SB21 Decoded

A number of readers have asked us to decode the Ohio House's version of SB21, which is likely to be passed into law.

In the area of teacher qualifications, after July 1, 2013, third grade students who have been retained or are on a reading improvement plan shall be assigned to a teacher who has at least one year of teaching experience and satisfies one of the following criteria:

a) K-12 reading endorsement on their teaching license
b) Master’s degree in reading or literacy
c) Rated “most effective” for reading instruction for the most recent two years based on student growth measures
d) Rated “above expected value added” in reading instruction as determined by criteria established by ODE for the most recent consecutive school years
e) Passed a rigorous test of principles of scientifically research-based reading instruction approved by the State Board of Education
f) Holds a teaching license for P-3 or 4-9 issued on or after July 1, 2017

The House version limited or did away with qualifications in the Senate version that allowed for evidence of completion of a program of scientifically research-based reading instruction programs approved by the department (limited to until July 1, 2016) or the teacher is an effective reading instructor as determined by criteria established by the department (eliminated).

The House version of the bill also expands who may offer services in the following ways:

  • A teacher with less than one year of experience provided they meet one of the qualifications and is assigned a teacher mentor who meets one of the qualifications
  • Through July 1, 2016, a teacher who has successfully completed training on reading instruction approved by the department
  • A teacher other than the classroom teacher to whom the student is assigned provided the teacher meets the qualifications, the teacher and the principal agree and the assignment is documented in the student’s reading improvement plan
  • A speech language pathologist may provide reading intervention and remediation services

Additionally, the House version of the bill allows school districts who cannot furnish the number of teachers to satisfy the qualifications to submit a staffing plan to the Ohio Department of Education. ODE may grant extensions of district staffing plans through the 2015-2016 school year.

Other provisions of the House passed version of SB 21 include:

  • Specifies that retention under the Third Grade Reading Guarantee is triggered by failure to attain at least the “equivalent level of achievement” as determined by ODE
  • Exempts English language learners enrolled in U.S. schools for less than three years
  • Exempts students with significant cognitive disabilities from diagnostic tests on a case-by-case basis as determined by ODE
  • Requires the State Board of Education to adopt competencies for reading credentials and training by January 31, 2014. Requires all new applicants seeking an educator license for grades P-3 or 4-9 to pass an examination aligned with these competencies. Requires reading endorsement programs to align to these new competencies not later than July 1, 2016
  • Requires school districts and community schools that receive a D or F on the K-3 literacy progress measure on the new school district report cards and less than 60% of students score at least proficient on the third grade English language arts assessment submit a reading achievement improvement plan.

Thanks to OEA's Government Services for their expertise in helping to decipher SB21.

3rd grade reading guarantee changes again

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:

The omnibus amendment would add a requirement that all teachers providing reading guarantee services have at least one year of teaching experience unless they meet at least one of the bill's criteria to provide services and is mentored by a teacher with at least one year of experience, according to a Legislative Service Commission comparison document.

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.

SB21 As Reported by the House Education Committee

Education News for 02-12-2013

State Education News

  • Divided state school board won’t oust Terhar over Facebook post (Columbus Dispatch)
  • A divided State Board of Education refused to remove President Debe Terhar yesterday after an uproar over her Adolf Hitler Facebook post. The board voted 10-6 against removing the Cincinnati Republican as board president after she apologized…Read more...

  • 'Jesus' painting on school-board agenda tonight (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Jackson school officials are confident that public support is on their side in endorsing the continued display in a middle school of a painting that depicts Jesus. Now, they must decide if the law is on their side.…Read more...

  • Auditor: Four more school districts rigged student data (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Four more Ohio school districts manipulated their student data, and the findings are being turned over to federal officials, State Auditor Dave Yost announced yesterday as he released the results of his statewide attendance investigation.…Read more...

  • Plan upsets Wolf Creek superintendent (Marietta Times)
  • Wolf Creek Local Superintendent Bob Caldwell said Monday he believes Ohio Gov. John Kasich "didn't follow through" with the school-funding plan he recently outlined for school administrators.…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Chief scolds mom who engaged in fight at Withrow (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  • The mother and daughter, according to police, assaulted a 15-year-old girl, striking her with fists, feet and a combination lock. Teacher Kim Kilby suffered a black eye in the scuffle.…Read more...

  • New Cleveland school plan topic of forum at Idea Center Monday night (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • About 250 people, who were engaged and interested, heard all about the new Cleveland Plan for Transforming Schools at a forum Monday at The Idea Center at Playhouse Square."I want Cleveland to be known for education," said Mayor Frank Jackson…Read more...

  • Westerville school board selects superintendent (Columbus Dispatch)
  • A top administrator in the South-Western school district has been named the next superintendent of Westerville schools. John R. Kellogg, 50, will take over in Westerville next school year, replacing Dan Good…Read more...

  • Springboro board denies complaint made by teachers union (Dayton Daily News)
  • The Springboro school board wants the State Employee Relations Board to “immediately dismiss” an unfair labor practice complaint brought against them by the state teachers union.…Read more...

