Education News for 03-05-2013

State Education News

  • 2 are finalists for Ohio education chief (Columbus Dispatch)
  • A state Board of Education subcommittee today named Ohio’s acting schools superintendent and the governor’s top education adviser as finalists for state superintendent of public instruction…Read more…

  • State Ed Board spends 50K to “find” current superintendent (Plunderbund.com)
  • Last year the State School Board hired Ray and Associates, an Iowa-based company that “specializes in educational executive leadership searches”, to help identify a new State Superintendent.…Read more…

  • Ohio Bill Would Allow Schools To Use Levies To Cover Security Costs (WBNS)
  • School districts strapped for cash may soon have another way to pull money for school security.…Read more…

Local Education News

  • IN OUR SCHOOLS: Principals face layoffs from CPS (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  • The budget scramble has begun at Cincinnati Public Schools, and it may cost some workers their jobs.…Read more…

  • Strongsville teachers strike moves into 2nd day; more substitutes will be in classrooms (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • Teachers braved biting cold on picket lines today during the first day of the Strongsville Education Association's strike against the district, while students and principals faced their own ordeal inside the schools.…Read more…

  • Lima Senior students bring 'Shark Tank' lessons to middle schoolers (Lima News)
  • They’re called Spring Shoes, and Lima North Middle School fifth-graders Michael Younger and J’Veahn Soles assured the “Sharks” the shoes would be the next big thing.…Read more…

  • State tells Newcomerstown: 'We're not here to take control' (New Philadelphia Times-Reporter)
  • State and local officials met for the first time Monday to begin formulating a plan that will get Newcomerstown out of fiscal emergency status.…Read more…

  • Legend Elementary deemed 'School of Promise' (Newark Advocate)
  • Legend Elementary is one of 163 schools statewide to be recognized as a School of Promise by the Ohio Department of Education based on its 2011-12 report card.…Read more…

  • Massive ‘Building for Success’ program gets mixed reviews (Toledo Blade)
  • So big was the project, so vast its purported benefits to the city and its schools, and yet it barely passed.…Read more…

  • Strongsville High School students leave class during strike, feel unsafe and describe overcrowding (WEWS)
  • Strongsville High School students described a chaotic school day as their teachers took to the picket line.…Read more…

  • Schools lose beneficial drug prevention program P.L.U.S., investigate other options (Willoughby News Herald)
  • Beginning next year, area schools will no longer have access to the long-time drug prevention program they’ve come to know.…Read more…


  • ‘A passion to be spent’ on teaching children (Akron Beacon Journal)
  • “The situation is dire, the agenda urgent. … There is work to be done and passion to be spent by all of us who appreciate the stakes for our children and for the nation’s future.…Read more…

  • State should give Cleveland school reform plan a chance to work: editorial (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • The Cleveland and Lorain school districts have fallen into the academic doghouse, failing to meet federal standards for four years and earning the state's lowest academic rating -- "emergency," essentially an F.…Read more…

  • Resolve Strongsville teachers strike quickly: editorial (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • No doubt about it: The ugly, confrontational Strongsville teachers strike is a disservice to the future of the suburban district, rated "excellent with distinction" by the state.…Read more…

  • Punish school statistics’ scrubbers (Marietta Times)
  • In what amounted to a spot check of Ohio school districts, state Auditor Dave Yost found eight that engaged in "scrubbing" of attendance reports.…Read more…

  • Common sense school rules (Warren Tribune Chronicle)
  • Several common-sense changes in state rules that often hobble rather than help public schools are being proposed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich.…Read more…

Dispatch dodge disappoints

The Columbus Dispatch has cheered on the Governor's education "reform" plans every step of the way, from the draconian budget cuts, to SB5 - the Governor has had the full support of the state capital's newspaper of record. A need to improve the quality of Ohio's public education system, challenge the "status quo" has been their rally cry.

We were shocked then, to not read any editorial in this weekend's Dispatch criticizing the Governor for his appointment of an unqualified candidate to the State board of Education.

According to the Dispatch's own reporting, the Governor appointed Stanley Jackson, without ever having seen his resume. The Governor claiming Mr. Jackson's involvement in a charter school was qualification enough, only to discover that the charter school does not yet exist, and before Mr. Jackson can even spend one day on that job, he will resign from his fake school in order to avoid legal complications.

Furthermore, according to reports from NPR,

Kasich spokesperson Rob Nichols said Jackson is currently a candidate for an elected seat on the State Board of Education. Nichols said Jackson’s candidacy was what brought him to the attention of the governor’s office.

However, Jackson has not actually filed to run for state Board of Education, according to the Allen County Board of Elections. The deadline to file is Aug. 8.

