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Ohio’s Thomas B. Fordham Charter School Grades: Um…

April 23, 2017

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute (TBF) has been authorizing charter schools in Ohio since 2004– for 13 years now.

TBF currently has 11 schools.

Of course, the goal is excellence. The TBF web address is, after all, edexcellence.net.

From the TBF page on Ohio charters:

In 2004, the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation was approved by the Ohio Department of Education to serve as a sponsor of community schools- making us the first nonprofit organization in the Buckeye State to acquire such a responsibility. For over a decade we have sought to improve school choices for needy families, provide individual grants to support the creation and improvement of charter schools, and support district wide school reforms in and around our hometown of Dayton, Ohio. …

We approach charter school sponsorship the way we’ve approached all of our endeavors nationally and in Ohio: dedicated to accountability, transparency, and responsiveness. As a sponsor, we believe that in exchange for the freedom to teach and operate independently, schools are responsible for producing results (accountability) and providing information about their activities to those who seek it (transparency). These are the keys necessary to ensuring that every student who comes to our schools makes the grade.

Ensuring that every student who comes to our schools makes the grade.

Now that sounds like EdExcellence.

Speaking of grades, let’s look at some info from the 2015-16 Ohio school report cards for the TBF-sponsored charter schools. The info below was obtained using the Ohio school report cards search engine.

Each report card includes two grades, one for “achievement,” and another for “gap closing.” The achievement grade is itself comprised of two grades, a percentage on the “performance index” and a percentage of “indicators met.” “Gap closing” is apparently tied to a percentage of “annual measurable objectives.”

Below are the definitions of these terms as they appear on the report cards (with my understanding of subcategories parenthetically inserted):

The Achievement component represents the number of students who passed the state tests (apparently the “performance index”) and how well they performed on them (apparently the “indicators met.”)

The Gap Closing component shows how well schools are meeting the performance expectations for our most vulnerable populations of students in English language arts, math and graduation (apparently completely based on “annual measurable objectives.”

There is also a component grade for “progress,” or a “value added,” that is subdivided into four grades: “overall,” “gifted,” “lowest 20 percent in Achievement,” and “students with disabilities.”

The report card definition of “progress”:

The Progress component looks closely at the growth that all students are making based on their past performances.

Schools with lower elementary grade levels have a component grade for K-3 Literacy directly based on a percentage of K-3 literacy improvement:

The K-3 Literacy component looks at how successful the school is at getting struggling readers on track to proficiency in third grade and beyond.

Schools with high-school grade levels include a component grade for “graduation rate,” which is comprised of percentage of students graduating in four years and percentage graduating in five years. The focal graduating class is from the previous year (i.e., the 2015-16 report cards focus on the Class of 2015) and whether the students were freshman four years earlier (i.e., in 2012) or five years earlier (i.e., in 2011).

There is one final grade, “prepared for success”:

Whether training in a technical field or preparing for work or college, the Prepared for Success component looks at how well prepared Ohio’s students are for all future opportunities.

Clicking the “prepared for success” link at the top of a report card yields this additional information:

Number of students that earned a remediation free score on all parts of the ACT or SAT, earned an honors diploma, and/or earned an industry-recognized credential.

The number of “bonus” students that count an additional 0.3 bonus points each, because they did the above and also earned a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam; earned a 4 or higher on at least one IB exam; and/or earned at least three college credits before leaving high school.

And, for the 2015-16 report cards:

What Percentage of the 2013 Graduating Class Entered College within Two Years?

