Eye on Education

Molly Bloom

Digital Reporter

Molly Bloom left StateImpact Ohio in December 2013 to serve as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She has covered education and other topics for the Austin American-Statesman and the Newark Star-Ledger. A New Jersey native, she has a bachelor’s degree in history from Princeton University.

  • Email: OHIO_molly@stateimpact.org

Listen to a Discussion About High Quality Preschool

A new Case Western Reserve University study reports that pre-school can pay big dividends in preparing young people to learn, especially those who start out struggling…

On the Sound of Ideas, we’ll talk with the study’s author and others about the effect of high-quality preschool in closing the education gap. We’ll also look at what constitutes high-quality and at how parents can know the difference.

Read more at: www.ideastream.org

Why Ohio’s Early Charter School Era Was Kind Of Like Medieval Times

Bill SIms

Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools

Bill SIms

Ohio’s first charter school opened 15 years ago. And in those early days of the charter school movement, things were rather “feudal,” says Bill Sims, head of the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools:

Initial stakeholders had their own lobbyists. They had their own ramparts but without much of a developed community roundtable. And i think much of what’s happened in those 15 years is that the community has been much more effective in working together.

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Bill to Revise Ohio’s New Teacher Evaluation System Passes Senate

The Ohio Senate unanimously passed a bill today that would make several changes to how teachers’ job performance is evaluated in what state Sen. Joe Schiavoni called “legislation to improve the morale of educators across the state.”

“For the first time since I’ve been down here, I’ve actually gotten calls from teachers and school administrators saying ‘Thank you for listening,’” he said.
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Legislators Quietly Figuring out What You Need to Do to Graduate from High School

Legislation that would make major changes to what students need to do to graduate from high school is moving through the hearing process with little testimony and few questions, Gongwer News Service reports.

HB 193 would create four new ways for students to earn high school diplomas.

But the Ohio Department of Education is concerned that some of the new ways set too low a bar for students.

The legislation outlines four ways that students can qualify for a high school diploma in addition to securing 20 course credits. They relate to meeting remediation-free standards for when they enter college, gaining a cumulative minimum performance score on end-of-course exams, or gaining a score on nationally recognized job skills assessments that demonstrates workforce readiness along with obtaining an industry credential or license.

ODE said, however, it is concerned that some of the pathways lack the rigor necessary to ensure a high school diploma guarantees a student’s readiness for college or career. The agency said by way of example that a student could fail the end-of-course exams in American history, government and science and still obtain a diploma.

Read more at: www.gongwer-oh.com

Minimum Wage Increase Means Fewer Hours for Students in Federal Work Study Program

Students who hold positions partly subsidized by the government will be making less under the new minimum wage increase.
Students who work in Federal Work Study positions—such as dining hall and library employees and assistants in college offices—will only be allowed to work seven hours per week to compensate for the 10 cent increase in minimum wage to $7.95 per hour.
Previously, those students were able to work 10 hours per week. Most work study students only worked eight hours—those students are projected to lose $119 annually.

Read more at: thepost.ohiou.edu

Ohio Education Association Executive Director Says Politicization of Public Education Isn’t a Good Thing

OEA Executive Director Larry Wicks

Ohio Education Association

OEA Executive Director Larry Wicks

The executive director of Ohio’s largest teachers union, the Ohio Education Association, will retire at the end of this year after more than 40 years working with teachers unions in Ohio and other states.

Larry Wicks has served as the Ohio union’s executive director since 2008. He led the successful 2011 campaign to repeal Senate Bill 5, which would have limited public sector collective bargaining.
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How the Common Core is Changing Children’s Literature

The Common Core standards for English and language arts that Ohio and 44 other states have adopted call for a focus on depth over breadth, more challenging readings, and increased emphasis on nonfiction.

Michael Buckley, author of the popular NERDS series and an Ohio native, says those changs means writers for children may have to evolve.

He says the Common Core emphasis on nonfiction in particular is changing expectations of children’s writers.

“Fiction is the bread and butter of most of us and now they want us to write nonfiction, which I don’t know how I’m going to do that,” says Buckley “What I fear is that we’re so dedicated to making testing the priority that books and the love of books, there’s just no time for it.“

Read more at: stateimpact.npr.org

Steubenville Superintendent Indicted in Connection with Steubenville Rape Case

Today a grand jury indicted four Steubenville current and former school employees and volunteers on charges related to the rape of a teenage girl last year. The charges relate to impeding the investigation into the rape, failing to report child abuse and other accusations.

Steubenville Superintendent Michael McVey faces five counts, including tampering with evidence and obstructing justice.

The other people indicted include Matthew Belardine, a former volunteer assistant football coach; Seth Fluharty, an assistant wrestling coach and special education teacher; and Lynnett Gorman, the principal of West Elementary.

Not included in today’s announcement was Steubenville Head Football Coach Reno Saccoccia. Many had expected to hear something about the famed longtime coach because his name came up during trial testimony in March.

Testimony and text messages during the trial of two the athletes indicated that Saccoccia, referred to by “Big Red” football fans as “Coach Reno” was aware of the rape allegations shortly after they surfaced and before they were reported to police. The text messages read in court from Mays, who was 16 at the time, and a quarterback for the team indicated the coach was aware of the allegations. The text read: “I got Reno. He took care of it and shit ain’t gonna happen, even if they did take it to court. Like he was joking about it so I’m not worried.”

Read more at: www.cleveland.com

Former Cleveland Heights Charter School Employees Indicted in Connection With $400,000 Fraud Scheme

Four people were indicted today on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy to launder money in connection with a scheme to defraud a Cleveland Heights charter school out of more than $400,000. The charter school, Greater Heights Academy, closed abruptly in 2008 amid questions about unpaid bills.

The school had previously been overseen, or “sponsored,” by the Ashe Culture Center. The state Board of Education revoked Ashe’s authority to sponsor charter schools in 2011.

Indictments on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy to launder money were handed down against Joel B. Friedman, 65, of Mayfield Heights; Jeffrey A. Pope, 46, of Bowie, Md.; Marianne Stefanik, 64, of Parma, and Virgil B. Holley, 51, of Cleveland Heights.

Friedman served as chairman of Greater Heights Academy, a charter school located in Cleveland Heights. Stefanik worked as Friedman’s secretary at the school. Pope operated a consulting business in Maryland known as R&D International. Holley worked for Friedman at the charter school in various capacities, including starting Holley Enterprises to provide security at the school.

Read more at: www.cleveland.com

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