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CEO briefs area legislators

1/15/2015 - CMSD NEWS BUREAU

CMSD Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon met this week with state legislators from the Cleveland area, briefing them on issues of interest to the District.

The group included new state representatives Janine R. Boyd, Stephanie D. Howse, Kent Smith and Martin J. Sweeney, Rep. Nickie J. Antonio and Sen. Sandra R. Williams. Sweeney is a former Cleveland councilman; Williams formerly served in the House.

The CEO and legislators covered a number of subjects, including:

Charter reform: Gordon expressed support for tighter regulation of charter schools, privately run schools that receive public funding. He said sentiment at the state level appears to be shifting in that direction.

“There is finally a temperature change around charter school reform,” he said. “We need reform.”

Common Core: The CEO defended Ohio’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards for achievement testing. He said criticism of the standards is often based on misinformation.

"The Common Core is a rigorous set of standards,” he said. “It does not tell teachers how to teach. It tells teachers what students should know."

Testing time: Gordon said critics have raised legitimate questions about how much time Ohio students spend taking achievement tests. A four-hour cap has been proposed, but the CEO said research is needed to determine the amount of testing necessary to make educational decisions.

Property valuation appeals: Gordon hopes the legislators will help fight perennial efforts to bar public bodies from appealing private-property valuations.

Voucher expansion: The state provides vouchers that Cleveland students can use to help pay tuition at private schools, but Gordon said there is no evidence that voucher students achieve at higher levels.

An attempt was made late last year to extend the use of vouchers beyond the city to all adjacent suburbs, but legislators limited the reach to high schools in suburbs with populations of 50,000 or more.
Boyd, of Cleveland Heights, said she looked forward to working with Gordon and and the District, which is pursue sweeping reform under The Cleveland Plan, a customized blueprint incorporated into state law.
"I am a supporter of public schools, and positive, well-defined efforts to improve the quality and delivery of education," she said. "CMSD has developed such a plan."