Gadfly Bites 10/16/17 - Can-do, Won't-do, Don't-wanna-do

  1. Just like other online general education charter schools and even brick-and-mortar charter schools before them, dropout recovery schools in Ohio are currently being ECOTted. That is, tarred with a brush meant for the much-reviled-in-whatever-form Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow. Herewith, testimony from supporters of dropout recovery schools given before the House Speaker's Task Force on Education and Poverty last week, trying to rebuild a reputation for their school model that they probably didn’t think needed rebuilding as little as a month ago. (Gongwer Ohio, 10/13/17)
  2. The Cleveland Transformation Alliance announced last week that the state had not concurred in its efforts to keep St. Aloysius Orphanage from opening new charter schools in Cleveland. State Supe Paolo DeMaria did load a few new requirements onto St. Al’s in the realm of communication and reporting, but that is far short of what the Alliance was asking for and some members seem quite unhappy. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/14/17) Speaking of Cleveland, thank heavens DeMaria was around to explain this multi-district collaborative around teaching social-emotional skills to students in Northeast Ohio. "People have always been doing it," says the supe. "We just haven't been as deliberate about it." That makes sense to me. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/15/17)
  3. And speaking of education officials not getting their way: the Youngstown school board last week lost its court battle via appeal to stop the ongoing implementation of HB 70, the legislation which created the CEO-style Academic Distress Commission under which aegis Youngstown has operated for the last two years. Board President Brenda Kimble promises another appeal. (Youngstown Vindicator, 10/14/17)
  4. We first talked about this a couple of weeks ago, but the conversation seems to be ongoing. As 1:1 device usage expands in school districts around the state, the “appropriateness” of tech fees charged to families is coming under scrutiny. Are they supplanting textbooks – which are provided to families without charge – or are they supplementing? Informal survey findings from central Ohio districts add more data to the discussion. (Columbus Dispatch, 10/16/17)
  5. This is so weird. North Canton City Schools is not only happy with most of the grades they received on their report card this year, they also have plans in place right now to improve their performance in the areas revealed as less-than-stellar via those same report cards. I don’t know where this plucky, can-do response and positivity came from, but I like it. Wonder if any other schools or districts could learn something from them? (Canton Repository, 10/16/17)
Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,