SB316 analysis

The education portion of the mid biennium review (MBR), SB316, has now been completed. Below is the synopsis document produced by Ohio's legislative services commission (LSC).

Some of the highlights and lowlights:

  • Third-grade reading guarantee – retention
  • Requires the State Board of Education to determine the "cut" score, progressively adjusting it upwards until the retention requirements apply to students who do not receive at least a "proficient" score. Prohibits the State Board from designating a level lower than "limited." Not later than December 31, 2013, requires the State Board to submit to the General Assembly recommended changes to the scoring ranges of the state achievement assessments necessary for the successful implementation of the common core curriculum and assessments in the 2014-2015 school year.

    It's a huge unfunded mandated (only a paltry $13 million was attached to this effort), with only a few exceptions for students carved out. We suspect this provision will be revisited in the very near future once legislators start hearing from angry parents.

    Also included int he law is a section that, not later than February 28, 2013, the State Board of Education and the Early Childhood Advisory Council jointly to develop legislative recommendations on the state's policies on literacy education of children from birth to third grade. From birth!

  • District and building academic performance ratings
  • This didn't make the bill. The legislature received a lot of push back from a broad range of interests that didn't like the idea of downgraded schools in short order, right before tougher common core standards were also to be introduced.

  • Performance indicators for dropout prevention and recovery programs
  • These are some of the worse charter schools in the country, not just the state. They have avoided accountability for poor performance for a long time. Initially SB316 contained provisions to hold them accountable, however those provisions were also stripped and replaced with provisions requiring the adoption of performance indicators for dropout prevention and recovery programs operated by school districts and community schools with provisions for a separate rating system specifically for community schools that operate dropout prevention and recovery programs, to be used beginning with the 2014-2015 school year. No rush there, then.

  • Reports of district and school spending
  • This provision initially passed in the original budget has been delayed 12 months.

  • Teacher evaluations
  • This section of SB316 fixed a lot of the ridiculous provisions contained in HB153. You now have to actually be in a classroom at least 50% of the time to be covered, test scores of students who are absent more than 60 days (!) won't be counted, nor those defined as habitually truant. the new law makes quite a few structural changes and some nuanced changes. We urge educators to take a little time to read this entire section (page 19, thru 21)

  • Teacher retesting
  • Remember the provision that would have required all teachers in the bottom 10% of schools to retake the PRAXIS test? That's gone, replaced with a different retesting provision. It now applies, beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, to teachers employed by school districts when the teacher has been rated "ineffective" on evaluations for two of the three most recent years. (Retains the law applying the requirement to teachers employed by community schools and STEM schools when the teacher's building is ranked by performance index score in the lowest 10% of all public schools.) The law also adds that if a teacher employed by a school district passes the required exams, the teacher, at the teacher's own expense, must complete professional development targeted at the deficiencies identified in the teacher's evaluations. The district may terminate the teacher if the teacher (a) does not complete the professional development or (b) receives an "ineffective" rating on the teacher's next evaluation after the professional development.

  • Nonrenewal of teacher and administrator contracts
  • Extends the deadlines for a school district or educational service center (ESC) to notify a teacher that the person's contract will not be renewed for the following school year, from April 30 to June 1.

  • Charter schools
  • There is a host of provisions affecting charter schools starting on page 38 that we are still digesting.

SB316 bill analysis