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Advocacy Update – 9.9.20 – Education COVID-19 Bill; School Funding Revisited; ODE Gifted Guidance Elusive; Testing Guidance

As we head into the school year, there are a few advocacy items to report: 

SB358 - Continued and Expanded K-12 Education Waivers Due to COVID-19 - The Senate Education Committee heard sponsor and proponent testimony on SB287 last week. SB358 is a wide-ranging bill that would extend and create new exemptions for Ohio’s K-12 system. Among the major provisions of the bill, state assessments would be waived for the 2020-2021 school year; report cards would be prohibited through the 2021-2022 school year; exemptions for 3rd grade reading guarantee and graduation would continue etc. There are actually many provisions in this bill, a summary of which can be viewed here. Most of the major education groups (OFT, OEA, BASA, OSBA) are proponents of the bill. There will definitely be pushback from other groups including Ohio Excels and Fordham Foundation. And, it should be noted that U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, has issued a statement to all states indicating that assessments used to meet federal guidelines will not be waived for this school year. 

While a reprieve on some items will be absolutely necessary, there are issues for removing all accountability assessments and measures for up to two years. Achievement gaps including those in gifted education will only grow larger if they are invisible. OAGC will watch the progress of this bill closely. In related news, ODE will be releasing the 2019-2020 report cards next week. 

HB305 – School Funding Formula Revision (Cupp-Patterson bill) – Now that Bob Cupp has been elected Speaker of the Ohio House, it is not surprising that the Cupp-Patterson bill has been revived. The bill has bill has been revised, and the House Finance Committee is expected to accept a substitute bill next week. The House Finance Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee will then conduct hearings on the bill in the next few weeks. The sub-committee will need a new chair person, who is likely to be Representative Gary Scherer. There may be other changes to the bill as well. OAGC had issues with some of the gifted provisions in HB305 – mainly, unrealistic GIS to gifted student ratios; fade-out of professional development funds; elimination of ESC gifted funding, and the lack of gifted funding accountability. OAGC will watch this bill carefully. While it may be passed by the Ohio House before next year in lame duck session, it is unlikely to pass the Ohio Senate. Look for it to be included in the budget bill in 2021.

ODE Gifted Guidance is Elusive– The Ohio Department of Education has many resources on restarting school for various areas of K-12 education. The notable absence is any guidance on gifted education. While it is no secret that the ODE gifted program consultants have working on this guidance for months, it still hasn’t cleared the multi-step process that ODE uses to publish guidance. Whether it is in legal or communications or whatever, the only change that is noted on the ODE restart web page for gifted is that where there used to be a “Coming Soon” label, now there is no mention of gifted at all. 

Assessment Guidance – One of the issues that the gifted field is grappling with is the issue of using remote assessments for gifted identification. This is particular worrisome for assessments used by districts throughout the school year. Curriculum Associates has released guidance on the remote use of iReady and gifted identification. That guidance can be found here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted: 9/9/2020
Last Update: 9/9/2020

Advocacy Update – 9.19.20 New ODE Approved List of Assessments, Report Card Changes Due to Covid, ODE Gifted Guidance Document

New Approved List of Assessments – ODE has released a new list of approved assessments including those for gifted assessment. They can be viewed at www.oagc.com/advocacyupdates.asp under the “Gifted Assessment Issues.” 

Report Card Changes – Due to the lack of spring testing due to COVID-19, ODE has made many changes to the district report card. One of the changes is to the gifted performance indicator, which will not be included on the report card this year as most of the elements of the indicator (gifted points, gifted value-added, and gifted performance index) were unable to be calculated. For more information, please gowww.oagc.com/resources.asp under the “COVID_19” topic. 

ODE Gifted Guidance Document on Reopening – While the ODE Re-opening page is full of advice on many topics, the gifted guidance document is still listed as “Coming Soon.” When it is available, OAGC will post on the OAGC website. We expect that it will cover a range of topics including remote testing and remote gifted service requirements.

Posted: 8/19/2020
Last Update: 8/19/2020

Advocacy Update – 7.31.20 – Ohio House Chooses New Speaker; More Districts Commit to a Virtual Fall

New Speaker - Because Ohio doesn’t have enough drama to contend with, the Ohio House shook things a bit more yesterday by voting in a new speaker, Bob Cupp. Speaker Cupp, as many of you may recall is the co-sponsor of the Cupp-Patterson school funding bill, HB305. The bill received several hearings last year, but ultimately was put on hold like so many other things. 

