Ohio Legislator Threatens Teachers Who Advise Testing Opt-Out

HB420 was supposed to be a simple bill meant to shield schools from having their ratings adversely affected by parents who chose to have their children opt-out of standardized testing. Then the author of the bill ,  Kristina Roegner (R), instead issued a substitute bill that would criminalize teachers for advising parents to opt their children out of testing.  

Here's the offending language

Sec. 3319.152. (A) No employee of a school district or public school shall negligently suggest to any student, or parent, guardian, or custodian of that student, enrolled in the district or school that the student should choose to not take any assessment prescribed by section 3301.0710 or 3301.0712 of the Revised Code. This prohibition does not apply to an employee of the district who is a member of an IEP team when determining individual appropriate accommodations that are necessary to measure the academic achievement and functional performance of a child with a disability on state and district-wide assessments for purposes of the child's IEP.

(B) On a finding by the state board of education, after investigation, that a school employee who holds a license issued by the state board has violated division (A) of this section, the license of that employee shall be suspended for one year. Prior to commencing an investigation, the state board shall give the employee notice of the allegation and an opportunity to respond and present a defense. 

(C)(1) Violation of division (A) of this section is grounds for termination of employment of a nonteaching employee under division (C) of section 3319.081 or section 124.34 of the Revised Code.

(2) Violation of division (A) of this section is grounds for termination of a teacher contract under section 3311.82 or 3319.16 of the Revised Code.

Educators have not responded kindly. The Ohio Education Association issued this statement

Sub. HB 420 creates an extreme and misdirected penalty for school employees based on the wildly vague and subjective standard of “negligently suggesting” a student opt-out of a state assessment. 

OEA will not stand for this hostile “gotcha” legal trap and it must be removed from the bill. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Kristina Roegner (R- Hudson), has said that the provision will be removed. But we still urge OEA members to contact their representatives and voice our strong opposition.

You can contact Rep Roegner here and tell her to drop this shameful language from HB420.