A lot of changes have been legislated in education in recent years, and many of those changes due dates are almost upon us. Here is jus a sample of what we can expect and when, from Common Core and report cards to teacher evaluations.
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Next week we will begin to take a look at each of these and asses their merits and readiness.
Coventry schools lead state in financial stress, but may have righted the ship (Akron Beacon Journal)
For nearly as long as Ohio has been rating school districts based on their financial health, Coventry schools has been in fiscal watch — the second-lowest level possible…Read more...
Bulletproof backpacks used to protect some school children (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Guns weren't the only thing people raced to buy after 20 students and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School…Read more...
Columbus school board president clarifies stand on auditor (Columbus Dispatch)
Columbus Board of Education President Carol Perkins said this week that the district’s internal auditor’s post “is not going to be done away with,” but she issued a statement later saying that her words had been misinterpreted…Read more...
3 referred to state in city schools data probe (Columbus Dispatch)
The Columbus school district has reported three former employees with ties to its data scandal to a state office that investigates educator wrongdoing…Read more...
Area schools to get $1.8M to meet new state requirements (Dayton Daily News)
Several districts and schools across the Miami Valley will get a $1.8 million boost to meet the state’s new early literacy and reading requirements, including two districts in Clark and all districts in Champaign counties…Read more...
State denies request for more information on attendance investigation (Dayton Daily News)
The Ohio Department of Education has denied the newspaper’s request to see Northridge Local Schools’ official written response to allegations that it scrubbed student attendance data…Read more...
Non-traditional high school graduates grows (Dayton Daily News)
The majority of Ohio public high school seniors still graduate from traditional schools but a growing number of them are graduating from non-traditional high schools…Read more...
Changes coming to GED; New standards, switch to digital format (Lorain Morning Journal)
It’s been three years since 21-year-old Larita White started working toward her GED, but her progress may be undone if she doesn’t receive the diploma before January…Read more...
State OKs plans to fix school data errors (New Philadelphia Times-Reporter)
Ohio schools that reportedly had errors in certain enrollment data have gotten state approval of plans to fix the issues…Read more...
It looks like there will be more money for more preschool in state (Ohio Public Radio)
Some conservative Ohio lawmakers and some faith leaders who generally support conservative causes want to put millions of additional dollars into more preschool…Read more...
Local Education News
Kids learning to COPE with stress (Columbus Dispatch)
Nothing gets 14-year-old Lyle Watters’ stomach tied up in knots as much as when his mom and stepdad argue…Read more...
Columbus schools may tap OSU provost as fill-in chief (Columbus Dispatch)
The Columbus school board president has asked Joseph Alutto, vice president and provost at Ohio State University, to lead Columbus City Schools until a permanent superintendent…Read more...
North Baltimore to evaluate digital device program (Findlay Courier)
Results of a pilot program that permitted North Baltimore students to use mobile electronic devices during school hours will be assessed by school officials this summer…Read more...
VB teachers, school begin contract talks (Findlay Courier)
Contract negotiations between Van Buren's teachers and administrators have begun and are proceeding well, Superintendent Tim Myers…Read more...
Board approves reading, math programs for 2013 (Toledo Blade)
At its regular meeting last week, the board of education approved the 2013 elementary intervention program, including its fees and instructors…Read more...
Board supports policy of student drug testing (Toledo Blade)
Fremont Ross High School students will undergo random drug testing next school year, following the school board’s support for a new drug testing policy…Read more...
District to provide iPads to students (Toledo Blade)
Seventh and eighth graders in Oregon schools will get a welcome amenity next year when classes start: a new iPad. The board of education last week approved a technology lease with Apple Inc. that will put an iPad…Read more...
School board made good choice (Columbus Dispatch)
A public resolution by the Columbus Board of Education, expressing support for the recommendations of the Columbus Education Commission, is welcome…Read more...
