Sunday, May 19, 2019

ICYMI: Birthday Eve Edition (5/19)

Might even eat some cake today just to warm up. You know the drill, folks. Read and share. Read and share. Only you can help amplify voices in the web-o-sphere.

A Letter To Journalists About Dark Money

A great little primer here from Massachusetts, where dark money tried to make charter schools happen.

Curriculum for Profit and Propaganda  

Alan Singer takes a look at the newfound interest in curriculum among the reformnoscenti.

Open and Accessible?

A Chalkbeat reporter tries to attend ten charter school  meetings in a month. It doesn't go well.

Gates Funded Commission To Put Value on College Education

Just in case you were worried that Bill Gates might be done messing with education.

I was a white teacher who couldn't talk about race.    

Sarah Fine with an open and honest look at her own journey. If you only read one piece this week...

About charter schools-- and Betsy DeVos

Larry Campbell will not make you guess what he really feels.

At Excel Academy, a confrontation that never should have happened

An ugly encounter between a racist and students. For your "I can't believe this kind of crap still happens" file.

Better To Be Born Rich 

A Georgetown study tracked kindergartners from 1989. Turns out that test scores don't change your future, but the economics of your family pretty well set it.

What Do Teachers Really Want From Professional Development? Respect.

Yes, somebody gets it.

Dear STAR Test, We Need To Talk, Again  

Another crappy standardized test. This time it's reading.

Jeanne Allen  

The indispensable Mercedes Schneider digs deep for the story of the crankiest reformster of them all.

The New But Not Necessarily Improved ASD

Tennessee's Achievement School District was a model for how the state could take over a bunch of schools and work miracles. Only it couldn't. But the ASD is still thrashing away down there.

Avenue to the Stars  

Have Your Heard looks at the intersection of school and the free market

Jeb Bush's A+ Disaster

A look at how Florida is still paying the price for Jeb! Bush and his edureformerific ideas.

Are School Playgrounds Still Empty?   

Nancy Bailey looks at the issue of littles with no chance to run and play.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Center for Education Reform Doesn't Love Bernie

If you have any doubts about the effect of Bernie Sander's education proposals, Jeanne Allen of the Center for Education Reform tossed off a somewhat apoplectic newsletter after Sanders went public. Here's some sample frothing:

Sanders’ comments - yelling about transparency (which of course exists) or regulation (which charters have plenty of!) and accountability (which is the very essence of charters) - are almost as bad as when Randi Weingarten, AFT Union’s leader, called charters the polite second cousin of segregation.

But transparency doesn't exist for charters, charters have far too little regulation, and consequently, many charters are completely unaccountable. For just one mild example, look at this recent piece about trying to attend charter board meetings in Detroit.

While they have a tough job, it is a fact that traditional public schools are failing to educate more than 60% of students well in math, reading, history, civics, you name it. We also know that a charter school in any neighborhood puts pressure on the standard public schools around it to do better.

It is not a fact. That 60% uneducated figure is 100% bullshit. Nor do we know any such thing about so-called charter "pressure."

It drives unions crazy that charters do so well and are allowed to operate outside of their control, so the teachers unions have launched an all-out war on charter schools. Now they are spreading disinformation that charter schools are hurting kids in regular public schools, or are dangerously siphoning off public funding, or are in other ways “failures” — when nothing could be further from the truth.

Allen hates unions more than she loves charters. Still making stuff up here. Check the NPE report on wasted dollars-- and that's just federal dollars.

When Sanders’ friends at the unions can’t shut down charters outright, they are trying to unionize them to control and redirect them from within. This is the major threat to charter schools in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and Washington, D.C. – and more are on their way.

Yup, those unions are a major threat. Teachers at charters might start thinking they have rights, or ought to be paid, or have a say in how their work is done.

Allen wants charter fans to do three things

* Raise your voice on Facebook, on Twitter and in your own social networks. Say it out loud - we expect our leaders and politicians to help all students succeed and embrace all kinds of schools. Parents are a child’s first teacher - they should be able to determine what kind of education works best.
* Write letters to the editor in your local paper. Get the facts on charters to share - at we have information and links to data from all education opportunity focused groups.
* Your Congressman and Senators have to hear from you! Tell them you expect them to support all forms of education, that you will not tolerate these comments from Bernie Sanders or anyone else, and that your vote depends on their recognizing that charter schools work and are a critical part of education today and in the future.

