Advocacy Update – 5.18.18 – Report Card Reform, Legislation and Rule Updates, Ohio Speaker Impasse

Report Card Reform– Report card reform progressed on two fronts this week, though with a looming General Assembly summer break, are all efforts too late this year½ The State Board of Education Report Card Stakeholder Workgroup continues to meet and has agreed on a few areas. The one that will most affect gifted students is their tentative recommendation that the performance index and all indicators be report-only. The main recommendation is the elimination of all grade assignments on all components. Of course, the full board must support the recommendations of the board and the suggested recommendations would all need to be changed in Ohio Revised Code. This brings us to HB591 (Duffey), which received a second hearing this week. Representative Duffey presented a new substitute bill which made some changes including new language that would delineate an overview (or dashboard) for students with disabilities, gifted, and English Language Learners. The bill still does not support gifted students the way the current gifted performance indicator does. However, Rep. Duffey has made both public and private statements that he wants to work with the gifted community to improve the bill for gifted students as much as possible. The overall structure of the bill would eliminate all grades and indicators, which is a blow to gifted accountability. 

While there are rumors that this bill is going to be fast-tracked through the House, it would be a heavy lift to get HB591 through the Ohio House next week – especially with the question of the House Speaker role still up in the air. We shall see what happens on Tuesday, when the bill will receive a third hearing. 

SB216– At long last, SB216 (the education de-regulation bill) had a hearing in the Ohio House Education Committee this past week. The sponsor gave testimony on Tuesday, and there will be testimony again on May 18th. While most of the gifted specific issues have been resolved, OAGC is still concerned about licensure grade bands and flexibility, the increased in sub-group N-size to 30, and the shared cost of College Credit Plus textbooks with students who are not economically disadvantaged. While this bill may pass this year, it does not seem likely it will pass before the summer break. 

Gifted Rule Update–  There is no new news on the gifted rule changes. The Chapter 119 hearing will not be held until the June board meeting. The changes to the rule would stretch the professional development requirement for classroom teachers who are providing gifted services from two years to four years and cuts in half the PD requirement for AP/IB teachers with specific training.

HB512– There have been no new hearings on HB512, which would take much of the authority from the state board of education and move it to the governor’s office. 

Ohio House Speaker – As discussed above, the Ohio House has yet to select a new speaker after the resignation of Cliff Rosenberger. While Rep. Ryan Smith has emerged as the front-runner, he has yet to secure 50 votes to seal the deal. Without a speaker, no House sessions can be held.