Additional Topics

One member of the Youngstown school board held a press conference on Wednesday to discuss her reasons for walking out of a board meeting earlier in the week. Seems like those reasons might be personal based on what is reported here, but she seems to be using them as a more general talking point. (Youngstown Vindicator, 10/27/16)

  1. Speaking of school boards, Parma is back in the news with a double whammy. The board finally approved a fiscal recovery plan to try and plug that multi-million dollar budget hole it still has (clerical errors notwithstanding). Immediately following, the board president resigned without explanation. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/27/16) If that all sounds a bit familiar, it is because this is the second Parma school board president to resign abruptly within a week. Meanwhile, the person appointed to fill the previous president’s seat on the board is under a bit of fire for some personal and business-related financial problems in his past. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/27/16) At this rate, there will be no one left to pursue the fiscal recovery plan. Just sayin’.
  2. A Republican state senator this week expressed interest in averting the conversion of Lorain
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  1. Education news is thin on the ground today, but we’ll try to get some edification out of what little there is. First up, a trio of school board stories. At last night’s Youngstown board meeting, there was a mini-rebellion over control of the agenda: “…otherwise continue to be stooges for Kasich and Benyo!” Not exactly a rousing rallying cry, but it kinda worked. Wonder if these guys will even get paid after walking out? (Youngstown Vindicator, 10/26/16) At last night’s board meeting in neighboring Austintown, another Benyo brother stepped into the fray. (Youngstown Vindicator, 10/26/16) And at the Louisville board meeting on Monday, growing labor strife led to the invocation of the dreaded “me too” clause. (Canton Repository, 10/25/16)
  2. Back in the real world, Lakewood City Schools was said to have “celebrated” its tough new, Common Core-aligned elementary grade curriculum this week. That can’t be right, can it? (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/25/16) Changes in are afoot in J.D Vance’s beloved/benighted (delete as appropriate) Middletown schools due to the state’s new high school graduation requirements. No word on whether these changes would be Mamaw-approved. (Dayton Daily News, 10/24/16)
  3. Finally today, some love for
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  1. Our own Jessica Poiner is cited in this high-level discussion of recently-released federal guidance on new Academic Enrichment Block Grants designed to fund a more varied curriculum, a more positive school environment and a more integrated use of technology in schools nationwide. Nice! (EdSource, 10/23/16)
  2. Closer to home, the media scrutiny of Ohio’s largest online school continues apace. Our own Chad Aldis is quoted on the necessity of fully owning one’s statistics – for good or ill. (Dispatch, 10/23/16)
  3. Last week, it was pointed out that Ohio’s new charter sponsor evaluation results showed the Ohio Department of Education was in the bottom tier of sponsor quality and therefore might have been in danger of losing all the schools they sponsor. Fear not – turns out the legislation creating the sponsor review process had a safe harbor provision for the department in regard to this. Whew! (Columbus Dispatch, 10/21/16) This is especially good news because all of the other low-rated sponsors’ schools are now scrambling to find new sponsors on the off-chance that their current ones (mostly school districts) are forced by the ratings to end their sponsorship work. This very scenario was on the
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  1. Common Core State Standards Ohio’s Learning Standards in English language arts and math will be further “Ohioized” after public input. (Gongwer Ohio, 10/20/16)
  2. Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon received the "Urban Educator of the Year" award earlier this week, bestowed by the Council of the Great City Schools. Congrats! (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/20/16)
  1. A recent Fordham blog post about relying on growth measures rather than proficiency rates to evaluate schools drew the attention of a writer at the University Herald News, who reviewed the post and threw in a few tidbits from our recent Ohio report card analysis too. Thanks! (University Herald News, 10/19/16)
  2. Fallout from Ohio’s first-ever charter sponsor evaluations continues. To wit: Patrick O’Donnell took a look at how the Ohio Department of Education’s rating as “ineffective” might impact the department’s sponsorship work going forward. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/18/16) In the Queen City, Hannah Sparling investigated the “poor” sponsor rating received by the Cincinnati City School district. Existing schools sponsored by the district will need to find new sponsors and the planned new Phalen Academy school may not happen at all. Pending appeal, of course. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 10/18/16)
  3. Here’s a nice piece looking at the various ESSA-related public input events now winding up in Ohio after several months of effort. The work of crafting a new accountability plan for the state from the tons of feedback now begins. (WVIZ-FM, Cleveland, 10/18/16)
  4. Lorain City Schools officials are to meet with the State Superintendent this week
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  1. The Dayton Daily News was talking about Ohio’s first-ever charter sponsor ratings late on Friday. Sponsors of Dayton-area charter schools did a bit better than the state average. Fordham’s own sponsor ranking (“effective”) is noted and our own Chad Aldis weighed in on the process and the outcome. (Dayton Daily News, 10/14/16) The Buckeye State is entering the “what’s next?” phase after these first-ever sponsor ratings. Chad is also quoted in this piece looking at the ratings process and the fallout from the results – specifically, what will happen too the schools whose sponsors were rated as “poor”? (Gongwer Ohio, 10/14/16)
  2. Fordham is namechecked in this editorial from the weekend, in which editors in Columbus opine in favor of a swift legislative fix to end the ongoing kerfuffle between Ohio’s largest online school and the state department of education. (Columbus Dispatch, 10/16/16)
  3. The reporter on the bus goes write write, write, write…. (Lancaster Eagle Gazette, 10/16/16)
  1. Ohio’s first ever charter school sponsor ratings have been released after much tumult. No sponsors achieved the highest rating, and most were clustered at or near the bottom. More details on what this all means comes from the usual journalistic suspects. Our own Chad Aldis is quoted in all of the following pieces. Check out coverage in the Dispatch (Columbus Dispatch, 10/13/16), Gongwer (Gongwer Ohio, 10/13/16), the Blade (Toledo Blade, 10/13/16), and the redoubtable PD (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/13/16).
  2. Speaking of charter schools, here’s a piece from the Dispatch touting something their sports writer found remarkable: a local professional soccer team helping an inner-city district school to get their prep soccer program back up and running. While this is a good thing and a nice story if you like sports, it is hardly an unusual occurrence. What IS unusual in this story is that a charter school has a competitive sports team of any kind. This rare and important fact (the school is Fordham-sponsored KIPP Columbus, by the way) goes completely unremarked other than in photo captions. Thank heaven for photo publication waivers! (Columbus Dispatch, 10/12/16)
  3. The Plain Dealer has already covered the
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The civility edition

