Gadfly Bites 4/16/18 – Do they matter or don’t they?

  1. As you may recall from last Wednesday’s Bites, there is was a new bill introduced in the House that proposes to sweep most current aspects of school report cards right out the door in favor of a “dashboard” type rating system instead, and I use the term “system” loosely. Judging from this Gongwer piece, the multi-headed hydra known as BASAOASBOOSBA—a.k.a. “statewide education group(s)” in edublob-ese—is all for this proposed new system. Still using that term loosely. Our own Chad Aldis, seemingly alone in his objections, explains the problems he sees with this proposal. Again. (Gongwer Ohio, 4/13/18) But wait, do I hear OTHER faint cries of objection to this proposal to get rid of detailed, measurable A-to-F grading of schools and districts? Well, not exactly. At least two legislators do appear to be concerned with the bill, but that’s because it doesn’t address school districts operating under the aegis of an Academic Distress Commission. Specifically, because those two districts (maybe soon to be three?) are not automatically released from ADC designation by this new bill. Now why would they think that that should be the case, I wonder? (WFMJ-TV, Youngstown, 4/13/18)
     
  2. Despite the disclaimer—buried deep in this piece—that says “[p]overty, as measured by school lunch eligibility, doesn't fully explain Cleveland's low scores” on NAEP, poverty in CMSD (as measured by school lunch eligibility) and its effect on NAEP scores is indeed the focus of the piece. Odd. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 4/13/18) Luckily for all the poor kids attending school within its buildings, CMSD CEO Eric Gordon “refuses to say that Cleveland's poverty and social issues block students from learning well.” Phew. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 4/15/18)
     
  3. I think there is a typo in the headline of this guest commentary on graduation requirements published in the Dispatch today. I will let my more adventurous readers try to puzzle out what it is. (Columbus Dispatch, 4/16/18) Meanwhile, editors at the Dispatch weighed in on the proposed bill which would, among other things, consolidate the state’s K-12, higher education, and workforce development infrastructures. (Columbus Dispatch, 4/15/18)
     
  4. This is a mildly scary story about test anxiety in children, guaranteed click bait leading up to the opening of state testing windows this spring. Shame it wasn’t posted on Friday the 13th though. Just for fun—and a bit of variety (these clips are getting a little samey today, don’t you think?)—I read this piece a second time and replaced the words “test taking” with “baseball playoff” and “job interview”. Made me feel far less anxious to do so. Weird. (Akron Beacon Journal, 4/15/18)
     
  5. Back in the real world, it is probably coincidental that this piece looking at racial disparities in discipline rates in Northwest Ohio school districts was published on Friday the 13th. Probably. (Toledo Blade, 4/13/18)
     
  6. Definitely a Friday the 13th coincidence here as Loveland Schools lives up to its name while giving loving (and effusive) praise of its new superintendent. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 4/13/18)
 
 
Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,