- The endless hours of EdChoice testimony continued—including this past Saturday and a nearly 10-hour marathon on Presidents Day. (Columbus Dispatch, 2/17/20) It’s all getting a little tedious, to be honest. I mean, how many times can the same district have different representatives testify to the exact same thing? (Answer, seven so far, courtesy of tiny little Washington Local Schools.) Surely they’ll run out of mouthpieces eventually. But we’ll include one more item of coverage just because author Karen Kasler was obviously there for a good while on President’s Day. (WVXU-FM, Cincinnati, 2/17/20) Hearings are scheduled to continue at least through Thursday.
- While all this voucher grouching is mainly about money, the endless hours of testimony have veered into other areas of concern, such as the “fairness” of test-based accountability. Here’s a look at the mixed bag of testing, reporting, and analysis connected to voucher students in private schools in Ohio. Our own Chad Aldis is quoted here looking for more and better data for parents’ benefit. Author Patrick O’Donnell lays out a lot of the available data in some excellent charts and searchable tables. Some of the grouchers might want to take a look at this before they get up to testify about “unfairness”for the
fourth and fifth times. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/18/20)
- Senator Matt Huffman, who has sat through a fair share of testimony as part of the ongoing conference committee, did not seem interested in scrapping the performance-based version of EdChoice all together. But he did float a possible compromise idea: more city-specific vouchers last week, along the line of the Cleveland Scholarship Program. Interesting. (Columbus Dispatch, 2/14/20) But, as the treadmill of tedium has ground on, it sounds like Senate leadership in general is not yet convinced that many changes are necessary at all; let alone major scrappage. To be continued, as they say. (Gongwer Ohio, 2/18/20)
- We have discussed previously how some school districts are using EdChoice as
a stick with which to beat their local votersa strong incentive to vote for upcoming levies. These efforts are generally shaded in such a way as to not be entirely wrong, but lean heavily toward “overblown” in my book. But honestly that’s par for the course when it comes to levy asks, I think. Seems like there’s always some shading going on. To wit: the headline of this levy story notes that the putative new money will provide a “bridge” for Olentangy Local Schools students. Intriguing, right? Whatever could that mean? The lead of the story is about the district’s robust industrial-tech program, which will benefit greatly from approval of the new money on the ballot. That, we are told is the “bridge” that will be paid for through a Yes vote. Vocational students, we hear, will be “prepared whether they’re going straight into a trade or to study at MIT.” Awesome! Voc kids going to MIT! That’s well worth the money, isn’t it? Well… Shop teacher quickly added that his classes might instead be simply “what keeps [kids] in school” (translation: keeps them from dropping out of high school) or “provides their peer group” (translation: helps them have folks to sit with at lunch). So, in two paragraphs we’ve gone from voting for kids to go to MIT via woodshop to voting to make sure kids simply show up. How much is that worth? Luckily for Olentangy voters, there is even more truth in advertising later in the piece—and while it’s not very sexy, it’s probably the tagline that all levy campaigns should use—when the district supe says, “Everything we do is valuable to somebody.” Truth. (ThisWeek News, 2/17/20) Speaking of shade, I’m not sure how a professional development session for district leaders titled “Instructional Rounds for Continuous Improvement” turned into a voucher-bashing grouch-fest, but given that it was a closed room and that the “news story” was written by a district PR flak, I do have an idea. (Richland Source, 2/18/20)
- Here we have some excellent news for Dayton City Schools: their cleanest audit in living memory. (Dayton Daily News, 2/18/20) Now, about the quality of your educational offerings… (Dayton Daily News, 2/18/20)
- Lakota Local Schools hits the big time in this Forbes piece, going whole hog into Inquiry Based Learning. The headline says this “is” the future of education and the world (coming from the folks who sustained Pokémon Go hype for two years, we should definitely pay attention); the piece, however, says it “may be” the future. Someone’s gambling here, but it’s hard to say who exactly. (Psst! I’ll bet it’s going to be parents and kids.) Time will tell, no doubt. (Forbes, 2/18/20) I assume that this push to Inquiry Based Learning is the chief reason why Lakota is a charter member of the Ohio report card haters club. (Yep. That’s the reason.) Editors in Youngstown have some strong views in support of report cards. (Vindy.com, 2/19/20)
- By the time you read this, the folks at the Chronicle may have fixed the hilarious typo in the opening sentence of this story. But in its original version, two former principals in Lorain were said to be “resuming their rolls” after some time away from those posts. Their “rolls” were slowed by the previous district CEO for, well, “undisclosed” reasons. (I bet they know.) Both were demoted to classroom teachers but the Chronicle is
giddyvery happy to have more of the former CEO’s turnaround efforts undonehave them back. So is the current interim CEO, who calls them “successful building leaders”. Ummm…. You guys sure you want to stop the ADC/CEO model? Sounds like it’s all going your way for now. (Elyria Chronicle, 2/19/20) Meanwhile… (Elyria Chronicle, 2/19/20)
- We’ll end today’s clips down along the Ohio River. First up, an interesting look at Advanced Placement (West Virginia and Ohio side) versus College Credit Plus (Ohio side only). Both means for high schoolers to earn college credit have pluses and minuses, per the piece, but it sounds like the Mountaineers may be wishing they had both options themselves. (Times Leader, 2/17/20) Last time we checked in on Bridgeport Exempted Village Schools, it seemed like the brink of war based on the rhetoric being slung around. You remember the story, right? District’s football field flooded out for more than 2 years; coveted location for new field is a going concern whose owner didn’t want to sell; threat of eminent domain; likening of land taking to the inevitability of the draft. That story. Well, it seems that the land owner has some vocal supporters in town and they all showed up to the most recent school board meeting. However, before anyone could say a cross word, the board presented a list of options it will pursue before going the route of eminent domain. This includes seeing if they can afford to flood-proof the existing field. Whew! (The Times Leader, 2/19/20)
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