On this week’s podcast, Mike Petrilli, Alyssa Schwenk, and David Griffith discuss how teachers ought to handle this year’s particularly polarizing and cringeworthy presidential election. During the research minute, Amber Northern explains how charter school boards affect school quality. 

Amber's Research Minute

Juliet Squire and Allison Crean Davis, "Charter School Boards in the Nation's Capital," Thomas B. Fordham Institute (September 2016).

  1. Our own Chad Aldis was among the interview subjects in this piece talking about Cincinnati City Schools’ levy request, which includes both K-12 and pre-K funding asks. Chad talks about pre-K quality and the dangers of “fadeout” in the run up to the vote. (WCPO-TV, Cincinnati, 10/11/16) In discussing the K-12 portion of the levy, journalist Hannah Sparling throws up a number of boogiemen to illustrate the reasons why Cincy is asking for the money. To wit: charter schools, state regulations (especially around technology), and vouchers (which she calls a “free ticket” for families to leave the district). I could almost hear the violin music rising as I read the last paragraph. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 10/11/16)
  2. Speaking of boogiemen, Progress Ohio yesterday hosted an event here in Columbus featuring an attorney representing the government of Turkey. The topic: Concept charter schools, which the attorney said are “fleecing” taxpayers in Ohio and elsewhere to the benefit of a man the Turkish government asserts is behind a recent coup attempt in that country. Heady stuff. Turkey (I’m almost sure it’s Turkey) is asking StateAuditor! Man to dig deep into Concept Schools (again) to find out for sure. (Gongwer Ohio,
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This report from the Council for a Strong America provides an alarming snapshot of how ill-prepared many of the nation’s young adults are to be productive members of society.

The Council is an 8,500-member coalition comprised of law enforcement leaders, retired admirals and generals, business executives, pastors, and coaches and athletes. Its inaugural “Citizen-Readiness Index” gives more than three quarters of states a C or below on the index, due to staggering numbers of young people who are 1) unprepared for the workforce, 2) involved in crime, or 3) unqualified for the military.

Ohio received an overall C grade, earning some of the top marks for workforce and crime indicators. More specifically, 12 percent of Ohio’s young people ages 16–24 were reported to be unprepared for the workforce, a relatively low percentage nationally that earned Ohio a B. Ohio also earned a B on crime, with eight arrests per one hundred people (among those ages 17–24)—one of the lowest numbers nationwide. On military readiness, however, Ohio earned a D. A whopping 72 percent of youth ages 17–24 were ineligible for military service. Eligibility to enter the military depends on a range of factors, including physical fitness and attainment of...