Dispatch editorial: KidsOhio stood above the fray

KidsOhio.org will be ceasing operations on December 31, 2016 after nearly 15 years of providing nonpartisan research, publications and public policy work in education reform. Our sincerest thanks to our board, funders and former staff for making all of this work possible. We look forward to the next chapter of continuing our work in the central Ohio community.

We also thank The Columbus Dispatch for their supportive editorial on Sunday, December 4, 2016:


Editorial: KidsOhio stood above the fray

Sunday December 4, 2016 5:00 AM

For 15 years, the education think tank called KidsOhio.org provided Ohio with credible, authoritative, objective and insightful analysis of educational issues, ranging from third-grade reading, to why parents value charter schools, to voter participation in education-related elections.

In a field filled with conflicting philosophies about education and sometimes bitter political fights over school funding, charter schools and testing, KidsOhio stood above the fray, offering clear and trustworthy data and conclusions. President Mark Real and colleague Mary Hopmann earned wide respect as they worked with all sides in many contentious areas of education.

In all, the agency produced more than 90 reports, and shining through each one is the love and concern that the board and staff feel for Ohio’s children. According to Real, the leaders of KidsOhio have decided that it now is time to use other means to advance education in Ohio.

Many thanks are owed to founder Abigail Wexner and the board of community leaders and the funders who made this work possible. And good luck to Real and Hopmann, who remain an invaluable resource for the advancement of education.


Notes from the Field: Linden Park Neighborhood Early Childhood Education Center Opens

A new city-school district partnership opens a new early childhood education center in the Linden neighborhood. Here are Mark Real’s observations from the center’s open house on October 27, 2016:


Join us at next week’s Columbus Metropolitan Club Forum

On Wednesday, September 14 from noon-1:15 pm, CMC will present a forum featuring Ohio Auditor David Yost, who will discuss the recent changes in legislation regarding charter schools from HB 2 and how learning-based funding could be a preferred measurement tool. The panel will also include Chad Aldis, VP for Ohio Policy and Advocacy at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and State Senator Peggy Lehner, Ohio District 6. Cathy Candisky from The Columbus Dispatch will moderate.

We have partnered with the Columbus Metropolitan Club for a special guest price of $33.00 for this forum. Just click on the special “KidsOhio.org Guest” button on the registration page and use the password “Kids” (case sensitive): http://www.columbusmetroclub.org/event-2315147


The Ohio Department of Education is asking for feedback for the development of the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan. You may choose to answer all or part of the questions. The survey may be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/OhioESSA


KidsOhio.org to moderate panel at August 17 CMC Forum

On Wednesday, August 17, 2016 from noon-1:15 pm, the Columbus Metropolitan Club Forum topic will be “Columbus City Schools Levy Primer.” Come hear an update from Superintendent Dan Good and then hear from a panel that includes Rhonda Johnson, Education Director at the City of Columbus, and Rebecca Asmo, Executive Director of Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus. Mark Real of KidsOhio.org will moderate.



Columbus Board of Education Special Meeting – July 21

The school board will hold a special meeting on Thursday, July 21, at 8:00 am at the Columbus Education Center, 270 E. State Street, Assembly Room. The board is expected to discuss and possibly vote on whether to proceed with placing a combination levy/bond request on the November 8 ballot. The meeting with also include a presentation and discussion on the potential sale of several school buildings (to be identified by the Superintendent), with proceeds of the sales being directed to addressing a backlog of building maintenance, repairs, and replacements across the district.

Join FutureReady Columbus for a community event on May 18, 2016 from 5:30-8:00 pm

Linden_SoC Final

Our friends at FutureReady Columbus and other partners are hosting a community conversation on how to support the children of the Linden area. Join us on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 from 5:30-8:00 pm at Linden McKinley STEM Academy, 1320 Duxberry Avenue, Columbus, OH 43211. For more information, go to http://www.eventbrite.com/e/linden-supporting-our-children-tickets-25428743055


Understanding Career Education Options for Columbus Students

KidsOhio’s new report, “Understanding Career Education Options for Columbus Students,” reveals that half of juniors and seniors enrolled in a career program are engaged in one of seven programs: engineering science, health science, performing arts, job training coordinating, visual design, media arts and business management. The other half are divided among 30 other programs ranging from precision machining to cosmetology.

One of 37 career programs, Job Training Coordinating, was designed specifically for students with special education needs, equipping them with soft skills and basic job skills. The program served 97 juniors and seniors.

When Job Training Coordinating was factored out of the equation, the rate of students with special education needs among career education students enrolled in the other 36 programs dropped to 17 percent, which is slightly lower than the rate for all juniors and seniors (18 percent).

Click here to read the report, Understanding Career Education Options for Columbus Students.

Click here to read a data supplement (appendix) to the report.

Click here to read coverage of the report by the Columbus Dispatch.




Nonpartisan KidsOhio.org Report Shows Only 6 Percent of Adults Voted for Columbus School Board Candidates





, Ohio – Only 1 in 16 adults in the Columbus City Schools district voted in the May 2015 primary, according to a new KidsOhio.org report. That means 94 percent of adults did not vote for any of the school board candidates who will appear on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

Those numbers have important ramifications for schools and the students who attend them, said Mark Real, KidsOhio.org president and CEO.

“The Columbus Board of Education oversees a taxpayer-funded budget of more than $1.4 billion,” Real said. “It sets education goals and policies and approves programming for more than 50,000 children.”

Additionally, the board monitors academic progress and operations among the district’s 110 schools and is responsible for hiring and evaluating the superintendent, internal auditor and treasurer.

“And yet only a tiny fraction of adults are engaged in electing school board members,” Real said.

Within the Columbus City Schools district, 40 percent of adults are not registered to vote and 54 percent are registered but didn’t vote in the May primary.

“In fact, more than a half-million adults didn’t vote in the last primary,” Real said. “I doubt that the vast majority of residents are aware of this. Our hope is that by educating the public about the importance of school board elections and highlighting how few people have been engaged, we can motivate more people to vote on Nov. 3.”

Eight school board candidates will appear on the Nov. 3 general election ballot, and voters will elect four. The KidsOhio.org report lists candidates in alphabetical order and provides links to candidate information. It also provides information about how to register and vote this fall.

KidsOhio.org will make the nonpartisan report available throughout the community and can customize it with the logos of additional organizations that want to distribute it to their constituents.


About KidsOhio.org

KidsOhio.org was created in 2002 in response to community, education and business leaders who wanted an effective, data-driven, nonpartisan organization focused on improving public education in Ohio. The organization is funded by the private sector and does not accept any government monies or contracts. KidsOhio.org’s mission is to improve the education of Ohio’s nearly 3 million children, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.