COLUMBUS –State Reps. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) and Jeff Crossman (D-Parma) sent Gov. DeWine, State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria, and State Board of Education President Laura Kohler a letter on Thursday, February 4 urging them to waive end-of-year state testing for the 2020-21 school year. The letter was a follow up to a previous letter Crossman and Sobecki sent in June 2020 calling on the governor’s administration to be proactive and cancel state testing for the 2020-21 school year prior to the beginning of the school year, which they failed to do.
Reps. Sobecki and Crossman recently filed HB 40 (House Bill 40) to cancel remaining state testing, a reintroduction of their HB 686 from the 133rd General Assembly which received no hearings despite support from countless students, parents, and educators from across Ohio.
“Preparing for costly and burdensome state testing takes critical time away from actual instruction. We need to be focused on learning, not testing, during this pandemic,” said Rep. Sobecki. “With many school districts using a hybrid model or relying on technology, taking these tests that won’t tell us anything we don’t already know is not fair to our students.”
“I cannot understand why Republicans are dragging their feet on this bill. For the last year, the governor has been telling everyone to do whatever they can to reduce COVID transmission, so I don’t understand how packing scores of teachers and students into a room together for meaningless tests makes any sense now,” said Rep. Crossman.
“We know students will score differently than their peers that tested before the pandemic, so I think we should allow educators to focus on teaching students what they need to advance to the next school year rather than preparing for a standardized test,” Crossman continued. “Republicans can ram controversial bills on abortion and guns through the legislature in a matter of days, but for bills like this that are badly needed, they prefer sitting on their hands. It’s ridiculous. This needed to be done last year, and it’s overdue now.”
Reps. Sobecki and Crossman believe cancelling state testing is necessary due to the uncertainty that has shrouded this school year. HB 40 cancels state tests, requires the Ohio Department of Education to seek a federal waiver for its testing requirements, and holds districts harmless on penalties resulting from the State Report Card.
HB 40 has been referred to the House Primary and Secondary Education committee and will receive its first hearing on Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 5 p.m.