Ohio's Education Reform Challenges: Lessons from the Frontlines

Overview

Charter schools are one of the hottest policy debates in U.S. education-and the Fordham Institute team has been a lively participant in this debate since day one, both nationally and in Ohio. Despite President Obama's call to strengthen the charter sector and widen the options it provides to needy students, many vested interests in education and politics oppose this disruption of the status quo. Ohio has struggled with these issues and conflicts for more than a decade, struggles in which the authors have played ...

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Overview

Charter schools are one of the hottest policy debates in U.S. education-and the Fordham Institute team has been a lively participant in this debate since day one, both nationally and in Ohio. Despite President Obama's call to strengthen the charter sector and widen the options it provides to needy students, many vested interests in education and politics oppose this disruption of the status quo. Ohio has struggled with these issues and conflicts for more than a decade, struggles in which the authors have played influential-and controversial-roles, including that of an actual authorizer of charter schools. The authors write from wide experience on the ground as well as extensive research and policy expertise.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A brutally honest account of charter school reform in Ohio – a fast-paced narrative full of fascinating insights gained from real experience. I wish I could have read this book my first year as Governor."—Bob Taft, Governor of Ohio 1999-2007

“What a terrific story! This book is a real battlefield memoir, one that portrays the political tug-of-war over charters, choice, and accountability in vivid terms. The Fordham team names names – and fesses up to their own foibles as well – providing the kind of insight you can’t find in most plain-vanilla volumes on education reform.”—Nelson Smith, President & CEO, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

“In a story taken from today’s national headlines, more than a dozen years ago the Dayton Public Schools and the State of Ohio confronted their failing public school system. It’s a story of a declining economy, frustrated business leaders, legislative deal-making, visionary educators, entrenched education interests, and thousands of children attending schools that were not preparing them to succeed in life. This is a fascinating and straightforward description of those times, their compromises, successes and failures. The book tells us how the next twelve years turbaned out for Dayton and for Ohio.  The authors provide a compelling history and thoughtful recommendations for the future.”—Greg Richmond, President & CEO, National Association of Charter School Authorizers

“This is a terrific book that displays the collision of theory of practice, the demise of Public Education in America as chronicled by Ohio/Dayton but then tells us 18 great ways to address our problems. Kudos to Finn and his team for being candid and thoughtful. If you want to experience the decline of American Education and what to do about it – this is the book for you. Ohio/Dayton are examples of what happened across the nation and this candid look at mistakes made in applying theory in reality is a must read.”—David P. Driscoll, Former Commissioner of Education for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

“An engaging, interesting, and first-hand account of education reform in Dayton and the maverick move by the Fordham Foundation to become a charter school authorizer there. Lessons for Ohio but also for education policymakers and reformers nationally.”—Andrew J. Rotherham, Co-Founder and Partner, Bellwether Education

“This book is a must read for anyone interested in public policy in general and educational reform in particular. Finn and his colleagues capture in powerful and compelling ways how reformers not only seek to change schools but are also frequently impacted themselves by the changes they call for in P-12 classrooms.”—Thomas J Lasley, II, Dean of the School of Education and Allied Professions, University of Dayton

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230106963
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 6/15/2010
  • Series: Education Policy Series
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Chester E. Finn, Jr. is a scholar, educator and public servant who has been at the forefront of the national education debate for forty years. Born and raised in Ohio, he received his doctorate from Harvard in education policy. A senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution and chairman of Hoover’s Koret Task Force on K-12 education, Finn is also president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation. The author of 16 books including Reroute the Preschool Juggernaut (Hoover), Troublemaker: A Personal History of School Reform since Sputnik (Princeton), We Must Take Charge: Our Schools and Our Future (Free Press), What Do Our 17-year-olds Know? (Harper & Row), and Charter Schools in Action (Princeton).

Terry Ryan is vice president for Ohio programs and policy at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation. A 2008 New Schools Venture Fund/Aspen Institute Fellow and a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, Ryan leads all Ohio operations for the Institute, which include charter school sponsorship, grant making and leading state research and policy efforts. Ryan lives in Dayton and has testified to the Ohio House and Senate on various occasions on matters related to education reform and charter school policy. Ryan co-authored The Unfinished Revolution (ACSD Press) with John Abbott of the United Kingdom. He received his Master’s Degree from the University of Denver’s Graduate School if International Studies. Ryan was awarded the Paterson International Fellowship from the University of Denver and worked for 18 months on education reform issues in Warsaw, Poland.

Michael B. Lafferty is a freelance science and education writer. He is a retired science reporter for the Columbus Dispatch. He was editor-in-chief of “Ohio’s National Heritage,” a volume on the natural history of Ohio and now serves as a writer for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Ohio Education Gadfly newsletter.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

1 Dayton's Decline 5

2 The Dawn of Charter Schools 21

3 Urban School Reform: Part I 37

4 Be Careful What You Wish For 51

5 Urban School Reform: Part II 67

6 Plunging Ahead 79

7 Baptism Under Fire 95

8 An Education Tragedy 111

9 Polarization and Politics 127

10 The Rest of the Story 141

11 Hard Lessons 155

Appendix A Glossary 167

Appendix B Key Moments in Ohio's Charter School Program 171

Appendix C The Growth of Ohio's Charter Program, 1998-2009 175

List of Contributors 177

Index 179

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