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OAGC Advocacy Update – 1.20.20 – General Assembly Updates, Double Testing for Advanced Middle School Students, Future Issues

General Assembly Updates – While both the House and Senate are holding education committee hearings this week, the real work on the most pressing issue continues behind closed doors. That issue of course is what to do about the looming Ed Choice crisis. Hannah News summarized the issue nicely this past week: 

“Because of the delayed effects of existing law, expiration of a safe harbor period and changes in the recent state budget, the list of schools at which students are eligible for EdChoice vouchers is set to balloon past 1,200 in the coming school year. Local school leadership groups have endorsed a list of eligibility criteria changes and a request for supplemental funding to offset related budget challenges. Sen. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) is meanwhile hoping to convince lawmakers to use this opportunity to switch to a system based only on family income, rather than local school performance, which would result in funding vouchers directly from the state, rather than via deduction from state funding to local schools.”

There are competing interests in coming up with a solution to the upcoming issue which needs be resolved by February 1. Some legislators would love to see an expansion of school vouchers. Others see the increase of vouchers an attack on public schools. As there is very little time to address the issue, expect to see a short-term fix and expanded discussion later for longer-term resolution. 

School Test Waivers/Double Testing – As many of you are aware, the elimination of the Geometry and an ELA 1 end-of-course exams has caused some issues for advanced middle school students. This change will result in double testing for many of these students or force them to take tests not aligned to the curriculum they are learning for the year. This is a case of when federal assessment requirements conflict with the state desire to reduce testing. While there is nothing much that can be done about the elimination of ELA 1 (see the ODE memo at http://www.oagc.com/files/Elimination-of-ELA.pdf ), ODE is seeking input on how to deal with the thousands of students taking advanced coursework in math (see the request for input at http://www.oagc.com/files/Geometry-RequestForComment-DRAFT%20(002).pdf ). OAGC supports one option that ODE has put forth that would be to request an amendment to the previously approved federal waiver that specifies Algebra I as the primary high school test for accountability, while maintaining the expanded middle school waiver for all math tests. This would result in maintaining Geometry as a test for accountability (but not graduation purposes). Without this waiver, not only will advanced students in ELA be subjected to inappropriate tests, but many more thousands of advanced students in math would be as well. Frankly, because of federal requirements, there are not great solutions to this issue. 

Future Issues for 2020 – What will the General Assembly be focused on in 2020½ Beyond the issues with Ed Choice vouchers, it is likely that more discussion of HB305, the school funding bill, will take place. In addition, there may be some interest in revamping the report card. Stay tuned as the year progresses. 

 

Posted: 1/20/2020
Last Update: 1/20/2020

Advocacy Update – 12.5.19 – Brief Update on the Report Card Committee and School Funding Bill Progress

Report Card Study Committee – One of the provisions of the budget bill (HB166) established a committee to study the state report card and make recommendations for changes. This committee includes Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering), Sen. Louis Blessing III (R-Cincinnati, Sen. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), Rep. Don Jones (R-Freeport), Rep. Tracy Richardson (R-Marysville), and Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo). In addition, three superintendents representing rural, suburban, and urban areas and the state superintendent or representative are on the committee. The committee met three times – taking testimony from multiple education groups.  OAGC provided testimony on December 4th. To read OAGC’s position on report card changes, please go to http://www.oagc.com/files/OAGC.ReportCardComments.12.4.19.updated.pdf.  The committee is charged with putting together recommendations by December 15th. Based on comments from committee members, there appear to be a wide variety of opinions on how and how far the current report card should be modified. 

School Funding – The House Finance Committee has not held any hearings on HB305 since November 20th. At the hearing, Ryan Pendleton, the treasurer from Akron City Schools, provided a very broad overview on categorial funding. OAGC will cover the progress of this bill as hearings begin again in the future. Future hearings will focus on other parts of the proposed funding formula. There should be one more hearing in December before the Ohio General Assembly goes on winter break. OAGC has several issues with the gifted funding component of HB305 which are outlined at http://www.oagc.com/files/OAGC%20Amendment%20Requests%20to%20HB305.9.16.19.pdf .  To view the documents from the various hearings on HB305, please go to http://www.ohiohouse.gov/committee/finance . To view the hearings, go to http://www.ohiochannel.org and look for the archives of the House Finance committee. 

 

Posted: 12/5/2019
Last Update: 12/5/2019

Advocacy Update – 11.4.19 – New Gifted Assessment List, School Funding, Report Card Review 

As we move toward the end of the year, there are three major advocacy issues OAGC is monitoring – gifted assessments, HB305 (school funding bill), and a committee that will be studying the report card. 

Gifted Assessments – ODE updated the list of approved assessments to include a new checklist for artistic behavior in dance grades 9-12. This list can be downloaded from http://www.oagc.com/files/2019-2020-Approved-Assessment-List.updated10.25.19(2).pdf .

While this helps with the identification issues in one small area of gifted assessment, other issues remain. OAGC continues to work with the Ohio Department of Education to address the many other issues regarding the gifted assessment list and the process for reviewing gifted assessments. 