These are three good pieces of advice. I suggest that supporters of public education do the same. 

Bernie Sanders' Education Platform Doesn't Suck

The big headline on Friday was that Bernie Sanders was going to call for a ban on for-profit charters, and if the story had stopped there, I would be unimpressed. Hillary Clinton managed to condemn for-profits, and while that's a nice low-hanging fruit for politicians to grab, regular readers of this blog know that a non-profit charter is usually just a for-profit charter with a good money laundering system.

The good news, however, is that the story didn't end there. In fact, some of the other details in the coverage were far more encouraging than the headline. "Doesn't suck" is a low bar to clear, but think how few national candidates have cleared it, and Sanders actually clears it by quite a bit.

We can get the best look at Bernie's education platform by simply going to his website. I know!! A major political candidate with an actual education page in their site. It's called "A Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education," and while I suggest you take a look, let me hit the highlights for you.

The introduction isn't great. The world has changed so education must, too. The damned PISA test rankings. We should lead the world in college degrees. So far I'm unimpressed. But he also notes that K-12 has become re-segregated, and that has had bad effects for non-wealthy non-white students. Then there's free college. And making teaching attractive again.

Now we're down to the bullet items.

1. Combating racial discrimination and school segregation.

The USED Office of Civil Rights needs to be back in business. More non-white school teachers are needed. End the disparate discipline of Black students, and end the school-to-prison pipeline.

That means increasing funding for community-driven de-segregation strategies. Triple Title I funding. Fund expanded teacher training programs at HBCU. This means actually trying to do something about the issue, for a change.

2. End the Unaccountable Profit-Motive of Charter Schools

The language here is much stronger than that which was reported. Noting that charters had roots in teacher and parent activism...

But few charter schools have lived up to their promise. Instead, billionaires like DeVos and the Waltons, together with private equity and hedge fund executives, have bankrolled their expansion and poured tens of millions into school board and other local elections with the hope of privatizing public schools. Charter schools are led by unaccountable, private bodies, and their growth has drained funding from the public school system.

That's far broader than simply slamming for-profits. And though the ban is there in his proposals, he also calls for far more accountability for all charters. That's good, because my bet is that a simple for-profit ban simply causes more for-profits to create shells for masquerading as non-profits. And this:

We do not need two schools systems; we need to invest in our public schools system.

3. Equitable funding for public schools.

Rethink property tax based funding. Set a per-pupil spending floor. Look out for rural schools. Fund CTE. And this is where the Title I boost comes. My usual complaint here is that fixing school funding is hard to do from federal level.

4. Strengthen IDEA.

Over 40 years ago, the federal government made a promise to school districts around the country to fund 40 percent of the cost of special education. It is an understatement to point out that the federal government has not come close to keeping this promise.


5. Give teachers a much-deserved raise and empower them to teach.

As with the Kamala Harris proposal, I'm not sure how you do much about teacher pay from the federal level. But he gets some stuff right here, like protecting tenure and collective bargaining rights, triple deduction for educator expenses, and create a grant program for classroom materials. "Empower teachers to provide teacher-supported curriculum that gives students the best possible education," which is pretty vague wordage, were we not coming off twenty years of the feds doing the exact opposite. Honestly, my dream Democrat is one who says, "Here's a list of issues that we can't really fix from the federal level, so we're not even going to try."

6. Expand after school/ summer education programs

$5 billion for this.

7. Universal school meals.

Including incentives for local sourcing.

8. Community schools.

This is the school as a community center concept. Those of us in rural settings already know how this works, but as with most people who address it, Bernie completely misses the main problem. Being a community center type of school calls for easy and ready access to the school-- a place where lots of folks can come and go. The era of school security hardening has ended this in many places.

9. School infrastructure.

Crumbling schools need money.

10. Make schools a safe and inclusive place for all.

Lot of "ensure" here, plus some gun laws and Title IX enforcement.

Is it a perfect package? Does it cancel out the issues surrounding electing another old white guy? Is Bernie done being confused about education?

Who knows. For the moment, let's enjoy the fact that one major candidate has identified public education as a major issue and created one of the best education platforms we've seen in ages. This is where a lot of long, hard activism and advocacy and reaching out has finally paid off. And it's not just about Bernie-- I'm going to hope that some of the other 147 Democratic hopefuls grab a hint and a clue and decide to actually pay attention to public education, too. He has certainly touched a few charter supporter nerves.

