Eye on Education

America’s Graduation Rate Slightly Increases

Eighty-one percent of last year’s class of high school seniors earned their diplomas within four years, the Washington Post reports. That’s a one percent uptick from last year.

The nation’s high school graduation rate ticked up for the second year in a row, according to new federal data released Thursday showing that 81 percent of the Class of 2013 graduated within four years.

Read more at: www.washingtonpost.com

College Students Aren’t As Interested in Foreign Language Classes

Chairs in French and Spanish classes at college campuses across the country may be more empty than in previous years. A new study from the Modern Language Association of America finds that enrollment in those courses are down, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

CLEVELAND, Ohio – College students are less interested in studying Spanish, French, German and other languages, although enrollment in American Sign Language has surged, according to a new report by the Modern Language Association of America. Total enrollment in all languages, 1.5 million in fall 2013, decreased 6.7 percent from 2009, when the last survey was done, the report said.

Read more at: www.cleveland.com

Tougher Rules for Ohio Charter Schools Getting Widespread Support

Regulations of charter schools considered so lax that critics have called Ohio’s system “the wild wild west.”

A legislative hearing on charter-school law broke out yesterday, but a fight did not. That’s a big change from the typical Statehouse charter-school debates over the past 15 years. As opponents become more accepting of the role of charter schools in public education, and supporters face a blizzard of reports detailing bad charter schools and weak laws, both sides are largely coalescing around proposed upgrades in accountability and transparency.

Read more at: www.dispatch.com

State Agency Says Akron Schools Made Private Students Walk Too Far

The Akron Beacon Journal reports the city’s school board will be asking for more funding to spend on charter and private school students who the state says have had to walk too far to bus stops.

The Akron school board is planning to spend at least $1 million more on private and charter school students who the state says have been asked to walk too far to their public bus stops.

Read more at: www.ohio.com

University of Akron President Considers Kasich Cuts


Scott Scarborough / Photo courtesy of The University of Akron

Governor Kasich has formed a task force to find ways of reducing the high cost of a college education in Ohio.  Kasich has suggested schools sell their non-academic assets.  At least one university president hopes it’s not a fire-sale.

The University of Akron president Scott Scarborough began his career as an accountant and says the tightening of school budgets is one reason why people with financial backgrounds like himself are being hired.

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Two Youngstown City School Board Members Kicked Off of State Panel

The Youngstown Vindicator reports two of the city’s school board members have been removed from the district’s academic distress commission.

“In the 2014 Academic Plan, State Superintendent [Richard] Ross suggested that the district broaden its community connection in helping the district meet its educational goals,” school board president Brenda Kimble said in a letter to the members, according to the Vindicator. “We, as the board of education, have made a decision to appoint new representatives from the community this year.”

YOUNGSTOWN Two members of the Youngstown City School District Academic Distress Commission are out, replaced by new appointees. Brenda Kimble, school board president, sent letters Monday to Susan Moorer and Betty Greene, the board president’s appointees to the commission, thanking them for their service and telling them that new representatives were being named.

Read more at: www.vindy.com

Handful of Community College Split $2.5 Million Job Training Grant

Five of Ohio’s community colleges are sharing a $2.5 million grant aimed at creating programs pairing GED testing with hands-on vocational job training, the Toledo Blade reports.

Penta Career Center is moving ahead with its plan to develop a pilot adult education program that will tie earning a high-school diploma equivalent to job training in a field where there are employment opportunities.

Read more at: www.ourtownperrysburg.com

After Data Scrubbing Scandal, Columbus Employees Begin to Pay Back Bonuses

The Columbus Dispatch reports close to 600 of the city’s school employees have begun paying back roughly $360,000 back in unearned bonuses. The money, which ranged in amounts from $130 to $2,700 per employee, was awarded when staff members’ schools were thought to be reaching academic goals, but the bonuses were rescinded after numerous investigations determined several buildings hit those targets by cheating.

Most of the Columbus school workers who were told to repay unearned bonuses have started making payments, district financial data shows. There are nearly 600 employees who must pay back about $360,000 in bonuses they received for the 2010-11 school year because their schools appeared to be hitting their academic targets.

Read more at: www.dispatch.com

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