Education News for 12-11-2012

State Education News

  • Program to help Ohio schools teach historic texts (Dayton Daily News)
  • COLUMBUS — An educational program unveiled last week by the Ohio Historical Society is meant to help schools comply with a new state law requiring students in grades 4-12 to study the texts of the U.S. and state constitutions…Read more...

  • Ohio Board Of Education Takes First Step Toward Statewide Restraint, Seclusion Room Policy (WBNS)
  • COLUMBUS, Ohio - School officials discussed plans for what would be the first statewide policy regarding restraint and seclusion rooms in school.…Read more...

  • Ohio Senate Panel Vote Set On School Letter Grades (WCMH-TV)
  • A bill bestowing familiar-looking A through F grades on Ohio school districts, buildings and specialty programs is headed to likely passage in the Ohio Senate. The Senate Education Committee is scheduled to vote on the bill …Read more...

Local Education News

  • Unioto to provide more feedback on quarterly tests (Chillicothe Gazette)
  • Parents of Union-Scioto students can expect more feedback on how their kids are performing on quarterly assessments, if they want it. The district plans to make available, by request, summary reports…Read more...

  • Mayor Frank Jackson names members of schools' advice panel, a 1st step in districtwide overhaul (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • A key part of Mayor Frank Jackson's broader plan to boost academic performance in 
Cleveland took hold Monday when he named an advisory panel that will help set standards for charter schools in the city.…Read more...

  • Cleveland Metropolitan School District to auction its headquarters building (Crains Cleveland Business)
  • The Cleveland Metropolitan School District plans to auction off its headquarters building at 1380 E. Sixth St. In downtown Cleveland.…Read more...

  • Superintendent announces retirement (Findlay Courier )
  • Findlay Superintendent Dean Wittwer held back tears Monday as he announced his plan to retire at the end of the school year.…Read more...

  • Carey voters likely to see school proposal on ballot (Findlay Courier)
  • Carey Superintendent Mark Vehre said Monday the school board will be asked next month to act on resolutions to place a tax package for a new school building before voters in May.…Read more...

  • School board votes to close Washington Intermediate (Findlay Courier)
  • Tensions ran high as Findlay school board unanimously voted Monday to close Washington Intermediate School at the end of this school year. More than 20 Washington staff, students and parents filled Findlay High School's library Monday…Read more...

  • Tri-Rivers invites students, parents to explore school (Marion Star)
  • Tri-Rivers Career Center is talking careers and credits as it encourages sophomores to consider attending the vocational school next year. The career center recently had its Exploring Career Days for sophomores followed by an open house for their parents.…Read more...

  • River Valley board interviews school chief candidates (Marion Star)
  • MARION — The River Valley Local Schools Board of Education has started interviewing superintendent candidates as the district invites the community to say farewell to 14-year Superintendent Tom Shade.…Read more...

  • Grant to aid area school districts (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • Eastern Ohio P-16 Partnership for Education, a Cincinnati-based initiative, and the Mahoning County Educational Service Center have secured a $100,000 grant from the Local Government Innovative Fund.…Read more...


  • Poverty and a brain that is able to learn (Akron Beacon Journal)
  • Except for some massaging, Ohio lawmakers are all but done writing a new law that changes how the state will measure and tell the public how well or poorly its schools are performing.…Read more...

Education News for 07-26-2012

Statewide Stories of the Day

  • Ohio schools chief: Data changes may spur charges (WSYX 6 ABC)
  • COLUMBUS - Ohio's school superintendent says the investigation of changes made to student attendance data in several districts could lead to criminal charges for any educators who commit fraud. The Columbus Dispatch reports Superintendent Stan Heffner discussed that possibility Wednesday, the same day the Ohio Department of Education announced the Lockland district in suburban Cincinnati filed false attendance data to improve its state report card. The data affect attendance and test-passing rates. Read more...

