External Author Name: 
Tim Hoffine
  • Don’t feel like reading through 41 Race to the Top applications? (We don’t blame you. Ohio’s alone was 263 pages.) WaPo’s Kevin Huffman breaks down which states make serious cases and those who don’t have a chance (interestingly, he doesn’t take on his home state of Ohio). If you’re an RttT reviewer, we’d still suggest reading those apps carefully—buzzword-based proposals aren’t the changes schools need. 
  • One reason for the per-pupil spending gap between poor and affluent school districts is that wealthier schools tend to pay higher teacher salaries. This brief from the Center for Reinventing Public Education outlines four options administrators have to reduce this gap, without having to reassign teachers to poor schools. It also points out a sneaky Title I loophole that, if closed, could address teacher salary inequities.
  • Cleveland ranks No. 1 in worst winter weather cities list, beating out Columbus, which ranked 8th. Given Ohio leaders’ recent preoccupation with rating systems (Ohio’s RttT application focused on “5-1-4” – and no, that’s not a volleyball score or an area code; it means “from fifth to first in four years”) we think this winter ranking is suitable for another catchphrase. If our DC collegues weren’t buried under 14 feet of snow or out throwing snowballs, they’d probably protest these rankings. So might this guy.
  • Unintended consequences are sometimes good. Public school choice programs not only increase educational choice—they can also increase property values. According to this study from the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, high-income families in choice districts have the option of purchasing an out-of district (and cheaper) home in a lower-income area (which then raises property values in those areas), without feeling limited by the neighborhood’s school options.
  • Student wears Colts jersey to his Louisiana high school’s “Black-and-Gold Day,” intended to honor the New Orleans Saints (see TBFI’s own Super Bowl fun here—with bonus Race to the Choc Oreo-eating contest at the end). Administrators give him the option of taking off the jersey or leaving school. ACLU says “nuh uh” and school system attorneys are still trying to figure out if they violated the First Amendment. Here’s a little light reading material to start them off.
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