Friday, September 16, 2016


UPDATE: 1:45 pm

Earlier this week, the SCPR received this e-mail:

... Sep 13 at 6:07 PM

Hi Martin:

A future topic for your radar... If it was not already. 

I'd love to read your independent thoughts on the 12:00am Thursday online release from the state of the school district report cards. 

You have a very unique perspective... And are, to your credit, always transparent with respect to your wife's board seat at the county. 

I understand some seven or eight superintendents, likely with some support at the ESC level, recently visited with the folks who run the Repository in an effort to:

1) Obtain less than critical review/coverage of the scores from the Repository, which said report card scores are measurably lower than school leaders would like (pay careful attention to Canton Local's scores compared to, say, the City of Canton scores)

2) Showcase for the Repository what area schools are doing to improve

3) Explain why the expectations and evolvement of testing has hampered educational efforts - allegedly not making excuses for missing the grades, but also explaining why the schools won't take full ownership of the scores earned

Personally, I don't know what to make of the situation and do enjoy your perspective. 

I'm also somewhat bothered by the preemptive effort to speak with the Repository, but can understand the attempt from their seats. 

The pen is quite powerful, as they say. 

I've read where the Repository is making a concerted effort to provide more positive review and coverage of public education. 

Sometimes, perhaps they are getting too cozy. 


(Note:  the SCPR eliminated the writer's name and other identifying information [i.e. ...] so that the writer does not become the object harassment on the part of those who might take offense at comments made.  The writer did NOT request anonymity.  AND the views expressed is this blog are the views of Martin Olson and not the views of Martin's spouse)

In the extended Olson family, we have always highly prized the value of formal education.
  • four professional degrees (medical, legal),
  • three PHDs, and
  • two masters degrees
While there are certainly many outstanding examples of highly productive/intelligent individuals across America who do not have a lot of "formal" (meaning classroom) education; for most of part a huge advantage that the United States has had over the rest of the world going back quite a few decades is the nations' commitment to making a formal education (K-12) to each and everyone of us.

At the K-12, the quality of American education has empowered the nation to become an economic juggernaut.

Moveover, the K-12 base often has sufficed as a solid educational base for many of us to go on to achieve advanced higher education degrees and their attendant increase in intellectual power.

But those times appear to have come to an end (LINK) in Ohio and perhaps across America as a whole and maybe in greater western civilization.

According to Education Week's Research Center (LINK), Ohio ranks 25th among the 50 states in educational achievement K-12 in being assessed a C- grade.

Ohio is America's 7th most populated state which means the financial/economic clout to do much better than coming in 25th of the 405 U.S. states.

It appears that state of Ohio education officials are working hard to change that picture.

From a Columbus Dispatch article (LINK):
As state Superintendent Paolo DeMaria has emphasized over the past week, Ohio needs to sets its sights higher for students if it wants them to compete and succeed when they leave high school. 
“After all, what we want is the best for our kids.” 
But the effort is not going over well with local school districts across Ohio including, of course, Stark County education leadership officials because the results are not flattering of the quality of  that leadership.

The Report eagerly awaited The Repository publication (which occurred today) as confirmation of the e-mail writer's point that Stark's school leadership is now full bore into damage control (a public relations based mechanism, paid for in this instance by local school district tax dollars) apparently has persuaded the bigs at The Rep to be the vehicle of their excuse making.

In earlier blogs done by the SCPR, only four of Stark County educational leaders have spoken with or offered to talk with the SCPR about 2014-2015 school year ODE rankings.

Anybody who knows anything about The Stark County Political Report is that this blog has no sweetheart relationships with any subject/entity/institution who/which The Report scrutinizes.

Consequently, a number of Stark County political/government leaders refuse to engage a Q&A with The Report.

So be it.

The SCPR is undeterred and continues to provide Stark Countians a look at Stark County government and politics unaffected by the desire on part of some in Stark County government and political leadership to manage how they are presented in the media.

Apparently, the "powers that be" at The Rep have no qualms about being a medium in which subjects of newsworthy events can massage news articles and reports to lessen the public outrage at the obvious deficiencies in leadership that has been going on for some time now.

Here in highly vivid format is a jarring picture of how Stark County's 17 school districts fared in the latest ratings.

The SCPR picked three measures to get a picture of the "deplorable" state of affairs with Stark County educational infrastructure:  (Here is a LINK to the ODE for readers who want to see the entire report)


And here a chart for the 2014-2015 school year: (performance index criterion only)

On "performance index," only Canton Local (Canton South) improved.

The SCPR applauds the effort of ODE officials to put the spotlight on the unacceptable level of educational accomplishment across Ohio.

Stark County taxpaying school district citizens should be very unhappy indeed that most of the county's 17 districts are "underperforming" the expectations of those of us footing the bills for the millions of taxpayer dollars that teachers and administrators walk away not to mention the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars that have gone into providing "state of the art" facilities.

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