In a move that was fairly boring until placed into context, Ohio schools superintendent Stan Heffner said in a recent speech that student performance in Ohio needs to be improved and that the root cause is that expectations for Ohio’s students are too low.  As reported by the Columbus Dispatch:

“Good enough is no longer good enough.”

“If Ohioans want good jobs, … we need to step it up.”

We wish we could have witnessed the reception that Heffner received for his message of raising the standards for Ohio’s schools, especially considering that it was Opening Keynote at the 5th Annual Conference of the Ohio Association for Public Charter Schools, supporters of the worst performing schools in the state!

Heffner also told the group, “The system is not asking enough of these kids,” and stated that district rankings of Excellent and Excellent with Distinction are inflated and not accurate measures of the performance of the districts.  As a result, Heffner says that the curriculum and assessment changes on the horizon will make it tougher for districts to earn a “A” grade.

Seriously.  This really happened.

To further illustrate the irony, you must know that the Ohio Department of Education rankings released for last school year revealed the following information:

  • Of the 936 total districts, charter schools occupied the bottom 113 spots
  • Charters with an “A+”: 5
  • “A”: 24
  • “B”: 40
  • “C”: 97
  • “D”: 57
  • “F”: 71

(By comparison, the number of public school districts with an “F” is zero; total that earned a “D” was 5.)

Inflated.  He’s calling those ratings inflated.  While talking to the people who have earned those grades.  To their faces.  Faces that paid up to $550 to hear Heffner say these things.

So there he was, state superintendent of schools for all of Ohio, the man representing the quest for a high-quality education for all of our children, talking to Ohio’s most negligent school operators about how their failing grades are actually less than failing.  And for his big finish, the big moment when he’s left no choice but to defend Ohio’s future, advocate for a professional education for our children, and shut down these institutions of lower education…..

He delivers this line…..

“I will tell you that, at least in this administration, the Ohio Department of Education is not the enemy. We want to be your friends.”

According to the Dispatch, he went even further:

Heffner also assured charter school teachers and administrators that the Department of Education is supportive of the privately operated, tax-funded schools attended by nearly 140,000 students statewide.

Nice job, Stan.  Way to inspire confidence in your “new” accountability system.



Note to self: Contact Ohio Ethics Commission on Monday for a status update.

  • This saying that we do not have high standards for our students is starting to totally tick me off. This seems to be the new catch all phrase to put down teachers especially to those that teach in inner city schools. Parents are often the culprits along with principals who cave in to parents wishes. I have had parents come in complaining about a child’s grade. Each time this happened the principal either insisted that the child retake a test that was given  at the beginning of the school y ear after the grading period which the child of course could now pass and raise the grade for that grading period, or to just change the grades up one because the mother could not take the fact their child was not doing the work. The change was an equivalent of moving a  F to a D. I’m not dumbing it down others are doing it for me! I require that the child know what he/she needs to know. I work with the ones who are slower at learning these things more than those who “catch  on” easily. If they don’t get it they don’t get the grade. Dumb down what is required? But we still need to know that there are limits and that there is a point where you cannot continue to raise the requirements. There is only so much a kindergartener can understand and learn in a school year. Their are developmental limits that can limit  what  a child can learn at certain ages. Yes sometimes they can learn harder concepts depending on how it is taught or introduced to them .But dumbing down the curriculum I don’t see it happening . I don’t think that is the real problem Just a good catch all.

  • Wow. That takes some onions right there!

  • If charters are failing, why give them more money?  The money is not going to student instruction or desks or teacher salaries or books/computers.  The money is going directly into the pockets of owners.  Children should not be educated in former gas stations, basements, or converted storefronts, while they sit at folding tables and on broken folding chairs. They may call them charter schools, but they are really instruments for making some corporations/people very, very rich.  Keep an eye out for Kasich’s lobbyist buddies who’ve been so successful in steering deals to their clients.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the state move toward adopting materials or curriculum from Jeb Bush, IQ Innovations, Altair Learning, or some other profit-making instruction program.  These people will do anything to destroy public education.

  • Terencen

    “make it tougher for districts to earn a “A” grade.”

    So then, fewer public districts at the top, more grouped at middle and bottom. Charter schools no longer look as bad.

  • Anonymous

    Except assuming it’s a sliding scale model, all those F-rated charters will just look that much worse.

  • Demydo

    Teachers and administrators do not receive the backing they require from our school boards.  Remember, they are elected officials and put most of their efforts toward their reelection. The pay check and medical benefits will continue for them if they bow to the voters.  

  • Dmoore2222

    You have tor remember, Stan just happened to be getting off the elevator heading for his car in the ODE basement parking garage when he got appointed state superintenent after the single remaining credible candidate dropped out of contention. So don’t expect anything more than you get. The sad part of this is Stan is a really decent guy who cares about public education but finds himself in this poisonous Kasich envirnment where everything is for sale–even your soul.

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