We've got a long stretch before the primaries, an even longer stretch before the election. Here's hoping a few more people wake up to the dismantling and privatization of the public education system. If Bernie Sanders helps get that message heard, than I'm all for it. If he pushes Elizabeth Warren to add these kinds of policies to her promise to hire a teacher as Secretary of Education--well, wouldn't that be something.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Diane Ravitch's New Book: Scholarship, Activism and History

Diane Ravitch was the first major voice of the resistance to the modern corporate "reform" of education, in part because of her newsworthy turn from the reform ideas and peers she had previously embraced. An education historian, she has laid out the problems with the recent assaults on public education in several solid and well-built books (with another one on the way).

But Ravitch is a tireless voice beyond the books, with numerous appearances, interviews, and writings. Her social media presence has been unrelenting, and her writing output is prodigious-- Huffington Post, New York Review of Books, newspapers and periodicals around the country, and her own blog. Ravitch's blog is like the Rick's of public education advocacy. Ravitch has been a generous amplifier of other voices (mine included), but the blog is animated by her own sensibility-- sharp, knowledgeable, witty, and intensely focused on preserving what is valuable in US public education and exposing the workings of privatizers and profiteers who seek to dismantle it.

To read all of Ravitch's articles and blog posts would have been a challenge, up until the publishing by Garn Press of The Wisdom and Wit of Diane Ravitch, a volume that collects many of her best short pieces from a wide variety of sources.

Because it's a large collection of short pieces, the book lends itself being read any number of ways, including simply skipping around and looking for the topics that you're interested in. But its chronological organization also makes it effective as an on-the-spot history. The very first piece takes us back to March of 2010 and the Wall Street Journal; "Why I Changed My Mind About School Reform" puts at the beginning of Ravitch's journey from conservative ed reform player and foot soldier to her new role as a leading voice against those same reforms.

From there, it's interesting to watch some of the web of ed reform be spun out-- particularly because one aspect of modern ed reform is to constantly rewrite the past. Common Core? Never heard of it. Boy, all this testing is terrible, and I have no idea how it ever became such a big deal.

Remember when Joel Klein and Condoleezza Rice led a task force that decided we'd better adopt Common Core Standards as a matter or national security? Remember when everyone actually believed that teachers wrote the standards, back before we'd unraveled and spread the truth? Remember the first time that Eva Moskowitz went head-to-head against Bill DeBlasio? Remember when some people still believed the Chinese schools were a model to follow? Remember when we learned that Cory Booker and Mark Zuckerberg had made a million dollar hash of things in New Jersey? Ravitch was paying attention to all of that, and it's here in the book.

This is perhaps Ravitch's greatest strength, beyond even her muscular intellect and her laser-sharp wit-- she has been paying attention, and she still is paying attention. It is the challenge of issue fatigue. Almost anyone who is invested in an issue of public policy has moments when they say, "Never mind-- I'm going to go hide in a tent for a week and catch my breath" or "No, this is the 143rd sub-issue that's come up, and I just can't keep tabs on that, too." But Ravitch never seems to lose the wind from her sails (despite periodic announcements that she's going to slow down, really, this time she means it), and all of us who care about these issues benefit from her attention.

For her other books, Ravitch is able to synthesize pictures of a whole bunch of trees into a comprehensible rendering of a large and complicated forest. Wisdom and Wit collects an album of tree images, sharp and clear and close up, with the full forest in the background. It's a great introduction to some of the issues over the last decade for people who have not been paying close attention, and it's a strong, sharp reminder of some of the specific battles even if you have been paying attention. All told in Ravitch's distinctive and clear voice; this is a much more personal conversation than you find in her other books (It would be great fun if Garn could convince her to do an audio book version.)

An excellent choice for an addition to your pile of summer books. In fact, the short pieces even make this a good beach read. Order your copy today.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Miracle School's Secret Sauce

Here's news of yet another miraculous charter school. Can we look closely and see what the secret of their success might be.

Southland College Prep School in Chicagoland had 100% of its mostly-Black graduating class accepted to college. It's the sixth straight year for this achievement, and it's been covered widely in the area. The school is the only charter high school in the state to earn an exemplary rating, and it seems devoid of the kind of nasty undertones of T.M. Landry Prep, another miracle school that turned out to be much less than a miracle.

