Legislative Report Jan. 2018

January 2018 Legislative Committee Report
By: Matthew Jablonski

Senate Bill 240: Introduced by Senator Peggy Lehner, and supported by the OEA, SB 240 makes revisions to the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System. Most notably, the bill would decrease the weight of assessment scores as they relate to overall ratings, and eliminate shared attribution. While generally supported in that it follows the prior recommendations of a state panel, Cleveland Schools CEO Eric Gordon maintains that standardized tests need to remain a part of an objective teacher evaluation.

House Bill 21: Recently passed through the House and supported by the OEA, HB 21 would provide an accurate means to verify student residency so that charter school funding would be deducted from the correct districts.

Graduation Requirement: The Ohio School Board announced at its December meeting that it would likely advocate for an extension of the graduation pathways granted to the class of 2018 for the classes of 2019 and 2020. No analysis has been undertaken by the ODE as to how many students will be positively impacted in the class of 2018. A vote regarding this advocacy will likely occur at the January meeting. Following this announcement, House Education Committee Chair Andrew Brenner announced that a bill to change (read fix) the Graduation Requirement will be introduced soon.

Decrease Standardized Testing: Also during its December meeting, the Ohio School Board has indicated that it recommends that legislators further reduce the burden of standardized testing on Ohio’s students. Predictably, the Ohio Department of Education (who makes its living compiling, analyzing & arguing the value of test related data) essentially disagrees with the recommendation.

#OHGov: While Ohio Republicans have landed on what many consider the “super ticket” of Attorney General Mike DeWine and Secretary of State John Husted in the 2018 race for Governor, education advocates were enthused by the decision of Democratic candidate and Youngstown Senator Joe Schiavoni, who has named State School Board Member Stephanie Dodd as his running mate. Both are proven supporters of Public Education.

Advocates of Vouchers: On the heels of she and her husband’s orchestration of an 0-16 season as owners of the Cleveland Browns, Dee Haslam penned an op-ed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer advocating for an expansion of Ohio’s voucher program, HB 200 (see the December Legislative Committee Report for more info on this bill).

NEA Action: The NEA is currently asking members to take action regarding the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as well as advocating for a renewal of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and passage of the Dream Act. Their quick action steps to contact your legislators can be found here.