New ODE Gifted Studies/Guidance Available – As part of SB310 in 2020, ODE was required to do a study on possible incentives for rural gifted services expansion. That study was completed in December and released earlier this month. You can read the full study at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1H0fdljre020GUH6uAACsFkiPBfSQ3YKn/view. The 140-page report goes through the various issues surrounding gifted education in Ohio rural areas, gifted funding and laws, a review of literature and studies etc. The bottom line is that the study’s authors identified two key challenges:
- Lower identification rates in rural districts, particular of economically disadvantaged students, and,
- Lower spending to provide services to gifted students once they are identified.
recommend financial incentives to rural districts and ESCs serving them.
Neither of these challenges should be surprising. The study goes on to recommend an incentive system that relies solely on financial incentives through a multi-year grant mechanism. These incentives would have to be provided through funding allocated, most likely, in the state budget process. It is unclear if ODE plans to make this request or not.
The second study authorized in SB310 was the gifted funding accountability workgroup. This group met twice in fall of 2022. The result of the workgroup was an updated use of gifted funding guidance document which can be accessed at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Taqo7dWmLsgru6L8r0Bx6-9PpREBEfKd/view.
SB1 – Education Governance – The Ohio Senate didn’t waste any time reintroducing the Education Governance bill. Signaling its importance to the Senate, the bill was the first named senate bill of the 135th General Assembly. The bill language is similar to SB178 which was fleshed out in the lame duck session in November and December of 2022. The controversial language of additional bills that were attached to SB178 has been removed from SB1. And additional language was included to protect homeschool language currently in administrative code. This language was included to assuage the home school community. The first hearing of the bill was yesterday in Senate Education. Andrew Brenner, Senate Education Chair, has made statements that the Senate is open to changes in the bill to ensure public input is maintained. The bill sponsor, Senator Reinke indicated that splitting the department into two divisions would support accountability but didn’t provide any specific examples of how that would work. Regardless, it is quite clear that the senate has made this a priority bill. How it will be received in the Ohio House, where the House leadership is not the majority of the Republican caucus is difficult to know. House committees still have not be formalized. The next Senate Education hearing is scheduled for February 7th. The Senate Education chair plans to hold interested party meetings and hopes to vote the bill out in March.
The bill language can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VPk1hYS7kbjrwANsz5pvGv_gEwKV4dG8/view
Sponsor testimony can be found here:
State Board of Education Elects New President – Paul LaRue, an appointed member of the state board, has been elected as President. Martha Manchester maintains her role as Vice President. Gifted advocates may recall that Mr. LaRue was the chair of the state board committee that was responsible for revamping the new state report card. He was very helpful to gifted advocates. It will be a bit of a race to see if ODE can guide the new gifted rule through the state board before a possible change in governance that would take that process out of the hands of the board.