1. In case you missed it, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos visited Butler County on Friday, to tour the career tech campus, laud its successes in preparing students for the world of work, and to celebrate “signing day” for a number of its students. That is, students who already have a career-ladder job even before completing high school. Nice! (The Journal-News, 4/14/19)
  2. Kent State University last week unveiled something called the Rising Scholars Program to be rolled out in the area around its Geauga County branch. The program’s parameters and goals are a bit confusing to me, but here’s what I can glean from this report: It is intended to boost the number of rural, low-income students who pursue higher education and graduate from college (or maybe to help those same kids get a job or go to the military instead). It’s a slow start for now – working with just two students from each of two local school districts (no wait, it’s four) starting at the end of their sixth grade year. Those students will be mentored by KSU students but what those mentors will provide is unclear. It is also unclear what criteria will be used to identify and select students for the program (rural is a given, I guess, and low income) aside from them being first-generation college students (if they go, that is). If the program goes well – and who knows how that will be determined either – more students will be added each year. Those who make it successfully through the whole six year stretch (see above), maintain a 2.5 GPA, and volunteer to help younger students in the program (oh, and agree to stay in the area after college/job/military/whatever), will get some money to go to KSU. I think. Seems like a lot of sauce to me but those remediation rates reported for KSU freshmen are pretty horrific. I guess they have to do something, even if it is a bunch of hoop jumping. (The News-Herald, 4/14/19)
  3. Elected board members from the three school districts whose academic performance was so chronically and persistently awful that they were declared to be in academic distress and thus fell under the aegis of the state’s CEO-style academic distress paradigm got together this weekend (did they get paid for this “meeting”?) to play the ugliest version of Two Truths and a Lie that there ever was. Exaggeration, misinformation, and hyperbole were thick on the ground, as related in this piece, and the collective dudgeon was high. Families, children, and academic suckitude were entirely ignored. Disgusting. (Elyria Chronicle, 4/14/19)
  4. This story started out trying to solve a local mystery: Why are there two caves in the woods behind Sherman Elementary School in Mansfield? It takes a while, but we finally get to the answer. Along the way we find that the district has gone to huge efforts to integrate the school building itself into that amazing landscape (check out that gym!). But we are also left with an additional mystery, courtesy of the head custodian who wants to continue on in his job but it “depends on where the district is headed”. What could that mean?! (Richland Source, 4/14/19) 

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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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