The Ohio House finally moved SB21 out of committee. SB21 is the bill that tries to fix many of the problems raised by the initial third grade reading guarantee legislation. The Committee made a number of changes, but according to the bill's Sponsor, Sen. Peggy Lehner, she expects the Senate will agree with those changes.
According to a Gongwer report, the amendments made by the House include:
It also specifies teachers who qualify to provide services by virtue of a reading endorsement on their license must also have passed the State Board of Education-required assessment for the endorsement only "as applicable."
The latest version eliminates from the list of acceptable reading guarantee qualifications teachers determined by ODE as an "effective reading instructor" and teachers who completed a program from a list of scientifically researched-based reading instruction options.
The amended bill instead adds to the list of acceptable qualifications to include teachers:
- Rated "most effective" for reading instruction for the last two years based on assessments of student growth measures developed by a vendor approved by the state board.
- Rated "above expected value-added" for reading for the two most recent years per criteria established by ODE.
- Holding an educator license for teaching grades PreK-3 or 4-9 issued on or after July 1, 2017. The omnibus amendment requires all new applicants for educator licenses for those grades pass an exam aligned with reading competencies established by the state board.
The state board is required to adopt those competencies Jan. 31, 2014 under the bill, and must cover all reading credentials and training that include an understanding of phonemic awareness, phonics, appropriate use of assessment, appropriate instruction materials, among others.
Starting July 2014, alternative credential and training that qualify a teacher to instruct students identified by the reading guarantee would be aligned with the reading competencies, according to LSC.
Those teachers who do not meet the listed qualifications nor have one year teaching experience would be permitted to provide reading guarantee services if he or she holds an alternative credential or has successfully completed training using research-based reading instruction approved by ODE.
The omnibus amendment also puts in place ramifications for schools that fail to perform on reading aspects of the state report card. Schools would be required to submit improvement plans to ODE if they receive a D or F on the K-3 literacy progress measure and less than 60% of their students who took the third-grade English language arts assessment attained at least a proficient score, according to LSC. Submission of improvement plans would start in 2016.
A school could cease submitting an improvement plan if it receives a grade of C or better on the K-3 literacy measure or at least 60% of students taking the third-grade ELA exam scored proficient or better.
Other changes made in the omnibus amendment include:
- An exemption from the reading guarantee for those limited English proficient students who have been enrolled in U.S. schools for fewer than three years and who have had less than three years instruction in an English as a second language program. Current law exempts those with fewer than two years.
- Allowing schools unable to meet personnel requirements to request a staffing plan beyond the 2013-14 school year. Those submitting plans must also report on progress the school has made in meeting requirements of the law.
- Requiring ODE to study diagnostic assessments for reading and writing in grades K-3 that might be considered for approval by the state board.
The LSC analysis if the changes can be seen in the following document, with the House changes contained in the right hand column.