Eye on Education

Kasich on Common Core: “It’s Local Schools with Local School Boards And High Standards”

During a recent television appearance on Fox News, Gov. John Kasich reaffirmed his support of the Common Core. And as the Cincinnati Enquirer reports, the Republican used fairly straight language when explaining his stance on the set of math and English standards for students in grades K-12.

“And we have a problem with the education standards and our children’s ability to compete in the world,” he said. “We’re not going to turn this over to Washington or even to Columbus, our state capital. It’s local schools with local school boards and high standards. I don’t know how anybody can disagree with that unless you’re running for something.”

Gov. John Kasich on Sunday defended Common Core with some of his most direct language to date, saying the only people opposed to the educational standards are “running for something.” “The Common Core was written by state education superintendents and local principals,” Kasich said on Sunday’s Fox News Sunday.

Read more at: www.cincinnati.com

Many State School Vouchers Go Unused

Only about one-third of Ohio’s 60,000 school choice vouchers are currently being used, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Despite the vacancies, the state’s voucher program is expected to expand.

Even as Ohio’s private school vouchers remain dramatically underused, there appears to be no rush to re-examine their need. The state offers 60,000 EdChoice vouchers for children in struggling public schools, and fewer than one-third were used this school year, according to data released Friday by the Ohio Department of Education.

Read more at: www.cincinnati.com

Band Investigation Costs Ohio State Close to $1 Million

The Columbus Dispatch reports Ohio State has shelled out roughly $900,000 in both legal bills and costs associated with investigating the band after the firing of the university’s former band director Jonathan Waters. A big chunk–more than $698,000—of that amount came from the creation of a task force charged with examining the band’s culture, the Dispatch says.

Ohio State University has spent a combined $900,000 in a follow-up investigation of the marching band and defending itself in a lawsuit filed by fired band director Jonathan Waters. Records provided by the university on Friday show that a task force hired to examine the culture of the embattled band included five firms and charged a total of $698,175.

Read more at: www.dispatch.com

Superintendents Share Their Secrets

Engage the community. Focus on teachers. Give schools and students individual attention. Those nuggets of wisdom come from four school leaders who are up for the National Superintendent of the Year award from a national superintendent association. The group spoke with the Washington Post on the lessons they’ve learned over time.

The nation’s public school systems face many of the same challenges: ­declining budgets, lagging achievement among poor and minority students, and debates about the role of standardized testing and charter schools. Four school system superintendents have been recognized for their efforts in addressing these challenges, and each is a finalist for the 2015 National Superintendent of the Year by AASA, the School Superintendents Association.

Read more at: www.washingtonpost.com

And Then There Were Three Candidates for UT Presidency Vacancy

Former University of Toledo president Dr. Lloyd Jacobs stepped down from his post last summer. Now, as the Toledo Blade reports, the university is searching for his full-time replacement and has narrowed the field down to three candidates.

The University of Toledo’s presidential search committee on Thursday released the names of three finalists for the position, and whoever is picked will make history as either the first woman or first African-American to become UT’s president.

Read more at: www.toledoblade.com

New Report from State Auditor Points Out Charter School Disparities


Jo Ingles / Ohio Public Radio

Investigators in the state auditor’s office swept through 30 charter schools to answer a simple question: how many students are showing up for class?

For seven of those schools, auditor Dave Yost said investigators found a big difference between the number of students officials reported to the Ohio Department of Education and the actual headcount.

Earlier this week, Yost’s team published a 57-page report highlighting those attendance rate discrepancies.

“I frankly was shocked to find that 50 percent seems to be the average,” said Yost. “I think most of the folks in the Legislature if you asked them without any backing they would be surprised by 50 percent attendance rate.”

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An Increasing Number of Public School Students Are Low-Income

According to the Southern Education Foundation, roughly a third of the country’s students could be categorized as being low-income in 1989. Eleven years later, that number increased to 38 percent. And by 2013, 51 percent of American kids were eligible to receive free or reduced lunches. It’s the highest the rate has recently been.

For the first time in recent history, a majority of students in U.S. public schools are low-income, according to an analysis of federal data by the Southern Education Foundation released Friday. In 2013, 51 percent of public school students qualified for free and reduced-price meals, a common indicator of poverty in education, according to the most recent data from The National Center for Education Statistics.

Read more at: blogs.edweek.org

Updates to High School Equivalency Exam May Set Some Test Takers Back

The General Educational Development test—more commonly known as the GED—underwent some big changes last year. In the past, test takers could take each of the test’s five sections separately, and a passing score could be earned by combining different scores from a handful of test sessions. Now, as NPR’s education team reports, the new update means each person’s scores from previous test models have been wiped away, which may put some people back at square one.

On New Year’s Eve, 2013, as people were setting up house parties around the country and Times Square workers were preparing for the ball to drop, a small few were instead rushing to their local GED testing centers. Tyron Jackson, a 24-year old resident of Washington D.C., was one of them.

Read more at: www.npr.org

A Look at Jeb Bush’s Background in Education Policy

Last month, former Florida governor Jeb Bush threw his hat into the ring of potential presidential contenders. If Bush does run, the education platform he honed during his time in Florida will no doubt be on display. A recent piece in The New Yorker gives lots of context on his history in education, including his moves to introduce both charter schools and voucher programs into the state, along with placing a strong emphasis on high-stakes testing.

In December, Jeb Bush posted an update on his Facebook page which began by reporting that, over Thanksgiving, he and his family had “shared good food and watched a whole lot of football.” He added, “We also talked about the future of our nation.

Read more at: www.newyorker.com

Education Secretary Says Testing Shouldn’t Take Away Classroom Time

In a recent op-ed with the Washington Post, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan mentioned an issue that’s big both here in Ohio and nationwide: standardized testing.

“To measure student progress in a useful way, states need an annual statewide assessment,” he wrote. “But the tests — and test preparation — must not take excessive time away from classroom instruction. Great teaching, not test prep, is what engages students and leads to higher achievement.”

Arne Duncan is U.S. education secretary. On consecutive days this week, the United States was introduced to two very different visions for its most important education law. Quite soon, Congress will choose between them, and while the legislation could move fast enough to escape wide public notice, its consequences will be profound.

Read more at: www.washingtonpost.com

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