Education News for 10-23-2012

State Education News

  • Canton school administrator among 9 named in ethics probe (Canton Repository)
  • Nine Ohio education officials — including the current assistant superintendent of Canton City Schools — failed to properly disclose trips to locations including Washington…Read more...

  • In Ohio, 2 of 3 school levies seek new revenue (Warren Tribune Chronicle)
  • Two-thirds of school levies on the ballot in the state next month are asking voters to approve additional local dollars for education, the highest percentage…Read more...

Local Education News

  • New Albany seeks bond-levy combo (Columbus Dispatch)
  • New Albany schools have run out of classroom space, district administrators say. After adding an average of 225 students a year over a decade…Read more...

  • Forecast shows district in black, but with concerns (Hamilton Journal-News)
  • While the five-year forecast for Fairfield City Schools projects the district will remain in the black through 2017, thanks partly to an influx of levy…Read more...

Education Profiteering: Wall Street's Next Big Thing?

The end of the Chicago teachers' strike was but a temporary regional truce in the civil war that plagues the nation's public schools. There is no end in sight, in part because -- as often happens in wartime -- the conflict is increasingly being driven by profiteers. The familiar media narrative tells us that this is a fight over how to improve our schools. On the one side are the self-styled reformers, who argue that the central problem with American K-12 education is low-quality teachers protected by their unions. Their solution is privatization, with its most common form being the privately run but publicly financed charter school. Because charter schools are mostly unregulated, nonunion and compete for students, their promoters claim they will, ipso facto, perform better than public schools.

On the other side are teachers and their unions who are cast as villains. The conventional plot line is that they resist change, blame poverty for their schools' failings and protect their jobs and turf.

It is well known, although rarely acknowledged in the press, that the reform movement has been financed and led by the corporate class. For over twenty years large business oriented foundations, such as Gates (Microsoft), Walton (Wal-Mart) and Broad (Sun Life) have poured billions into charter school start-ups, sympathetic academics and pundits, media campaigns (including Hollywood movies) and sophisticated nurturing of the careers of privatization promoters who now dominate the education policy debate from local school boards to the US Department of Education.

In recent years, hedge fund operators, leverage-buy-out artists and investment bankers have joined the crusade. They finance schools, sit on the boards of their associations and the management companies that run them, and -- most important -- have made support of charter schools one of the criteria for campaign giving in the post-Citizens United era. Since most Republicans are already on board for privatization, the political pressure has been mostly directed at Democrats.

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Where the polls stand - Week 1

Labor Day has traditionally been seen as the kick-off for the fall campaigns. With that now behind us, we are going to begin a new weekly feature up through the election on November 6th, and bring you all the latest polling information for the Presidential race both nationally and in Ohio.

First, Real Clear Politics has President Obama leading in the race to 270 electoral college votes, 221-191 with 126 listed as toss-ups

In Ohio, with the exception of a purple strategies poll, the President has consistently led in the polling

538, another polling analysis site, run by the New York Times, runs a sophisticated and accurate analysis based on multiple factors. They currently have the President winning over 308 electoral college votes.

They have President Obama having a 71.5% chance of winning Ohio on November 6th.

Education News for 05-17-2012

Local Issues

  • Feds open bid process for Head Start program (Toledo Blade)
  • The federal government is officially soliciting bids for an agency to run Head Start in Lucas County. Head Start, a program for 3 to 5-year-olds from low-income families, is run by the Economic Opportunity Planning Association of Greater Toledo, but the agency was notified in December that it must compete against other agencies if it wants to continue receiving nearly $13 million to run the program. Read More…

  • Hamilton only public school district nationally to receive award (Hamilton Journal News)
  • The emphasis of character education within the Hamilton City School District has been rewarded. The Hamilton City School District has been recognized as a National School District of Character Award recipient by the Character Education Partnership in Washington, D.C. Read More…

  • Research shows ‘no excuses’ model for schools effective at boosting test scores (Akron Beacon Journal)
  • Former Akron City Councilman Ernie Tarle hopes to create a charter school in Akron that emulates the practices of the country’s highest performing urban charter schools. The schools are commonly referred to as following a “no excuses” approach that emphasizes a college preparatory curriculum, longer school days and years, strict discipline and conduct, intense tutoring, use of data to improve test scores and a staff of youthful, inexperienced teachers who sign on to the schools’ philosophy and typically do not belong to a union. Read More…

