Friday, May 30, 2008


There were about eight questions posed to Ohio Board of Regents (OBR) Chancellor Eric Fingerhut at the Stark State College of Technology this morning.

Because the chancellor was scheduled to be elsewhere later in the day, Fingerhut took one question after another without responding personally or via one the panel members. Fingerhut did have four of the five panelists respond in general to the questions posed by audience members but not in detail that each question merited.

Fingerhut implied that specific answers would be provided by the OBR and the panelist on a follow up basis in weeks to come.

Stark Countians should hope that Fingerhut and the OBR did a better job planning for its ten year Ohio plan for improving higher education than was done with the Stark State College of Technology (SSCT) presentation.

Question: If you would have been at the meeting (or were at the meeting); wouldn't you expect to have your question answered for having taking the trouble to attend the meeting?


The STARK POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has been puzzled over the high Stark County retention rate phenomenon.

The Report has quizzed public school official after public school official only to be met with a confused look or what The Report thinks is a silly answer.

Silly answer? Yes. Some officials say that the reason for Stark's high rate is that the school systems have not had access to the test that area colleges administer in order to assess a inbound student's need for remediation.

Isn't this "teaching to the test?" The Report agrees, if a student knows how to "fool" the test, then the student will not need remediation. But the result is an exercise in fooling oneself. Surely, Stark County's educators are not into doing this?

A better explanation is one made by the Ohio Board of Regents (OBR). In essence, the OBR says that too many college bound Ohio graduating seniors have had an inadequate "core" curriculum.

Question: What should Stark County educators be doing to rectify this problem?

Thursday, May 29, 2008


As a member of the Stark County Schools' 21st Century Action Team (School Design Committee), yours truly was privy to a presentation by the Canton Local Schools of its 5 R's Academy.

5 R's? Rigor, Relevance, Respect, Responsibility, Relationships make up the 5R's.

This program which was started in 2007 with 50 freshmen, will eventually grow to 180 to 200 students by 2010.

The STARK POLITICAL REPORT - EDUCATION (Stark Education Report) is pleased to recognize this very promising program.

Character development is what jumps out to an observer as to the essence of the academy which is a "community school" sponsored by Canton Local Schools (CLS).

A key to the Academy's success? Students taking ownership of their learning.

The Stark Education Report buys into the personal development philosophy of Stephen Covey of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey makes the point that personal development is "inside-out." In other words, it is the internal qualities of a human being which determine the effectiveness of the person.

Commitment is another key to the CLS approach. Branching out from there, one hears terms/expressions like "listening," "befriending," "this is a goal I believe I can attain," as the language of student participants. Moreover, each 5 Rs class member has to complete 50 hours of community service each year.

5 Rs Academy demonstrates in results living examples of a changed student approach to learning.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Retire/Rehire is not setting well with many Stark Countians these days.

Most people who object merely talk about it. But not Jan Kishman of the Minerva Board of Education.

Kishman who runs an IGA (grocery store) business with her husband in Minerva, has been elected to the board twice. In November, 2003 she was the high vote getter (1,655) as she was in 2007 (1,698).

Yesterday, The Repository reported on Kishman's effectiveness in getting a retire/rehire high school principal to quit.

The vote was 3 to 2 in favor of the retiree/rehiree. But that was not good enough for him. The administrator is quitting early. He says:
I am ... tired of the nonsupport with the vote. That eats at me, especially after putting in over 38 years with this district."
In Stark County we have Sheriff Tim Swanson (Democrat) and Judge William B. Hoffman (Court of Appeals - Democrat) who have announced plans to retire before their new terms so that they can collect their retirement and the regular stipend that goes with the job. In Hoffman's case it will be the better part of $250,000.

Will Stark Countians follow the spunky Kishman's lead (who has consistently voted "no" on retire/hire) and vote "no" on Swanson and Hoffman?