Education News for 04-06-2012

Local Issues

  • Cleveland Teachers Union and Mayor Frank Jackson to continue negotiations next week over schools plan (Plain Dealer)
  • They'll be back at it again next week. Mayor Frank Jackson and the Cleveland Teachers Union concluded more than six hours of negotiations Wednesday night over the disputed parts of Jackson's school plan without reaching a final agreement, deciding to take a break from the talks over Easter weekend. Read More…

  • Cleveland education reform plan discussed at community meeting (News Channel 5)
  • CLEVELAND - Mayor Frank Jackson and Cleveland Schools CEO Eric Gordon outlined the plan for transforming schools at a community meeting Thursday night. "We're focused on quality education," Jackson told about 60 residents who gathered at the Gunning Recreation Center. Read More…

  • Chardon High School student, employee called heroes for efforts during shooting in February (Plain Dealer)
  • In the frantic moments after shots rang out Feb. 27 at Chardon High School, cafeteria worker Cherie Reed held open a kitchen door, offering students a haven from chaos and evil. Travis Carver, a 16-year-old junior, heard the noises and thought they were someone popping paper bags. Then he noticed T.J. Lane. Read More…

  • Olentangy bomb ‘threat’ no joke, teen told (Dispatch)
  • Hours before he boarded a plane that took him and his family to Kuwait yesterday, a teenage boy admitted to a Delaware County Juvenile Court judge that he had joked about blowing up his school the day before. Mohamed Mahmoud, 15, pleaded guilty today to inducing panic at Olentangy High School, which was evacuated and searched by authorities in response to what officials thought was a bomb threat. Read More…

  • Parents asked to weigh in on Beavercreek redistricting plan (Dayton Daily News)
  • Beavercreek City Schools officials want to hear from local parents about plans that affect where their children will attend school in 2013-14.< District officials held a public forum Wednesday at Beavercreek High School to present three sets of initial redistricting maps, and put those maps online Thursday. Read More…

ODE subject matter contact info

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has just released this contact information document by subject matter expertise. We thought it might be useful to share with our readers if you;re trying to find the right perosn for the the right topic. Feel free to download it, or just book mark this page.

ODE Contacts by Topic

Ohio education budget and policy briefing

On August 29, 2011, The Educational Service Center of Central Ohio, the Columbus Urban League, and co-hosted a budget briefing. The new State Superintendent of Education, Stan Heffner, and other Ohio Department of Education staff explained the many budgetary and policy changes in the newly-enacted, two-year state budget.

We were going to write a report on this presenation, that covered a diverse range of issues from the move away from minimum competency to college readiness, accountability, the budget, common core standards etc. There was a lot of corporate speak in this presenation, including such turns of phrase as "return on investment" and even a graph that shows arrows going up and down that's intended to mask the drastic budget cuts.

But, rather than write that report we thought we'd take all the words in the presenation and produce this word scramble. The more a word was used, the bigger it is. It's clear to see where the emphasis is, and just as importantly, where it is not.

Here's the powerpoint of the presentation that was given

Ohio Education Budget 829

Here's the video of the presentation. You'll want to fast forward past the introductions to the 13 minute mark for the beginning of the actual presentation. The presentation ends at 1 hour 10 minutes, then there's a Q&A

Watch live streaming video from escofcentralohio at

Budget merit pay - gone but not forgotten

When the Ohio Senate's preferred version of the budget was released on Tuesday, it was quickly noted by many that the administration and House's policies to asses teacher compensation and employment, primarily on high stakes testing, had been removed. Legislators have been hearing from teachers and others how unworkable, unreliable, and unfair such a system would be. In light of the fact that many of these budget provisions mirrored those in SB5, it looked like a backdoor effort to circumvent the will of the voters. The elimination of these provisions was welcome news then.

But the budget process isn't over, and these provisions may yet return.

