Governance & Finance

  1. When I was in school, a B- grade was nothing to rest upon. Better than a C, of course, but indicating that some misunderstanding of either the topic or the work required of me to properly show understanding had occurred. That’s how I approached this story on Ohio’s rating of B- in the recent Nation’s Report Card produced by Education Week. Chad is quoted herein with a similar take, getting down into the important details that made up the final overall grade. (Columbus Dispatch, 1/17/19)
  2. We now present you with a trio of hyperventilating, hyperbolic headlines and stories from across the state. Families fleeing! (Dayton Daily News, 1/17/19) State siphoning! (ABC6 News, Columbus, 1/18/19) Classless corporate citizen! Seriously, this is one of the best headlines ever covered in Bites. (Zanesville Times Recorder, 1/17/19)
  3. Of course amidst the above-mentioned hyperbole there are actual stories and maybe even an issue worth debating. Case in point is the issue of Ohio’s awful school funding formula which is beset by the archaic and Byzantine “caps and guarantees” system. It may be hard to tell in the doom-mongering ABC6 News story above, but the state legislature may actually
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  1. We start today with sad (ish) news. A 167 year old Catholic elementary school in Louisville, Ohio, is scheduled to close at the end of the year due to declining enrollment. I mean, seriously declining. Less than 60 kids in pre-K through fifth grade this year. No, they don’t appear to accept vouchers. Why do you ask? (Canton Repository, 1/14/19)
  2. Staying in the Canton area for the moment, the new interim supe of Canton City Schools is the current head of HR. Congrats. (Canton Repository, 1/14/19)
  3. Speaking of new leadership, here is a brief rundown on the new president and vice president of your state board of education, elected by members yesterday. (Columbus Dispatch, 1/15/19)
  4. Following last week’s Lorain City Schools town hall meeting—in which, depending on what news outlet you read, things happened—district CEO David Hardy was on the dais again this weekend at Lorain’s 19th annual Speak Up, Speak Out event. The city of Lorain, the police department, and the school district all got together to answer questions from the community. Whatever they wre interested in talking about. Fascinating concept for an event. You’d think that things might be functioning more
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  1. Fordham is namechecked in this Dispatch editorial on the topic of funding changes for online charter schools. (Columbus Dispatch, 1/13/19)
  2. The dastardly scourge of charter schools rears its head in this piece too, in which a couple of folks in suburban Springboro Schools are incensed (incensed, I say!) over the district’s choice of consultant to assist with their strategic planning process. Doesn’t matter that the dude was previously state supe in both Ohio and Oklahoma. Doesn’t matter that he’s already worked with a bunch of districts in Ohio and elsewhere on just this sort of thing. It only matter that he once was part of a charter school network. We must now duck the witch. Duck him, I say! (Dayton Daily News, 1/12/19)
  3. Not enough school-choice-based hysteria for you? Try this then: The headline of this DDN piece says that the state’s voucher program is “to nearly double”. What it really means is that the students in a lot more schools across the state are eligible for vouchers due to consistently low academic performance in those school buildings. That is all that really qualifies as news here. The number of vouchers available = old news.
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In Ohio and across the nation, policymakers are contemplating sizeable increases to public outlays for early childhood programs, including expanded preschool, childcare, and other support services. Polls indicate that early childhood programs enjoy broad support, and proponents of early childhood programs often cite as evidence for expansion the positive, long-run effects of the boutique Perry Preschool program (it served just fifty-eight low-income children during the 1960s). But will greater expenditures in early childhood programs generate big returns? Or could they backfire?

A new study by university researchers Michael Baker, Jonathan Gruber, and Kevin Milligan offers a cautionary tale. They examine the short- and longer-run outcomes of children participating in North America’s largest universal childcare program. Starting in fall 1997, Quebec began offering large public subsidies, open to all parents, for center- or home-based childcare programs serving youngsters up to four years old. As of 2011–12, the program cost $2 billion per year and subsidized roughly 80 percent of a family’s child care costs. Quebec has been the only province to adopt such an expansive childcare policy. For example, from the mid-1990s to 2008, Quebec children in center-based childcare jumped from 10 to 60 percent; during...

