Earlier this year, Peter Greene wrote two major posts about the state takeover of Lorain, Ohio, under HB 70

Greene started his teaching career in Lorain.

The takeover meant that local democratic control was abolished and all authority was vested in one person, the CEO, David Hardy Jr.

Greene wrote:

The law is nuts; it establishes the CEO as an unchecked tsar of the district with all the powers of both the superintendent and the school board. The only job requirement under the law is “high-level management experience in the public or private sector.” So he could be an education amateur. But that’s not all.

The ADC must also expand “high-quality” school choice options in the district. They may appoint a “high-quality school accelerator” as an independent entity to oversee the non-district schools, including getting underperforming schools up to speed, recruiting “high-quality” sponsors, attracting new “high-quality” schools to the district and increasing the overall capacity of these schools to deliver “high-quality” education. Please note the the “high-quality” quotes are not mine, but come from the state’s write-up of the law. That write-up also notes that “high-quality” is not defined by the act.

And if a building in the district keeps producing low scores within two years, the CEO can convert it to a charter.

Hardy is an alum of Teach for America. He has golden Reformer credentials. He is a member of Jeb Bush’s Future Chiefs for Change and the Pahara Institute. He was a principal of a no-excuses Achievement First charter school. He has worked in other takeover districts.

Greene followed up with another post about Lorain. Hardy swiftly surrounded himself with other TFA alums, then told all teachers at the Lorain High School that they had to reapply for their jobs. This was the Big Purge.

Hardy’s argument is that LHS has to break “patterns of low academic achievement stretching back many years,” but he’s not going to evaluate teachers based on their academic strength, their teaching skills, their content knowledge– they are going to be judged on whether they have the right commitment and belief, whether they are, in fact, team players. Is this about the “no confidence” vote that 98% of the staff made public last week? The board vice-president and the teacher union president both think so.

With his top-down, non-collaborative management style, Hardy did not endear himself to teachers.

This past week, the Academic Distress Commission of Lorain, Ohio, formally evaluated the district’s CEO David Hardy Jr. and rated him ineffective.

Hardy earned a 1.6 for the 2018-19 school year and a 2.6 for the 2017-18 school year. The evaluation levels were based on teacher evaluation standards defined by the state: 1 is ineffective; 2 is developing; 3 is skilled and 4 is accomplished. Ineffective is the lowest score possible.

It is unclear what this means for Hardy’s employment with the district. His current contract runs through Aug. 8, 2020

The local union president Jap Pickering said that if he were a teacher with such a poor score, he would be fired.

School Board President Mark Ballard said:

Other than spending a bunch of money, calling people chiefs, there’s been nothing accomplished under him since he’s been here, in my opinion,” he said. “Other than destruction, deterioration and unrest in our district.”