Education News for 05-07-2013

Local Education News

  • Urban League might lose Head Start grant (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Two nonprofit groups have been offered federal Head Start grants to serve needy preschool children in central Ohio, but not the Columbus Urban League…Read more...

  • Argument over access (Warren Tribune Chronicle)
  • Parents who are unhappy with the Champion School District's refusal to provide access for their special-needs son to attend Central Elementary School have filed a complaint with the Department of Justice…Read more...


  • Bus money (Akron Beacon Journal)
  • Since 2005, Ohioans have enjoyed a 21 percent reduction in individual income tax rates. The Ohio House has proposed an additional 7 percent…Read more...

  • Hospital study is timely for parents (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Probably every parent wishes at some point that he or she could just bubble-wrap their little one. But guarding kids so closely for fear of injury…Read more...

  • Another blow to city schools (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Thursday’s records seizures at 20 Columbus high schools by the state auditor ought to prove convincing to those who have blindly defended…Read more...

Voucher demand falls

We have previously reported how the last budget expanded the availability of vouchers from 14,000 a year to 60,000, and how little demand there was for them. This year demand for vouchers has fallen even further.

The Department of Education received nearly 600 fewer applicants to the Educational Choice scholarship this spring compared to last year
The 16,848 students whose families submitted applications by last Friday's deadline comes in short of the 17,438 who did so a year ago and still far below the 60,000 limit on vouchers. ODE also held a second application window last fall that brought the total applications to 17,516 for use in the present school year.

Let's look at the graph

If parents in school districts that are struggling are rejecting the voucher option, why would the legislature think expansion of vouchers into districts where schools are excellent, prove to be any more popular?

School choice proponents need to begin to understand that the vast majority of parents choose public schools, and that choice deserves the same vigorous support for-profit education receives from the "choice" community and Ohio's current crop of legislators.

Education News for 04-22-2013

State Education News

  • Some high-rated districts failing with gifted students (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Most Ohio schools earn passing grades for making progress with gifted students…Read more...

  • Columbus schools pitch data safeguards (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Columbus principals would have to get permission to change students’ grades at the end of the school year under rules the superintendent is proposing…Read more...

  • Changes made to state report cards (East Liverpool Review)
  • Changes made by the Ohio Department of Education have report cards for schools taking on a whole new look, according to a report…Read more...

  • Huffman wants to make school funding more stable (Lima News)
  • State Rep. Matt Huffman is working on a school funding plan he says will create a consistent and steady increase in education money…Read more...

  • Controversy downplayed; Naming of Ramos, Patterson to academic commission (Lorain Morning Journal)
  • Local school officials said that concerns about the appointment of Raul Ramos and Henry Patterson Jr. to the Academic Distress Commission…Read more...

  • Students to take OAA tests this week (Newark Advocate)
  • This week, students will begin taking this year’s Ohio Achievement Assessments. One of the best things parents can do to help their students do well on the test…Read more...

  • ACT, AP can cut college costs (Springfield News-Sun)
  • Data included on the state report cards for high schools about how students performed on the SAT, ACT and AP tests can translate into money saved for families…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Buckeye Local School District does administration shuffle (Ashtabula Star-Beacon)
  • A reshuffling of administrators in the Buckeye Local School District will result in a familiar face returning to Edgewood High School next year…Read more...

  • Cleveland District considers using money from sale of headquarters to offer more (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • Although the Cleveland School District is leaving its longtime offices on East Sixth Street this summer, school board member Eric Wobser wants the district to increase…Read more...

  • Columbus shuffling principals (Columbus Dispatch)
  • More than 1 in 4 Columbus schools will get new principals this fall as the district makes new efforts to rescue poorly performing schools…Read more...

  • Parents to rally over teacher contract talks (Dayton Daily News)
  • Parents and teachers rallied Friday in front of the Springboro Board of Education in support of the district’s teachers and in opposition to the school board…Read more...

  • Vermilion to expand student drug testing (Lorain Morning Journal)
  • Drug testing at Vermilion High School will expand to include all students next school year, Superintendent Phil Pempin announced yesterday…Read more...

  • Newark schools preparing for curriculum shift (Newark Advocate)
  • For decades, there have been students sitting in their classrooms wondering, “Why do I have to learn this?” and “When am I going to use this in the real world?”…Read more...

