Week in Review > Week in Review 5-13-2022

Posted by on May 13th, 2022


Ohio and U.S. flags will be at half-mast until sunset Monday, May 16, honoring the approximately one million Americans — including 38,550 Ohioans — who’ve died from COVID-19. Gov. Mike DeWine ordered the flag lowering Thursday, in accordance with a statement from President Joe Biden on this grim event two years and two months into the pandemic. Biden said each death represents “an irreplaceable loss… [and] a family, a community and a nation forever changed because of this pandemic.”

In the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) update Thursday, there were 15,970 new cases reported for the week, up from 11,013 for the week ending May 5 and 8,731 in the April 28 update. ODH also reported 353 hospitalizations, up from 296 on May 5 and 313 on April 28, and 36 ICU admissions, up from 27 on May 5 and 26 on April 28. Deaths fell from 68 on April 28 and 65 on May 5 to 57 in Thursday’s update. 

In total, there have been 2.72 million cases, 115,834 hospitalizations and 13,534 ICU admissions in Ohio.


Former State Board of Education Vice President Steve Dackin got the nod from most of his former colleagues Tuesday to become the next state superintendent, besting two Ohio school district superintendents who’d advanced with him to the final round of interviews. Dackin is the former superintendent of Reynoldsburg City Schools, and until the end of 2021 served as superintendent of school and community partnerships for Columbus State Community College. He also worked at the Ohio Department of Education about 20 years ago and has experience as a teacher and principal. He was also a top-three finalist to become superintendent in 2011. Dackin will be paid $215,000 annually, with the possibility to earn a performance bonus of as much as $35,000. He will receive either a monthly car allowance of $550 or the use of a state vehicle.

The State Board of Education formally adopted a guidebook for implementing Ohio’s dyslexia support laws Tuesday, after months of debate among members of the board and of the Ohio Dyslexia Committee (ODC), made up of reading specialists and other education officials. State law created the ODC to develop the guidebook, but gave the board final authority to approve the guidebook. The board’s Teaching, Leading and Learning (TLL) Committee recommended approval at a special meeting in late Aril.

Legislation from the last General Assembly, 133-HB436 (Baldridge), created the ODC and requires school districts and other public schools to administer annual dyslexia screenings beginning in the 2022-23 school year; phases in over three years dyslexia-related professional development requirements for public school teachers; and requires school districts and other public schools, beginning in the 2022-23 school year, to establish a multi-sensory structured literacy certification process for teachers.

Board leadership also granted emergency consideration to enable a vote on a resolution that passed committee a day earlier, urging that lawmakers temporarily waive certain sanctions tied to report card results, given the COVID pandemic and the recent overhaul of the report card system itself. The resolution, sponsored by member Christina Collins, urges that lawmakers temporarily suspend laws that use report card results to trigger academic distress commissions, automatic closing of charter schools and prohibitions on the ability of charter schools to switch sponsors.

Members of the State Board of Education’s (SBOE) Integrated Students Supports (ISS) Committee took the first steps in tackling an apparently problematic administrative code rule on children eligible for special education during their monthly meeting held Monday. Wendy Grove, director of the Office of Early Learning and School Readiness at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), explained that Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 3301-51-11 is part of the operating standards for the education of children with disabilities. Due to changes in statute and feedback from stakeholders, Grove said the rule was recently revised to define what various classroom types look like across the “continuum of least restrictive environment” (LRE). The LRE is a guiding principle used in the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and it can be found in Ohio’s own operating standards. It plays a role in determining where students with disabilities will spend their time in school as well as how special education services will be provided. The continuum ranges from least restrictive, such as a general education class, to most restrictive, which might look like home schooling or a special education class.

The Broadcast Educational Media Commission (BEMC) Thursday reviewed how the state plans to use federal COVID relief dollars to aid student education and combat learning loss. Commissioners heard from Jana Fornario, executive director of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency (ESSER) State Activities Office at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).

The judge overseeing assets of the defunct Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) has approved a payment of $230,000 to have sensitive school data wiped and the hardware storing it destroyed, now that the information is no longer needed. Judge Michael Holbrook of the Franklin County Common Pleas Court had previously authorized the attorneys he appointed to oversee the school’s affairs to move forward with decommissioning ECOT’s servers, since other state officials no longer had need for them. Auditor Keith Faber’s office said in December a final audit could be expected within a few months. The attorneys overseeing the school, Myron Terlecky and Richard Kruse, submitted to Holbrook a scope-of-work document outlining how the technology vendor that was maintaining ECOT’s servers, TechR2, would destroy the data in a secure fashion.

William Lager, ECOT founder, violated the law against a public official profiting from a contract, and he and his companies are liable for millions of dollars collected from the now-defunct online charter school, a trial judge ruled. However, Lager’s conduct did not trigger anti-corruption laws that could have tripled the amount owed back to the state. Further proceedings will determine specifically how much Lager owes. The case, brought by the state after ECOT closed in early 2018, focused largely on Lager’s ties to Altair Learning Management, the school’s management company, and IQ Innovations, another school vendor.

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