Eye on Education

Amy Hansen

Broadcast Reporter

Amy Hansen is an education reporter/producer for StateImpact Ohio. Amy previously was an enterprise reporter for The Beaver County Times in Western Pennsylvania, where she covered in-depth community issues such as hunger and homelessness. Amy has also worked for WGBH’s FRONTLINE and The Boston Herald. The Pittsburgh native holds an M.A. in Broadcast Journalism from Emerson College, where she was the 2013 Journalism Graduate Student of the Year, along with a B.A. in Mass Media Communications from The University of Akron.

  • Email: amy.hansen@ideastream.org
  • Twitter: @_AmyHansen

Ohio State President References Past While Talking About University’s Future

During a 30 minute address yesterday to Ohio State’s University Senate, school president Dr. Michael Drake said the future of the state’s flagship university may depend on tapping into its past. According to the Columbus Dispatch, Drake repeatedly referenced wanting to return the school to its origins of welcoming working class students, while also maintaining a focus on research. Drake told the audience the university’s challenge will be to figure out how to provide a comprehensive education as the cost of higher education rises, the Dispatch reports

During his annual speech today about the state of Ohio State University, President Dr. Michael V. Drake spoke often about returning the university to its roots as an agricultural school for the working class, but without veering from its emphasis on research that has given OSU a global presence.

Read more at: www.dispatch.com

New Poll Says Public University Presidents May Feel Pressure from State Governments

College presidents may be feeling the heat. According to a snap poll of more than 600 presidents conducted by Gallup and Inside Higher Ed, nearly 30 percent of those in the top spot at public higher education institutions feel pressure from state governors to operate in ways that may go against their own judgment. Only six percent of private college presidents feel the same way, Inside Higher Ed reports.

Twenty-eight percent of public four-year college and university presidents say they feel pressure from their governors to conduct their presidencies in ways that differ from their judgment about what’s best for their institutions. That is among the findings of the latest snap poll of presidents — conducted by Gallup and Inside Higher Ed — on breaking issues.

Read more at: www.insidehighered.com

LeBron James’ Plan to Connect with Students

Basketball superstar LeBron James says he’s trying to make a difference off the court, too. Through a mentoring group within his foundation, he’s connected with over 800 at-risk students from Akron Public Schools. His organization begins helping kids when they’re in third grade, and the groups plans to help each class of students until their high school graduation. In an interview with the Northeast Ohio Media Group, he talked about while he won’t know if his mission to get students to graduation will actually come true until the first class graduates in 2021, he’s already thinking of possibly expanding the program.

“We always talk about it at the end of our year, the class of 2022, the class of 2023, if it’s sustainable, if the opportunity presents itself to do it in other places besides Akron, we would love to,” James told the NEOMG. “Obviously this is our staple, but if there is an opportunity, we would love to.”

CLEVELAND, Ohio — LeBron James won’t know if his charitable foundation’s work to help at-risk youths get an education is ultimately successful until 2021. That’s when the first class of children participating in the LeBron James Family Foundation’s Wheels For Education program will graduate from Akron Public Schools.

Read more at: www.cleveland.com

A Nationwide Look at Education and the Election

We’ve been talking a lot about how education will factor into this year’s election here in Ohio, but it’s also an important issue nationwide. EdWeek breaks down races across the country where education may be a factor. With national issues like the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and more talk surrounding federal preschool funding, party control of the U.S. Senate could have some pretty big education implications, EdWeek says.

Education is front and center in dozens of federal, state, and local contests in this pivotal midterm election year, with issues such as K-12 funding, teacher collective bargaining rights, and the growing role of the charter sector roiling the campaign landscape.

Read more at: www.edweek.org

Handful of Northeast Ohio Universities Vie for Million Dollar Prize

Thanks to an increasing amount of college degree recipients within the region, a handful of Akron-area colleges are up to split a $1 million prize. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that under the nationwide “Talent Dividend” competition, the metro area that saw the biggest increase in degree recipients from 2009-13 will win the award. The University of Akron, Kent State, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Hiram College, and a Stark State satellite campus all comprise the Northeast Ohio region. Currently, the group is one of six finalists. If they win, the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education—a consortium representing the schools—would split the money, the Beacon says.

