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Cleveland teachers concerned about further charter school expansion in CMSD

Posted at 7:05 AM, Sep 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-16 07:05:27-04

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Last August, News 5 asked then mayoral candidate Justin Bibb to weigh on the Cleveland Metropolitan School Districts' performance at the time.

“To go from an F to a D [referencing CMSD’s state report card] is not good enough for me,” said Bibb. “We’ve got to increase the pace of change with the Cleveland plan, I want to make sure I have a key role in what the plan will look like.”

A year the district’s CEO Eric Gordon announced his imminent departure, and state report cards show CMSD earned two stars in achievement and one star in early literacy, but four stars in performance and gap closing.

“While we still have some work to do, we certainly are making huge strides here in CMSD and we want to make sure that we continue that community focus to that improvement and not diverting attention,” said Cleveland Teachers Union President Shari Obrenski.

Obrenski told News 5 that many teachers are worried that Bibb is interested in expanding its partnership with charter schools, referencing conversations teachers have had with the mayor.

“Whether you’re talking about CMSD or you’re talking about charter schools, we do have a number of open seats already in many of our schools around the city,” said Obrenski.

News 5 asked Bibb directly about his stance on charter school expansion, but a spokesperson did not directly answer the question in the following statement:

"Mayor Bibb supports high quality education options in every neighborhood. In light of the CEO announcement this week and today’s state report card results, we should all be focused on ensuring the forward progress of our school system through a strong search for the next leader and supporting early literacy as our youngest readers catch up from the impact of COVID. These are foundational elements required for the success of our children and our school system."

“Eric gave us a full year to put a strong plan in place to support the next CEO so we can build on the progress we’ve made in the Cleveland plan and that’s my intention,” said Bibb on Monday just hours after Gordon announced he was leaving the district.

The Cleveland plan implemented a decade to improve the quality of learning in CMSD,

The goal is to invest in programs, add resources, and grow students attending both public and charter schools.

Obrenski said she wants to make sure public schools are the main priority.

“We really need to focus on the schools that we have in play now to make sure that they’re fully staffed and that we’re doing everything we can to continue to improve education in those schools,” said Obrenski.

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