Advocacy Update – 2.20.17 – Updates on Gifted Standards, State Board of Education, Budget Issues, and ESSA

Gifted Standards Update – The State Board of Education held a Chapter 119 hearing on the proposed gifted operating standards on February 13th. Three witnesses provided in-person testimony in support of the new standards. Several witnesses also submitted written testimony.  Final adoption of the standards is still on schedule for later this spring.

State Board of Education Board Member Changes – The state board of education welcomed a new board member in February. Laura Kohler of New Albany, replaced C. Todd Jones, who did not seek reappointment for another term. Ms. Kohler was a local board of education member for several years prior to this appointment. With this change, the board now has nine new members out of nineteen.

Biennial Budget – The state budget is officially underway with testimony heating up in the Ohio House. The House Finance Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee will be hearing testimony through the end of March. Gifted education issues will be discussed on March 16th. If you wish to testify, please contact [email protected] . There are no funding changes for gifted education included in HB49 (the budget bill). However, as the vast majority of districts receive cuts in funding, it is likely that gifted funding will feel the squeeze at the local district level unless things change in the House and Senate. Beyond the funding issues, the big education policy issues receiving attention are the requirement of local boards of education to add three members from the business community and the requirement of teachers renewing their licenses to intern with a business.  

College Credit Plus, which will be discussed in the House Finance Higher Education Subcommittee has many new changes included in the governor’s budget. HB49 does the following:

  • Moves the deadline for districts to provide information to students about College Credit Plus from March to February;
  • Restricts eligibility to students who are remediation free based on ACT, SAT, or Accuplacer sub scores. Those who score one standard deviation below the remediation rate would need a cumulative GPA of 3.0, receive a recommendation from a school counselor, principal, or career-technical program advisor, or meet the college’s relevant academic program’s established standards for admission;
  • Requires rules to be adopted that could restrict funding and eligibility to some courses, require specific sequences of courses, and limit funding for private instruction;
  • Removes the ability of the family to contest a College Credit Plus ruling by the district to the State Board of Education;
  • Changes language regarding the cost and provision of textbooks including a rental fee option for homeschooled students;
  • Requires rules for underperforming participants to be adopted by the Department of Higher Education;
  • Removes the ability for districts to negotiate an agreement with a college under the default floor amount.

No changes were made to address the issue of homeschooled and non-public students who are shut out of state funding or for those students wishing to take more than 30 credit hours of coursework to be able to access the program at the default ceiling amount charged to districts and non-public schools.

ESSA – Both the State Board of Education as well as the JEOC (Joint Education Oversight Committee) received an overview of ODE’s ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) draft plan, last week. The full draft can be downloaded at . Other than the current accountability provisions, gifted is not addressed in the plan. ODE will accept comments on the plan through March 6th. JEOC plans to hold two hearings on ESSA in early March. With a new administration at the federal level, it is difficult to predict the future of ESSA.