Education News for 11-27-2012

State Education News

  • Kasich offers Coleman help with school reform (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Gov. John Kasich pledged to assist Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman with efforts to reform the city’s school system, much like the support he gave this year to Cleveland…Read more...

  • New buildings may doom school levies in elections (Dayton Daily News)
  • Voters who approved bond issues in recent years to build new schools rejected requests for new operating levies in those same districts earlier this month…Read more...

  • Title IX 40th anniversary: High school, college athletes, coaches see benefits and challenges (Willoughby News Herald)
  • As an All-Ohio volleyball player at Lake Catholic High School as well as a University of Florida recruit, Abby Detering has felt the effects of Title IX. And she likes what the future holds…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Bomb threat holds up Dublin classes (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Dublin school officials took the unusual step of delaying the start of school throughout the district yesterday after emails said there were bombs in several buildings…Read more...

  • Free school lunch numbers continue to rise (Hamilton Journal-News)
  • During the past decade, the percentage of students participating in the Free and Reduced Lunch program has nearly doubled in some Butler County school districts…Read more...

  • Reynoldsburg Police Pull Dare Officer Out Of Schools (WBNS)
  • The new administration at the Reynoldsburg Police Department has decided to implement term limits for its school resource officer…Read more...

  • Teens steal iPads, laptops (WEWS)
  • Eleven iPads were stolen from an Akron middle school…Read more...

A decade-long crisis of democracy

We highlighted that despite Ohio voters in the aggregate preferring Democrats over Republicans in the 2012 election, the Republicans will hold a probable super majority 60-39 as a consequence of extreme partisan gerrymandering. The Dispatch was prompted by this result to produce an article about redistricting

Issue 2 is dead, buried deep by Ohio voters last week.

But over and over again, opponents of the redistricting plan, be they Republicans or editorial-page writers, noted that their opposition was not based on the belief that the current system of drawing legislative and congressional districts is good.

In fact, most acknowledged that it remains badly in need of an overhaul.

But if was this paragraph in the article that prompted us to take an even deeper look

Republicans now control 75 percent of the U.S. House seats and nearly two-thirds of the legislative seats in a state that has leaned Republican but is a key battleground state

We analyzed Ohio House of Representative results for each of the past 6 election cycles. By aggregating the votes for Democrats and Republicans in contested races we found a systematic, and extreme disenfranchising of Democratic representation in Ohio

Year Democratic Republican D Seats R Seats
2012 2,418,815 2,362,310 39 60
2010 1,447,949 1,696,064 40 59
2008 2,296,678 1,982,281 53 46
2006 1,832,548 1,605,801 46 53
2004 1,869,051 2,036,398 38 60
2002 1,243,671 1,364,656 36 63
Total 11,108,712 11,047,510

Based upon the preferences of voters, Democrats should have controlledthe General assemblies after the 2012, and 2006 elections - but were denied by partisan gerrymandering. Furthermore, the majorities that Republicans did earn in all of their successful years should have been much, much smaller - and never reacher super majority status.

Indeed when one looks at the sum total of votes in contest races over the past decade, rather than being center right, the results indicate a center to center left leaning electorate.

It is simply not possible to conclude that Ohioans have been legitimately represented in the 21st century by their preferred choices, either in actuality or in scope. We have a crisis of democracy in Ohio.

Power, Ideology, and the Use of Evidence

Consider the three-decade long, unrelenting promotion of classroom computers and online instruction. A recently mobilized corporate and civic-driven coalition chaired by two ex-state governors issued a report that touted online instruction as a way to transform teaching and learning in U.S. schools. (p. 19 of Digital Learning Now Report FINAL lists corporate, foundation, and top policymakers who participated).

Evidence that regular instructional use of these machines will transform teaching and learning is barely visible. Furthermore, evidence of students' academic achievement gains attributed to online instruction, laptops, and other hardware and software in schools is missing-in-action. And the dream that school use of these machines and applications will lead to better jobs (except in programs where technical certificates can lead to work - e.g., Cisco), well, I won't even mention the scarcity of evidence to support that dream.

So what do these two-governors champion in their Digital Learning Commission report?

"Providing a customized, personalized education for students was a dream just a decade ago. Technology can turn that dream into reality today. The Digital Learning Council will develop the roadmap to achieve that ultimate goal."

Sure, this is an advertisement pushing for-profit online outfits such as for-profit K12 and non-profit projects such as the Florida Virtual School and "hybrid" schools. See here and here. These ex-governors want states to alter their policies to accommodate this "Brave New World" where students get individual lessons tailored to what they need to learn.

Question: After decades of blue-ribbon commissions issuing utopian reports promising "revolutionary" and "transformed" schools, where is the evidence that such futures are either possible or worthwhile?

Answer: When it comes to technology policy, evidence doesn't matter.

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A decade of stalled teacher pay

The OECD has just released a report "OECD Education at a Glance 2011", which can be found in full below. We wanted to bring one particular chart to your attention. The chart below shows that in the US, teacher salaries over the last decade have remained unchanged in real dollars, in stark contrast to most other developed countries.

This news should come as little surprise, as one reads article after article detialing teachers bargaining wage freezes, or at best increases barely enough to keep up with even modest inflation.

OECD Education at a Glance 2011

Only right wing partisans endorse SB5

The Pro SB5 campaign "BetterOhio" is touting an endorsement today, that of the NFIB. The NFIB is a right wing business group that represents a tiny fraction of small businesses in the state (approximately 2.5%), so its support comes as no surprise.

Indeed in 2010 that NFIB contributed $10,000 to the Kasich for Governor campaign, and in 2006 it contributed $7,500 to the Ken Blackwell campaign - a candidate few argued was so extreme as to lie well outside of the mainstream.

The NFIB is so partisan that in the last 10 years (according to it has contributed just $2,550.00 to Democratic candidates while an astonishing $242,123.81 has been contributed to Republicans. 99% of NFIB political contributions over the last decade have gone to Republican party candidates, making the NFIB one of the most partisan organizations in the state and the country.

Below is that list of contributions the NFIB has made

NFIB Contributions

HEre at Join the Future we continue to maintain that repealing SB5 with a NO vote on issue 2 is personal not partisan. The anti worker forces however continue to be made up entirely and exclusively from the Republican party establishment.

Charter schools funneling vast sums of money to Turkey

Here's the blockbuster report from WEWS into 16 Horizon Science Science Academies across Ohio that were funneling vast sums of money to Turkey

Outsourcing education to Turkey and low paid Turkish teachers, with so little oversight it has been able to go on for over a decade.