Week in Review - 11/21/2018

Week in Review - 11/21/2018

EDUCATION

Auditor Dave Yost's office found weak internal policies and a failure to follow the law in the Ohio Department of Education's (ODE) 2015 scandal over charter school sponsor ratings, but said lack of documentation and "inconsistent" accounts of events from agency staff left him unable to determine if the missteps were intentional. The special audit report, sent to ODE and the State Board of Education last week and published by Yost's office Tuesday, focused on the botched rollout of initial sponsor ratings and use of the flawed rating system in securing a large federal grant to support expansion of charter schools.


Strong relationships among teachers, parents, and students at schools have more impact on improving student learning than does financial support, new research shows. "Social capital" is the name scientists give to the network of relationships among school officials, teachers, parents, and the community that builds trust and norms promoting academic achievement. The study found that social capital had a three- to five-times larger effect than financial capital on reading and math scores in Michigan schools.


A county court shouldn't consider or even grant a hearing on East Cleveland Schools' challenge to a state takeover because higher courts have already staked out the ground on issues raised, attorneys for the state argued in a filing. Two of three arguments raised by East Cleveland are identical to those heard and rejected by the 10th District Court of Appeals and now under review by the Ohio Supreme Court, wrote Douglas Cole, special counsel for the state. The other argument, in which East Cleveland questions the validity of past report card grades that triggered the state takeover, is contradicted by the plain language of HB70. And the district can't substantiate its challenge to the latest grades on the 2017-2018 report card, the state argued.


The Ohio Department of Education is seeking volunteers for working groups to assist in the upcoming revision of state academic content standards for fine arts and world languages. The working groups will meet in person and virtually in 2019 to assist with revision of the standards. The deadline to volunteer is Sunday, Dec. 16.


EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT

Ohio's unemployment rate remained4.6 percent in October, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS)reported Friday, unchanged since July. The state added 10,900 jobs over the month, following a record high in September, and now has 5,647,200 jobs. The number of unemployed workers remained at September's level of 266,000. The number of unemployed Ohioans has decreased by 16,000 in the past 12 months, however, and the October 2017 unemployment rate was 4.9 percent.


Gov. John Kasich Monday summoned reporters to outside his Statehouse ceremonial office to highlight the recent job numbers released last Friday and noted national indicators that ranked Ohio fifth in the nation for its growth rate. Overall, he said "things are good here" in Ohio, and he believes voters rewarded that on Election Day.


HEALTH AND HUMANSERVICES

A "first-of-its-kind"study examining the transition to adulthood for foster care youth showed thatOhio foster care youth are lagging far behind national averages in educationalattainment and employment rates among similar individuals. Only six percent ofOhio foster youth participated in employment programs or vocational trainingafter leaving foster care, compared to 23 percent of foster youth nationally.Similarly, only 43 percent of Ohio foster youth received a high school diplomaor GED by age 21, compared to 76 percent of foster youth nationally and 92percent of all Ohioans.