Ohio Gadfly Daily

  1. Patrick O’Donnell wrote up a summary of the statewide ESSA listening tour. His take: educators and parents who contributed to the discussions say there has been too much change in education recently. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/15/16)
     
  2. Perhaps in concert with the above, perhaps coincidentally, a brace of district superintendents (a clutch? a raft? an inspiration? a horde?) held a rally in Columbus yesterday to call for an end to one of those changes: specifically, they want to block Ohio’s new graduation requirements before they have even been fully implemented. Coverage was fairly gratifying for them, but varied a bit in content. The Enquirer spoke only to the supes and to state Sen. Peggy Lehner on the issue. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/15/16) The Dispatch focused primarily on the supes and Sen. Lehner, but got a few state board of education members (also meeting in Columbus that day, how convenient) on the record as well. (Columbus Dispatch, 11/15/16) Ever-thorough, the Plain Dealer started with a summary of the graduation requirement situation as presented by the Ohio Department of Education during the state board meeting. Nice. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/15/16) This was followed by a relatively drama-free discussion
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  1. Fordham Ohio’s study of the EdChoice Scholarship program was referenced in this national story about vouchers in VP-elect Pence’s home state of Indiana and how that experience will possibly influence the national Trump/Pence education agenda. (Washington Post, 11/11/16)
     
  2. The Cleveland Metropolitan School District, immediately upon passage of their renewal levy on Tuesday, literally restarted the countdown clock on their website – counting down to the next time they will need to come to voters to renew in four years’ time. Is this self-confidence or torture? (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/9/16)
     
  3. Superintendents from across the state are arguing that Ohio’s new, tougher high school graduation requirements must be relaxed in order to avert an “apocalypse” in their districts’ graduation rates. That is why the state board of education – meeting this week – will likely take up the issue. It is also why said supes are planning to descend upon the Statehouse tomorrow morning en masse. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/13/16)
     
  4. Back in the real world, a quirky STEM course at Canal Winchester Middle School teaches students how to build working ukuleles. Back in the day, when I attended middle school in CW’s cross-county rival district,
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KIPP Columbus achieves extraordinary outcomes for its students, predominantly students in poverty and students of color—a fact worth celebrating by itself. In 2015-16 in Ohio’s Urban Eight cities, KIPP Columbus was in the top five percent of all schools (district and charter) on student growth and among the very best (top 3 percent) in Columbus. But it’s not just KIPP’s academic data that are impressive. KIPP Columbus, led by Hannah Powell and a visionary board, has a rare knack for forging powerful partnerships at every turn—ones that strengthen KIPP students, their families, and the entire community near its campus. This year, KIPP launched an early learning center in partnership with the YMCA of Central Ohio to serve infants, toddlers, and pre-school aged youngsters. In a neighborhood lacking high-quality childcare and early learning opportunities, it’s an investment not just for KIPP students, but for the community at large. KIPP Columbus also partners with the Boys and Girls Club of Columbus, Battelle Memorial Institute, and other community organizations.

This profile is about KIPP graduate Steve Antwi-Boasiako, an immigrant and first-generation college student now attending Vanderbilt University, whose entire family has been uplifted by the school. His story illustrates the depth...

  1. Loyal Gadfly Bites subscribers will be aware that your humble compiler knows little about politics and cares even less. So, without any ado, here are three election-related stories from around Ohio. Columbus City Schools’ levy passed. (Columbus Dispatch, 11/8/16) Cincinnati City Schools’ levy also passed. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/9/16) And Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s levy passed too. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/8/16) Fin.
     
  2. Lakota Local Schools once had among the highest pay-to-play sports fees in the state. District officials say that dramatic reductions in those fees this school year has resulted in the first full bowling team roster in district history...and no other discernable increase in participation. (Dayton Daily News, 11/5/16)
     
  3. On Monday, both the teachers union and the school board in Louisville outlined how the ongoing teachers strike could be ended. The two lists are, it seems, at odds. (Canton Repository, 11/7/16) The only winner so far in this strike appears to be the Repository – source for the only news on the strike. They are starting a series of fact-checking reports, trying to bring some truth to the rumor mill they say is in full operation in the district. (Canton Repository, 11/7/16)
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“If schools continue to embrace the potential benefits that accompany surveillance technology,” assert the authors of a new report issued by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), “state policymakers must be prepared to confront, and potentially regulate, the privacy consequences of that surveillance.” And thus they define the fulcrum on which this seesaw of a report rests.

Authors J. William Tucker and Amelia Vance do not exaggerate the breadth of education technology that can be used for “surveillance,” either by design or incidentally, citing numerous examples that range from the commonplace to ideas that Big Brother would love. We are all familiar with cameras monitoring public areas in school buildings, but as police use of body cameras increases, school resource officers will likely be equipped with them as well. The authors note that a district in Iowa even issued body cameras to school administrators. (Our own Mike Petrilli wondered a few years about putting cameras in every classroom.)

