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

Poll Finds Changing Attitudes About the Importance of College

The latest PDK-Gallup poll reveals some very interesting new developments in public opinion regarding education. PDK is Phi Delta Kappa International, a professional organization for educators headquartered in Indiana. Among the most striking findings: The number of Americans’ who believe that a college education is important has plummeted over four years. The poll also reveals some very interesting opinions about the teaching profession. Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post sums up the results.

Amid a national debate about the worth of a college education, a respected annual poll about the education views held by Americans has found that only 44 percent of Americans now believe that getting a college education is “very important” – down from 75 percent four years ago.

Read more at: www.washingtonpost.com

Higher Bar for Test Scores Means Lower Grades For Many School Districts

Analysis by the Beacon Journal shows 363 of Ohio’s 610 school districts did better on state tests, but 143 of the 363 higher-performing schools will receive lower grades on their state report cards. That’s because the threshold for success was raised. Now, 80 percent of students must score as “proficient” in each tested grade and subject, up from 75 percent in previous years, for the district to receive the same passing grade, writes the Beacon Journal’s Doug Livingston.

The state’s school district report cards are out.

Read more at: www.ohio.com

How Useful Are The Ohio School Report Cards?

Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon, speaking at John Adams High School

Bill Rice / ideastream

Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon, speaking at John Adams High School

State report cards for school districts and individual schools are out, with yet more changes as the Ohio Department of Education continues to tweak the annual assessment.

As with last year, the report cards don’t assign overall grades to districts and schools, but DO give grades in a range of assessment categories.

StateImpact Ohio’s Bill Rice spoke with ideastream’s Tony Ganzer about what’s in the report cards and what’s different this year.

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State to Release School Report Cards

Logo1-thumbnail-Resized150Schools and school districts across Ohio will find out today how well they did last year in meeting a range of benchmarks.

And just as last year, the annual state report cards will not include an overall grade.

Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year the state did away with designations like “excellent with distinction,” “continuous improvement” and “academic emergency” in favor of a simple A-F grading system for both districts and individual schools.

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Reynoldsburg Teachers, Having Rejected The Latest Contract Offer, Are Set To Strike September 19th

Reynoldsburg teachers and supporters at July 15th rally

Bill Rice

Reynoldsburg teachers and supporters at July 15th rally

Teachers in the Columbus suburb of Reynoldsburg say they’re prepared to strike if a contract agreement can’t be reached in the coming week.

The Reynoldsburg Education Association (REA), the teachers’ bargaining unit, and the school district administration have been at odds over terms of a new contract since negotiations opened in May.

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Common Core Supporters Keep Up The Pressure Against Repeal

While tensions remain high in Columbus over a bill that would repeal Ohio’s adoption of the multi-state Common Core education standards, school districts opposed to the idea have been speaking out strongly. One of the most recent statements came Monday from the Licking Valley Local Schools board, which – as Hannah Sparling of the Newark Advocate reports – unanimously passed (with one member absent) a resolution in support of the standards.

Licking Valley Local Schools took a firm and public stance in favor of Common Core on Monday – passing a resolution supporting the standards and sending a copy to every member of the Ohio General Assembly, the State Board of Education and Gov. John Kasich.

Read more at: www.newarkadvocate.com

Literacy Advocate Talks Up Campaign For Grade-Level Reading

Ralph Smith, Director of the Campaign For Grade-Level Reading

Bill Rice

Ralph Smith, Director of the Campaign For Grade-Level Reading

A national advocate for literacy told a Cleveland audience today that efforts to boost kids’ reading skills must extend beyond the walls of the public schools.

Ralph Smith directs the Campaign for Grade Level Reading spearheaded by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Smith reflected on his own experience falling in love with reading at an early age, and said failure to teach a kid to read consigns him or her to a life of hardship.

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New Policies Bring Changes To Ohio’s Public Schools

Ohio’s public schools will see several big changes this year. Among the most impactful for students are the elimination of the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT), which will be replaced by a series of end-of-course exams in English, math, science history and government. Tests will also begin a mass migration from paper and pencil to online, and new kindergarten tests will measure not just language and literacy, but social skills as well. Jessica Brown of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes about these and other changes in Ohio and Kentucky education policy.

Class is officially in session for school districts throughout the country, and students in Ohio and Kentucky have some big changes coming their way. Most aren’t immediately obvious like a new school building or different school uniforms. Most are policy changes students will barely notice but promise to have a big impact on their education.

Read more at: www.cincinnati.com

Study Suggests Who Gets That Superintendent Job Isn’t Really That Important

School leadership is certainly an important piece of the student success equation, but a new study from the Brookings Institution puts the very top leadership post – that of superintendent – pretty low on the impact scale. NPR’s Eric Westervelt reports the analysis of test score data from Florida and South Carolina over ten years shows no change in student achievement correlated with the hiring of a new superintendent, and no improvement in achievement over the course of superintendents’ tenure.

At corporations, leadership matters. A lot. Think of the impact of the late Steve Jobs at Apple or Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg today, to name a couple. CEOs often play a vital role in bolstering a company’s performance, image and culture of success.

Read more at: www.npr.org

City Club: Republican Ohio Senator Peggy Lehner on Public Education In Ohio

Fifty percent of Ohio’s General Revenue fund is spent on education, yet far too many children languish in poor performing schools, fail to graduate or graduate without the skills necessary to be successful in college or a career. What can we do to ensure every child has access to a high quality education?  State Senator Peggy Lehner is a Republican from Ohio’s 6th District and chairs the Senate Education Committee.  In an address to the City Club of Cleveland,she discusses school funding, access to early childhood education, teacher quality, Common Core and the reform of charter schools.

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