While the big news is, of course, the HB110, the budget bill, there is more news about state report cards. All in all, this week has been a busy one for state policy.
Report Card Bill Passage – Just two weeks ago, it seemed highly unlikely that state report card reform would pass before June 30th, which is when things shut down at the Ohio Statehouse for the summer. But with some intense negotiations among interested party groups, including OAGC, and discussions between the Senate and House education committee leaders, a compromise was reached. SB145 (the Senate report card bill) was amended with some ideas from HB200 (the House report card bill) and it was all folded into HB82 and passed the General Assembly, last Thursday, June 24th. Here are some of the key changes to the report card included in HB82:
- Decreases the number of rated measures from 15 to 6;
- Shifts Ohio from the A-F grading system to five-star ratings;
- Adds context to star ratings by including supplemental descriptors and trend arrows;
- Maintains a clear, user-friendly “overall” rating that summarizes performance across the various components of the report card;
- Ensures that students’ year-to-year academic progress counts more heavily in the overall rating (progress measures are more poverty-neutral); and
- With the exception of the graduation rate component, makes important structural improvements to every component of the report card.
The components of the new report card are:
Achievement – weighted at 25.58%
Progress – weighted at 25.58%
Gap Closing – weighted at 14.28%
Graduation – weighted at 14.28%
College, Career, Workforce, and Military Readiness
For gifted, the important change is that the gifted performance indicator is moved to the gap closing measure from the current achievement indicators measure and all elements including identification and service, progress, and achievement are codified in law. In addition, the indicator must look not just at overall numbers of gifted students identified and served but at underrepresented minority and economically disadvantaged students. It will be a met-not met measure. Another change that is helpful, is that the level previously known as “accelerated” on Ohio’s achievement tests has been renamed “accomplished.” The level of accelerated on these assessments have nothing to do with a student knowing beyond-grade level content, which was confusing to families.
While component ratings will be released in the 2021-2022 school year, no overall rating will be assigned until the 2022-2023 school year. In addition, the College, Career, Workforce and Military Readiness component (formerly named Prepared for Success will not be would not be report-only for the 2021-22 through 2023-24 school years. During that timeframe, ODE will examine these readiness data and create a method that, if approved by the legislature, will introduce a rating for this component starting in the 2024-25 school year. OAGC’s testimony on HB82 can be found at: http://www.oagc.com/files/OAGC%20Testimony%20on%20HB188.8.131.52.pdf.
The final bill language can be accessed at: http://www.oagc.com/files/HB82%20as%20enacted%206.27.21.pdf.
Biennial Budget (HB110) and School Funding – One of the most contentious battles in this budget was the school funding formula debate. The Ohio House overwhelming supported a new approach known as the Cupp-Patterson school funding plan. The Ohio Senate was not as enamored with the plan and promptly removed it from the bill. Education advocates waited while the House and Senate majority leaders hashed things out behind the scenes. And the winner is: the Cupp-Patterson plan – kind of. While the House version of school funding was included in the final version of HB110, it was not put into permanent law, which is highly unusual. To be frank, all funding is temporary. However, it is not typical for a funding formula to be in temporary rather than permanent law. It sends a signal that the Ohio Senate may not be quite on board with the plan. In addition, there is no intent language to fully fund the plan in the future. All studies and commissions that were part of the Ohio House school funding plan were eliminated in the HB110. So, what is the impact on gifted½ Well, the new Cupp-Patterson funding formula bases gifted funding off the 2018 gifted cost study. We will know more about how the funding is distributed to districts when more comprehensive funding spreadsheets are available. More important, the gifted funding accountability provisions that were included in House version of HB110 are in the final bill. This is hugely important as districts will now be required to spend state gifted funds on gifted identification and service. The bill also increases the transparency of the gifted staff and services provided by each district. Granted some of this language is in temporary law along with the funding formula. But that will be a challenge for the next biennial budget.
The governor signed the bill at the midnight deadline and vetoed only 14 items. One item was a provision that OAGC opposed. We were therefore pleased to see that the provision to allow non-public schools to opt out of College Credit Plus was removed from the bill. The enacted bill can be found at: http://www.oagc.com/files/HB110AsEnacted.6.30.21.pdf.
More details on the school report card and funding formula will be provided in the next Advocacy Corner in the OAGC Fall Review. For now, let’s hope that these two bills will be implemented with integrity by the Ohio Department of Education and the State Board of Education as the policy changes could represent two steps forward for gifted students in Ohio.
State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria to Retire – Ohio Department of Education State Superintendent, Paolo DeMaria announced that he will be retiring effective September 24, 2021. While somewhat unexpected, Mr. DeMaria has served in the role for five years so it is not altogether surprising for him to be retiring.