  • After no deal to end Strongsville teachers strike (Sun Newspapers)
  • Yet another negotiation session in the seven-week teachers strike failed to produce a deal…Read more...

Teachers stay strong in Strongsville

The teachers strike in Strongsville, Ohio is now entering its 5th week. Since the Strongsville Board of Education made their last offer, the Strongsville Education Association has made 3 counter offers that have been met with silence. The board's resistance to talk has been so extreme that a court had to order them to release public records. With this as a backdrop, we decided to travel up to Strongsville.

When we arrived we were met with the sight of hundreds of determined educators walking the picket line

After talking to them and listening to their side of the strike, it was clear to us that even after being out on strike for over a month, they were determined to secure a fair contract. It was also clear that the Strongsville board of education is being guided by special interests with an agenda and not the interests of the students and the community. This became even more apparent later in the day.

As the teachers marched up an down the sidewalk of the very busy road, they were receiving a tremendous amount of support from passersby,both in cars and on foot (a number of parents were walking the picket lines with the teachers).

Around 1pm, in the wind and cold, teachers and their supporters march to a common area to gather around a gazebo. Sen. Sherrod Brown was scheduled to address them.

At least 1,000 people turned out for a rally on Strongsville’s square attended by members of other unions.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Avon Democrat, called on Frazee to kick-start the stalled negotiations.

“Most importantly, students are not well-served when both sides are not sitting at the bargaining table,“ Brown said.

“Strongsville students deserve a settlement – now. But a settlement can’t be reached if the two parties aren’t talking. That’s why I joined teachers today – who told me how they want to be back in the classroom – and why I will keep in contact with the school board,” Brown said.

After Sen. Brown spoke, SEA President Linscott addressed her members and the crowd. She laid out the clear reasons why the strike has happened and why it continues. But more importantly she offered the board yet another opportunity to resolve the strike fairly.
In 2009 SEA and the Strongsville board agreed to binding interest arbitration should it be needed.
Again, in 2010 SEA and the Strongsville board agreed to binding interest arbitration. In both cases that course of action wasn't needed as agreements were made.
Yesterday, SEA once again offered to end the strike immediately if the board agreed to binding interest arbitration. The proposal can be read in full below.

Strongsville E.A Binding Arbitration offer

Unlike in 2009 and 2010, the Strongsville board rejected this offer before the end of the day, once again demonstrating bad faith and a motive other than ending the month long strike. If their goal is to try and break the SEA, and it appears that that is their goal, they are going to fail. The hundreds of teachers we met, saw and talked ot yesterday were determined and resolved to continue their strike until a fair labor contract is agreed to.

The Federal mediator has called both parties back to the negotiating table today. Pressure on the Board is mounting as conditions inside Strongsville schools is deteriorating

Dozens of parents and students fed up with the Strongsville teachers strike took their pleas for the school board to negotiate and find common ground with the teachers union to City Council’s April 1 meeting.

Six Strongsville High School students recounted concerning conditions inside the school – overfilled classrooms, substitutes who did not know the material they were teaching and were not told where the regular teacher left off and an abundance of movies and study halls peppering the eight-period school day have become the norm, they said.
Pam Mullen, who has three children in the district, says her two youngest children at Muraski Elementary School are on IEPs for speech and reading.

“For over a week they did not receive the help they needed,” Mullen said. “My daughter tried her best to keep up, but it was too much. It led to melt downs and stomach aches.”

Mullen said she received a letter from the district saying no speech therapists had been hired yet, and she could not afford to hire one herself.

“This past month has been frustrating for my family,” she said.

Moser said some of her classmates who are on IEPs were left to fend for themselves at a time that was crucial for not just them, but the school district – Ohio Graduation Tests, which took place March 11-15, during the second week of the strike.

“Strongsville City Schools was thriving before this,” Moser said. “Now there’s no learning, no love and hallways are filled with dread.”

Junior Mathangi Sridharan painted the picture for those students who are in AP classes, high-level courses the district has struggled to fill.

Sridharan said students have been going over the material that will be covered in tests given next month by themselves – she and two other students have even taught some classes.
Other students spoke about the void of honors classes and extracurricular activities, including concerts and plays the students had spent months preparing for, but a common theme came up between parents and students, alike – the strike is on the brink of doing irreparable harm to the community.