So if Southland is one of the charters from which public schools can learn something, what can they learn.

Well, there's the usual attrition thing. The 116 graduating seniors started out as 163 freshmen. So between the self-selection process of application and the self-unselection process of leaving the school, Southland gets to have a culture of students and families who are committed to the educational goals.

There's the school day. Southland students are in school for nine hours.

There's the course requirement, which is higher than the course requirement for most schools in the region.

There's the school size, which is small enough for a personal touch. The school serves 530 students, smaller than the small town/rural high school where I taught. However, Southland has a teacher-student ratio of 12-1 or 13-1 or 15-1, depending on who's telling you. Both administration and staff have been pretty stable.

And Southland "depends on philanthropic support" to keep its programs and extracurriculars going. And it has a Parent-Teacher organization with a goal of 100% parental participation (and a $10 membership fee).

Does the PR puff things up a bit? Sure. According to the Niche website, while Southland touts its many high-level college attenders, a large percentage are heading to Illinois State or U of IL at Urbana. And hey-- college is college. If you care about test scores, the school has 42% reading proficiency and 22% math.  And they've been at this long enough for there to be numbers on how many Southland graduates finish the colleges they were accepted to. According to the Illinois Report Card, 75% of the class of 2016 needed remedial courses at community college-- but on closer examination, that amounts to 12 out of the 16 students who went on to community college.

And while 100% of the grads have been accepted to college, the report card shows that in 2016, shows that 85% actually enrolled. Which is still not too shabby. And roughly half of the student body is free or reduced lunch. I couldn't find any numbers on students with special needs.

I am not here to slam Southland. If every charter looked like this, we'd be having a different charter conversation in this country. Is 100% college acceptance the goal for all schools to shoot for? Certainly not. But for an explicitly college prep high school, it makes a certain amount of sense.

But back to my main point-- is there something here that public schools can learn from? Let's check the list:

Small school with small classes.

More hours in the school day.

Extra financial support.

Involved and supportive families.

High academic requirements.

Shaking loose any students who don't feel the school is for them.

Do you see anything there that folks working in public education don't already know? No, neither do I. There isn't a public school in the country that doesn't already know that it could thrive given these tools. To every politician and critic who points at a Southland and asks public schools, "Why can't you do that?" The answer is, "We could-- if you let us play by those rules. Of course, you'll have to think of something to do with all the students and families who decide that that level of intensity is not for them."

The secret formula for "miracle" schools (well, real ones and not the ones that are completely faking it) is the same as always-- committed students, committed families, extra time and money, lots of support and resources, high standards, and an open exit door for those who don't want to meet those standards. Basically, most of the things that public schools ask for when policy makers say, "Nah, we'd rather go open some charter schools instead."

This is one of the great sources of frustration and grievance when it comes to public schools versus charters. Public school advocates feel as if they're having a version of this conversation:

Public school: If you would let us have a good set of oil paints, we could create a great mural.

Policy guys: No, that's too expensive and messy and you just can't have them.

Public school: Fine. We'll try to make do with these old water colors. And-- hey, who took our brushes?!

Policy guys: Wow, that's an ugly painting. You should try to create something more beautiful like they did over at the Amazing Charter School. You could learn a thing or two from them.

Public school: Yeah, that's not bad. How'd they do that?

Policy guys: We got them a good set of oil paints. Also, we gave them your brushes.

