‘All in’ on education

The message was loud and clear: Our entire community needs to be all in on education.

Now, a proposal being reviewed by the Columbus Education Commission makes clear what that would look like:

  • new proposals2A new public-private partnership would make sure Columbus has the best schools possible, by replicating successful local schools and attracting proven charter schools to the city.
  • The mayor would appoint a director of educational improvement to ramp up the city’s efforts on education, including working with the Columbus school board and the new public-private partnership.
  • An independent auditor would monitor the finances, performance and data of Columbus City Schools to strengthen public confidence in the system. This auditor would be jointly chosen by five elected officials, including the mayor and school board president.

All of these proposals would build additional support for the Columbus Board of Education — reflecting the idea that the entire community needs to take responsibility for educating our children.

As U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told Columbus leaders last week, “Everybody has to step up and play a bigger role.”

On Friday, the Columbus Education Commission will review three new proposals, which you can read in full here:

The commission also will review revised versions of the four initial proposals:

Effective teachers and principals

EffectiveTeachersThere are two primary themes for this proposal: empower building principals to make good decisions and ensure our community is attracting the best school leaders.

Principals would be told to focus on student success. To achieve that, they would be given more authority to hire the best teachers, manage their budgets and set policies for their schools. With that freedom, they also would be held accountable.

The Columbus City Schools would begin an immediate review of existing principals, and replace any who do not demonstrate the skills needed to improve their school’s performance. And, with the support of outside human resources professionals, the district would aggressively recruit talented school leaders and train the next generation.

High-performing neighborhood schools and more school choices

HighPerformingSchoolsNearly half of Columbus City Schools students currently attend a D- or F-rated school.

This proposal would set the ambitious goal that all schools in Columbus, charter or district, earn an A or B rating by 2025.

To achieve this, the proposal calls for a new focus on attracting and replicating great schools. A new public-private partnership would tap an innovation fund of public and private money to duplicate successful Columbus City Schools in other parts of the community and to lure strong charter schools to neighborhoods that need a good option.

The end goal is to provide parents with attractive places to enroll their children. To that end, this plan would foster and support groups like Clintonville Go Public, Southside STAY and Northwest STARS. Neighborhood schools would be funded on an equitable basis across the district, and every district principal would be given the authority to manage resources to best serve their students.

All neighborhood high schools would include a career-oriented flex academy — a “school within a school” in partnership with Columbus State Community College — that would offer students the opportunity to earn an associate degree near home.

These are just some highlights of these proposals, so we encourage you to read the full versions for each section.

What’s next

The Columbus Education Commission will be discussing these proposals Friday at its meeting at the main branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library. The meeting will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The meeting will be open to the public and will be live-streamed on this website. We’ll also be live-tweeting the meeting from @ReimagineCbusEd, using the hashtag #cbusedu.

We’re eager to hear your feedback, both on this website and on Twitter. Weigh in.

20 thoughts on “‘All in’ on education

  1. While I certainly see the point (well-intentioned, at that) of the public-private partnership, I have a real concern with continuing to embrace charter schools while they siphon $ from public ones.

    Also, while I understand the importance of having the community in on & supportive of educational improvements, I have questioned in the past the makeup of these groups. Too often, the leaders are not people who are well-versed in educational policy and practice.

    • Public Charter Schools are public schools. They do not “siphon money off” public schools. Districts are fully funded for all resident students prior to any deductions made. The State minimum foundation dollars and any special education and federal dollars for that student transfer with that student if they transfer to a charter school. The students in the district are funded not only with state and federal dollars, but also by local funds that charters don’t get. Districts also get guarantee funds – essentially funds for students they don’t have anymore. Cols School District State & Local Funds average $13,000 a student, but they only transfer $6,000, on average, to support the education of a student in a charter school. People have been mislead about how school funding works. Its time to stop perpetuating this myth and time to treat charter school students fairly.

      • Point taken. Still, when students leave district schools to attend others, it makes it increasingly difficult to adequately fund and offer full services to those remaining. (Closing and consolidating schools, etc.) Full disclosure: one of my children attends Metro. But to me, it would be better to work harder on making the district schools what we need them to be rather than trying to simultaneously improve them while having increasing numbers of students choosing to go elsewhere.

  2. I would like to see a copy of the proposals linked to this article, particularly the “Effective Teachers and Principals”, but when I click the link, I can see the text of the report briefly, then it disappears and the word “Draft” appears in place over the pace. Can someone send me the proposals via email, or fix this error?
    Thank you.

      • Hi Beth,

        We’ve heard from some people that some browsers don’t display the PDFs properly, although our versions of Chrome, Firefox and Safari all are working.

        Can you try with a different browser? Another option is to right-click on a link and choose “save link as” (Chrome or Firefox) or “download linked file” (Safari) to download a PDF to your computer.

        Thanks, and please let us know if you continue to have problems.

  3. I’m not clear why these proposals are not presented in one master document, instead of multiple documents throughout the page.

