Supporting Education In Ohio
By Senator Gayle Manning
June 16, 2014
[ Gayle Manning Home | Gayle Manning Press ]

As a former elementary school teacher, I value the opportunities I have to speak with parents, teachers, and school administrators regarding ideas for improving the education system for all students.

My office has received great feedback about the issues most important to our district, including the importance of maintaining local control of education, protecting student data, and phasing-in of new testing requirements.

An overall or cumulative letter grade to schools for the 2014-2015 school year.

The Senate Education Committee listened to these concerns during its deliberations on House Bill 487 – the state’s mid-term budget review (MBR) legislation dedicated to K-12 education reform issues – and acted quickly to address them within the bill’s provisions. Included amongst the bill’s provisions are:

  • Ohio Standards Review: Creates statewide academic standards review committees in each subject area to bring together educators, parents, and subject matter experts to review the current standards and assessments and ensure they are appropriate for each grade level, promote higher student performance, maintain the liberal arts tradition, and reduce remediation so students are prepared for success upon graduation.
  • Local Parental Involvement: Requires an opportunity forparents to review selection of textbooks, instructional materials, and academic curriculum used in their schools. The bill also establishes Local Boards of Education as the sole authority in determining curriculum and selecting materials for their district.
  • Testing Phase-In: Creates a safe harbor provision for the 2014-2015 school year to give schools and teachers time to adjust to new tests – The Ohio Department of Educationwill not assignan overall or cumulative letter grade to schools for the 2014-2015 school year. Requires the state to offer schools the option of taking state assessments online or via paper at no cost to the school.
  • Testing Transparency: All assessments, questions, and preferred answers will be public record and posted on the Ohio Department of Education website.
  • Privacy: Prevents any entity from collecting or tracking a student’s or student’s family’s identification information and requires the State Board of Education to adopt strict safeguards to protect such information.

These provisions are the culmination of many discussions amongst the Senate Education Committee and the valued stakeholders of our state’s public education system: the students who work hard every day; the teachers who strive to foster a love of learning; the parents and guardians who support their students in their goals; and the school administrators who make our public schools a conducive environment for student success. I am proud of the work we’ve been able to achieve together, and I look forward to future discussions on how we can continue this collaboration in the future.

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