  • School board rehires Wittwer for 1 year (Findlay Courier)
  • Findlay school board unanimously voted Monday to rehire the district's superintendent after he retires at the end of the school year.…Read more...

  • JVS academic services director sues board, alleges discrimination, harassment (Lorain Morning Journal)
  • Cathy Pugh, the director of academic services for the Lorain County Joint Vocational School District Board of Education, has filed a lawsuit against the JVS for continuous discriminatory and harassing behavior…Read more...

  • 'State of the Schools': Superintendent has plans to reform Lorain's district (Lorain Morning Journal)
  • After six months on the job, Lorain City Schools Superintendent Tom Tucker has put the beginning of his plans to reform the district in to motion.…Read more...

  • Making math matter (Marion Star)
  • On a recent winter night at Elgin West Elementary School, more than 100 adults and students turned out to do math.…Read more...

  • Monroe schools, city council broach topic of shared services (Middletown Journal)
  • A partnership for shared technology services is underway between local government and school agencies in Monroe. Monroe school board members met Monday evening in a joint work session with Monroe city council members to discuss ideas for sharing services…Read more...

  • Safe Routes plan ready for approval (Warren Tribune Chronicle)
  • A revised Safe Routes to School Plan aimed at increasing the number of students walking or biking to Howland Middle School is in its final stages before being sent to the state for funding.…Read more...

Education News for 01-30-2013

State Education News

  • Educators speculate on Kasich’s budget plans (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Every school district in Ohio is waiting to hear Gov. John Kasich’s plan for school funding, to be unveiled on Thursday..Read more…

Local Education News

  • Columbus schools seek public input on new superintendent (Columbus Dispatch)
  • The Columbus City Schools are inviting members of the public to weigh in on what they want in a new superintendent at a series of regional “focus groups” starting next week...Read more…

  • School worker now at home (Warren Tribune Chronicle)
  • WARREN - A city school district employee charged earlier this month with carrying a concealed weapon was placed on home assignment pending the outcome of an investigation...Read more…

  • Shared services with Hubbard may end in Liberty (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • A shared-services agreement between adjoining school districts soon may end...Read more…


  • Take a close look at attendance (Warren Tribune Chronicle)
  • Officials in some of Ohio's biggest school districts, including Columbus, were caught lying about student attendance numbers last year. They were inflated to make the school systems appear to be doing a better job than actually was the case...Read more…

Right To Work Is A Lie — It's No Rights At Work

More on "Right to work" being a lie.

Supporters of so-called “right to work” laws argue that they advocate for a cause whose noble aim is to advance personal liberty and promote economic growth. They wield buzz words like “freedom” and “choice” for their messaging. They opine that too many workers needlessly suffer because corporate America cannot free itself from the shackles of greedy labor unions. A non-critical eye may see a movement that champions freedom and offers hope. However, if you look just beneath the surface of the “right to work” cause, you will see a campaign that is built on distortions and predicated on lies and whose unstated purpose would undermine workers’ safety, economic security and well-being. The true goal of right to work is to put more money into the pockets of corporate shareholders. The consequence of these purposes, whether intended or unintended, is a diminished middle class.

right to work is wrong

Right to work (RTW) does not provide a financial benefit to workers. It hurts them – financially and physically. A viable labor movement is the best way to advance the wellbeing of the middle class. Here’s what the empirical research shows in terms of worker compensation and workplace safety:

  • The average worker in a RTW state earns about $1,500 less per year than a person working in a non-RTW state.
  • Unions raise worker pay by roughly 20 percent.
  • In Ohio, teachers working in non-union charter schools receive annual salaries that are about $16,000 less than those paid to traditional public school teachers. The gap is even larger when compared to what for-profit charter schools pay their teachers.
  • The rate of employer-sponsored health insurance and pensions is lower in RTW states.
  • Worker fatalities in the construction industry are 34 percent higher in RTW states.

Economic development is not enhanced by RTW legislation. In fact, the enactment of RTW laws almost certainly hinders growth and prosperity:

  • Research finds no relationship between the presence of a RTW law and state unemployment rates, per capita income or job growth.
  • When asked what influences their plant-location decision process, RTW is not an important criterion for small manufacturers.
  • Low-wage workers result in lower tax revenues, putting infrastructure needs and education and other publicly funded services at risk.
  • Lower wages also mean less spending by consumers, which stunts economic expansion.
  • States with the lowest percentage of workers in unions have relatively weak middle classes.

In addition to fewer, lower paying, less safe jobs and an erosion of infrastructure and decreased levels of public services, RTW robs our country of its democratic principles. Research shows that a weakened labor movement results in lower voter turnout and less participation by ordinary citizens in the political process. Maybe that is exactly what the RTW folks want; a means of keeping the political cronies of the richest in power so their interests will be forever served. Right to work is a carrot for a select few at the top of the economic food chain and a stick for everyone else.