1. Local reporter Lisa Rantala from ABC6 visited Fordham-sponsored Columbus Collegiate Academy recently. The topic was education funding and Fordham VPs Chad Aldis and Kathryn Mullen Upton were on hand to discuss charter sponsorship and the ins-and-outs of the state budget process that could result in additional funding for high-performing charter schools like CCA. While no one else was quoted, the piece does include some deets provided by unnamed “public school advocates” on charter school funding too. They don’t like it as is, let alone if it were to increase. There is an uncomfortable insinuation of a zero-sum game here, but that is a minor annoyance compared to other stuff. (ABC6, Columbus, 6/14/19)
  2. Yesterday’s committee hearing on a new Senate proposal to replace the state’s current academic distress committee form of school turnarounds was a rip-snortin’ good time that reminded me of the Common Core hearings of yore. Lots of important folks testifying from Youngstown, Lorain, and East Cleveland. Chad isn’t from any of those places, but his testimony in support of the new proposal is quoted in Gongwer’s coverage too. (Gongwer Ohio, 6/13/19) Toledo City Schools superintendent Romules Durant was among the heavy hitters to testify yesterday. His concern: the test-focused report cards which underlie school and district ratings—and which can lead to a designation of academic distress—are flawed and must be changed first. Sounds familiar. Chad is quoted here as well. (Toledo Blade, 6/13/19)
  3. Now that you’ve read the overheated rhetoric of committee testimony, you’re probably wondering what’s actually in the new proposal. Luckily, we have Patrick O’Donnell’s take on it here… (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 6/12/19) …and the Elyria-eye view is it here. Oddly enough, these two analyses are slightly inconsistent with one another in some key details. Just sayin’. (Elyria Chronicle, 6/13/19)
  4. Of course, all of the foregoing discussion and energetic exertion is predicated on the idea that the current ADC paradigm is operating somewhere on a scale from “flawed” to “failed” and thus must be eliminated/fixed/reformed/overhauled/destroyed (delete as applicable) right now. A somewhat remarkable meeting held in Youngstown yesterday would seem to militate against that state of affairs being true. In it, members of the elected school board, the Academic Distress Commission, and the Ohio Department of Education—along with the incoming CEO—sat down together and reviewed all of the progress the district has made in the last 2.5ish years under its ADC. Yes, you heard that right: progress. And indeed you heard that right also: everyone sat down together. And in case it needs reiterated: everyone agreed that the progress was indeed progress. As in, positive forward momentum. Seems important to me, but what do I know? Murray, party of one. (Youngstown Vindicator, 6/13/19)
  5. But hey, maybe all this revamp business doesn’t really have anything to do with those schools already operating under the aegis of an Academic Distress Commission. Dayton City Schools, the only district currently in line for a declaration of academic distress (and all that currently goes along with that…) has been making more sudden moves than a spider on a hot plate recently. This includes a huge sweep of their building leadership across the board. (Hope nobody sues!) Why? I’ll let the supe tell you why: “When you’ve been an ‘F’ as long as we’ve been an ‘F,’ you have to do something radical.” Hmmm… Perhaps she and Dr. Durant disagree about the validity of those Fs? But no matter: “I think if we don’t make those changes that are very glaring in our faces,” she concluded, “then somebody else is going to if the district is taken over.” I think that’s very telling myself. But it could just be cynicism on my part, you know? (Dayton Daily News, 6/13/19)

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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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