Columbus Collegiate Academy

  • Achievement: D
    • Performance Index: D
    • Indicators Met: F
  • Gap Closing: F
    • Annual Measurable Objectives: F
  • Progress: A
    • Overall: A
    • Gifted: NR (no result)
    • Lowest 20% in Achievement: A
    • Students with Disabilities: A

Columbus Collegiate Academy West

  • Achievement: D
    • Performance Index: D
    • Indicators Met: F
  • Gap Closing: F
    • Annual Measurable Objectives: F
  • Progress: B
    • Overall: B
    • Gifted: NR
    • Lowest 20% in Achievement: A
    • Students with Disabilities: C

Dayton Leadership Academies: Early Learning Academy

  • K-3 Literacy: D
    • K-3 Literacy Improvement: D

Dayton Leadership Academies: Dayton View

  • Achievement: F
    • Performance Index: F
    • Indicators Met: F
  • Gap Closing: F
    • Annual Measurable Objectives: F
  • Progress: F
    • Overall: F
    • Gifted: NR
    • Lowest 20% in Achievement: F
    • Students with Disabilities: F

DECA Prep

  • Achievement: D
    • Performance Index: D
    • Indicators Met: F
  • Gap Closing: F
    • Annual Measurable Objectives: F
  • Progress: D
    • Overall: D
    • Gifted: NR
    • Lowest 20% in Achievement: D
    • Students with Disabilities: NR
  • K-3 Literacy: F
    • K-3 Literacy Improvement: F

KIPP Columbus

  • Achievement: D
    • Performance Index: D
    • Indicators Met: F
  • Gap Closing: F
    • Annual Measurable Objectives: F
  • Progress: B
    • Overall: A
    • Gifted: NR
    • Lowest 20% in Achievement: A
    • Students with Disabilities: C
  • K-3 Literacy: C
    • K-3 Literacy Improvement: C

Phoenix Community Learning Center

  • Achievement: D
    • Performance Index: D
    • Indicators Met: F
  • Gap Closing: F
    • Annual Measurable Objectives: F
  • Progress: C
    • Overall: C
    • Gifted: NR
    • Lowest 20% in Achievement: C
    • Students with Disabilities: C
  • K-3 Literacy: D
    • K-3 Literacy Improvement: D

Sciotoville Community School

  • Achievement: F
    • Performance Index: D
    • Indicators Met: F
  • Gap Closing: F
    • Annual Measurable Objectives: F
  • Progress: B
    • Overall: C
    • Gifted: NR
    • Lowest 20% in Achievement: B
    • Students with Disabilities: C
  • Graduation Rate: C
    • %age of Students Graduated in Four Years: C
    • %age of Students Graduated in Five Years: D
  • Prepared for Success: D

Sciotoville Elementary Academy

  • Achievement: D
    • Performance Index: D
    • Indicators Met: F
  • Gap Closing: F
    • Annual Measurable Objectives: F
  • Progress: C
    • Overall: C
    • Gifted: NR
    • Lowest 20% in Achievement: NR
    • Students with Disabilities: NR
  • K-3 Literacy: F
    • K-3 Literacy Improvement: F

United Preparatory Academy

  • K-3 Literacy: D
    • K-3 Literacy Improvement: D

Village Preparatory School: Woodland Hills Campus

  • Achievement: D
    • Performance Index: D
    • Indicators Met: F
  • Gap Closing: F
    • Annual Measurable Objectives: F
  • Progress: B
    • Overall: C
    • Gifted: NR
    • Lowest 20% in Achievement: C
    • Students with Disabilities: A
  • K-3 Literacy: F
    • K-3 Literacy Improvement: F

Well. There you have it.

TBF has been in the Ohio charter school authorizing game for 13 years.

None of the 11 TBF charter schools have even a C in “achievement.” And “gap closing”? FFFFFFFForget about it.

Still, TBF seeks to expand the number of, uh, “high performing” charters. From the TBF Ohio charters web page:

Fordham Application for Sponsorship is Now Available

We are currently seeking to add new schools to our portfolio. Individuals or organizations with the capacity to start and sustain academically high performing schools in underserved communities are encouraged to apply. We also welcome applications from existing Ohio schools seeking a new authorizer. To learn more about the application process please visit our sponsorship application page.

Edexcellence, folks. Edexcellence.

_________________________________________________________

Want to read about the *edexcellent* history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

14 Comments
  1. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    The Emperor has no clothes. I live in Ohio and I am grateful for your willingness to expose the fraudulent claims of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

  2. Christine Langhoff permalink

    You’re as tenacious as a dog with a dead skunk! ☺️

    • Well, one of my dogs encountered a live skunk, and he suddenly became less tenacious, essentially blind for a while, stunk up my truck and home for a few days.

