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Advocacy Update 6.16.17 – Three Sets of Testing Recommendations – Which Will Prevail?

Assessment Recommendations - As reported last week, the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Assessments finished up its work and sent a preliminary draft to the State Superintendent. The top recommendation, which received 21 committee member votes, would eliminate fourth and sixth-grade social studies assessments, American history and American government end-of-course exams, and one of two end-of-course exams in both math and English. It would also eliminate the fall administration of the third grade ELA assessment, if the third grade reading guarantee retention language is removed by the General Assembly. The final draft can be found at: http://www.oagc.com/files/AssessmentCommitteeRecommendationsReport-DRAFT%206.7.17(F).pdf

This week, State Superintendent Paola DeMaria, developed his own set of assessment recommendations which differed from the assessment committee. Mr. Demaria’s recommendations would eliminate the 4th grade social studies assessment, the high school ELA 1 end-of-course exam as well as the American Government end-of-course exam, and the WorkKeys assessments (for career technical students).  He submitted these recommendations to the State Board of Education, which declined to vote on them this week.  Meanwhile, the Ohio Senate included the elimination of the 4th and 6th grade social studies assessments in the current draft of Substitute HB 49, the budget bill. We should know within the next two weeks which recommendation will prevail as it is likely to be included in the final version of HB49.

State Budget Progress – Speaking of the state budget, The Ohio Senate accepted a substitute version of HB 49 on Monday and has held hearings all week. Nothing has changed for gifted education in the substitute bill though there are many changes to education. For a list of these changes and all others, please see: http://www.oagc.com/files/AmSubHB49SenateSummary6.12.17.pdf. The Senate is scheduled to vote the bill out next week. The Senate and the House will then confer and vote out a final draft which will be sent to Governor Kasich. He will need to review, line item veto any objectionable items, and sign by June 30th. Look for any highly controversial items to be included in the conference committee substitute bill.

Posted: 6/16/2017
Last Update: 6/16/2017

Advocacy Update 6.9.17 – Testing Committee Finishes Work; State Board Preview; New Ohio ESSA Documents

Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Assessments – The Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Assessments finished up its work this week by reviewing recommendations on state assessments discussed last week and determining a few new recommendations on local assessments. The top five state assessment recommendations will be included in a report to State Superintendent, Paolo DeMaria, who will in turn make his recommendations to the State Board of Education and the General Assembly. The document with all of the recommendations which are stratified in tiers based on the amount of committee support can be accessed at http://www.oagc.com/files/Draft.StateTestRecommendations.5.30.17.pdf. The top recommendation, which received 21 committee member votes, would eliminate fourth and sixth-grade social studies assessments, American history and American government end-of-course exams, and one of two end-of-course exams in both math and English. It would also eliminate of the fall administration of the third grade ELA assessment, if the third grade reading guarantee retention language is removed by the General Assembly. As noted last week, this recommendation could well result in a return to double or inappropriate testing for middle school students taking high school courses.

This recommendation as well as the others would need changes to the Ohio Revised Code. If that were to happen, it would likely be included in the state budget bill, HB49 which is currently being redrafted in the Ohio Senate and is scheduled for a vote in the Ohio Senate next week. (The Senate sub bill is expected to include new budget cuts as the state revenue projections continue to decline.)

The committee also took some time to generate recommendations on local assessments. The top two recommendations were for ODE to create and provide guidance/resources to districts to conduct assessment audits and for ODE to develop a list of assessments that can be used for multiple purposes. Finally the committee brainstormed ideas for long term consideration including:

With the work of the assessment committee complete, some of the members will be asked to be part of a new stakeholder group developing a new ODE strategic plan. It is unclear whether anyone from the gifted community will be asked to be part of the new groups being formed.

State Board of Education to Meet – The State Board of Education will meet Sunday, June 11th – Tuesday, June 13th. The business meeting will be held on Monday morning. The remainder of the meeting will be held on the 31st floor of the Vern Riffe center where a team from the Ohio School Board Association will lead work sessions on such topics as, “Why are we here and what is our purpose?”

New Ohio ESSA Documents Available for Review and Comment  – The Ohio Department of Education released new ESSA documents for review and comment. The documents can be accessed at http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Every-Student-Succeeds-Act-ESSA. ODE will take emailed comments to essa@education.ohio.gov  through June 20, 2017. The draft will be presented to the State Board at their July meeting.

Posted: 6/9/2017
Last Update: 6/9/2017

Advocacy Update – May 31, 2017: Testing Committee Gets to Sticky Dot Phase; Senate Budget Update

Superintendents’ Advisory Committee on Assessments -- The State Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Assessments met on Tuesday, May 30th to finalize their recommendations on state assessments to send to the State Board of Education and the Ohio General Assembly. After a lengthy discussion on each potential recommendation, committee members held a thoughtful conversation on what the scope of their recommendations should be and whether it made sense to recommend “wiping out everything.” Amidst this conversation was the question of what it meant to go to federal minimums. Some members were of the opinion that this related to only to state assessments. Others insisted it also related to all assessments, including local assessments used to fulfill state requirements. Gifted identification was a focal point of this discussion, with committee members ultimately rejecting the notion that testing for gifted identification be eliminated.  

