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Rep. Lightbody: State testing bill imperfect, but immediate action needed to end confusion, help students

Says more needs to be done to give teachers and students the tools they need to succeed amid coronavirus-disrupted academic year
March 4, 2021
Mary Lightbody News

State Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville) Thursday voted in favor of House Bill (HB) 67, legislation to adjust state testing requirements for the 2020-21 school year. Democrats did say, however, that more needs to be done to support students and teachers during the pandemic.

“House Bill 67 allows our schools some flexibility with mandatory testing this spring. I know how hard our teachers have been working through the pandemic to help students learn and hope this bill will reduce the stress.” said Rep. Lightbody. “We will continue to address other thorny issues and appreciate the collaborations with educators across Ohio, who have first-hand insights into the policies that will best support quality education in Ohio’s schools.”

Democrats have pushed to eliminate state testing requirements due to the continued disruptions and changes in learning environments amid the coronavirus pandemic. Dems introduced legislation earlier this year to cancel the remaining state testing for this academic year and sent a letter Feb. 4 to the Governor, State Superintendent and State Board of Education President urging a waiver for end-of-year state testing. 

Some provisions of HB 67 include:

·         Waiving end-of-course exam graduation requirements for the 2020-2021 school year, instead using student's final course grade;

·         Extends testing windows and other assessment deadlines, giving flexibility and more time to both students and schools;

·         Creates an exemption for the state mandated American History end-0f-course exam;

·         Permits schools to grant a diploma for this academic year to any student on track to graduate, in consultation with teachers and counselors;

·         Requires the state seeks waivers for federal accountability and school identification requirements.

Democrats offered several amendments on the floor, including:

·         Extending the testing window to June 30;

·         Allowing for opt-out of testing for students in remote learning;

·         Removing the state testing requirement altogether;

Republicans rejected each of the amendments.

After passing the House, the bill moves to the Senate for consideration