Additional Topics

  1. We start with an update on a few stories we’ve been following. First up, here is a more detailed look at the State Auditor’s (yeah, him again) report on the plusses and minuses of interdistrict open enrollment. (Columbus Dispatch, 11/28/16) The PD digs a little deeper into the recent court ruling in the ongoing kerfuffle between Ohio’s largest online school and the state department of education. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/29/16) Finally, the Louisville (Ohio) teachers union voted on Monday to end their strike. Classes in the district were cancelled yesterday to help ease their return. (Canton Repository, 11/28/16)  If all has gone as planned, Louisville’s teachers are back in their classrooms this morning. However, it does not seem from yesterday’s Canton Rep update like everything has been ironed out nor an agreement signed with the district just yet. We’ll keep an eye on all three of these stories. (Canton Repository, 11/29/16)
     
  2. A guest commentator in the Enquirer yesterday opined in favor of the state’s higher graduation standard. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/29/16)
     
  3. "The Ohio Department of Education finds that any proposal to incorporate 'similar students' [measure for school ratings] into Ohio's accountability system is
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  1. In case you missed it last week, Betsy DeVos was chosen as the next U.S. Education Secretary. Public media in Cleveland got hold of our own Mike Petrilli to discuss the choice and what it might mean for Ohio. (IdeaStream Public Media, Cleveland, 11/24/16)
     
  2. Also in the ICYMI category, the ongoing kerfuffle between the state’s largest online school and the state department of education last week took a courtroom-related turn in favor of the state just before Thanksgiving. (Columbus Dispatch, 11/23/16)
     
  3. The Vindy today issued a reminder that Lorain City Schools will soon be heading down the path of the new-style Academic Distress Commission, same as Youngstown City Schools. Everyone interviewed seems far more optimistic than I might have expected, especially the president of Lorain’s school board. Youngstown CEO Krish Mohip may actually be too rosy in describing what’s happening in his neck of the woods, but who am I to judge? (Youngstown Vindicator, 11/28/16)
     
  4. He’s still not back on the education beat, remember, but let’s not quibble about semantics in this time of giving thanks. Doug Livingston today tells us about a recent report from the State Auditor (!) showing (among other things)
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Editor's note: This article was first published on June 18, 2015. It was last updated on November 23, 2016, when President-elect Donald Trump named Betsy DeVos as his pick for education secretary. Read similar posts for her and Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

President-elect Donald Trump addressed many of today’s biggest education policy issues while he was campaigning. But he’s also been talking about a number of these topics for more than a decade. For example, in The America We Deserve, published in 2000, he wrote about citizenship education, teachers unions, and school safety. And ten years later, in Think Like a Champion, he touched on American history and comprehensive education.

On Wednesday, November 23, President-elect Trump picked Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education, a Michigan philanthropist and education activist who has chaired the state's Republican party and helped advance a number of education reforms, such as the expansion of private-school choice and the passage of Michigan’s charter school law.

In his own words, here are some of Donald Trump's thoughts on education, with recent quotes first:

1. School choice: “As president, I will establish the national goal of providing school choice to...

  1. A member of the state board of education member tendered his resignation this week because he and his family are moving out of state. He’s got a few things to get off his chest on the way out. You can read all about them in Gongwer (Gongwer, 11/21/16) and the Dispatch. (Columbus Dispatch, 11/22/16)
     
  2. The Parma school board is fully staffed again. Should be able to turn to that fiscal recovery plan soon. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/17/16)
     
  3. Some fireworks of the usual variety at the Youngstown school board meeting this week. (WKBN-TV, Youngstown, 11/22/16) But when the smoke cleared, at least one thing was different – district CEO Krish Mohip wasn’t invited into the board’s executive session and not all board members attended Mohip’s briefing afterward. Sounds like it may go on like that for the foreseeable future after a prolonged kerfuffle over agenda-setting. (Youngstown Vindicator, 11/23/16).
     
  4. Contract talks have been occurring between the Louisville school board and teachers union this week. Both sides say they’re close to an agreement to end the weeks-long strike, but one sticky issue remains: the inclusion of a no-retaliation clause. (Canton Repository, 11/22/16)

As another year ends, we want you to tell us what you think were the most important Ohio education stories in 2016 and what you predict will be the top story next year.

This is the easiest task you’ll be asked to do today. It’s only two questions and should only take a minute to complete. You can preview the questions below. When you’re ready to take the survey, click here or on the image below.

Just like the voting booth, whatever you submit will be confidential. Of course, if you want to write and tell us why, we may even feature your piece on our blog.  

Thanks for your participation.

Italy has an achievement gap—one that may sound familiar to Americans. PISA scores show a marked gap between Italian students and those of other OECD countries in both math and reading. Digging into the data, Italian education officials found their own in-country gap: Students in the wealthier north perform far better than students in the poorer south. As a result of all of this, starting in 2010, schools in Southern Italy were offered an opportunity to participate in an extended learning time program known as The Quality and Merit Project (abbreviated PQM in Italian). A new study published in the journal Economics of Education Review looks at PQM’s math and reading intervention, which consisted of additional teaching time after school in four of the poorest—and lowest-performing—regions in the country.

A couple of things to note: PQM intervention was focused not on improving PISA test scores, but on improving scores on the typical tests taken by students in lower secondary school (equivalent to grades six to eight in the U.S.). There is no enumeration of which/when/how many tests these students typically take and the researchers are not attempting to make a connection between the intervention and PISA test scores....

  1. Our own Chad Aldis is among the list of Ohio officials and experts (by process of elimination, Chad must be one of the latter) deploring the uncertain future for education in Ohio in the wake of the presidential election. Rhetorical question: does anyone think the future of education in Ohio would have been certain if the election had turned out differently? For a possible non-rhetorical answer, read on. (WCPO-TV, Cincinnati, 11/20/16)
     
  2. It seems that several Youngstown-area school district officials were unable to make it to last week’s rally of superintendents in Columbus. But they took time to chat with the Vindy about their concurrence with the notion that Ohio’s new graduation requirements are too demanding of students even before they’ve been phased in. (Youngstown Vindicator, 11/21/16) Editors on Akron weighed in this weekend on the supes’ concerns/demands, somewhat unhelpfully seeing both sides of the issue. (Akron Beacon Journal, 11/18/16)
     
  3. I know, I know. He’s NOT back. But Doug Livingston is still digging into charter school contract disputes in Northeast Ohio with his usual verve, even if he’s not back. (Akron Beacon Journal, 11/18/16)
     
  4. Back in the real world, here’s a nice piece from
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  1. Loyal Gadfly Bites subscribers (“Get a life!”) will recall that Dayton City Schools is facing a funding decrease due to declining enrollment. As a result, some staff reduction has already been undertaken and more has been mooted by the school board president. Newly-proposed reductions seemed to be getting too close to the classroom for some folks’ liking. (Dayton Daily News, 11/15/16) DDN stalwart Jeremy Kelley, however, has done some simple math – and called ODE – to determine that Dayton City Schools’ financial woes from declining enrollment are not quite as woeful as first reported. (Dayton Daily News, 11/16/16). Perhaps because of this revelation – or perhaps because of the weird and raucous board meeting (seriously, is there any other kid these days?) – further staff reductions have been postponed in Dayton, although much chaos and confusion continues. (Dayton Daily News, 11/17/16)
     
  2. Meanwhile, Cincinnati Schools supe Mary Ronan this week announced that she would retire at the end of this school year. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/17/16)
     
  3. Editors in Youngstown this week opined strongly in favor of a bill pending in the Ohio Senate that would, they say, provide a “realistic and promising cure for
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  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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