      Dogs can be tenacious about other things, as well. I’d choose rabbit over skunk any day.

  3. Ben permalink

    This is perhaps one of the better, if not best, examples of what happens when actions are devoid of critical thought. I feel it’s fair to say that Idealogues seldom fall prey to critical thinking. If they did, they could not continue to support concepts (such as charters, vouchers, school choice, etc) when the evidence so over whelmingly shows it to be a failure. People with common sense might also venture to call it stupidity. All of that said, I am now beginning to wonder if there is not a connection to this kind of nonthought to an event that happened several election cycles ago in Texas. When the Republican Platform was written, it included a statement condemning Critical Thinking in the schools (teaching kids to think). Seems to me that in order to promote their ideas about failing schools and what to do to fix them, they needed future voters not to be able to think, but to just follow ideology (theirs). Hence my connection to Ideologues; they do it because they believe in it, results don’t matter to them. No way you can convince them you’re right, they have to convince themselves. As a history buff, I can tell you than when thinking is no longer in vogue, a country is no longer a democracy.

    • What a perfect explanation for the 2017 political moment: “When the Republican Platform was written, it included a statement condemning Critical Thinking…” 🙂

  4. Those indicators?

    So much mental masturbation, so little time.

  5. It’s painfully obvious that “CHOICE” has nothing to do with improving the education of children.

    The use of “CHOICE” is a false flag masking bias, racism, political and religious agendas, hate, and greed.

  6. I’m against the charter racket and try to support public schools, local control, teachers, etc. I’ve generally understood the pro-public/anti-charter folks to dismiss the state report cards as bunk because of how they’re calculated. Doesn’t it seem at odds to use those very report cards to attack a selective group of charters? The report cards are either a good indicator or a bad one; you can’t waffle back and forth on their validity.

    • If TBF wants to judge public schools using report cards, they should be prepared to have their charters also judged by the report cards.

  7. Linda permalink

    Further proof that there are no mirrors at Fordham- As always, in an Ohio media article published today, Fordham was quoted. This time the story was about a former congressman who spoke out vehemently in support of public schools. Fordham’s response to his defense, “nothing more than naked political grandstanding.” I presume that Fordham would like to dupe Ohioans into believing that the charter industry doesn’t reflect the anti-union Walton heirs, grifters, the profit-seeking financial sector and tech tyrants like Bill Gates- that privatizers are apolitical do-gooders and that Columbus politicians haven’t been bought with campaign donations from charter operators.
    All states, including Ohio, would benefit if the reformers’ prescription to “blow up” the schools of education was, instead, applied to the privatizing institutes of the richest 0.1%. (“Don’t Surrender the Academy”, co-written by Frederick Hess and an external affairs manager of a Gates-funded organization, published in Philanthropy Roundtable”).
    .

  8. Jack permalink

    So much to ponder here.

    These Fordham guys have been at this for decades, claiming an applied and developed expertise in delivering a superior alternative to traditional public schools, you know, those schools which they regularly deride as “failure factories” staffed by lazy, greedy unionized teachers.

    On top of that, they have the deck stacked in their favor because, unlike the public schools, Fordham charters possess the advantage of being able to cream the best kids— at the front end, with whom they let in, and later, when they can and do kick out the kids who are most expensive (special ed.) or most troublesome, or those likely to drag down their scores. Petrilli even takes pride in being able to screen out bad kids, and only accept “strivers.”

    Even with all of that, the Fordham-run schools suck to high heaven … by their own measurement. Are these guys truly deserving of an annual $ 1/3 million salary/benefits package (i.e. Finn, Petrilli)?

    • Linda permalink

      Accountability is never applied to the unproductive rich. Those who actually contribute to the nation, are the ones in the cross-hairs of capricious measurement.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Mercedes Schneider Reviews the Thomas B. Fordham Charter Schools in Ohio | Diane Ravitch's blog
  2. Ed News, Tuesday, April 25, 2017 Edition | tigersteach

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