The U.S. Department of education has been doling out funds to states for after school programs since No Child Left Behind took effect in 2002. This year Ohio received 45 million dollars – up from 43 million last year – that it will divvy up between 186 learning centers already in the program and 61 new ones.
More Ohioans are opting to use school vouchers to send their children to private K-12 schools.
The Ohio Department of Education reports more than 31,000 Ohio students are using a voucher to attend a private school in the Buckeye State. That’s at least 4,600 more vouchers than were used last year.
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.
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.
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.”