The "fun" begins soon

A lot of changes have been legislated in education in recent years, and many of those changes due dates are almost upon us. Here is jus a sample of what we can expect and when, from Common Core and report cards to teacher evaluations.

click for large version

Next week we will begin to take a look at each of these and asses their merits and readiness.

Graph of the week

We hear a lot from the Governor and his legislature about the need for students to be "college ready", which is laudable. But there's the rhetoric of "being ready" and the reality of a legislature that is making college harder, especially for students from poor families.

Exhibit A is this graph sent to us by a reader, regarding the states disinvestment in the Ohio College Opportunity Grant

Is an $81 a year tax cut really worth it?

10 Education Reform Tactics That Hurt Students and Don’t Improve Education

We write almost exclusively about education reform here at JTF, and there's been an awful lot to write about in recent years. At the very core of our support and objections to various reforms has always been whats best for students. This post from LAProgressive captures a lot of the problems with the current direction corporate education reform is taking us, and the negative effect it has on students

1. Deluging schools with tests in every grade and every subject beginning with pre-kindergarten, to the point where little else goes on in school but preparing for tests.

2. Pushing the arts out of a central role in the life and culture of public schools.

3. Demoralizing teachers, especially the most talented and experienced teachers, by subjecting them to evaluations based on junk science

4. Discriminating against special needs and English Language Learner (ELL) students by giving favorable treatment to charter schools which exclude or drive out such students, and forcing such students to take tests that are developmentally inappropriate for them

5. Destabilizing communities by closing schools that have been important community institutions for generations.

6. Undermining the mentoring and relationship building that are at the core of great teaching, especially in poor and working class communities, by raising class size and substituting online learning for direct instruction without thinking through the consequences of such policies on young people who need personal attention and guidance.

7. Creating such unrealistic pressure on schools, and on administrators and teaching staffs, that cheating on tests becomes endemic.

8. Giving billionaire philanthropists, and wealthy companies which provide services to schools such power over education policy smothering the voices of teachers, parents and students.

9. Replacing veteran teachers, often teachers of color, with poorly trained Teach for America Corps members,most of them white, who go through a 5 week training period before being given their own class, and often leave for other professions after their two year teaching commitment is completed.

10. Adding to mental health problems of students by spending so much on testing that school districts have to fire school counselors, and to the physical problems of students by transforming gym and recess and after school programs into test prep removing opportunities for exercise and play.

There's a lot to recognize in that list, and be worried about.

Education News for 12-06-2012

State Education News

  • Senate will redo bill on grading districts (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Republican leaders in the Senate say the goal of a new A-to-F report-card system and tougher school-accountability system is to ensure that all students graduate from high school ready for college…Read more...

  • Educators open to stricter standards (Hamilton Journal-News)
  • If making teachers take a rigorous exam to get their license, similar to the way lawyers take the bar exam in order to practice law…Read more...

  • Educators debate proposed exam (Springfield News-Sun)
  • Ohio educators responded with tempered support to the American Federation of Teachers’ call for a more stringent exam…Read more...

  • Political Fight Threatens To End Funding For Autism Treatment In This Session (WBNS)
  • The state education department spends over $250 million dollars annually in special education costs for children with autism…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Many kids miss school as 'stomach flu' spreads in Ross County (Chillicothe Gazette)
  • Several local schools reported a large number of students out sick Wednesday, one day after health officials said the so-called “stomach flu” appears to be fairly widespread…Read more...

  • Licking Heights school copes without busing (Columbus Dispatch)
  • There were a lot of whistles and hand signals, a few kids wandering through the parking lot yesterday with their cellphones pressed to their ears…Read more...

  • Schools create rainy day fund (Newark Advocate)
  • Granville school officials have established an emergency “contingency” fund that is dependent in part upon how quickly the Granville Inn is sold…Read more...

  • Custodians, groundskeepers laid off at Heights (Newark Advocate)
  • Licking Heights Board of Education last week moved forward with another round of reductions, laying off custodians and reducing the hours of dozens of bus drivers…Read more...

  • Teachers get STEM training (Warren Tribune Chronicle)
  • Some teachers were a little overwhelmed by the vast amount of information available in the new Defined STEM program…Read more...


  • Short takes (Columbus Dispatch)
  • KIDS OFTEN are involved with activities at school beyond the traditional school day, and often when it’s dark. Combine poor visibility with a lack of sidewalks and well-marked or well-lit crosswalks…Read more...

  • Better busing (Findlay Courier)
  • Earlier this year, Gov. John Kasich's administration introduced "Beyond Boundaries," a program to help school districts, local governments and state agencies deal with less state funding…Read more...

Final Campaign 2012 recap

We've covered a lot of ground during campaign 2012, and wanted to recap some of the important pieces you will want to keep in mind.

School Levies
There are a lot of levies on the ballot, as a result of the Kasich budget cuts. You can see a list of them here , organizned by county, type and whether they are requests for new money or continuations.

State Board of Education
There are 7 state board of election seats up for grab, here's our primer on those, including some bios of pro public education candidates.

Voting Checklist
Confused by the shifting voting requirements caused by politicians seeking their own advantage? Here's a handy checklist of what you need to vote, and what your rights are.

Union Candidates
Remember SB5? So do these union members who decided to run for office. If you're lucky, one of them will be on your ballot. One such member is Donna O'Connor, who has inspired so many people with her positive vision and strong leadership. Check the link to see all the union members running on pro-worker platforms.

The Big One - President
We've written a lot about the race for the Presidency, but we'll leave it in the hands of the candidates own visions to make closing arguments

President Obama's 2nd term plan for education.
Mitt Romney: Mr. Corporate Ed.

Issue 2: Voters First, Not Politicians
A YES on Issue 2 puts voters first.

Donna O'Connor

This arrived in our mail box this morning and we wanted to share. Not many candidates can enthuse this many volunteers to go canvassing on the last, cold, Saturday of a campaign. Let alone a first time candidate for the Ohio House. But that's just what Special Ed teacher Donna O'Connor has been able to do every weekend.

Volunteers tell JTF that they have been recieving an incredibly positive response to Donna's message from everyone they speak too - and they have spoken to a lot of people. Well over 30,000 in fact!