Gadfly Bites 11/15/17 - "We are not where we’d like to be… My greatest fears came true."

  1. Want a good read? Check out this little nugget on the Fordham-sponsored United Schools Network of charters here in Columbus, including a look at their new School Performance Institute. Just ignore the snarky subhead of the piece. They couldn’t help themselves, I suppose. (Columbus Monthly, 11/14/17)
  2. Sticking with the theme of good news for a moment, Dayton City Schools’ report card improved ever so slightly this week after a fix of some erroneous data as processed by the Ohio Department of Education. (Dayton Daily News, 11/13/17) The aforementioned erroneous data had to do with one aspect of graduation rates. The ways in which students reach graduation have, as my loyal Gadfly Bites subscribers are painfully aware, been a subject of much angst in various halls of state government for a year or more. Graduation pathways were front and center again during this week’s state board of education meeting. Specifically, three options were presented to the board by ODE regarding the current grad requirements, which includes a non-academic pathway which applies only to the Class of 2018. For now. (Dayton Daily News, 11/13/17) I have to apologize to all four of my loyal Gadfly Bites subscribers for missing a subtle but important shift in the discussion of graduation requirements that occurred earlier this year when the state board of education decided to impanel a committee to study the topic and report back with recommendations. Despite previous talk of a “temporary fix” and “one time opportunity” to address the possible “graduation rate apocalypse” for the Class of 2018, all that went away when the committee’s recommendations arrived. That is why the state board seems to have abandoned talk of only needing an “adjustment period” for the Class of 2018 to get used to the not-as-new-as-it-used-to-be end of course exam pathway and is now debating whether to make permanent the lowered bar. Indeed, it seems there may be additional non-academic pathways that may jump into the discussion coming up. (Columbus Dispatch, 11/14/17)
  3. That bill we told you about proposing to ban out-of-school suspensions for most infractions for students in Pre-K to grade three was introduced with some fanfare yesterday. Let’s take a quick roll call. Senator O’Donnell of Journalist Party still appears to be a Yes. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/14/17) How about Senator Jeremy Kelley (J-Dayton), from whose district the bill’s sponsor hails? Seems undecided at this point. (Dayton Daily News, 11/14/17) Cincinnati City Schools’ efforts to lower suspensions and expulsions seem to be key inspiration for certain provisions of this bill. What says Senator Jessie Balmert, also of the esteemed Journalist Party, who hails from the Queen City? Seems to be leaning in favor, if I say so myself. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/14/17)
  4. Speaking of Cincinnati, here is a look at how the citywide Preschool Promise program is faring one year after passage of the levy that created it. It’s a long piece with lots of details, most of which don’t sound that great to me, and kids in slots takes up a very small part of it. And those numbers aren’t so great either. If some of this sounds familiar, you can just sub in “Dayton” for “Cincinnati” in some spots and you’ll know why. If anyone cares, I think Cincy’s efforts and outcomes actually seem less good than Dayton’s, but that’s really just degrees of “not-so-hotness” not worth quibbling over. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/14/17)
  5. Yesterday was the third annual Ohio Online Learning Day, which included a rally at the Statehouse of parents, students, school officials, politicians, and advocates. Gongwer covered it. It’s a mildly interesting story, but for those of you who have to – due to your job of, say, reading and compiling education news clips – have to read the full text of such reports, this one is a particular ordeal due to rampant typos, the odd grammar mistake, and errors of reportage. I’m sorry. “Scare resources” indeed. (Gongwer Ohio, 11/14/17)
  6. Elementary students in Youngstown are apparently really digging the new “Y-Bucks” program in which they can earn bucks for good behavior and use them to buy cool stuff at the Y-Stores in their schools. This all sounds pretty good – if maybe a bit familiar from some charter schools I could name – but I do have some lingering questions regarding the anecdote of the shoes. (Youngstown Vindicator, 11/15/17) Finally today, I give you Urban Squash Cleveland. No, it’s not about farming. It’s about sports. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/14/17)
Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,