Gadfly Bites 3/30/18 - Advanced brain drain

  1. It’s spring break in Dayton City Schools, but that doesn’t mean things are quiet in the district. School bus drivers, who have been working without a contract for the entire school year so far, seem to have reached an impasse with the administration and the board. They voted for a strike notice earlier in the week, which would lead to a walkout on April 10, the second day back from spring break. My guess is that folks will get very little actual break as they try to hammer out an agreement before then. (Dayton Daily News, 3/29/18) Meanwhile, in Sylvania Schools in suburban Toledo, there’s apparently too much busing. Or at least busing that’s too expensive to maintain. A plan to eliminate district transportation to certain private schools—and to offer payment in lieu of transportation—is facing a small but determined opposition from families that would be affected. (Toledo Blade, 3/30/18)
  2. On the other side of the state, a Cincinnati charter school will close at the end of this school year. Its sponsor, Cincinnati City Schools, you may recall lost its ability to sponsor charters because of a poor evaluation by the state. While details here are sketchy, it is strongly intimated that the school’s governing board chose to close up shop rather than find a new sponsor. Which is odd, since the school seems to have been financial and academically healthy. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 3/29/18)
  3. Youngstown CEO Krish Mohip is 0-for-3 in the new-superintendent-gig sweepstakes. But this time it is because he withdrew from consideration for the top job at Osseo Schools in Minnesota. (Youngstown Vindicator, 3/29/18) Meanwhile, the president of Avon Lake’s Board of Education—a businessman interested in stopping the so-called “brain drain” in Ohio—was appointed this week to the state board of education, filling an empty seat. (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 3/29/18)
  4. Speaking of “brain drain”, here is the interesting story of a very smart student from Southwest Ohio who, at age 14, found her classes too slow and uninteresting for her. Her family took the drastic action of pulling her out of school—and out of Ohio entirely—to enroll in the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted at Mary Baldwin University in Virginia. Seems to have worked out pretty dang well for her. Less so, I think, for Milford Schools or Ohio’s reputation. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 3/29/18) Speaking of gifted students, the Dispatch this week took a look at the data on gifted identification among central Ohio school districts, to see if the numbers jibed with a recent national report on same. They did—showing that race and income seem to play a big part in the rates of gifted identification. Our Southwest Ohio wunderkind notwithstanding, seems to me that overidentification may be a more common mistake than is underidentification. But I could be wrong. (Columbus Dispatch, 3/29/18)
  5. Some parents in Madison Local Schools in rural-ish Richland County are steamed over the introduction of STEM classes planned for next school year, mainly because they will be replacing some physical education and music time in the schedule. Meanwhile, district officials say the parents are looking at it the wrong way. But I urge you to read the whole piece. I think you will see that there is a whole heap of garbled communication and misunderstanding going on between parents and officials, not to mention some very judgmental and troubling pronouncements about what “skills” are important for kids these days. (Mansfield News Journal, 3/28/18)
  6. Finally this week—a quick resolution to the Delaware County eminent domain trial we talked about on Wednesday. It took jurors just 2 ½ hours to decide that the owners of the Haunted Hoorah were owed substantially more money than Buckeye Valley Local Schools had wanted to give them, including the land, the building, and the money spent creating their haunted house business. The attraction will close, the district will tear down the old house to build a bus turnaround, and the former owners will try to restart their business elsewhere. Personally, I would not want to be the one to have to clear out that place! (Columbus Dispatch, 3/29/18)
Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,