Gadfly Bites 8/17/18 – Low levels

  1. In case you didn’t know it, discussion of Ohio’s graduation requirements is still front-burner stuff for some folks. Here is coverage of this week’s meeting of the State Superintendent's Advisory Committee on same, in which it looks like there is—still, and inexplicably—appetite for getting rid of test-based graduation requirements completely and permanently. Oh wait. Perhaps there is an explanation in here: “The juniors last year took [tests] lightly because they knew they were going to have these options and now they're freaking out [because] the options are not there. Schools are panicking, too.” Those are the words of one Cleveland Metropolitan School District principal, who addressed the committee without, I imagine, a trace of irony. Do tell, your honor. Do tell. (Gongwer Ohio, 8/16/18) I don’t usually clip bald-faced political grandstanding, but there is an instructive quote in this piece looking at a Lorain event which sought to use the demise of ECOT as a political battering ram ahead of November’s elections. “Whenever ECOT wouldn’t perform well instead of the state saying, ‘How are you going to hold yourself accountable?’ They just threw out the performance reports instead.” It has resonance with the CMSD quote, if you ask me. Do you see it too? (Elyria Chronicle, 8/17/18) If that doesn’t have enough resonance for you, how about this one? “I think so many times we underestimate what students can do. Our hearts tell us to be a little more protective – I’m not sure they can reach that level or handle that kind of work. But time and time again as I go across the state talking to teachers, I find that their socks are blown off because kids are always are able to exceed even the highest expectations we set.” Who is the wise-sounding speaker of these words? Our State Superintendent. Which brings us right back to our top story today. If you believe that, sir, then why not walk the walk with regard to graduation requirements? (Dayton Daily News, 8/17/18)
     
  2. Back to the topic of the ECOT-shaped boogeyman for a moment, here is a brief note that the penultimate court challenge which the former school has been mounting will not be heard by the Ohio Supreme Court. Only one more court case to go, it seems. (Columbus Dispatch, 8/15/18) Maybe with their ECOT-free docket, the Ohio Supremes might find time to deal with something sports-related. To wit: the first lawsuit over the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s “competitive balance” rules is currently percolating in Hamilton County district court. My dedicated Gadfly Bites subscribers (one of us! one of us!) will recall that “competitive balance” is an effort to deal with the realities of non-district students (charter school students, private schools students with and without vouchers, homeschoolers, and online school students) who were made eligible to play on district teams several years ago. The plaintiffs are a group of Catholic schools who have a concern as to fairness. I think. It’s about sports, so I skimmed. (WCPO-TV, Cincinnati, 8/15/18) And speaking of sports, the outgoing president of the Ohio High School Athletic Association opined recently that sportsmanship is on the decline in high school sports as he sees it. Here is a somewhat less-than-rosy (if you ask me) concurrence on that opinion from several longtime Akron and Canton area athletic officials. (The Suburbanite, 8/16/18).
     
  3. If the foregoing clips are an indication, there is apparently quite a bit wrong in education in Ohio. Maybe none of it is fixable, even. Perhaps that explains why the Toledo Blade’s editorial board this week excoriated the failing public education system…in Michigan. (Toledo Blade, 8/15/18)
     

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