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ERIC Number: ED516579
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Nov-9
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Education Imperatives for Ohio: K-12 Policy Priorities for the Next Biennium
Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
For the past two decades, lawmakers from both parties in Ohio have invested heavily in the public education sector. As a consequence, total K-12 education funding, measured in constant dollars, has grown by over 60 percent since 1997, even as Ohio's K-12 student enrollment has shrunk by more than 24,000 students (1.4 percent) during that same time. Under Republican leadership from the mid-1990s to 2007, Ohio launched multiple school choice programs (including both charter schools and vouchers), wrote new academic standards, built accountability systems, and gave birth to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and Early College programs. Despite all this worthy effort, however, Ohio's young people are not nearly as well educated as they need to be and the academic payoff from Ohio's whopping investment in public education has been disappointing, to put it mildly. Yet opportunity is also at hand--the opportunity to build upon yesterday's better policy decisions, to rectify poor ones, and to make lemonade out of sour circumstance. Ohio's education system could be transformed into an effective, efficient engine of individual opportunity, academic achievement, and economic growth, even as the money flowing into it diminishes. This can only happen, however, if the state's new leadership team is prepared to defy special interests, to alter entrenched but dysfunctional practices, to end low-payoff activities and invest in those that matter, to make sweeping changes in both education funding and "HR," and to stick to its guns in the face of what will surely be intense opposition. The bad news is that pulling this off will be incredibly hard. The good news is that persevering with it might secure the state's future. To move Ohio forward in education, while spending less, this paper recommends seven policy priorities: (1) Strengthen results-based accountability for schools and those who work in them; (2) Replace the so-called "Evidence-Based Model" of school funding with a rational allocation of available resources in ways that empower families, schools, and districts to get the most bang for these bucks; (3) Invest in high-yield programs and activities while pursuing smart savings; (4) Improve teacher quality, reform teacher compensation, and reduce barriers to entering the profession; (5) Expand access to quality schools of choice of every kind; (6) Turn around or close persistently low-performing schools; and (7) Develop modern, versatile instructional-delivery systems that both improve and go beyond traditional schools
Thomas B. Fordham Foundation & Institute. 1701 K Street NW Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20006. Tel: 202-223-5452; Fax: 202-223-9226; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
Identifiers - Location: Ohio