The Cleveland Scholarship & Tutoring Program got a shout-out from a student in this Thanksgiving Day photo from Saint Martin de Porres, a Cleveland private school. Check out her sign in the bottom-right corner of this photo!
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means we will soon be gathering with friends and family to celebrate and be thankful. So, it only seems fitting that we feature stories this week from students located all across the state who are thankful to receive a scholarship to attend the school of their choice.
The Cleveland Scholarship means a lot to me because without it I wouldn’t be able to attend my school. Having this scholarship gives me a chance to be someone in life by getting a good education. Without having a good education, I would not be able to do what I plan to do in life.
The Cleveland Scholarship is helping me by urging me to keep my grades up and to be accountable for my responsibilities. My dreams mean a lot to me, and with this scholarship, I’ll reach them. My dream is to be in sports medicine or to be a psychologist. I want to help people. My dreams are to make my grandmother happy and for her to see me graduate high school and college.
I think the promise of my scholarship is to give me a chance to be able to have an education at a good school. My mother always wanted my older brother, sister, and myself to be successful in life. Our education means a lot to her, and with this scholarship I’ll be able to make my mother proud.
School Choice Ohio’s Board Chair John Mullaney authored a timely guest column titled “Now let’s talk about real education innovations” that was published in The Plain Dealer this weekend. In the column, John makes a powerful argument that we should be having regular conversations about reinventing schools. He also says, “We will soon come to the realization that having the money follow the child is the only way to provide quality education for all children.” Read his reasoning below.
The Plain Dealer’s coverage of blended learning provides a glimmer of hope that, now that elections are over, we will soon come to the realization that having the money follow the child is the only way to provide quality education for all children. Unfortunately, we have not provided a forum for that conversation to take place honestly and without fear of reprisal. Cleveland, with its universities, museums, technological infrastructure and leading businesses, has far too many resources to ignore the challenge.
Our country has seen how the auto industry’s failure to innovate resulted in the United States falling behind in an industry it once commanded. Similarly, resistance at the state and district levels to accelerate innovation in education undermines our educational prominence in the world. Why do we not see the urgency to change?
A Harvard Business Review 2008 article, “Teaming Up to Crack Innovation Enterprise Integration,” stated, “. . . business innovation and integration have two things in common — both are still unnatural acts. . . . Businesses are better at stifling innovation than at capitalizing on it, better at optimizing local operations than at integrating them for the good of the enterprise and its customers. The larger and more complex the organizations, the stronger the status quo can be in repelling both innovation and integration.”
Nothing else that I’ve read better describes the state of the educational system in Ohio. Public schools in too many urban districts are a failing industry. Too many administrators and public officials ignored the competition from successful charter schools and even faith-based schools. These entities were seen not as competition, but as the enemy. The same is now true of real innovations in teaching and learning. In an effort to preserve the status quo and guarantee job security, those in the bunker just hunker down.
Too many teachers who risk innovative approaches do so in spite of their administrators, not because of their support.
Too many are afraid of adapting to new technologies that are likely to guarantee smarter, leaner administrative budgets and improve student-learning outcomes. Good administrators will report up to the “management” that revises standards and tests in order to manipulate data to have the public believe their inferior product is actually working.
There are too many individual school districts. In Lorain County, with a population of 280,000, there are 14 school districts each with high-paid administrators, including superintendents, principals and curriculum directors. The cost to the public every year exceeds $4 million. Much of that work can be done online through more effective use of management technologies.
Too many public dollars are wasted paying for textbooks. Innovations in online texts are occurring every day, yet too many school administrators are slow to adapt them.
Too many school administrators, fearful of change, block innovation preferring to get results from “evidence-based practice” before they do anything. Evidence of what is working, especially in charter, faith-based, independent and online schools, is too often ignored unless it has imprimatur from “the academy” and even the press.
Finally, the state’s solution for training its teachers is in need of radical transformation. Current professional development is simply not up to the task. A complete review of the way the state funds professional development is long overdue. Millions of dollars are wasted each year in a system that has no focus and is organized by whimsy.
The time is ripe for foundations, universities and business leaders in Northeast Ohio to bring together leaders from the fields of educational technology, business, K-12 school systems and higher education to re-imagine schools. These meetings should be public — coordinated and led by local newspapers and news media. Public television, coordinating with the media infrastructure that currently exists within state educational services centers, can and should foster regularly scheduled conversations about reinventing schools and invite public policy officials to be part of the conversation. Most important, let’s invite teachers to participate. Too often, they are left out and simply told what to do once decisions are made.
