Education News for 06-05-2013

State Education News

  • Senate, House school funding plans incomparable (Akron Beacon Journal)
  • Ohio senators on Tuesday released more details about their proposed budget for school funding…Read more...

  • Ohio could get millions in early-education funds (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Ohio would receive $103 million in federal funding during the first year of President Barack Obama’s plan to provide preschool for every 4-year-old child in the country…Read more...

  • Lawmakers applaud plan to fix Columbus schools (Columbus Dispatch)
  • A Senate committee vetting a bill meant to help fix financial and ethical problems within Columbus City Schools praised local leaders yesterday who testified in support of the legislation…Read more...

  • Ohio lawmakers push voucher expansion (Dayton Daily News)
  • Ohio GOP senators proposed several changes to state education funding in the latest round of revisions to the state two-year budget bill…Read more...

Local Education News

  • City schools still target of deception lawsuit (Columbus Dispatch)
  • The civil lawsuit that accuses the Columbus school district of deceiving the public about schools’ true academic standing appears to be moving forward…Read more...

  • Fairfield County school districts that shared superintendent going their own ways (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Two rural school districts in Fairfield County that currently share a superintendent are hiring separate leaders…Read more...

  • Gee’s sudden departure confounds interim superintendent plans for Columbus schools (Columbus Dispatch)
  • The Columbus Board of Education was hours away yesterday from hiring Ohio State University Provost Joseph Alutto to a one-year contract as an interim superintendent that would have cost the district…Read more...

  • TPS revised audit projects fewer possible savings than draft report (Toledo Blade)
  • A revised performance audit of Toledo Public Schools recommends changes that could save the district $91 million over five years, $10 million less in savings than a draft version projected…Read more...

  • 4 speak at Supt. Hathorn's hearing (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • Just four people spoke at a public hearing on a request by Superintendent Dr. Connie Hathorn to retire and then be rehired by the school district…Read more...

  • Niles schools need funding help from state (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • Frank Danso, interim superintendent of Niles schools, hopes a funding bill that passed the Ohio House will help his financially strained district overcome its deficit, but two area legislators are unsure…Read more...


  • Paying for education (Akron Beacon Journal)
  • Richard Ross, Ohio’s superintendent of schools, once described school-funding debates in Ohio as the education version of Groundhog Day…Read more...

Shady group secretly plots against voters

According to Gongwer, a "by-invitation-only" meeting of lobbyists and political insiders was held Tuesday morning at a private club in Columbus by a group seeking to oppose the Voters First Amendment.

The meeting was sponsored by Protect Your Vote Ohio. Voters First responded to this new revelation

"Today's backroom meeting at a private club is yet another example of the broken political system where politicians, lobbyists and insiders rig districts for their own benefit-and exactly why we need this reform," Ms. Turcer. "The hosts of this meeting are the same people who spent months in a hotel room they called 'the bunker,' drawing political boundaries to benefit themselves. It's no surprise that they'll say or do anything to protect their own power."

The Dayton Daily News gets the scoop on who some of the people are who are forming this shady group

Protect Your Vote solicited the help of state lobbyists Tuesday during a private event at the Capital Club in Columbus, according to an invitation obtained by the Dayton Daily News. The campaign organizers listed on the invitation include fundraisers and others with ties to the Republican elected officials who had a hand in drafting the new boundaries.

Campaign Manager Brandon Lynaugh declined Tuesday to comment on the fundraiser and other Protect Your Vote activities.

One of the finance consultants listed on the invitations, Ray DiRossi, was paid $105,000 to assist elected officials in drawing the boundaries last year. Another consultant, Pamela Hashem, is a major fundraiser for U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-West Chester Twp.

Secrecy is no stranger to these people and the politicians they serve to keep the political system working for everyone but voters.

According to the Ohio Redistricting Transparency Report released this afternoon, Republican lawmakers at the state house implemented a strategy of deliberate secrecy to withhold information from the public about redistricting efforts. The documents paint a picture of lawmakers who purposely operated in a legal gray area to prevent their actions from ever being made public.

For months, Republican lawmakers and staff meet in secret to work on redistricting efforts in possible violation of Ohio’s open meetings law. The documents show a Republican party that are so obsessed with privacy that they used taxpayer dollars to rent a secret hotel room in Columbus that was used as a location to meet on redistricting issues.

You can read the report and all the shady secret dealings that went into drawing Ohio's new political boundaries, here.

Beyond Rhetoric

While the "Cleveland plan" legislation is yet to be finished in Columbus, with some thinking it might not get done at all, the real "Cleveland Plan" is moving beyond lofty rhetoric, and it has nothing to do with students or their success, and certainly nothing to do with creating a world class environment meant to retain and attract the best teaching talent that would lead to that success. In order to close the budget deficit the district faces, the board voted to accept the following cuts

  • Elimination of three voluntary professional days, saving the district about $2.85 million.
  • Reduction of proposed bonuses for teachers handling extra-large classes, saving the district about $368,000.
  • Elimination of three mandatory professional development days, saving the district about $3.45 million.

