Eye on Education

House Republicans Propose Cutting PARCC While Testing Officials Visit Ohio

Students taking tests - Peter Bulthuis


House Republicans want to stop the state from using the education assessments known as the PARCC. The tests have caused a large amount of controversy with critics who say they take up too much time and place too much pressure on students.

But  others say now is not the time to break ties with PARCC.

The anti-PARCC language first went unnoticed after House Republicans rolled out their revised budget bill. But after taking a closer look at the 3,000 page document—policymakers and advocates spotted the change.

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Former Cleveland Schools CEO Under Federal Investigation

Following a seven year stint as the CEO of Cleveland Metropolitan School District and a similar position in Detroit, Barbara Byrd-Bennett became CEO of Chicago Public Schools in 2012. Now, federal investigators are looking into the circumstances surrounding a $20.5 million contract given to a business that she used to work for, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Federal authorities are investigating Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and a $20.5 million contract the district awarded on a no-bid basis to a training academy that formerly employed her, sources said. The ongoing federal investigation follows a long-running probe by the district inspector general’s office into the contract given to the SUPES Academy.

Read more at: www.chicagotribune.com

University of Akron Offers Discounted Courses Online

University of Akron students.


University of Akron students.

In response to a call from Governor John Kasich to cut tuition at state universities,The University of Akron is proposing to cut costs for certain basic courses if students take them online.

Under the pilot program, a core course would cost just $50 dollars a credit hour, or about one seventh the $360 an hour it costs now.

Students must still pay most of the regular fees that are charged in addition to hourly rates.


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Teach For America’s Recruitment Struggle

Since its inception in 1990, Teach For America has placed more than 33,000 educators in low-income districts across the country. But now, as PBS Newshour reports, the program is struggling to recruit new candidates.

Since the organization began in the 1990, Teach For America has sent more than 33,000 participants to lead classrooms in low-income, high-need communities. The competitive program has been a top choice for college grads, but recently it’s had more trouble with recruiting.

Read more at: www.pbs.org

Ohio Senator Unveils New Charter School Overhaul


Brian Bull / ideastream

It looks like overhauling Ohio’s charter school system requires a lot of heavy hitters from the political arena.

Nearly 20 people stood with Republican Sen. Peggy Lehner of Kettering as she unveiled her new bill to fix what many believe to be a broken charter school system.

Lehner said Ohio’s charter schools lag behind other states because of the arcane rules surrounding the process.

“Being one of the first states to create charter schools, we had little experience to go on and many of our laws reflect that experience,” Lehner said.

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Cleveland Schools CEO Talks the Cleveland Plan, Charters, And The Future

Cleveland Schools CEO Eric Gordon

Bill Rice

Cleveland Schools CEO Eric Gordon

At the annual State of the Schools address last fall, Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon called 2013-14 the “year of disruption that yielded tangible results.”

The majority of that speech centered around the progress of the district’s plan to transform the city’s schools, also known as the Cleveland Plan.

We checked in with Gordon earlier this week for a conversation that included a refresher on the cornerstones of the plan, the district’s relationships with charter schools, and what type of work still needs to be done.

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Taking A Deeper Look into Greek Life

From an Oklahoma fraternity’s racist chant to party damages at a Michigan hotel, the recent actions of Greek Life members have earned some national limelight. Often, members will reiterate that it’s just a small chunk of its group causing problems, but Inside Higher Ed looks at “how many apples it takes to spoil the barrel.”

The scene that greeted employees of the Treetop Resort in late January looked like a tornado had passed through. Doors hung off their hinges, holes pocked the walls, debris and pieces of ceiling covered the hallway. But this wasn’t the work of a freak winter storm.

Read more at: www.insidehighered.com

House Republicans Take A Crack at Kasich’s School Funding Plan

The House GOPs added an extra 200 pages of amendments to Gov. John Kasich’s budget, and as the Columbus Dispatch reports, a chunk of those additions pertained to the proposed school funding formula.

Fewer school districts would be hit with a state funding cut, the state auditor would be barred from public-records issues and Ohioans would get a 6.3 percent income-tax cut as part of the roughly 200 amendments House Republicans added to the two-year state budget. Gov.

Read more at: www.dispatch.com

Ohio School Board Drops Standards on Art, Music, Etc.

Board member Bob Hagan (L) asks questions of Wadsworth School Superintendent Andy Hill (R)


Board member Bob Hagan (L) asks questions of Wadsworth School Superintendent Andy Hill (R)

The Ohio Board of Education has voted to eliminate requirements that large schools must hire positions that include art teachers, counselors, and librarians.

The move came after a day of testimony and debate that included three new members.

It’s known as the 5 of 8 rule — for every 1000 students, districts must hire 5 service personnel from a list of 8 positions.  That includes art teacher, music teacher, librarian, nurse, and counselor.

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