Cincinnati vs. The World 6.13.12

1 Comment · Wednesday, June 13, 2012
A Minnesota high school student was recently forbidden from wearing black and silver rosary beads in support of his breast cancer-stricken grandmother because school officials said the beads could symbolize gang membership. WORLD -1   
by Danny Cross 06.12.2012

Morning News and Stuff

Former Bengal Chad Ochocinco will return to Cincinnati Oct. 7 as a member of the Miami Dolphins, if reports by his OchoCinco News Network are true: Ocho says he has signed with the Miami Dolphins. Cincinnati Public Schools on Monday voted unanimously to put a levy renewal on the November ballot. The current levy is set to expire in 2013, and the renewal would be for $51.5 million for five years. The second day of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse trial continues today, with a second accuser expected to testify. In his opening statement, Sandusky's lawyer questioned the credibility of the eight young men accusing him of multiple crimes over several years, claiming that they have a financial motive to make false claims. He also acknowledged that Sandusky's behavior and his showering with young boys was “kind of strange” but said it was not sexual abuse. Mitt Romney says Barack Obama's “Forward” slogan is absurd. And so is the notion that he wants to reduce the number of police, firefighters and teachers. Absurdity. The LA Times says Obama's complicated message will pose a challenge to convey, especially against Romney's simple argument: Y'all mad and it's Obama's fault. Obama's counter-argument is layered with nuance and complexity.It starts with an attempt to undercut Romney. As a corporate buyout executive, Romney shipped jobs overseas and reaped millions of dollars in fees from takeover deals that destroyed U.S. factory jobs, the Obama campaign says. As Massachusetts governor, Romney built a poor record on job creation, the argument continues.Turning to his own record, Obama tells voters that he inherited an economy on the brink of collapse and averted a depression. He takes credit for a resurgence in manufacturing, the rescue of the automobile industry and the creation of more than 4 million jobs since February 2010.Obama also slams Republicans in Congress for blocking his plans to stimulate more jobs. To inoculate himself from potential setbacks over the summer and fall, he warns of economic trouble spilling over from Europe.In the end, Obama says, he would keep the country moving forward while Romney would take it back to the George W. Bush policies that wrecked the economy in the first place. Verizon is changing up its cell phone plans, moving toward monthly plans that allow users to connect up to 10 devices, including tablets and PCs, to their cell phone network. There's a new Retina-display-bearing MacBook Pro. Whatever that means. Sunday night's Mad Men season finale broke a ratings record with 2.7 million viewers. The Los Angeles Kings won the NHL's Stanley Cup on Tuesday, the organization's first ever championship.

Taft Test Scores Down After Years of Improvement

1 Comment · Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Tenth graders at Robert A. Taft Information Technology High School — which went from academic futility in 2004-05 to excellence in 2009-10 — this year posted their worst showing on the Ohio grade math and reading tests since those bleak, bygone years.  
by German Lopez 05.30.2012
at 01:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Local Schools Fall Under New Grading System

New assessments could result in worse ratings

Ohio received a No Child Left Behind waiver yesterday, and the state is now expected to evaluate its schools with a more stringent assessment plan suggested by Gov. John Kasich.The state released district-by-district data showing how each school district would fall under the new system, which uses letter grades to evaluate schools. The simulation, which uses 2010-2011 data, shows most local schools would dropCincinnati Public Schools would drop from the second-best rating of “Effective” under the current system to a D-, with 23 schools flunking and Walnut Hills High School retaining its top mark with an A.Charter schools in particular are worried about surviving under the new grading system. Under Ohio law, if a charter school flunks two out of three consecutive years, the school has to close down.Some local charter schools are especially desperate to improve performance. Earlier this year, Dohn Community High School began a program that would literally pay students for showing up to class and working hard.The waiver from No Child Left Behind frees Ohio from a requirement to make 100 percent of students “proficient” in math and reading by 2014. Many parents, teachers and schools had criticized the No Child Left Behind requirement for being unrealistic.With freedom from No Child Left Behind, Ohio now has the responsibility of paving its own path toward school and student accountability. The new grading system was singled out as a big caveat by the Obama administration. Ohio is also expected to put extra funds in low-performing schools and create new accountability measures for teachers and principals.Ohio is expected to work out the full details of its plan by Sept. 15. If it doesn’t, the No Child Left Behind waiver will expire. The suggestions would then need to be approved by the legislature before January 2013 and go into effect August 2013.The Obama administration is using the waivers as an incentive for education reform in states. Ohio was one of eight states to get waivers yesterday. Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island also obtained waivers.
by Danny Cross 05.25.2012
josh_mandel headshot