Together, we can reinvent public education and the way the public funds it, just as the auto industries reinvented themselves.
John Mullaney is executive director of the Nord Family Foundation in Amherst, chairman of the board of School Choice Ohio and serves on the Education Committee of the Ohio Grantmakers Forum.
The Cleveland school levy passed last night, clearing the way for the plan to transform the city’s schools that we told you about back in May. About 55 percent of voters supported the levy, according to The Plain Dealer.
Now, Cleveland is a portfolio district like other districts across the country, including Boston and Chicago. Portfolio districts see their main role as “school portfolio managers” rather than having to be the only education provider in the city.
Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon tells The Plain Dealer, “I recognize the enormous responsibility voters placed on me and my colleagues and we’re ready to go to work on it in the morning. Starting tomorrow, we’ve got four years to get it done.”
To read the full article from The Plain Dealer, click here.
The state’s scholarship programs are changing the lives of thousands of students across the state. They have given many children and their parents the chance to choose the best education environment for their learning needs. It is powerful to hear these students talk about their scholarships and the opportunities that are available to them now. Today, we would like to share with you just a small sampling of the many wonderful things we have heard from scholarship students this year.
“I think of one word: opportunity.” – Jazmine
“Because of the education that I am receiving, I don’t really need to go out and chase my opportunities; they are just coming right to me. As long as I continue to do what I need to do, they are just coming right to me.” – A’bria
“…When I grow up I want to be a dancer, singer, a veterinarian, a baby doctor, a cheerleader, celebrity chef, a manager for my best friend Toni, (she’s going to be a star!) and anything else I want.” - Lillian
“I am blessed with the ability to learn in a great school amongst great people.” - Luis
“It is my hope that the Cleveland Scholarship Program continues so that other students can benefit from the opportunity to attend a great school like I have.” -Cassandra
“[The EdChoice Scholarship Program] gives children and parents hope. It opens up many opportunities for kids to get a better education and eventually move on to a better life.” -Walter
With the help of the state’s scholarship programs, many students now have a say in their future.
For the first time in the program’s history, Cleveland high school students were eligible to apply this year for the Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program. The application period closed on May 31, and the Ohio Department of Education reports that a total of 398 high school students applied.
High school eligibility for the Cleveland scholarship program was added to the budget that Governor Kasich signed on June 30, 2011. Prior to that, only students in grades K-8 were eligible to apply.
Without this change in eligibility, these 398 students would have had to struggle to pay for private high school or simply leave. Now, their families can focus on saving money for college instead of worrying about paying private high school tuition.
In 1980, Fannie M. Lewis was elected to the Cleveland City Council. Lewis was a strong advocate of school vouchers. The Plain Dealer called the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Zelman v. Simmons-Harris case one of her biggest victories.
“It’s like a burning house. You know, what do you do, let the house burn down and kill everybody or go in there and save who you can? And that’s what the voucher’s about. If I decide that I want to take a voucher and go shop for my child then I ought to be able to do that…Why do you want to limit me to where I can go and buy my education from?”
-Fannie M. Lewis (Frontline, “The Battle over School Choice” Air date 5/23/00)
For having the courage to stand up for Cleveland’s children, Fannie M. Lewis will forever be remembered as an inspiration and a champion for school choice. During our recent celebration in Cleveland, we honored Senator Nina Turner, Representative Bill Patmon, and Friends of Breakthrough Schools President John Zitzner with School Choice Ohio Courage Awards in memory of Fannie Lewis, and in honor of their unwavering commitment to securing a quality education for Cleveland students. See their acceptance speeches below.
School Choice Ohio recently gathered with 700 parents, students, school leaders, supporters, and special guests in Cleveland to celebrate the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that affirmed the constitutionality of school vouchers. Baylor University President Ken Starr, who advised Ohio on the Zelman case, traveled to Cleveland for the celebration. He spoke about the promise of the Cleveland scholarship and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Watch his speech from the celebration below.
School Choice Ohio recently gathered with 700 parents, students, school leaders, supporters, and special guests in Cleveland to celebrate the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that affirmed the constitutionality of school vouchers. Speaker Batchelder joined us for the celebration and shared his memories of the Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program and the Zelman case. Watch his speech from the program below.
School Choice Ohio recently gathered with 700 parents, students, school leaders, supporters, and special guests in Cleveland to celebrate the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that affirmed the constitutionality of school vouchers. We were thrilled to have national school choice advocate Kevin Chavous share about the significance of the Zelman v. Simmons-Harris decision on a national level. We are happy to share his speech with all of you who couldn’t make it to the event in Cleveland. Check it out below.