Education News for 09-25-2012

State Education News

  • No charges for former leader of Ohio schools (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Prosecutors won’t press criminal charges against former state schools Superintendent Stan Heffner…Read more...

  • SAT reading score hits 40-year low (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Reading scores on the SAT for the high-school class of 2012 reached a four-decade low, putting a punctuation mark on a gradual decline…Read more...

  • Booster clubs funds face state scrutiny (Dayton Daily News)
  • School booster and parent teacher organizations are about to come under increased scrutiny from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office…Read more...

  • Attendance records being examined at 6 schools (Dayton Daily News)
  • State auditors are examining student attendance records in six Miami Valley school districts as part of a statewide probe into possible data tampering…Read more...

  • Five-year-olds put to the test as kindergarten exams (Reuters)
  • With school in full swing across the United States, the littlest students are getting used to the blocks table and the dress-up corner…Read more...


  • What It Means to 'Believe in Teachers' (Education Week)
  • Last month, in his much-lauded speech to the Republican National Convention, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made "we believe in teachers"…Read more...

Local Education News

  • School board takes next step toward busing pact with city (Chillicothe Gazette)
  • The board approved an agreement with the Ohio Department of Development for a Local Government Innovation Fund grant that will pay for environmental site studies…Read more...

  • Dublin teachers forgo some pay hikes (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Dublin teachers and school administrators are giving up base-salary raises for next school year but will continue to receive step increases…Read more...

  • State report card ranking may drop (Findlay Courier)
  • Findlay City Schools will most likely lose its "excellent" rating and instead earn a lesser "effective" rating on the state-issued report card…Read more...

  • In Cincinnati, orchestrated academic support boosts students from cradle to career (NBC News.com)
  • Eight-month-old Calvin Boggs Jr., grinned when social worker Heidi Sullivan pulled a cardboard book emblazoned with the face of the character Thomas the Tank Engine out of her bag…Read more...

  • Mathews seeks levy to avoid projected deficit (Warren Tribune Chronicle)
  • Mathews Board of Education is asking voters for a new five-year, 4.65-mill levy district officials said is needed to help avoid a projected deficit…Read more...

Education News for 07-23-2012

Statewide Stories of the Day

  • 2.8 million school absences erased (Dispatch)
  • Columbus City Schools officials wiped 2.8 million student absence days off the district’s computers during the past 51/2 school years, with some key officials responsible for tens of thousands of deletions. The officials routinely erased more recorded student absences than they reported to the state — in some years, substantially more — according to district data tables The Dispatch obtained by filing a public-records request. Read more...

  • Many third-graders lag in reading proficiency (Enquirer)
  • Twenty-one percent of Ohio’s third-graders – 25,963 students – were not proficient in reading last school year, according to preliminary test results released by the Ohio Department of Education. That’s up from 20 percent in 2010-11. Starting in 2013-14, scoring poorly on the test will have major consequences for third-grade students. That’s when a new law by Ohio Gov. John Kasich will require them to repeat the school year if they don’t do well enough on the test despite two years of reading intervention. Read more...

  • Youngstown schools miss targets, lose $1.8M (Vindicator)
  • Youngstown - The city school district will see its school-improvement money slashed more than 50 percent for next year because the schools didn’t meet growth goals. The federal School Improvement Grant money allotted for University Project Learning Center, Chaney and East totaled $3.3 million. For next year, the amount is reduced to about $1.5 million, said Doug Hiscox, deputy superintendent for academic affairs. “Each year, you have to go through a process for evaluating how well things were done or whether you met targets,” he said. Read more...

Local Issues

  • Toledo Public Schools records adjusted to lift state test scores (Blade)
  • Toledo Public Schools has manipulated some students' attendance data to improve state report-card scores, the district's superintendent told The Blade on Friday. Under the practice, schools retroactively withdraw and re-enroll chronically absent students to erase their poor attendance records. Ohio school districts apparently are allowed to throw out test scores of students who are not continuously enrolled from October through the testing dates in March and May. Read more...

  • Middle school students learn how to navigate college through CampUS program (Newark Advocate)
  • GRANVILLE - Alma Zahar is a 13-year-old student at Southmoor Middle School in Columbus. She's had thoughts of becoming a doctor but had no idea how to go about it. "That takes a lot of years," she said. "But I wasn't sure what schools to go to. But this explained to me what type of colleges there are: community college, technical college and four-year college." Zahar was just one of about 40 middle school students at Denison University from Saturday to June 29 learning how to navigate the path to college in a program called CampUS. Read more...

  • Cleveland's school tax levy must be tied to creative parental classroom involvement (Plain Dealer)
  • The Perry family of Collinwod may represent one of Cleveland's best hopes for passing an enormous 15-mill school levy request that will likely appear on the November ballot. But to make that happen, it's pretty important that their son, Shaquille, stays alive. It's that simple. Shaquille is an emerging role model for the city. He should be encouraged and protected. He's a good example of what a determined young man can do in the face of formidable odds when bolstered by strong parental support. He will enroll at Kentucky State University this fall. Read more...

