Gadfly Bites 8/3/18 - Wrinkles

  1. The good news: everyone in Dayton now seems to be on the same page regarding the timeline for a possible academic distress designation in the district. The bad news: that timeline is a year shorter than many folks believed. It seems to me that “the path forward” is a lot less clear than it might have been a week ago. But what do I know? I’m probably just being “edgy” for the sake of it. (Dayton Daily News, 8/1/18)
  2. Meanwhile, in nearby Kettering, an investigation of family residency revealed that 137 students were attending Kettering schools inappropriately in 2016-17, and 85 did so in 2017-18. Kettering, like many high-flying inner-ring suburban districts, does not allow open enrollment, although outside folks are allowed to pay tuition to attend if they wish. The tuition rate is not specified in this story. I’m not sure what happened to those previous fraudsters, but new verification procedures are in place for the upcoming school year to stop it happening again. (Dayton Daily News, 8/2/18)
  3. There are two infuriating things in this otherwise-innocent piece on changes to Medina City Schools’ class rosters for the upcoming year. Both are caused by lazy reliance on “everybody hates English and math” tropes. Seriously, guys. THIS is how you want to portray the start of the school year? (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 8/1/18)
  4. Finally this week, a couple more “wrinkles” have come up in the uniform/dress-code discussion in Lorain City Schools. As we have noted here previously, the Cleveland Browns organization has donated 1,500 “Titan Pride Packages” that include sets of (hopefully) dress-code appropriate clothing. The ultimate goal is to provide the packages for free to all Lorain students, but that is a couple of years off. For this year, though, those packages were initially going to be prioritized—for free—for students with past attendance issues. It was apparently seen as a fun incentive. However, someone must have cottoned that the unique polo shirts in the packages would clearly mark out kids who have attendance problems and would serve to highlight whatever personal or family issues may have led to less-than-perfect attendance. Therefore, changes in distribution were required. While some of the packages will still end up being given directly to families of students with a history of chronic absenteeism, many more of them will be raffled off in a fun online contest. (Elyria Chronicle, 8/1/18)

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