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Friday, April 27, 2012

Delisle Confirmed by U.S. Senate

Former Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Deborah Delisle was confirmed last night by the U.S. Senate to oversee K-12 education as the Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education for Elementary and Secondary Education.

Outside being a proud moment for Deb and Ohio, it is one for me as well. When HB 1 was introduced in 2009, Deb was appointed about the same time. She had to get caught up to speed quickly and she did. She led the state's effort to win the $400 million Race to the Top grant, which was no small feat considering how short a time she had spent at the Department.

In addition, she chaired the Ohio School Funding Advisory Council and was masterful at keeping that diverse group of folks on track. As a result, Ohio's citizens have the most accurate, thorough and complete examination of education funding this state has ever seen. There is little doubt that the OSFC report will have a lasting impact on Ohio's future funding system.

During the work we did together on HB 1, I found Deb to be smart, tough, and unwilling to allow obstacles to overwhelm her creativity. And she was incredibly funny. The children of Ohio were lucky to have her as their leader. Similarly, this country's children are lucky now to have her advocating for them now.

Good luck, Deb. I know you'll do great!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

UPDATE: Dispatch: Vouchers Popular. Popular = 3/4 of Slots Remaining Open?

Note: I overlooked a sentence in the Dispatch story that mentioned the 60,000 vouchers, as pointed out to me by the reporter. So now it's just the headline writer who thinks that having about 3/4 of vouchers remain unfilled means it has proven popular. My apologies to Jennifer Smith Richards for the oversight, though I made it very clear in my original post that it was not she who wrote the headline.

Remember when state leaders trumpeted how great it was that the number of EdChoice voucher slots were increased from 14,000 to 30,000 this school year and 60,000 next school year? Why, then, are only 17,438 vouchers being used next school year -- an increase of maybe 500 from last year, according to the Columbus Dispatch story?

Even more interesting: this school year represents the first school year since the EdChoice voucher program started where less money is being transferred to private schools from public schools through the vouchers than the previous year. It equates to about a 5.4% cut in the EdChoice voucher program.

So if more than four times as many parents could have chosen to use vouchers next year as two years ago, why is it then that only about one-third did? And is the Dispatch headline -- "School-voucher Programs Prove Popular" -- really true?

Not once in the Dispatch story was it ever even mentioned that 60,000 vouchers could have been taken next year. Perhaps if it had,  So the question is: Why didn't the headline writer write something different. Something like this perhaps?

"Parents More Satisfied with Public Schools than Politicians"

Or something like that.