Gadfly Bites 4/25/18 - It's your dime

  1. We start today’s clips with some good news—and about the cutest, nerdiest sibling rivalry video you’re likely to see today. Longtime Fordham friends will be familiar with Reynoldsburg High School and Columbus State Community College grad Danya Hamad, something of a prodigy whose accelerated academic path had been made possible in part by utilization of interdistrict open enrollment. Well, right behind her was her equally-precocious brother David, who will shortly receive his own degree from Columbus State, and become the youngest-ever graduate thereof, just beating his sister by three months. Both are headed to big bright futures. (WBNS-TV, Columbus, 4/24/18)
  2. Speaking of interdistrict open enrollment, here is a not-so-good news story about the internal workings of this longstanding school choice option—heavily utilized but often loathed by districts. Liberty Local Schools near Youngstown reportedly sees 250 resident students each year opt to leave the district via open enrollment and to attend school in other neighboring districts. One hundred of those students typically end up in Girard City Schools, “taking” families and money away with them. Liberty’s board this week voted—for the first time ever, it appears—to limit the number of students able to leave for Girard (and Girard only), citing a number of reasons. Most specifically, it seems, is Girard’s purported “aggressive” recruiting of Liberty’s resident families. (WFMJ-TV, Youngstown, 4/24/18) However, the local NAACP sees it quite differently and is hopping mad over it. Why? Because Liberty says it will specifically block “Caucasian” students from leaving to open enroll in Girard; in order to maintain racial balance in its own schools. See what I said—not so good. (Youngstown Vindicator, 4/25/18)
  3. Speaking of not-so-good news, staffers from the Ohio Department of Education are in Trotwood-Madison Schools all week this week. They are following up on a previous visit three years ago which found some specific weaknesses in areas such as consistently following its school improvement plans, and difficulty with implementation of classroom teaching and teacher training strategies. There is no word on whether or how the new findings might affect the possible declaration of Academic Distress in Trotwood—which is on the cards because of two consecutive years of poor report cards—or whether this is just further evidence of what needs to be (or perhaps already has been) fixed regardless of report card showing. All I can say is, “Welcome to Trotwood, Mr. Olverson.” (Dayton Daily News, 4/24/18)
  4. OK. You all need some more good news now, right? How about this, then: École Kenwood, the stalwart French language immersion program in Columbus City Schools, got a rare and prestigious prix from the French government’s Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs this week, lauding its decades-long commitment to supporting and expanding the French language and culture. C’est manifique! (ThisWeek News, 4/23/18)
  5. With lots of pomp and circumstance—just like when student athletes publicly sign letters of intent for the colleges of their choice—Olentangy Schools has held its first military signing ceremony. That is, a group of high school seniors committing publicly and with fanfare to join the armed forces upon graduation. That’s good news too, right? (Columbus Dispatch, 4/24/18)
  6. Finally today, the Ohio State University has been awarded a grant that will be used to “rais[e] the net income of 10,000 local, middle-class households by 10 percent” by the year 2020. To accomplish this, said Provost Bruce McPheron, they could find ways to increase family income or perhaps reduce their cost of living instead. Or perhaps I might suggest they could just lump these families in with their other project and move all the families to PROSPERity in the ‘burbs. Your call, though, OSU. It’s your dime. (Columbus Dispatch, 4/24/18)
Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,