Ohio Gadfly Daily News 5-30-14

  1. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Lorain City Schools was undergoing its first review since coming under the auspices of an academic distress commission. That review is now nearly complete and in the fine tradition of good news/bad news, the district gets the good news first.  Among those pieces of good news: cooperating with the distress commission and “working to build the culture of high expectations” as determined by fully aligning its ELA and math curricula with the Common Core. It’ll be another couple of weeks before the bad news is made public. I’ll stay on the lookout. (Northern Ohio Morning Journal)
  2. The dean of Ohio’s distress commission work is Paul Marshall, who has been doing the fiscal distress side of the work around the state for many years. I look forward to his eventual book on the work because it will be fascinating. Case in point: Mansfield City Schools, where the current oversight commission had to suspend work on a fiscal plan earlier this week due to tussles with staff over custodians. On an unrelated note, I declare the “Keep Calm and…” t-shirt trend to have jumped the shark as of publication of this piece. (Mansfield News Journal)
  3. Streetsboro’s Board of Education recently approved an option for students with disabilities to "opt-out" of algebra II and one advanced science course beyond biology and to trigger an “individual career plan” process that seems geared to direct students away from a “traditional” college prep track and into 2-year college or industry credential program. Although the supe and board prez say that the “traditional” route will not be closed to students on such a plan, it is clear that remediation will be a certainty if they opt out in HS and then head for a 4-year college after graduation. I THINK there’s an attempt to offer something positive to students and families here, but I have to say that it’s not explained very well at all. Any student with a disability or a specific level of disability? Can they rescind the opt-out anywhere along the way? What do they mean by “commit” to a 2-year college/industry certificate? I have more questions than answers at this point. (Gateway News-Streetsboro)
Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,