  • Zane Trace fails to act on school hours change (Chillicothe Gazette)
  • Proposed changes to Zane Trace's school hours, which would have allowed the district to double up on bus routes and eliminate as many as nine bus drivers, fell flat Wednesday. Board member Ralph Letsche made a motion to approve the changes, but no one seconded it, so it failed to reach a vote. Read More…

  • Expert, community leaders work to form literacy plan (Findlay Courier)
  • A literacy expert and community leaders encouraged thoughtfulness and collaboration in creating and implementing a Hancock County Literacy Plan, at a Hancock County Literacy Summit held Wednesday.
    Hosted by the Literacy Coalition of Hancock County, the "Celebrate Literacy Luncheon" portion of the daylong event drew about 55 people to Owens Community College's Community Education and Wellness Center. Read More…

How to Buy and Sell School Reform

If you want to change government policy, change the politicians who make it. The implications of this truism have now taken hold in the market-modeled “education reform movement.” As a result, the private funders and nonprofit groups that run the movement have overhauled their strategy. They’ve gone political as never before—like the National Rifle Association or Big Pharma or (ed reformers emphasize) the teachers’ unions.

Devolution of a Movement

For the last decade or so, this generation of ed reformers has been setting up programs to show the power of competition and market-style accountability to transform inner-city public schools: establishing nonprofit and for-profit charter schools, hiring business executives to run school districts, and calculating a teacher’s worth based on student test scores. Along the way, the reformers recognized the value of public promotion and persuasion (called “advocacy”) for their agenda, and they started pouring more money into media outlets, friendly think tanks, and the work of well-disposed researchers. By 2010 critics of the movement saw “reform-think” dominating national discourse about education, but key reform players judged the pace of change too slow.

Ed reformers spend at least a half-billion dollars a year in private money, whereas government expenditures on K-12 schooling are about $525 billion a year. Nevertheless, a half-billion dollars in discretionary money yields great leverage when budgets are consumed by ordinary expenses. But the reformers—even titanic Bill and Melinda Gates—see themselves as competing with too little against existing government policies. Hence, to revolutionize public education, which is largely under state and local jurisdiction, reformers must get state and local governments to adopt their agenda as basic policy; they must counter the teachers’ unions’ political clout. To this end, ed reformers are shifting major resources—staff and money—into state and local campaigns for candidates and legislation.

Jonah Edelman, CEO of Stand for Children ($5.2 million from Gates, 2003-2011), sums up the thinking: “We’ve learned the hard way that if you want to have the clout needed to change policies for kids, you have to help politicians get elected. It’s about money, money, money” (Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2010).*

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Union members spotlight - day 4

This is day four of our week long spotlight on union members who have decided to run for the Ohio general assembly.
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

It should be noted that the districts listed below are new as a consequence of the legislative redistricting process that happened last year.

House district 72 - David Dilly (D)
House district 72 - David Dilly
David Dilly is a member of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). David is the current Coshocton County Recorder. He is running unopposed in the Democratic primary on March 6. Former District 91 incumbent Bill Hayes (R), who voted for SB5 and the budget bill will be his November opponent.

House district 76 - Mary O’Toole (R)
House district 76 - Mary O’Toole
Mary is a member of OEA. With Incumbent Rep Sprague running for election in district 83, Mary is running in a 4 way Republican primary. She will face Tom Warren in the november election if she is succesful.
Learn more about Mary, here.

House district 81 - John Vanover (D)
House district 81 - John Vanover
John is another member of the united Steel workers. john has been involved in the USW rapid response political program, coordinated communications and legislative responses. He's running unopposed to face the extreme Rep Lynn Wachtmann who enthusiastically voted for SB5, and the budget bill (HB153).

House district 87 - Dennis Sterling (R)
House district 87 - Dennis Sterling
Dennis is a member of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). A retired police officer after having served 27 years with the State Highway Patrol, the Dublin Police Department and the Fairborn Police Department. With a background of working for the Fraternal Order of Police, including 10 years of negotiating public safety contracts, Sterling said he plans to approach union negotiations with a "fair, reasonable and right attitude, and restore faith lost through Senate Bill 5". Dennis has also said "My goal is to try to get (local government funds) reinstated to pre-Gov. Kasich amounts," he said. "It needs to come back.".

His position draws a direct contrast to his Republican primary opponent Jeff McClain who voted for SB5 and cutting local budgets.

Tomorrow we will conclude our look at union members who are running for the State House of Representatives, then, on Monday, turn our attention to members running for the State Senate.