Gadfly Bites 8/8/18 – Contributing Factors, or The Whale

  1. Reporter Josh Sweigart is still digging deeply into the difficulties facing Dayton City Schools. Case in point: his look at six factors that contribute to the observed achievement gap between black and white students in the district. He takes a deeply historical approach to his analysis here. (Dayton Daily News, 8/7/18) The difference between that piece and this one – looking at the topic of student health and academic achievement based upon survey responses from schools and districts around Montgomery County – could not be more stark. Forget about cultural bias and food insecurity; these schools are apparently worried their students’ hearts could stop at any moment! (Dayton Daily News, 8/8/18)
     
  2. The newest academy concept school operated by Toledo City Schools made its debut this week. The Aerospace & Natural Science Academy of Toledo opened in renovated digs at the airport. Sounds generally STEM-my and interesting, but I do wonder whether this much sauce was really required to get kids into the Air Force. Two interesting points in this brief story: First, unlike previous academies we’ve reported on, it seems that all the support for this one is coming from the district itself – $4.5 million was reportedly needed to kit out the building alone. Heaven only knows about transportation going forward! Second, though, is even more intriguing (since we know that Toledo schools are flush with cash). It is noted here that students at the academy will come from “across Northwest Ohio”. Wonder how that bit of school choice sleight-of-hand is going to happen? (Toledo Blade, 8/6/18)
     
  3. Speaking of the more shadowy realms of school choice in Ohio, here’s a profile on what is known colloquially as an “08 school”, named for the section of state law that authorizes them to exist – aka a non-chartered, non-tax-supported, non-public school. Well, I say “profile” but it’s more of a deep-dive investigation piece more suited to such topics as Area 51 or chemtrails. Why all the interest? Because the Christians of Faith Academy appears to be a nascent football powerhouse which has sought out a daunting schedule of games against all the existing powerhouses. Which is something you don’t do in Ohio high school sports without your fair share of scrutiny. For what it’s worth, this non-sports fan says go Ironmen! I think. (ThisWeek News, 8/6/18)
     
  4. In more-traditional-school sports news, ice hockey will return to Stow-Munroe Falls High School this winter for the first time in more than 10 years. Sounds like a big and expensive endeavor about which everyone involved clearly cares very deeply. This non-sports fan could barely care less, sadly. This clip’s for you, Jessica. Go Bulldogs! (MyTownNEO, 8/8/18)
     
  5. In Lorain, the elected school board this week voted unanimously to join the legal fight against the state law that created CEO-style Academic Distress Commissions, under whose aegis Lorain City Schools currently operates. Due to, you know, persistent academic underperformance. (Elyria Chronicle, 8/6/18) Speaking of Lorain-based legal stuff, at least six former administrators in Lorain are pursuing legal action against the district after being let go from their positions in sweeping changes made by CEO David Hardy. Why? Because, as the elected school board president lays it out: “Those administrators have a right to at least a teaching position.” Among other reasons. (Elyria Chronicle, 8/8/18)
     
  6. We end the day with what is great news to many across Ohio: The legal saga of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow is likely done for good as the Ohio Supreme Court today ruled against the remnants of the former school’s appeal of a lower court ruling. I don’t have anything witty or insightful (or even “edgy”) to add here, but I’m sure others’ voices will fill that void. (Columbus Dispatch, 8/8/18) While the above clip feels like a showstopper, we can’t end here. Why? Because I want to give the redoubtable Doug Livingston the final word in today’s clips. Doug’s bête noir of more than two decades—his white hatted whale, if you will—has finally been vanquished from Ohio waters. White Hat Management, he writes this week, is out of the charter school business forever. “The for-profit operator founded in 2000 by Akron industrialist David Brennan has quietly sold off the last of its contracts to run charter schools. Brennan and his company formed a primordial force that ushered these publicly funded but privately run schools to Ohio some 21 years ago.” Sheer poetry, right? A fitting end. (Akron Beacon Journal, 8/7/18)
     

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