Week in Review - 01/25/2019

Week in Review - 01/25/2019

EDUCATION

Ohio ranked 24th in the nation on preparing its students for success, according to the annual "Quality Counts" report on state educational quality from Education Week. The publication this year is breaking Quality Counts into three installments, with a report on school finances due in June and another on academic achievement measures in September. Ohio earned a B-minus on the report's chance-for-success index, which looks at 13 indicators in three categories: early foundations, school years, and adult outcomes. The average grade for states is C-minus.


The numbers of Ohio charter schools and students attending them declined again last school year, continuing a downward trend that's held since those numbers peaked in the 2013-2014 academic year, according to the Ohio Department of Education's annual report on charter schools. The report, released at the end of 2018, tallies charter school enrollment at 104,000 for the 2017-2018 school year, or about 7 percent of overall student enrollment in the state. That compares to 110,961 the previous year, 120,893 at the charter sector's peak in 2013-2014, and 82,643 a decade ago. The number of schools, 340, is down from 362 in 2016-2017 and 395 in the peak year, but up from the 326 schools operating 10 years ago.


The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) marked the observance of School Choice Week with the release of its 10th annual rating of states' laws governing charter schools, which puts Ohio mid-pack at 23rd among 44 jurisdictions that authorize charter schools -- essentially unchanged from the previous year. Ohio was 23rd of 45 last year. NAPCS dropped Kentucky from its ratings this year because a funding impasse rendered that state's relatively new charter school law moot for the moment. Another of Ohio's neighbors, Indiana, retained its No. 1 spot in the report, while Michigan is 27th and Pennsylvania is 34th. West Virginia does not have a charter school law. Maryland is rated last.


Career technical and adult education facilities deserve more state funding for renovation and equipment upgrades, Gov. Mike DeWine said Wednesday. "As we look to the future, and as we work with the Legislature, this is a governor who is going to be very mindful of how important the career centers are," DeWine told attendees of a legislative seminar held by the Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education (Ohio ACTE) at the Capitol Square Sheraton.


Major strides are by being made by businesses in developing the job opportunities of tomorrow, as well as by educators in giving students the skills they need to succeed. The problem is that those two sides aren't always communicating well. That will be one of his priorities in his new role, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted told the audience at a closing address of the Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education's 2019 Legislative Seminar on Thursday.


EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT

Ohio's unemployment rate remained at 4.6 percent in December, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) said Friday, unchanged from the November rate as the state added 2,900 jobs over the month. According to ODJFS, the number of workers unemployed in Ohio in December was 265,000, up 2,000 from 263,000 in November. The number of unemployed has decreased by 16,000 in the past 12 months from 281,000. The December unemployment rate for Ohio decreased from 4.9 percent in December 2017. The U.S. unemployment rate for December was 3.9 percent, up from 3.7 percent in November, and down from 4.1 percent in December 2017.


GOVERNOR

DeWine administration officials faced a Friday deadline for determining the effects of the federal government shutdown, Gov. Mike DeWine said Wednesday. He also said he expects to nominate a director to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) in the next 10 days. On another question concerning whether he will pursue merging several education-related agencies, DeWine commented that it's not generally his philosophy to pursue major structural changes in government.


POVERTY

Despite the fact that in 2017, 14.9 percent of Ohio's residents lived in poverty -- up from 13.3 percent in 2006 before the Great Recession -- a new report from Policy Matters Ohio (PMO) shows that state support for some antipoverty programs has eroded. The full report can be found online at https://tinyurl.com/yazumvg2.


STATE GOVERNMENT

Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) Chairwoman Kim Murnieks suggested monthly meetings for the commission following the testimony of Pleasant Local Schools Superintendent Jennifer Adams, who said the current quarterly meeting schedule is too sparse.