Ohio Gadfly Daily News 6-25-14

  1. A tale of two tests. Or three tests. Or four. Reporters in Zanesville checked in with local districts to get their take on whether the alternative assessments available to determine if third grade students can read well enough to move on to fourth grade are comparable or simply a lowering of the bar. Nice piece. (Zanesville Time Recorder)
  2. Even if the bar was lowered, nearly 12 percent of third graders in Ohio still have not scored high enough on any assessment to be promoted. In Columbus City Schools, they are focusing on numbers – specific individual children who have not yet passed – and teachers and administrators are hitting the streets this summer to meet families in their homes and make sure they know of the considerable resources available to them through the district. Despite the sports metaphor (“blitz” is, I think, related to American football and can often result in some violent tackling), this seems like a fantastic innovation for the district and is to be applauded mightily. (Columbus Dispatch)
  3. As noted earlier this week, Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s immense facilities plan is at an important crossroads. The PD’s editorial board weighs in today on the state of the plan as it stands now and what they’d ideally like to see instead. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  4. The Toledo school board voted yesterday to place a “new money” levy on the November ballot - 5.8 mils above the current millage. Voters in that city have not approved new money for the district since 2001 and most everyone on the record in this piece thinks it’s an uphill battle this time around as well. The district is touting the expansion of transportation (cut to the bone some years back) as a key use for the proposed new millage. Any expansion would have to include transportation for charter school (and voucher) students and while I’m pleased to hear district officials saying things like “It‘s not just for our district… It’s for the entire city of Toledo,” I don’t think that recent events in that city or indeed in Columbus bode well for the Kumbaya pitch. I hope I’m wrong about that. (Toledo Blade)
  5. From the Good News Department, here are few stories about Straight A Innovation fund winning projects from around the state. Marion Online,  Dayton Daily News, Springfield News Sun, Willoughby News Herald, Akron Beacon Journal.
  6. As your humble news clip compiler noted at the breaking of this story, it looks like no criminal charges are likely to be filed upon the gambling-crazed bus drivers in Columbus. There might be some repercussions from the district, but I doubt anyone in the Kingdom of the Bus Drivers will sweat that too much. (Columbus Dispatch)
  7. However, there’s bound to be some sweating going on among the 60 Columbus City Schools staffers who have been notified that ODE is out for their licenses in relation to the data scrubbing investigation. (Columbus Dispatch)
  8. And, to play fair, here’s some egregious charter school malfeasance to read about. With federal bribery charges on the line, there’s no question that these former school leaders are sweating. (Dayton Daily News)
Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,