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When it comes to education policy, Ohio ranks high


Courtesy of Students First
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Ohio remained among the top 10 states ranked and graded annually not for their student performance, but for their education policy.

The "report card" comes from Students First, an advocacy group that aims to hold educators and government accountable for student outcomes. It measures how states are performing in three broad areas: elevating the teaching profession, empowering parents, and governance and spending. StateImpact Ohio's Amy Hansen spoke with the director of the group's Ohio chapter, Greg Harris, about how Ohio fared.

LISTEN: Q and A on Ohio performance

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Q: So what grade did Ohio get on the report card?

A: We have a C-, which puts us number 10 in the nation. There are no A’s for our 50 state report card, there’s a couple B’s...we’re doing some things really well, and there’s some things we need to do better.  (:12)

Q: So why don’t we go from some of those things we’re doing particularly well. What are some of those things?

A: I’m particularly proud of Ohio’s score in the empowered parent category. We think parent empowerment is critical to driving educational achievement for kids. One of the reasons we’re doing well under PE is we passed a new state report card that grades all our schools in a way that’s accessible to parents. If you can arm parents with good information, they can make better choices when it comes to their children’s education. (:19)

Q: Tell me a little bit more about what we’re not doing well in. I saw one specific area on the report card, elevating teachers, where we got a D+.

A: This is a frustrating area. For Ohio, we still have a system that does not recognize a teacher’s merit. In Ohio, by law, teachers can only be paid or promoted based on seniority, which basically is the number of years that they’ve been in the teaching profession.  And our view is that these aren’t factory workers, these are dynamic professionals, and we should have a compensation system that recognizes the impact of teachers. (:26)

Q: Last year, Ohio got a C-. This year, Ohio got a C. What about next year?

A: It depends a lot on what legislation is passed in 2014. I think that new teacher evaluating system that’s being implemented is going to reveal a lot about where we have stronger teachers versus weaker teachers versus teachers who we can still develop. I think that can trigger a lot of policy action. I feel pretty optimistic that our grade will go up, but it requires bold action. (:30)

Q: StudentsFirst Greg Harris, thanks for talking with us today.

A: Thank you Amy.

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