While we will be talking about Ohio’s EdChoice program today and all the folks working mightily to make changes to it, we’ll take a break from the official Voucher Grouchers saga since things are reasonably quiet on that front for the moment. I guarantee that will change soon enough. Instead, let’s talk mostly about the other topic that usually permeates the Bites: money.
- Like the buzzards returning to Hinckley, the “poverty simulation” game has returned to an Ohio school district once again. You know the one: it allows teachers to pretend to learn what it’s like when life hands you the lemons of poverty. (‘Cause that’s how it happens, right?) (Canton Repository, 2/8/20
- Here is a puffy profile piece on Wickliffe City Schools’ superintendent. It is about his career trajectory, his success in passing a levy, and his plans for building buildings. While we learn in the opening paragraphs what he wants for his graduates (“Employed, Enrolled, Enlisted, or an Entrepreneur”), we have zero indication that he has achieved any of it. In five minutes of outside research, however, I found that last year’s overall district report card was a C. There are two district schools (an elementary school and the high school) whose chronic underperformance makes their students eligible for an EdChoice voucher…if those were actually happening right now. While the high school’s most recent graduation rate was a B (whose wasn’t?), its Prepared for Success grade was an F. And there are no better districts nearby which offer open enrollment either. But, hey. It’s probably not the district’s fault, right? I mean the median home value in Wickliffe is $128,662 and median household income, $51,168 per year. That probably explains it all. (News-Herald, 2/9/20)
- The headline for this piece is “Ohio school report cards: Broken system, or easy scapegoat?” Frickin’ finally! After months of letting the former sentiment go unremarked as gospel truth in piece after piece, one media outlet at last decided to actually investigate the question. Supporters of Ohio’s report card system interviewed here make their case. (Dayton Daily News, 2/10/20)
- Because all of this is connected, let’s compare and contrast the pieces above with the House Speaker’s views on same: poverty, report cards, student achievement, and accountability. See any patterns? (Gongwer Ohio, 2/7/20)
OG groucherCommentator Tom Suddes opined over the weekend that: a) the voucher groucher saga is merely a battle between the Ohio House and Senate. Charming; b) that House Republicans (and Democrats) were winning said battle; and c) that the reason for this was because poverty poverty poverty poverty. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/7/20) This piece came out a couple days after Suddes posted his opinion, so he probably didn’t factor this in. It does appear to be all about money, but not in the way he indicates. I’ll just leave it right here for you. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 2/9/20)
- The Superintendent of Cleveland Catholic Schools had an op ed in the PD this weekend too, opining in support of vouchers and all of school choice and talking about social justice. But who cares what he says? His money doesn’t talk. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/9/20)
- Officials in Cleveland Heights-University Heights City Schools are in the midst of a levy campaign and are blaming fiscal woes on vouchers. They continue to insist that their district would be flush with money if EdChoice was to go away. That must be the confusion that Patrick references here. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/8/20)
- Finally today, another thing that money seems to be capable of buying is release from
moral obligationa declaration of academic distress. The current voucher “fix”, you will recall, includes a provision that would dissolve all three current Academic Distress Commissions. The state rep whose district covers East Cleveland City Schools—the “smoothest” of the Academic Distress Commission districts—is very happy with his work. (Patch.com, 2/7/20) Two legislators whose district covers Lorain City Schools—where the apparatus that lifted the district from an F to a D is currently being dismantled—are also happy with their work. (Morning Journal, 2/7/20) Meanwhile, school board members from Youngstown—apparently unaware of the current goings on with regard to ADCs—came to Columbus last week to meet with Governor DeWine about a different piece of legislation which would also eliminate their ADC. They had data showing how much worse the district is over the last three years of CEO control. Yes, they did. (Vindy.com, 2/9/20)
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