StateImpact also reports that Mr. Jackson was an OSU dropout and never obtained his degree.

The State board of education has a full plate of policy to implement and guide, from common core, to teacher evaluations, and a new reading guarantee just for starters - it needs to have qualified people with a deep understanding of the issues in order to be successful, something Mr. Jackson does not posses.

Given these facts, why then has the Dispatch editorial board remained silent? Does their support of the Governor's education policies stop at the waters edge once criticism of their implementation is warranted?

Instead what the Dispatch editorial board decided to publish this weekend was another rehash of the SB5 fight, a sign that the Dispatch cares more about it's partisan politics than policies, even those it allegedly supports.


The ABJ manages to publish an appropriate editorial on this subject.

An Unfair Editorial

The Plain Dealer had a terribly slanted and unfair editorial titled "Cleveland school-reform bill needs teachers' input". From the title it sounded as though some were finally calling for collaboration, before a rush to legislation. Alas, that was not the case, as the editorial demonstrated, first with a straw man argument

When the usually reserved Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson says he would trade his office for "quality education for our children," all of the other adults involved in the high-stakes discussion on school reform ought to determine what they would give up as well.

So far, judging from the Cleveland Teachers Union's tepid response to the mayor's Cleveland-only school reform package, the answer appears to be little or nothing.

One should hardly be confused by the empty rhetoric of a politician and then compare it to actual sacrifices working people ought to make on the basis on that rhetoric. So straight away we knew this editorial was headed south.

The mayor says that despite hours of meetings with union representatives, he has received no written reply to his wide-ranging draft legislation on school reform.

The draft legislation was only made available less than 24 hours ago as of the writing of this editorial! People have barely had chance to even read and digest it, let alone craft some policy response document in considered terms.

If the Mayor and the Plain Dealer truly wanted teacher input, why didn't they seek it during the crafting of the actual legislation, then they could have rolled it out with a lot more support and a lot less controversy. To now blame teachers, yet again, for his own failing to collaborate with critical stakeholders is very unfair.

Punishing Experience

The Dispatch had a wrong headed editorial over the weekend, promoting SB5 provisions. Specifically it chose to cherry pick the sad fact that good teachers are losing their jobs because of the reckless budget. But make no mistake, it's budget cuts, not lay-off policies that are causing job lossses, as the Dispatch itself reported back in January.

This editorial promoted a lot of reaction from teachers, this example from a Dublin teacher we thought should be highlighted

In response to the June 5 Dispatch editorial, “Punishing Talent”, it’s obvious that the author chose to ignore why seniority is used to determine staff reductions. Teachers that are most desired in today’s job market are the lowest on the pay scale. Seniority does not protect experienced teachers; it assigns those who can most easily be rehired to be let go first. It has nothing to do with talent. Every teacher in the building was chosen from hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants. But only those with less than five years experience are even being considered for new job openings by all districts in today’s economy.

Our governor has assured that your own district cannot afford to hire the best, highest qualified, most experienced teacher in the job market today. Don’t take my word for it, ask your school administrator or take a look at who gets the job open within your district.

On the same day as this wrong headed Dispatch editorial was published, the Akron Beacon Journal chose to look at facts instead of rhetoric, and compared public schools in Akron to Charter schools and found

13 years after the first school opened in Ohio, charter schools generally — and Brennan's schools specifically — have failed to match, let alone exceed, the academic performance of traditional schools.

Why would these charters suffer such terrible results, year after year? The answer is incredibly simple, and obvious to anyone who takes the time to examine the data

Brennan's high schools also were much lower than Akron Public Schools in three other categories: teacher experience, qualifications and pay.

Teachers at the city's public high schools averaged at least 15 years of experience, according to the report card data. Ellet High School posted the highest average of 19 years' experience.

One Akron Life Skills school reported an average of 13 years' experience, but the other two had a much greener staff, averaging only two and six years experience.

In addition to more years on the job, teachers at traditional schools also are more likely to have a master's degree. Two-thirds of Akron Public Schools teachers, across all grade levels, have more than a four-year degree, according to the state data.

That compares to a high of 31 percent at one of Brennan's Life Skills schools, 9 percent at another and none at the third.

Better qualified, more experienced teachers produce better results. Yes, when lay-offs do happen some great teachers lose their jobs because they lack seniority. But in the aggregate it's exposure young teachers gain from experienced mentors that makes them great. The data clearly demonstrates that experience and qualifications matter most. If we were to start firing experienced teachers, using some half-baked student testing regime, to save money - from whom would junior teachers learn from in order to become great?

The Dispatch article fails to answer this question, instead, like a Brennan charter school it simply wants to race to the bottom and ignore the facts, by punishing experience.