Gadfly Bites 5/16/18 -- "Two steps backward and one step forward"; or "Shameless"

  1. News was a little scarce out of this week’s meeting of the state board of education, but here’s what we’ve got. The board approved a resolution asking the state legislature to delay the implementation of composite letter grades for schools. (Dayton Daily News, 5/15/18) A board committee recommended narrowing the definition of “dropout recovery school” and boosting the standards to which the remaining such school should be held. (Gongwer Ohio, 5/14/18) However, in less-official business, the board heard from state Senator Peggy Lehner that the legislature is disinclined to extend lower, test-free graduation requirements beyond the Class of 2018. Despite the board’s previous recommendation to the contrary. (Dayton Daily News, 5/15/18)
  2. There is a strange tone of glee in this piece about the ECOT-branded items up for auction. But what can you expect, really. It’s just money, right? (Columbus Dispatch, 5/14/18) Maybe some folks should care more about former ECOT students. Well, these guys do, but only in terms of getting safe harbor from accountability so the former ECOTters who transferred to them won’t “drag down” their academic ratings. How kind. What happens if the ECOTtters bring up your ratings, gang? Does that count? (Toledo Blade, 5/14/18)
  3. I don’t usually cover straight-up crime stories in the Bites, but this is pretty brazen. If these accusations are true, you have to admit the guy’s got moxie. (WEWS-TV, Cleveland, 5/15/18)
  4. It was a packed—and expensive—agenda for Dayton City Schools’ board of education last night. Over $1.7 million in additional spending was approved, by my back-of-the-envelope calculation. This includes those retroactive raises for administrators we talked about previously, some new buses, and a crap ton of additional legal fees for various ongoing cases. The total price tag for this meeting will probably end up being higher since the terminations approved will also likely incur a billable hour or two to finalize. P.S. – Preschool will only be available to Dayton families four days a week going forward but teachers will get paid for five. (Dayton Daily News, 5/15/18)
  5. We end today with two stories on the same topic from different sources. The variation in approach is interesting, as usual. A provider of educational and therapeutic services for children on the autism spectrum has requested a tax abatement to help them afford construction of a new indoor gym facility in Lorain. The school board has already signed off on the abatement request and the last stop in the process is Lorain City Council. The two stories cover the same city council committee meeting on the topic, held earlier this week. After 600 words of positivity and praise regarding the school, the plan, and the kids served, the Morning Journal’s coverage noted that the public discussion got a little “testy”. Specifically, the testiness arose when some speakers were deemed to not be sensitive enough to students with disabilities, so the MJ reported. (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 5/14/18) In the Chronicle’s version, deviation begins in the headline, which identifies the provider as a charter school. My quick research shows that this is likely incorrect, but even if it’s true, it is less-than-germane to the discussion being reported. That discussion is characterized as combative and focused more on the clients than on the type of provider or facility. The provider’s CEO is reported as playing defense in her remarks right from the start. References to homelessness, drug addiction, and clients “milling around” adding to downtown Lorain’s “problems” were also included. (Elyria Chronicle, 5/15/18) In case you’re wondering, the committee approved sending the request to the full council. Let’s see how that discussion is covered when it happens.
Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,