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Ohio College Students Face Rising Debts

piggy bank with iou

Images_of_Money / Flickr

College applications deadlines are approaching, and Ohio students are figuring out how to fund that education. Compared with several years ago, financial aid is down, and student debt is up.

The total budget for need-based aid in the state of Ohio peaked in 2008 at $183 million, while the 2013 budget is just $86 million. Budget cuts in 2009 are responsible for a lot of that change. And while federal Pell Grant funding has increased dramatically, that growth has been outpaced by increases in tuition and living costs.

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Five Key Takeways From an Ohio Common Core Debate

StateImpact Ohio and WVIZ/PBS ideastream education presented a panel discussion on the Common Core Monday.

WVIZ/PBS ideastream education

StateImpact Ohio and WVIZ/PBS ideastream education presented a panel discussion on the Common Core Monday.

You know it’s about to get real when the PBS people think about calling security.

That’s what happened before this week’s WVIZ/PBS ideastream Education panel discussion on the Common Core, the new standards for what students should know and be able to do in math and English that Ohio and 44 other states have adopted.

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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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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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Undocumented Students in Gray Area for College Admissions

Ida Lieszkovszky / StateImpact Ohio

Chaza Banda is saving up her paychecks from Dave's supermarket so she can pay for college, a dream that is complicated by her status as a deferred action immigrant.

It’s been nearly a year since the Obama administration gave leniency for some children who immigrated to the United States illegally.

Known as DACA – deferred action for childhood arrivals – the measure gives these young people some protection even though they aren’t citizens or legal residents. Nearly 2 million people are eligible for the DACA program.

This is the first year DACA students are applying for colleges, but their uncertain legal status can be a problem.

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Bill Lets Columbus Schools Share Levy Dollars with Charters

Dave Barger / Flickr

It’s been a rough school year for Columbus City Schools. The district is under investigation by the State Auditor’s office and the FBI for tampering with student attendance data and grades. Plus the  district has a history of less-than-stellar academic results.

Now there’s a bill making its way through the Ohio House that aims to improve Columbus City Schools.

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Cleveland School District Moves Towards Performance Pay

Ida Lieszkovszky / StateImpact Ohio

Cleveland Teachers Union President David Quolke, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, and Cleveland Schools CEO Eric Gordon joined forces to pass the Cleveland Plan to Transform Schools. Much of the current tentative contract stems from the Cleveland Plan.

Last night the Cleveland school board unanimously agreed to what city and union officials are hailing as a groundbreaking teacher contract for Ohio. Union members will vote later this month.

The contract spells out a new basis for teacher pay hikes. Raises merely for lasting another year in the job are out; so are automatic bumps for an extra degree. Instead, “pay for performance” is in.

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