1. In case you missed it last week, the USDOE touted a tax credit program proposal that would, if enacted, boost private school options for students in any state willing and able to participate. Our own Chad Aldis weighed in on the proposal; he is the only one quoted here not immediately condemning it. (Gongwer Ohio, 3/8/19)
  2. Ohio’s War on Knowing Stuff formally opens its 2019 ground offensive this week when the state board of education debates the future of graduation requirements. Again. The weak, non-test pathways which are the softening-up barrage of the war will of course going be recommended heartily, Jeremy Kelley tells us. But there is a twist. These things are so bad that several layers of top-heavy, compliance-based, make-work, bureaucratic BS which our fearless leaders have apparently added to them will actually make them better. (Dayton Daily News, 3/11/19)
  3. What do editors in Lima opine is “a dark cloud hovering over an unsuspecting city”? The possibility of the school district falling into academic distress. Not the years of crappy report cards that lead to such a designation, mind you, just the Academic Distress Commission paradigm itself. You know: one of the other fronts in the War on Knowing Stuff. (Lima News, 3/9/19) Folks in Lorain (well, just one folk) are looking forward to a new bill coming this week which would supposedly stop the academic distress paradigm in its tracks. (Fox 8 News, Cleveland, 3/10/19) I came out of this piece from the Chronicle none the wiser about the relationship among poverty, funding, and student achievement, despite the fact that that was the point of the piece and of the presentation it was covering. The only thing that was clear to me was that the speaker believes that ADCs mean charter schools and the reporter went along with that assertion. (Elyria Chronicle, 3/9/19)
  4. Meanwhile, on the editorial page of the Dispatch, a tiny glimmer of hope… (Columbus Dispatch, 3/9/19) 
  5. In other news, Liberty Local School District reported a sizeable boost in enrollment from last school year to this. You will recall that Liberty caused a stir toward the end of last school year by trying to ban resident students from leaving the district via open enrollment (first only white student departures were banned, then all student departures were banned after an outcry adverse legal opinion). This was all due to concern for the district’s racial balance. Liberty’s supe says this year’s boost is due “in part” to local students returning from open enrollment in other districts. But the data provided here seems to indicate status quo: Tons of kids from outside Liberty open enrolling in the district and not a shred of detail on where they are coming from or their demographic breakdown. (Youngstown Vindicator, 3/11/19)

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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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