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Ohio's New School Rating System: Different Results, Same Flawed Methods

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Matt, Is your argument that standards-based reform simply does not work? Your criticism of Ohio's accountability system is really a criticism of the idea that states should set academic standards, create assessments that are aligned to these standards and then hold schools and educators accountable for meeting these standards. Ohio has followed ever other state in the union in embracing standards-based reform, and this sort of reform is what lies behind the logic for the Common Core. Is the big headline here that the AFT is now turning its back on standards-based reform - which it has long supported? Are you now opposed to the Common Core which one could argue is standards-based reform on steroids? And if so, what are you proposing as a replacement? Best, Terry Ryan VP for Ohio Programs and Policy The Thomas B. Fordham Institute Dayton, Ohio

So how is Shanker institute helping Cleveland teachers fulfill their ethical responsibilities to Cleveland schoolchildren? One way to help would be to produce a scatter plot of grades vs FRPL, identify the high-performing, high-poverty schools, and figure out how to transfer lessons learned to Cleveland. Or is CTUH doing that? Is it part of the OFT/AFT quality policy? American Educator has run some great articles--have they improved capacity in AFT-affiliated districts?

Hi Terry: Thanks for the comment. I have to admit to being baffled by it. As far as I know, the AFT hasn't changed its position on standards. In addition, I actually work for the Shanker Institute, which has also not changed its position. Our board of directors (see list here: http://www.shankerinstitute.org/about/board/) has long expressed strong support for standards-based reform. But this has nothing at all to do with this post, which focuses on whether Ohio's new rating system accomplishes the goal for which it was designed -- that is, to measure school performance. And Ohio’s new system is not (in my view) an accurate portrayal of such performance, and should be changed. I’m not against state grading systems (I think they’re actually useful if designed well, which in Ohio’s case would entail – again, in my opinion - much more emphasis on growth measures and much less on absolute performance). This is in contrast to the position that I surmise you are taking, which would focus more on rewarding schools for meeting some threshold of performance, based on standards. Does this mean that you favor rewarding schools and districts for being geographically located in areas where high-performing students live? If so, that's not "performance"; it's serendipity. As I indicated in the post, designing useful grading systems is very hard - and important - work. As such, critiquing the details of such a system does not imply opposition to accountability, assessments, or standards. Actually, I might argue that insofar as measurement is so important in any accountability system, taking the time to critique a measurement system is inherently pro-accountability. Thanks again, MD

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