1. The ECOT boogeyman looms large in this piece, rehashing the whole story from what is meant to be a brand new perspective. As if no one realized that the school’s former sponsor was an Education Service Center with an elected board. Once the rhetorical fait has been accompli’d, Fordham’s Chad Aldis is allowed to weigh in on how state law guides the actions of all charter sponsors, no matter their form. But it is probably too late for common sense by then. (Toledo Blade, 7/5/19)
  2. Fordham is namechecked in this guest commentary in favor of new graduation requirements as proposed by a consortium which includes Fordham. The commentary was penned by the president and CEO of the Ohio Business Roundtable, who also is a board member of Ohio Excels, another member of the aforementioned consortium. (Columbus Dispatch, 7/8/19) An argument against the new graduation requirements proposal is provided in this piece, written by the CEO of the Allen County Education Service Center. Ironically, the ECOT boogeyman looms large over this one too. Remember kids: ESCs have elected boards. (Columbus Dispatch, 7/8/19) And speaking of at-least-partially-elected boards, the president of the state school board seems super pleased to have more time to lobby the legislature on the subject of graduation requirements. And on other stuff too, I imagine. (Gongwer Ohio, 7/5/19) The suddenly-very-interested-in-education-and-state-politics Ohio Star has some thoughts on this topic as well. (Ohio Star, 7/8/19)
  3. Let’s take a quick look at the state of play on school choice in Ohio. First up, Catholic schools in Cincinnati are recruiting voucher-eligible students for the upcoming school year. Some great practical info here, but he best news of all: another school will be joining the roster, providing even more seats for interested and eligible families. (Catholic Telegraph, 7/5/19) Our other piece is bad news—if I do say so myself—for a number of reasons. Bio-Med Science Academy is an independent STEM school in Portage County. It is, apparently, going gangbusters and growing by leaps and bounds. “But that’s good news,” I hear you saying. “Especially for you, our humble and indefatigable clips complier, because you adore STEM schools with a white hot passion.” And while I laud you for your compassion toward me, your deep understanding of me as a STEM school devotee, and your colorful yet accurate vocabulary, I hope you will trust me when I assure you that Bio-Med’s success is actually a problem. To wit: folks have noticed that success and are now feeling threatened by the “drain” on all the nearby districts from which resident students have opted out in favor of Bio-Med. STEM schools are lumped in with charter schools here (The Boogeyman!) and all the usual fallacies about “siphons” and state funding vs. local funding for schools of choice are trotted out here unchallenged. Uh-oh. And of course the most important question—why so dang many families would rather have this option than their district of residence—is not discussed at all. (The Record-Courier, 7/7/19)
  4. Another independent STEM school is lauded in this piece, which once again gives praise to Ohio’s College Credit Plus program for benefits it does not provide, while ignoring how good both early college STEM schools and CCP actually are. But of more interest here is the University of Cincinnati’s early college program. As far as I can tell, this is actually the real thing: access for high schoolers to a year of college classes and credits which cost nothing to families, school districts, or the state (apparently funded by the university itself) and will allow successful students to begin their college careers as sophomores and to finish a degree in three years. Maybe less. Additionally, students can get a paid internship in the summer between high school and college, earning up to $30K. This is huge—a true time and money saving pathway to and through college and likely straight into a good job. That is, if you want to go into IT. And you want to get your degree from UC. And you got to a high school with which UC participates. But otherwise, great! (Springfield News-Sun, 7/7/19)
  5. I know that you are all jonesing for an update on Dayton City Schools’ UrPTO efforts (you remember: a district-wide PTO council to help build individual PTOs in school buildings). So hopefully this 1500+ word piece will sate you for now. Despite all those words, you may not be surprised at the upshot: very little actual activity, some very big hurdles to overcome, a couple of conflicting mindsets, and a big dose of speculation. (Dayton Daily News, 7/7/19) The word count on this piece is considerably less than the foregoing, but really what is there to say when a district sitting on a $100 million pile of surplus cash would rather borrow money than spend what the good taxpayers of Montgomery County have already given them? (Dayton Daily News, 7/8/19)
  6. The venerable Youngstown Vindicator might be going down, but its editors are going down swinging. They opined over the weekend in support of Niles City Schools’ drastic efforts to right its financial ship…with the help of a state-mandated oversight panel. How very consistent of them. (Youngstown Vindicator, 7/7/19)
  7. Speaking of swinging: “At the end of the day, this is a fight that we can’t lose. As a district, we’ve had to throw everything we can at this.” While I personally wish the vice president of Canton City Schools’ elected board was talking about his district’s history of poor report cards and low student achievement, he is in fact talking about his district’s fight against academic distress commissions via a crap ton of lobbying here in Columbus. (Canton Repository, 7/8/19)

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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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