Despite the calls for merit based pay to incentivize teachers, gone are bonuses for even attempting to deal with massive class sizes caused by previous lay-offs. Despite the historic agreement made with the teachers union over teacher evaluations, gone are professional development opportunities to improve pedagogical skills.

This news is on top of what was already a troubling and telling sign that the rhetoric around the so called "Cleveland plan" was shaping up to be just that, rhetoric.

The Cleveland school district plans to cut about 600 teachers from its payroll by fall to trim a budget deficit, leading to shortened school days and cuts in music, art and gym classes.
The plan calls for school days for kindergarten through eighth grade to be shortened by 50 minutes, that time being shaved from art, music, gym and media classes.
The shorter day contradicts Gordon's long-term goal of having longer days or longer school years in some schools.

You can plainly see that the rhetoric used to sell the Cleveland plan simply doesn't add up to the actions being proposed. The real crisis is Cleveland has always been obvious, with it's roots firmly embedded in an unconstitutional school funding system.

One group of people do seem to have a real plan to help all of Ohio's public schools - parents, rallying for school funding

public school advocates pushing for a new funding formula are taking their voices straight to lawmakers. They march on to Capitol Square, carrying signs and chanting…..hoping to make their voices heard.
the public school funding activists say they don’t like what they’ve seen from the Governor and lawmakers during the past year and a half. And the advocates say they will keep the heat on to try to convince lawmakers to reduce reliance on property taxes and change the system so that all schools have what they need.

It's time to really put students at the center of reform, and that means funding to provide an excellent education, in safe, welcoming schools. Without that, reform is just empty rhetoric.

Education News for 05-02-2012

Statewide Education News

  • Northeast Ohio schools welcome electronic devices to promote learning (Plain Dealer)
  • Cellphones and other electronic devices, once banished to school lockers, are becoming part of classroom lessons in some area school districts. From pop quizzes through text-messaging to lab results loaded onto electronic tablets to looking up information on smart phones, teachers are finding ways to engage students with the latest devices. Read More…

Local Issues

  • Disabilities in kids are increasingly nonphysical (Dispatch)
  • Growing numbers of American families say they’re raising a child who has a disability, and the most-prevalent conditions are less and less likely to be physical disorders. A report released yesterday by Princeton University and the Brookings Institution found that the top five chronic childhood conditions that limit typical activities are some type of developmental, behavioral or mental problem. Read More…

  • State recommends fiscal emergency for Monroe schools (Middletown Journal News)
  • The state could soon take over financial control of the Monroe School District. Officials with the Ohio Department of Education confirmed Tuesday Monroe’s fiscal recovery plan was not accepted and they recommended to the state auditor’s office the district be placed into fiscal emergency, which would be a first for any Butler County school system. Read More…

  • Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson pitches school reform plan to lawmakers; concerns over charter school provisions linger (Plain Dealer)
  • Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson on Tuesday formally pitched his education reform plan to state lawmakers, asking them to approve his proposal without making any changes. But charter school advocates, who have influential allies in the Statehouse, already are voicing objections. Read More…

  • Cleveland schools plan still has some critics (Dispatch)
  • A bipartisan group of lawmakers hopes to approve legislation by the end of May to overhaul Cleveland schools, but they still must resolve a final sticking point with charter school advocates who say the plan could limit school-choice options. Concerns about the tax-funded, privately operated schools are the “biggest obstacle,” said Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering, after a two-hour hearing on the bill yesterday. Read More…

  • Envirothon competition teaches students outdoor science skills (Hamilton Journal News)
  • The competition was billed as The Area IV Envirothon, but area science teachers found the 62-school regional competition as a way to entice their students into learning and applying science outdoors. Franklin’s team trains all year for the event. Badin’s geared up the week before. Both looked to be enjoying themselves, Tuesday on the Pleasant Vineyard Ministries campground. Read More…

  • Ex-CEO of Cleveland schools works on Chaney plan (Vindicator)
  • A retired chief executive of Cleveland schools is working as a consultant in the Youngstown schools. Eugene Sanders, who retired Feb. 1, 2011, from the Cleveland school district helm, is working through his Sanders Transformation Group at Chaney’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics school. Read More…

  • High-schoolers’ COTA passes stay in Columbus schools budget (Dispatch)
  • Next year’s Columbus City Schools general-fund budget would grow by about 1.9 percent and maintain COTA bus privileges for high-school students, according to a preview that Superintendent Gene Harris presented to the school board last night. If approved by the Columbus Board of Education, the general-fund spending plan would grow by $13.5 million, to about $741 million. Read More…

