- While Chad Aldis’ quote here is recycled from an earlier Dispatch story, the news from Licking County school districts is new. We see in some meticulous detail how grading for remote learning will be handled in a number of school districts. The variations are interesting to me in that a number of districts endeavored to keep the grading system the same for their younger learners while others changed only the system for their younger learners while keeping older kids’ grading processes the same. ” We get a tiny bit of info from the Pass/Incomplete camp as to what a pass equates to – in terms of both work (some going for engagement; others for completion) and as far as a 4.0 scale translation (looks like the lowest any students might will get is a 2.0). I think it’s clear that whatever the final number/letter/term that ends up on a student’s report card, no two grades will really mean the same thing. “It looks different from grade to grade and home to home,” said the superintendent of Newark City Schools. (Newark Advocate, 5/16/20)
- In case you were wondering, this is the story that illustrates the reason why school districts across Ohio are twisting themselves in knots, as described above. It is, I assume, meant to be the exemplar. And while my heart goes out to this family, which clearly merits all the support it can get, I was struck by a couple of things. The NEA’s Lily Eskelsen Garcia is quoted as saying that students and parents who do not speak English were “having trouble before this crisis.” Makes sense. Additionally, we learn late in the piece that this particular young student has been at his school—specifically designed, staffed, and equipped for supporting students who don’t speak English—for two years already. How, I am forced to ask myself, is the relationship between school and family no farther along than we see it here? And if there had been no pandemic, would it even have come the tiny distance that it has? (Columbus Dispatch, 5/18/20) Meanwhile, the editorial board at the Dispatch has some vague hopeful thoughts to share regarding the disastrous results of Columbus City Schools’ most recent curriculum audit. (Columbus Dispatch, 5/17/20)
- Speaking of how school districts are spending their time, faculty and staff at Canal Winchester High School here in central Ohio have apparently spent more than 16 hours in recent weeks filming their seniors walking across the stage – in front of a green screen – one at a time to get their diplomas. The footage will be edited together to form a virtual graduation ceremony video. There is no information as to what will be keyed onto that green screen. As a graduate of CW’s rival high school from back in the day, part of me hopes someone hacks the process and puts a bunch of bulldogs in the background. What?! I never said I wasn’t petty. (Columbus Dispatch, 5/17/20) Meanwhile, seniors from Springfield Local Schools – and their teachers – did not let the pandemic dampen a 50-year-tradition of Tractor Day! That is, driving their tractors to school en masse. With the school closed, they instead paraded to the local nursing home to give their elders a fun experience. But otherwise, no different than ever! (WKBN-TV, Youngstown, 5/17/20)
- But seriously folks… Here’s a detailed look at state education funding cuts and federal education funding boosts coming to Ohio schools in the wake of the pandemic. Kudos to Jeremy Kelley for including detailed information on charter, STEM, and private school impacts. Our own Chad Aldis is included in this piece—with a fresh quote regarding the way these funding changes interact with one another. (Dayton Daily News, 5/18/20) I don’t know whether the Dispatch reached out to Chad or not as part of their coverage. Either way, it is safe to say that they took a different tack in their reporting of those education funding changes and Chad’s analysis would not have been much help with the final product. (Columbus Dispatch, 5/15/20)
- Here, in contrast, is a look at Menlo Park Academy’s virtual “lunch bunch” gatherings. They sound like a fun way to keep young kids engaged without being all school-y all the time. A new innovation from the state’s only charter school for gifted students? Nope! Just a virtual adaptation of something the school had already been doing IRL. Like we’ve been saying; the school closures this year have not really led to anything new in education yet. Just throwing a bright light on how things were before. (Cleveland.com, 5/17/20)
- On that note, here is a look at the new Upskill Stark initiative. It is an effort to help unemployed or underemployed adults in the county earn a new certification or credential—gratis—to potentially fill one of the 5,000 or so open jobs currently available. Most of the details here are, as noted above, not new. The difficult-to-fill jobs have been around for a while, especially the ones which require some kind of post-secondary credential or degree. It is also not new information that only 54 percent of adults in the county have more than a high school diploma. Even the credential and training programs themselves—offered by Stark State College and the library system—have been around for a long time. What is new is the “free” part. That is, the pot of COVID-19 recovery funds which will cover up to $2,000 worth of program fees per individual. (Canton Repository, 5/16/20)
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