Why The Big Standardized Test Is Useless For Teachers

In schools throughout the country, it is testing season--time for students to take the Big Standardized Test (the PARCC, SBA, or your state's alternative). This ritual really blossomed way back in the days of No Child Left Behind, but after all these years, teachers are mostly unexcited about it. There are many problems with the testing regimen, but a big issue for classroom teachers is that the tests do not help the teacher do her job.
Folks outside of schools often imagine that one of the benefits of the test is to check to see how students are doing and adjust instruction accordingly. Unfortunately, the tests provide no such benefit.
First, the timing does not serve that purpose. Tests are being given now, close to the end of the year. By the time test score come back, these students will be in a different teacher’s classroom. There will be zero opportunity for a teacher to say, “Okay, these students are having trouble with fractions, so I’d better review that unit and add some extra instruction on the subject.” Those students are gone. New students arrive with their own test scores, but their new teachers have no first-hand knowledge of how instruction went last year.
But that’s not the worst of it. Even if the tests were great (that's a discussion for another day) and the results came back instantaneously, they would still be of little use for informing instruction.
Imagine that you are a basketball coach, tasked with training your team for great things. Imagine that when game day comes, you are not allowed to be in the gym with your team to see them play, and that they are forbidden to tell you anything about how the game went. You aren’t even allowed to know about the opposing team. All you are allowed to know is how many points your team scored. And yet, somehow, you are to make efficient use of practice time to strengthen their weaknesses. You can practice the kinds of skills that you imagine probably factor in a game, but you have no way of knowing how they use those skills in a game situation, or what specifically you should try to fix.
That’s the situation with the standardized test. (Well, actually, it's worse. To really get the analogy right, we'd also have to imagine that as soon as the ball left the players' hands, a blindfold slammed down over their eyes, so they don't really know how they're doing, either.)
You would think that part of analyzing the results of a test would involve looking at which items students missed and what kinds of mistakes they made, so that the teacher can identify and plug the holes in student knowledge. But as part of training in “test administration ethics,” teachers are sternly warned that they should never even look at the test questions. In many states, students are required to sign a pledge that they will not discuss any test questions with anyone at all. Nor are any of the test materials released once the test has been administered. When the results of the test come back, teachers see a score. That’s it. Nothing that shows them which questions were missed or which wrong answers were frequently selected (a good guide to where instruction is failing). Some tests provide a breakdown by content area, but often that is so vague that it’s useless; for years in PA our ELA “analysis” from the test said either that the student had problems in reading fiction or reading non-fiction.
More detailed information is certainly possible. The PSAT results include question by question breakdowns, including which answer then student selected and which answer was the correct one, and there are a very few states that do a better job.
So why don’t the big standardized state tests provide that kind of feedback? Why do the tests stay locked in a black box of secrecy?
The test manufacturers claim that this is about fairness and accuracy, and in the past the PARCC folks have fought an aggressive (and losing) battle against students on social media spreading word of testing items. That’s a legitimate concern, but it doesn’t explain the need for secrecy after the fact, unless of course the test manufacturers intend to keep costs down by recycling test items from year to year.
The secrecy also makes it difficult for teachers, parents, and students to challenge questionable content. Occasionally word gets out of a particularly egregious example (e.g. the infamous talking pineapple test items), and there is plenty to question. Now that I’m retired, I can admit it—I peeked, every year. Most teachers do. The reading portion of the tests involves many opinion questions masquerading as objective judgments with answers that are highly debatable, but because the tests are hidden under a cloak of proprietary secrecy, those debates never happen.
The secrecy ultimately serves test manufacturers, not teachers or students. As it is, even if the tests are generating data about student learning and teacher instruction, but that data is unavailable to teachers and students in levels that are granular enough to be useful. Because the tests are high stakes, they drive instruction, but because they are hidden in a black box, they drive it in vague and not-very-useful ways. The assessments that teachers create on their own, administer to students, and then examine in detail, are far more useful for informing instruction. The tests now taking up hours of school time may be helping somebody, somewhere, but not anybody who actually works inside those schools.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

OH: State Ed Board Joins Takeover Law Opposition

HB 70 is an Ohio law that strips a school district and its elected school board of all their power and hands it, via an academic distress board, to one person-- a super-powered CEO. The law was rammed through the legislature in less than 12 hours under the direction of then-Governor Kasich, and so far it has been used to take over Youngstown, Lorain, and East Cleveland schools (three districts that are, coincidentally, neither very wealthy or very white).

I've been following the story in Lorain (site of my first teaching job), where things have gone poorly. The CEO job created by HB 70 is undoable-- the CEO must be expert in all aspects of running a school district, he must bring that expertise to bear in fixing the specific problems in a troubled school district, and he must do so against the backdrop of a district that has been disenfranchised in all ways.  It's hard to imagine the person who could handle that challenge, but it's also hard to imagine someone who could do a worse job of meeting that challenge than Lorain's state-imposed CEO, David Hardy, Jr., a TFA product with a striking lack of people skills who has tried to apply charter management methods to an entire district.

