CMSD CEO Eric Gordon Statement on Ohio Schools Report Card

(Cleveland, OH) - The State of Ohio has released the Ohio School report Cards that evaluate progress and achievement at districts throughout Ohio.

The reports give updated information on graduation rates, prepared for success indicators and demographic and enrollment data.

In Cleveland, attendance rate at Cleveland Metropolitan School District for the 2020-2021 School Year is 81.3% and the graduation rate is 80.9%.

CMSD CEO Eric Gordon released the following statement to the district:

Dear Friends and Supporters of CMSD,

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District made great progress in the last 10 years, but that momentum could not stand up under relentless battering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our new state report card, which was released today, revealed the impact felt in the District during a statewide shutdown and more than a year in remote and hybrid learning.

The four-year graduation rate was a bright spot, reaching 80.9 percent, the latest in a series of record highs for the District. That mark is for the Class of 2020.

More current measurements took big hits, following a trend seen in Ohio’s other large urban school systems. Proficiency scores, progress in closing achievement gaps and performance index – a composite of all test scores – all declined. Lower participation in tests, which, despite the pandemic, had to be taken in person, played a significant role.

I am disappointed by these results but not surprised. While we made sure every student had a device and internet access, the abrupt switch to remote learning was jarring for all of us.

We know many parents are frontline workers who could not be by their children’s sides during this challenging transition. Or their families were dealing with illness and death brought on by the coronavirus.

While these results are not what we want, there are signs that what we are doing is working.

On the K-3 literacy improvement measure, a measure that shows the number of students who move from off track to on track in literacy, we saw a decline of 5.7%. However, when compared to Ohio’s other urban districts, our decline was slightly less than their 6.5% average decline. The average decline statewide was 13.5%, indicating that most other Ohio districts had a more difficult time moving off-track readers to on track last year.

On the performance index, we saw a 20.3 point decline. This is approximately one-third lower than last year’s scores. However, we again slightly outpaced our urban peers, who, on average, declined by 21.5 points. And while we didn’t keep pace with the statewide average of an 11.9 point decline, the gap in our decline was smaller than we anticipated it might be.

Besides the new record overall graduation rate for the Class of 2020, our 80.9% graduation rate for African-American students was 4 points higher than the state average of 76.9%, and our 84.9% graduation rate for Hispanic students was 6.1 points higher than the state average of 78.8%. This is news we can be truly proud of.

Our CMSD scholars and educators have clearly proven what they can accomplish under better conditions.

In the years before the pandemic hit, CMSD achieved growth that ranked among the fastest in the state.

Nationally, a recent report by the Council of the Great City Schools highlighted CMSD among a select number of urban districts that stood out in beating the odds.

Titled “Mirrors or Windows: How Well do Large City Public Schools Overcome the Effects of Poverty and Other Barriers?”, the report examined 10 years of results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, better known as the Nation’s Report Card. CMSD was one of only six districts that consistently improved their performance during that period.

Education Week reported on the Council’s study and featured Cleveland in a piece headlined, “The Fastest Improving City School Districts Aren’t the Ones You Might Expect.” 

Recovery will take time, but with students back in person five days a week, the District has launched a bold new vision of learning designed to accelerate the process.

Besides assessing students and coming up with plans to meet their individual needs, schools are introducing project-based learning and other engaging approaches designed to take them to deeper levels of learning.

We are also making school more appealing by expanding arts, music and extracurricular activities, placing a healthcare professional in every building and making sure students and families keep their access to technology and reliable, high-speed internet.

The CMSD Summer Learning Experience gave a preview of the new vision. More than 8,400 students were signed up. Both the summer program and our new vision of learning have drawn national media attention.

Our move to expand experiential learning, blended learning and other strategies is worthy of attention. We envision a style of education unlike any we have known before, and those will be critical components for addressing the achievement gaps exasperated by COVID.

My thanks go out to our students, families and educators for the support and strength they have shown during conditions we could never have imagined. Together we can get all of our scholars back on track and headed for the bright futures they deserve.


Eric Gordon

Chief Executive Officer

Cleveland Metropolitan School District

(Copyright, iHeartMedia 2021)

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