Additional Topics

  1. Kinda quiet in education news today. A decision has been made in Austintown schools on the fate of inter-district open enrollment, a hot-button issue as loyal Gadfly Bites subscribers will recall. The good news is that no students currently open enrolled in Austintown and who want to return will be barred from doing so. The bad news is that there will be no new students in grades 9 through 12 allowed to open enroll next year and that OE in the lower grades will be greatly restricted. There’s a lot of interesting nuggets in this concise story. Hope someone will do a proper bit of research on OE in the near future. (Youngstown Vindicator, 1/26/17)
  2. What’s the collective noun for a group of hard-bitten newspaper editors? A “column”, perhaps? (If that’s not it, it should. TM Gadfly Bites.) A column of PD editors today weighed in on the topic of Education Secretary-Designate Betsy DeVos and the unpaid fines assessed by Ohio on the organization she once led. Color me surprised. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/27/17)
  1. A commentary written by Elyria teacher and education activist Matt Jablonski – on the topic of Ohio’s putative “graduation rate apocalypse” – cites a 2014 blog by our own Aaron Churchill while opining. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/24/17)
  2. The current Academic Distress Commission in Lorain is sunsetting, with the new CEO-version getting underway in early March. Last week, Lorain school board members participated in a final assessment of the outgoing ADC (specifically, how well the district is following their approved academic recovery plan) with a panel of reviewers. Hint: not very well, as far as outcomes are concerned. Comments from all the interview subjects in this piece are tiresomely cagey and unnecessarily gloomy. Let us hope that all of this will be swept out when the “Lorain Plan” finally dawns. (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 1/23/17)
  3. Speculation is running rampant around the Statehouse on the topic of education funding in the upcoming biennial budget. To wit: this piece from Monday speculating on the likelihood of direct funding for charter schools. Some of the voices quoted on this topic are more credible than others. Just sayin’. (Gongwer Ohio, 1/23/17) Yesterday, Governor Kasich added some fuel to the
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  1. There was some further coverage of our HB 2 implementation report On the Right Track over the weekend. First up, Columbus-based public television station WOSU-TV included discussion of the report in its weekend public affairs roundup show. Video is here; discussion of the report starts at the 21:47 mark. (WOSU-TV, Columbus, 1/20/17) Editors in Akron opined favorably on the report and seemed “heartened” by its findings. What more could a think tank ask? (Akron Beacon Journal, 1/23/17)
  2. The Dayton Daily news this weekend featured a brief interview with new state board member Charlotte McGuire. (Dayton Daily News, 1/22/17)
  3. Here’s a nice piece on the students from Toledo Early College HS who recently competed in the Poetry Out Loud contest. Next year, let’s hope some boys participate. (Toledo Blade, 1/21/17)
  1. Coverage of Fordham’s HB 2 implementation report On the Right Track continued over the last couple of days. Check out journalistic coverage from the Associated Press (AP, via Toledo Blade, 1/18/17), Gongwer (Gongwer Ohio, 1/18/17), and statewide public media (Statehouse News Bureau, 1/18/17). Fordham’s report serves as an additional talking point in this editorial from the D opining on the need to keep up the pressure on poor-performing charter schools. (Columbus Dispatch, 1/19/17)
  2. The Youngstown branch of the NAACP this week gave its own grade card to district CEO Krish Mohip at the six-month mark of his tenure. You can read the details for yourself but it seems a pretty good showing if you ask me. More telling, I think, are the comments of NAACP officials when asked if they’ll be grading the district school board along the same criteria. (Youngstown Vindicator, 1/19/17) Also telling: Mohip’s response to said report card. (Youngstown Vindicator, 1/19/17)
  3. The Louisville school board this week started the process to fire 3 of 10 teachers suspended in the aftermath of the recent strike. They are accused of deleting computer files necessary for the running of their classes
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  1. Today, Fordham released its latest report – On the Right Track: Ohio’s charter reforms one year into implementation. First out of the gate with coverage of our HB 2 report is Jim Siegel at the D. Thanks! (Columbus Dispatch, 1/18/17)
  2. On the day when our HB 2 implementation is released, it is fitting that we get to note that our own Aaron Churchill and Chad Aldis were recently quoted in the Dispatch regarding the exceptionally low number of new charter schools opened in the state in 2016. What could have caused it, do you think? (Columbus Dispatch, 1/14/17)
  3. Some news outlets are just catching up to the recent Quality Counts report, in which Ohio had a mediocre showing. You can read Chad’s request for a nuanced look at the data in this brief piece from the Enquirer (Cincinnati Enquirer, 1/17/17) and in this longer piece from the DDN. (Dayton Daily News, 1/17/17)
  4. Two stories bearing the words “Common Core” in their headlines hit the PD late last week. First up, a look at how Ohio’s Learning Standards for ELA and math do and don’t resemble CCSS and how both may change further
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Much prior research indicates that youngsters from single-parent families face a greater risk of poor schooling outcomes compared to their peers from two-parent households. A recent study from the Institute for Family Studies at the University of Virginia adds to this evidence using data from Ohio.