Taxpayers have been fighting back against HB 70 with everywhere from the courts to the legislature. This week they took their fight to the state board of education, and the state board (despite the resistance of the state superintendent) heard them loud and clear.

The state board unanimously passed a simple resolution:

The State Board of Education does not support House Bill 70 of the 131st General Assembly.

This resolution came after hours of testimony from Lorain, East Cleveland and Youngstown. Testimony included:

From Henry Patterson, Lorain native and member of the first ADC: The economic and educational realities on the ground in Lorain did not occur overnight, and reversing the problems will require time.  The original pre-HB 70 academic distress commission was making progress, working hard, keeping a close eye on things, and enjoying a cooperative relationship with Lorain locals and the state education department. And they knew better than to ignore the community. The city schools need help but "This current disengaged top-down non-accountable model does not work."

The current board president offered a new plan, and observed that they are currently seeing no progress, but a lot of money is being spent, and if the state doesn't help get this under control, the city schools will be stuck with an even bigger mess than they started with.

A parent. Concern about how the law was passed, CEO was selected. Changes were extreme and haphazard, misinformation-- "I don't want to call anybody a liar, but there were things put out there that were untrue." We could leave district, but that would help only my children. Who will advocate for the other children. Privatization instead of help.

VP of school board. We tried to embrace HB 70-- and it didn't help. Help us hold the department accountable. We are paying the price for this experiment. This has to get fixed. Children are at risk.

Head of teachers' union, Jay Pickering. We would have 200-300 teachers plus many students here if school were not in session. We are experiencing a toxic work environment-- intimidation, threats, retaliation by administration on teachers. Lot of violence in the buildings. Restorative justice put in place but nobody was trained. Kids are concerned. Seniors have heard so many derogatory comments by CEO. CEO was a no show for academic awards dinner.

A parent. Unqualified administrators-- half have temporary certificates. Special area teachers are being given Title I duties. Pleads with Superintendent DeMario to come to Lorain (he hasn't been). She breaks into tears.

A parent. Toxic atmosphere. Building administration keeps dropping the ball; he hired inexperienced people. Perhaps because CEO doesn't like to be questioned. We are not putting on a show (as CEO suggests)-- this is our reality, and we will live with the effects long after he's gone.

A parent. New ADC engaged at first and stopped. Other state-appointed ADC members will not engage with community.

Teacher and member of ADC. High school student attendance is 50% of teacher evaluation. I asked ahead of time if admins would be qualified; he said yes, and not so. Lack of communication. CEO won't work with board. He has a really big list. Time to end this "carnage and unmitigated disaster."

The issue of Standards Based Grading was also brought up-- implemented well into year, with little training and a directive to throw out a month's worth of prior grades.

All of this led to the board resolution.

Meanwhile, HB 154, which was intended to both dissolve current ADCs and repeal HB 70, won strong approval in the house and has become part of the budget language (HB 166) which is good news-- but it must still get past the Senate, where opponents will try to head this off.

Watch in particular for Senator Peggy Lehner. Lehner heads the Senate education committee, and while she's been forced to admit the inherent problems with the bill, she has not been friendly to efforts to roll back HB 70. HB 70 has as its endgame the privatization by charter takeover of the affected districts, and Lehner has been nationally lauded by charter organizations. Here's one item that turned up in her financial disclosure paperwork:

Lehner reported $9,945.70 in travel reimbursements. The Ohio Senate reimbursed her $3,812.64 for mileage. Excellence in Education in Action, the dark money wing of the school choice lobbying group founded by Jeb Bush, reimbursed her $1,204.32 (the financial disclosure form does not say where Lehner went, but she was reimbursed for expenses on Dec. 1, the closing day of the group’s national summit in Nashville, Tennessee).

Lehner also spends a lot of time listening to Lisa Gray who-- well, she deserves an entire post of her own, but the short form is that she's the queen of corporate charter privatization advocacy in Ohio. Lehner appears to be a master of concern trolling ("Well, of course that's a problem, but let's not do anything rash"). If I were still an Ohioan, I would be contacting my senator and telling them I like the language about takeovers just the way the House sent it over.

HB 70 is on the ropes, but it's not done yet. Now is the time to give that extra push to get it out the door. Kudos to the people of Lorain who have been telling their story over and over and over again in hopes that it would make a difference-- because it has. That's a lesson for public school supporters in all states.