Education News for 03-04-2013

State Education News

  • Private biller says schools missing out on $200 million (Akron Beacon Journal)
  • The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services hasn’t fully reimbursed school districts for Medicaid related services since 2005. That’s when the state’s previous reimbursement system crumbled under a lack of oversight…Read more...

  • Charter school money is big question mark in Gov. John Kasich's education budget (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • Much of the debate so far on Gov. John Kasich's education budget has focused on whether he would give enough state money to public schools and how he would distribute it between poor and rich districts…Read more...

  • State’s ‘guarantee’ on school funding may vanish (Columbus Dispatch)
  • School districts have been guaranteed for years that no matter what the state’s funding formula says, they won’t see their basic state funding cut…Read more...

  • School security gets renewed emphasis from state (Columbus Dispatch)
  • For LaDonna Calingo, the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre was a call to action…Read more...

  • Kasich’s school plan hits education centers (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Centers that provide support services to school districts across Ohio could see tens of millions in combined state funding cuts under Gov. John Kasich’s proposed two-year budget…Read more...

  • Cursive 'is a dying art' (Findlay Courier)
  • Before smartphones, before personal and laptop computers, and before typewriters, people put pen or pencil to paper by hand writing. And the best of handwriting was cursive…Read more...

  • Lorain schools will soon be under the guidance of state academic commission (Lorain Morning Journal)
  • Lorain City School’s recently passed levy stopped a state financial takeover, but its poor performance on state report cards will soon land it under the guidance of a state academic commission…Read more...

  • Schools accepting voucher applications (Springfield News-Sun)
  • Parents of students who are eligible for the EdChoice voucher program can apply now at participating private schools…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Chillicothe school district takes leaner approach (Chillicothe Gazette)
  • For the past 102 years, the Western School Building on Cherry Street has served as a venue for learning in the Chillicothe City Schools…Read more...

  • Student competition to create an invention produces simple result (Columbus Dispatch)
  • A marble careens down a track and smacks a switch. A hair dryer breathes to life, sending a ping pong ball flying, releasing a toy car. The miniature Mustang zooms through a loop and releases a resting hammer that slams onto a waiting nail…Read more...

  • Westerville schools losing kids, funding to charters (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Students are leaving Westerville schools at a rate that has alarmed district officials, spurring them to seek ways to draw students back and retain others…Read more...

  • Schools use Internet to crush rumors (Lima News)
  • Rumor had it that Waynesfield-Goshen schools would soon drop its music programs. The grapevine also whispered that the district wanted to take over the community youth basketball program…Read more...

  • District hears plan to arm teachers (Springfield News-Sun)
  • Two separate plans to protect local students are being debated in Clark County, highlighting the decisions districts face in the wake of shootings like Sandy Hook Elementary…Read more...

  • Niles audit finds savings (Warren Tribune Chronicle)
  • Interim Superintendent Frank Danso said study, reflection and discussion will be necessary for the district as it moves forward after a recent audit…Read more...

  • Increased police presence after rumors of planned shooting at Perry Middle School (Willoughby News Herald)
  • Perry Village Police provided an increased presence at Perry Schools Friday as a precaution after rumors of a shooting threat at Perry Middle School…Read more...


  • We must spend surplus wisely (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  • After months of pinching pennies, imagine finding yourself with almost $2,000 left over after you’ve paid all your bills. What do you do with the windfall: Put it into your children’s education…Read more...

  • Business, labor, education and government entities pledge to find opportunities for people long (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • As Cleveland's economic turnaround gathers momentum, one of this community's great challenges is to extend that success to businesses, individuals and neighborhoods…Read more...

  • How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms (PEW Internet)
  • A survey of teachers who instruct American middle and secondary school students finds that digital technologies have become central to their teaching and professionalization…Read more...

