Gadfly Bites 10/18/17 - We informed you thusly

  1. Our own Chad Aldis is quoted on the uniquely Ohio-centric nature of the attendance audit issues which resulted in a funding clawback order for ECOT (and other online schools, but who cares?) and reportedly threatens ECOT with closure (and has already closed other online schools, but who’s keeping track?) in this national story. Which is about ECOT. And only ECOT. What other schools? (The 74 Million, 10/16/17)
  2. It’s not often that Jamie Davies O’Leary resorts to using the “p” word, but it is clearly warranted here. Because Innovation Ohio and their analyst Steve Dyer (for he’s a jolly good Fellow!) are once again trotting out their favorite apples to orchards comparison of charter schools and traditional districts regarding report cards and funding. I meant “preposterous”. What “p” word were you thinking of? (Gongwer Ohio, 10/16/17) One of the “p” words relevant to this Enquirer guest commentary piece opining against the value of school report cards is “professor”. A professor from tony Miami University (Ohio) opined thusly and suggested an alternative that sounds a lot like Yelp to me. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 10/16/17)
  3. So, you remember that graduation rate “apocalypse” that we heard so much about late last year? Superintendents and other school district officials warned the state board of ed that scads (gobs? boatloads? Who can remember?) of their students in the Class of 2018 would not be able to reach graduation due to the more stringent requirements laid out for them many years earlier? And how unfair that was to them? The situation was predicted to be so dire that the legislature got involved and created several new diploma pathways which required very little in the way of actual academic achievement. Well, the state board of ed yesterday got a little update on the number of students in the Class of 2018 currently on track to graduate via the regular “more stringent” pathway and things look pretty much as they have in previous years. In short: the predicted apocalypse is not actually happening. If only someone had argued thusly in at the time. Chad is quoted in the PD story, noting properly and graciously that Ohio’s students and educators clearly rose to the occasion in the face of the higher bar for graduation. Kudos. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/17/17) The headline from Middletown takes a “glass less than half empty” approach to the news, although the article is a bit clearer. (Middletown Journal-News, 10/17/17) Since the graduation pathway ship has sailed for the Class of 2018, it is more important to discuss the Class of 2019. Buried in both of these stories is the fact that 2K19 is also on a decent clip to reach the higher graduation bar with more than a year and a half of school remaining. So it seems the only logical conclusion is that the new non-academic pathways can be safely retired after a one-year stint and educators can double down on all their efforts to get kids to a diploma the old fashioned way. Right?
  4. In the wake of a surprisingly dire new budget forecast, Columbus City Schools board members are pointing in all directions as to causes and possible solutions. Charters! Funding formulas! Excess spending! Not sure that any or all of these will work on that honkin’ deficit should it come to pass, but one option given some ink with which we concur is the elimination of state funding caps and guarantees. Give us a call when your Game of Thrones marathon is over, guys, and let’s talk! (Columbus Dispatch, 10/17/17)
  5. It’s National School Bus Safety Week and, speaking of the school district within whose borders I reside, Columbus City Schools is debuting a new prototype vehicle with scads (rafts? shedloads?) of new safety features. Check it out. Shiny! (WBNS-TV, Columbus, 10/16/17) The new and improved “on time” and “at the right stop” features are probably still in beta.
  6. Editors in Toledo opined this week in favor of free, universal preschool in their town and urged someone (anyone) to fund it. (Toledo Blade, 10/17/17)
  7. Speaking of money (when aren’t we, really?), Lorain City Council is in favor of someone spending a lot of money to help refurbish the academically-distressed school district's football stadium, especially if that someone is the nascent Lorain Alumni Association. Or the district. Or philanthropy. Or even Violet Crowley (two TV references in one clips summary!). As long as it’s not them. The district CEO seems to have other priorities for district funds at the moment. (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 10/17/17)
Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,