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.