Education News for 12-13-2012

State Education News

  • Perry Local Supt. Richard to retire, Bowe to replace him (Canton Repository)
  • After seven years, Perry Local Schools Superintendent John Richard plans to retire at the end of January to become the senior executive director of the Ohio Department of Education…Read more...

  • Ohio Senate OKs new school evaluation system (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • The Ohio Senate on Wednesday passed a Republican-backed education bill that calls for a more demanding evaluation system for schools, along with other significant changes…Read more...

  • State officials auditing troubled charter school (Columbus Dispatch)
  • A Columbus charter school already strained because of poor fiscal management now is under state scrutiny for its work with special-needs children…Read more...

  • House likely to OK school report cards (Columbus Dispatch)
  • The House is expected to approve legislation today to create a new school report card and accountability system that supporters hope will help improve student learning…Read more...

  • Steep cuts, levy crucial for Carlisle schools to avoid takeover by state (Dayton Daily News)
  • Carlisle Local Schools may consider eliminating at least one bus route in January as part of $400,000 in potential cuts to keep the district from falling into fiscal emergency status and a takeover by the state…Read more...

Local Education News

  • 25 local leaders on Coleman’s city schools panel (Columbus Dispatch)
  • The chief executive of a major corporation, a federal judge and a prominent attorney will lead a commission of 25 people appointed…Read more...

  • Berea school officials listen to parents, readjust next year's hours Sun Newspapers)
  • Berea school officials reconsidered next year’s proposed time changes for the district’s elementary schools…Read more...

  • Midview schools facing major cuts WKYC)
  • The Midview Schools may cut up to 25 percent of teachers and go to a five-hour school day. The Midview School District says if a levy fails in February, $2.3 million will need to be cut…Read more...


  • Newfound urgency Columbus Dispatch)
  • Ohio’s new “third-grade reading guarantee” is causing big headaches, especially in big-city school districts. While they aren’t anything to celebrate, those headaches are necessary and overdue…Read more...

Where the GOP Presidential candidates stand on education

With congress unable to pass any meaningful legislation, the executive branch has wielded ever greater power in the education policy setting realm, most notably using Race to the Top to bribe cash strapped states to compete with each other in a race to implement all manner of unproven education reforms.

No doubt then, whomever wins the voters approval this coming November to become President, will have a large impact on public education and education policy for at least the next 4 years.

So it is, that tonight is the first step in selecting the next President, the Iowa caucuses. Where members of the Iowa Republican party will select their preferred candidate to face President Obama in November. (the Democrats will select a candidate too, but President Obama is unchallenged). For how this caucus works, the Desmoines Register has a handy guide.

We thought it would be useful to provide a guide on what each of the main GOP Presidential candidates have put forth as their education agenda.

Mitt Romney

A quick look at Mitt Romney's campaign website reveals that education isn't a priority. Under his issues tab he lists only jobs, healthcare and foreign policy. We have to turn to third party reporting then to discern his intentions. A reading of various articles reveals a candidate who falls in the corporate education reform camp. More testing, teachers with less influence, pay for test results. While he once supported the abolition of the Department of Education, he has since changed that stance.

Ron Paul

Ron Paul does feature education on his campaign website.

Ron Paul works towards the elimination of the inefficient Department of Education, leaving education decisions to be made at the state, local or personal level. Parents should have the right to spend their money on the school or method of schooling they deem appropriate for their children.

It was arduous researching into Ron Paul's political positions as one quickly descends in to a carnival of the bizarre. This post sums up the problem quite well.

Rick Perry

Like Mitt Romney, Rick Perry doesn't feature education among his list of issues on his website, but he does feature some education policy on his Gubernatorial website

Education reform has been a top priority for Governor Perry during his 20 years of public service. He has worked to raise the overall quality of education in Texas by aligning the higher education standards more closely with the needs of business, balancing accountability with incentives for teacher and school performance and increasing the emphasis on core subject areas like math, reading and science.

