4-8-14 Ohio Education News

  1. Last week, you no doubt heard that the Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving White Hat, a large and well-known charter school management company, and 10 of its former managee schools over the issue of just who owns the assets of a charter school should it seek to disengage from its management contract. It’s a complex question with a lot at stake based on the final ruling – not just for charter school contracts but potentially for contract law writ large across the state. Fordham’s Chad Aldis spelled it out succinctly in an interview for Kent State’s public radio station.  It is important to note that Chad’s participation in this piece comes as a direct result of the Sunshine Week assault on White Hat by all the cub reporters overseen by the Beacon Journal’s Doug “Dog” Livingston. I guarantee that Chad’s answers were not what this particular cub was expecting. (WKSU-FM radio)
  2. It is with great pleasure that I announce on this page that Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins (DMC!) has decided to break the city council’s tie vote in favor of Horizon Science Academy's application for a use permit that would allow them to purchase the Toledo YMCA building  – after more than six months of work/delay/debate/votes – to move and expand the school. It is with even more pleasure that this is the on-the-record reason why Mr. Collins decided the way he did: “There is reason to believe that opposition is based on a prejudice of charter schools rather than legal criteria.” Huzzah indeed. (Toledo Blade)
  3. And if you want to read the whole sordid story up to this point, check out this blog post.
  4. I wanted to report on this yesterday, but couldn’t find any proper journalism on the subject. Today, the awesome Jennifer Smith Richards comes to my aid. Columbus City Schools had quietly implemented a plan to revamp a specific program of gifted services in the district, which appeared geared to clustering that program in a few underperforming buildings. Parents were given 10 days to choose to move their children to those buildings to continue services or to waive their right to the services and stay put. Those plans to change the ECLIPSE gifted program are now on hold thanks to a fairly clever plan by a group of parents who were planning to opt their children out of upcoming tests, thus denying the district of what are likely to be some of the higher test scores in the district. I’m sure there will be more to this story soon. (Columbus Dispatch)
  5. "Public schools across Ohio and the nation are better than ever - and we want to get that message out." Good luck, O mighty members of Stand up for Ohio Public Schools. (Ohio School Boards Association)
  6. So, I used to work for a non-profit organization – which shall remain nameless – which used public records requests to school districts to get contact information for K-12 students eligible for the EdChoice voucher program, in order to send information about the vouchers to them. And we regularly got excoriated for violating some rule or another about private information of kids, for using grant funds to badmouth public schools, etc. So, how is that different from what’s going on here? The University of Akron is apparently using public funds to hire a private firm to contact and recruit Akron High School kids to UA AND they are using “community volunteers” to do the same. Where do folks suppose that contact information comes from? What training is being given to these volunteers regarding what they can/can’t promise? What safeguards are in place to make sure that these high schoolers’ private contact information isn’t stolen or leaked? Where's the outrage, folks?(Akron Beacon Journal)
  7. I don’t know if my new friends at Start School Later Ohio will like this or hate this, but Findlay High School is making yet more changes to its daily schedule next year. The upshot of it is a shorter school day – all academic periods are shortened, but lunch period is shorter. High school start time will remain the same, but as a side effect middle schoolers will indeed start school later…by five minutes.  (Findlay Courier)

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