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What You Need to Know About the Cleveland School District

Background

The Cleveland school district is Ohio’s second-largest school district. More than 44,000 students attend its 112 schools. The majority of students, 69 percent, are African-American and most are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. (The exact percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, often used as a proxy for family income level, isn’t available because the district offers the meals to all of its students.) Looking at graduation rates, 54 percent of the  students who entered twelfth grade in the fall of 2008 graduated from high school by spring 2009.

In the 2009-10 school year, 40 percent of fifth graders could demonstrate basic, grade-level reading skills and 29 percent could demonstrate basic, grade-level math skills, according to the district’s state report card. For eighth graders, those figures were 61 percent for reading and 41 percent for math.

Cleveland School District

Eric Gordon is the Cleveland school district's current CEO.

The district’s current CEO is Eric Gordon, whose term started on July 1st, 2011. He was previously the Chief Academic Officer for the Cleveland school district, and in that role one of the primary creators of the district’s “Transformation Plan.”

The plan aims to turn around the district’s low-performing schools and poor graduation rates as well as adjusting to a fairly steady population, and therefore financial, decrease. The early stages of the plan included closing several schools and laying off hundreds of teachers. According to the plan, failing schools will also be “repurposed” through a variety of efforts which include switching out the school leadership, having all teachers reapply for their jobs, redesigning the academic program, or turning it into a charter school.

The union that represents Cleveland teachers is the American Federation of Teachers Local 279, commonly known as the Cleveland Teachers Union. It’s headed by David Quolke.

Latest Posts

City Club: Educators Discuss “Wrap-Around” Schools

On March 13, the City Club held a two-part panel discussing the implementation of “wraparound” (or “community”) schools in Cleveland, the challenges and opportunities they present, and their potential impact on the future of education. The panelists for Part One of this forum were: Martin Blank, president of the Institute for Educational Leadership and founding [...]

Cleveland’s School District Promises to Better Promote STEM programs to Hispanic Students

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District has agreed to increase efforts to include Hispanic students in it science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, offerings. The agreement follows an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights into Hispanic students’ participation in the district’s STEM program. The Department of Education’s investigation found only [...]

Cleveland’s Students Rank Low Compared to Other Cities, According to National Test Results

TUDA

Out of 21 urban school systems, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s fourth and eighth grade students each scored second-to-last on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, exam in both math and reading. The initial results of the NAEP, which is commonly known as the Nation’s Report Card, were released last month. Cleveland’s the [...]

Two Stories About Big-City Mayors Trying to Set Rules for Charter Schools

atalou / Flickr Over the past year, state legislators changed state law to allow charter schools in Ohio’s two biggest cities–Columbus and Cleveland–to receive local tax dollars. That’s a big change: Before that point, Ohio charter schools did not directly receive local tax dollars. 

Cleveland Schools Get $6 Million Earmark in State Budget

Grant Hutchinson / Flickr The Cleveland school district is in the midst of an ambitious effort to turn around local schools. Last year, lawmakers in Columbus passed new laws to let the district make sweeping changes. Then Cleveland voters approved a new levy to give the district another $77 million a year from local taxpayers. [...]

Cleveland School District Moves Towards Performance Pay

Last night the Cleveland school board unanimously agreed to what city and union officials are hailing as a groundbreaking teacher contract for Ohio. Union members will vote later this month. The contract spells out a new basis for teacher pay hikes. Raises merely for lasting another year in the job are out; so are automatic [...]

Accused Cleveland Kidnapper Ariel Castro Enjoyed “Working With Children”

Ariel Castro, 52, has been arrested in connection with the disappearances of three young women.

Ariel Castro applied for a job as a Cleveland school bus driver more than 20 years ago because he enjoyed “working with children.” He was fired in November, just six months before his arrest in connection with the disappearances of three young Cleveland women: Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight. Berry and DeJesus both [...]

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Touts Cleveland Plan, Learns to Plant Beans

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was in Ohio today to talk about education reform efforts and meet with area superintendents. He used his visit to Cleveland to tout efforts to turn around the failing district, known as the Cleveland Plan. Duncan’s first stop was a preschool classroom at Anton Grdina elementary school, where he [...]

State Takeover Begins in Lorain; Cleveland Schools Granted Exemption

The state’s top education official was in Northeast Ohio today to announce the fate of two local school districts: Cleveland and Lorain. Both were slated for state takeovers following years of poor academic performance, but the state will only take over only one district. After years of getting Fs on its state report cards and failing to [...]

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