Gadfly Bites 12/4/17 - Choice and diversity; or lack thereof

  1. The Associated Press published a story looking at the racial diversity of students who’ve opted into charter schools across the country and were very alarmed by their findings. I’m assuming that many news outlets across Ohio will be localizing the story in the days to come. First out of the gate here in Ohio was the Dispatch, and our own Chad Aldis was on hand to discuss the school choice aspect of the story. (Columbus Dispatch, 12/3/17) You can see the full AP version in outlets such as the Vindy. (AP, via Youngstown Vindicator, 12/3/17)
  2. Companion bills in the Ohio General Assembly would make some big changes to the state’s voucher programs if passed. Not least of which is moving from a failing schools model of eligibility to a financial need model. This piece discusses the status of the bills and the moves afoot to help them gain passage. (Gongwer Ohio, 12/1/17)
  3. Speaking of legislation, here’s an update on the “Seal of Biliteracy”, created in state law and available for the first time to this year’s graduating seniors. It is a laurel that would be included on a student’s final transcript to indicate that he or she can skillfully converse, read, and write in two or more languages. This skill would be proven through testing. It is optional for districts to offer and for students to participate. This Dispatch piece seems to indicate that few central Ohio districts are fully up to speed with their process for testing and awarding, although certain schools are already planning to bestow the seal on a number of diligent students. (Columbus Dispatch, 12/4/17)
  4. Folks in Sylvania City Schools in suburban Toledo are celebrating the highest school population in 10 years. How are they celebrating? By hiring a bunch of teachers. To wit: 30 new teachers for 192 additional students. Celebratory indeed. (Toledo Blade, 12/3/17)
  5. As noted last week when it was announced by the district CEO, confusion surrounds the departure of Lorain City Schools Superintendent Jeff Graham. School board president Tony Dimacchia says in this piece that Graham was still hard at work as of Friday, and CEO Hardy has issued nothing new on the matter that is intelligible. Perhaps the confusion lies in the fact that Graham has reportedly been working from home for the last two weeks, researching lunch program options. (Elyria Chronicle, 12/2/17). Meanwhile, editors in Lorain opined that “organizational changes must and will occur” in the process of bringing the district’s turnaround plan to life. (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 12/2/17)
Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,