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Many city students score better than those who fled



Published: Thu, October 13, 2011 @ 12:08 a.m.

By Denise Dick

denise_dick@vindy.com

Youngstown

City school students who attended private schools using EdChoice vouchers didn’t fare much better on the latest state report card than their counterparts who stayed in the city district — and in some cases, they fared worse.

“Evidently, they’re leaving our school system for reasons other than academics,” said Superintendent Connie Hathorn.

The exodus may be because of the perception that the schools aren’t safe, he said.

The Educational Choice Scholarship (EdChoice) Pilot Program was created to provide students from underperforming public schools the opportunity to attend participating private schools. The program provides up to 60,000 EdChoice scholarships to eligible students.

In Youngstown last year, 695 students exercised the EdChoice voucher option, up from 515 students the previous year.

Because state funding follows the student, Youngstown schools lost $3.6 million last year and $2.7 million in state support the previous year through the voucher program.

But the latest report card scores show that while city students who exercised that option fared slightly better in some areas, they performed more poorly in others.

EdChoice students in third through eighth grade are required to take the Ohio Achievement Assessments. EdChoice students in 10th grade are required to take the Ohio Graduation Tests.

Fifth-graders in the city schools, for example, scored 46.6 percent proficient or above in reading and 33 percent proficient or above in math.

Fifth-graders from the city who used EdChoice scored 57 percent in reading and 23.8 percent in math.

In eighth grade, city school students scored 56.5 percent at or above proficient in reading, compared to 52.9 percent of the EdChoice students.

In math, city eighth-graders scored 29.4 percent proficient or above, compared to 17.6 percent of their EdChoice counterparts.

Patrick Gallaway, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education, said the assessment data reported are from the spring administrations of the Ohio Assessment and Ohio Graduation tests.

Assessment data for schools with fewer than 10 EdChoice students taking the tests in a particular grade level aren’t reported because of student confidentiality.

The scores are of 80 students who have been participating in EdChoice for one year, 79 for between one and three years, and 30 students for more than three years.

The difference in numbers as between those reported by ODE as taking the tests and those exercising the EdChoice option is likely due to some nonpublic schools not reporting all data.

The department only reports assessment data for a student who has a Statewide Student Identifier number.

“Although our staff has created a tool to assist our private schools with assuring the SSID makes it to the test booklet, not all of them use our tool,” Gallaway said.

If test data can’t be identified with the SSID, ODE does not report it, he said.

“We have to figure out why they are leaving,” Hathorn said. “We’ve made progress, and we’re going to continue to make progress. There’s a sense of urgency that we have to improve.”


Comments

1Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years ago

“We have to figure out why they are leaving,” Hathorn said. “We’ve made progress, and we’re going to continue to make progress. There’s a sense of urgency that we have to improve.”

Perhaps they are being forced out by the thugs . . ..

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2FifthAve(169 comments)posted 3 years ago

This story contradicts the premise that private schools and their teachers are better than public schools.

In fact, public schools do more to train their teachers to meet the challenges of reading and math tests. Private school curriculum is not driven by state competency tests.

While vouchers appear to give parents and students choices, in reality they only shift the population without addressing the issues that prevent students from achieving academic success.

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3countryboymark(25 comments)posted 3 years ago

Do you realize how small of a sample size of EDchoice students are compared to the entire city school population? it's not apples to apples...

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4Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years ago

"Because state funding follows the student, Youngstown schools lost $3.6 million last year and $2.7 million in state support the previous year through the voucher program. "

Thug culture forcing students to leave does have its price . . ..

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5Superstar7(122 comments)posted 3 years ago

Reasons for leaving:
Disipline problems overwhelm Y.Town city schools, as they have for over two decades.
YTown school board refuse to accept that dysfunctional mothers & grandmothers generate disfuctional children.
The teachers cannot repair what the "parents" & inner the city community ruin.
Strict disipline is REQUIRED!.
Two strikes & not only out, remove parent from government housing. No more money from the governments for cell phones & drugs. School Board: GET THE PARENTS ATTENTION OR YOU ARE EQUALLY REASPONSIBLE.
Columbus: replace the dysfunctional school board members, or disipline will continue to overwhelm any attempt to help the few students trying to accept an education.

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6iBuck(223 comments)posted 3 years ago

Proper statistical comparison would require doing before and after tests on the same students. E.g. taking 2K students who stayed with the city's schools and 2K who went elsewhere using the vouchers. Test them all before and all a year after the shifts. Then compare the change in performance in those who stayed in the city with the change in performance in those who went elsewhere.

We used to do this with comparing results for students who did and did not take computer-based education, for instance.

The problem could be that all of the city students were doing poorly all along, but with the other students leaving some of those left behind might do better. Or the other way around, maybe some of the students who used the vouchers were doing poorly all along, so any improvement might be swamped by their long-term inadequate preparation up to the move. Oh, and there's a sort of placebo effect, merely being measured can cause performance to increase (or decrease). Only by carefully isolating all the different scenarios, and with enough students in each group, can we eventually tell which worked best.

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7jonnyquest(20 comments)posted 3 years ago

Back in the day, I went to 12 years Catholic schools, and I feel I got a great education.My 30 year old son went to Immaculate Heart of Mary for 1st and 2nd grade. 3rd grade I had to switch him to Watson Elementary. He was put in special classes because his reading level was low. Watson had classes and well trained teachers that the Catholic schools most likely couldn't afford. Thanks to public schools, my son got the help he needed.

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