By the end of the meeting, the committee settled on 17 recommendations to prioritize. Each member was given five red “sticky dots” to register their vote on their main priorities. The recommendations with the most votes included:

One of the issues discussed with the top recommendation was how this will affect middle school students taking high school courses.  The recommendation may return Ohio to a situation where these students are double tested or tested on material they covered in a previous year. Given the uncertainty of how the new US Secretary of Education will handle waiver requests, it is unclear how this issue will be resolved.

The committee will meet one more time on Tuesday, June 6th at 4:30 pm to prioritize recommendations for local assessments.   These recommendations will be based on their previously-compiled brainstorming list .

Budget Update – The Ohio Senate Finance subcommittees provided reports on their respective subcommittee hearings to the full Senate Finance Committee on May 30th. The Senate Finance Committee will be taking public testimony through June 7th at which point a substitute bill should be introduced. Senate leadership has signaled that further cuts in the budget will be likely due to less-than-expected state tax revenue.

Posted: 5/31/2017
Last Update: 5/31/2017

Advocacy Update – May 3, 2017 – House Passes Budget, Testing Committee Brainstorms, and More

Budget Update – The Ohio House passed Substitute Bill HB49 this week largely along party lines. There were a few new tweaks to education provisions but nothing directly affecting gifted education. The amendment for a gifted cost study remains in the bill.  The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) will be presenting to the Ohio Senate Finance Committee today. The Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) presented to the committee yesterday. Senator Bill Coley took ODHE to task for requiring non-public schools to allow their students to participate in College Credit Plus saying that ODHE had misinterpreted the law. Non-public school students have always been allowed to participate in College Credit Plus and, before that,  PSEO (Post Secondary Enrollment Options) as a matter of parental/student choice. Eliminating that choice would be puzzling given Ohio’s history of support of school choice. Hearings on the budget will begin in the Senate will move into high gear next week.

Superintendents’ Advisory Committee on Assessments -- The State Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Assessments met on Tuesday, May 2 to begin developing recommendations based on their previously-compiled brainstorming list . The committee broke into four separate groups and began to work on recommendations. At the end of the meeting, each group indicated their top recommendations which included:

The next meeting will be on May 16, 2017 where additional time will be spent on state assessment recommendations. Committee members may also begin work on recommendations for local assessments. Brainstorming ideas for this area can be viewed here.

Federal Budget Spending Bill Includes Javits Funding – The spending bill that was negotiated this week to fund the federal budget through September includes $12 million to support the Jacob Javits Gifted grants.

OAGC Advocacy Live You Tube Event Rescheduled -- The OAGC Parent Division has rescheduled a YouTube LIVE event from May 1 to May 15th at 7 pm. Come learn from parents and professionals who will share their powerful tips on advocating for your gifted child. From the classroom level to the state level, this session will address advocacy needs that include academic, social-emotional, twice-exceptional, post-secondary, and so much more. Learn from others who “have been there” and get answers for your advocacy needs during this Q&A opportunity. Post questions during the event directly on YouTube or elsewhere on social media using #OAGC and we will answer them during the live event. Other questions or to learn more about the Parent Division visit www.oagc.com  or email Parent Division Chair Angela Grimm aecrowder@yahoo.com .

Posted: 5/3/2017
Last Update: 5/3/2017

Advocacy Update – April 28, 2017 – State Budget Update; OAGC Advocacy You Tube Event; Testing Committee to Meet

Budget Update – The Ohio House Finance Committee accepted Substitute Bill HB49 this week, which offers several changes to education including $80 million more to the funding formula. One education amendment that was inserted into the substitute bill was a provision requiring the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to do a cost study on gifted education to determine the appropriate level and funding formula. This is a welcome change. The Ohio House is expected to finalize their work on the budget by the middle of next week. The Ohio Senate Finance sub-committees are already holding hearings. Senate President, Larry Obhof, has indicated that the Ohio Senate is likely to make major cuts to the budget in order to account for the projected $800 million shortfall in state revenue for FY19-20. While the gifted funding formula is not likely to be affected, gifted unit funding to ESCs could be targeted.

OAGC Advocacy Live You Tube Event – Join the OAGC Parent Division for a YouTube LIVE event and learn from parents and professionals who will share their powerful tips on advocating for your gifted child. From the classroom level to the state level, this session will address advocacy needs that include academic, social-emotional, twice-exceptional, post-secondary, and so much more. Learn from others who “have been there” and get answers for your advocacy needs during this Q&A opportunity.
Post questions during the event directly on YouTube or elsewhere on social media using #OAGC and we will answer them during the live event. Other questions or to learn more about the Parent Division visit www.oagc.com  or email Parent Division Chair Angela Grimm aecrowder@yahoo.com .

Superintendents’ Advisory Committee on Assessments -- The State Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Assessments will meet on Tuesday, May 2 at 4:30 pm at the Ohio Department of Education. The Committee will work with the previously-compiled brainstorming list on state assessments to develop recommendations and action items on state assessments.

Posted: 4/28/2017
Last Update: 4/28/2017