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President Barack Obama tours a graphic design classroom at Columbus's Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School in September 2011.

Columbus, Ohio's Largest School District

Background

MANDEL NGAN / AFP/Getty Images

President Barack Obama tours a graphic design classroom at Columbus's Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School in September 2011.

The Columbus school district is Ohio’s largest school district and enrolled about 50,000 students in 2010-11.

About 80 percent of its students are from low-income families.

Looking at graduation rates, 72 percent of Columbus’s class of 2010 graduated from high school within four years.

In the 2010-11 school year, 55 percent of Columbus fifth graders could demonstrate basic, grade-level reading skills and 44 percent could demonstrate basic, grade-level math skills, according to the district’s state report card. For eighth graders, those figures were 69 percent for reading and 48 percent for math.

Columbus received a rating of “continuous improvement” on its 2010-11 state report card, the equivalent of a “C.”

Gene Harris has served as Columbus’s superintendent since 2001.

The Columbus Education Association, an affiliate of the Ohio Education Association and the National Education Association, represents Columbus teachers. Rhonda Johnson is the Columbus union’s president.

Latest Posts

Columbus Schools Going Door-To-Door to Get Kids Into Summer School

Columbus City Schools employees and an army of volunteers are literally going door-to-door this week, to get students who haven’t passed the third grade reading assessment back into school. Despite impressive gains between administration of the state-mandated test in the fall and the spring, over 950 third-grade students failed to make the cut-off score that [...]

Districts Caught Up In Data-Scrubbing Scandal See Ratings Falter

COMEDY_NOSE / FLICKR The Ohio Department of Education has lowered the ratings of six school districts which previously misrepresented student performance. The action is a follow-up to the State Auditor’s finding that schools around the state “scrubbed” test results from lower performing students before submitting their data to the state. The affected districts include Cleveland, [...]

Handling of Student Data Still An Issue in Columbus Schools

A new internal audit by Columbus City Schools found administrators continued marking students as having withdrawn without providing proper documentation, well after the superintendent vowed the practice would stop. The audit is a follow-up to one in 2012 that found school administrators improperly altered attendance data with the intention of inflating performance on state report [...]

Two Columbus Principals Recently Fired After Data Scandal File Lawsuit

OHMANN ALIANNE / FLICKR The fallout from the data manipulation scandal in the Columbus City Schools hasn’t stopped yet. Earlier this week, the school board voted to fire two more high school principals and accept the resignation of a third. All three were put on paid leave in January and have close ties to the alleged attendance data [...]

Columbus Board Weighs Changes To ‘Policy Governance’

As state auditors wrap up their investigation into alleged data rigging in the Columbus City Schools, the district is set to make big changes on how it’s run. The new president of the Columbus school board promises to shake things up and increase scrutiny of the district’s budget and academic performance. In the early 2000′s, [...]

Two Stories About Big-City Mayors Trying to Set Rules for Charter Schools

atalou / Flickr Over the past year, state legislators changed state law to allow charter schools in Ohio’s two biggest cities–Columbus and Cleveland–to receive local tax dollars. That’s a big change: Before that point, Ohio charter schools did not directly receive local tax dollars. 

Columbus Mayor Says Schools Have “Failed” And Voters Should Approve New Levy

The Columbus school district’s levy campaign kicked off with a television ad in which Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman says the Columbus schools have “failed us.” In the ad, Coleman goes on to say, “Quality edition should not depend on the color of a child’s skin, how much money their parents make or the neighborhood they [...]

Gov. Kasich Wants to See More Local School Reform Legislation

Gov. John Kasich wants more Ohio school districts to seek legislation to overhaul their schools, Gongwer Ohio reports. Kasich’s comments came this week as he signed legislation that lets the mayor of Columbus sponsor charter schools, the Columbus school district share local tax dollars with charter schools, and allows for the creation of a new, independent district auditor position.

E. Gordon Gee’s Retirement Leaves the Columbus School District in the Lurch

Joseph Alutto will serve as Ohio State University's interim president.

Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee’s surprise retirement announcement leaves Ohio’s largest school district without a leader lined up to take the place of outgoing Superintendent Gene Harris. Harris is set to retire from the Columbus school district effective July 1. Ohio State University Provost Joseph Alutto was supposed to step in as acting superintendent until a permanent [...]

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