  • Law Day offers Ross County students chance to argue case (Chillicothe Gazette)
  • Students at several area high schools were more likely to approach the bench than the chalkboard Tuesday as they took part in moot court sessions led by local attorneys. The courtroom simulations at Chillicothe, Southeastern and Unioto high schools were part of an effort by the Ross County Bar Association to spark student interest in the legal process for Law Day, which was established by President Dwight D. Eisenhowser in 1958 to mark the nation's commitment to the rule of law. Read More…

  • Online summer school has lower cost, more flexibility (Dispatch)
  • Some Olentangy students will go white-water rafting and ballroom dancing as part of a physical-education class this summer. Others will earn gym credit online. The district is one of many across the country moving summer-school classes online, in some cases to cut costs but often to provide students with a more-flexible schedule. Read More…

  • School reevaluating bullying prevention, other programs after bomb threats (WTOV-Steubenville)
  • A week after a student was accused of making bomb threats because she was being bullied, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School officials said they are reevaluating how they deal with social issues. Cecilia Abdalla, program assessment coordinator at the JVS, said they have an anti-bullying presentation to students at the beginning of each school year. Read More…

Education News for 03-22-2012

Statewide Education News

  • Top school official asks Marion business leaders to help (Marion Star)
  • MARION - Ohio's students should have all the opportunities in the world. Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Stan Heffner started off his Tuesday speech to the Marion Rotary Club with those thoughts, saying state officials want to make it so. The way to do so, he suggested, is by expecting more from schools. Heffner's talk at the Palace Theatre's May Pavilion outlined those expectations as he said current standards are outdated compared to the knowledge and skills needed today. Read More…

  • Cleveland schools plan not necessarily for other districts (Columbus Dispatch)
  • In a rare display of bipartisanship, Democratic and Republican legislators from both chambers of the General Assembly declared yesterday that they will work together to pass legislation to overhaul the long-troubled Cleveland school district. Gov. John Kasich has held up the plan developed by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson as a possible model for Ohio’s urban districts and perhaps others in the state. Read More…

  • Spare classes that directly affect students, board advised (Newark Advocate)
  • Two classes to be affected by a reduction in force approved by the Granville Board of Education Monday night directly affect students and should be spared, their defenders say. During the public comment section of Monday's meeting, five speakers including two high school students urged that middle-school Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Barb Blatter be retained and a full roster of her classes be taught. Read More…

  • Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson's school plan gets show of support from bipartisan group of lawmakers (Plain Dealer)
  • COLUMBUS — A bipartisan cast of Statehouse lawmakers stood with Mayor Frank Jackson Wednesday and pledged to move forward soon with a dramatic reshaping of Cleveland public schools through legislation. While the lawmakers, including two Cleveland Democrats -- Sen. Nina Turner and Rep. Sandra Williams -- stopped short of fully embracing Jackson's school plan, they sounded ready to shake up the status quo. Read More…

Local Issues

  • Lake school board approves staff layoffs, closing of elementary (Toledo Blade)
  • Second-grade teacher Brooke Schulte, her voice quivering slightly, said she wasn't angry that she just lost her job and she still supported Lake Local Schools. Parent Jamie Blazevich wanted her 5-year-old son in all-day kindergarten next year so she plans to enroll him somewhere else, now that Lake's full-time kindergarten is gone. The two women were among several who spoke out Wednesday night as the school board unanimously approved closing Walbridge Elementary next school year and laying off eight teachers and 17 other employees. Read More…

  • State’s new graduate-rate method concerns Youngstown schools’ chief (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • Youngstown - Among the changes on the upcoming state report cards for school districts is an alteration in the graduate rate. The modification calculates the rate based on how many students graduate in four years or less after entering high school. Previously, the rate was based on an estimate of how many 12th-graders graduate. For Youngstown schools, the rate on the most recent report card would have been 58 percent, compared with about 68 percent based on the previous rate. Superintendent Connie Hathorn is concerned about the change. Read More…

  • Northridge school district to buy modular units for fourth, fifth grades (Newark Advocate)
  • JOHNSTOWN - Northridge will keep its existing modular units for its fourth- and fifth-grade students, after exploring options that ranged from consolidation to building a new, more permanent structure. The board voted, 4-1, to buy the existing intermediate school for $485,000 -- which should be paid off within four years -- instead of the permanent structure that would have cost up to $1.6 million, spread out during a 15-year loan. The district will continue paying $10,274 per month to rent the units. Read More…

Teaching isn't as simple as it appears

Ever since Gov. John Kasich barely beat the red light in last November's election, his school-reform bus has been careening at breakneck speed, rolling over all in its path. But no one is in sight to flag him for reckless driving.

He and other public-education "reformers" are transferring millions of tax dollars from public schools to less scrutinized charters and private schools. They are dissing classroom teachers by taking away both their dignity and their voices at the bargaining table, while watering down teacher-license requirements and dancing to the tune of the highly paid elites from tax-exempt foundations.

If the governor and our lawmakers can escape their fact-free zones and policy gurus, they might visit public schools - to listen, watch and learn what it really takes to teach children.

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