- Despite a record-sized budget of $72 billion, the net increase in education spending is just $464 million, which is below inflationary levels.
- More than half of Ohio school districts will see less direct state aid in 2016 than they received last year.
- 55% of Ohio school districts will receive less money now than they did six years ago.
House Bill 5: Impact Analysis Understanding the cumulative financial impact of House Bill 5 in the context of the last four years of funding cuts to local communities
Research OverviewChanges proposed in House Bill 5, legislation pending in the Ohio General Assembly, could result in a substantial reduction in resources for hundreds of Ohio communities that levy an income tax, and could lead to further budget consequences such as service cuts and tax increases. When combined with the significant loss of revenue that municipalities are already facing as a result of policy changes enacted by Governor Kasich and the legislature over the past four years, the potential impact to Ohio communities is staggering. We estimate the statewide impact to communities from House Bill 5 if it passes at over $82 million per year. When considered along with the cuts to municipalities already enacted over the past four years, we found that Ohio cities and villages will be coping with nearly half a billion dollars less in their annual budgets to provide services. For some Ohio communities, the reduction in resources exceeds 20% of their annual budgets, and will be difficult to absorb without tax increases or major cuts in services. Read the report: “House Bill 5: Impact Analysis” Read the press release: “HB 5 Continues Assault on Local Services, Pushes Total Cut to Communities to $495 Million a Year”
There has been much talk recently about a bill in the Ohio House of Representatives that would remove the Common Core as Ohio’s standards for its 1.8 million children. While there are serious questions about the Common Core, its assessments and their use for accountability purposes, there are also several pieces of misinformation that have made it into the debate. We at Innovation Ohio felt it necessary to clear up some of the misconceptions about these standards so that a more informed discussion of their merits and demerits could occur.
- Common Core is “Obama-Core”
One of the more popular Tea Party talking points is that Common Core is an attempt by the federal government to take over education: Obamacare for education, so to speak. However, the standards were developed before Obama ever became President by State Superintendents beginning in 2007, who interestingly first broached the topic at their annual conference in Columbus, of all places.
- Obama’s Race to the Top (RttT) Program Forced Ohio To Adopt Common Core
The Race to the Top application included a section on “Standards and Assessments” which made up 70 out of a total of 500 points. Forty of those points were awarded for “Developing and adoption common standards.”
Ohio won its Race to the Top (RttT) grant in the second round of applications. Despite having been singled out for its adoption of Common Core standards in its Round Two application while there was no mention of Common Core by reviewers in Round One, Ohio received the same score on the Standards and Assessment section in both rounds: a perfect 70. In other words, the state’s lack of Common Core adoption in Round One of RttT did not cost Ohio the grant.
So, while the RttT application did require the development and adoption of “common standards”, it did not specifically require Common Core to meet that requirement.
- Common Core forces every school to use the same curriculum
Standards are not curriculum. Standards state what students should know at each grade level. Curriculum is “how” they gain that knowledge. There aren’t Common Core curricula, per se. Each district, just like now, decides for itself the curricula that will help its students to reach the standards. And they will continue to pick all textbooks and other materials.
As for the standards, it is difficult to disagree with the standards when you read the plain language. For example, here are the standards 4th graders should be able to meet in reading literature:
Key Ideas and Details: 1) Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text. 2) Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text. 3) Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).
Craft and Structure: 4) Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including those that allude to significant characters found in mythology (e.g., Herculean). 5) Explain major differences between poems, drama, and prose, and refer to the structural elements of poems (e.g., verse, rhythm, meter) and drama (e.g., casts of characters, settings, descriptions, dialogue, stage directions) when writing or speaking about a text. 6) Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first- and third-person narrations.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: 7) Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text. 8) Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics (e.g., opposition of good and evil) and patterns of events (e.g., the quest) in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures.
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity: 9) By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the grades 4-5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
It is difficult to find fault with these. Are they perfect? No. No standards are. But all these expectations are just that: Expectations. They do not prescribe how to teach kids to “compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated,” for example, but simply mandate that students must be able to perform that task, regardless of the curriculum used.
- Common Core Leads to More and Worse Tests
Common Core requires the same number of tests. But the test are actually much better than the current crop (whether testing should be so elemental to our educational structure is a matter of real, fierce debate). The tests require students to show their work and think critically and attempts to measure critical thinking skills. The tests are rigorous and represent a vast improvement over the current round of OAAs.
The issue has been the tests are more involved and require greater state investment than they’ve so far received. But the tests themselves are an improvement over the old testing structure.
