Additional Topics

  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)
  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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  1. 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)
  2. 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’.
  3. 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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