Additional Topics

  1. Our own Chad Aldis was busy yesterday. Here he is reminding us of the subtle irony of district-sponsored online charter schools looking for an exemption to the rule that other online schools – like Ohio’s largest such school – must currently follow regarding attendance audit findings and potential return of funds to the state. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 12/6/16) Here he is lamenting the impending closure of the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools after 10 years of work on behalf of charters statewide. (Gongwer Ohio, 12/6/16) And here is saying lovely things about RaShaun Holliman, who started Monday as the new head of the Office of Community Schools at the Ohio Department of Education. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 12/6/16)
  2. Speaking of ODE – the department informed Parma City Schools late last week that the district’s proposed fiscal recovery plan had been accepted. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 12/5/16)
  3. And speaking of accepted plans – the Youngstown Academic Distress Commission this week approved a revised version of CEO Krish Mohip’s turnaround plan. Additions from the original submission include updating the student code of conduct, educating students on appropriate school behavior, providing high-quality professional development to all staff
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  1. What are the chances that the ongoing kerfuffle between Ohio’s largest online school and the state department of education regarding their recent attendance audit will be solved via legislation in the current lame duck session of the Ohio General Assembly? The D says they are slim. (Columbus Dispatch, 12/5/16)
  2. An informal study shows that more than 70 percent of Ohio school district faced shrinking student populations in the last ten years. Here’s an interesting look at how some Lorain County districts coped, facilities-wise. (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 12/3/16) And here’s a follow up looking at two suburban districts in Lorain County, both of which experienced strong increases in student enrollment over the last few years. (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 12/4/16)
  3. I had never heard the story of how the founder of Columbus Africentric School ended up here in our fair city before. It’s pretty interesting. And he’s still here 50 years later and looking very much forward to the opening of the brand new and super-spiffy Africentric School building scheduled for early January. (Columbus Dispatch, 12/5/16)
  4. While not strictly education-focused, this interview with Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance is, I think, very
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  1. Editors in Youngstown yesterday opined in praise of the Youngstown Plan and expressed hope for Lorain as it embarks on its own version of the plan. (Youngstown Vindicator, 12/1/16) It’s not technically part of the Youngstown Plan, but I’m sure the district will be happy to reap any goodwill and academic benefits that accrue from its recent expansion to all-day, full-week preschool. (Youngstown Vindicator, 12/2/16)
  2. It appears that Austintown Schools is poised to make changes to its open enrollment policy soon, due mainly to financial considerations. (Youngstown Vindicator, 12/1/16)
  3. Speaking of district finances, it appears that the proposed layoffs of classroom paraprofessionals in Dayton Schools are on hold until at least the summer. (Dayton Daily News, 12/1/16)
  4. Recall that teachers in Louisville Local Schools went back to work on Wednesday after a 16-day strike. They did so without approving a new contract and they are still working without one today. A vote is scheduled next week on a fact-finder’s report – intended as the basis for a new agreement – which has already been rejected by the rank-and-file twice. The Rep’s piece from yesterday does not seem filled with confidence for an
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  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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