Ohio Education System Measures Up in National Rankings

Ohio has a strong tradition of nationally recognized academic excellence; however, as the economy moves swiftly toward a global marketplace, states nationwide must adapt to a changing academic environment and prepare to use new pedagogical methods and innovative teaching techniques to keep America’s next generation of leaders competitive on a global scale. 

Ohio Earns C+; Ranks 10th Nationally in Publication Report

Education Week, a national newspaper that covers K-12 education, released its annual report card for state publicohio earns high rank school systems earlier this year. The rankings measure vital areas for student success, including student achievement, connections and access to higher education, state spending, accountability and teacher quality. This year’s rankings focused particularly on the nation’s place in the global academic environment.

Ohio moved up one spot from 2011 to take the 10th position in the nation. However, the state’s grade slipped from a B- to a C+ in 2011. Overall, Ohio ranked three points higher than the national average. Education Week grades on the following criteria:

Chance for Success: This category examines students’ educational environment and factors that contribute to success, including parental education level, preschool enrollment, graduation rate and employment rate.

o Ohio’s score: C+ (78.4)

• Early foundations: B (82.8)

• School years: C+ (76.8)

• Adult outcomes: C (75.9)

K-12 Achievement: This category measures 4th- and 8th- test scores in math and English and the influence of the poverty gap on test scores and high school graduation rates.

o Ohio’s score: C- (71.2)

• Status: D+ (68.3)

• Change: D+ (69.4)

• Equity: B- (79.6)

School Finance: This category looks at the state’s education spending and the statewide school funding distribution per pupil.

o Ohio’s score: C (76.0)

• Equity: B+ (86.5)

• Spending: D (65.4)

Standards, Assessments and Accountability: This category reviews the state’s academic standards, achievement measurement tools and school accountability.

o Ohio’s score: A (96.1)

• Standards: A (100.0)

• Assessments: B+ (88.3)

• School accountability: A (100.0)

Teaching Profession: This category assesses teacher quality initiatives, including licensure programs, professional development programs, evaluation programs and salary.

o Ohio’s score: C (76.4)

• Accountability for quality: C+ (79.4)

• Incentives and allocation: C (73.1)

• Building and supporting capacity: C+ (76.7)

Transitions and Alignments: This category measures the effort to connect K-12 education to preschool, higher education and the workforce.

o Ohio’s score: C+ (78.6)

• Early childhood education: A- (90.0)

• College readiness: D- (60.0)

• Economy and workforce: B+ (87.5)

Ohio’s highest marks came in the Standards, Assessments and Accountability category, in which the state ranks fourth in the nation. However, the state fell short in several other areas. Ohio ranked 27th in the Chances for Success category due to the state’s low preschool enrollments (only half of all 3- to 4-year-olds attend preschool). Ohio also has persistent achievement gaps because of academic and economic disparities in the state’s school system, and poor students continue to fall behind their wealthier peers.

According to Stan Heffner, Ohio’s Superintendent, Ohio is focused on ways to improve the state’s rankings and grades. Enrolling children in quality preschools to prepare them for kindergarten is among Heffner’s top priorities. He also wants to ensure high school students are ready for college after graduation to build a stronger future workforce. He feels that working with urban districts to close achievement gaps will promote the state’s future success.

Meeting Global Academic Standards

Countries such as Finland, South Korea, Japan and Canada continue to outpace the United States in core academic subjects, including math, science and reading. Out of the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, U.S. students rank 25th in math, 17th in science and 14th in reading. The United States must improve academic achievement so the next generation can compete in a global marketplace.global academics

According to the Education Week report, Ohio is among the few states already focusing on preparing their students for a competitive global economy and job market. According to Education Week’s annual report card, Ohio is among only 12 states that use the academic standards of other countries for core subjects, including English, science and math, to help model their pedagogical guidelines. The report also showed that 29 states claim to use international comparisons to improve education, but 21 states and the District of Columbia report that they do not use international academic comparisons or guidelines to develop or guide their education policy, which hinders the nation’s academic development.

Recruiting, supporting and retaining quality teachers will help the United States reach a new level of global academic standards and achievement. Ohio and many other states now allow professionals who have a bachelor’s degree to obtain a teaching license through an accelerated program. Ohio has also eliminated the master’s degree requirement for teachers, thus removing the educational barrier to enter the field and creating greater incentive for professionals to make a career transition.

Ohio Offers a Dynamic Environment for Education

The public school system in Ohio consists of 614 school districts, with an average student–teacher ratio of 16:1 across the state. Students and teachers benefit from a personalized educational experience, and the diverse, high-performing student body allows educators to develop challenging and dynamic curriculum for an engaging learning environment.

Ohio’s teaching salary ranks 14th in the nation, and the state offers a lower cost of living compared to national estimates, making the state appealing to educators. Salaries vary in Ohio according to academic level of teaching. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provided the following average teacher salaries for Ohio based on data from 2009:

  • Elementary school teacher: $51,970
  • Middle school teacher: $50,620
  • Secondary school teacher: $54,530
  • Special education teacher: $53,800

Ohio is taking steps to compete in today’s global academic environment. Professionals can discover a fulfilling career in education by earning an Ohio Teaching License and joining a team of educational leaders to teach the next generation of global leaders.

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