The board has now had 4 opportunities offered to it by the striking teachers and has remained silent, refusing to negotiate in good faith. Let's hope they see sense and reason, and find a way to end this strike in a way that is fair to everyone, students, teachers and the community at large.

You can stay up to date on the strongsville strike at the SEA Facebook page, and on Twitter.

Education News for 03-22-2013

Local Education News

  • Canton schools superintendent outlines reorganization plan Akron Beacon Journal)
  • A wide-ranging plan for Canton City Schools that would introduce more choice is taking aim at publicly funded charter schools that pull students — and money — from traditional buildings…Read more...

  • Conneaut school officials unveil defense plan Ashtabula Star-Beacon)
  • School officials in Conneaut unveiled their defense plan to parents and the public in case of an armed intruder Thursday night in the first of four meetings scheduled at each of the districts buildings…Read more...

  • Educators say “stop the misuse of standardized testing” Athens Messenger)
  • Those who think there’s an over-use of standardized testing in public schools have signed an online petition…Read more...

  • Reform not often demanded of school boards, panel told Columbus Dispatch)
  • Voters typically don’t replace ineffective school board members and rarely demand reform from failing districts, an education policy expert told the Columbus Education Commission yesterday…Read more...

  • Jackson school board member guilty in threats Columbus Dispatch)
  • A 25-year member of the Jackson City Schools Board of Education has been found guilty of intimidation of a public servant for sending threatening letters to educators and other school-board members in the southeastern Ohio district…Read more...

  • Strongsville Mayor's proposed meeting with teachers, school board is shot down Sun Newspapers)
  • Mayor Thomas Perciak's proposed negotiating meeting between the board and teachers union representatives at 10 a.m. March 22 has fallen through…Read more...

  • Parents share concerns over Supt. Hathorn's schools plan Youngstown Vindicator)
  • Gertrude and Alvin Hosea can live with city schools Superintendent Connie Hathorn’s revitalization plan for the schools as long as their granddaughter gets to stay at Kirkmere Elementary School next year…Read more...

Education News for 03-21-2013

Local Education News

  • Jefferson Area School District employees may face layoffs (Ashtabula Star-Beacon)
  • Educators and staff of the Jefferson Area School District could be facing layoffs as board members unanimously approved the intent for a reduction in force for the 2013-2014 school year…Read more...

  • Academic measures may be altered (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  • Elementary school report cards could have more detail, the grading scale could change and more classes could help boost a student’s GPA…Read more...

  • T.J. Lane's 'Killer' T-shirt stirs debate over defendants' statements in court (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • Geauga County Prosecutor James Flaiz said Wednesday that he was shocked when T.J. Lane showed off his "Killer" T-shirt at his sentencing, but he didn't point it out during the proceeding because he believed the judge would take care of it…Read more...

  • Huber schools could restore $1.6M in instructional programs (Dayton Daily News)
  • Officials with Huber Heights City Schools are considering restoring $1.6 million in instructional programs if the district is able to generate additional revenue by passing a levy in August and receives an increase in state funding…Read more...

  • Impacts of Heights tax levy success, failure outlined (Newark Advocate)
  • Licking Heights schools superintendent Philip Wagner laid out the good news and bad news Tuesday surrounding the success or failure of the district’s proposed new 8.9-mill tax levy…Read more...

  • Strike spills into Beachwood, Parma as Strongsville teachers picket at board members' employers (Sun Newspapers)
  • Picketers for the Strongsville Education Association took their message to the Western Campus of Cuyahoga Community College March 20, where David Frazee, president of the Strongsville School Board…Read more...

  • Superintendent Hathorn wants to meet with charter school parents (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • City schools Superintendent Connie Hathorn wants to meet with parents of students attending charter schools to tout what the city district has to offer…Read more...

  • Student fees hot topic at Austintown BOE (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • School board members spoke out Tuesday about fees that are charged yearly to all students, saying that some parents and teachers have been vocal in their opposition to them…Read more...


  • School aid do-over (Toledo Blade)
  • When Gov. John Kasich first outlined his plan to reform Ohio public school funding, there was hope it would lead to a more equitable, more adequate system. As details of the proposal have emerged, that hope largely has been dashed…Read more...