Week in Review - 11/30/2018

Week in Review - 11/30/2018

EDUCATION

Ohio State University's Center on Education and Training for Employment and the Ohio Department of Education are looking for parents, guardians, and caretakers to join a statewide advisory council. The Statewide Family Engagement Center Advisory Council will gather representatives of families, high school students, school administrators, teachers, businesses, and others. In its first year, it will develop a family engagement framework to help guide schools' efforts to involve families.


Because of their implications for graduation, state testing requirements, report card, and other areas, alternative assessments should be a regular agenda item for the State Board of Education's Achievement and Graduation Requirements Committee, a board member said Monday. Board member Charlotte McGuire, who leads the board's Alternative Assessment Impact Team, included that recommendation Monday in her suggestions of what to put in the impact team's final report to the board in December.


The Ohio Department of Education is taking applications for schools seeking designations as STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) or STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) schools. To be eligible, schools must show evidence of a working partnership with public and private entities, including higher education and business organizations, and evidence of a qualifying curriculum that emphasizes the relevant disciplines, personalized learning, and teamwork, among other criteria. Letters of intent from those seeking the designation are due by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19. Final proposals are due Wednesday, March 6.


Achievement gaps and the paucity of students meeting post-secondary readiness benchmarks are worrying signs for Ohio, the Fordham Institute says in its recent analysis of 2017-2018 state report cards for schools. The report, "Checking Ohio's educational vital signs," also focuses on results among Ohio's Big Eight urban school districts: Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown.


Democratic legislators and community members Wednesday called for consideration of HB626 (K. Smith-Fedor), which was introduced in May and has not received a hearing. The bill would establish a moratorium on academic distress commissions, and the press conference focused on the effects of those commissions in Youngstown, Lorain, and East Cleveland.


Policy experts gave Ohio lawmakers an overview of states' e-school policies and some best practices and incentives to consider Thursday, but generally said no one state has figured out a model that fully addresses the challenges of this educational approach. The Joint Committee on E-School Funding, created earlier this year to study the topic in the wake of the ECOT saga, heard presentations from Micah Wixom of the Education Commission of the States (ECS); Benjamin Erwin of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL); Russ Simnick of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS); and Chad Aldis, the Fordham Institute's Ohio vice president.


ELECTIONS

While stopping short of criticizing Secretary of State Jon Husted's directive telling county boards of elections to continue the judicially-upheld but oft-decried process of purging inactive voters from the rolls, Sen. Frank LaRose (R-Copley) said he will improve the procedure when he takes over as elections chief.


 Secretary of State Jon Husted said Thursday that he has sent guidance to county boards of election so they may begin acquiring new voting equipment through the Voting Equipment Acquisition Program in his office. The program was created after the passage of SB135 (LaRose), which allocated $104.5 million in funding for counties to purc