successful charter organization Achievement First to his city but has run into a buzz saw of opposition from teachers’ unions and officials.

Meanwhile, in Ohio — a state that has had a troubled charter-school sector since legislation enabling it was passed in 1997 — Republicans are trying to weaken oversight and accountability, preferring to leave those issues to the marketplace. It’s a surprising strategy, because most analysts agree that shoddy oversight is in large part to blame for the mixed record of charter schools in that state. Many Ohio charter-school advocates are fighting the proposed changes, but they are facing an uphill battle.(See “Better Teachers: More Questions than Answers.”)

Some of this brouhaha is understandable. In many ways, charter schools are the most visible aspect of today’s education-reform movement — and have therefore become a convenient target. The call for accountability is still more bark than bite, but when a lot of students in a community choose charter schools, the threat to traditional public schools is real, in funding and often in jobs. That gets attention. It’s also hard to find any industry that embraces competition, so some of the debate is the natural byproduct of change in public education. But it has become hard to find a measured conversation about charters — and that’s what is worrisome, because the issues are complicated and nuanced.

I’ve had a front-row seat to the charter movement’s growth. I was a founding board member for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and a trustee of a charter school for seven years, and I led a research project into charter-school quality from 2000-05, when quality was still a nascent issue. In 2003 Sara Mead and I convened a national summit on charter-school quality in Charlottesville, Va. As a state board of education member in Virginia, I watched established interests strangle charter schools at every opportunity by seizing on the worst ones as representative of the whole. And my organization, Bellwether Education, counts some charter schools among its clients.

Now, watching the current controversies, two lessons stand out.

First, with 5,000 charter schools ranging from the traditional to ones that are online, the term itself is increasingly meaningless. After all, what does a network of schools like Achievement First really have in common with the mostly low-performing online schools run by White Hat Management in Ohio (the force behind the proposed deregulation there)?

Second, the public can’t be expected to parse the distinctions, so the quality issue has more potency than many charter advocates seem to realize. The education marketplace is not an economic one, with the best ideas winning out. Rather, it’s a political marketplace, with the loudest or most organized voices usually carrying the day and the most compelling examples winning the public debate. So one spectacular charter screwup counts for more than 100 quiet successes, and the good and great schools can’t overcome the headwind created by the laggards.

Most people in the charter movement thought that some of these issues would be more settled by 2011 — especially the importance of opening new schools and giving parents more choices as well as the need to better police quality. That things are instead so unsettled and fragile should occasion at least as much soul searching as celebration.

Andrew J. Rotherham, who writes the blog Eduwonk, is a co-founder and partner at Bellwether Education, a nonprofit working to improve educational outcomes for low-income students. School of Thought, his education column for TIME.com, appears every Thursday.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2076488,00.html#ixzz1OpEy526w

Masters’ Research Presentation


This is Ed in Rush Run looking for L. maackii stumps.  Yup.  No joke.  Good times!  Actually, just trying to avoid poison ivy, mosquitos, and doing my best to work quickly so I can go home and get out of my sweaty clothes!

This is me in Rush Run ravine in Worthing, Ohio looking for L. maackii stumps. Yup. No joke. Good times! Actually, just trying to avoid poison ivy, mosquitos, and doing my best to work quickly so I can go home and get out of my sweaty clothes!



Earlier this evening I gave my exit presentation for my Masters of Science degree in the Environmental Science Graduate Program at The Ohio State University.  My research has taken place over the past year and it is centered around studying the removal efforts made by community groups in central Ohio ravines forests.  Specifically, I am studying the removal of Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii).  My PowerPoint presentation can be seen at the following URL:  Effectiveness of Lonicera maackii (Rupr.) Herder Removal Treatments in Olentangy River Ravine Forests in Central Ohio.  Since this is a Google conversion from PowerPoint, there are a few errors, but you get the idea.

I was told that the presentation went well but that I spoke too quickly.  When I told my Dad this, he said, “No kidding.”  I have been talking quick since I was a kid!  

I am nearly finished with my Masters’ work.  I have to present my thesis to my advisory committee and have my paper submitted to the graduate school for publication by the school.  I will then be able to walk across the stage to receive my diploma on March 22nd, 2009, four days before my 29th birthday.  

Despite myself, I have been very enamoured with this process and making sacrifices for it has been very easy.  Last night, for instance, I got three hours of sleep despite knowing that I had a full day of work ahead of me as well as this presentation at 4pm.  I just pounded it out and didn’t think twice about the sleep that I lost.  It’s a fascinating process and this is unlike anything else that I have ever experienced!  Don’t get me wrong, I cannot wait to be done so I can get back to sleep, reading books, playing games, and spending more time with my wife and my friends, but right now this is a unique experience and I’m trying to really soak it up and make it complete.  

I will post my thesis once it’s finished.  Right now it’s embarassingly incomplete, so I won’t waste time putting it up.  Eventually, however, I hope to have at least the abstract up (Not sure about university policy and information rights).

Have a great one!