Changing Ohio education for a changing world
Ohio Education Matters connects the dots between great innovations and the people in local communities who can propel change. A nonpartisan public policy think tank, OEM acts as a catalyst of education transformation – providing research, advocacy, engagement and policy development that inspire others to create a new system of education for Ohio’s next generation.
Best Innovation in Gov. Kasich’s Education Plan: Straight A Fund
Within the blitz of publicity and debate around Governor John Kasich’s education improvement plan is a gem of an idea that is worth calling out for its tremendous potential to move Ohio’s public schools boldly into the future.
The Straight A Innovation Fund proposal calls for $300 million in state funds over two years to support innovative projects that improve efficiency and performance in local schools and districts. These one-time grants, to be offered in Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015, are designed to modernize operations and achieve cost savings that can be invested in the classroom.
The MOOC Goes to High School
Reynoldsburg City Schools has piloted a program for high school students to enroll in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) with Udacity, provider of free university-level education, that enables them to earn high school and college credit. Lisa Duty, Director of Innovation for KnowledgeWorks, writes about the process Reynoldsburg eSTEM Academy adopted, as well as the potential promise of MOOCs, in a guest blog about the process for Education Week.
"MOOCs are gaining some momentum in the post-secondary arena, bringing learning opportunities that are generally free or inexpensive, to the masses. Viewed by some as shaking up higher education, and seen by others as mostly hype, MOOCs have moved into a position of public attention that is certain to endure," writes Duty. "While that dialogue continues, some high school students and teachers at eSTEM Academy are drawing on the best of MOOCs to deepen and personalize learning."
Governor Kasich’s K-12 school funding plan contains good ideas but falls short of providing assurance of adequate funding for schools
A statement released by Ohio Education Matters on January 31 says that Ohio Governor John Kasich’s proposal for a new school funding formula for primary and secondary public education includes many good ideas to help propel the state's public education system forward, but fails to ensure all students have adequate resources to succeed.
While more details are needed to fully assess the plan, the initial reaction is that the school funding plan "does nothing to assure that students have enough resources to meet higher standards and expectations," said Andrew Benson, Executive Director of Ohio Education Matters, a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks.
“The Kasich administration gets good marks for including some helpful ideas to get more money to disadvantaged students and poor school districts and for promoting efficiencies,” said Benson, who has been involved in Ohio school funding issues for the past two decades. “But the plan does not do enough to tie resources to the academic outcomes they want to achieve.”
State aid for schools needs to be changed: An Op-Ed in the Cincinnati Enquirer by OEM's Andrew Benson
Andrew Benson, executive director of Ohio Education Matters, says that Ohio's new school funding plan should "set a benchmark for efficiency and base state aid on that benchmark," in an op-ed published in the Cincinnati Enquirer on January 31.
"The state itself can and should be doing much more to help spur districts to save dollars and to help them put more dollars behind learning and innovation. For the past two years, the state has been shepherding school districts and local governments toward sharing services to lower costs, offering funding for pilot projects and changing rules and structures to make it easier to do so. That work is proceeding, albeit slowly, with some taking on the work in a big way and others not doing as much," writes Benson.
"But the state now has an excellent opportunity to encourage all districts to become more efficient through a new school funding formula for elementary and secondary public schools."