The much anticipated Senate budget, when it comes to education policy, could be titled "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". We've already discussed the ugly, let's take a look at the good and the bad.
The statewide parent trigger, proposed by the governor and eliminated by the house, is not proposed by the Senate either and appears dead, for now.
The Senate also includes a fix to HB555 and the onerous teacher evaluation provisions it contained. Here's what the fix proposes
Specifies that, when calculating student academic growth for a teacher evaluation, students who have had 30 or more excused or unexcused absences for the school year must be excluded (rather than excluding students with 60 or more unexcused absences as under current law).
Ohio Revised Code labels a student as a chronic truant if they are absent 14 days, so 30 days is still a high number of absences to allow, but it is certainly better than the ridiculous 60 days in current law. The reduction in the use of VAM to 35% from 50% is a welcome improvement.
The Governor proposed eliminating the single salary schedule, and the House concurred. The Senate however strikes this proposal from their budget. We suspect there will be pressure applied to put this back in. Educators and support professional should continue to apply their own pressure on legislators to keep it out.
The Senate also eliminated the home-school freeloading provision the House added that would have allowed home schoolers to participate in district extra-curricular activities at no expense.
The Governor proposed a massive statewide voucher expansion effort, the House concurred, and the Senate has left the proposal in too. With massive opposition to this proposal we were a little surprised the Senate left this unnecessary proposal in their budget.
Charter schools get a number of additional free passes from the Senate, including an e-school exemption for phys ed., an additional qualifying condition for vouchers, and a provision that would make charter school closures more difficult as LSC notes it "May be more difficult to close community schools after July 1, 2013 (compared with current law after that date).". The Senate also eliminates a charter school teacher quality provision for charters populated primarily with students with disabilities. A number of other smaller provisions setting charter schools on a longer path to failure are also propsed by the Senate, such as:
The Charter school business doesn't contribute millions of dollars a year to Republican politicians for nothing.
The Senate adds a new levy type aimed at school safety
A good intentioned proposal aimed at lowering violence in schools, but there should be concern that a safety levy might reduce local taxpayers appetites for funding levies for normal school operations, the core purpose of schools themselves. School districts will have to be mindful in how they approach this issue.
Here's the full comparative document of the education section of the budget