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 holding their breath waiting for the money to fund them. (MyTownNEO, 1/2/19)
  3. We mentioned in clips at the end of the year that Lakota Local Schools was super excited about starting a new “Cyber Academy” to train students in the art of cybersecurity. So excited in fact that it was going to debut as soon as students were back in school after the holiday break—the middle of the school year. And it was all being paid for by a local cybersecurity company desperate for new workers. Somewhat belatedly, and I’m sure not at all coincidentally, the district will be “handing out laptops” to all of its high school students after break as well. It is termed “a sweeping high-tech experiment in non-traditional learning”. Tail wagging the dog much, Lakotans? Oh, and those laptops are also called “gadgets”. Presumably because “thingamajig” was too difficult to spell. (Middletown Journal-News, 1/2/19) And of course you can’t have all this high tech gubbins without training the teachers on it, right? Lakota seems to think you can, if I’m reading this piece correctly, but it also seems that they are scrambling to redress the balance as quickly as possible. But that may just be my reading of it. (Middletown Journal-News, 1/3/18)
  4. On his way out the door, Governor Kasich appointed four new members of the state board of education. Coverage from Gongwer notes that all four are “business people” and gives a few details, but also takes a moment to note that these will not be the only new faces on the board when it reconvenes in a couple of weeks. (Gongwer Ohio, 1/3/19) Coverage from the Plain Dealer answers the burning question of whether Governor-Elect DeWine was consulted over these picks. Spoiler alert: He was. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/3/19)

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Jeff Murray comes to the Thomas B. Fordham Institute from a five-year stint at School Choice Ohio. At SCO, Jeff was involved with getting the word out to parents around the state about school voucher availability - directing postcard campaigns, call centers, and advertising campaigns over the last few years. Tens of thousands of parents across Ohio received the news…

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