Gadfly Bites 7/11/18 – The danger of the thing

  1. Following up on Monday’s big news: How did Secretary DeVos’ visit to Northwest Ohio go? Seems pretty good, but it’s hard to tell from this piece, which is more about protestors for some reason. Even Penta Career Center gets shortchanged here. (Toledo Blade, 7/9/18)
  2. There was a state board of education meeting this week. Among other things, members voted unanimously to boost the cut score for passage on the third grade reading test a little bit higher. (Gongwer Ohio, 7/10/18) Also, the board declined to move forward with recommendations for changes to state report cards until at least September. And everyone seems cool with it. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 7/10/18)
  3. Speaking of report cards, one huge aspect of those, of course, are test scores. Jeremy Kelley says that preliminary test scores are out to districts and schools already and that things are generally looking very positive. Final data is still to be tabulated and reported back, but early indications are that proficiency rates improved in 18 of 21 major testing areas – this despite the fact that tests are more rigorous than they have ever been. Sounds like kudos may be in order. (Dayton Daily News, 7/11/18) Speaking of kudos with caveats, some initial data suggests that the new freshman academies in Youngstown’s high schools are producing the hoped for positive results in terms of grade promotion. I’m going to need to see more hard numbers from Captain Mohip and crew before I’m convinced, but fingers crossed that they are right. (WKBN-TV, Youngstown, 7/10/18)
  4. We got a look this week at some of Canton City Schools’ spending priorities for next year. They are heavily tilted toward non-academic issues, including nearly $2 million in new hiring to address issues related to learning climate, behavior, and chronic absenteeism. (Canton Repository, 7/9/18)
  5. Speaking of money, the state auditor this week warned schools across the state of the dangers of crowdfunding for supplies and projects. Granted, these are dangers that perhaps only an auditor could fully appreciate, but I think it’s safe to say that if the official in charge of looking over your books tells you to watch out for certain things, you can be sure that he will be watching out for it even if you’re not. (Columbus Dispatch, 7/10/18)

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Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,