The State Board of Education is poised to allow the elimination of library media specialists, school nurses, visiting teachers, social workers and elementary art, music and physical education specialist by redlining out the following section ("5 of 8" rule) of the Ohio Administrative Code
(4) A minimum of five full-time equivalent educational service personnel shall be employed district-wide for each one thousand students in the regular student population as defined in section 3317.023 of the Revised Code. Educational service personnel shall be assigned to at least five of the eight following areas: counselor, library media specialist, school nurse, visiting teacher, social worker and elementary art, music and physical education. Educational service personnel assigned to elementary art, music and physical education shall hold the special teaching certificate or multi-age license in the subject to which they are assigned. School districts receiving the school nurse wellness coordinator factor and school district health professional factor funds pursuant to section 3306.06 of the Revised Code shall give preference to hiring licensed school nurses.
Tom Gunlock, the board's vice chairman, had this to say to the Plain Dealer this morning
the proposed change isn't to eliminate those positions, as some are charging, but to let districts make their own choices. I'm sure they'll do what's right for their kids.
For wealthy districts who already operate above these comically low standards the rule change will have little impact, but for districts struggling financially, or looking for ways to meet other mandates such as the 3rd grade reading guarantee within existing tight budgets, elimination of these state minimums will have disastrous effects on students. Gunlock is acting very coy and surely knows full well what eliminating these standards will mean.
There are some conflicting reports that the Board vote will take place either tomorrow at their meeting, or at the December meeting. Either way we urge educators and concerned parents to contact the board and tell them to abandon this terrible plan. Email the school board or call (614) 728-2754. Do it sooner rather than later.
Here's a good, short, slide show highlighting some of the details.