Ohio Gadfly Daily News 7-29-14

  1. A frankly brilliant summary of the saga of VLT Academy in Cincinnati – a charter school who had no sponsor until a judge forced ODE to take it on – comes from the pen of Patrick O’Donnell today. Fordham’s Kathryn Mullen Upton is quoted throughout, spelling out the vital issues on the line for sponsor oversight in Ohio resulting from whatever is the final outcome of the pending legal case. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  2. In a companion piece to the above, O’Donnell interviews Alex Medler of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers to talk about the “wild west” situation among charter school authorizing in Ohio. Excellent work and important insight. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  3. You might have heard there was a press conference late yesterday to announce the impending arrival of another bill to repeal Common Core in Ohio. If you’re brave, you can watch the whole “creepy” press conference here. If not, here is a sampling of coverage from around the state: Gongwer is here, Columbus Dispatch is here, Toledo Blade is here, and Cincinnati Enquirer is here.
  4. In case you despair after reading that collection, take heart that some small pieces of education reform are working in Ohio. The originally-maligned Straight-A Fund has apparently become a source of pride for some communities, both in the winning and in the innovations themselves. Round 2 appropriations cleared the controlling board yesterday, releasing $144.7 million in grants to districts, ESCs, charter schools, consortia, and one beloved early-college STEM school in the Columbus Metro area. Coverage of this was minimal and confined to smaller local papers. Alison Matas’ shout-out to the three winning projects in Stark County is typical of the coverage. (Canton Rep) The Dayton Daily News has a tiny overview here
  5. Here’s a great story about the Bearcat Beam Team – a group of STEM high school students from district and private schools in the Cincinnati area who created a cosmic ray analysis experiment and entered an international contest sponsored by CERN in Switzerland. They didn’t win but were one of only 16 finalists and the only one from the United States. An amazing achievement. Keep it up, gang! (Cincinnati Enquirer)
Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,