School Funding – The House Finance Committee has begun hearings on HB305. The two co-sponsors, Rep. Cupp (R) and Rep. Patterson (D) provided sponsor testimony on October 16. Other hearings have featured members of the Ohio Fair School Funding committee. Most of the hearings have concentrated on base cost and equity issues. Future hearings will focus on other parts of the proposed funding formula. OAGC has several issues with the gifted funding component of HB305 which are outlined at http://www.oagc.com/files/OAGC%20Amendment%20Requests%20to%20HB305.9.16.19.pdf .  To view the documents from the various hearings on HB305, please go to http://www.ohiohouse.gov/committee/finance . To view the hearings, go to http://www.ohiochannel.org and look for the archives of the House Finance committee. 

Report Card Study Committee – One of the provisions of the budget bill (HB166) established a committee to study the state report card and make recommendations for changes. This committee includes Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering), Sen. Louis Blessing III (R-Cincinnati, Sen. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), Rep. Don Jones (R-Freeport), Rep. Tracy Richardson (R-Marysville), and Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo). In addition, three superintendents representing rural, suburban, and urban areas and the state superintendent or representative will be on the committee. These superintendents are Stephanie Starcher of Fort Frye, Cameron Ryba of Strongsville, and Marlon Styles of Middletown. The committee is charged with putting together recommendations by December 15th. The first neeting will be on November 6th. 

 

Posted: 11/4/2019
Last Update: 11/4/2019

Advocacy Update 9.13.19 – Gifted Performance Results; State Board to Meet; Gifted Dance Educators Needed - Updated

2018-2019 Gifted Performance Results– Most of the press on district report cards has centered around district composite grades. As with most other areas, there were gains in gifted performance as well this year, but they were small gains. In fact, there was a drop in gifted value-added indices.  While OAGC needs additional data on ID and service numbers, types of services offered etc. to do a full analysis, we have put together a brief update on the gifted performance indicator results. This brief can be accessed at http://www.oagc.com/files/Brief%20Update%20on%20GPI%20and%20ID%20Service.9.13.19.updated.pdf

The bottom line is that there were gains across two elements of the gifted performance indicator, and there was an increase in the number of districts meeting the indicator. However, there remain significant differences in performance and performance gains based on district typology. 

State Board to Meet – After a recess for August, the State Board of Education will meet next week. Major issues of discussion will include graduation requirements, the report card and budget. 

Gifted Educators for Dance Checklist Needed - The Ohio Department of Education is developing a Checklist of Artistic Behaviors for use in the screening and identification of students who are gifted in the visual or performing arts field of Dance.

We are specifically seeking from you up to 4 gifted educators to develop this new state checklist. We are focused on developing a checklist for identifying students in grades 9-12 and would appreciate the experts having knowledge/experience across a variety of dance styles if possible. We are also very focused on the experts being geographically representative from across the state and diverse in ethnicity and gender.

We will convene at ODE in Columbus on September 24, 2019 from 10:00am – 1:00pm and if necessary September 26 from 10:00am – 12:30pm.

Please RSVP to Maria Lohr, Gifted Education Program Specialist, at  614-752-1745 or maria.lohr@education.ohio.gov.

Posted: 9/12/2019
Last Update: 9/13/2019

Advocacy Update – 9.9.19 – School Funding, Ohio Education Reports

 

As the new school year begins, the continued discussion on school funding begins as well. In addition, new reports released by Education Week and the Fordham Foundation provide information about the state of education in Ohio. The bottom line is that that Ohio continues to struggle mightily with equity on all levels – funding, opportunities, and outcomes. 

School Funding – The Ohio House will soon be debate HB 305 (a.k.a the Cupp-Patterson bill) which incorporates the Ohio Fair School Funding plan. While the bill has many co-sponsors, there are currently no House majority leaders who have co-sponsored the bill. A new report from the Ohio School Policy Institute was released last week evaluating HB305. This report can be viewed at http://www.oepiohio.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/HB-305-Analysis.pdf. OAGC has the same concerns regarding this bill as previously outline to the Ohio Fair School Funding workgroup: 

 

  1. Several elements in the gifted formula within the bill need to be adjusted to reflect true costs. 
  2. There is no specific element of funding accountability for gifted funds, without which any formula will fall short. 
  3. There is no provision for specific support of rural districts through ESCs or some other mechanism. 

To view OAGC’s concerns in more detail, please read our testimony during the budget deliberations on this topic: http://www.oagc.com/files/SheldonTestimony_Final_4.11.19.pdf

HB305 has been assigned to the House Finance Committee, but no hearings have been scheduled. 

Quality Counts – Education Week released its annual Quality Countsreport on education across the country. Ohio is ranked 21stin the country in terms of opportunity and performance with a grade of “C.” This is one ranking better than the previous two years. The Ohio report summary can be found at  https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2019/01/16/highlights-report-ohio.html.

The Mountain Ahead – The Fordham Foundation also released a report last week regarding college and career readiness in Ohio. The report reveals gaps between college and career readiness across the state. For a more in-depth look, please access the report at https://fordhaminstitute.org/ohio/research/mountain-ahead-report-college-and-career-readiness-ohio-students½mc_cid=07c5c93171&mc_eid=3ed57eb87d.

Heads Up! – The state will be releasing report card data soon. Watch this page as OAGC analyzes the data specific to gifted students. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted: 9/9/2019
Last Update: 9/9/2019