Gadfly Bites - 8/14/14

  1. ODE has finally come to the end of its active data review in districts across the state with the release of revised report cards for all districts involved in data scrubbing and all school buildings affected. The complex effort to truthfully report Performance Index scores, numerous academic indicators met, AYP, and individual building grades is now complete and Gongwer does a good job of describing the work involved. The main upshot noted is that students in three additional schools across the state are now voucher-eligible due to the revised report cards. The new EdChoice application deadline, recently extended for just this reason, is September 5. (Gongwer Ohio). The Big D also covers this story, from a Columbus perspective. (Columbus Dispatch)
  2. As noted in the Gongwer piece, some schools’ scores actually improved by recalculation of proper data. I’m not sure it’s something to crow about, but then I don’t run a school district. (Toledo Blade)
  3. We noted yesterday that school started in many districts across Ohio, with a number of policy changes taking hold. One of those is the hold-back provision of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, a topic we’ve been covering since the end of the 2013-14 school year. At that time, officials in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District were predicting somewhere around 1000 third graders would be at risk of being held back and summer reading bootcamp was ready to go for them. As of the start of school yesterday, the final tally was 324 students held back in full and 90 advancing on a limited basis. This all sounds like good news to me, but the proof of that is still down the road a ways. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  4. TGRG is front and center as school starts in suburban Strongsville as well. The superintendent outlined his goals for the year recently and – among comments on the new teacher evaluation framework in Ohio and the Common Core – he says that reading is of paramount importance, especially for younger students: “Everyone really is a reading teacher.” Yup. (Strongsville Post)
  5. One school that apparently will not be opening for the 2014-15 school year is VLT Academy in the Cincinnati area. You may remember that the 10-year-old charter school had struggled to find a sponsor, even ending up in court against the Ohio Department of Education for that reason. In the end, the lack of pre-opening funding (for approximately 600 enrolled students whose families will have to scramble to find an alternative) spelled doom for VLT. Not sure about the status of the legal case, but it probably is kaput also. (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  6. This is probably jumping the gun, but it can’t be all that long before the first AP exams of the new school year, can it? Ohio is among 40 states receiving federal funds to help low income students pay for AP exams. Ohio will get just under $350,000 this year. Nice. (StateImpact Ohio)
  7. Legislation passed this summer appears to have cleared the way for continued merger discussions in the Ledgemont and Cardinal school districts. At issue was a huge debt to the state incurred by Ledgemont, which can now legally be forgiven if certain criteria are met. Open enrollment is the stated cause of a precipitous drop in Ledgemont’s student population, leading to the call for a merger. (Willoughby News-Herald)
Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,