Gadfly Bites 7/30/18 – Their dreamlike vision

  1. Fordham’s own Mike Petrilli and Amber Northern have an editorial published in today’s Cincinnati Enquirer, discussing the findings of the recent Charter School Deserts report and urging changes in Ohio law that could address those issues here in the Buckeye State. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 7/30/18)
     
  2. One of the law changes championed by my bosses in their op-ed above is access to state facilities funding for charter schools in Ohio. Maybe I’m too pessimistic, but I personally think it will be a cold day in Hell, California, before that happens. I will submit this piece from Columbus as Exhibit A to support my downbeat assertion. It simultaneously besmirches the current funding sources charters must utilize, belittles a local charter for “not looking like a school”, and casts aspersions because the operators dared to try and make a non-purpose-built building (which most charters cannot do) look and function more like a school. (Columbus Dispatch, 7/29/18)
     
  3. Meanwhile, school leaders from various districts, Catholic, and Christian schools in Stark County were approached by the Repository to tell readers why they are so awesome and what they are doing to remain awesome and maybe even to get more awesome in the future. It appears that no charter schools in Stark County were invited to participate in this self-promotion fest; at least none took up whatever offer was made to them. It is ironic, then, in light of the previous pieces in today’s Bites to note that a number of the concrete examples of awesomeness presented here (buildings, safety measures, athletics, extracurricular options, etc.) are generally unique to traditional districts and private schools due to the way schools are funded in Ohio. It was also interesting to note, in light of the general vitriol toward online charter schools, how many of these districts are touting new online schooling initiatives as necessary to serve all student needs. (Canton Repository, 7/28/18) On a similar topic, kudos to this Lancaster teacher who won an award created and presented by an online teaching platform provider for successfully using that online teaching platform. Some deets: “Students must log six hours in person a week, the rest can be done online on their own time. This is designed to give students some face-to-face time with the teacher. Students must meet specific score requirements on assignments.” Awesome. (Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, 7/27/18)
     
  4. Back in the real world, today is opening day for the new I Promise School in Akron. There were no less than three articles in the ABJ this weekend gearing up for the big day. First up, the Ins and Outs and Whos and Whats of I Promise. (Akron Beacon Journal, 7/27/18) Second, a look at the multimillion dollar support that the school is garnering. Mostly state and local funding by the district, of course, just like every other school in the district (c.f. – our previous articles on school funding today), but the LeBron James Family Foundation and others too. (Akron Beacon Journal, 7/27/18) Finally, a look at the founding staff of the school, recruited by and led by a veteran Akron City Schools principal. Mazel tov, everyone! Here’s to a great school year! (Akron Beacon Journal, 7/27/18)
     
  5. Finally today, here’s a look at the University of Toledo’s summer bridge program, designed to help students of color get prepped for their first year of college at UT. The genesis of the program was back in 2006, when the current VP for diversity and inclusion came to the university as an assistant professor. He recognized, he said, that students of color in his anthropology course were not performing on par with white students. He founded the summer bridge program in 2015 with the support of two other faculty members and the UT administration. “We try to get students with a variety of GPAs, test scores, and people outside Ohio,” said the program’s manager. “Our goal is to prepare these students not only academically but culturally.” No data as to how it’s working as yet, but there is a positive anecdote included. (Toledo Blade, 7/30/18)

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