1. The right to school choice was front and center in the arguments presented this week to the Sylvania City Schools Board of Education in hopes of stopping a proposed change in transportation for students attending private schools. The meeting resulted in the tabling of all the resolutions regarding those bus routes in Sylvania. More discussion will be had. Several details in the piece (and in the online comments accompanying the article) suggest that all of the district’s transportation plans might need to be included in the discussion. But that’s just my read of it. (Toledo Blade, 2/25/19)
  2. Speaking of changes of heart, it seems that the CEO of Lorain City Schools has had such a change, announcing yesterday that he is “suspending” his previously-announced plan to have all teachers at Lorain High School reapply for their jobs next year. Hard to tell, even from the CEO’s email to staff, if that change of plan was due to the “moving” discussion at the all-staff confab held last week or due to “consultation with our State Superintendent, Paolo DeMaria.” Which means, of course, that it was a masterfully-crafted email. But if I were a betting man… (Elyria Chronicle, 2/26/19) Meanwhile, the elected board of Lorain City Schools this week passed “a declaration of a state of emergency”. (Elyria Chronicle, 6/27/19) And also, the usual suspects executed a collective jerk of their knees upon the announcement by the state supe of his pick for the new chair of the Lorain Academic Distress Commission. Welcome to the jungle, sir. (Elyria Chronicle, 2/27/19)
  3. And speaking of community meetings, something very interesting (to me, anyway) came about from a recent such meeting in Canton. The district is looking for a new supe and is gathering community feedback as to what they want to see in a new leader as well as a list of the problems and opportunities that new leader will likely face. It is the “golden opportunities” that I found interesting. Here is the list as compiled by the community: The district’s diversity and massive size, the number of college-level courses that students can take to receive college credit, the district’s new year-round school, the choice provided by the district’s interest-based middle school academies, how the district helps prepare students for a career as well as for college, and the number of committed community partners that help the district. Sounds like a pretty healthy list, right? Well…. If break if down, we get several things that are out of the district’s control (size, diversity); the College Credit Plus program that is controlled by anyone but the district; and a list of community partners which, while probably substantial, I assume are providing services that the district itself doesn’t. Most importantly, the only things on the “golden opportunity” list that the district does have control over are all choice-based and well beyond the typical district status quo (interest-based middle schools, a year-round school, and career education). We’ll see if all this translates into finding a superintendent willing to grab these opportunities in choice and run with them. But if I were a betting man… (Canton Repository, 2/26/19)
  4. What happens when you have a data nerd with a day job as an education policy researcher who is a parent in your school district? He notices phenomena (such as teachers being absent at what seems to be a high frequency) and collects data on it. Then he starts asking questions based on his findings. After that, things get uncomfortable really quickly. (WSYX-TV, Columbus, 2/26/19)
  5. We knew it couldn’t last. I lauded the most recent News-Sun piece on EdChoice vouchers as being calm, fair, and mostly lacking in the hyperbolic language which is typically endemic to any media discussion on the topic. This follow-up piece, which – to be fair – is better in those regards than a lot of others, falls a long way short of the previous coverage as it discusses possible changes to the state’s voucher program being proposed by a local legislator. Ohhhh… I think I may have discovered why this piece is different than the previous one. (Springfield News-Sun, 2/27/19)
  6. Finally today, I don’t know why this private school is investing in a campus renovation that will ultimately make it resemble a car dealership, but all the school reps quoted seem very excited about it. (ThisWeek News, 2/26/19)

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Policy Priority:

Jeff Murray is a lifelong resident of central Ohio. He previously worked at School Choice Ohio and the Greater Columbus Arts Council. He has two degrees from the Ohio State University. He lives in the Clintonville neighborhood with his wife and twin daughters. He is proud every day to support the Fordham mission to help make excellent education options more numerous and more readily available for families and…

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