1. School districts in Ohio have been dealing with the scourge of grade inflation—blamed largely on dual enrollment in college courses—by doing away with the valedictorian system and adopting the Latin cum laude system instead. In general, the stated fear is that students will either work too hard (taking lots of college or AP classes to get a GPA boost) or not hard enough (taking lower-level classes in which they know they will score well) in order to reach the top GPA. But even with the Latin system fix, the sky is still the limit on GPAs. The only thing that changes is whether you get to give a speech. Columbiana High School, however, has chosen a different path: the Latin system and grade deflation. Starting in 2022, max GPA there will be 4.0 no matter what courses you take. Not sure what that will do for students’ motivations, but it is at least a novel approach to the issue. (The Morning Journal, 7/4/19) Editors in Toledo opined on that very subject this morning, coming out against a bill that would ban the Latin system and require all schools to have a traditional valedictorian/salutatorian for each graduating class. The editors’ reasoning is a little weird. Although they believe that each graduating class “deserves to be represented by its top achievers” because “everyone benefits” from hearing from them, they are opposed to making it a legal requirement in Ohio. (Toledo Blade, 7/5/19)
  2. Whatever troubles dual enrollment is causing in terms of GPAs and valedictorian status, I think it is safe to say those are going to continue as Ohio’s popular College Credit Plus program continues to expand. Zane State College in Muskingum County announced this week that it will be serving students in three additional districts next school year. (Y-City News, 7/4/19)
  3. Preschool or perish! Expansion is on the minds of Trumbull County’s Head Start program, but not because it is full. Just the opposite. Enrollment in the free pre-K program stands at less than 50 percent capacity. If they don’t boost enrollment and quick, the federal funding supporting it will be in jeopardy and the entire program could go under. (WYTV, Youngstown, 7/4/19)
  4. Finally this week, another story about high school students in central Ohio participating in internships prior to graduation. This piece covers Columbus City Schools and a number of suburban districts, but as with the previous story on this topic which we discussed last week, it doesn’t actually seem as if there are lot of these internships going on. The numbers discussed seem awfully low in comparison with the sheer number of kids in area districts, not to mention all the charter and private school kids who no one cares to include. More of this please, and put Columbus kids first in line! (Columbus Dispatch, 7/4/19)

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Policy Priority:

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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