One of the most memorable policy positions Rick Perry has put forth has been his desire to abolish the Department of Education

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum doesn't have any education policy listed on his campaign website. This seems to be an evolving theme of the Republican candidates, and one we find troubling.

Perhaps his largest contribution to education policy was the "Santorum Amendment", which Wikipedia describes as follows

The Santorum Amendment was an amendment to the 2001 education funding bill which became known as the No Child Left Behind Act, proposed by then-Republican United States Senator Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania, which promotes the teaching of intelligent design while questioning the academic standing of evolution in U.S. public schools. Though the amendment only survives in modified form in the Bill's Conference Report and does not carry the weight of law, as one of the Discovery Institute intelligent design campaigns it became a cornerstone in the intelligent design movement's "Teach the Controversy" campaign.

Santorum is another Republican who believes in a limited role in education for the Federal government.

On Friday, he said people often ask what he would do at a federal level to promote his education ideas.

"I say darn little, other than talking about it. One of the things a president can do and it's important for a president to do is lead a discussion about important things in America," Santorum said.

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich features a very lengthy policy list related to education on his campaign website. The bullet points include

  • Empower parents to pick the right school for their child.
  • Institute a Pell Grant-style system for Kindergarten through 12th Grade.

  • Require transparency and accountability about achievement.
  • Implement a “no limits” charter system.

  • Establish a pay for performance system.
  • Welcome business talent in our communities into the classroom. 
Restore American history and values into the classroom.
  • Protect the rights of home-schooled children 
Encourage states to think outside outdated boundaries of education.
  • Shrink the federal Department of Education

Those are the positions, as best as we could discern, of each of the current top tier candidates in the GOP primary as they head in to tonight's Iowa caucus. According to the reputable polling prognosticator, 538, here's the current polling state of play

What happens to merit pay without the pay?

A reader brought this article to our attention. One of the items you will notice if you study the corporate reform plans being pushed for teacher merit pay, is the focus on firing "bad teachers", what you hear very little about is the pay aspect to "merit pay".

The largest teacher merit pay program in the nation is no more, reduced to a shell of its former self after having 90 percent of its funding slashed in the Texas budget crunch.

About 180,000 teachers—more than half the state's total—will receive bonus checks this fall for their work in the just concluded school year. But over the next two years, when state funding plummets, there will be enough money for only 18,000 to receive bonuses.

Originally trumpeted by Gov. Rick Perry and legislative leaders as the wave of the future in public education, the program fell victim to the scaled-back budget approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor last week. The state is spending $392 million in the current two-year budget on the District Awards for Teacher Excellence program but will have just $40 million for it in the next one.

All the downsides to the policy, without the rewards for excellence. Sounds very much like the plans the Ohio legislature have.

GOP school privatization plan under scrutiny

No one thinks the house Republicans idea of a wild wild west of for-profit charter schools is a good idea.

They go too far for self-described conservative Terry Ryan of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, whose sister foundation sponsors about a half-dozen Ohio charter schools.

"Oh my goodness, have we not learned anything from the history of the last 10 years in Ohio?" asked Ryan.

"We believe in charter schools and competition, but for them to work effectively, there has to be strong accountability. This would bring us back in time to when we were a laughingstock nationally because of the poor quality of our charter schools."
"This is a blatant giveaway of public money to big Republican campaign contributors like David Brennan, who now will be able to enrich themselves even more at taxpayer expense," said Dale Butland, spokesman for Innovation Ohio.
Bill Sims, head of the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools, also has concerns about the House proposals on for-profits - worrying that they could "take the public out of public charter schools."
A first read of the House version was discouraging for Perry White, founder and former executive director of Citizens Academy, a Cleveland charter school that has worked its way to an "excellent" rating from the state.

"If these provisions pass, Ohio will become the poster child for bad charter policy," White said in an email. "By weakening charter accountability, the Ohio House will unleash a tsunami of mediocrity."

There's even more questions being raised in this Dispatch article including the legality of this give-away to White Hat Management.