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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The latest state report card has Youngstown ranked as one of the worst districts in the state again.
But there are some signs of hope for the district’s future.
Youngstown Early College was the only Youngstown school district that received a passing grade on Ohio’s state report cards, which were released Thursday and based on tests students took in the spring of 2015. The state did give the city school district an “A” for literacy.
“Most kids want to learn. Most kids want to read. And if they are in a caring environment, where there is good, solid, best-practice instruction, given with fidelity, kids will learn to read,” Bunn Elementary Principal Bill Baun said. “There may be some setbacks along the way but if you continue to trust that research based process you do eventually get the results that you are looking for.”
But time is something the Youngstown district may not have, despite its stellar literacy rates. The Youngstown Plan and state takeover are looming large. Part of that plan involves bringing in a CEO who would run the schools and could bring in more charter schools.
None of the charter schools in Youngstown received a mark above an “F” in Thursday’s grades.
“I keep getting beat up over school choice. And I don’t mind choice if the schools are better than ours, but I don’t think that’s exactly the case any more,” Interim Youngstown Schools Superintendent Steve Stohla said.
State Senator Joe Schiavoni met with several school administrators Thursday, and said that increasing charter schools in failing districts is not going to improve education.
“Columbus and Cleveland tried the same thing. How does making more charter schools create a better educational evironment for students in that district? There’s no data to show that it would, and I don’t think it is a sensible solution,” Schiavoni said.
Stohla said that whoever leads the district next is going to need support.
“Gonna have to have a lot of community input, instead of some of the changes in the past that were just decided upon either in this office or by whoever, and just handed down,” Stohla said.
There’s no word yet on who will lead the district next year, as the Youngstown Plan is being contested in court.
Testing for many school districts changed last year. School leaders said tests were harder, and in some cases kids took tests on computers for the first time.
Low test scores can result in a loss of funding for districts.
“Disticts that took the time to allign their curricululm and monitor what the instruction and assessment process was should find favorable results,” Bryan O’Hara with the Trumbull County Educational Service Center said.