Eye on Education


Straight A Fund’s Governing Board Makes Final Grant Recommendations

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The Governing Board of Ohio’s Straight A Fund has selected 34 out of more than 200 finalists to receive competitive funding ranging from a couple of hundred thousand dollars to nearly $15 million.

Originally, about 340 schools, school districts and multi-entity partnerships applied for $150 million in the second and final round of Straight A Fund grants aimed at bringing “bold, new approaches to equip… students for a more demanding workplace.”

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University of Akron President Luis Proenza Announces Retirement, Gets 18-Percent Raise

University of Akron President Luis Proenza

University of Akron

University of Akron President Luis Proenza

University of Akron President Luis Proenza announced his retirement today after serving as the school’s president for nearly 15 years. Proenza’s last day as president will be June 30, 2014.

WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports:

Proenza is the longest continually serving president at a public university in Ohio. Under a deal reached with the Board of Trustees today, the 68-year-old will get an 18 percent raise in January, bringing his base salary to $500,000. That will continue through a one-year sabbatical beginning next June.

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Grading the Teachers: How Ohio is Measuring Teacher Quality by the Numbers

Forest Park Middle School teacher Maria Plecnik said for her own sanity, she had to leave the teaching profession.

Lynn Ischay / The Plain Dealer

Forest Park Middle School teacher Maria Plecnik said for her own sanity, she plans to leave the teaching profession.

Maria Plecnik is the kind of teacher who gets chills in a 90-degree classroom when she connects with students during the first week of school. She’s the kind who brags about seeing their test scores go up or turning a kid who was always trouble into an “A” student.

In her seven years at Euclid’s Forest Park Middle School, her principal always told her she was doing a good job.

Teaching was her dream job. But this year, her dream faded.
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Superintendent Won’t Reinstate Carla Hale, the Fired Catholic 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.

Lucia McQuaide, the superintendent of schools for the Catholic Archdiocese of Columbus, will not reinstate Carla Hale.

Hale was recently fired from Bishop Watterson High School for disclosing a relationship with a female partner in her mother’s obituary.

Hale says she was discriminated against for being gay. Her diocese says she was fired for being in a “quasi-spousal relationship” outside of marriage, which they say violates a lifestyle contract signed by all teachers in the district. Continue Reading

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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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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Indictments Filed for Corruption and Theft at Cleveland Charter School – Updated

Stacey Shintani / Flickr

A state audit last week found a total of $1,850,489 to be recovered from former employees and school board members of the Cleveland Academy of Scholarship, Technology and Leadership Enterprise, a charter high school in Cleveland.

Today Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty announced that ten people and thirteen companies are being indicted as a result of the audit’s findings.

Charges include corruption, theft and money laundering.

The special audit found that payments were made on behalf of the school to thirteen shell companies, all of which were either owned by or affiliated with school officials and board members. Continue Reading

Let’s (Not) Talk About Gateway Sexual Activity, Baby

Mister Asta / Flickr

An amendment added to the state budget bill yesterday prohibits teachers from talking about any “gateway sexual activity” and directs them to emphasize abstinence in sex education.

Teachers who don’t comply could be fined up to $5,000 if the measure passes.

So just what is “gateway sexual activity?”

House members deferred to the definition of “sexual contact” in the state’s criminal code: Continue Reading

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