Eye on Education

US Secretary of Education Stepping Down in December

Michael D. Shear of the New York Times reported that Arne Duncan, the US Secretary of Education announced that he is stepping down from his position in December. The deputy secretary of education, John B. King Jr., will take Duncan’s place, according to the New York Times.

WASHINGTON – Arne Duncan, the secretary of education and a member of President Obama’s original cabinet, will step down in December after a long tenure in which he repeatedly challenged the nation’s schools to break out of their hidebound ways.

Read more at: www.nytimes.com

Art Teachers Include Design to Connect Pupils to Their World

Art teacher Kathy Pugh explains various steps of the design process to student William Ogden at the STEAMM Academy @ Hartford Middle School


Art teacher Kathy Pugh explains various steps of the design process to student William Ogden at the STEAMM Academy @ Hartford Middle School

As part of the governor’s education agenda, public schools around Ohio are trying to make their curriculum more career-oriented to guide kids towards what he calls “in-demand jobs.”

The focus is more on STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – that are the crux of standardized tests.

The Ohio Board of Education this year eliminated the so-called “5 of 8 Rule” that placed importance on art classes. Critics fear classes in the humanities will dwindle.

But some art teachers in Ohio and around the world are trying to keep the arts “relevant.” Continue Reading

Ohio Department of Education Granted $71 Million for Charter School Expansion

Courtesy: US House of Representatives

Courtesy: US House of Representatives

Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan today asked the US Department of Education to put “stringent restrictions” on the distribution of $71 million in grant money for expanding charter schools in Ohio. Eight states were awarded the federal grant earlier this week, with Ohio receiving nearly $30 million more than the next state – Illinois.

In a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the Congressman said he was concerned about the lack of charter school oversight.  Ryan pointed to the resignation this summer of Ohio’s School Choice Director who admitted to scrubbing failing grades for some charter schools.

“Most tax payers are going to look at that and say, ‘Wow. Look how screwed up that system is. We can’t pass a levy. Our kids have programs that are getting cut in their schools districts. And the feds are sending a bunch of money to a charter school system that has been labeled by the charter school people around the country as one of the worst systems in America,’” Ryan said.

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Task Force on Efficiency and Affordability on Higher Education

Governor John Kasich ordered the task force saying student tuition had risen faster than inflation. Tuition is frozen for this year and next.

Kasler OPR

Governor John Kasich ordered the task force saying student tuition had risen faster than inflation. Tuition is frozen for this year and next.

Ohio’s Task Force on Affordability and Efficiency is expected to issue its report tomorrow (Thurs) on ways that state colleges and universities can reduce spending.

The effort comes out of an executive order issued by Governor Kasich in February.

The final result may be a smaller and partly privatized system of higher education.


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Lorain Education Associaton Glad to be More Involved with District’s Recovery Plan

The Lorain Academic Distress Commission met on September 25, 2015.

The Lorain Academic Distress Commission met on September 25, 2015.

Change is in the works for Lorain City Schools. The district has a new superintendent this year and six new priorities for its academic recovery plan.  The district is in year-two of being supervised by an academic distress commission.

The Ohio Department of Education appointed the commission in 2013 to help improve student performance after Lorain Schools failed to make adequate progress four years in a row.

One of the six new priorities recently outlined by the commission is to recognize the work of the district’s teachers.

Jay Pickering, the president of the Lorain Education Association, is now more confident in the district because of the collaboration.

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Charter School Oversight Group Wants Online School Proposal Rejected

The Plain Dealer’s Patrick O’Donnell previously reported that some large online schools want to be counted the same way small charter schools are counted state in performance reviews. According to O’Donnell, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers wants that proposal to be rejected.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio should reject a proposal from ECOT and other large online schools to downplay their large enrollments in key new charter school evaluations, say officials of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), the main organization for charter oversight agencies.

Read more at: www.cleveland.com

U.S. Department of Education Grants John Carroll University $1.3 Million

According to John Carroll University, it is one of 17 schools in the country to receive a “First in the World” grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The First in the World Grants are given to help find new and innovative ways to make higher education more available to all Americans.

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded John Carroll University a “First in the World” (FITW) program grant, totaling nearly $1.3 million. John Carroll is the only university in Ohio to receive the funding. “First in the World” grants are designed to develop innovative strategies with the goal of improving academic outcomes and retention rates for at-risk students at colleges and universities.

Read more at: sites.jcu.edu

Online Ohio School Wants to be Evaluated Like Other Small Charter Schools

According to Cleveland.com, ECOT, an online school and Ohio’s largest charter school, wants the Ohio Department of Education to group it with other charter schools for evaluations rather than being evaluated individually.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), Ohio’s largest charter school, wants to limit the damage from its F grades on state report cards, now that the Ohio Department of Education is no longer just throwing them out of key new charter school evaluations this year.

Read more at: www.cleveland.com

Proposed House Bill Would Help Charter Schools With Equipment Ownership Issues

An Ohio Supreme Court ruling gave charter school classroom equipment ownership to White Hat Management Co. after a contract dispute. The Columbus Dispatch reports that a proposed charter-school reform bill would help charter schools retain ownership of materials purchased by charter operators, like White Hat, with taxpayer dollars.

The big charter-school reform bill pending in the Ohio House would take steps toward curbing for-profit charter operators from keeping furniture and equipment bought with taxpayer money. But it doesn’t directly address the issue. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled last week that White Hat Management Co., run by Akron industrialist and major GOP donor David Brennan, owns the classroom equipment bought under terms of its contract.

Read more at: www.dispatch.com

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