We reported yesterday on the Ohio State Board of Education's plans to eliminate the 5 of 8 rule. The Boards' Operating Standards Committee met yesterday to discuss the rule and vote it out of committee. It passed 4-3, but those supporting and opposing the measure were not who you would expect.
According to the Plain Dealer
"I've been receiving a lot of feedback," said committee member Kathleen McGervey of Avon, who voted no after she started receiving calls with objections this weekend. "I just wanted a little more time to hear them out."
Board member Sarah Fowler, the vice chair of the Operating Standards Committee from Ashtabula County, also voted against sending the change to the full board. She said emails from constituents Sunday and Monday convinced her to consider the issue further. Fowler also represents Geauga and Portage counties.
Her biggest concern: "Making sure we're not incentivizing districts to not provide certain things for their students."
Also voting no was Stephanie Dodd, of Hebron.
Sarah Fowler is the home-schooler on the board and typically has not been friendly towards public education. The volume of complaints she and other board members have been receiving have clearly been having an effect. Back the the Plain Dealer
Committee chairman Ron Rudduck, Board President Debe Terhar, and members Tess Elshoff and Brad Lamb, of Westlake, voted to approve the changes for full board consideration.
It should be no surprise that Debe Terhar continues to act against the best interests of students, and Brad Lamb was just voted out of office only 7 days ago to be replaced by a veteran teacher, Roslyn Painter-Goffi. The disappointing yes vote was that of Ron Rudduck.
Rudduck received strong backing from educators in the November elections, believing he was a moderate Republican voice with strong pro-public education beliefs guiding his decisions. Educators and concerned parents should call Ron Ruddick and tell him to oppose the elimination of the 5 of 8 rule. You can phone him: (937) 302-8035, or Email: Ron.Rudduck@education.ohio.gov
Today, the State board of Education will hear public comments, one of the groups testifying will be the Ohio Education Association - the organization that represents 121,000 teacher in Ohio. Here's why they believe it is critical to keep the 5 of 8 rule.
When the Board votes on the recommendations of the Operating Standards Committee, we ask that you restore this language in Rule 5 for the following reasons:
• Removing the Current Rule 5 language would have the immediate effect of further reducing the educational opportunities that are available to boys and girls in Ohio’s schools.
• Current Rule 5 language already provides significant flexibility to local school districts; there is no compelling reason to change it.
• Without rules requiring Ohio’s schools to provide specific services that meet the needs of the whole child (including school counseling, nursing, library media support, social work, and elementary art, music and physical education instruction), school districts will have the incentive to focus personnel and other resources only on tested subjects.
• Maintaining the “5 of 8” rule demonstrates that the State Board of Education is committed to equal educational opportunity for all of Ohio’s students. If the 5 of 8 rule were eliminated from the Operating Standards, children from low-wealth communities—those who need these services the most—would be the most likely to be deprived of the support they need for a well-rounded education.