Gadfly Bites (the new Ohio Gadfly Daily News) - 7/31/14

  1. Some details are lacking here (like how performance is going to be measured and what raises – if any – teachers who are in the lower tiers of performance will get) but this story about the successful negotiation of a performance-based pay scheme for teachers in the Hudson school district could prove instructive for others. (Akron Beacon Journal)
  2. All opportunities to take and pass one of the third grade reading assessments have come and gone. The time has now officially arrived for “what next?”. South-Western City schools seems ready, willing, and able to help the 119 third graders not officially moving on to get to full fourth grade status. (ThisWeek News/Grove City Record)
  3. In the much-smaller Lorain City Schools, the number of children to be retained due to reading scores is smaller, as may be expected. But perhaps the Third Grade Reading Guarantee is a bigger deal there because the district is – chaffingly, if yesterday’s story is any indication – under the auspices of an Academic Distress Commission. And it is a member of that commission who talks in this piece about the way forward: “The question is, ‘If that didn’t work, what will?’. We don’t want to do what we already did.” Nicely said. (Northern Ohio Morning Journal)
  4. Newspaper people are a tenacious lot with a deep love for the traditions of the newsroom and selling papers. Actual printed papers. How else to explain this intriguing story from Northern Ohio about a superintendent search that apparently ended with the wrong person being given the job due to a “breakdown of communication” between board members. To get the whole story, we are told, we must buy yesterday’s print edition and read the “sidebar” for details on that breakdown. Those details aside, I have to ask: This is the vaunted public common school and its revered elected board? Seems…lacking somehow. And yes, they’re stuck with their new hire for a year. (Norwalk Reflector)
  5. That old “lack of communication” bugbear appears to be getting the blame in Elida too. In this case, it’s about a hiring process which resulted in what some board members think are a principal and assistant principal pair who are not experienced enough for the jobs. Good luck to you all. Seriously. (Lima News)
  6. Lest you think this sort of hiring drama happens only in the public common school, here’s the lowdown on the Athletic Director gig at Sandusky Central Catholic Schools. Longtime AD fired due to lack of budget (along with a number of teachers), cheaper alternative hired, local families donate, longtime AD rehired (no hard feelings, dude) for one year to “mentor” the new guy. No word on anyone ponying up to get the teachers back. (Sandusky Register)
  7. We end with some good news today - Liberty Local Schools has successfully navigated the state of fiscal emergency it found itself in three years ago and will be officially released from state financial oversight in August. Mazel Tov. The head of Ohio’s fiscal oversight office says that a “change in health care” and teamwork were the keys to the district stemming the tide of red ink, but Supe took a moment to issue the usual portent of doom amid the brightening skies: “There’s been no increase in revenues, and so much money is going to the charter schools — it’s always going to be a struggle.” (Youngstown Vindicator)
Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,