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Results are expected soon from Cleveland schools' transformation plan
There is cautious optimism that the Cleveland School District's improvement plan will show positive results, depending on this year's test results.
Story by BILL RICE

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One of Ohio's leading school reform advocates is cautiously optimistic that the Cleveland Metropolitan School District's improvement plan approved in the summer of 2012 will show positive results. The Fordham Institute says this year's test results will be telling as to whether the plan is making a mark. StateImpact Ohio's Bill Rice reports.
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The conservative-leaning Fordham Institute says this year’s test results will be telling as to whether the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s much touted transformation plan, approved in the summer of 2012, is making a mark.

The district showed no significant improvement in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, scores in 2013. That was the first year the test was administered since the plan was implemented. As the Fordham Institute’s Chad Aldis writes, Cleveland still ranks “at the bottom of the heap in student achievement.”

Still, the Institute’s Vice President for Ohio Policy and Advocacy says there is cause for hope, and he’ll be watching for the results of this spring’s state achievement tests.

“I don’t know that the plan could have been implemented that much in the 2012-13 school year,” Aldis said.

“So I think that this year’s assessment results will probably be a much better indicator of whether we’re starting to see some early indications that performance is improving as a result of the transformation plan,” he said.

The plan is aimed at, among other things, holding teachers and principals more accountable for student outcomes, and targeting specific low-performing schools for special attention. While it was approved in the summer of 2012 by the state Legislature, the passage of a 15-mill operating levy in November – the district’s first since 1996 – gave it more strength and momentum.

The levy expires after just four years. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has said residents can vote down a renewal if the plan doesn’t deliver results.

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