Advocacy Update – 3.12.21 – House Finishes Up Budget Hearings; Report Card Bill Dropped

House Finance Final Budget Hearings – This week, the House Finance Committee held a number of hearings on HB110, the biennial budget bill. The House will discuss amendments to the bill in the next week or two, and a new substitute bill will likely be introduced in late March or early April. Big questions for education advocates will be if or how HB1 (Cupp-Patterson school funding) is incorporated into the bill. And if so, where the money will come from to support the change. 

HB200 State Report Card Changes – Representative Don Jones (R) and Phil Robinson (D) dropped HB200 this past week. This bill, which will receive its first hearing next week, completely overhauls the state report card. For a full summary of changes, please view the summary document. While OAGC is still analyzing the bill, a few issues are noteworthy as outlined below. Another report card reform bill is expected to be introduced soon. OAGC will monitor the progress of all these bills carefully.

Moves Gifted Performance/Progress to the Gap Closing Measure but Makes Identification and Service Levels Report-Only – The move of gifted achievement and progress to Gap Closing is fine. However, the measure only keeps the performance and value-added components but relegates identification and service to report-only. This is extremely problematic if we are trying to close the equity gap in gifted identification and service of under-represented student populations such as economically-disadvantaged, Black and Hispanic students. ID and service especially of under-represented student populations needs to be part of the gifted component grade as it is now. OAGC does not support the move to report only for the ID and service of gifted students. 

Moving N size  from 15 to 20 – This will effectively make many sub-groups “invisible” to accountability, including gifted students. The N size should remain 15. 

Report Card Label Changes – The bill changes district performance levels on various metrics from grades to labels and increases levels from five to six.  It is unclear why going from five to six is needed, but the labels themselves need to be more meaningful if parents are to discern the differences from one to another. 

Assessment Labels and Levels – Moves levels from five to six adding “approaching proficient” and renaming “accelerated” to “accomplished.” OAGC supports the latter change. We are somewhat concerned about increasing the levels to six as it is unclear what it would achieve and it would make past year comparisons very difficult. 

Choose Your Rating – On two measures, gap closing and progress, districts may choose between different metrics for their rating. This will prohibit any meaningful ability to compare district performance to other districts or to districts from one year to the next. OAGC is concerned about this change. 

State Vs. Federal Report Card – The bill would require the state to develop one report card for the state and one that would follow federal guidelines. It is unclear if this violates federal statutes.