The number of college degrees handed out in Summit and Portage counties soared over the last four years, making the Akron region a national finalist for a $1 million prize.

Read more at: www.ohio.com

Federal Administration Plans to Launch College Ratings System


charamelody / flickr

Next fall, incoming college freshmen will have a new way to measure their schools.

That’s when the federal government plans to release its first ratings report for U.S. colleges and universities.

And while the details are still murky, just the idea of the report is making some institutions of higher learning a little nervous.

The Obama administration has said the ratings system will incorporate some broad issues, including access, affordability, and outcomes.

But other than potentially analyzing metrics like graduation rates and student loan debt, President Obama and the U.S. Department of Education still haven’t hammered out what the plan will look like.

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Here Are The School Tax Issues You’ll See on Election Day


Theresa S. Thompson / Flickr

Tax issues are pretty important to Ohio’s schools.

While K-12 districts do receive money from both federal and state governments, many rely heavily on local funds to support a big chunk of their operating budgets.

While there are a handful of income tax requests this year, the majority comes from taxing the property of district residents. More than two-thirds of statewide property tax levies go to fund schools, according to the state.

Districts can ask voters to finance a variety of costs, including current expenses, facility improvements, and emergency requirements.

Collectively this fall, more than 145 school districts across the state will ask voters to approve 163 tax issues.

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Toledo Public Schools Turn to Test Scores to Fire Veteran Teacher

Toledo Public Schools is turning to test scores to support the firing of a teacher—and as the Toledo Blade reports, the move may be the first of its kind. Second grade teacher Beth Harpster has been with the district for more than 20 years. She’s now facing charges of “gross inefficiencies in the classroom.” According to the Blade, the district is supporting its move to dismiss Harpster by using internal data that claims her students aren’t making as much progress as other second graders.

In what may be a first, Toledo Public Schools is leaning heavily on student test data in its efforts to terminate a veteran teacher. The Toledo Board of Education is expected to be presented this week with a recommendation by administrators to fire Beth Harpster, a second-grade teacher at Longfellow Elementary who has taught at TPS for more than two decades.

Read more at: www.toledoblade.com

The Evolution of Student-Centered Learning

By most measurable accounts, things weren’t going so well at New Hampshire’s Pittsfield Middle High School. Test scores were low, and the level of teacher turnover was high. But since the school adopted “student centered learning,” that’s not quite the case anymore, The Atlantic reports the definition of the concept is constantly evolving, but most programs tend to have teachers work as coaches, along with implementing student-centered activities like peer discussions and group work.

“There used to be a lot more of teachers talking at you—it didn’t matter if you were ready to move on. When the teacher was done with the topic that was it,” student Noah Manteau told The Atlantic. “This is so much better.”

In an 11th-grade English class at Pittsfield Middle High School in rural New Hampshire, Jenny Wellington’s students were gathered in a circle debating Henry David Thoreau’s positions on personal responsibility. “Do you think Thoreau really was about ‘every man for himself?’” asked one 16-year-old boy.

Read more at: www.theatlantic.com

Youngstown State Faculty Members Authorize A Move to Strike

A strike may be on the horizon for Youngstown State University. Yesterday, a union representing several hundred faculty members said they have “no confidence” in the school’s board of trustees and authorized a strike, according to the Youngstown Vindicator. The union members have been without a contract since the middle of August. One main issue? Healthcare, the Vindicator reports.

Published: 10/23/14 @ 12:10 By Denise Dick denise_dick@vindy.com YOUNGSTOWN The union representing about 400 Youngstown State University faculty members voted to authorize a strike and approved a resolution of “no confidence” in the board of trustees and the administration. YSU-Ohio Education Association has been working without a contract since Aug.

Read more at: www.vindy.com

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