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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Ohio Defunds Education Clearinghouse

Ohio has funded an online repository of free educational resources since 2007. Next year, teachers will have to find the content themselves after the state legislature elected to stop funding the Distance Learning Clearinghouse.

Funding was cut in half, to $500,000, last year. The Ohio State University, Columbus, which operated the clearinghouse, has taken no position on the elimination of funding, but did prepare a report which estimated that 82% of the schools in the state had used the resource in some way. The clearinghouse has more than 12,000 lessons in key subject areas, more than 950 reviews of online courses, and more than 1,000 professional-development lessons for teachers, according to a report from The Columbus Dispatch that appeared in eSchool News.

“They’ll have to go to Google and try to do their own reviews,” Janet Herrelko, a math-education professor at the University of Dayton, said of instructors who previously used the clearinghouse as a resource. “It will take a lot longer for them to understand it. If you try to skim this material, you could miss problems with it.”

State politics may also be involved since a liberal advocacy group has charged the administration of Gov. John Kasich used the program to steer contracts toward a major Republican donor. One of the contracts provided an online interface that critics said didn’t work and that most users bypassed.

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