Cleveland School Chief Applauds School Reform Law in Address

by Michelle Faust

Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon addressed the state of the city’s schools Wednesday in an event organized by the City Club of Cleveland. The central focus of the speech was on successes in The Cleveland Plan.

Citing improvements in the number of third graders who can read and high schoolers who are graduating, Gordon painted a picture of a better school system since the state of Ohio adopted a plan to overhaul Cleveland schools in 2012.

“CMSD has improved the third grade reading scores from 31 percent in the fall to more than 85 percent of CMSD’s third grade students reading at grade level by the end of the year,” said Gordon.

The CMSD CEO’s optimistic speech also acknowledged the district’s challenges—including multiple changes in the state’s standardized tests and slow academic progress.

Gordon’s speech made mention of the tax levy renewal on the ballot this November that intends to raise $69.7 million dollars a year for the district. He says the district would not have been able to balance its books without the funding, and he encouraged voters to approve it in the coming election.

After Gordon’s speech, the district chief took questions from the audience, many from students.

One questioner asked the CEO whether the district was making efforts to involve the community in Ohio’s ESSA Plan. The Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced the federal No Child Left Behind law, allows states to create their own plans with community input.

The district CEO said he’s encouraging parent groups to attend a meeting being held 6 p.m. on Monday at Cuyahoga Community College. 

“And you will be seeing and hearing me personally, and also us as a community, advocating both at the national level because of still work to do nationally and more importantly at the state level,” said Gordon.

The success or failure of students in urban schools including Cleveland will be closely monitored under the new federal law.

[CORRECTION: This story has been corrected from the original version to reflect the amount of the bond levy renewal. The original story incorrectly stated the levy was for $15 million dollars. It's a 15 millage levy that aims to raise nearly $70 million dollars each year for the district. ]

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