- Let’s start with the unequivocal good news, and what is probably our last graduation story this year. Utica Shale Academy grad Emily Galchick won a regional award for academic growth and was lauded by school and state education officials recently. Her story is fantastic—studying as an electrician to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps—as is the news that she was snatched up by a local dairy for a great job immediately upon getting her diploma. (The Review, 6/10/22)
- Now that we’re done with the 2021-22 school year (are we, really?), let’s look to summer if we dare. Here’s a look at Springfield Local Schools’ “Summer Spark” program for students. I don’t want to be pessimistic, but we hear from a district third grade teacher that, “This year, I was in the classroom again and the levels were so far behind, at least two grade levels for so many of my students.” Sounds like a call to action, right? Let's see how it went: “We've worked so hard this year to get them up to where they need to be,” said the reading coordinator, “or at least try and catch them up.” Uh oh. That doesn’t sound like success to me. Guess they are going to work hard over the summer, then. “We're really hoping that this will help to boost their reading and get them back where they need to be and not let that summer slide happen,” our third grade teacher said. Hoping? Like it's out of your control? Unfortunately, it seems that this program is only about giving kids books to take home rather than actually working with them or providing any additional instruction. By the end of the summer, we are told, teachers hope the program will have prepared the students for back to school. So much hope for these guys; wish I had some. (NBC 24 News, Toledo, 6/9/22)
- OK. Well that wasn’t so great. How about we talk about money instead? Ohio school districts are swimming in money at the moment and everything’s happy there, right? Well… The elected board of Parma City Schools, facing a projected $24 million deficit by 2026, voted last week on a school consolidation plan closing three schools including one of their three high school buildings and which will reportedly save the district $3.15 million in operating costs. (Hmmm… 24 minus 3.15 equals…) Ultimately, however, the elected board members want to go to the ballot (where they have been skunked for the last 11 years) to get nearly $4 million more to build a new high school. (Cleveland.com, 6/10/22) Dayton City Schools will end this fiscal year with more than $110 million in its general fund. However, their projections show the district running a general fund deficit in the 2024-25 if Covid-era spending (think, two full-time teachers in every classroom) continues over those three years…which the elected board members want to do of course. The supe says this is all just a lot of math that will change and should not be taken too seriously. And she’s probably right. Remember that this district was sitting on more than a hundred million dollars that they had no idea how to spend long before anyone had ever heard of SARS-CoV-2. I’m sure they’ll be back in that same spot soon enough. (Dayton Daily News, 6/10/22) This is a hilarious story about how interactive whiteboards have become passé in Toledo area school districts over the last 7 years and are being replaced by flat screens and touch monitors as if it’s 2016. All of this costs money—lots of money—so someone out there is making bank no matter which technology schools are paying for. But no one seems to care. Indeed the pandemic pivot to 1-to-1 laptops also seems, weirdly, to be old hat already as well. The tech guy at a suburban Toledo district here predicts that those Chromebooks and iPads currently littering his hallways will hit the scrap heap before long, to be replaced by virtual reality headsets. Let me just Google real quick how to get into that business and I’ll be right back with you to finish up today’s clips. (Toledo Blade, 6/11/22)
- OK. Back with you now, no wealthier than I was before. I am not cut out to be a tech grifter, apparently, which is both sad and reassuring to me. Finally today, the state board of education is meeting today and tomorrow. While there is a possibility mooted in this piece that some amount of finagling might produce a new state supe from the old list of finalists, pundits are more of the opinion that our elected and appointed board members will simply agree to a new process to start again. (Gongwer Ohio, 6/10/22)
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