  • Toledo Public Schools emails tell of desire to raise scores (Blade)
  • Some Toledo Public Schools leaders -- apparently under pressure to increase the state's weighted average of student test scores -- detailed in back-and-forth emails their desires to exclude special education students and those absent for a length of time from their records. "Well I sure hope we will be able to do some attendance exclusions," Teri Sherwood, principal of Walbridge Elementary, wrote to Assistant Superintendent Romules Durant on June 20. Read more...

  • State: Lockland schools cheated (Enquirer)
  • COLUMBUS — Lockland schools falsely eliminated 36 low-scoring students from its rolls in an effort to improve its state report card, according to the Ohio Department of Education. As a result, the state has now reduced the district's academic standing and sanctions may be filed against staff. The downgrade is the result of a year-long investigation into allegations that the district had provided false data to the state. Lockland reported the students withdrew to go to other schools, then re-enrolled later that year. If a student withdraws, their test scores don’t count against the district. Read more...

  • TPS leaders speak out about state investigation (WTVG 13 ABC)
  • TPS School Board Member Larry Sykes explains why some principals may have been tweaking attendance numbers on the state report card. He says a number of inner city students bounce around from school to school. Sykes tells 13abc, "We have to go and find those students, some are sent to different cities to live with relatives ...poverty creates a serious problem for our children and our urban districts to teach them." Sykes says he's upset at how the Ohio Department of Education is handling the issue with the Ohio Urban School Districts. Read more...

Local Issues

  • Akron will provide free lunches at middle schools and high schools (Beacon Journal)
  • Akron’s middle and high school students won’t have to pay for school lunches this fall or even fill out paperwork for a government subsidy. The district already provides free breakfast in all its schools and free lunch in its elementary buildings. The Akron school board voted this week to extend that policy to all Akron schools under a new option for districts that participate in the national school lunch program. The change won’t cost local taxpayers any money and the district is expected to save some money because officials won’t have to print. Read more...

  • 15 local schools lack safety plans (Enquirer)
  • Fifteen local schools have failed to file safety plans and floor plans that would be used by emergency responders in a case of a school shooting or other emergency. They join 150 schools statewide who have not submitted plans, even though it is required by Ohio law. Some are working on their plans, but have not yet filed them. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine Wednesday urged schools to comply. “We hope that we will never experience school violence and we must do all we can to prevent it,” he said during the 2012 Ohio Safe Schools Summit in Columbus. Read more...

  • ‘Major Problems’ Found With City-Funded Tutoring Program (WBNS 10 CBS)
  • COLUMBUS - A local tutoring company is under investigation for allegedly billing for tutoring services that did not occur. Columbus City Schools officials said that Apostolic Faith Temple, Inc. is being investigated for alleged fraudulent invoicing for the 2010-11 school year. AFT, Inc. received more than $324,000 in public money for tutoring services that are now being called into question. AFT, Inc. is a Supplemental Education Services provider, which is a federally-funded No Child Left Behind program. Read more...

  • Mansfield schools work to halt teen dating abuse (News-Journal)
  • Teen dating violence is on the rise, and north central Ohio schools are trying to deal with it. Mansfield City Schools invited the Mansfield Domestic Violence Shelter in February to present information on teen dating violence to more than 600 students. "We want students to recognize behavior that is not appropriate," Mansfield Senior High School Assistant Principal Margaret Sternefeld wrote in a news release. Jill Donnenwirth, director of community-based service for the shelter, said several other area schools have invited the organization to speak to students. Read more...

  • Schools accused of faking data (Dayton Daily News)
  • Ohio Department of Education officials said they will review data submitted by all school districts and charter schools to look for potential red flags on whether they may be manipulating attendance or graduation data to improve their report card performance. The department on Wednesday lowered last year’s report card rating for Lockland School District in Hamilton County from “Effective” to “Continuous Improvement” after an investigation found it falsely reported withdrawing 36 students during the school year to boost the district’s state test results. Read more...

