October 22, 2014

What Do School Performance Index Scores Mean Anyway?


Ever wonder how the state comes up with a Performance Index Score for public and charter schools? As part of our work on the Ohio Charter School Accountability Project, we recently published a brief explanation of how the Performance Index Score is calculated and why it is considered to be the key measurement for evaluating schools.

Read it here: A Performance Index Primer: What do PI Scores Mean, Anyway?

KnowYourCharter.com – New Charter Website Compares Charter And Public Schools

For Immediate Release: September 30, 2014
Contacts: Dale Butland (IO), 614-783-5833 & Michele Prater (OEA), 614-378-0469

“KnowYourCharter.com” – New Website Provides Detailed Comparison of Charter and Traditional Public Schools; Improves Data Transparency
OEA, Innovation Ohio Unveil New, Easy to Use Online Tool for Parents, Educators, Policymakers and Taxpayers

Columbus – The Ohio Education Association and Innovation Ohio today announced the launch of a new website for parents, taxpayers and educators that will allow detailed comparisons between charter schools and traditional public school districts. The new on-line tool – KnowYourCharter.com – not only provides access to the state’s most recent Report Card information, but improves transparency by aggregating this and other relevant data at a single, easy-to-use website. Previously, locating this data required visiting multiple sites and extracting the information from numerous and often confusing spreadsheets. At KnowYourCharter.com, visitors will be able to compare schools in a particular geographical area across a wide variety of indices, including State Report Card grades, the amount of state money the schools receive, the percentage spent on classroom instruction, and the average number of years of teacher experience.

screenshot [Read more...]

State expands charter investigation after IO raises questions about testing

horizonJust over a month ago, Innovation Ohio released an analysis of test scores at Horizon charter schools around the state, after reports emerged of possible test tampering at the chain’s Dayton location. In it, we showed that Horizon’s Columbus High School showed indications that state test scores were abnormally high when compared to how the school performed on independently-administered ACT exams.

Today, the Ohio Department of Education announced that it was expanding the scope of its investigation to Horizon’s Columbus school.

We’re happy that the state has concluded that the questions IO raised concerning test score discrepancies at Horizon’s Columbus school bear further investigation.

Charters Make Up Most of Bottom Spots on State Performance Index Rankings

report_cardAs we continue to dig into the state report cards, another fact jumps out:

The bottom 88 of 894 districts and charters when ranked by Performance Index scores are Charters. And this is with only 300 of the state’s 400+ charter schools included, because recent state law changes removed traditionally low-scoring dropout recovery schools from the rating system.

Of the bottom 200 districts evaluated, fully 179 are charters. Meanwhile, of the top 200 scores, just 10 were posted by charters.

State Report Card: Ohio Charters Get More Fs than As, Bs, and Cs Combined

The Ohio Report Cards are now all out, and the news is worse for Ohio’s embattled Charter Schools than it was last year. Charter Schools received more Fs than As, Bs and Cs combined. Their percentage of Fs went up from about 41% last year to nearly 44% this year. Meanwhile, Ohio’s public school districts saw their As jump to the largest percentage and number of grades. This chart shows the breakdown:

As can be seen, Ohio’s Charter Schools continue to struggle with their performance, with now nearly 62% of their report card grades registering D or F. Remember that Ohio school districts lost $914 million to these schools last school year.
Will Ohio’s policy leaders take note?

More Ohio Districts Get As on State Report Card Than Any Other Grade

Ohio’s new Report Cards were released today. While detailed spreadsheets won’t be available until this afternoon, the School District spreadsheet was made available this morning.

What it shows is that Ohio’s School Districts received more As this year than last, as well as slightly more Ds and Fs. The highest percentage of grades for Ohio’s school districts are now As. Last year, it was Bs. Ds and Fs remain the lowest percentage.


The GOP Assault on Women’s Rights: 4 Facts All Ohioans Need to Know


Kasich signs anti-women budget flanked by male legislators. Photo credit: Karen Kasler, Ohio Public Radio.

Though Governor Kasich and his fellow GOP officeholders continue to deny that they are attacking women’s rights, below are some key facts that all Ohioans need to know.

1. Governor Kasich refused to veto any of the 5 anti-women provisions Republican legislators included in the current state budget, and signed them into law instead.  Though he possesses line-item veto authority, Governor Kasich refused to use it when he signed HB 59 (the current two-year state budget) on June 30, 2013. The bill contained five new anti-women provisions, ranging from the defunding of Planned Parenthood to requiring that physicians give women misleading information concerning abortion. [IO analysis; blog post on bill signing]

2. Of the 59 GOP members of the Ohio House, 51 earned a grade of F on our Legislative Report Card.  Graded on their votes on 10 different pieces of legislation — ranging from restoring funding to Planned Parenthood to allowing women who face gender-based pay disparities to file actions in state courts — 51 (out of 59) GOP House members received an F, while 7 others received a D. [IO's women's scorecard]womens scorecard - snippet [Read more...]

The Kasich Economy: 4 Facts All Ohioans Need to Know

As Governor Kasich continues to insist that he and his allies have engineered an ‘Ohio comeback,” there are four facts  all Ohioans need to know.

Fact # 1: Ohio lags the rest of America in job creation.  Governor Kasich often boasts that Ohio has more jobs now than when Governor Strickland was in office. But since virtually every state has more jobs now than it did during the nation’s “Great Recession”, the real question is how Ohio compares to the rest of the country. Ohio not only ranks 41st among all the states in job creation, but has lagged the national average for 20 straight months. And, unlike the rest of America – which has recovered all the jobs lost during the recession and then some, Ohio is still roughly 140,000 jobs short of where we were in 2007 before the national downturn began.

