5 reasons you should come to this year's State of the Schools

In mid-September, the City Club will convene the 2016 State of the Schools in partnership with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD). We're privileged to be the civic organization that Cleveland turns to convene these sorts of events, and fortunate that we have the sponsorship support of PNC, along with Albert and Audrey Ratner and Advance Ohio. I am an unabashed wonk when it comes to public education, so, here's a few reasons why you should join us for this event.

1. The CMSD has made real progress with The Cleveland Plan. Here are some facts you ought to know:

  • Graduation rates are up. Before The Cleveland Plan, back in 2010, just 52.2 percent of CMSD students were graduating. By 2014, the rate was 66 percent. There's indications that the trend has continued.
  • 3rd grade reading guarantee rates are up - 86 percent of students are now meeting the standard.
  • 10 failing schools have been replaced.
  • 84 percent of parents report being actively engaged with their school.
  • College remediation rates are down 10 percent.
  • Read more from the district.

2. Progress is uneven. In spite of the good news, there are some challenges, including some of these facts:

  • That graduation rate indicates that one in three students isn't graduating on time, if at all.
  • 18 high schools are still getting an F on graduation rates.
  • Only 30 percent of students are graduating with a 3.0 or higher.
  • And only 15 percent are scoring a 21 or higher on the ACT.

      (There's more in the last report from the Higher Education Compact of Greater Cleveland).

3. A strike will either happen or have been narrowly averted. Either way, CEO Eric S. Gordon will have to explain how negotiations got so bad, what the sticking points were, and why these long-simmering issues weren't addressed at some point earlier over the last four years

4. State Report Cards are due out the day after this event. If history offers a clue, Gordon will likely tell us what we can expect to on the report cards.

5. There's that levy. At every State of the Schools since 2013, Gordon has mentioned the clock, ticking down to the levy renewal, and now, it's just about two months away. When leaders originally campaigned for the levy in 2012, much was made of the fact that this was a four-year levy, not some longer duration. That would hold the district accountable, he said, along with holding him accountable as an individual leader. Well, this is the day of reckoning, and you can expect the speech to involve Gordon making the case that the work of The Cleveland Plan needs continued community support. So, in light of the uneven progress and labor strife, it will be interesting to hear what the specifics of the case for ongoing support.

Let me guess - I've convinced you to attend the 2016 State of the Schools. You can reserve your ticket here

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