Gadfly Bites 8/6/18 – No barrier

Geez. When you take LeBron out of the equation don’t read the sports page, there’s a lot less education news to talk about these days. What is out there is “eclectic”.

  1. Dedicated Gadfly Bites subscribers (my quality quintet!) may recall that despite the massive efforts of CEO Krish Mohip, a recent ODE review of Youngstown City Schools’ progress on its strategic plan showed that the one place reforms have had trouble reaching was the classroom. Specifically, high-quality standards-aligned curriculum and instruction were clearly lacking in almost every building. Mohip and the Academic Distress Commission that employs him are working to fix this glaring problem through professional development, accurate assessment, and data analytics. One assumes they are in a hurry to get this nailed down since school will be starting again soon. (Youngstown Vindicator, 8/4/18)
     
  2. Speaking of the new school year, here’s a look at Kindergarten readiness among youngsters in Summit County. It is, apparently, not very high and school districts across the county are trying to change that dynamic. It’s been a long time since I had children in Kindergarten, but I am pretty sure the bar is higher than being able to rhyme words and tie your shoes. But those are the only two tasks listed in this piece. So if that’s all there is and the readiness numbers are still that low, something is decidedly amiss. (Akron Beacon Journal, 8/3/18)
     
  3. Staying in Summit County, folks in Nordonia Hills Schools have another problem facing them as the school year gets closer: the gym floor in Northfield Elementary School is shot and must be replaced. When it was first laid in 2001, it was supposed to last for 10 years. In 2011, Nordonia Hills was in such dire financial straits that it faced fiscal oversight from the state and so a new floor was off the table. Seven years later, the pigeons are home to roost, but luckily it sounds like they have the cash to get the job done (including the “correct vapor barrier”, which seems to have been missing from the start). But this one project will likely wipe out the building’s entire maintenance budget for the year. Does that mean the school will have no further repair funds? Nope. They’ll just whip up some more money! “We will have to increase our budget before we do the final appropriations in September to help us make it through the year.” Sounds like the financial sitch in Nordonia Hills has improved tremendously in the last seven years. (MyTownNEO, 8/5/18)

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