Gadfly Bites 2/15/17 - Ignoring the public's wishes?

  1. The state board of education met this week and members heard testimony from a number of organized groups of superintendents on the state’s draft ESSA plan. Coverage was sparse. First up was a group of mostly-suburban districts from Northeast Ohio who said that the current version of the plan “ignores” public input and requested a rethink on certain items. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/13/17) What do they (and, by extension, “the public”) want instead? According to a whitepaper released along with their testimony, the they want fewer state tests, an end to A through F grades on state report cards, and changes to graduation requirements, among other things. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/14/17) Concurrently, a group of Akron-area superintendents opined upon the draft ESSA plan, with more (and more detailed) requests, including: keeping student subgroups at 30 (rather than the proposed drop to 15), not requiring the reporting of high school exam retakes for excused absences, and making wraparound services universal. (Akron Beacon Journal, 2/14/17)
  2. We have already noted that in his new biennial budget Governor Kasich has proposed requiring school boards to include 3 ex-officio members from the business community. As an extension of this new “business focus”, Kasich is also proposing career shadowing (aka “externships”) at local businesses for teachers as a requirement to renew their licenses. Discuss. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 2/14/17)
  3. State Senator Peggy Lehner is championing a bill that would ban most suspensions for students in grades 3 and younger. The push is generating some response, like this piece from the Enquirer which documents the numbers of – and the reasons for – K-3 suspensions in some Hamilton County area districts. Interesting data. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 2/13/17)
  4. Editors in Canton opined in favor of changes to the funding of Ohio’s College Credit Plus program. (Canton Repository, 2/12/17)
  5. Interesting discussion in this AP piece on new US education secretary Betsy DeVos on the topic of education for students with special needs. Of local interest are mention of the Jon Peterson Scholarship – a private school voucher program for Ohio students with special needs – and comments by one of the program’s most vocal supporters over the years: parent Tera Myers. (Associated Press, via Dayton Daily News, 2/13/17)
Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,