Eye on Education

Do Students Take Too Many Tests?

Later today, the state’s house education committee will hear a bill that could potentially limit students’ amount of state testing. Before the meeting, take a look at this story from NPR’s education team that breaks down the amount of tests offered every year.

“Thirty-seven percent of the month of October was taken up with testing,” Nevada high school principal Debbie Brockett told NPR. “And the same is true in March. January is another heavy testing month. But the test prep may kill us even more.”

“In some places, tests – and preparation for them – are dominating the calendar and culture of schools and causing undue stress for students and educators.” The quote comes not from an angry parent or firebrand school leader but from Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

Read more at: www.npr.org

Reduced Amounts of State Testing Could Be on The Horizon

The House Education Committee will meet on Monday to further discuss a possibility that many people have requesting for years: shortening the amount of time kids spend taking standardized testing. As the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports, House Bill 228 proposes limiting the majority of testing to four hours every year. During previous testimony sessions, school officials, parents, and representatives from a handful of education associations praised the move, saying less testing would alleviate pressure from both students and district staff. But a representative from the Fordham Institute called the bill a “quick fix”, adding that test results can be valuable to parents, the Plain Dealer says.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A bill to limit state testing of students in Ohio to four hours a year will be up for vote from the House Education Committee Monday, after parents and educators testified this week that standardized testing is becoming a burden on students.

Read more at: www.cleveland.com

Snow Days Shift To Minimum Hour Policy

Today’s weather left portions of Northeast Ohio with a dusting or more of snow, which typically leads to one conversation point–snow days. But this year, as Cleveland’s Fox affiliate reports, the state is moving from so-called “calamity days” to having districts schedule a minimum amount of hours students must spend in the classroom. The shift lets district schedule extra hours in their yearlong calendars, allowing for the possibility of more weather-related time previous years, Fox reports.

Last year’s rough winter forced many Northeast Ohio schools to exceed the allotted number of state calamity days, prompting Ohio to change its system. Instead of requiring schools to complete a minimum number of days per school year, the state now requires schools to fulfill a minimum number of hours.

Read more at: fox8.com

How Readers Are Responding to The Common Core

In a continuing series on the Common Core, NPR’s Education Team looks at how the learning standards impact how teachers teach a wide variety of students how to read. At Nevada’s Reno High School, instructors were initially a little apprehensive about the standards. But soon, they began to change their tune.

“Common Core teaches us to teach students better,” history teacher Brien Karlin told NPR.

Members Walk Out as Ohio Board of Education Considers Change in Standards

terhar_smA pending vote from the state’s top education leaders could have major ramifications on local schools around Ohio.  The state Board of Education is reviewing almost all of its standards to provide more “flexibility” to local school districts.  This week it considered changing Ohio’s so-called 5 of 8 rule that concerns art teachers, music teachers, and school counselors among others.

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Sen. Lamar Alexander Weighs in on Education Issues as GOP Prepares to Take Control of Senate

Tennessean Lamar Alexander is expected to become the chairman of the U.S. Senate’s education committee when the Republicans take control in January. He spoke with NPR’s Claudio Sanchez about his take on several education issues.

Higher education, preschool funding, the Common Core and the future of No Child Left Behind are just a few of the education policies that will be in play under the new Republican-controlled Congress. How will these things change? We called up Senator Lamar Alexander to ask.

Read more at: www.npr.org

Newspaper Analysis Finds For-Profit Charters Underperform

An analysis by the Akron Beacon Journal finds that while some for-profit managed charters do well, most of them were poor performers.
“A factor in the difference appears to be the motivation to make money.
Tennessee, New York and Rhode Island, which the study reckons have the highest-performing charter school sectors, are among the six states that ban for-profit companies.
At the other end of the spectrum, Ohio trails only Michigan and Texas in the percentage of taxpayer-funded charter schools run by for-profit companies, according to the Colorado-based National Education Policy Center.”

Ohio’s charter schools have a national reputation for hiring for-profit companies that produce poor academic results.

Read more at: www.ohio.com

Third Grade Reading Guarantee Leaves Room For Interpretation

Justin, Austin and Davon get personalized instruction from literacy specialist Olivia Weisman.

Bill Rice / ideastream

Justin, Austin and Davon get personalized instruction from literacy specialist Olivia Weisman

At  Renwood Elementary School in Parma, just south of Cleveland, Olivia Weisman wraps up a small group reading session with three students: Justin and Austin, both nine years old; and Davon is ten.  They’re in the fourth grade, but none of them has passed the Ohio third grade reading assessment or one of the alternative tests approved by the state board of education.

So they’re getting special attention from Weisman, a certified literacy specialist.

Each day, the three boys meet with Weisman for an intensive 90 minute reading session – timed so they don’t miss any of their fourth grade subjects.

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Bill To Repeal Common Core Clears House Committee

sexyappleAn Ohio House panel has passed a Republican proposal to repeal Common Core learning standards in the state, sending it on to the full House.

Representatives Matt Thompson and Andy Huffman, both Republicans, introduced the measure last summer.  Both are members of the Rules and Reference Committee, which was assigned HB 597 after a similar measure had earlier failed to clear the Education Committee.

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Democrats Gain Two Seats On State School Board

Democrats picked up two seats on the Ohio Board of Education after Tuesday’s election. The Columbus Dispatch reports Democrat Roslyn Painter-Goffi, a retired teacher from Strongsville, defeated appointed incumbent Bradley Lamb, a Republican from Fairview Park, in a four-way contest for District 5. And in the Cincinnati-area race for outgoing board President Debe Terhar’s seat, Democrat Pat Bruns defeated Republican Zach Haines. Democrats had hoped to make substantial gains on the board, but Republicans retained a large majority. Read more from the Dispatch.

Ron Rudduck, a former schools superintendent from Wilmington, will keep his post on the Ohio Board of Education, winning election Tuesday to a seat representing 17 counties across central and southern Ohio.

Read more at: www.dispatch.com

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