We have yet another study about education spending in Ohio. The education community has been waiting for this for a while. This one is from the Human Services Policy Center at the University of Washington.
The Akron Beacon Journal apparently got wind of it and put in a public records request that secured them a copy prior to the release. The basic conclusion: Ohio should be spending between 16% and 31% more on schools. Total price tag: $2.4 to $4.8 billion.
(And yes, I've neglected the education beat lately. I'll try to at least put some links together for the other studies that have come out.)
Strickland’s budget office was briefed on a working draft of the study. The Akron Beacon Journal apparently got wind of it and put in a public records request that secured them a copy of the draft prior to the release.
Because the ABJ received an advanced copy, the study isn't yet online, so we have to rely on Dennis Willard's pull quotes to get the gist. (By the way, hosting the study and announcing in your print edition that you have done so would be a pretty good way of using the new media. Yea, copyright issues, but it's worth exploring. Unfortunately, ABJ rarely thinks outside it's digital-version-of-print-product box.)
Willard did a pretty good job getting into the specific of the study. Among the highlights:
- The eight scenarios [contemplated] range from keeping the current 168 days of classroom instruction, but extending the school year to 188 total days, to year-round schooling divided into three semesters, with 185 classroom days and 205 total days.
- [T]eachers are underpaid in Ohio . . . the starting salary should be increased to $30,000, with 4 percent pay raises annually.
- The pay for teachers in high-demand areas like math and science should be 25 percent higher on average[.]
- At the same time, there should be more teachers. The study calls for two or three fewer students per classroom in poor districts. This means that in poor districts, the teacher-student ratios should be 15-1 in elementary schools, 20-1 in middle schools and 22-1 in high schools.
- Recommendations include five to 10 days for teacher development, coaching and mentoring new teachers, but the report also notes that classroom instruction days should not be sacrificed for teacher development, student assessment, parental meetings or administrative tasks.
- [T]he study contends there is no evidence that student aides improve results, especially as children grow older, so the report recommends placing assistants only in kindergarten classes.
Thinking ahead, it seems likely that GIRFOF
On methodology, Willard offers only says, "Researchers generated recommendations for a variety of school settings by talking to education officials who were part of state- and school district-level teams."
What sort of academic scrutiny those recommendations got is unclear. We don’t know, for example, the extent to which researchers reviewed the ideas of education officials against the literature. That’s essential to know whether those recommendations would actually improve student achievement. The discussion of teacher aides indicates that the study includes a literature review component, but that’s where this thing will really be put under the microscope.
As I said, we’ve been hearing about the U. Washington study for a couple of years now. The website of the Center that put it together gives not indication when they will release the final version. Stay tuned.
CORRECTION per comments.