Gadfly Bites 1/12/18 - "Fighting" is the operative word

  1. We should probably start with the big ECOT news, I guess. Did you see that ECOT’s request to become a dropout recovery school was rejected by the Ohio Department of Education yesterday? No? How on earth did you miss that? Wonder what else was screaming off the headlines that took your attention? (Columbus Dispatch, 1/11/18) I jest once again, dear subscribers—even I couldn’t miss the big screaming headlines about ECOT’s fiscal/bond/sponsor woes. The school says it’s trying to remain open, but the Dispatch assures us here that its options are limited. (Columbus Dispatch, 1/11/18) Here’s a follow-up piece which states that central Ohio districts are “bracing” for the possible influx of hundreds of new students who might knock on their doors looking for an education should ECOT close due to lack of sponsor, as the good folks at the Dispatch assure us will probably/most likely/definitely gonna/can’t be soon enough happen (delete as appropriate). To the folks at Groveport City Schools, I might humbly suggest that “organized scrambling” is the order of most days; and to the folks at Columbus City Schools, I might humbly suggest that you needn’t brace all that hard. Our own Aaron Churchill is also quoted in this piece checking into the capacity of other online schools to absorb the many ECOTers who might find themselves suddenly schoolless. (Columbus Dispatch, 1/11/18) How’s the story of the possibly-suddenly-schoolless look from Toledo, where ECOT’s sponsor is located? Short and pointed. (Toledo Blade, 1/11/18)
  2. In completely unrelated news, the tiny St. Marys School District in western Ohio is in serious fiscal trouble. Because their expenditures untenably outweigh their income, the district will likely have to shut down and nearby Wapakoneta school officials are “bracing” for an influx of families who might find themselves suddenly without schools for their children. The district is debating among six million-dollar-plus levy options to place before voters so they can keep on keepin’ on. Righteous, man. (Lima News, 1/11/18)
  3. More details are emerging from the Lorain Plan that look a lot more like concrete actions, measurable objectives, and (dare I say it) trackable results. With actual goals! And I’m not talking about the pre-K. Hallelujah. (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 1/11/18)
  4. Meanwhile, in nearby Elyria, a $115,000 Title 1 grant will be used to hire three new staffers to “address issues in homes and the community that are keeping kids from succeeding in school.” The trio will be active in two elementary schools and will work to help increase attendance and parental involvement. I found the latter parts of the story interesting—where the supposed reasons for attendance problems are discussed. None of them seem to be solvable by means of “parent perks”. But I could be wrong. (Elyria Chronicle, 1/12/18)
Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,