School report card reform bill heads to governor

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Sen. Andrew Brenner explains proposed school law changes

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

House and Senate both overwhelmingly approved the changes

A bill to revamp Ohio’s K-12 school report cards has now been passed by both the Ohio House and Senate and will move to Gov. Mike DeWine for his signature.

“Our goals for the report card were to make it simpler, transparent, equitable and more accurate to get a better understanding of what’s happening in our schools,” said State Rep. Don Jones, R-Freeport. “This legislation accomplishes that.”

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The bill passed the Senate by a 32-1 vote, and passed the House 89-3.

Sen. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, was the only “no” vote in the Senate, calling these changes part of “the ever-weakening of Ohio’s educational system.”

“Unfortunately, our schools want to escape accountability and I simply oppose that,” Antani said.

Multiple groups had voiced similar concerns about a previous report card reform bill, but House Bill 82 got broad support. The Fordham Institute, which had criticized the softness of the previous effort, said HB 82 was a “smart, commonsense course correction.”

“The new report card will allow Ohio to successfully reboot its school accountability system after pandemic-related pauses, drive academic improvements in schools for the benefit of students, and ensure that Ohio parents have honest, accurate information that helps them choose great schools that work for their kids,” said Chad Aldis, Fordham’s vice president for Ohio policy.

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The bill changes the report card system for most schools, but not for joint vocational school districts or dropout prevention and recovery schools.

Schools will be rated on five components — achievement, progress, gap closing, graduation and early literacy. The previous “prepared for success” component would be renamed “college, career, workforce and military readiness” but schools would not be rated on that data.

Rather than an A-F scale, schools will receive 1 to 5 stars in each component, according to the Legislative Service Commission. One star would equate to “needs significant support to meet state standards,” three stars would mean “meets state standards,” and five stars would mean “significantly exceeds state standards.”

After a one-year phase-in, schools would receive an overall 1-5 star rating based on their five components, with achievement and progress receiving double the weighting of the other three components. To create more differentiation, schools’ overall ratings could include half-stars.

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The report card also will institute an “opportunity profile” for each school, showing 22 different metrics, such as staff-to-student ratios, percentage of students able to take computers home; plus the percentage of students participating in co-curricular activities or in various types of courses.

The bill also gives high school juniors the ability to opt out of the state-paid ACT or SAT exam that is administered in February or March at most high schools.