Gadfly Bites 9/14/18 – “Scores don’t lie”

  1. We start today with the last preview piece ahead of the release of state report card data, published late on Tuesday. Fordham is namechecked and Aaron is quoted in this story, specifically regarding the depth and accuracy of Ohio’s report cards. (Dayton Daily News, 9/12/18)
     
  2. The report card data was released yesterday morning and initial coverage followed quickly after. These first wave reports are mainly about the overall grade that schools and districts received—the first time in six years that a comprehensive letter grade has been given as the new report card protocols were phased in. The following clips all include quotes from Chad; his main point generally that this year is a “return to normalcy” in data and reporting after the extended phase-in period. You can find coverage in the Enquirer… (Cincinnati Enquirer, 9/13/18) …and in the PD… (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 9/13/18) …and in Gongwer. (Gongwer Ohio, 9/13/18)
     
  3. Aaron had been quoted in the initial Dispatch coverage yesterday—discussing the performance of central Ohio suburban districts—but the revised version omits him. Can’t imagine why. (Columbus Dispatch, 9/13/18)
     
  4. Here is some coverage of state report cards from which Fordham was absent right from the off. (I’m not bitter, you’re bitter.) As you’ll see from the above, everyone is, generally, interested in who’s at the top and who’s at the bottom in their regions. Mostly who’s at the bottom. In that spirit, the Dayton Daily News reports that Trotwood-Madison Schools, with its overall grade of “D”, avoided a declaration of academic distress and all that comes along with it. (Dayton Daily News, 9/13/18) Ditto for Warrensville Heights. But East Cleveland City Schools, with its overall grade of “F”, did not. Patrick O’Donnell takes a look at what this means going forward. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 9/14/18)
     
  5. And how about those districts already operating under the aegis of an Academic Distress Commission? Youngstown’s overall grade was an “F”. CEO Mohip and the chair of the ADC see some tiny bright spots in the larger data; Board President Kimble does not. She is the author of our title quote today, which may be a tiny bit ironic. (Youngstown Vindicator, 9/14/18) Lorain City Schools also received an overall grade of “F”, with very minimal potential “bright spots” beneath. (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 9/13/18) That fact is also covered in the Chronicle, with another ironic quote from another school board president. (Elyria Chronicle, 9/14/18)
     
  6. In other Lorain news, while the MJ wants mainly to talk in this piece about the quantity and intensity of fights happening at Lorain High School this year, they do include a couple other eye-opening items at the end. These include a new grading standard that separates academic performance, behavior, and effort into component grading for students (hmmm, where have I heard that before?) and an effort to end what sounds like some egregious teacher absenteeism. But by all means let’s talk about what’s important. (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 9/13/18)
     
  7. Cast your mind back to March of last year, when Governor Kasich proposed the idea that teachers and administrators should experience externships in local businesses. While his methods were rightly questioned (tying it to teacher license renewal was a nonstarter), the motivation was right on the money. Educators need to know what knowledge and skills businesses are looking for in their future workers in order to help guide course planning, instruction, and academic pathways for students. Fast forward to today, where a homegrown version of the EXACT SAME PLAN is being lauded for its ingenuity and vision as it gets underway in the greater Cincinnati area. It’s called “Chamber U Leadership Academy”, and its first class consists of 15 Lakota assistant principals, directors, and coordinators (as well as two high school students). To be fair, Kasich does get a teeny tiny bit of credit in this piece. I can only assume that the fact that it doesn’t happen in summer is probably what made the difference. (Middletown Journal-News, 9/13/18)
     
  8. This last piece of the week is a stretch to include in the Bites, but since it involves Fordham’s hometown, it seems worthy. In case you missed it, ProPublica and the PBS series Frontline teamed up for an in-depth look at Dayton as a case study of…heck, who knows what they were trying to study! Both the print piece and the TV episode are rife with irrelevant digressions (why castigate the governor of Maryland?), errors and elisions (the recitation of Dayton’s industrial history leaps from the Wright Brothers directly to the closure of the GM plant, voiding most of the 20th Century), and insufferable condescension (did you think chess was unknown west of the Hudson?). The good folks at the Dayton Daily News took understandable umbrage at what is being called locally a “hit piece” and they have a list of 10 specific pieces of Gem City awesomeness that the so-called journalists missed. Sassy and fun. (Dayton Daily News, 9/14/18)

Did you know you can have every edition of Gadfly Bites sent directly to your Inbox (in case your insatiable completism requires you to sign up for such a thing)? Subscribe by clicking here.

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