Gadfly Bites 11/21/18 – Relieving themselves of the uncertain

  1. You’ve got to appreciate just how dedicated the folks at News5 in Northeast Ohio have become to the topic of graduation requirements. Here is at least the third story in the last two months. In it, Fordham’s recent report card analysis (and author Aaron Churchill himself) is quoted. But the point of the story is to show just how good Akron City Schools’ college and career academy is at getting kids to the highest possible graduation bar and preparing them for their next academic step. Of course, three kids is an anecdote and not a trend. Nor does it do anything to disprove Aaron’s quoted two-in-five statistic. But all that detail is probably just me being churlish. (News5, Cleveland, 11/21/18) In nearby Stark County, the on-time graduation status of the Class of 2019 in Northwest Local Schools is top of mind. The story is a little light on details, but my back-of-the-envelope math says that somewhere around 50 percent of seniors are short on the end-of-course points needed to graduate one third of the way through the school year. There is only the vaguest of hints as to what the district is doing to help their students get there. (Canton Repository, 11/19/18)
     
  2. If I may continue to be churlish (quelle surprise, I hear you say), I assume that a lot of folks in Akron and Stark County districts are rolling the dice on an extension of the “temporary”, non-academic graduation pathways from 2018 to 2019 for their kids. Editors in Toledo opined in favor of such a move this week, while painting those pathways in a rosy hue using words like “earned” and “diligent” and “readiness”. (Toledo Blade, 11/20/18)
     
  3. For the record, those school officials gambling on their kids’ graduation options and the editors enabling them may indeed get a hard eight winner via legislation. But those folks shooting for changes to the state’s school report card via lame duck legislation before the end of the year will probably crap out. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/21/18)
     
  4. Editors in Columbus opine that changing the state’s report card should be the last thing on policymakers’ minds. There are a lot more pressing issues to be dealt with in education first. I won’t quibble that their list is different than mine. (Columbus Dispatch, 11/20/18)
     
  5. Outgoing Auditor of State Dave Yost (…) once said that the Ohio Department of Education was the worst run agency in state government. Now he has receipts. 1,577 pages of them. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/20/18)

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