1. You may recall a breathless flap earlier this year over third grade reading test scores which were suspected of being mis-graded by a computer. It was hard to miss, seeing as how is it was all over the news. What was not all over the news at any point since then was how the human regrading of those third grade tests turned out. Because, it turns out, fire not as bad as suspected after all. That last bit of information is the most important part of this piece, because the main topic (the fact that some high school test mis-grading by a computer was actually caught and corrected before it was even noticed) is so breathlessly overblown as to be pointless. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 4/6/18)
  2. Back in the real world, Columbus City Schools will impanel a task force to research the possibility of school closures across the district and to make recommendations to the board by August. (Columbus Dispatch, 4/4/18) Perhaps we have a little preview of what schools will not be on that closure list by way of the city’s 2018 capital budget. In it, $2.5 million (how much now?!) is earmarked for designing sidewalks in the area around six school buildings currently without them. (Columbus Dispatch, 4/5/18) Meanwhile, Cincinnati City Schools is looking to add buildings, apparently. Possibly by purchasing the soon-to-be-closed Mother of Mercy Catholic School property. The deal doesn’t seem to be done yet—I blame the soccer stadium controversy!—but it seems to be a popular option for those interviewed. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 4/6/18) Final piece on the topic of school buildings—folks seem pretty happy that Elyria City Schools may be able to retain all five originally-planned new buildings in their master plan after all. All that is required is some downsizing, rethinking, architectural redesign, and a reduction in “bells and whistles”. Seeing as how the plan was originally over budget by millions of dollars, those must be some very expensive bells and/or whistles. (Elyria Chronicle, 4/6/18)
  3. I was going to suggest that Elyria was trying to keep up with the Joneses in Lorain re: buildings with bells and whistles, but I thought it perhaps a (cantilever spar cable-stayed type with a single pylon) bridge too far. Especially when things are less than rosy with the Joneses inside the glittering walls of that giant schmancy high school. To wit: Lorain CEO David Hardy this week announced the list of internal candidates being considered for “turnaround principal” positions. Turns out he had to because the school board FOIA’d him into the Sunshine. The names of the external finalist candidates will be announced later. (Northern Ohio Morning Journal, 4/5/18)

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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