Week in Review - 09/07/2018

Week in Review - 09/07/2018

AGRICULTURE

Farmers can now begin signing up for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs designed to blunt the economic damage caused by the ongoing U.S. trade war with China and other countries. The department announced its intention in late July to provide up to $12 billion to agricultural producers affected by countries retaliating to President Donald Trump's tariffs.


EDUCATION

Ohio education officials are working on plans to expand interest in and eligibility for the state's sizable federal charter schools grants, which so far are supporting just three schools. After two annual funding rounds in the five-year grant program, Ohio has spent about $2 million of $49 million available to plan and launch high-quality charter schools. The Ohio Department of Education is now looking to take advantage of new federal flexibility to use grants for expansion or replication of existing schools, as well as minor facility repairs.


How industry-recognized credentials should fit into the state report card delivered to career tech districts was the center of discussion at the Aug. 30 meeting of the Career-Technical Planning District (CTPD) Report Card Workgroup. Ohio Department of Education accountability chief Chris Woolard and Career Technical Education (CTE) Director Emily Passias guided the group through the post-program outcomes component of the report card, which measures two factors: the percentage of CTE concentrator students who have found some type of post-secondary placement and the percentage of concentrators who earned an industry-recognized credential before or within six months after leaving high school.


As school districts across Ohio are sending students home early -- or even closing -- because of sweltering temperatures, one legislator is asking the Ohio Department of Education to devise an estimate within the month of how much it would cost to install air conditioning in all Ohio schools that lack it. Rep. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) referenced early dismissals in the Dayton area in his letter Tuesday to Superintendent Paolo DeMaria, but schools statewide have been taking the same course, from Columbus to Akron to Cleveland.


The Ohio Department of Education is seeking schools interested in applying to be among the state's nominees for the federal Green Ribbon Schools program, which recognizes schools focused on energy efficiency, sustainability and healthy school environments. Those interested can complete a form available at https://tinyurl.com/y9vwsyoa.


The Superintendent's Advisory Committee for High School Graduation Requirements met at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Wednesday to consider both the current unanswered questions about graduation requirements for the classes of 2019 and 2020 and a fifth draft of a proposed new high school graduation plan, featuring a significant overhaul of current requirements.


ELECTIONS

The vast majority of Americans who vote on Election Day prefer to do so in the morning, according to research from the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


Speaking to reporters on a conference call Wednesday, BPC Associate Director Matt Weir said the study -- the first national program to track wait times at the polls -- found 82 percent of precincts experienced their longest line when the doors opened in 2016. An additional 8 percent saw their longest lines during the first hour of voting, meaning 90 percent of polling places had their longest line in the first hour.


ELECTIONS 2018

A U.S. District Court in Texas begins hearing arguments in a lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by 20 states. The lawsuit argues that the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the ACA did so by ruling the individual mandate was a tax that could be imposed by Congress. Because Congress ended the tax penalty in its 2017 tax overhaul, the lawsuit argues that the individual mandate is no longer a tax and is unconstitutional.


HIGHER EDUCATION

The Ohio Association of Community Colleges announced that it received a three-year $1.2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation aimed at closing the skills gap between Ohio's workers and its employment needs.