Week in Review - 05/04/2018

Week in Review - 05/04/2018

EDUCATION

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) STEM Committee Friday approved the addition of 10 new STEM schools, bringing the state's total to 54 STEM-designated schools.


Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) offered by the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) to former employees are basically "taxpayer-financed hush money," representatives of left-leaning organizations ProgressOhio, Common Cause Ohio, and Innovation Ohio said Monday.


There are steps that the State Board of Education can take in the near future to address some of the issues school districts and other stakeholders have with the current school report card system, but more systemic changes will take more time and often require legislative action. A workgroup charged with making recommendations to the board wrestled with that conflict in their fourth meeting Monday, where they considered the possible recommendations formulated during the previous meeting on three of the six report card components: the achievement, K-3 literacy, and prepared for success components.


House Democrats, citing controversy and a lack of results, are pushing legislation that would block the state from creating additional academic distress commissions that operate severely at-risk school districts under current law. Under a moratorium proposed in HB626, introduced by Reps. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Kent Smith (D-Euclid) Tuesday, school report cards would not have an effect on the creation of an academic distress commission for any school for three years, through 2021.


School districts interested in developing or improving library programs, offering early literacy services, and providing quality books to low-income students to boost their reading performance can apply to the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) for a grant through the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program. More information about the program is available at http://tinyurl.com/ybfa79rk.


The Broadcast Educational Media Commission (BEMC) is urging the state to include last-mile connections to its main offices and Ohio's public broadcasters as part of the Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet). As the central master control operator for all public TV stations in Ohio, BEMC is a major user of capacity on OARnet, sending program signals to and from stations around the clock. But BEMC headquarters on the west edge of Ohio State University's campus, as well as stations' facilities across Ohio, are not directly tied in to OARnet.


ELECTIONS 2018

With less than a week remaining until the Tuesday, May 8 primary election, a new poll conducted by the Community Research Institute at Baldwin Wallace University finds many voters are still undecided about which candidates will get their vote. "It is surprising that this close to the primary there are still large percentages of identified Republican and Democratic voters who are still undecided," said Tom Sutton, director of the Community Research Institute. "86 percent of respondents told us they intend to vote, while only 3.3 percent have sent an early ballot. In the 2016 primary, about 20 percent voted early."

 

Secretary of State Jon Husted said Tuesday that 220,051 absentee ballots have been requested by-mail and in-person by the close of business on Friday. Of the ballots requested, 128,276 have been cast. Husted's office said of the 220,051 ballots requested, 182,887 were requested by mail and 91,112 were cast; 37,164 were requested in person and all of those were cast.


MEDICAID/MEDICAID REFORM

The Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) Monday submitted a finalized waiver application to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that would allow the state to impose work requirements on adults enrolled in Ohio's Medicaid expansion population.