Fordham Thinks Ohioans Are Idiots

By Scott Pullins


Chad L. Aldis is the Vice President of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute who moved here in 2008 from Florida to ruin Ohio’s schools.  And he’s doing a bang up job.


Case in point.  Ohio’s new graduation requirements.  Here’s what he had to say in the April 11th, 2017 Columbus Dispatch about efforts to change them:

“It would take Ohio back almost 25 years to 1994, the last time a student could get an Ohio high school diploma without demonstrating a certain level of high school proficiency.”


And here’s what he said in December 2016 in his written testimony to the State Board of Education:

“After years of low graduation standards, Ohio’s new requirements are a major step in the right direction.”


“No one should withhold a diploma from a deserving student. But at the same time, the state shouldn’t award meaningless credentials either.”


Chad L. Aldis, and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute apparently think that we are idiots.  And who are we?  All of us that graduated from Ohio high schools in 1994 or before and received a “meaningless” high school diploma.


That would include former Ohio Speakers Bill Batchelder, Jon Husted, Larry Householder, and Jo Ann Davidson.  


You can also throw in former Ohio Senator, Governor, Lt. Governor, Mayor, County Auditor, County Commissioner, and State Representative the late George V. Voinovich.   And don’t forget the late Senator John Glenn.  


Senator Glenn graduated from New Concord High School in 1939.  But, OMG, how did Glenn earn six Distinguished Flying Crosses and circle the earth 3 times in 1962 without taking seven standardized tests to graduate?  How did he fly 57 combat missions in WWII and 63 combat missions in Korea without taking the ACT or SAT and achieve the rank of Colonel?  


All jokes aside, Fordham owns this graduation standards mess.  It was their idea and they convinced the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio General Assembly to go along for the ride.  


And it’s always been about money.  Lots of money.  $8 million or more from the Gates Foundation starting in 2009.  


And what has all of the money, and whitepapers, and federal grants, and buzzwords like accountability and standards wrought?  Worse schools.


In 2010, Education Week ranked Ohio schools as the 5th best in the nation.  In 2012 Ohio dropped to number 12.  And in 2016, after years of common core and higher standards and race to the top funds, Ohio was ranked 23rd.


The Center for Education Reform shows Ohio dropping from 14th to 24th in a recent survey.  And the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council dropped Ohio to 29th place in the nation in 2015, down from 21st in 2011.  


Meanwhile, this issue has exposed the hypocrisy of Fordham’s lapdog legislator Peggy Lehner.  Yesterday, she endorsed the idea of allowing kids to graduate who attend school 93% of the time.


“A student who’s in their seat 93% of the time is going to be learning and I think that’s the sort of thing we want to reflect.”


But just last year she endorsed the idea that e-schools should be funded based upon learning, rather than log-in times.  


State Auditor Dave Yost has called for e-schools to be funded based on learning rather than log-in times. The nature of online learning, he said recently, makes it impossible to base funding on attendance.


“At the end of the day, we’re trying to buy a process that produces a numerate, literate citizen,” he said. “Why not pay for learning instead of hours in a seat or hours in front of a screen?”


Some see merit in that idea.


“There has been considerable conversation going on around that general concept,” said Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering, chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee. “I think it makes sense. It incentivizes the school to stay on top of the student, to call him up more frequently.”


But just how that would be structured is a major unanswered question.

Peggy Lehner must think that we are idiots too.