Cameras have been commonplace inside and outside of school buses for years, but now student swipe cards and GPS bus tracking mean that comings and goings can be pinpointed with increasing accuracy. Web content filters...

  1. Can you stand one more piece about the success – or lack thereof – of the Cleveland Plan prior to the election? Me too! And here it is, on the topic of how progress toward graduation is tracked for every high school student in CMSD. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/5/16)
     
  2. Hopes for that “quick” strike in Louisville seem to be evaporating. From what I understand, teachers are on the picket lines again today – Day 4. Over the weekend, a community event was held in a local park to “reunite” students and their striking teachers. Tears were abundant, I gather. Two things of note (to me at least): the organizer of the event is, I would say, in something of a tough spot during this strike, given her various family connections to the district; and what’s with the other nearby school districts having formed a new sports league former member without Louisville? Sounds stone cold to me, but I may be focusing on the wrong things here. (Canton Repository, 11/6/16)

Back in 2011, the Obama administration released its plan for improving teacher education. It included a proposal to revise Title II regulations under the Higher Education Act to focus on outcomes-based measures for teacher preparation programs rather than simply reporting on program inputs. It wasn’t a smooth process. Serious pushback and a stalemate on a federal “rulemaking” panel followed. Draft regulations were finally released in 2014, but were immediately met with criticism. Many advocates wondered if the regulations would ever be finalized.

On October 12, the wondering ceased—the U.S. Department of Education at last released its final teacher preparation regulations. While the final rules number hundreds of pages, the provisions garnering the most attention are those outlining what states must annually report for all teacher preparation programs—including traditional, alternative routes, and distance programs. Indicators are limited to novice teachers[1] and include reporting placement and retention rates of graduates during the first three years of their teaching careers, feedback via surveys on effectiveness from both graduates and employers, and student learning outcomes. These indicators (and others) must be included on mandatory institutional and state teacher preparation program report cards that...

Hopes are high for a new kind of school in Indianapolis. Purdue Polytechnic High School will open in the 2017-18 school year, admitting its first class of 150 ninth graders on the near Eastside. It is a STEM-focused charter school authorized by Purdue University that will utilize a project-based multidisciplinary curriculum intended to give graduates “deep knowledge, applied skills, and experiences in the workplace.”

The location of the school in the Englewood neighborhood is a deliberate step for Purdue, which is aiming to develop a direct feeder for low-income students and students of color into Purdue Polytechnic Institute in West Lafayette. To that end, the high school will teach to mastery—each student moving on to the next level in a subject once they have demonstrated mastery at the current level. If that requires remediation of work, so be it. The school model is designed to keep students engaged, challenge them to reach their maximum potential, and meet high expectations. More importantly, a high school diploma will be “considered a milestone rather than an end goal,” according to the school’s website. College is the expected next step for all Purdue Polytechnic High School graduates. In fact, the high school’s curriculum...

  1. Jeremy Kelly at the DDN reports that Ohio’s state board of ed may change Ohio’s new graduation rules even before they’ve taken effect. (Dayton Daily News, 11/1/16) Cathy Candisky and Shannon Gilchrist at The D think so too, going a step farther than Jeremy and calling it a “likely” outcome. In related news: congratulations Nola on your imminent graduation. (Columbus Dispatch, 11/4/16)
     
  2. The Youngstown Academic Distress Commission met yesterday to discuss the proposed improvement plan submitted by district CEO Krish Mohip. A group of teachers present at the meeting expressed concern that the proposed plan did not address “discipline, proper student and teacher representation, safety and overall respect in the schools”. (Youngstown Vindicator, 11/4/16) Members sent the plan back to Mohip for revision. He has 15 days. Additional coverage from local TV makes it clear that discipline and a culture of respect are among the specifics that the commission want to see addressed in the revised plan. Check out WKBN (WKBN-TV, Youngstown, 11/4/16) and WFMJ for details. (WFMJ-TV, Youngstown, 11/4/16)
     
  3. A decade-old afterschool program in the Old West End of Toledo shut down abruptly this week due to lack of funds. A
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  1. Fordham’s annual report card analysis is cited in this piece as the bestower of the “honor” that Leetonia Schools received this year as a “high-quality” school district. Thanks guys, but we’re not the source of the data. Appreciate the media hit though. (Salem News, 10/30/16)
     
  2. While the ongoing kerfuffle between Ohio’s largest online school and the state department of education over its recent attendance audit seems to be on the back burner simmering quietly in some darkened judicial or legislative chamber, the good folks at The D are keeping the topic alive and in the light by taking a look at absenteeism and truancy at ECOT. (Columbus Dispatch, 10/30/16)
     
  3. We’re in the home stretch for the vote on the renewal of the levy funding the Cleveland Plan. Wrapping up his look at the many aspects voters should consider before choosing, Patrick O’Donnell discusses the effort to replace or close failing schools in CMSD (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/1/16); the mixed-bag of results from various non-academic interventions in the district’s high-poverty “investment schools” (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/1/16); and the district-wide goals such as increasing graduation rates, partnering with high-quality charter schools, and the like. (Cleveland
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