Eye on Education

ODE Forced to Divulge Students with Disabilities Data

Following direction of a court order, the state department of education will be releasing information regarding students with disabilities. The Newark Advocate reports the release includes students’ attendance records, state test results, and demographics such as age, race, gender, and their disability category for the 2013-14 school year. Names and Social Security numbers won’t be in that mix. But the data will stay under wraps and is only accessible to Disability Rights Ohio, the group who filed the suit based on “the adequacy of special education funding,” the Advocate reports. Parents can object to the release of data by mid-September.

Parents throughout the state will get a heads-up this week that the Ohio Department of Education is releasing data on students with disabilities. The data normally would be kept confidential, but a judge ordered the ODE to release it as part of a class-action lawsuit challenging the way special education is funded in Ohio.

Read more at: www.newarkadvocate.com

Reynoldsburg City Schools Files Unfair Labor Practice Complaint Against Teachers Union

The Reynoldsburg Board of Education accuses the Reynoldsburg Teachers Union of engaging in bait-and-switch tactics in their ongoing negotiation of a new teachers contract. The district wants to implement a merit pay system that would tie teachers’ raises to their annual state evaluation ratings, something teachers in districts across the state have strenuously resisted. Talks are set to resume in September with a federal mediator.

The Reynoldsburg school board has filed unfair-labor-practice charges against the teachers unions for the district and the state. The board says negotiators for the Reynoldsburg Education Association backtracked after agreeing to some provisions and used a bait-and-switch tactic to make changes in the teachers’ salary schedule.

Read more at: www.dispatch.com

STEAM Adds The Arts Into STEM

A wall in a technology classroom at Canton's Hartford Middle School.

Amy Hansen / StateImpact

A wall in a technology classroom at Canton's Hartford Middle School.

STEM education–that’s science, technology, engineering, and math–has gotten an increasing amount of buzz over the past few years.

And now, there’s a twist on STEM: the addition of the arts, making it STEAM.

Supporters (including Elmo) say a more focused inclusion of the arts helps kids become creative, hands-on learners by sparking innovation.

A recent Michigan State study supports that notion, pointing to a higher number of patents created and businesses launched by adults who participated in arts and crafts in their younger years.

But the STEAM model’s still relatively new – and unproven.

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“Cafeteria Man” Speaks Up For New School Nutrition Standards

"Cafeteria Man" Tony Geraci transformed school lunches in Baltimore.

"Cafeteria Man" Tony Geraci transformed school lunches in Baltimore.

A school nutritionist making a national splash for bringing healthier meals to school cafeterias says bowing out of the federal school lunch program because of new, more stringent nutrition requirements is a disservice to kids.

Tony Geraci was a guest Monday morning on the Cleveland public radio talk show The Sound of Ideas on 90.3 WCPN.  He says it takes kids time to adjust to new menus being rolled out across the country, but schools should stay committed to the new standards.

It’s about access,” Geraci says.  “It’s about making sure that kids have better choices.  And I think if you surround them with better choices, they make better choices.”

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Teach For America Enters Third Year In Ohio

Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach For America, speaking in 2009

Tulane Publications/FLICKR

Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach For America, speaking in 2009

Teach for America has been around for 24 years but was only given entre into Ohio’s classrooms in 2011, at the urging of Governor Kasich.

TFA teachers are chosen for being high college achievers, and are able to bypass the state’s standard licensing process.

This year’s TFA corps grew slightly over last year, and is more diverse.

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New Concerns Over the Blurring of Science and Religion

The current attempt by some statehouse Republicans to repeal the Common Core education standards has raised new questions about whether creationism might be presented in Ohio’s science classes. The school of thought known as “Intelligent Design”, which holds that life could not have come into existence without the influence of a conscious “designer,” is held up by adherents as a credible alternative theory to evolution. It was inserted into the state’s science standards in 2002, only to be eliminated four years later after strenuous objections from the scientific community and a Pennsylvania court ruling saying that Intelligent Design is not science.

A bill to repeal the Common Core education standards in Ohio has ignited a new debate about an old issue: whether schools should be allowed to teach creationism. The debate stems from a few sentences about science standards contained in House Bill 597. The language is vague and, sponsors thought, fairly innocuous.

Read more at: www.cincinnati.com

Duncan Gives Schools an Option to Put Teacher Evaluations on Pause

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is giving states an option to put a year-long delay on evaluating teachers based on test scores, the New York Times reports. Many schools use students’ standardized test scores to factor in to different aspects of teachers’ employment statuses.

“I believe testing issues today are sucking the oxygen out of the room in a lot of schools,” Duncan wrote in a blog post announcing his decision.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced on Thursday that states could delay the use of test results in teacher-performance ratings by another year, an acknowledgment, in effect, of the enormous pressures mounting on the nation’s teachers because of new academic standards and more rigorous standardized testing.

Read more at: www.nytimes.com

Pre-K Can Now Be Downloaded on A PC

Online education is available in lots of forms: colleges and universities offer web-based courses, and there’s also free Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs). And now, as Marketplace reports, there’s an option for an even younger group. Companies are now offering complete preschool classwork options that are available to be downloaded online.

Now, parents can get an entire preschool curriculum from a computer.

Read more at: www.marketplace.org

New Poll Finds Declining Confidence In Common Core

As legislative debate continues over the implementation of Common Core standards, a recently-released poll shows that public support of Common Core is waning. Although the shared standards are still backed by the majority (53 percent) of Americans, the opposition has doubled in size from 13 percent in 2013 to 26 percent this year. The two groups with notable changes over the past year are teachers (40% oppose, up from 12% last year) and Republicans (37% oppose, up from 16%).

Results of a poll released on Tuesday show strong public support for the idea of shared academic standards, but much weaker support for the standards that have been put in place by 43 states and the District of Columbia: the Common Core State Standards.

Read more at: blogs.edweek.org

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