  • Audit finds former Imagine school officials made undocumented purchases (Repository)
  • State auditors say former employees of a Canton-based community school made nearly $4,500 worth of questionable purchases during a Best Buy shopping trip in 2010. The Ohio Auditor’s Office flagged the transactions during its most recent annual financial review of Imagine Schools on Superior at 1500 Superior Ave. NE. The school, formerly known as Pathways to Success Canton Community School, serves roughly 180 students between kindergarten to fourth grade and is not affiliated with a public school district. Read more...

  • Harris shakes up leadership of Columbus schools (Dispatch)
  • Columbus Schools Superintendent Gene Harris will shake up her top staff, in part to cover for reassignments resulting from a state investigation into whether district officials rigged school performance data. In a memo dated Monday, Harris said she would again name the district’s former lobbyist to a major leadership role. With the departure of former Chief Academic Officer Keith Bell to become superintendent of Euclid schools, Harris will promote the district’s chief operating officer, John Stanford, to the new post of deputy superintendent. Read more...


  • Coming face to face with the sad state of runaway teens (Blade)
  • On a recent evening, an unexpected knock on my study window in the back of the house brought me face to face with the problem of runaway teenagers. A young girl in her early teens, clad in not-too-clean clothes, begged to be let in. Instead, I met her in front of the house. Waiting for police to arrive, we talked in the driveway. She had run away from a nearby group home for troubled teens, she told me. She said she had run away at least 30 times in the past three years. Somehow, every place she was sent annoyed her to the point she thought her only option was to run away. Read more...

  • If Clevelanders want a future for their public schools, it will cost them 15 mills (Plain Dealer)
  • Gasp. That's the sound that came from many Clevelanders when they learned last week that the Cleveland public schools are asking for a 15-mill levy to implement Mayor Frank Jackson's hard-won school reform plan. Despite their skepticism of -- or even outright anger at -- their long-troubled school system, voters must take a leap of faith for the future of Cleveland's 41,000 students. The levy would deliver an estimated $77 million annually to support the Cleveland Plan for Transformation over the next four years. Read more...

  • Fast action by board is troubling (Tribune Chronicle)
  • The Warren Board of Education wants to achieve academic excellence. But it decided against conducting an excellent search for a new school superintendent. The board last week named Warren G. Harding High School principal Michael Notar as the district's next superintendent. The board did not accept any applications or conduct any interviews prior to deciding who would be in charge of the district. Board members said there was no need because of how familiar they are with Notar. Read more...

More crazy teacher evaluation ideas

It seems there's even more crazy ideas about how to evaluate teachers than we originally thought. Now, one school district wants to include chance grocery store encounters to the evaluation matrix. No, we're not joking.

A teacher who has a chance encounter with a parent at a grocery store and chats about school can earn credit toward a financial bonus.

That is the way it is in the Challis School District in Idaho, a state where nearly 30 school systems have adopted teacher evaluation systems that include as one measure how well teachers get parents involved in their child’s education.

In the five-school Challis system, teachers are supposed to make contact with the parents of each of their students at least twice every three months, according to the Associated Press.

A teacher can send a note home to fulfill one of the “contact” requirements, though the other must be face to face. It can, Challis Superintendent Colby Gull was quoted as saying by the AP, be fulfilled by a chat in the supermarket during an unexpected encounter with a parent.

That counts for official contact purposes, he said, “as long as they’re talking about what’s going on in the classroom and the parent is informed about their student.’’

SB5 Polling Trends Favor Repeal

We have now had a series of polls, from different polling firms that all confirm Ohioans overwhemingly support the repeal of SB5 by double digit margins.

Poll For SB5 Against SB5
PPP Mar 15th 31% 54%
Wenzel Apr 12th 38% 51%
Quinnipiac May 18th 36% 54%
PPP May 25th 35% 55%

SB5 Polling Trend

With legislators of SB5 starting to leave the Ohio Senate, rather than face voters, it looks likely that the face of the pro-SB5 effort will have to be the Governor himself. But as the latest PPP poll shows his popularity is now at all time lows, he's going to find it very hard getting voters to listen to him

Kasich has slipped a bit to 33-56, tying him with Florida’s Rick Scott for the most reviled governor in the country. Unlike Scott Walker, Kasich’s agenda has not at all rallied his base. He has plummeted with Republicans, from an already somewhat weak 71-18 approval margin two months ago to an abysmal 58-28 now

None of this means the effort should let up. Things could change quickly if supporters of repeal become complacent.

School 'reforms' are doomed to failure

Another great piece from Thomas M. Stephens

The governor and legislators' micromanagement reveals (once more) their cluelessness about how to improve public schools; after mandating this bad joke, they assigned its operation to the State Board of Education.

This would be fine and dandy, if it were based on any reasonable chance of success. Instead, it's a Hail Mary, a desperate move by self- appointed "reformers" who have helped bring urban schools to their knees and who now call for more charter schools as replacements. Soon both teachers and their students' parents will be labeled failures.

There are no secrets as to why many urban schools need help, or how to improve them. For the most part, achievement tests are measures of the socioeconomic status of students and their families. The urban poor face inequalities, often at conception, and too many persist into adulthood. Sure, good public schools can help, but the metrics now being used give a false picture of their efforts.

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