Education News for 10-31-2012

Local Education News

  • Parents sue school district over alleged bullying (Hamilton Journal-News)
  • A Hamilton family has filed a lawsuit against the Hamilton City School Board of Education, alleging “intentional infliction of emotional distress” as a result…Read more...

  • Teachers bringing inside views to Marion boards of education (Marion Star)
  • The county’s largest school district has mostly former teachers on its board of education, while two other districts now have retired teachers on their boards…Read more...


  • Good challenge for higher-ed leaders (Canton Repository)
  • Gov. John Kasich sure gives a lot of homework. His latest challenge to leaders of the state universities and community colleges should get a host of issues on the table for public discussion…Read more...

  • Lima, Elida school levies deserve support (Lima News)
  • Over the last several years, we’ve asked many public servants to pinch their pennies and eliminate unneeded overhead. We’ve begged them to consider…Read more...

Poll: Americans feel good about teachers

The 44th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll on public schools has some interesting findings. The very first question the poll asks

Going back 10 years to 2002, we combined the responses that include discipline concerns, such as fighting, gang violence, and drugs. In 2002, these were the biggest problems identified by 39% of Americans. Today, just 10 years later, only 14% of Americans mentioned concerns about fighting, drugs, and poor discipline. This year, as in the last few years, lack of funding was by far the most common single response Americans cited as the biggest challenge facing schools in their communities. Parents were even more unified that lack of funding was the No. 1 challenge facing schools.

A further question explored sentiment to improving urban schools

Ninety-seven percent believe it’s very or somewhat important to improve the nation’s urban schools, indicating a strong continuing commitment, and almost two of three Americans said they would be willing to pay more taxes to provide funds to improve the quality of the nation’s urban schools. However, there was a clear difference of opinion between Republicans (41% in favor) versus Democrats (80% in favor) on the taxation question.

It's hard to get 97% of Americans to agree on pretty much anything, so to have that, and 2 out of 3 citizens wanting to increase taxes to address it, one might be forgiven for thinking we're talking about apple pie not urban education. A tip of the hat must also be given for recognition that our education system is unequal

On teacher evaluations, there is a significant divide

Americans are evenly divided on whether states should require that teacher evaluations include how well a teacher’s students perform on standardized tests, and this finding is consistent across all demographic groups. Clearly, American opinion on this doesn’t match the massive effort under way in many states and school districts to do so. Of the 52% who favor including students’ performance on standardized tests in teacher evaluations, almost half said this should constitute between one-third and two-thirds of the teacher’s evaluation.

Considering that people have only heard from one side of the debate on this, and have yet to see the consequences of these corporate education reform policies, this is likely to be a high water mark.

On the subject of teachers, few professions garner as much trust as teachers

Remaining constant over a series of years, 71% of Americans have trust in teachers, despite constant efforts to tear them down by corporate education reformers and their billionaire and media supporters .

You can read the entire survey at this link. We'll close out with words from teacher of the year, Rebecc Mieliwocki.

What a wonderful shot in the arm this year’s survey results are for the American schoolteacher. The core truth is that Americans are confident in their child’s teachers and proud of our educational system.

They see the best educators as caring, attentive, and demanding professionals. They want us to have the freedom to create relevant, rigorous, and engaging lessons for students and to have our effectiveness measured fairly through both classroom observations and student scores on standardized tests.

Americans want teachers held to high standards from the moment we enter a preparation program to our last day in the classroom, and they want us to improve how we prepare young people for the rigors of college and their careers. These are all good things. Just like teachers themselves, Americans want to see schools and the teaching profession elevated and strengthened.

The great news is that kids are learning more than ever before from teachers who are better trained than at any time in history. Walk into most classrooms in America, and you’ll see tremendous things happening. Yet, the persistent negative messages about public schools and teachers remain. If we hope to attract the best and the brightest into the profession and keep them there, we’ve got to put an end to this.

Education News for 07-17-2012

Statewide Stories of the Day

  • Schools facing reading issues (News-Sun)
  • More than one in five third-graders in a dozen Miami Valley school districts were not proficient in reading last year, according to 2010-11 report card data. In Dayton and Jefferson Twp., about 45 percent failed to meet that state standard, while in Springfield it was about 37 percent and Middletown, 30 percent. School districts are taking steps this summer to prepare for the new state third-grade reading guarantee, which would generally require districts to hold back third-graders starting in 2013-14 if they are not reading at grade level. Read more...

  • Ohio’s education challenge (Vindicator)
  • Gov. John Kasich, a man who does not shy away from challenge, is saying that he intends to work with the legislature to come up with a better way to fund the state’s schools, likely in time for next year’s new state budget. Meanwhile, members of the General Assembly are doing the homework needed to craft reform. Parents who think their district is doing great might be shocked to find out that, compared with national achievement-test scores, in many cases student performance is substandard. Read more...

Local Issues

  • Backpack program helps parents feed kids (Middletown Journal)
  • MIDDLETOWN — It sounded like she was talking about more than a plastic grocery bag full of six meals for her children. “This is a godsend,” Julie Oglesbay, 44, a mother of two children, said Friday afternoon at the Catalina Manufactured Home Community. “As a mother, you always want your kids’ stomachs full. This helps tremendously.” Because of a $1 million grant from Governor John Kasich’s office, a Summer Weekend Backpack Meals program was established this year in the state, including the Middletown area. Read more...

  • Canton City Schools students learn guitar in summer program (Repository)
  • CANTON — Newly formed non-profit, Ohio Regional Music Arts and Cultural Outreach (ORMACO) teamed up with Canton City Schools’ Arts Academy at Summit, the University of Akron’s guitar department and McKinley High School to offer summer guitar lessons to City Schools students. Led by Arts Academy music instructor George Dean and James Marron, guitar professor at the University of Akron, the program will culminate in a free concert for the public. Read more...


  • The Creativity-Testing Conflict (Education Week)
  • Doublethink is "to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them," according to George Orwell, who coined the phrase in his novel 1984. American education policymakers have apparently entered the zone of doublethink. They want future Americans to be globally competitive, to out-innovate others, and to become job-creating entrepreneurs. Read more...

Survey finds parent-teacher relationships strong--Teachers given grade of "A"

Parenting magazine and the National Education Association today announced the results of a groundbreaking joint survey* of 1,000 public school parents and educators that explored the roadblocks to effective parent-teacher communication. When parents were asked to “grade” their relationship with their child’s teachers, nearly half (45 percent) gave the teachers an “A,” with the majority on both sides categorizing the relationship as “great” and “open.”

Despite the strong relationships, the survey revealed that the two sides differ on some key issues. Sixty-eight percent of teachers reported difficulty in dealing with parents. A similar percentage of parents–63 percent–reported they’d never had difficulty with teachers. More than one-quarter of parents stated their biggest challenge has been teachers’ perceived lack of understanding for their concerns, while one in three teachers cited parents’ lack of understanding of their child’s issues as their biggest challenge.

The survey also revealed that:

  • Nearly two out of three parents say their child’s teachers offer a supportive response to concerns when they are expressed, and that teachers are willing to help resolve concerns; nearly 80 percent of teachers consider parents to be supportive.
  • Nearly 88 percent of parents consider their child’s teacher a partner in achieving success in school, but just over half of teachers, 54 percent, feel that parents do their part at home to ensure that kids get the most out of classroom learning.
  • The majority of parents, 8 out of 10, feel their child’s teachers are well equipped with the skills necessary to communicate with them.
  • Although 48 percent of parents feel that their opinion is always taken seriously by their child’s teachers, only 17 percent of teachers feel their opinion is taken seriously just as often by their students’ parents.

More at the link.