Ohio

Eye on Education

Ida Lieszkovszky

Ida Lieszkovszky left StateImpact Ohio in June 2013 to join WCPN's daily talk show, The Sound of Ideas. She previously reported for StateImpact Ohio as the project's Cleveland-based radio reporter and blogger. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and psychology from Miami University.

  • Email: ida_disabled_reporter@stateimpact.org

Record Number of Charters Fail in Columbus

April Nagorsky before Preparatory International, the charter school she used to teach at before it was shut down abruptly.

Ida Lieszkovszky / StateImpact: Ohio

April Nagorsky before Preparatory International, the charter school she used to teach at before it was shut down abruptly.

Last year, 17 charter schools were forced to close their doors in Columbus, a new record for the city.

Jennifer Smith Richards reports in the Columbus Dispatch on some of the repercussions of charters closing up shop, often in the middle of the year:

Nine of the 17 schools that closed in 2013 lasted only a few months this past fall. When they closed, more than 250 students had to find new schools. The state spent more than $1.6 million in taxpayer money to keep the nine schools open only from August through October or November.

But while 2013 was unusual, closings are not rare. A Dispatch analysis of state data found that 29 percent of Ohio’s charter schools have shut, dating to 1997 when the publicly funded but often privately run schools became legal in Ohio.

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Ashland University Cuts Tuition by $10,000

ashland

Achim Barczok / Flickr

Officials at Ashland University hope to address the concerns of sticker shocked parents by reducing the cost of tuition by about $10,000.

Tuition for the 2014-2015 school year was estimated to be $30,604 but following a “reset” in the university’s cost structure, tuition will be $18,908. Room and board fees will cost the same.

From a press release announcing the change:

“Over the past decade everyone in higher education has danced around the subject of the rising cost of college. Yet few have been willing to tackle the issue and the complications involved,” said AU President Dr. Fred Finks. “Ashland University knows the importance of positioning ourselves to meet the rising demand for quality education at an affordable price. We have decided now is the time to act.” Continue Reading

Grading the Teachers: Performance Isn’t Reflected in Teachers’ Paychecks

Toledo 7th grade teacher Emily Brown helps students with a science experiment on the motion of waves. Brown has been rated most effective in math twice, and most effective than average in reading.

Ida Lieszkovszky / StateImpact Ohio

Toledo 7th grade teacher Emily Brown helps students with a science experiment on the motion of waves. Brown has been rated most effective in math twice, and most effective than average in reading.

Students in Emily Brown’s Toledo classroom conduct an experiment on the movement of waves.

While she drops a block of clay into an aluminum tray filled with water and watches the waves spread out, 7th grader Angel Hines explains why she likes Mrs. Brown.

“She actually lets us grade her so she knows if she’s doing something wrong she’ll fix it.”

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Grading the Teachers: Measuring Teacher Performance Through Student Growth

Forest Park Middle School teacher Maria Plecnik helps 13 year-old Chandalay Coleman with a writing assignment. Maria Plecnik received a low

Lynn Ischay / The Plain Dealer

Forest Park Middle School teacher Maria Plecnik helps 13 year-old Chandalay Coleman with a writing assignment. Plecnik received a low value-added rating from the state even though her principal and students give her high marks.

Schools get rated based on how well students perform on standardized state tests.

Not so for teachers. Their main evaluation comes from often brief classroom observations by a principal.

Practically no one fails.

The new value-added measurement Ohio is phasing in aims to gauge how much a student learns from one year to the next, and how much an individual teacher contributed to those results.

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Grading the Teachers: Why We’re Publishing Teachers’ Value-Added Ratings

Cleveland Plain Dealer Editor Chris Quinn (left) and Idesatream Editor David Molpus explain why their outlets are publishing these ratings.

The Plain Dealer, Ideastream

Cleveland Plain Dealer Assistant Managing Editor Chris Quinn (left) and WCPN Ideastream Executive Editor David Molpus says it's important for the public to understand value-added ratings.

Is your son’s math teacher a good one? How about your daughter’s reading teacher?

You used to have to depend on the parent grapevine to find out. Now there’s another source.
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Superintendent Won’t Reinstate Carla Hale, the Fired Catholic Gay Teacher

Tom Borgerding / WOSU

Carla Hale and her lawyer, Tom Tootle, announcing that her union will not support her request to get her job back.

Lucia McQuaide, the superintendent of schools for the Catholic Archdiocese of Columbus, will not reinstate Carla Hale.

Hale was recently fired from Bishop Watterson High School for disclosing a relationship with a female partner in her mother’s obituary.

Hale says she was discriminated against for being gay. Her diocese says she was fired for being in a “quasi-spousal relationship” outside of marriage, which they say violates a lifestyle contract signed by all teachers in the district. Continue Reading

Cincinnati Catholic School Teacher Wins Court Case

David Campbell / Flickr

The Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati was ordered to pay a former teacher $171,000 earlier this week. A federal jury decided Christa Dias was wrongfully terminated when she was fired by her Catholic school after she became pregnant.

Dias told the Cincinnati Enquirer she’s happy about the verdict:

“I was relieved. It’s been a very, very long road,” Dias said after the verdict before U.S. District Court Judge Susan Dlott.

“Now, I can go on with my life.”

The Catholic Church had argued that because Dias signed a contract with the diocese, one that included a morality clause based on Catholic doctrine, she violated her contract when she chose to become pregnant out of wedlock and through artificial insemination. Continue Reading

Don’t Worry Ohio State Students, Gee Plans to Stick Around Post-Retirement

Ida Lieszkovszky / StateImpact Ohio

Retiring Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee, speaking at the City Club of Cleveland last year.

Long-time Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee may be retiring from his role as the university’s president, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be leaving campus.

“I am leaving the presidency; I am not leaving the university,” Gee told reporters earlier today.

According to our partners at WOSU, Gee is taking the changes in stride:

“I will just not be on the day-to-day firing line,” Gee said. “And to me, that gives me the joy of doing the things I really feel most passionately about: continuing to be engaged with students in a variety of way and continuing to do other kinds of things. This is not a funeral. This is a new phase in my life.”

Ohio Lawmakers Consider Guns in Schools, Religion Courses

Eric Paul Zamora / Fresno Bee/MCT/Landov

A sign indicates a gun-free school zone in Yosemite Valley.

Ohio schools are generally thought of as gun-free zones, but there are exceptions. State law dictates that no one can carry a weapon on school grounds unless they have written authorization from the local school board.

“As long as a school board gives them approval they can have all the teachers, all the janitors all the staff, they can have all the parents, they can have anyone carry weapons in the school as long as they give them approval,” says Kristina Roegner, a Republican House member from the Hudson area. ”And right now there are no protocols, no safeguards, there’s nothing.”

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Adjunct Professors Try to Cobble Together a Full Workload

kevinq2000 / Flickr

The University of Akron.

Evan Chaloupka is an adjunct professor of English at Lakeland Community College.

And Lake Erie Community College.

And Ursuline University.

Like many adjunct professors, Chaloupka has to cobble together a “full time position” between several colleges.

He says he makes a grand total of less than $20,000 annually.

Chaloupka was on WCPN 90.3′s The Sound of Ideas this morning to talk about his life as an adjunct professor.

It’s a “life of minimalism, really, in any sort of emergency,” Chaloupka says. He pointed to a recent car crisis that had him in need of $900, money that in the end his parents supplied. Continue Reading

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