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

Election 2014: The Ohio School Board Explained


Photo courtesy of the Ohio Department of Education

Today’s state school board isn’t quite the same body it was 20 years ago.  Back then there were 11 members – all elected.

But that changed in the mid-1990s under Republican Governor George Voinovich.

The move to add governor-appointed members followed a controversial court decision declaring the state’s model for funding education unconstitutional.

(Click here for Election 2014 Board of Education Voter’s Guide)

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Local Foundations Can Make A Difference In Reinventing Schools

John Hay High School is home to the School of Science and Medicine, Early College High School and School of Architecture and Design.

Stu Spivack/FLICKR

John Hay High School is home to the School of Science and Medicine, Early College High School and School of Architecture and Design.

Locally-focused philanthropic foundations can take a more significant role in turning around poor performing urban schools – that’s the message offered up by two organizations that set out to do just that in Cleveland.

During the annual Community Foundations Conference held this week in downtown Cleveland, representatives of the Cleveland and Gund Foundations described their 8-year partnership with the district, the business community and several high-performing charter schools.

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Minimum Wage Once Covered The Cost Of College

Economists, politicians and pundits often talk about the minimum wage in terms of whether it will support a family, but data analyst Rich Exner of the Northeast Ohio Media Group takes a different angle: how much college education can the minimum wage buy? His findings are not surprising: Back in the 1970s and early 80s a person could essentially cover the cost of college (tuition, fees, room and board) working a minimum wage job. Today, not even close. The analysis assumes – then and now – full time work during fall and spring breaks and during the summer, and 10 hours per week while school is in session.

CLEVELAND, Ohio – A minimum wage job used to be enough to cover the cost of college. But now that job can leave students several thousand dollars short. In fact, a student would have to make close to $18 an hour working full-time during both breaks and the summer, and 10 hours a week throughout each semester, to pay the bill at most public universities in Ohio.

Read more at: www.cleveland.com

Mansfield Spanish Immersion School Gets Wide Recognition

Dual language education programs are gaining more attention these days for turning out students who are not only bi-lingual, but also show enviable achievement gains. Chike Erokwu of the Mansfield News Journal profiles the Mansfield Spanish Immersion School, and elementary school that started seven years ago. The number of students attending is small but growing year-by-year. It’s among the state’s top performers in student test scores on the Ohio school report card, ranking 47th out of 3,310 Ohio public schools.

Tuesday began like every other day for Joyce Segura and her kindergarten class. Segura, a teacher in Mansfield’s Spanish Immersion School, began her daily lesson by teaching her kindergarteners a new song: “Al Corro De Los Flores.” Segura acted out key phrases as the song played over her small classroom stereo.

Read more at: www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com

2014-15 School Report Cards To Be Delayed

Next year school report cards will come later than the usual late August roll out, according to a report this week by Plain Dealer reporter Patrick O’Donnell. That’s because the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), won’t be setting new testing cut scores – the minimum score needed for a passing grade – until next fall. PARCC tests will be given to all students in Ohio for the first time this spring, and school evaluations will hinge on how students perform on those tests.

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Results of how your kids do on the new Common Core tests that they’ll take at school this spring won’t be available for months – possibly not until 2016. Forget seeing state report cards for schools and districts by their normal late August time next year, said Tom Gunlock, vice chairman of Ohio’s state school board.

Read more at: www.cleveland.com

Cleveland Schools Will Ask Voters For Additional Construction Funds

Cleveland Schools CEO Eric Gordon

Bill Rice

Cleveland Schools CEO Eric Gordon

This November 4th voters in Cleveland will decide whether to keep money flowing to replace or upgrade school buildings.

Issue 4 on the Cleveland ballot asks voters to approve selling bonds to extend a school construction run that began in 2001.

Back then, a roof collapse at East High School set in motion a levy campaign to raise 380 million dollars through to address the decrepit state of school buildings all around the city.

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Reynoldsburg Teachers Head Back To Work After 15-Day Strike

Teachers in Reynoldsburg will move back into their classrooms today after both the district and union signed off on a three-year contract Thursday. The pact continues automatic annual raises that district officials had originally proposed eliminating, and awards eligible teachers with additional merit pay. Group health insurance, which would also have been eliminated under the district’s original proposal, is likewise preserved. A third major sticking point – whether or not to restrict class sizes – was resolved with both sides agreeing to “aspirational” goals but not hard limits. Read more in the Columbus Dispatch.

Reynoldsburg teachers have overwhelmingly voted to approve a new contract this afternoon, another step toward ending the strike that began on Sept. 19. The Reynoldsburg Board of Education is to meet at 6:30 pm to vote on the contract.

Read more at: www.dispatch.com

Blended Learning Expanding In Mentor, With The Help Of A State Grant


Bill Rice

At Ridge Middle School in Mentor, a class of 7th grade English students gears up for a quiz.  They’ve been studying Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, the short story from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, and their teacher, Stephanie Dwyer, wants to get a read on their comprehension of the text.

It takes a few minutes to set it up.  The students have to put their names into the digital roster for their answers to register.

“You have 30 seconds,” she coaxes over the din of conversation.

This quiz is unlike the quiz of just a few short years ago.  It has the feel of a game show.

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Seven Seats Contested In State School Board Race

Democrats are hoping to pick up seats on the state board of education this November. One target is the seat being vacated by the board’s current president Debe Terhar, a Republican who has served just one term on the board. Six other seats are also in play, four of which are held by incumbents.

There could be a lot of new faces on the Ohio Board of Education, including a new president, with seven of 11 seats on the Nov. 4 ballot. There were to be only five seats up for grabs, but two resignations on the board pushed the number to seven.

Read more at: www.dispatch.com

DOE Quantifies Seclusion Incidents In Ohio Schools

Beatty Park Elementary in the Columbus school district serves children with emotional and behavioral disturbances.

Courtney Hergesheimer / The Columbus Dispatch

Beatty Park Elementary in the Columbus school district serves children with emotional and behavioral disturbances.

Preliminary data shows that more than one-third of Ohio’s public schools restrained at least one student during the last school year, and about 13 percent of public schools isolated children in seclusion rooms.

That’s according to Ohio Department of Education data, part of the first-ever comprehensive look at seclusion and restraint in Ohio’s public schools.

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