The Senate President held a press conference on the day of the budget release had had this to say on the issue

Senate President Tom Niehaus (R-New Richmond) said during a press conference, however, the performance pay provisions were removed from the budget because of confusion about how they related to collective bargaining legislation (SB 5) and the state's Race to the Top plan.
"We removed the provisions that were confusing some people that thought it was related to Senate Bill 5 and instead we're working on language to clarify that we want to make it consistent with what they're doing with Race to the Top," Sen. Niehaus said.

"So we want to support the statewide initiative that people have to put excellent teachers in the classroom, but we want to make sure we're not confusing them, that they think it has something to do with Senate Bill 5. They're two separate issues."
The Senate president said he expects to have some provision in the Senate version of the bill related to performance pay. "So we're having those conversations, but in order to get the conversation focused on the right area and that is this is about Race to the Top, we thought the easiest thing to do was take out the part that was confusing."

This didn't make a whole lot of sense to us. Ohio's RttT grant includes teacher evaluation provisions, which teachers agreed to - but furthermore - it relies upon collective bargaining to implement, the very method the legislature and administration continually seeks to eliminate. This ODE fact sheet lays out these issues succinctly.

FACT: Through RttT, districts may augment or otherwise revise compensation systems at the local level. Such changes must be made in collaboration with teachers and local unions.

The Senate President isn't the only actor in this play however, and today comes news that some of the other antagonists are not happy with these provisions being stripped out. The Speaker of the House and the Governor himself appear unhappy

Batchelder told reporters he was disappointed by the removal of those performance-pay provisions.

"My thought is that's crazy," the Republican leader said.
Senate Finance Chairman Chris Widener had said some senators were confused why the merit pay language was in the bill, and it was being further scrutinized.

The topic came up in a Wednesday meeting that Batchelder said he had with Republican Gov. John Kasich and Niehaus, R-New Richmond.

"The governor and I are in agreement and the Senate feels differently, so we'll just have to discuss it and work it out," Batchelder said.

The House leader said he thought it would go back into the bill.

We know the Governor is keen, and most likely receiving outside advice, to insert these cooperate education reforms in the budget. After all, he was successfully lobbied by Michele Rhee to place the same provisions in SB5. Furthermore, yesterday in testimony, and today in a Dispatch Op-Ed, Terry Ryan, Ohio VP of the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute, implored the Senate to put these corporate reform ideas back in. This despite his own Executive VP writing in the NYT recently that the use of high stakes testing for the purposes of teacher evaluations was like "attacking a fly with a sledgehammer. There’s already a ton of testing in our schools. Isn’t there another alternative?"

There is an alternative. It's called collective bargaining. Teachers have already agreed to innovative evaluation systems through the RttT application and in Cincinnati Public schools.

The budget simply isn't the place for such complex policy that requires study, broad consolation and agreement to be successfully implemented. And it certainly should not be done as a backdoor effort to circumvent voter efforts to repeal SB5.

We urge you to keep calling your state legislators and tell them that.

OSBA Refutes Education Matters Report

A short while ago we brought to your attention a report by Ohio Education Matters that claimed their study revealed Ohio School Districts could save over $1 billion in non-instructional spending. At the time we thought that "Some of the extrapolations seem excessive".

It appears the Ohio School Board Association thought so too, and they commisioned a report to look at these findings.

On a related matter, our three organizations spoke out yesterday criticizing a recent study that claims schools are overlooking significant savings. An analysis prepared by Education Tax Policy Institute (ETPI) consultants refutes the report by Ohio Education Matters and the KnowledgeWorks Foundation claiming schools are leaving over $1 billion on the table because they are inefficient.

We commissioned the analysis by ETPI because we were skeptical of the validity of the “Benchmarking Ohioʼs School Districts: Identifying districts that get more for their money in non-instructional spending” report published by Ohio Education Matters, a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks.

Here's their report

Analysis of Ohio Education Matters Benchmarking Report