Molly Bloom is a reporter for StateImpact Ohio. She has covered education and other topics for the Austin American-Statesman and the Newark Star-Ledger. A New Jersey native, she has a bachelor’s degree in history from Princeton University. She can be reached at email@example.com or (216) 202-0665.
The Ohio Senate unanimously passed a bill today that would make several changes to how teachers’ job performance is evaluated in what state Sen. Joe Schiavoni called “legislation to improve the morale of educators across the state.”
“For the first time since I’ve been down here, I’ve actually gotten calls from teachers and school administrators saying ‘Thank you for listening,’” he said. Continue Reading →
Legislation that would make major changes to what students need to do to graduate from high school is moving through the hearing process with little testimony and few questions, Gongwer News Service reports.
HB 193 would create four new ways for students to earn high school diplomas.
But the Ohio Department of Education is concerned that some of the new ways set too low a bar for students.
The legislation outlines four ways that students can qualify for a high school diploma in addition to securing 20 course credits. They relate to meeting remediation-free standards for when they enter college, gaining a cumulative minimum performance score on end-of-course exams, or gaining a score on nationally recognized job skills assessments that demonstrates workforce readiness along with obtaining an industry credential or license.
ODE said, however, it is concerned that some of the pathways lack the rigor necessary to ensure a high school diploma guarantees a student’s readiness for college or career. The agency said by way of example that a student could fail the end-of-course exams in American history, government and science and still obtain a diploma.
Students who hold positions partly subsidized by the government will be making less under the new minimum wage increase.
Students who work in Federal Work Study positions—such as dining hall and library employees and assistants in college offices—will only be allowed to work seven hours per week to compensate for the 10 cent increase in minimum wage to $7.95 per hour.
Previously, those students were able to work 10 hours per week. Most work study students only worked eight hours—those students are projected to lose $119 annually.
The executive director of Ohio’s largest teachers union, the Ohio Education Association, will retire at the end of this year after more than 40 years working with teachers unions in Ohio and other states.
Larry Wicks has served as the Ohio union’s executive director since 2008. He led the successful 2011 campaign to repeal Senate Bill 5, which would have limited public sector collective bargaining. Continue Reading →
He says the Common Core emphasis on nonfiction in particular is changing expectations of children’s writers.
“Fiction is the bread and butter of most of us and now they want us to write nonfiction, which I don’t know how I’m going to do that,” says Buckley “What I fear is that we’re so dedicated to making testing the priority that books and the love of books, there’s just no time for it.“
Today a grand jury indicted four Steubenville current and former school employees and volunteers on charges related to the rape of a teenage girl last year. The charges relate to impeding the investigation into the rape, failing to report child abuse and other accusations.
Steubenville Superintendent Michael McVey faces five counts, including tampering with evidence and obstructing justice.
The other people indicted include Matthew Belardine, a former volunteer assistant football coach; Seth Fluharty, an assistant wrestling coach and special education teacher; and Lynnett Gorman, the principal of West Elementary.
Not included in today’s announcement was Steubenville Head Football Coach Reno Saccoccia. Many had expected to hear something about the famed longtime coach because his name came up during trial testimony in March.
Testimony and text messages during the trial of two the athletes indicated that Saccoccia, referred to by “Big Red” football fans as “Coach Reno” was aware of the rape allegations shortly after they surfaced and before they were reported to police. The text messages read in court from Mays, who was 16 at the time, and a quarterback for the team indicated the coach was aware of the allegations. The text read: “I got Reno. He took care of it and shit ain’t gonna happen, even if they did take it to court. Like he was joking about it so I’m not worried.”
Four people were indicted today on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy to launder money in connection with a scheme to defraud a Cleveland Heights charter school out of more than $400,000. The charter school, Greater Heights Academy, closed abruptly in 2008 amid questions about unpaid bills.
The school had previously been overseen, or “sponsored,” by the Ashe Culture Center. The state Board of Education revoked Ashe’s authority to sponsor charter schools in 2011.
Indictments on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy to launder money were handed down against Joel B. Friedman, 65, of Mayfield Heights; Jeffrey A. Pope, 46, of Bowie, Md.; Marianne Stefanik, 64, of Parma, and Virgil B. Holley, 51, of Cleveland Heights.
Friedman served as chairman of Greater Heights Academy, a charter school located in Cleveland Heights. Stefanik worked as Friedman’s secretary at the school. Pope operated a consulting business in Maryland known as R&D International. Holley worked for Friedman at the charter school in various capacities, including starting Holley Enterprises to provide security at the school.
Earlier this year, James McCord resigned as superintendent of Virtual Community School of Ohio, an online charter school sponsored by the Reynoldsburg school district that is facing financial and management troubles — such as suspected nepotism . The school also faces federal censure after failing to properly educate students with disabilities.
McCord went on to open eight new charter schools this school year, all managed by a for-profit company he founded. Those schools closed last month–after collecting more than $1 million in state funds.
By the time the Olympus schools closed, one had only four confirmed students; another had five; another, six. In all, the eight schools had a total of 128 students show up.
In a way, McCord’s venture was no different from many start-up companies that don’t make it, except for one thing: Ohio taxpayers helped fund this business failure. The state paid Olympus schools about $1.2 million, most of it for students it couldn’t confirm received schooling, the state Department of Education said.
A bill introduced earlier this month by state Sen. Randy Gardner, a Republican from Bowling Green, would change the new teacher evaluation system. It would allow teachers to be evaluated less frequently and have less of their evaluation based on their students’ academic growth.
Former Miami University President James Garland led successful efforts to recruit more out-of-state students to Miami University by marketing the public college as a market “a kind of elite public university.” Those efforts included using merit aid and borrowing heavy to upgrade the school’s recreational facilities and dorms.
But he tells Pro Publica that while those efforts paid off for Miami University financially, they had a downside. Garland says he wishes he had been more aware of how things like installing climbing walls in gyms and serving sushi in dining halls can hurt a school’s academic rigor and standards.
I just think there’s a movement these days among universities that are able to do this, to turn themselves into country clubs. But inevitably that comes at expense of academic rigor and the quality of the academic program.
In my tenure we certainly contributed to this trend. And there’s a price you pay for that. For every dollar you put into building a student sports facility –- workout rooms and exercise rooms and squash courts and things of that sort — every dollar you put into that is a dollar you’re not spending on improving classrooms or paying your professors a high enough wage that you can recruit from higher up in job pool…
The problematic thing is that it loads the universities up with debt and with everyone doing it, the competitive advantage of doing it is quickly lost. If everyone is trying to recruit from the same pool of students, then there are no winners. Everyone just spends a lot of money and gets the same number of students.