Easy vote for lawmakers (Columbus Dispatch)
Ohio lawmakers have before them a simple piece of legislation that won’t cost a dime in state funds, has bipartisan sponsorship, enjoys the broadest possible community support and unites groups…Read more...
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).
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.
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.
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.
State tests require computers some schools can't afford (Cincinnati Enquirer)
Ohio public schools appear to be far short of having enough computers to have all their students take new state-mandated tests within a four-week period beginning in the 2014- 15 school year…Read more…
Chardon High School shooter T.J. Lane faces sentencing in 3 student murders (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
The teenager who killed three students at a Northeast Ohio high school in a shooting rampage just over a year ago could face life in prison at his sentencing....Read more…
Longtime Johnstown bus driver receiving award in England (Newark Advocate)
Larry Warner will be getting a ride Tuesday instead of giving one to the Johnstown-Monroe students he usually drives to school....Read more…
Local Education News
Some third-graders won’t be promoted (Springfield News-Sun)
Clark, Champaign schools handle reading guarantee differently this year. Next year, students who don’t pass portion of state test cannot move to fourth grade....Read more…
The teaching union for Austintown School District approved a tentative contract Monday after nearly a year of negotiations....Read more…
Strongsville teachers' strike hits week 3 with high school trips canceled (WEWS)
As the Strongsville teachers' strike entered its third week Monday, the school district canceled two student trips due to a lack of chaperones....Read more…
Applicants for Akron School Board announced (Akron Beacon Journal)
Round one of interviews for the Akron School Board is complete after the board met with potential candidates Monday night....Read more…
Deputies plan daily visits to Butler schools (Cincinnati Enquirer)
Butler County sheriff’s deputies will be stopping by county schools every day beginning today through a new initiative being launched this week to help make schools safer....Read more…
District energy makeover on schedule (Cincinnati Enquirer)
The Northwest Local School District has been able to save energy and taxpayer dollars thanks to a law that lets districts pay for capital improvements with the energy savings they generate....Read more…
State agency plans review of schools (Findlay Courier)
As part of Fostoria School District's improvement plan, state Department of Education personnel will spend four days in the district next month to talk with staff and observe classroom activities…...Read more…
The Bluffton school board sent a strong message to Gov. John Kasich opposing his proposed expansions of the Education Choice Scholarship Program during its meeting Monday night....Read more…
Beaver students walk out, briefly (Lisbon Morning Journal)
A group of students at Beaver Local High School staged a walkout Monday morning in support of their teachers, whose union has reached an impasse in contract negotiations with the school board....Read more…
Fenwick teacher, coach firing ‘in the best interest of the students’ (Middletown Journal)
A Bishop Fenwick High School teacher, who once was recognized for fostering self esteem in students, was terminated by the school Friday, said Principal Trevor Block....Read more…
Radio station carries on tradition in Struthers (Youngstown Vindicator)
By spinning records every Saturday, Dennis Spisak is keeping a local tradition from fading away....Read more…
The latest Metlife survey, conducted annually since 1984, shows educators under incredible stress as they cope with large budget cuts coupled with increased demands.
The whole survey is worth a read, but we've pulled out some of the most important findings.
Principals and Teachers Give Positive Ratings to the Job Teachers Are Doing
Nearly all principals (98%) give positive ratings to the classroom teachers in their school. This level is similar to the ratings provided by principals in 1986 (95%). The majority of principals (63%) say that their teachers are doing an excellent job and an additional 35% describe the job teachers are doing as pretty good.
In contrast to teachers’ ratings of their principals, the most experienced principals are most likely to rate their teachers highly. Principals with more than 10 years’ experience as a principal are more likely than those with six to 10 years’ experience or those with five years’ or less experience to rate the classroom teachers in their school as excellent (72% vs. 56% vs. 59%).
Of course corporate education reformers will continue to claim too many teachers are not performing in the classroom, despite all the available evidence.