  1. Here are two variations of how Lorain City Schools CEO’s first Town Hall meeting of 2019 went. They are somewhat different in tone and content. The Journal’s coverage is here. (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 1/11/19) The Chronicle’s coverage is here. (Elyria Chronicle, 1/11/19) Did the Journal reporter just leave early – say, at the scheduled conclusion of the event – or is there more to it than that?
  2. Not much else to cover today, so we end the week back on the editorial page of the Steubenville Herald-Star where editors opine on changes to topic of federal school discipline policy. (Steubenville Herald-Star, 1/11/19)

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Federal education policy in 2019

On this week’s podcast, Andrew Ujifusa, an assistant editor for Education Week, and one-half of the Politics K-12 team, joins Mike Petrilli and David Griffith to explain why we wonks shouldn’t completely ignore Washington in the coming year. On the Research Minute, Amber Northern counts down the five most influential education studies of 2018.

Amber’s Research Minute

Amber Northern highlights the best research studies of 2018.

  1. There is a new player looking to influence education outcomes in Toledo City Schools and he’s got a lot of green stuff to blaze his trail, he says. Pete Kadens is a graduate of a suburban high school near Toledo who is, apparently, a filthy rich retired entrepreneur currently living in Chicago and looking at a prescription for positive change. To me, if I may put it bluntly, his five-point plan features only two points that directly impact K-12 classrooms, and one of those is peripheral at best. Kadens is providing seed money to a nascent non-profit called HOPE Toledo that looks to grow more capital from other donors and seems to have 420 percent support from the new Toledo mayor. (Toledo Blade, 1/8/19)
  2. Seniors in Lakota Local Schools were excluded from the “universal” distribution of laptops to high schoolers, which occurred on Monday, due to the fact that they only have one semester left of school. Proof positive that none of this was very well thought out if I do say so myself. Everyone else seems pretty excited to have reached the 20th Century. (Middletown Journal-News, 1/8/19)
  3. The headline of this piece looking at
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  1. While I like the sentiment of course, this brief editorial from the Steubenville newspaper in opposition to softer graduation requirements is obviously too little too late. In case the name sounds familiar, it’s because Steubenville schools have been in the news a bit the last year or so for having quite good report cards despite being a small, impoverished town hit hard by the downturn in manufacturing in our state. Perhaps the folks making decisions on graduation requirements should be listening to them. (Steubenville Herald-Star, 1/7/19)
  2. New year, new communications staff at Dayton City Schools. But is the message really new? Honestly, I’m not sure this piece manages to explain what the message even is. (Dayton Daily News, 1/7/19)

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A belated happy new year to all my loyal Gadfly Bites subscribers! At last, we’re catching up to all of the exciting education news clips so far in 2019. As with our 2018 wrap up, these clips are mainly presented in chronological order rather than organized to tell a story. I promise to get back to the snarky storytelling you all show up for starting Monday!

  1. Cincinnati Family Magazine started the new year talking about—and talking up—private schools. What they’re like, how to evaluate them, how to ask about financial aid, etc. (Why yes, vouchers are discussed in this piece. Why do you ask?) What’s most interesting to me is the opening tagline, which explains why they are talking about this subject. It reads: “You want the BEST education possible for your child, but can you swing it? The answer is ‘Yes,’ so it’s time to roll up your sleeves.” Personally, I think there’s a ton to unpack in this seemingly-simple declaration, but maybe it’s just marketing hype for writer/article/magazine. (Cincinnati Family Magazine, 1/1/19)
  2. Folks in Woodridge Local Schools in northeast Ohio are starting out the year discussing their champagne wishes and caviar dreams. Hope they’re not
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Like the roller-coasters at Cedar Point, the past year had its highs and lows. Amazon didn’t pick Columbus for HQ2 (bummer), and GM says it’s shutting down a plant in Northeast Ohio (double bummer). LeBron left, again, this time for sunny California. But up in Cleveland, Baker Mayfield has the Browns winning; the Columbus Crew is staying put; and Cincinnati made the New York Times’ list of “places to go.” And hey, even the state has money socked away in its rainy day fund.

It was also a topsy-turvy year for education in the Buckeye State. The year started with a thud—the sound of the collapse of ECOT, once Ohio’s largest e-school. But later in July, trumpets heralded the opening of a sparkling new school in Akron supported by King James himself. Meanwhile, at the statehouse, various education policies waned and waxed. For instance, Ohio lawmakers dumped the state’s clunky teacher evaluation system known as OTES, while putting competency-based funding for e-schools squarely on the radar. The year also saw debates over proposals to consolidate state education and workforce agencies, to suspend Ohio’s academic distress commissions, and to...