  4. I would like to see the Commission take a serious look at how fostering positive school climates through the elimination of zero tolerance policies, a de-emphasis on suspension and expulsion, and the implementation of preventive, positive behavior systems like PBIS and restorative practices would help support and further the transformation of schools in Columbus. Would happily provide more info and get involved if this is seriously on the table!

  5. While PBIS has a module for family how does it really get the immediate attention needed for teachers and children to get the best out of their daily classroom experience? I believe the only way to get “some of our” parents attention and to get them involved is to have a zero tolerance policy. Having the child suspended or expelled would certainly help parents understand the seriousness of this issue. Sigh, I feel for the children, but behavioral changes need to start at home. Keeping that child at home to get the proper home training will foster a positive school climate! Most parents don’t allow the disrespectful, vulgar, and dangerous activities that go on in the classroom today. I am unfamiliar with PBIS and would relish a solution that starts at the root of the problem. Can systems like PBIS provide benefit to parents/children before a child takes that seat in the classroom?

  6. Instead of principals choosing staff, staff and parents should be allowed to interview potential principals. Currently CCS simply places principals and administrators without consideration for the best interest of the teachers and students. There is often quite a bit of disconnect between staff/school community and administration because the staff and school community has no input in who the building leaders are going to be.

  7. I have concerns about the failure of our local democracy being less democracy. Let’s instead invest in our civic institution, and build a stronger democracy. We appear to have an incompetent elected school board. This is in part because we do not have the business community invested in a public process of elections. Where is the business community when it comes to elections? — if business is concerned, shouldn’t business people become candidates for election? Instead, we have allowed people with political ambitions and not business acumen (or even a well-developed sense of ethics) to ascend to leadership positions. Instead of forming an unaccountable public/private board to have its own $50M per year sphere of influence … let’s make the school board do its job to ensure high quality education for all Columbus kids by investing in high quality candidates who are willing to serve in a publicly accountable manner.

    Further, the provision for an “independent” auditor who would be appointed by various public officials only creates more issues. What is particularly delicious in its irony is that the President of Council — currently the same Andrew Ginther who ignored whistleblowers who alerted him to the data scandal when he Chaired the school board’s Audit & Accountability Committee from 2004 – 2006 and who participated in the firing of the Internal Auditor (Tina Abdella) who was set to investigate the data scrubbing — would oversee an “independent” auditor. Are you kidding us? This is a person who time and time again puts the interests of the powerful over the interests of the people.

    In Columbus — home of the 28 years of appointed city council members — has problems with democracy. We need to fix those problems with democracy, not continue to skirt our community leadership responsibilities to maintain a strong, vibrant, and effective democracy. The fact that a proposal could be formed that envisions Andrew Ginther as part of the solution — when he was so clearly a part of the problem with Columbus City Schools — discredits the notion that Columbus is serious about accountability and systemic reform of what have become corrupted political systems.

    If we got better candidates for public office we would have better outcomes. If we allow political hacks to operate in a system designed to support political ambition over accountability, we will continue to get failed school board candidates who will still control the vast majority of the educational spending in Columbus. Fix the problem — don’t bypass it.

  8. “A new public-private partnership would tap an innovation fund of public and private money to duplicate successful Columbus City Schools in other parts of the community and to lure strong charter schools to neighborhoods that need a good option.” Once again this “solution” makes no sense to me. If neighborhoods need a good option, how about funneling that “innovation fund” into local pathway schools? Not to do so simply reinforces the inequality that is THE problem structuring education in this country. Charter schools and lottery schools lure away parents and children who are paying attention to education, leaving behind those who for complex socio-economic reasons are not. And this in turn feeds the distorted “Waiting for Superman” narrative about anxious families hoping beyond hope that they will get the golden ticket that saves their lives. Unless this commission gets serious about addressing inequality–committing to neighborhood health clinics, more social workers in the schools, robust after school programs and the transportation needed for working families to take advantage of them–then its “public-private partnership” is simply a boondoggle designed to line the pockets of the business people and politicians proposing it.

  9. Pingback: Completing the plan | Reimagine Columbus Education

  10. What’s with the commission proposing to fund neighborhood parent groups (p.10, last paragraph of the High Performing Neighborhood Schools proposal)? With all due respect to Southside STAY, PACE, Clintonville Go Public, and Northside Stars, I don’t know you, and I certainly didn’t vote for you to receive any educational funding that should be going directly to my struggling neighborhood school. So now it appears, under the commission’s current proposals, our neighborhood schools not only must compete with brand new proposed charter schools, but also with neighborhood parent groups for funding? While I try and remain hopeful something good will come out of this commission and its proposals, I’m beginning to fear the future of Columbus Public Schools just went from bad to worse…

    • Let’s hope the board of education and the mayor gets additional input from the community on these recommendations, which were unanimously approved by the commission, before charging full steam ahead. I listened to the meeting this morning and there were plenty of references to the input they received from all the commission’s invited experts, but little if any reference made to the community recommendations from the public meetings.

    • I’m involved with Northwest STARS. We have not asked for any funding, and I don’t believe that we need funding from the city or school district. In my opinion, we are better advocates if we remain independent.

  11. Pingback: Privatizing Public Schools Isn’t How To Solve Education Problem | Doug's Views

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