HB555 Analysis

The Ohio House of Representatives approved HB 555. The House passed the bill without amendments in a party line vote, 58-27. The bill will now head to the Senate.

The Legislative Services Commision has analyzed the bill and produced the report below. While the devil is in the details, and there are some devils, here's a brief breakdown of the policies HB555 contains

  • Replaces the current academic performance rating system for school districts, individual buildings of districts, community schools, STEM schools, and collegepreparatory boarding schools with a phased-in letter grade system under which districts and schools are assigned grades of "A," "B," "C," "D," or "F" based on 15 measures to reflect the performance profile of each district or school.
  • Creates six component classifications in which each performance measure is categorized and a grade is assigned for each component to be calculated into assigning an overall grade to a school district or building.
  • Requires the State Board of Education to develop an alternative academic performance rating system for community schools serving primarily students enrolled in dropout prevention and recovery programs.
  • Establishes criteria for closing dropout prevention and recovery community schools based on their academic performance.
  • Requires the Department of Education to review additional information included on report cards and submit to the Governor and the General Assembly recommendations for revisions.
  • Establishes a new evaluation process for determining which community school sponsors may sponsor additional schools.
  • Permits the Ohio Office of School Sponsorship to sponsor a community school if the school's sponsor has been prohibited from sponsoring additional schools.
  • Delays implementation of the new sponsor evaluation system until the 2015-2016 school year.
  • Renames the Ohio Accountability Task Force as the Ohio Accountability Advisory Committee and alters its membership and duties.
  • Requires the State Board to submit to the General Assembly recommendations for a comprehensive statewide plan to intervene in and improve the performance of persistently poor performing schools and school districts.
  • Reinstates the permanent requirement for five scoring ranges on the state achievement assessments.
  • Requires a school district to provide immediate services and regular diagnostic assessments for a student found to have a reading deficiency pending development of the student's reading improvement and monitoring plan required under continuing law.
  • Adds college-preparatory boarding schools to the provisions requiring the Department of Education to rank public schools by expenditures.
  • Requires that a designated fiscal officer of a community school be licensed as a school treasurer by the State Board of Education prior to assuming the duties of fiscal officer.
  • Requires the Department of Education to conduct two application periods each year for the Educational Choice Scholarship Program.
  • Establishes measures the Superintendent of Public Instruction must consider before approving new Internet- or computer-based community schools.
  • Restates that the requirements of the standards-based state framework for teacher evaluations and the standards and procedures for nonrenewal of a teacher's contract as a result of the evaluation prevail over any conflicting provisions of a collective bargaining agreement entered into on or after the effective date of the bill.
  • Specifically permits educational service centers to partner in the development of STEM schools
  • Permits an educational service center to sponsor a new start-up community school in any challenged district in the state, instead of just its service territory, so long as it receives approval to do so from the Department of Education.
  • Qualifies for a War Orphans Scholarship, children of military veterans who participated in an operation for which the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal was awarded.
  • Authorizes the administrators of the Ohio National Guard Scholarship Program and the Ohio War Orphans Scholarship Program to apply for and receive grants; to accept gifts, bequests, and contributions from public and private sources; and to deposit all such contributions into the respective National Guard Scholarship Reserve Fund (existing) or the Ohio War Orphans Scholarship Fund (created by the bill).

OFT is asking that the following fixes be made to HB 555

  1. Eliminate graded items for the current school year. It’s not fair to change the rules in the middle of the game, or year. Delay any grades to 2014-2015.
  2. Don’t grade items that are impacted by a lack of resources - participation in AP courses, dual enrollment participation rate, K-3 literacy rate, college admission testing scores, remediation.
  3. Eliminate Accountability Board language
  4. A composite score dilutes the value of the dashboard and should be eliminated.
  5. Eliminate language that raises the standard and the cut score for achievement tests. This causes double jeopardy for school districts. Raising the cut score and standards from 75 to 80 percent will force more school districts to have lower scores making them and buildings subject to possible vouchers for low performance. Only the cut score should be raised.
  6. Safe harbor: For three years the student portion of teacher evaluations should be reduced from 50 percent to 25 percent. For three years school districts currently earning a continuous improvement rating or higher should be exempt from sanctions.

HB 555 Analysis