The speaker change was due to the scandal rocking the Statehouse with the arrest of Larry Householder, who has been indicted on federal bribery charges. 

With a new speaker change along with new leadership roles in the House, new questions around education will be centered around potential. changes to the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee leadership and the focus on education in general.  There have been calls from some in the Ohio House for committee chairs to all resign so that the Speaker Cupp can appoint his own choices more freely. We will likely to see how that plays out over the next several months. 

Ordinarily, we would anticipate that the goals of the new speaker be incorporated into the new state budget process which will begin in 2021. However, with cuts to education in general and an uncertain tax stream due to COVID-19, it is difficult to know how and if many changes will take place in education funding over the next two years. 

More Districts Opting for Online Learning – With rising cases of COVID-19 across the state, more and more districts are backing off on plans to open in-person or hybrid learning as schools open up for the 2020-2021 school year. At this point, all of the Ohio’s largest districts will be opening up virtually, which Columbus City Schools leading the way. What this means for gifted services is as varied as the many districts across Ohio. Along with guidance on remote testing, gifted EMIS questions, and other issues, it is not entirely clear how districts will be required to support gifted students virtually. This will undoubtedly ensure that the gap between underrepresented gifted children and their better-represented peers will grow. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted: 7/31/2020
Last Update: 7/31/2020

Advocacy Update – 7.31.20 – Ohio House Chooses New Speaker; More Districts Commit to a Virtual Fall

New Speaker - Because Ohio doesn’t have enough drama to contend with, the Ohio House shook things a bit more yesterday by voting in a new speaker, Bob Cupp. Speaker Cupp, as many of you may recall is the co-sponsor of the Cupp-Patterson school funding bill, HB305. The bill received several hearings last year, but ultimately was put on hold like so many other things. 

The speaker change was due to the scandal rocking the Statehouse with the arrest of Larry Householder, who has been indicted on federal bribery charges. 

With a new speaker change along with new leadership roles in the House, new questions around education will be centered around potential. changes to the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee leadership and the focus on education in general.  There have been calls from some in the Ohio House for committee chairs to all resign so that the Speaker Cupp can appoint his own choices more freely. We will likely to see how that plays out over the next several months. 

Ordinarily, we would anticipate that the goals of the new speaker be incorporated into the new state budget process which will begin in 2021. However, with cuts to education in general and an uncertain tax stream due to COVID-19, it is difficult to know how and if many changes will take place in education funding over the next two years. 

More Districts Opting for Online Learning – With rising cases of COVID-19 across the state, more and more districts are backing off on plans to open in-person or hybrid learning as schools open up for the 2020-2021 school year. At this point, all of the Ohio’s largest districts will be opening up virtually, which Columbus City Schools leading the way. What this means for gifted services is as varied as the many districts across Ohio. Along with guidance on remote testing, gifted EMIS questions, and other issues, it is not entirely clear how districts will be required to support gifted students virtually. This will undoubtedly ensure that the gap between underrepresented gifted children and their better-represented peers will grow. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted: 7/31/2020
Last Update: 7/31/2020

Advocacy Update – 5.28.20 – ODE ESSA Assessment Waiver Input; More COVID-19 Resources 

ODE ESSA Assessment Waiver Input – ODE has put out a request for public comment on a revision to the federal middle school testing wavier.  The revisions are necessary because the Ohio General Assembly has eliminated the Geometry and English Language Arts I assessment for class of 2023 and beyond. These test eliminations have a potential negative affect on middle school students who are taking advanced course work. ODE’s waiver request would help to maintain some level of flexibility to avoid double testing of advanced middle school students as much as possible. OAGC supports ODE’s waiver revision proposal to the USDOE. For more information, please go to http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Every-Student-Succeeds-Act-ESSA . ODE is seeking comments on this revision by June 17th. You can submit comments to ESEAWaiver@education.ohio.gov . 

New COVID-19 Resources – OAGC continues to add COVID-19 resources to our resources page at http://oagc.com/resources.asp . New items of interest are an excellent document of distance learning resources curated by Art Snyder and advice on the administration of the TerraNova from the Data Recognition Corporation. 

 

 

 

Posted: 5/28/2020
Last Update: 5/28/2020