It's probably no surprise for those of you intimate with gadflies that they have, prominently, the ability to clearly and accurately predict the future. So, after many long hours in front of the crystal ball over the holidays, the Ohio Education Gadfly is blessing readers with eight insightful predictions for the Buckeye State in 2008:
1. The Ohio General Assembly: In an act of generosity and goodwill, the legislature introduces three bills reserved for the governor to insert his policy agenda into legislation. The first bill is to revamp Ohio's academic assessment system; the others are for a solution to global warming and a plan for Mideast Peace.
2. Governor Strickland: The governor will smile and wave--anything else might create unwanted controversy, thus ruining his chances as a vice-presidential candidate and damaging his soaring approval ratings.
3. Cincinnati Public Schools: With the Hollywood writers' strike still on, we can't have too many reality programs. So, after an initial fruitless effort to find a new superintendent for the troubled district, Cincinnati's school board will enlist Tyra Banks to host next fall's smash-hit reality TV show "Cincinnati's Next Top School Administrator."
4. The Ohio Education Association (OEA): The OEA will finally realize the error of its ways and apply to become a charter-school sponsor, allowing outstanding teachers to implement well-constructed plans for innovative schools.
5. The Thomas B. Fordham Institute: Gadfly's employer will organize a retreat with the OEA where Fordham president Checker Finn and OEA president Patricia Frost-Brooks will embrace in a long hug and agree that collective bargaining in Ohio's public schools should be strengthened because longer contracts and more work rules most certainly improve student achievement.
6. Chancellor Eric Fingerhut: After usurping the power of the Board of Regents and joining the governor's cabinet in 2007, the chancellor will move to take over the State Board of Education this year and change his title to Ohio Education Czar.
7. The Ohio Department of Education (ODE): The department will expand its rating system of public schools to include a component that measures how much ODE itself contributes to statewide student achievement. Unfortunately, the results will be dismal and Attorney General Marc Dann will sue to shutter the department under the state's charitable trust laws.
8. The Ohio State Buckeyes: This prediction jumps ahead to 2009, when OSU wins the BCS title game, but only after the SEC is barred from bowl-game participation.