As a consequence of the relentless teacher bashing, and budget cuts, politicians are causing serious moral problems with the workforce, as is evidenced in the next two findings
Teacher Job Satisfaction Continues to Decline
Teacher satisfaction has declined to its lowest point in 25 years and has dropped five percentage points in the past year alone, from 44% to 39% very satisfied. This marks a continuation of a substantial decline noted in the 2011 MetLife Survey of the American Teacher; teacher satisfaction has now dropped 23 percentage points since 2008.
Stress among teachers has increased since 1985
In 1985—the last time this question was asked and when job satisfaction was also low—more than one-third (36%) of teachers said they felt under great stress at least several days a week. Today, that number has increased; half (51%) of teachers feel under great stress at least several days a week. Elementary school teachers experience stress more frequently.
They are more likely than middle school or high school teachers to say they feel under great stress at least several days a week (59% vs. 44% vs. 42%). The increase since 1985 in the number of elementary school teachers who experience great stress at least several days a week is also noteworthy—59% today compared to 35% in 1985
Corporate reformers are also having negative impacts on Principals too
Most principals say that their responsibilities today have changed compared to five years ago and that the job has increased in complexity
Moreover, three-quarters (75%) of principals agree that the job of the principal has become too complex, a view shared by principals regardless of demographic characteristics such as school level, school location, the proportion of low-income or minority students, or the proportion of students performing at or above grade level in English language arts and math.
Half (48%) of principals feel under great stress several days a week or more. This finding is perhaps not surprising given the previously cited results that most principals feel their jobs are too complex, their responsibilities have changed during the past five years, and that they have a high degree of accountability with varying levels of control over decisions
The ever increasing Rube Goldberg machines being constructed by corporate education reformers is making the job of principal all but impossible. The survey notes
It is important to note that as educators begin to implement new, higher standards, many face other competing mandates related to teacher and student assessment as well as decreasing teacher morale,and reductions in budgets and other resources such as staff, professional learning opportunities, and time for collaboration.
When asked about limited resources and what would help them most in addressing the needs of diverse learners, majorities of teachers consistently say other teachers. In 2009, nine in 10 teachers agreed that other teachers contribute to their success in the classroom, including 51% who strongly agreed. Most teachers and principals also said that greater collaboration among teachers and school leaders would have a major impact on improving student achievement.
Given limited resources, teachers believed opportunities for collaborative teaching would have a major impact on their ability to address different learning needs of individual students.
Yet most teachers continued to report that their time to work with other teachers remained the same or had been reduced.
On top of these strains being faced by teachers, the strains being felt by principals is leading to teachers taking on additional leadership roles
As the job of the principal has become more complex with the need to balance instructional leadership, high-stakes accountability, and non-academic management, the survey has documented the emergence of teachers more prominently as leaders in their schools, districts and beyond. The voice of the teacher as an educator has also become a voice of leadership in education. […] Teachers Are School Leaders; Many Have a Formal Leadership Role in Their School Half (51%) of teachers currently have a formal leadership role in their school, such as department chair, instructional resource, teacher mentor, or leadership team member. Teachers who have a formal leadership role are more experienced; they are more likely than other teachers to have at least six years of teaching experience (86% vs. 73%). These teacher leaders are also more likely to report that their school’s budget has decreased during the past 12 months (60% vs. 51%), perhaps reflecting a greater need among these schools to have teachers take on more responsibilities. […] In the context of additional challenges for leading schools toward greater improvement, the continuing decline in teacher morale identifies itself as an urgent priority. During a time when expectations and standards are increasing for effective teaching and learning, teacher morale is yet another declining resource, one that is associated with schools with diminished budgets and other resources, fewer students meeting standards and fewer colleagues highly rated for how well they are doing their job. Teacher leadership emerges as a potential resource for translating big challenges into opportunities, served by hybrid roles for teachers as leaders and as a method for addressing professional growth and satisfaction.
It's time that politicians began to properly value and respect their most valuable asset the education system has - the educators who work in it.