Ohio Gadfly Daily News 6-14-14

  1. Awesome – but brief – interview with Fordham Board member David Ponitz. Focused on higher-ed issues, but interesting nonetheless.  (Dayton Daily News)
  2. Tiny little Lodi News excerpts Fordham’s Mike Petrilli among many brief quotes in its editorial on the Vergara decision. (Lodi News-Sentinel)
  3. Definitely some ruffled feathers in Toledo regarding the split of their Head Start grant. Oddly enough for a Blade story, that doesn’t seem to include the fact that the group splitting the funds with Toledo Public Schools is a for-profit company…from Pennsylvania. It still remains to be seen what the split means for TPS’ plans to take over the YMCA building in Downtown Toledo. (Toledo Blade)
  4. Speaking of for-profit companies in education in Ohio, three smaller districts in Northeast Ohio are banding together to create an alternative program to serve students in their districts at risk of dropping out, reaching as far down as middle school to help children not making it in the traditional school setting. Admirable, yes? But this program will be run by a for-profit company from Illinois charging approximately $4,900 per student per district. One assumes this will be state money paying for these seats, so how is this different from a charter school? Answer, it’s not. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  5. I’m going to go ahead and blame Katy Perry for the existence of this next story. The Dispatch took a look at private donations to school districts in Franklin County: amounts, sources, what districts buy with them. Some of them are just what you’d think (New Albany got $1.5M from two large donors and is building a giant building with it), while others are more piecemeal. What’s the Perry connection? She’s shilling for DonorsChoose.org on her current US tour, emphasizing individual classroom needs around the country. In the Dispatch story, it is noted by Columbus’ interim treasurer: “We are fortunate to have staff members that actively solicit donations, and parents and business partners that step up and contribute to our schools.” That has added up to more than $1M per year for each of the past five years in Columbus. Fascinating story and interesting look at the city vs. the ‘burbs around here. (Columbus Dispatch)
  6. Even the gambling-crazy bus drivers of Columbus will be of better help to students than these two fellows in Akron when it comes to third-grade reading. This will be a good game trying to determine which of these problems will ultimately derail this misbegotten effort: the bankrupt recalled city councilman involved, the public records access issue, the “give us your old outdated textbooks” angle (with added Common Core dimension), the failed charter school startup angle, the intra-party political dust-up, the opportunistic legislator involved, the Jesus angle, the potential copyright violation of the program’s name, or perhaps the keen lack of interest already evinced? This is the worst story I've ever read and the only good that I can take from it is that the parents of Akron seem to have already determined that there’s only snake oil in the bottle. Whew! (Akron Beacon Journal)
  7. Meanwhile, in Canton, the summer reading bootcamp is in full swing and already students are making progress. Again, whew! (Canton Repository)
  8. Both superintendents involved in discussions of a possible district merger earlier this year are stepping down. It seems that a levy or two will be prioritized over further merger discussions. (Willoughby News Herald)
  9. Police blotters are always fun. Police were called to Mansfield HS last week because – like Yogi and BooBoo with a pickanick basket – a group of young men could not resist stealing a pile of grade cards left on a window sill. (Mansfield News Journal)
Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,