OAGC Advocacy Update 12.16.21 – Report Card Reform Progress; Bills and Issues We Are Watching

Report Card Reform – The Performance and Impact Committee discussed the achievement component of the report card at the State Board of Education this week. While ODE staff provided multiple options for committee members to view, several members were uncomfortable with these options. Objections centered around only using one year’s worth of data (2018-2019), using quintiles to set the cut scores in what has been a standards-based system, using district quintiles to set both district and building cut scores or vice versa, and a general desire to see more options and more data. 

The gifted performance indicator workgroup has met twice and will meet again on Friday, December 17th.  The workgroup has mostly concentrated on potential changes to the input system, but there was discussion about the gifted performance index cut scores as well. The group is also scheduled to meet January 4th

Update on Funding Reports – Gifted coordinators and others have been waiting patiently to find out what level of state funding they will receive through the new education funding formula. This information is now slated to be available in January. 

Bills We Are Watching

SB229 –The purpose of the bill was to provide schools greater latitude in opting to implement a blended learning model of instruction and to set parameters for schools operating blended learning models. As often happens, the bill turned into a catch-all education bill and includes some of the following measures: 

  • Prohibits ODE from using a chronic absenteeism measure on report cards for this academic year;
  • Authorizes provision of services to special education students electronically;
  • Requires schools to submit to ODE remediation plans to address learning loss;
  • Expands the report card study committee created and specifies information to be included on the report card related to graduation rates;
  • Allows quarantined students to participate in online learning during their quarantine period; 
  • Exempts schools from retaining students under the Third Grade Reading Guarantee solely based on academic performance, and 
  • Specifies state voucher payments are to be made to a student’s guardian, legal custodian, kinship caregiver, foster caregiver or caretaker for a student not living with their parents.

Multiple Bills prohibiting masks and Mandates – There are so many bills now that have these provisions included, it is difficult to keep track of them all. While it seemed that these bills would go nowhere, that is less certain these days.  

HB327 – Prohibits the teaching of divisive topics in K-12 and university programs – The Coalition for Honest Education has stated, “What HB 327 would allow or disallow in educational settings remains unclear and the core nature of the bill is punitive as it has the potential to withhold essential state funding from K-12 schools, colleges and universities, state agencies and political subdivisions.” The bill has not received any hearings recently. 

HB298 – Reconstitutes the State Board of Education to Elected Only – The bill has not received any hearings since October. 

HB368 – College Credit Plus Weighted Grades – The bill has not received opponent or interested party testimony at this point, and the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee has not met in December. 

Activity will pick up in the Ohio House and Senate in January. 

Interesting Tid Bits

Menlo Park Academy – Menlo Park Academy is the only gifted community school in Ohio. Recently, the teachers voted to unionize, which is an interesting development. Teachers indicated that turnover in administration and lack of support led to this decision. If you subscribe to Cleveland.com you will be able to read the full story at  https://www.cleveland.com/news/2021/12/teachers-menlo-park-academy-charter-school-could-be-in-for-a-protracted-fight-over-union-elections.html.

New State Board Member MIA – Last month, Governor DeWine replaced two appointed board members on the State Board of Education. One of those board members, Richard Chernesky, has yet to attend a board meeting. He was reportedly ill in November, but he also did not attend in December. It is unclear if he plans to remain on the board.