Gadfly Bites 3/17/17 - The Clifton Miracle

  1. We mentioned earlier this week that Ohio has decided to postpone submission of its ESSA accountability plan until September due to “outcry” from folks who said they hadn’t been heard during the input process. Perhaps not all devotees of the Patron Saint of Ink-Stained Wretches and Anguished Press Stoppers are as pleased with this outcome as earlier press coverage might have otherwise indicated. Case in point, this editorial from today’s Dispatch in which editors urge caution in adopting any ESSA changes that might water down accountability in Ohio. (Columbus Dispatch, 3/17/17)
  2. Speaking of things that certain folks might want watered down for various reasons, some players in the charter school realm (and their opposites) testified this week in regard to the state’s sponsor evaluation system. (Gongwer Ohio, 3/16/17)
  3. The proposed state budget includes cuts in support for school transportation, a change which of course some folks don’t care for. Those folks’ concerns were aired in legislative testimony this week. (Gongwer Ohio, 3/16/17) Meanwhile, the powers that be in ex-urban Groveport Madison schools have come up with what your humble clip compiler thinks is an ingenious – and cost-effective solution to one of their biggest transportation problems: lack of substitute drivers. Why not pay to train the district’s part-time staffers to drive and give them extra money to pick up bus shifts when the need arises? Smart! (ThisWeek News/Canal Winchester Times, 3/13/17)
  4. The bright lights of Columbus are just a bit dimmer this week as one of our local education celebs has left us to go back to the big time. Dr. Lillian Lowery, former CEO of FutureReady Columbus, is leaving us to return to DC for a high-profile gig at Education Trust. Really – who can blame her? (Columbus Dispatch, 3/15/17)
  5. Here is a really interesting story about a Mulligatawny Stew of players coming together to provide mentoring and support for LGBTQ high schoolers at a Columbus charter school known for its safe, inclusive, and progressive environment. And its arts-focused curriculum. Oh, and its rockin’ test scores. (Columbus Dispatch, 3/16/17) If you would like to learn more about the awesomeness that is the Arts and College Preparatory Academy, check out this opinion piece by our own Jamie Davies O’Leary. (Education Post, 3/14/17)
  6. Loyal Gadfly Bites subscribers will remember the previous noisy kerfuffle between Cincinnati City Schools and the Clifton Cultural Arts Center regarding the district’s desire to use some or all of the center’s space – which the district owns and leases to the arts center – for the needed expansion of its burgeoning magnet school across the street. The issue has been on a quiet simmer out of the public eye for some months now and perhaps a new solution may have presented itself in the interim. The school board this week agreed to spend $700,000 to purchase an old mansion and some land adjacent to the current arts center. They are keeping mum about their plans at this point, but speculation in this piece is that the arts center might move to the mansion while the district gets the space it needs in the current arts center building. Seems like an interesting – if expensive – effort at compromise, and of course the district is still your landlord, so there’s that. But for now we’ll call it the Clifton Miracle. Just because. (WCPO-TV, Cincinnati, 3/16/17)
Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,