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Taft High Rating to Go Down

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 24, 2012
After two years of racking up an excellent rating on its state report card, Robert A. Taft Information Technology High School appears headed for a lower grade.   
by James McNair 10.17.2012
Posted In: CPS, Education at 04:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Taft High Heading for Lower Rating

Scores down after controversial ascension from "academic emergency" to "excellent"

After two years of racking up an excellent rating on its state report card, Robert A. Taft Information Technology High School appears headed for a lower grade. Preliminary school report cards released Wednesday by the Ohio Department of Education show an “effective” rating for Taft, a technology-magnet school for grades 9-12 in Cincinnati’s West End. Taft had won accolades nationally for its steady climb from academic futility during the past seven years. In that span, Taft went from “academic emergency” in the 2004-05 school year to excellent in 2009-10 and 2010-11, mainly on the strength of Ohio Graduation Test pass rates that were the highest of all public high schools in Southwest Ohio. The U.S. Department of Education gave it a coveted National Blue Ribbon Award.[Download the Ohio Preliminary Report Cards spreadsheet here.] CityBeat called those achievements into question in a February article ("Miracle or Mirage," issue of Feb. 22). CityBeat found that the same graduating classes (2009-10 and 2010-11) that were posting regionally high OGT pass rates had average composite ACT test scores of 15, or the 10th percentile in Ohio. CityBeat also took the first hard look at an independent audit showing that, of 1,707 erasures on Taft OGT exams in 2006, 88 percent resulted in correct answers, an outcome one nationally prominent testing expert called “not logical.” Cincinnati Public Schools, then led by former superintendent Rosa Blackwell, refused to investigate the matter, and ODE let the district get away with it. For the 2011-12 school year, Taft still posted high pass rates on the OGT, but its graduation rate of 82.1 percent (down from 91.4 percent in 2010-11) and attendance rate of 91 percent (down from 96.7 percent) were below state benchmarks, leading to the effective rating on its interim report card. While Taft fell from excellence among the city’s public schools, another school, James N. Gamble Montessori High School in Spring Grove Village, received its first-ever excellent rating. And Walnut Hills extended its long-running streak of excellent ratings. Winners of effective ratings were Clark Montessori and Withrow University high schools.As for the district, Cincinnati Public Schools itself fell one notch on its state report card. Last year, CPS was rated effective, making it the highest-rated urban school district in Ohio. For 2011-12, it dropped to “continuous improvement.” Said CPS spokeswoman Janet Walsh: “We really would have loved to have gotten effective again, but the fact remains that overall performance, as rated by the state performance index, did reach 88.5, which is our highest score ever, and we continue to improve.”
 
 

Battered But Not Broken

After a decade of budget cuts, CPS looks to Issue 42 for stability

3 Comments · Wednesday, October 3, 2012
By the end of November 2011, Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) knew it would soon have bigger financial problems. The school district had just lost the battle for Issue 32, a permanent levy that would have raised $49.5 million for CPS every year.   
by Danny Cross 07.10.2012
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

Local subscribers to Time Warner and Insight cable woke up today without access to WLWT-TV (Channel 5) after the station and companies failed to reach a new retransmission agreement. Instead, the cable companies offered Channel 2 from NBC affiliate Terre Haute, Ind. The Enquirer is all over the story, reporting that Todd Dykes and Lisa Cooney in the morning were replaced by someone named Dada Winklepleck in Wabash Valley, Ind. Don’t worry: 30 Rock will still be on your new local Indiana station. Visit mywabashvalley.com for further details about additional programming. Or you can just hook up an antennae and get WLWT in hi-def for free.  Anyone in the market for a school building? Cincinnati Public Schools is adding four closed buildings to a for-sale list in an attempt to raise the capital necessary to complete an overhaul of its in-use buildings as part of its Facilities Master Plan. The new buildings on the list are Central Fairmount, Kirby Road, North Fairmount and Old Shroder schools.  Ohio brought in $23.5 million during the first seven weeks of legalized gambling in the state.  Mitt Romney says he’s not hiding anything in his offshore accounts. The proof: He doesn’t even know where they are, so they’re technically hidden from him, too. Barack Obama is in Iowa apparently setting up an issue on which to debate Romney later this fall. Obama is pitching an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for households earning less than $250,000, while Romney wants to extend them for rich people, too.  The FDA went against the advice of an expert panel, deciding not to require mandatory training for doctors prescribing long-acting narcotic painkillers that can lead to addiction.  Three-hundred-square-foot apartments in New York City? Mayor Michael Bloomberg asked developers yesterday to try to make them work. City planners envision a future in which the young, the cash-poor and empty nesters flock to such small dwellings — each not much bigger than a dorm room. In a pricey real estate market where about one-third of renter households spend more than half their income on rent, it could make housing more affordable. Droughts in 18 states have made the price of corn go up, and the soybeans are hurting a little bit, too. Sitting less adds two years to U.S. life expectancy.  A new study found that babies are healthier when there are dogs in their homes.The Major League Baseball All-Star Game will take place tonight in Kansas City. The Reds’ Joey Votto is a starter, while Jay Bruce and Aroldis Chapman are also likely to play. 
 
 

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
 
 
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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)
 
 
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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
 
 
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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.  

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