Congress closer to passing new ESEA

A Congressional conference committee has approved a bill to revise the No Child Left Behind law signed by President George W. Bush 14 years ago. News media report that the bill allows states to decide whether or how to use student test performance data, especially as they apply to teacher evaluations. It also prohibits the federal government from requiring the use of a particular set of standards, such as the Common Core. It does, however, retain a provision allowing states the power to intervene in the operations of the nation’s lowest-performing 5 percent of schools.

Get your MLK tickets now

Tickets will go fast for this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Banquet. This year’s event is Jan. 14 at the Hyatt Regency Columbus. Our keynote will be Martin Luther King III, the oldest son of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King. The evening also features two awards made to those who have demonstrated efforts to keep alive the ideas and spirit of the late Dr. King: the Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award and the Helen Jenkins Davis Award. Tickets to this event are $30 each with tables of eight at $240. To reserve yours, call CEA.

Feds request Ohio charter data

Following the suspension of additional charter school funding, the U.S. Department of Education has told the Ohio Department of Education that it must verify and provide information about its program. A letter from the federal director of the charter schools program stipulates ODE must provide:

  • A report summarizing the status of seven years’ worth of findings in all state-conducted charter school audits
  • A list of and corrections to any information in its grant application that is out-of-date, inaccurate, incomplete, or misleading
  • An explanation of changes to its process for reviewing charter-school authorizers and any additional systems to ensure integrity

Ohio has plans to use federal aid to provide grants of up to $700,000 to applicants seeking to open new charter schools. However, the USDOE suspended the funding and media coverage across the country has focused on the inaccuracies and questionable claims included in the state’s grant application, written by former Ohio school choice director David Hansen. His application claimed that the state had no “poor-performing” charters in the 2012-2013 school year, even though one-third of them didn’t meet a single standard on state report cards that year. He also omitted grades of failing online school, boosting their ratings.