Advocacy Update 9.23.21 – Equity Panel Reminder, Funding Updates, CRT Debate, Masks and Vaccine Bills, Funding Updates, and Opportunity for Dyslexia Standards Input

Equity Panel Reminder – Please mark September 28th 9:00 AM on your calendar as the Fordham Foundation and the OAGC sponsor a panel discussion on equity for high achieving students. To register for the virtual discussion, please click here.

Funding Updates – Many gifted coordinators have asked when districts will be able to see the gifted state funding included in the current budget. ODE plans to release that data on October 15th. The breakout of gifted funding should be included in the district payment reports.

Critical Race Theory (CRT) Debate Continues – The State Board of Education met this week. This was the last board meeting for retiring State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria. Stephanie Siddons will take over as acting superintendent on Monday. As public comment on the board’s equity resolution passed in 2020 continued inside of ODE, CRT protesters and counter-protesters clashed outside of the ODE building. This continued debate at the State Board has over-shadowed almost every other issue for several months. Not to be outdone, the Ohio House has introduced two bills – HB322 (Jones) and HB327 (Grendell, Fowler Arthur). Both bills aim to prohibit discussion of divisive issues in Ohio’s public schools. Testimony this week on HB327 was emotional and heated with several opponents indicating that the bill suppressed free speech. Educators stated that the bill would vastly limit the ability of educators to teach students history or civics.

Masks and Vaccine Bills –  Since this summer, a number of bills have been introduced in the Ohio General Assembly that would limit schools and businesses from requiring masks or vaccines.  OAGC is currently watching HB248 (which appears to be stalled), HB400, HB425, and SB209. Meanwhile, a slim majority of districts are now requiring students and staff to wear masks.

Request for Public Comment on Dyslexia Standards – Ohio’s dyslexia support laws require the Ohio Department of Education, in conjunction with the Ohio Dyslexia Committee, to develop learning standards for kindergarten in reading and writing that incorporate a multisensory structured literacy program. The Department solicited a statewide working group of expert educators, literacy specialists, speech-language pathologists and administrators to review and update the existing kindergarten standards (published in 2018). The Department invites the education community to provide suggestions for improving Ohio’s Learning Standards for English Language Arts – Kindergarten through a public comment survey. 

The Ohio Dyslexia Committee and Kindergarten Standards Revision Working Group will review and consider all feedback. This survey, which will take 10-15 minutes to complete, will close Oct. 6 at 11:59 p.m.  Please send questions or additional comments to [email protected].