Fact # 2: Virtually all the jobs created under Kasich have been low-wage. Although Kasich promised that his privatized development agency, JobsOhio, would move “at the speed of business” to create good-paying jobs in the economy of tomorrow, virtually none of the jobs created during his administration pay enough to support a family.  An August 20 analysis by Innovation Ohio found that Ohio’s economy now has more people working in low-paying jobs than in occupations that pay medium or high wages. And an August 31 study by the Cleveland-based think tank Policy Matters-Ohio found that in 2013, Ohio’s median wage was just $15.81 per hour, 90 cents below the national median wage.

Fact # 3: Under Kasich, median income has fallen by $9,000 per household.  An August Associated Press analysis found that Ohio’s real (adjusted for inflation) median household income fell from $54,000 in 2007 to $45,000 in 2012 – a far steeper drop than for the nation as a whole. The AP study also found that nearly 50% of Ohio households are now living paycheck-to-paycheck, and 16% of Ohioans have fallen into poverty.

Fact # 4: The benefits from Kasich’s income tax cuts have overwhelmingly gone to the wealthy. Under the three income tax cuts that have taken effect since Kasich assumed office (including the “final installment” of the 2005 income tax cut that Strickland postponed during the Great Recession), the richest 1% has, on average, enjoyed an annual tax cut of $10,000.  Middle-income Ohioans have received less than $100, and the poorest Ohioans have seen a slight tax increase, thanks to the higher sales and property taxes enacted under Gov. Kasich.  This does not include the lower inheritance taxes now paid by the wealthy due to Kasich’s repeal of Ohio’s estate tax. The estate tax applied to only the richest 7% of Ohioans.

For most Ohioans, Governor Kasich’s so-called ‘Ohio Miracle’ has been a mirage. We’re creating fewer jobs than most other states, the ones we’re creating don’t pay a living wage, and the Governor’s income tax cuts have only served to exacerbate the growing gap between the rich and the rest. Surely our state can do better. [Read more...]

Labor Day Statement from Innovation Ohio President

For Immediate Release: August 29, 2014
Contact: Dale Butland, 614-783-5833

Labor Day Statement from Innovation Ohio President
Anti-labor policies, tax-shifting trend increases income inequality and threatens Ohio’s middle class, says McCarthy

COLUMBUS – In advance of the Labor Day weekend, Innovation Ohio President Keary McCarthy released the following statement:

“Labor Day is a celebration of the American labor movement and the workers who fought for it. Every year, we honor the contributions of labor unions because they built the greatest middle class the world had ever seen. But every year it also becomes increasingly difficult to think about the middle-class without considering the sobering fact that it’s disappearing. Growing income inequality is one of our nation’s and our state’s biggest challenges.

“Over the last several decades, the wealthiest Ohioans have seen their earnings grow by 70 percent while working- and middle-class families have seen their earnings decrease.  Nationally, as labor union participation has declined over the last fifty years, the gap between the rich and the poor has widened.

“Ohio’s elected leaders must make it a priority to reverse these trends. Stop making it harder for Ohioans to participate in labor unions. Stop the tax-shifting trend that benefits those at the very top at the expense of everyone else. Without pursuing these basic fixes to Ohio’s economy and a policy agenda that puts the middle class first, Ohio’s income inequality will grow and the promise of the American dream will continue to slip away.” [Read more...]

Keary McCarthy Is New President of Innovation Ohio

For Immediate Release: July 9, 2014
Contact: Dale Butland, 614-783-5833

Keary McCarthy Is New President of Innovation Ohio
Janetta King remains Board Chair

Columbus — Innovation Ohio, a progressive think tank headquartered in Columbus, announced today that Keary McCarthy will become its new President and CEO in early August.  McCarthy, a long- time fixture in Ohio progressive politics, will take over as President/CEO for IO founder Janetta King, who will retain her role as Chair of the Board. For the past two months, King has been splitting her time between Columbus and Washington, D.C. where she serves as Chief of Staff to CAP Action President (and former Ohio Governor) Ted Strickland.

Since 2011, McCarthy has been Minority Chief of Staff at the Ohio House of Representatives where he managed all operational and administrative duties for the lower chamber’s Democratic members.  In that role, McCarthy provided strategic direction for all policy, legislative and communications matters.  He previously held top policy and communications posts for former House Speaker Armond Budish, the 2008 Obama Presidential campaign in  Ohio, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, and the transition team for then-newly elected Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald. Prior to his work in government, McCarthy served as communications director for ballot measures in 2005 on redistricting and election reform, and a successful effort in 2006 to increase Ohio’s minimum wage. McCarthy, a life-long Ohio resident, lives in the Clintonville neighborhood of Columbus with his wife, Lori, and their two young children.

Said IO Board Chair Janetta King:

“As the founder of Innovation Ohio, I’m absolutely thrilled that Keary has agreed to become its President. While I will remain deeply involved with IO, the organization needs a full-time, hands-on President, which was no longer possible for me because of my duties at CAP Action in Washington. Keary’s work at the Ohio House has been first-rate — and he is deeply committed to the progressive causes that are at the heart of our organization. Fortunately, the rest of IO’s incredibly talented and hard-working team remains in place — and with Keary at the helm, I know IO won’t miss a beat in providing the kind of research, analysis and communication for which we’ve become known.”

Said McCarthy:

“Innovation Ohio’s hard-hitting policy analysis has been an important counterweight to the conservative ideology that has dominated state government over these last three years. I believe that having a strong, Ohio-based progressive think tank in the mother-of-all swing states is critical both now and in the future.  I’m thrilled at the opportunity to lead this organization, build on its success, and find new ways to strengthen the progressive voice in Ohio and beyond.”