Gadfly Bites - 2/26/16

  1. In case you missed it yesterday, full report card data for Ohio schools and districts were released. Our own Aaron Churchill was front and center in major media coverage, as he usually is for these things. Aaron’s main point was that, while generally lower for everyone, the scores better reflect how students and their schools actually performed last school year. The Dispatch put that notion at the very top of their coverage, although the print headline (front page, above the fold) conveys that thought better than the online one. (Columbus Dispatch, 2/26/16). Aaron is farther down in the quote mix in this piece, likely reflective of the high-profile folks who came out swinging against the data even before the report cards were available, let alone analyzed. (Gongwer Ohio, 2/25/16) In Fordham’s home city of Dayton, things look pretty bleak. The district is the bottom of the heap statewide and folks there are taking it hard. Kudos, however, to West Carrollton supe Rusty Clifford for this quote clearly stating his opinion on the state’s value added measure: “It’s a lark. It’s a joke. It’s phooey data… “We don’t look at it, we don’t use it. … You’ve heard of the Magical Mystery Tour? I call value-added the magical mathematical tour.” (Dayton Daily News, 2/25/16) The PD’s Patrick O’Donnell takes his usual detailed look at the report card data. This is an overview, including Aaron’s analysis, but there is more Cleveland-specific info from Patrick down below. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/25/16)
  2. From the “Thanks, but no thanks” department, Fordham’s Quality in Adversity report is namechecked in this hit piece on charter schools from a Queen City paper better known for breaking new bands and reviewing hipster dives. The quotes and data used in this piece are of various vintages, so respect for Doug Nick on the archeology. (CityBeat Cincinnati, 2/24/16)
  3. Guest commentary from John Mullaney of the Nord Family Foundation also namechecks Fordham while making the case for more and better teacher professional development in Ohio. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/25/16)
  4. As promised above, here are some more analyses of report card data from Northeast Ohio. First up, Patrick looks at how the zeroes given to kids whose parents opted them out of testing affected said data. Be sure to click through for the chart, if you’re interested in such things. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/25/16) Next is a look at Cleveland Metropolitan School District by itself. Not so pretty. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/25/16) How about results in the Akron area? Well, at least they’re not Cleveland or Dayton. (Akron Beacon Journal, 2/25/16). Oddly, editors in Akron opined in support of the report cards AND in support of higher standards for students. Nice. (Akron Beacon Journal, 2/25/16)
  5. In other news, I was really hoping that this “hidden blue box” found in Zanesville was going to turn out to be something other than a scavenger hunt/pep rally for the local schools. (Zanesville Times Recorder, 2/24/16)
  6. Speaking of disappointing turns of phrase, the venerable League of Women Voters held a discussion session with local district leaders in Chillicothe this week. Topic: “barriers to education”. A number of “barriers” were noted and discussed. None of them pertained to students. At all. However, the discussion on inter-district open enrollment held some interest. (Chillicothe Gazette, 2/25/16)
  7. Finally, we have the dénouement of a story we’ve covered for quite a long time now. The venerable (that word again) Lemon-Monroe High School building, unused for more than 10 years, will be demolished soon following a successful years-long effort by a handful of citizens to keep a local church from buying and using it. The list of items that will be salvaged from the rotting hulk is predictably tedious. The goal is “a clean, mowable site”. From venerable to mowable. Says a lot, doesn’t it? (Middletown Journal-News, 2/25/16)