Gadfly Bites 2/14/18 - It’s hard to have school when the weather is sunny and bright and the lake has fish

  1. The State Board of Education met this week and, among other things, members got an update on the graduation readiness of the Class of 2018. It seems that 77 percent of this year’s seniors are on track to graduate using the more difficult requirements which are going fully into effect this year. There are approximately five months left of the school year and, of course, lots of less rigorous diploma pathways for those remaining students to utilize thanks to the enormous sympathies of the board and the state legislature. There is no data yet on how many of the remaining students might utilize those other pathways. (Columbus Dispatch, 2/13/18). Speaking of the state board, a new bill previewed this morning would seriously curtail its authority, along with combining K-12, higher ed, and workforce development authorities of the state into one cabinet-level department. Czar-riffic! Our own Chad Aldis is quoted on the proposal in this first-out-of-the-gate piece from Patrick O’Donnell. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/14/18) Chad is also quoted in the D on the proposal, sure to garner lots of attention for the foreseeable future. (Columbus Dispatch, 2/14/18)
  2. Sticking with the state board for a moment: Board members voted unanimously this week to deny an appeal by Cincinnati City Schools and to revoke its ability to sponsor charter schools due to a poor evaluation rating. The fate of its schools will be determined between now and the end of the school year and hinges on whether or not they can find new sponsors. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/13/18) On a related note, Dayton Business Technology High School, a dropout recovery charter school sponsored by Dayton City Schools, this week requested an extension of the school board’s decision to terminate their charter. Dayton Tech’s recent report card was a mixed bag but it seems to have some important supporters in the community. Will that be enough to save it from the charter ax? The board is considering the request. (Dayton Daily News, 2/13/18)
  3. The case of the people (and I mean ALL of the people) vs. ECOT was heard in the Ohio Supreme Court yesterday. Absurdities abounded. (Columbus Dispatch, 3/13/18)
  4. The extent of CEO David Hardy’s school calendar changes for 2018-19 are now clear for folks in Lorain. The year starts earlier for staff and students, the first semester ends before winter break, and the year ends well before Memorial Day when those titular fish are in the non-proverbial lake. Wait; is this Lorain or Mayberry? (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 2/13/18) Hardy also outlined the new non-chief positions he wants to fill to complete his administrative team. These include the “turnaround principal” (tasked with improving the relationship between students and teachers; no small task, I’m sure), and the “dean of academic outcomes”. NOW it sounds more like Lorain. (Elyria Chronicle, 2/14/18)
  5. We’ll call this the analog version of the app that Fordham boss Mike Petrilli would love to build: Report card conferences between students and adults in the community who give the students a look at how their academic progress has prepared them for the next step after high school. The idea is to show them how to get on and stay on track toward college, military, or a career. Nice. (ThisWeek News, 2/12/18) And finally today, a related good news story. Ten years ago, two coworkers at First Energy Corporation in Akron tutored a young student as part of the company’s volunteer program. Today, that former student is working at First Energy and has reconnected with her very proud former tutors. (Akron Beacon Journal, 2/12/18)
Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,