After three straight years of failing to meet state standards, East Cleveland City Schools will now be under state control.
Thursday morning the state education department released its grades for school districts across Ohio. East Cleveland's overall grade was an "F."
That means the district will have an academic distress commission appointed. Three of those appointees will be made by the state superintendent. A fourth commission member will be appointed by East Cleveland's mayor. A fifth, who must be a teacher, will be chosen by the current school board.
That group then has two months to hire a CEO to take functional control of East Cleveland schools. The superintendent, who will answer to the academic distress commission, will also be responsible for working with the community to come up with a local improvement plan to turn the district around.
Around East Cleveland, the decision was met with enthusiasm by some.
"Anything that would assist this community in getting better, it has to come forth now," said Jason Calloway, an East Cleveland resident. "We're losing generations of kids that are graduating and are growing up in these communities that are lacking the education that they need. Lacking the support and opportunities that it's going to take to operate and function in this world today."
But in a statement Thursday afternoon, Superintendent Dr. Myrna Loy Corley expressed concern with the plan.
“ECCSD is not satisfied with its test results," said Corley. "Far from it. We continue to work with the ODE on our Continuous Improvement Plan; however, the District also has a long-standing history of educating the ‘whole child’ and not simply focusing on state test results. The scholars that come to our schools live in the poorest community in the state and the fourth-poorest community in the country. The District’s approach of having trauma-informed classrooms, cutting-edge wellness programs for children, and a myriad of programs and partnerships that prepare students for success is focused on the ‘whole child’ model. This model stands in contrast to these tests which studies reveal contain evidence of bias that could affect outcomes.”
East Cleveland becomes the third district in Ohio to fall under state control. The others, Youngstown and Lorain, also received failing grades from the state this year.