StateImpact Ohio launched in June 2011 as your source for Ohio education news and analysis from NPR and Ohio public media. It’s been a big year for us, and for education in Ohio.
How big? Let us count the ways:
Gov. John Kasich signed Senate Bill 5 in March 2011. And the successful campaign to repeal it began. (A referendum on SB 5 was on the November 2011 ballot as Issue 2.) The law would have limited collective bargaining for public employee unions and changed how schools operate.
- Fifteen Ways Issue 2 Will Affect Ohio Schools, Colleges and Universities
- The Pros and Cons of Ohio’s Issue 2 for Educators and Taxpayers
- Higher Ed Unions Say Issue 2 Would Be a “Death Sentence.”
- Ohio Issue 2 Results: Voters Repeal Controversial Collective Bargaining Law
- Education Unions Raise Much of $19 Million To Defeat Ohio’s Issue 2
- Issue 2 Campaign Cost $16 Million More Than 2010 Gubernatorial Election
In 2011, state lawmakers scrapped the existing formula for distributing state dollars to public schools. They handed out state funding under what they called a temporary model, resulting in funding cuts for many districts. Gov. John Kasich had said he would introduce a new, permanent school funding plan by the end of 2011, but has now postponed that indefinitely. In other funding news, although voter turnout for the November 2011 election was relatively high, there was little support for new school district taxes.
- Ohio’s Public Education is Far From Free
- Voters Show Little Support for New School Taxes, Though Most Renewal Levies Passed (And Ohio School District Levy and Tax Issue Results)
- Kasich School Funding Model Could Send Local Dollars to Charter and Private Schools
- New Ohio School Funding Formula Coming…Eventually
About 95,000 of Ohio’s 1.8 million students attend charter schools. In 2011, legislators gave school operators permission to open more schools. And for the first time charter school sponsors — the non-profit organizations or public entities responsible for overseeing charter schools — were held accountable for schools that weren’t performing academically.
- A StateImpact Ohio Series: Do Charter Schools Work?
- Ohio School Districts Among Top Ten Nationally for Charter Enrollment
- Surprise! Charter Schools are Public Entities
- As a Group, Ohio Urban Charter Schools Deliver Similar Performance for Less Money
- Ohio Charter School Sponsors Now Face Sanctions for Schools’ Poor Academic Performance
In 2011, state legislators doubled the number of vouchers available. Vouchers are publicly funded scholarships for private schools. Currently, only students who live in the state’s worst-performing school districts are eligible for them. A bill that would have expanded the state voucher program to every Ohio school district — and potentially redistributed local, as well as state funding – faltered in the face of school-district opposition.
- Ohio School Districts Fight Voucher Expansion Bill Because They Fear Losing More State Funding
- Disgruntled Parents Opt for School Vouchers
- Ohio Families Facing Expanded Back-to-School Decisions
The budget bill enacted in June 2011 required the Ohio Department of Education to rank Ohio schools in all sorts of ways. Schools got ranked by standardized test results. Charter-school sponsors got ranked by their schools’ academic performance. And still more rankings will roll out in 2012.
- Behind the Numbers: 2011 Ohio School Rankings
- State Rankings for Ohio Schools Released Today
- The New Numbers Game: The Shaky Math Behind Ohio School Spending Rankings
Teachers are using technologies new and old in the classroom, and online schools are some of Ohio’s largest charter schools. Ohio’s Digital Learning Task Force began meeting in 2011 to develop recommendations on how to expand digital learning.
- Some Ohio Schools Say Computers Don’t Belong in Classrooms
- High School Evolves Towards All-Digital Model
In 2011, the state developed a new way to evaluate teachers. Under this new model, at least half of a teacher’s evaluation must be based on his or her students’ academic performance. And some districts receiving federal Race to the Top money will soon have to base teachers’ pay at least partly on their evaluations.
- A Look at Ohio’s New Teacher Evaluation System
- Ohio Average Teacher Salaries Up 12 Percent Since 2005
- How Overall Bans, Levy Support and Car Theft Sentences Get Embedded in Ohio Teachers’ Contracts
- Meet Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s Chosen Teacher
- Pink Slips and Recalls Part of Job Description for Many Ohio Teachers
In January 2011, Ohio was awarded a $400 million, four-year grant from the federal Race to the Top program. Ohio is supposed to use the money to improve student performance and graduation rates, decrease the achievement gap between white and non-white students and increase postsecondary enrollment. In December 2011, the feds announced that Ohio would receive another $70 million to improve early childhood education.