Gadfly Bites 10/29/18 - Baby steps

  1. It seems like every PD article on the Say Yes to Education program possibly coming to Cleveland starts with the same two paragraphs: a new incremental step, lots to iron out, not ready yet, questions remain, blah blah blah. Hardly interesting in itself anymore, but I couldn’t help wondering this time what the representatives for Say Yes—a high profile and big ticket program geared to getting low income students to and through college–think of Ohio’s ongoing efforts to eliminate standardized testing, to water down and/or obfuscate state report cards, and to remove academic pathways to graduation. A.K.A. – Ohio’s War on Knowing Stuff. Someone should ask them. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/26/18)
     
  2. Speaking of graduation requirements in NEO, here is the story of one senior in Springfield Local Schools and her quest to graduate. Her current difficulty appears mainly to be a time crunch, brought on by some bad advice. The news report here blames the trouble on her inability to access the non-academic diploma pathways given temporarily to the Class of 2018. But if you ask me, the true problem for her lies in the creation of those non-academic pathways in the first place. If she had known from her sophomore year that she would need 18 end-of-course points or an industry credential to go with her WorkKeys test score, she could have spent her junior and senior years working toward one or both of those final pieces. No time crunch. Instead, it seems like she got some bad advice from somewhere that told her the temporary assist of a capstone or attendance or GPA from 2018 would extend to her. And since she is one of 80 students in a class of 180 in Springfield Local who is not currently on track to graduate on time, I have a guess as to where that faulty advice could have come from. (News5, Cleveland, 10/26/18)
     
  3. When I was in graduate school studying city planning more than 20 years ago, the Linden neighborhood of Columbus received regular attention from students and professors looking for ways to help “lift up” a long-suffering area of neglect and poverty. Some things have improved in the intervening time, but Linden is still the center of attention. The Dispatch has joined the parade of interested parties, having launched a series of in-depth articles as to what ails the neighborhood and what might be done to treat those ills. (No, it doesn’t have the word “pathway” in it, why do you ask?) Here is a look at the state of the schools to which Linden students have access. All are underutilized—some by quite a lot—and all are underperforming. Columbus City Schools officials know all of the relevant numbers, including how many Linden residents opt for magnet schools elsewhere in the district, how many students attend charter schools, and even how many families take advantage of vouchers to attend private schools. The key question for me: Why. Weirdly, no one seems to know that answer. (Columbus Dispatch, 10/28/18)
     
  4. We end today where we began: with baby steps. Toledo City Schools last week announced movement toward the creation of “The PreMed High School of Toledo”, an even more robust version of their college and career academy plan. You can guess its focus, I’ll bet. It will still be several years before it is actually open, and several more years after that before it is fully operational as a feeder into ProMedica’s recruitment office. But kudos anyway. I’m sure Toledo’s current elementary school students are thrilled. (Toledo Blade, 10/26/18)

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Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,