  • Oregon school chief asks for 8% cut in pay (Blade)
  • Oregon’s school board approved a request from Superintendent Michael Zalar to cut his pay 8 percent, returning his salary to what it was in 2011. Mr. Zalar submitted a resolution Wednesday night to the board seeking the reduction, saying he felt it was in the “best interest of the district, school, and the community.” “I feel this is the right thing to do. I am doing this voluntarily. This is not something I feel coerced to do,” Mr. Zalar said. The concession, which the board approved unanimously during a special meeting to get community input on the district’s budget and spending. Read more...


  • Cyber excess: Taxpayers should not over-fund charter schools (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
  • There is something very wrong with an education funding system that has public school districts chopping staff and ending programs while a publicly funded charter school is making so much money that it can pay millions to its spinoff companies. The operators of the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, the state's first and largest online charter with more than 11,300 students, channeled their innovation into two offshoot management entities, one a nonprofit and the other a for-profit firm. Read more...

Education News for 06-20-2012

State Education News

  • Ex-OSU quarterback needs no resume for state post (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Gov. John Kasich didn’t get a look at former Ohio State quarterback Stanley Jackson’s playbook before he appointed him to the state Board of Education. Read more...

Local Education News

  • Cleveland School District plans to move STEM high school students (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • The Cleveland School District's MC²STEM high school for science, technology, engineering and math plans to move its juniors and seniors to Cleveland State University. Read more...

  • Charter-school treasurer’s accounting questioned in state audit (Columbus Dispatch)
  • The state auditor says another charter-school treasurer is responsible for misspending about $170,000 in taxpayer money and has committed ethical misdeeds. Read more...

  • Streetsboro schools receive $80,000 grant to improve online classroom (Ravenna Record-Courier)
  • Streetsboro -- The Streetsboro City School District plans to purchase 30 new computers plus a SMART board with money from an $80,000Blended Learning grant that was awarded to the school system by the Ohio Etech Commission. Read more...

  • Summer Meals Program Underway In Mansfield (WMFD)
  • The Mansfield City Schools will again be the vendor for the Ohio Summer Food Service Program in the city. Read more...


  • A full accounting (Columbus Dispatch)
  • If an investigation proves some Columbus City Schools officials are falsifying student-attendance records to make schools’ performance ratings look better, the district should come clean with the details, however embarrassing. Read more...

  • State needs to back education mandates with dollars (Marietta Times)
  • Children who don't learn to read at an early age often lag behind their peers throughout school. In extreme cases, they become so frustrated by failure they either stop trying to succeed in the classroom or drop out of school. Read more...

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

“As a policy wonk, I push for high academic expectations for all students,” writes Scott Joftus in Education Next. “As a father, however, I find that what matters most to me is that my daughters are happy in school.”

“Over more than 20 years in the field of education—including two with Teach For America—I have helped promote state standards, the Common Core, the hiring of teachers with strong content knowledge, longer class periods for math and reading, and extra support for struggling students, to name a few. I have recently discovered, however, that what I believe as an education policy wonk is not always what I believe as a father.”

Joftus’s wonk side believes “student learning flourishes in classrooms that include students with a wide range of abilities and backgrounds.” However, as a Dad, he admits to getting angry when a troubled kindergartener disrupts his daughter’s class and forces the “talented, but inexperienced” teacher to spend more than half of her time trying to keep this boy on task.

“I feel for children like him; my company works with schools and districts to improve outcomes for these kids. But I was angry. The other children were clearly uncomfortable. His disruptions reduced learning time for my daughter, and seemed to steal some of her innocence and excitement about school.”

Commenters on the Ed Next blog offer both praise and criticism for Joftus. “Teachers have been fighting policy wonks who have been destroying the happy learning environment for decades,” writes one. “But you don’t listen, it is only when it becomes personal that you reconsider your opinions and admit the possibility that teachers have been right all along.” “Had you guys listened twenty years ago, and respected our wisdom on safe and orderly schools, this educational civil war would not have had to happen,” observes veteran teacher and ed blogger John Thompson.