While there remain serious issues about how they’re used (teacher evaluation, school rankings, etc.), those issues would be there with — or without — Common Core.
- Common Core is Being Pushed by Extremist Elements
In fact, Common Core has enjoyed remarkable, bipartisan support from Barack Obama to Jeb Bush, as well as support from teachers unions and free-market reformers. It has been, in fact, one of the few major issues which unite the disparate sides on education reform.
Below is a sampling of organizational supporters of Common Core:
- ACT, Inc.
- Alliance for Excellent Education
- American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
- American Council on Education
- American Statistical Association
- Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE)
- Association of State Supervisors of Mathematics (ASSM)
- The Business-Higher Education Forum
- The College Board
- Coalition for a College and Career Ready America (CCCRA)
- Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE)
- Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
- Council of the Great City Schools
- Hunt Institute
- Military Child Education Coalition
- National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
- National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE)
- National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM)
- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
- National Education Association (NEA)
- National Higher Education Organizations
- National Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
- National School Boards Association (NSBA)
- Partnership for 21st Century Skills
- State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO)
- The United States Army
This is not a list of crazy, radical organizations. And, in fact, many represent the teachers and administrators who have to most directly deal with the fallout from the change in standards. Does this mean that the standards are perfect? No. But folks whose job it will be to instruct and implement the standards have pretty much all been on record supporting the Common Core.
Research OverviewAs school begins this week for many of Ohio’s 1.8 million school children, Innovation Ohio felt it important to remind parents and taxpayers how dramatically funding and policy have changed under Republicans, led by Gov. John Kasich. Key Findings
- Traditional Public Schools, which educate 90% of Ohio’s kids, now receive $515 million less state funding than before Gov. Kasich took office
- Ohio’s school funding system remains “unconstitutional” because of its over-reliance on property taxes.
- The cost of local school levies has jumped 34% under Gov. Kasich.
- Charter School Funding Has Increased by 27% and Charters now receive more state money per pupil than do traditional public schools.
- Private School Vouchers have doubled under Kasich.
Research OverviewWhile much has been made of state job gains and reductions in the state’s unemployment rate, Ohio’s economy employs nearly 140,000 workers than it did prior to the 2008 recession. Innovation Ohio sought to explore the jobs that have been created during the state’s recovery and see whether they are comparable to those that were lost. By reviewing occupational employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2007 to 2013, we found that:
- Prior to the start of the recession in 2007, 33% of Ohioans were employed in occupations that pay, on average, more than $20 per hour, 39% in jobs paying between $13.40 and $19.99, and just 28% in jobs paying $7.00-$13.39 hourly.
- At the end of 2013, low-wage occupations had jumped to 36% of Ohio employment, while medium-paying jobs fell to 34% and high-wage occupations dropped to 31%.
AcknowledgementsHeather Madonia, Ph.D. candidate, Northwestern University served as principal researcher in preparing this analysis.
Research OverviewInnovation Ohio watched recent shocking revelations about misdeeds at Dayton’s Horizon Science Academy with disgust. In response to the allegations of test manipulation and tampering made during a State Board of Education hearing earlier this month, IO examined publicly available testing data for signs of irregularities. Specifically, we compare how Horizon Academy students did on state tests, administered by school officials with ACT college entrance exams, administered by an independent company. The results raise troubling questions for Horizon’s Columbus High School.
Read the report.
Read the press release.
Research OverviewInnovation Ohio has repeated our earlier analysis of the impact of state education funding cuts to local taxpayers, finding in a new analysis that Ohio taxpayers have approved $670 million in new operating funds for schools since May, 2011. This represents a 34% increase over the same period four years earlier, and includes over $10 million in taxes that can be attributed to the elimination of property tax relief in the most recent Kasich budget. Read the full analysis here. Read the press release.
Research OverviewInnovation Ohio has repeated our earlier analysis of charter schools funding in Ohio, finding in a new analysis that in the 2012-2013 school year, over half of state funding for charters went to schools that performed worse than the traditional public districts students left behind. The result is that the students left in Ohio’s traditional public schools receive less support than the state says they need. Key Findings:
- As a result of charter school deductions, Ohio’s traditional school students receive, on average, 6.6% less state funding this year than the state says they need;
- Thanks in part to the rise of virtual schools, many high-performing suburban school districts are among the biggest per-pupil funding losers;
- Well over half of the transfers of state money to charters goes to schools that perform worse than traditional public schools on either of the state’s two main performance measurements.