Gadfly Bites 9/20/17 -- “They know it. They know they are treated differently.”

  1. The folks at the Mansfield News Journal were curious as to how the district’s Malabar Middle School earned As on their progress grades (across the board, nice!) while still getting D and F grades in areas of achievement. Our own Aaron Churchill is anonymously quoted on the topic, but not in answering the question. The answer, it seems, is good old fashioned high expectations, strong curriculum, and hard work from teachers and students. Mystery solved. (Mansfield News Journal, 9/18/17)
  2. In case you missed it, the state board of education met this week with a packed agenda. Most of which I don’t care about. However, Fordham’s Chad Aldis is quoted in regard to one item of interest: the removal of a requirement for charter schools to report “adverse media coverage” to the Ohio Department of Education. Probably a smart move since ODE personnel are likely big news readers anyway. They probably appreciate a good crossword puzzle as well. (Gongwer Ohio, 9/18/17) If indeed you had missed the fact that the board was meeting this week, it is because the first ever live broadcast of said meeting – initiated at the previous board meeting – did not occur for some unknown reason. Patrick O’Donnell is attempting to get to the bottom of this mystery. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 9/19/17) There was a bit of commentary at the board meeting in regard to the state report cards, most of it ridiculous. For my money, the opinion of editors in Canton with regard to the need for and value of report cards is better. (Canton Repository, 9/17/17)
  3. Back in the real world, Hannah Sparling wants to know why expulsion numbers are so high at one Cincinnati City Schools high school. After this, she's probably not the only one. There’s a lot of meat in this piece – much of it rancid. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 9/20/17)
  4. But before you lose hope entirely, check out this piece on the work of Dayton Public Schools’ Office of Males of Color. It includes a summit held earlier this week in conjunction with the city’s own advocates to improve the lives of and prospects for males of color in the Gem City. It is not surprising to note that academic achievement was high on everyone’s priority list. Former DPS board member and current city commissioner Jeffrey Mims noted – in light of DPS’ poor showing on state report card metrics released last week – that it’s crucial for educators to find ways to engage students in challenging academic material via personal connections. “The urgency intensified when we look at the scores of our young people,” he said. “The scores measure a lot of things, but not the totality of who you are. … And if you use your God-given talents and skills, you can achieve that (required) level and surpass it.” Sounds just right to me, as long as all the adults (those of color and of no color) are all on the same page. (Dayton Daily News, 9/20/17)
Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,