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Public school leaders support bipartisan reform of state report card system

Published By The Highland County Press on March 10, 2021
Don Jones In The News

The Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA), Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA) and Ohio Association of School Business Officials (OASBO) reacted Wednesday to the introduction of bipartisan legislation to reform the state’s report card system.

Sponsored by Reps. Don Jones (R-Freeport) and Phillip M. Robinson Jr. (D-Solon), the bill would eliminate Ohio’s A-F letter grades and overall ratings for school districts and public schools.

“Nothing about an overall school letter grade properly informs a parent or community about what is going on in their schools,” OSBA Chief Executive Officer Rick Lewis said. “Just as every student is more than a test score, every school district is more than a letter grade.”

Schools would receive one of six ratings for their performance across five areas. Modeled after Massachusetts’ school evaluation system, the ratings would include: significantly exceeds expectations; exceeds expectations; meets expectations; making substantial progress toward expectations; making moderate progress toward expectations; and in need of support. The five components — graduation, achievement, progress, gap closing and third-grade reading guarantee — already exist under current law but are refined by the bill.

The bill is the product of a legislative report card study committee convened in 2019. The 10- member panel also included three school superintendents, each representing an urban, suburban and rural community.

“The legislation unveiled today is the culmination of many years of hard work,” BASA Executive Director Dave Axner said. “It serves as an important step in improving the state report card so it is a more fair, accurate reflection of the great work being done in Ohio’s schools. This new system will create a transparent report card that informs students, parents, educators and communities, leading to a culture of continuous improvement and excellence in Ohio’s education system.”

OASBO Executive Director Jim Rowan said, “These positive enhancements will allow school districts and schools to tell their stories beyond the test scores that measure a mere snapshot in time. Communities now will be able to learn more than ever before from their state report card, like learn how many of their students have obtained industry-recognized credentials or view multiyear trend data. We owe it to parents to provide them a tool that is accurate, fair and concise. This bill fulfills that promise.”

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