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Some local school districts show improvement in state's annual report

Posted at 5:23 PM, Sep 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-12 18:33:12-04

CLEVELAND — While many schools were celebrating their improved grades on the Ohio Department of Education's annual report cards, at least one local district is still in need of a turnaround, and one expert we spoke to questioned the effectiveness of state's report card system.

Find a link to search for your school's and district's grades here: Ohio's annual school report cards show 'continuous improvement' across the state

Several local school districts found themselves improving just enough on the state report card to get a "D” and avoid the risk of a state takeover.

But even if they had failed, the state wouldn't have been allowed to take control just yet. The controversial program is currently on hold.

As part of the state budget approved this summer, lawmakers placed a temporary moratorium on Academic Distress Commissions.

They were rolled out in districts like Lorain and East Cleveland that received an "F" for three consecutive years.

"Most schools are just utilizing the education just to pass the state test and I think that's unfair for our future because these children are our future," said Shannon Stewart, an East Cleveland resident. She decided to home school her two children after she said the district, which received another “F” Thursday, didn’t meet her expectations.

The mom-turned-teacher recently connected with the district's new CEO, who was appointed as part of a state takeover. Stewart said she feels like he is providing some hope that a turnaround here may be on the way.

"But that's just like the high school as of right now. We need some more direct forces in with our elementary and middle school students," said Stewart.

In Columbus, the Ohio House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would dissolve ADCs and repeal the law that allows new ones.

In the Senate, lawmakers are proposing a bill that would give school boards the okay to hire outside consultants to help solve their issues. The legislation also leaves the door open for a state takeover.

While the takeover debate continues to play out with districts and politicians, Shannon Stewart is advocating homeschooling for those parents with children in schools that don't stack up.

"It works for us, it may not work for everyone else," she said.

Overall, the Ohio Department of Education said the report cards show ongoing improvement statewide with nearly 80% of districts receiving a "C" or higher, and more than 30% receiving a "B" or higher.

An urban education professor at Cleveland State University called this report card system into question. He told News 5 it just fuels a vicious cycle where schools with more disadvantaged students, like East Cleveland, look bad in the public eye and morale and support for those schools may actually be harmed.

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