Gadfly Bites - 8/13/14

Gadfly Bites is back from vacation and catching up on some older news reported during the hiatus:

  1. The deadline for candidates to run for State Board of Education seats in November has come and gone. State Board of Education President Debe Terhar did not file paperwork and so will not run for another term. Newly-appointed board member Ron Rudduck will be running for a full term, as promised, and an open seat will be contested by two others besides former State Rep. Robert Hagan, as we noted last week. (Columbus Dispatch)
  2. This is probably the stalest of old news: more piling on to the “investigate Horizon/Concept Schools for X” bandwagon. But, I include this for variety. (Gongwer Ohio)
  3. I say “variety” because the rest of our old news is about the Common Core. I went on vacation sure that hearings on the new legislative assault on the Common Core in Ohio would start while I was gone. But no. Turns out that the legislators leading the assault actually want to have some text in their bill before debate begins and so have delayed the start of hearings until at least next week. Nice. (Gongwer Ohio)
  4. In the meantime, lots of folks are weighing in on various aspects of Common Core in Ohio. First up: this op-ed piece from Wooster. Says the author: “Embrace the initiative. It’s something we need if we’re going to compete globally. It’s the right thing to do for our children. And it’s about time.” Nice. (Wooster Weekly News)
  5. Editors in Toledo concur, opining that “Common Core should stay. Its politicized opposition should go.” (Toledo Blade)
  6. Away from the realm of opinion, the Enquirer reports that tons of veteran teachers are leaving the ranks in Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky. It is not long before Common Core gets the blame from some interviewees, but surely this is – in the main – just the predictable result of changes to Ohio’s pension system which we’ve been expecting to happen for a couple of years now. But I have to say that the most mystifying quote of all goes to the Lakota schools board member who said: “I personally feel that we are losing the greatest generation of educators that public education has ever had.” Fascinating insight that bears some explanation. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

So much for old news. Now let’s take a quick look at other stories we’ll be following:

  1. The knock-on effects of Ohio’s bad weather last winter continue. ODE reports that release of school report cards will be pushed into September due to weather-induced testing delays. (StateImpact Ohio)
  2. Today is the first day of school for many districts around the state. This inaugurates a number of changes to the academic life of students in most grades – more/different testing, altered graduation requirements, the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, and of course Ohio’s New Education Standards. Seems like the students are ready and raring to go. It’s the adults who are having trouble with change. (Columbus Dispatch)
  3. One of the central Ohio districts starting today is Reynoldsburg. And while I’m sure that the overwhelming mood there is positive on Day One, note that teachers are working without a contract. Negotiations between the district and its teachers over issues such as merit pay and class size reached no solution last week and a 10-day strike notice was issued by the union on Friday.  (StateImpact Ohio)
Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,