Eye on Education

Bill Rice

Senior Reporter and Producer

Bill Rice is Senior Reporter and Producer for StateImpact Ohio, based in Cleveland, Ohio. Bill has served in various public media roles in five U.S. cities over 30 years, including music recording engineer and producer, classical and jazz host, station operations director, news reporter and producer and, most recently, as Associate Editor of News at WCPN ideastream. He spent three years covering education following his move to Cleveland in 2000.

  • Email: bill.rice@ideastream.org

School Choice Group Gives Ohio’s Voucher Program an “A”

The Center for Education Reform gave Ohio’s voucher program an ‘A’ grade in their 2014 nationwide report. The CER is an advocacy group that champions expansion of charter schools and voucher programs that help families pay private school tuition. It defines a successful voucher program as one that allows all students to qualify with no caps on the number of available vouchers. The report graded states’ voucher programs based on student eligibility requirements, program design, preservation of private school autonomy, and student participation. Ohio was one of only three states to earn the highest rating, along with Indiana and Wisconsin.

Indiana leads the country in terms of the best school voucher programs while Maine earned the worst marks in a new ranking by a research and advocacy group. Looking at both the design and implementation of state school-choice systems, the Center for Education Reform analyzed over two dozen voucher programs across 14 states and the District of Columbia, giving each state a grade between A and D.

Read more at: blogs.edweek.org

The Sound of Ideas: Wrap-Around Schools

schwrapKids are heading back to school this week, but some students will be carrying more than books.

They’ll bring hunger, illness, maybe the baggage that comes with living in neighborhoods where poverty and crime persist.

How do you teach children when life gets in the way of learning? In this edition of The Sound of Ideas we hear about one approach – the wrap-around school. We’ll tell you what that is and why the concept is expanding in districts like Cleveland’s.


Department of Education Accuses ESC of Flouting State Law on Charter Schools

empty classroom

Jenlight / Flickr

An educational service center in Northeast Ohio is in trouble with the state Department of Education after trying to open a charter school in southern Ohio.

Department of Education spokesman John Charlton says the Portage County Educational Service Center violated at least three rules in sponsoring what was being called Hope4Change Academy.

First, Portage County ESC isn’t authorized to sponsor new charter schools because of the poor performance of its existing ones.

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Reynoldsburg City Schools Files Unfair Labor Practice Complaint Against Teachers Union

The Reynoldsburg Board of Education accuses the Reynoldsburg Teachers Union of engaging in bait-and-switch tactics in their ongoing negotiation of a new teachers contract. The district wants to implement a merit pay system that would tie teachers’ raises to their annual state evaluation ratings, something teachers in districts across the state have strenuously resisted. Talks are set to resume in September with a federal mediator.

The Reynoldsburg school board has filed unfair-labor-practice charges against the teachers unions for the district and the state. The board says negotiators for the Reynoldsburg Education Association backtracked after agreeing to some provisions and used a bait-and-switch tactic to make changes in the teachers’ salary schedule.

Read more at: www.dispatch.com

“Cafeteria Man” Speaks Up For New School Nutrition Standards

"Cafeteria Man" Tony Geraci transformed school lunches in Baltimore.

"Cafeteria Man" Tony Geraci transformed school lunches in Baltimore.

A school nutritionist making a national splash for bringing healthier meals to school cafeterias says bowing out of the federal school lunch program because of new, more stringent nutrition requirements is a disservice to kids.

Tony Geraci was a guest Monday morning on the Cleveland public radio talk show The Sound of Ideas on 90.3 WCPN.  He says it takes kids time to adjust to new menus being rolled out across the country, but schools should stay committed to the new standards.

It’s about access,” Geraci says.  “It’s about making sure that kids have better choices.  And I think if you surround them with better choices, they make better choices.”

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Teach For America Enters Third Year In Ohio

Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach For America, speaking in 2009

Tulane Publications/FLICKR

Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach For America, speaking in 2009

Teach for America has been around for 24 years but was only given entre into Ohio’s classrooms in 2011, at the urging of Governor Kasich.

TFA teachers are chosen for being high college achievers, and are able to bypass the state’s standard licensing process.

This year’s TFA corps grew slightly over last year, and is more diverse.

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New Concerns Over the Blurring of Science and Religion

The current attempt by some statehouse Republicans to repeal the Common Core education standards has raised new questions about whether creationism might be presented in Ohio’s science classes. The school of thought known as “Intelligent Design”, which holds that life could not have come into existence without the influence of a conscious “designer,” is held up by adherents as a credible alternative theory to evolution. It was inserted into the state’s science standards in 2002, only to be eliminated four years later after strenuous objections from the scientific community and a Pennsylvania court ruling saying that Intelligent Design is not science.

A bill to repeal the Common Core education standards in Ohio has ignited a new debate about an old issue: whether schools should be allowed to teach creationism. The debate stems from a few sentences about science standards contained in House Bill 597. The language is vague and, sponsors thought, fairly innocuous.

Read more at: www.cincinnati.com

New Poll Finds Declining Confidence In Common Core

As legislative debate continues over the implementation of Common Core standards, a recently-released poll shows that public support of Common Core is waning. Although the shared standards are still backed by the majority (53 percent) of Americans, the opposition has doubled in size from 13 percent in 2013 to 26 percent this year. The two groups with notable changes over the past year are teachers (40% oppose, up from 12% last year) and Republicans (37% oppose, up from 16%).

Results of a poll released on Tuesday show strong public support for the idea of shared academic standards, but much weaker support for the standards that have been put in place by 43 states and the District of Columbia: the Common Core State Standards.

Read more at: blogs.edweek.org

Two Ohio Cities Where More Families Favor Private Schools

Cincinnati and Cleveland are both included in a top ten list of major cities where high percentages of kids attend private school. According to a study by the real estate journal Trulia, Cleveland ranks seventh, with 17.5 percent of Kids going attending private schools. Cincinnati comes in ninth in the ranking, at 16.9 percent. New Orleans has the highest percentage, at just over 25 percent.

One reason for the high private school enrollment in these cities is that they have large Catholic populations: of the 80 percent of private schools that are religiously affiliated, half are Catholic schools. Another correlation involves the quality of public school districts – the better the quality of schools in a neighborhood, the fewer residents will opt to pay extra for private school.

The Trulia study also compares the cost of sending a child to private school vs. a good public school, and finds that public isn’t necessarily cheaper when you consider the higher taxes and higher home prices in neighborhoods with better schools.

More than two-thirds of adults with children under 12 say that the neighborhood school district is among the most important considerations when choosing a ho…

Read more at: www.trulia.com

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