At end of every year, we are reminded of how important you—regular readers of our analyses, commentary, reviews, and research—are to us. We appreciate that you find value in the work we do, and we are interested in understanding which topics draw your attention the most.
Here are the top five pieces we published this year, as determined by your clicks:
5. Governor DeWine’s budget takes bold steps forward on charter schools and private school choice (Aaron Churchill, 2/7/23)
It is no surprise that all eyes were on the state budget process this year. That began in February with the release of Governor DeWine’s budget plan. We took a look at three big proposals from the governor related to school choice: boosting the state’s quality charter school fund, increasing the charter facilities allowance, and significantly expanding eligibility for the EdChoice voucher program.
4. Ohio lawmakers should ensure low-income kids aren’t priced out of private schools (Jessica Poiner, 6/22/23)
The expansion of EdChoice was a hot topic in Ohio during the entire budget process. But just before the legislation crossed the finish line, one small but important change became a sticking point: Some lawmakers wanted to do away with a longstanding provision that prohibited private schools from charging low-income families tuition over and above their state-provided voucher amount. We explained in detail how this change would undercut efforts to make private schools more accessible to families and readers took notice. Ultimately, the budget was enacted without that change, thus preserving this important policy.
3. An in-depth analysis of the I Promise School’s troubling academic results (Jessica Poiner, 8/7/23)
Also of continued interest to readers this year: Akron’s I Promise School, championed by basketball superstar (and native son) LeBron James and his foundation. The school, which aims to boost the academic achievement of low-income students of color through a unique comprehensive wraparound services model, is no stranger to headlines. But in August, when Akron City Schools officials publicly discussed the latest state testing results, the troubling numbers drew a firestorm of attention. Fordham’s Jessica Poiner, herself an Akron native, did a calm and analytical deep dive into the testing data, putting the disappointing numbers into context with neither hyperbole nor sugarcoating.
Side note: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation took note of Jessica’s analysis and invited her to be part of their half-hour news feature on I Promise. The full video of that remarkable feature can be viewed here.
2. Ohio’s new school funding formula: An introduction (Aaron Churchill, 1/26/23)
Before the budget season kicked off, Ohio Research Director Aaron Churchill began a multi-part deep dive into the state’s new school funding formula. Enacted during the last budget, the Fair School Funding Formula is complex, dynamic, and—as Aaron would go on to note in future pieces—could use some tweaks. But before digging into those details, part one of the series offered a more general picture of school funding in Ohio. That primer drew our second-highest readership for the year.
1. Ohio lawmakers pass historic policies on charter schools, private school choice, governance, and literacy (Aaron Churchill, 7/10/23)
Not exactly a surprise, given the significance of the legislation, but our highest readership this year came from our big picture analysis of the final state budget bill as signed into law by Governor DeWine. “A landmark budget is now on the books,” wrote author Aaron Churchill in summary. “Schools—from all sectors—will have more resources they can use to provide students with a quality education. Parents can look forward to having a larger set of quality public and private school options at their fingertips. With the promise of more effective instruction and personalized opportunities, more Ohio students will be well prepared for life after high school. Kudos to state lawmakers for making K–12 education a top priority.” An important piece—with long-term implications—for readers to take note of.
HONORABLE MENTION: How senior-year math courses affect college enrollment and persistence (Jeff Murray, 2/28/23)
Short reviews of recent and relevant education research have been a staple of Fordham’s output for years. And while generally not super tempting clickbait, we are proud to highlight important work going on in the world of research. And once in a while, a surprising topic will grab readers’ attention. In February, we took a look at a paper from UCLA’s Los Angeles Education Research Institute that examined mathematics course-taking among LAUSD highschoolers, showing that those who took a math course as seniors—any course, required or not—enrolled in college at higher rates than their non-math-taking peers and persisted for longer in college when they got there. The best part: LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho had already announced by February that he planned to act on the findings to help incentivize students to go further with their mathematics education. It’s no wonder that readers’ clicks “added up” on this review.
Thanks, as always, for your dedicated readership in 2023. We promise there are more great posts ahead in the new year, and hope you’ll stick around to check them out!