- The line of demarcation between the board and the teachers of Columbus City Schools was sharply drawn at yesterday’s school board meeting. To wit: the board insisted they were trying to boost all third graders to proficiency by setting a high bar (the highest in the state, it seems) for passage of the beginning-of-the-year MAP test. The number they chose was, they said, based on the “top tier” of student scores last year, all of whom ended up proficient on state tests. Union reps continued to insist the move would create a ton of paperwork for them and that time would be taken away from students who really need reading help. Oh, and that the board was trying to game the state report card by doing so. Probably should have led with that one, shouldn’t I? (Columbus Dispatch, 10/15/19)
- From the Will Wonder Never Cease department: Dover City Schools pulled its levy off the November ballot this week. Why? Because the triennial update of property values in the county showed an unexpected—and I’m sure very well received by homeowners—increase in property values. The district is estimated to receive an additional $858,160.80 annually, just by doing nothing. Nice. (The Times-Reporter, 10/14/19)
- Gadfly Bites subscribers with good memories (what was your name again?) will recall that Ohio’s school report cards were recently lambasted by a district supe as being far too complex because they came with a 36-page guide to help readers parse the data included. Well, guess how many pages are included in the guide to Ohio’s social and emotional learning standards? That’s right – 36. It is probably fair to say that school counselors and superintendents see the world a little differently most of the time, but this is very telling. The counselor at Dover High School (what up, Dover?!) suggests that the length of the guide is indicative of thorough, thoughtful, and well-researched SEL standards. And these standards are not even in state statute. “It’s not a law. It’s not a mandate,” she says. “They are recommendations of the appropriate social and emotional skills.” Kinda makes that report card explainer look downright skimpy if you ask me. (The Times-Reporter, 10/13/19)
- Here is the heartwarming story of an entrepreneurial young man from the Youngstown suburb of Canfield. Prabh Dhaliwal runs a nonprofit that works to assist fellow high schoolers in the area. His aim: to recruit volunteers who have recently taken and done well on the ACT and SAT to tutor other students to boost their scores and their attractiveness to colleges. Adults as tutors just don’t cut it for Dhaliwal, since they haven’t taken the tests in a while. “Our instructors – students – have put in the work, figured out the tests and now want to share their knowledge with others,” he says. In fact, the divergence of commentary from students and adults in this piece is pretty striking. Not to mention the mindset difference between suburb and city. Take a look and see what you think. (Youngstown Business Journal Daily, 10/16/19)
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