Columbus Board of Education Candidates Speak Out on Issues


CAPE Ohio invited the candidates for Columbus City School Board to send written responses to a set of five questions. Our intent was not to endorse, but to learn of each candidate’s views and plans for improving the quality of education for all children and for strengthening teaching, advising and supporting students and to post responses to the CAPE Ohio website.

To read candidates’ responses and CAPE Ohio’s responses to the candidates, go to

“Why Do Billionaires Care So Much about Charter Schools?”


This LA Times op-ed by Harold Meyerson explores the confusing politics of the big-money charter supporters on both the left and right and concludes:

“Charter billionaires have settled on a diagnosis, and a cure, that focuses on the deficiencies of the system’s victims, not the system itself.”


Grassroots Innovation: Countering the Implosion of Public Education


“We often mistake symptoms for causes.  This has been especially true in the realm of education policy: underperforming schools underperform because of insufficient accountability, the prevailing argument has gone.  And we’ve only made things worse by tightening the screws .  .  . With the focus on test results pushed by state officials and for-profit school management advocates in the 1990s and reinforced thereafter by No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in 2002 and Race to the Top (RTTT) in 2009, our misguided efforts have intensified.” P. 302 Samuel E. Abrams Education and the Commercial Mindset  2016

“Public education policy these days is trapped in behaviorist thinking about rewards and punishments.” –Jan Resseser, November 1, 2016

Public education is caught in a vise that allows for almost no meaningful innovation. The problems facing public education can’t be solved by mandated “reforms” for increased accountability, doubling down on an inputs/outputs model that has never fit the system of public education, or letting for-profit entities with their top-heavy executive salaries and management fees take over failing and cash-strapped public schools. Where do the best ideas for improving public education come from?

What many policymakers have been unable to recognize is that education is a complex adaptive system (CAS). Complex adaptive systems are extraordinarily resistant to bureaucratic mandates and top-down control. Like ecosystems, they respond to external pressures in unpredictable or even undesirable ways. But unlike purely biological complex adaptive systems such human systems have the element of intelligence that can attend to small changes that make large impacts. Such small changes at the most fundamental levels of the system can unleash processes that result in largescale system improvements.

Exciting New Source of Funding for Civic Education

I wanted to make you aware of some important changes in federal education funding with respect to civics. Today, the federal Department of Education released guidance to help states, school districts, and schools provide all students with access to a well-rounded education including civic education. Under that guidance, the Department outlines the criteria for new grants that are available under the ESSA legislation. The funds will be provided to state education agencies that will in turn distribute the funds to districts/schools.

These new grants – called Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) – give districts and schools flexibility to tailor investments based on the unique needs of their student populations. The guidance provides resources, tools, and examples of innovative strategies to support effective implementation of the grant program. Grants under this new source of funding will make their way to schools at different times depending on the timing of the congressional appropriation and your local state agency processes but planning will start now. We expect these funds to be available next school year.

The new grants provide a great opportunity for iCivics to work with you to enhance your civics instructional program. We invite you to create a plan that will address the needs of your school. Plans could include:
– Student workbooks
– Professional learning opportunities
– Video based resources on civic topics
– Project based learning resources
– New technology tools for student civic engagement

It is important for you to have your voice heard and ensure that civics is prioritized as part of your district’s efforts with SSAE grant proposals. Talk with the grant administrators in your district about opportunities like those mentioned above, or if you have other great ideas.

Contact Kelly Whitney at to explore how we could work together to promote engaged citizenship in your school.


Louise Dubé
iCivics, Inc.

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Federal Flash from Alliance for Excellent Education

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Education released proposed regulations on assessments under the Every Student Succeeds Act. In the House of Representatives on Thursday, the House education committee approved new legislation on career and technical education (CTE) and a House appropriations subcommittee passed an education spending bill.

For details and next steps on each, check out this week’s Federal Flash:

“Federal Flash” is the Alliance for Excellent Education’s five-minute (or less!) video series on important developments in education policy in Washington, DC.

Alliance for Excellent Education
1201 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 901
Washington, DC 20036