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- The first school choice episode of the new version of the All Sides radio show happened earlier this week. It was supposed to be “all about vouchers”, but 15 minutes in, apparently everything they wanted to say about vouchers had been said. (See below if you don’t know what I mean.) Then we were off talking about charters and microschools and interdistrict open enrollment for the rest of the time. “Vouchers are free money”? Come on! (All Sides, WOSU-FM, 11/30/23) It was a treat to hear Lt. Gov. Jon Husted himself take to the airwaves to talk about school choice in this new version of All Sides; not sure I recall him doing so previously. So that was the one interesting wrinkle of the voucher discussion; the rest of it was business as usual for the show, which was repackaged into news and published here. (WOSU-FM, Columbus, 11/29/23)
- The Ohio school funding studies discussed in this piece are legal mandates included as part of the Fair School Funding Plan passed by the General Assembly in the budget bill back in 2021. So the mock surprise and snarky commentary adopted by the author at the fact that the data gurus at ODE/DEW have been knocking them out in a thorough and high-quality fashion is entirely unwarranted. And indeed a detailed discussion of the findings of the studies completed so far would have been a far better use of OCJ’s electronic column inches in my humble opinion. YM, as ever, MV. (Ohio Capital Journal, 12/1/23)
- Speaking of scrutiny (were we, really?), parts of the curriculum to be taught at the soon-to-open Northeast Ohio Classical Academy come under the Beacon Journal’s critical eye in this piece. (See what I did there?) As a charter school, as I know you all know, any parent who finds any “controversy” in the curriculum is free to—and will very likely—steer clear of NOCA for their child’s entire educational career. That particular point is not discussed here. Yay school choice! However, school chief David Baum doesn’t seem to think they’ll have any trouble filling up their classrooms when they open next fall. Which probably is the point of this piece. (Akron Beacon Journal, 12/1/23)
- It is a little odd to me to see this piece—about how this school year has gone following the closure of Parma High School at the end of last school year—published now. Surely the time to talk about it was back in August or September. But things are weird in Parma, as we have seen in recent weeks. What’s interesting to me here, in what amounts to long-term hindsight at this point, is all the work put in by school leaders to consolidate students from three high schools into two…work which was done probably a year ago now. Specifically, I am talking about the areas of concern the superintendent said he had to navigate. Was it students who were the big problem? Nope. “We were less worried about the students than any other group because of their resilience… In the end, what do the kids want? They want to find some friends, a club, an activity or a class they can be passionate about. We knew we had those opportunities at both high schools.” All good for the kiddos. Was it the parents? A little bit, but he was ready for them. “We did have some comments their child was struggling with the transition… The great piece was our principals followed up with them, met with the kids and made sure they felt connected to a mentor at the school or a team or club.” Nice. Nope. It was the staff that kept the boss up at night: “I was slightly more worried, because you’ve got some teachers who had the same course they had taught for years and they were going to teach something different… Both principals went out of their way to have icebreaker activities and ways for faculty to connect across departments with folks who might be coming from a new school.” Seriously, grown-up professionals? (Cleveland.com, 11/29/23)
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