Morning News and Stuff

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel has returned more than $100,000 in campaign contributions in response to an FBI investigation into 21 donors who had no record of giving to federal campaigns and many appearing to have low incomes. Mandel, a Republican, is running against incombent Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown. Mandel's campaign treasurer Kathryn Kessler sent a letter to donors explaining that any contributions appearing to be under investigation would be refunded. From The Toledo Blade: Although the campaign provided a copy of the letter to The Blade, it would not explain the timing of the decision or how long it has been aware of the federal probe. The Blade revealed the unusual pattern of contributions in August. The company's owner, Benjamin Suarez, and 16 of his employees (plus some of their spouses) gave about $200,000 to Mr. Mandel and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci (R., Wadsworth) last year. Each of those donors gave $5,000, the maximum allowable amount, to one or both candidates. The Ohio Senate yesterday passed new fracking regulations, and the final version caused some environmental organizations to change their stance on the bill. The Ohio Environmental Council and the Sierra Club had both been neutral on the legislation until changes were made forcing anyone suing over chemical trade secrets to show current or potential harm, according to The Enquirer. The regulations are part of Kasich's new energy bill and easily passed both the Senate and House and is expected to be signed by Kasich soon. Cincinnati Public Schools says it will apply for the latest available federal education grants, which amount to nearly $700 million. The grants are geared toward helping schools proceed with reform and innovation. According to a new poll, President Obama leads Mitt Romney in Ohio by six percentage points. Wonder if Obama's “cow pie of distortion” speech had anything to do with his lead. The John Edwards trial has entered day six of deliberations. United Nations inspectors have reportedly found uranium in Iran enriched beyond the highest levels previously reported. One diplomat said the measure could actually be a measurement error, though the reading could also mean that Iran is closer to producing bomb-grade uranium than previously thought. Scientists might be one step closer to creating birth control for men after U.K. scientists found a gene used to enable sperm to mature. From USA Today: “Profits at big U.S. companies broke records last year, and so did pay for CEOs.” Facebook's initial public offering didn't go entirely as expected, and some investors are getting refunds after technical problems and other issues marred the company's first week of trading. The Reds completed a four-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves last night, winning their sixth in a row and overtaking the St. Louis Cardinal for first place in the NL Central.

CPS, State Refuse to Address Taft Erasures

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 14, 2012
If Cincinnati Board of Education members harbor any doubts about the validity of graduation test scores at Robert A. Taft Information Technology High School, they’re not sharing them publicly.  

CPS Board Member to Question Test Erasures

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Cincinnati Public Schools board member Eileen Cooper-Reed plans to raise questions about test scores at Taft Information Technology High School at the board’s March 12 meeting in response to a recent CityBeat article (“Miracle or Mirage?,” issue of Feb. 22) that delved into contrasting Ohio Graduation Test and ACT test scores at Taft in 2010 and 2011.   
by James McNair 03.02.2012
Posted In: School Board, News at 02:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

CPS Board Member to Bring Up Taft Erasure Analysis

Eileen Cooper-Reed will broach the subject at March 12 school board meeting

Following CityBeat's Feb. 22 cover story outlining test-score discrepancies at Taft Information Technology High School, a Cincinnati Public Schools board member tells CityBeat that she plans to raise those questions as a topic of discussion at the board’s next meeting. The article, “Miracle or Mirage? ACT scores and a mysteriously ended cheating probe raise questions about Taft High School’s climb to the top,” delved into contrasting Ohio Graduation Test and ACT test scores at Taft in 2010 and 2011, as well as a 2006 erasure analysis showing that Taft students entered correct answers after 88 percent of all erasures on that year’s OGT. Taft is one of only two excellent-rated high schools in the city of Cincinnati and a 2010 winner of a National Blue Ribbon award from the U.S. Department of Education. The board member, Eileen Cooper-Reed, doesn’t know what she will ask for or proposed at the board’s March 12 meeting. “What I do know is that if we have nothing to hide, then we have nothing to fear,” she says. “Whatever we can do to make things clear so the community knows what’s going on, it’s worth doing.” At a board meeting in November 2006, Cooper-Reed expressed dismay at having learned about the erasure analysis from a Columbus Dispatch article that ran four months after CPS, then under the leadership of superintendent Rosa Blackwell, refused to investigate the erasures. Cooper-Reed and former board member Rick Williams said at the meeting that they would send a letter to the Ohio Department of Education asking it to revisit the matter. She says now that she has “no idea” if the letter went out. An ODE spokesman said there is no record of having received the letter or taking up the request. “I will bring it up,” Reed says of the March 12 board meeting. “If someone else doesn’t bring it up, I certainly will.”

Nov. 2-8: Worst Week Ever!

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 9, 2011
When a reporter asked a few parents in line if they thought something was wrong with an educational system in which some schools are so much better than others that they warrant camping out to get into, he was informed that if his “drug addict parents did things like this” he “wouldn’t be making $20,000 a year, living in an apartment and standing out in the cold like a dumbass” with them.  

CPS Seeks a Little ‘Stability’

If approved, permanent levy would buy books, computers

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 19, 2011
When Cincinnati voters go to the polls in November, they will be asked to decide on a new, permanent funding source for local schools. The Cincinnati Board of Education is seeking a property tax levy, which is Issue 32 on the ballot. The measure is a permanent improvement levy for 7.95 mills. If approved, it would provide the school district with about $49.5 million annually.