Week in Review - 08/23/2019

Week in Review - 08/23/2019

EDUCATION

The Ohio Department of Education(ODE) released guidance for schools and students to navigate new high school graduation requirements, which fully take effect for the class of 2023 but will be an option for students in the classes of 2021 and 2022. The biennial budget bill, HB166 (Oelslager), largely adopted a graduation framework proposed jointly by the Ohio Excels business coalition, Ohio Alliance for High Quality Education and the Fordham Institute. It cuts two of the current seven end-of-course exams and requires minimum scores on only two of them -- English and algebra -- with testing alternatives available after at least one retake. Elimination of one of the tests, for geometry, is dependent on federal approval.


"What does success really mean?" Foxfire Local Schools Superintendent Todd Whiteman asked members of the State Board of Education's Dropout Prevention and Recovery (DOPR) workgroup Monday morning.


Whiteman was invited to present to the workgroup on the challenges and success that he's experienced in his 19 years of leadership of the school, which originally began as an alternative to suspension program and has now grown into both an official DOPR school and a K-8 community school.


East Cleveland Schools has dropped a legal claim questioning the Ohio Department of Education's (ODE) calculation of the state report card grades that put the district under the jurisdiction of a state oversight panel. With report card-related claims out of the lawsuit, remaining legal arguments -- over the constitutionality of the distress commission law and the procedures legislators used to pass it -- are essentially identical to those in Youngstown Schools' lawsuit over its distress commission, now before the Ohio Supreme Court. Since the Supreme Court's ruling in that case will control the outcome of the East Cleveland matter, Judge Kim Brown issued a motion to stay all proceedings to await the higher court's decision.


Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine Wednesday signed an executive order establishing the Ohio School Safety Center within the Ohio Department of Public Safety's (DPS)Division of Ohio Homeland Security. The center will serve as a central repository for local schools, law enforcement and communities to access resources, information and training regarding school safety.


The Broadcast Educational Media Commission (BEMC) joined with the Management Council of the Ohio Education Computer Network (MCOECN) Wednesday to announce anew plan that will allow teachers to obtain a video learning services platform at a steep discount.


The publication Education Next this week released a national survey of public opinion on education topics and issues including charter schools, voucher, federal and state spending and school performance. Most respondents,60 percent, said they would assign an A or B grade for their local public schools' performance, but just 24 percent expressed that level of confidence in the schools of the nation as a whole.



EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT

Ohio's unemployment rate remained 4.0 percent in July, unchanged from June, according to data released Friday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). The state added 4,500 jobs, from a revised 5,588,500 in June to 5,593,000 in July. The number of unemployed workers rose, from June's 233,000 to 235,000 in July. The number of unemployed workers has decreased by 28,000 in the past 12 months, and the July 2018 unemployment rate was 4.6 percent.


 

PENSIONS

Michael Nehf, executive director of the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) since July 2008, plans to retire at the end of June 2020, according to the system. An Ad Hoc Executive Director Search Committee of the STRS Board started meeting this spring to discuss the process to replace him. 


 

STUDIES/POLLS

A decade on from the recession, Ohio's inflation-adjusted revenues remain below the peak set before the2008-2009 financial collapse, according to the Pew Charitable Trust's "Fiscal 50: State Trends and Analysis" report. Pew notes economics are not the only force at play in that trend, however, acknowledging the role of changes to state tax laws. Ohio has consistently reduced income taxes over numerous budget cycles in that timeframe. The "Fiscal 50" report reviews trends in measures of state fiscal health that include revenues and revenue volatility, overall spending and Medicaid spending, employment rates,population and income growth, debt and retirement costs and rainy day reserves,among others.