Rocketship schools CEO John Danner admits to similar cognitive dissonance when sending his kids to school. “However, I would challenge you as your kids grow to think more about how those skills jibe with rigor,” he writes. “Rigor is actually a form of compassion. A teacher who expects a lot of their students prevents them from feeling the frustration your children feel now, but much later in their school career. The real problem you are seeing is that your child’s teacher has high expectations but doesn’t understand how to differentiate.

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The Crisis in American Education Is a Myth

By Randy Turner, English teacher

One of the most frustrating things teachers have to deal with every day is this myth that our profession is filled with lazy, undermotivated educators who arrive just in time for the first bell and leave immediately at the end of the school day.

We watch as, year after year, politicians devise radical plans that totally revamp our "failed" system. Many times these plans involve taking public money and putting it into private schools, relying more and more on standardized tests, and tearing down the teachers who are the key to the success that public education has always been and hopefully, after the fallout of this well-organized attack, will continue to be.

So across America, including my home state of Missouri, teachers teach to the test, hope and pray that the legislative attacks on our profession can be held off for yet another year, and watch as our livelihood is devalued and our reputations are savaged by elected officials whose pockets are lined with campaign contributions from the billionaires who don't want to pay a cent to help anyone who is not in their tax bracket.

And we do all of this hoping and praying as the headlines are filled with news of a crisis that does not exist.

We live in an era where No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top have been allowed to define public schools as failures, when, in fact, they still offer the best chance for children who were not born with silver spoons in their mouths to climb the ladder to success.

For too long we have allowed politicians to ignore dealing with the real problems of poverty and permitted them to use education as a convenient scapegoat for their negligence.

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The real story in Cleveland

Taken directly from Mayor Frank Jackson's "Cleveland Plan" document

The Plan: This is a bold, child‐focused plan prepared to address chronic and structural challenges – both academic and financial ‐ for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. It is designed with one over‐arching mission: Do what is best for Cleveland’s children. At the same time, it will help improve the future and vitality of the City.

Goal: Create educational excellence for every child in Cleveland. Within six years after implementation, The Plan is anticipated to triple the number of Cleveland students enrolled in high‐performing district and charter schools.

Worthy goals to coalesce behind, most people would agree. But how do those goals square with the Mayor's actual plans?

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.

It doesn't just contradict plans for a longer school day, it contradicts the entire plan to provide "educational excellence for every child in Cleveland". How does one do that by cutting music, art, gym?

We can begin to see the real purpose behind the "Cleveland plan", one which the Mayor let slip in front of City Council

"...this is about whether or not we can pass a levy in November and to be perfectly honest with you I don't know if any of you would support a levy with the same old stuff you're not going to do it and neither would the citizens of the city of Cleveland."

This hasn't been some great secret, but we should stop pretending this is for the students, if it was, collaboration with stakeholders who actually do the educating would have happened from day one. Instead, the Mayor has spent a lot of time obfuscating the real crisis in Cleveland.

The Cleveland Municipal School District currently faces a large deficit of approximately $65 million, according to the Mayor.
The bulk of the deficit faced by Cleveland public schools is a direct result then, of the draconian budget enacted by columbus politicians and supported by Governor Kasich. Why Mayor Jackson has not called upon the Governor to restore funding to his schools, instead of seeking his help in denying teachers basic collective bargaining rights, remains a deep mystery.

Cleveland has only been able to pass 1 levy in 39 years, and with businesses, alleged by the Governor to be making threats, you can see why the Mayor feels like he had to engage in some old fashioned union busting.

Passing a bipartisan education reform bill is only the beginning of solving Cleveland's crisis.

The Cleveland teachers Union have moved a long way, and presented what should be viewed as an historic compromise, it's now time for Cleveland businesses to step up and support their schools, and for the state to step up and meet its constitutional obligations in helping Cleveland close its budget gap that the state helped create.

Maybe then we can really begin to talk about delivering "educational excellence for every child in Cleveland".