Gadfly Bites - 8/20/14

  1. Day Three of hearings on the newest Common Core repeal bill in Ohio has already begun. Here are some reactions to and coverage of Day Two, still with only proponent testimony on offer so far. Editors in Columbus opine once again in favor of Ohio’s New Learning Standards, citing Fordham and the mighty Jessica Poiner’s awesome “Ten things Common Core opponents don’t want you to know” piece. (Columbus Dispatch) Gongwer took the time yesterday to talk to the Chair of the House Education Committee, who has been through these wild hearings already and has been left out of this repeat performance, along with the Senate Education Committee Chair. (Gongwer Ohio) Gongwer also seems skeptical of the allegations made in testimony that teachers are afraid they’ll be fired if they speak out against Common Core. (Gongwer Ohio) Fears that intelligent design might be greenlighted in schools if Ohio’s New Learning Standards in science are replaced by the current repeal effort form the basis of two reports from big dailies (Columbus Dispatch, Cleveland Plain Dealer) Finally, commentary from Cincinnati discusses the futility of continually moving the goalposts – a sports metaphor, I’m told – for teachers. (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  2. In other news, Reynoldsburg City Schools’ board met yesterday and approved a contract with a “strike management firm”, just in case it comes to that. The crowd at the meeting was large and peacefully visible in support of teachers. However, if you dig down into this article, it seems that previous negotiations were more fruitful than media coverage up to this point has reported. Hopefully it really is just a small handful of remaining questions at issue and this can be cleared up without any further brinksmanship. (Columbus Dispatch)
  3. Speaking of rhetorical sparring, there’s been more tussling among the Lorain school board, the Ohio Department of Education, and the district administration over the Academic Distress Commission overseeing the district at the moment. This time the sparring included pleas for deadline extensions, complaints that the commission requires too much additional work of board and administration, and a repeat of the threat to challenge the very foundation of distress commissions in law. Oy vey.  (Northern Ohio Morning Journal)
  4. Sticking with the theme of verbal fireworks, I will preface this story by saying only that things are a bit tense in the Kings school district near Cincinnati. As examples to entice you to read this piece, I offer the following: “tantamount to defamation”, “maliciously impugn”, “healing the divided Kings school community”, “not physically able to perform the job”, “the most ridiculous legal correspondence", "grow up and quit being a crybaby", “juvenile antic”, “he has declared war”, "mafia hit man", and "nobody's my boss". I am sad for the students there. (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  5. Back in the real world, Columbus City Schools is moving remarkably quickly to be able to sell off “surplus” school buildings, all of them closed just three months ago, and one of them my very first elementary school. It’s been a good run, Maybury Elementary. State law gives charter schools right of first refusal on the buildings. Anyone interested? (Columbus Dispatch)
Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,