Authors Nicholas Zill and W. Bradford Wilcox examine parent survey data from the National Survey of Children’s Health. This dataset contains information on 1,340 Ohio youngsters—a small but representative sample. The outcomes Zill and Wilcox examine are threefold: 1) whether the parent had been contacted at least once by their child’s school for behavioral or academic problems; 2) whether the child has had to repeat a grade; and 3) a parent’s perception of their child’s engagement in schoolwork.

The upshot: Buckeye children from married, two-parent households fare better on schooling outcomes, even after controlling for race/ethnicity, parental education, and income. Compared to youngsters from non-intact families, children with married parents were about half as likely to have been contacted by their school or to have repeated a grade. They were also more likely to be engaged in their schoolwork, though that result was not statistically significant.

An estimated 895,000 children...

  1. In case you didn't know, our own Chad Aldis is serving on the state supe’s workgroup on dropout prevention and recovery schools and was quoted following the group’s meeting earlier this week. As you might have predicted, he urged the study of data on dropout recovery students and schools to aid in decision making and any redesign/reform efforts. (Gongwer Ohio, 1/11/17)
  2. Miracle of miracles! The Dayton RTA drivers and mechanics strike lasted less time than the Louisville teachers strike – just four days in fact. Full service resumed this morning, which should be a great relief for all of the Dayton students who rely on RTA for school transportation. The city school board said “hundreds” of students were absent during the strike because they could not get to school. (Dayton Daily News, 1/13/17)
  3. Ohio this week was awarded a $2 million grant from JPMorgan Chase and the Council of Chief State School Officers (through the New Skills for Youth initiative), which is meant to strengthen career-focused education in the Buckeye State. Wonder if that’s why the House Education Committee was this week renamed to the Education and Career Readiness Committee? Just askin’. (Associated Press, 1/11/17)
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  1. Here is a nice look at a charter school in Canton, newly opened this school year, which focuses on students with special needs. For anyone who’s keeping count (besides me), that’s now two articles from shall we say “typical skeptics” reporting nice things about charters managed by Cambridge Education Group. (Canton Repository, 1/10/17) On the topic of students with special needs, the Warren County ESC has purchased a former church complex in Franklin, Ohio, in which to expand their Laura Farrell Learning Center. Looks like the aim of this program (not a school, despite the headline) is to expand the provision of services for students in need of extra help to flourish in traditional classroom settings. This is a good advance look at the program’s expansion plans. (Dayton Daily News, 1/11/17)
  2. Today is day three of a strike by Dayton RTA bus drivers and mechanics. We have told you repeatedly about the school district’s transportation woes, now the Gem City transit strike is affecting students who take RTA as an alternative. New talks are supposedly set for today. (Dayton Daily News, 1/10/17)
  3. Loyal Gadfly Bites subscribers will recall that Ohio’s state board of education in
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  1. Columbus City Schools is looking to expand selective admissions in a number of its lottery schools. This effort comes complete with school fairs to help district families find the best fit for their students among the CCS offerings. Whatever you may think of the former move, the latter is most definitely a welcome development. More please! (Columbus Dispatch, 1/9/17)
  2. Speaking of school choice, here’s another look at open enrollment from the perspective of a group of districts in Northern Ohio who seem to swap students back and forth fairly regularly. As is typical with these stories, the folks interviewed seem to have a clear grasp on the dollars and cents involved with open borders but very little idea as to why students come or go from their districts (aside from the dry observation that “people always like to have a choice”). Seems to me that one of these is more important to the proper functioning of the program than the other. Just sayin’. (Fremont News-Messenger, 1/6/17)
  3. Columbus will likely need permission from the state board of education for the above-mentioned proposal to expand selective admissions. The new session of the board begins with its first meeting
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  1. Our own Chad Aldis was quoted this week on Ohio’s placement in EdWeek’s latest Quality Counts survey of states. At a glance, the Buckeye State’s middling rank was lackluster, but Chad’s more in-depth analysis helps put the data in context. Check out that analysis in Gongwer (Gongwer Ohio, 1/4/17) and in the Dispatch (Columbus Dispatch, 1/5/17).
  2. Speaking of EdWeek, here’s a nicely-detailed piece on what various states are doing in terms of preparation for ESSA accountability plan implementation. Ohio’s recent “massive” effort at public input is noted with general positivity. (Education Week, 1/4/17)
  3. Youngstown City Schools has a new COO, having “poached” the superintendent of a nearby (i.e. - suburban, higher-performing) district for the job. It seems that Youngstown CEO Krish “Sheriff” Mohip has no problem finding high-level talent to fill the ranks of his deputies. Now, about that school board… (Youngstown Vindicator, 1/5/17)
  4. Finally, we have a curious little piece from the PD in which census data reveals the percentage of school-age children attending private vs. public schools in all of the cities in the state. The full chart is there, but the article focuses on Northeast Ohio. No mention is
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