Eye on Education

Ida Lieszkovszky

Ida Lieszkovszky left StateImpact Ohio in June 2013 to join WCPN's daily talk show, The Sound of Ideas. She previously reported for StateImpact Ohio as the project's Cleveland-based radio reporter and blogger. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and psychology from Miami University.

  • Email: ida_disabled_reporter@stateimpact.org

Jury Sides With Catholic School Teacher Fired for Artificial Insemination

Christa Dias, the Cincinnati-area Catholic school teacher fired for using artificial insemination to have a baby, was awarded $171,000 by a jury today. The jury decided her firing violated anti-discrimination laws because she was fired after becoming pregnant.

Her attorney had argued she was fired simply because she was pregnant and unmarried.

The archdiocese’s attorney said Dias was fired because artificial insemination violated church doctrine and a contract requiring her to follow Catholic teachings.

The jury said the archdiocese should pay $51,000 in back-pay, $20,000 in compensatory damages and $100,000 in punitive damages.

Read more at: www.wcpo.com

New Contract Approved by Cleveland Teachers Union

The Cleveland Teachers Union voted to ratify a new contract at the end of last week. The contract sets up a new salary schedule based on performance, replacing the existing schedule of step-increases.

Teachers will also get a 4 percent overall increase the first year of the contract, and a 1 percent increase the third year.

The contract will pay teachers, nurses and counselors an additional $14 million over the three years, while also formally creating the district’s “differentiated compensation” plan.

That plan sets aside the traditional salary scale that gives raises based on years of service and college degrees or courses, replacing it with one that gives raises based on teacher performance and specialized qualifications or duties.

The contract also changes how teacher layoffs and recalls are handled, with performance and qualifications taking precedence over seniority.

Read more at: www.cleveland.com

Undocumented Students in Gray Area for College Admissions

Ida Lieszkovszky / StateImpact Ohio

Chaza Banda is saving up her paychecks from Dave's supermarket so she can pay for college, a dream that is complicated by her status as a deferred action immigrant.

It’s been nearly a year since the Obama administration gave leniency for some children who immigrated to the United States illegally.

Known as DACA – deferred action for childhood arrivals – the measure gives these young people some protection even though they aren’t citizens or legal residents. Nearly 2 million people are eligible for the DACA program.

This is the first year DACA students are applying for colleges, but their uncertain legal status can be a problem.

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UPDATED: OSU President Gordon Gee in Hot Water for Making Fun of Catholics, Southern Colleges

Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee

Ohio State University

E. Gordon Gee is the president of Ohio State University.

Ohio State University president E. Gordon Gee has been reprimanded by the university’s Board of Trustees for jokes he made about Catholics at a meeting of the school’s Athletic Council.

During the council’s December meeting, Gee said Notre Dame University never joined the Big Ten Conference because Catholic priests can’t be trusted.

The Associated Press obtained a recording of that meeting:

“The fathers are holy on Sunday, and they’re holy hell on the rest of the week,” Gee said to laughter at the Dec. 5 meeting attended by Athletic Director Gene Smith, several other athletic department members, professors and students.

“You just can’t trust those damn Catholics on a Thursday or a Friday, and so, literally, I can say that,” said Gee, a Mormon.

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Bill Lets Columbus Schools Share Levy Dollars with Charters

Dave Barger / Flickr

It’s been a rough school year for Columbus City Schools. The district is under investigation by the State Auditor’s office and the FBI for tampering with student attendance data and grades. Plus the  district has a history of less-than-stellar academic results.

Now there’s a bill making its way through the Ohio House that aims to improve Columbus City Schools.

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It’s Now Easier to Get Your Ohio Teaching License (As Long As You’re Not From One of These Five States)

Aaron Knox / Flickr

It’s now easier for teachers coming from out-of-state to come work in Ohio – as long as they’ve been teaching for the last five years consecutively and are not coming from Alaska, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota or Wyoming.

At its meeting this month, the State Board of Education voted on a policy that streamlines the teacher licensure process for most out-of-state teachers. Continue Reading

Cleveland School District Moves Towards Performance Pay

Ida Lieszkovszky / StateImpact Ohio

Cleveland Teachers Union President David Quolke, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, and Cleveland Schools CEO Eric Gordon joined forces to pass the Cleveland Plan to Transform Schools. Much of the current tentative contract stems from the Cleveland Plan.

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 bumps for an extra degree. Instead, “pay for performance” is in.

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Catholic Teachers Union Will Not Support Fired Gay Teacher

Tom Borgerding / WOSU

Carla Hale and her lawyer, Tom Tootle, announcing that her union will not support her request to get her job back.

Carla Hale, the gay teacher recently fired from a Columbus-area Catholic school, does not have her union’s support in her efforts to get her job back.

Hale was initially fired from Bishop Watterson High School after naming her girlfriend in an obituary for her mother.

Hale argues she was fired for being gay. The Catholic church has maintained that she was fired for revealing a “quasi-spousal relationship” outside of marriage.

Our colleagues at WOSU report the Central Ohio Association of Catholic Educators said it will not support Hale in her efforts to get her job back:

In a letter from the teachers’ union Hale provided to WOSU, union President Kathleen Mahoney stated, “[the union's] decision should not be interpreted as reflecting unfavorably upon Ms. Hale as a person or as an educator.”

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New Cleveland Teachers’ Contract Would Tie Pay to Performance

Ida Lieszkovszky / StateImpact Ohio

David Quolke is president of the Cleveland Teachers Union.

A tentative contract between the Cleveland school district and its teachers union would replace the annual pay raises teachers get for accumulating years of experience or additional education with raises tied to their performance, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Performance will be measured partly by ratings under a new statewide model for evaluating teachers that takes into account their students’ growth as well as classroom observations.

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“Better Than Normal” Results for School Levies

Martha T / Flickr

About 90 percent of the requests for renewal levies were approved in yesterday’s elections, as well 42 percent of requests for new money.

“For a primary election, results were a little better than normal,” says Damon Asbury, who follows levies for the Ohio School Boards Association.

He says usually about 30 percent of new levy requests pass.

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