Ohio House Passes Testing Reduction Act

HeadlinerOn Thursday, May 29, 2020, the Ohio House passed House Bill 239 with strong, bipartisan support by a vote of 78-14.  The bill, jointly sponsored by Representatives Gayle Manning (R- North Ridgeville) and Erica Crawley (D- Columbus) seeks to reduce the amount of time that students spend on tests required by the state and local school districts in effort to restore instructional time to the classroom.    OEA strongly supports HB 239 and would like to thank the sponsors for their hard work on the legislation as well as all House members who supported the bill.

Prior to its passage, the bill was amended several times this week.  In its final hearing before the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee, two amendments were added to the bill.  One amendment reduced the number of state-required end-of-course exams by combining the assessments in American History and American Government into a single test.  The second amendment exempts the 2020-2021 school year from the student retention requirement tied to the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.  The bill was approved unanimously by the Committee.  On the House floor, the bill was amended to make student participation in the ACT/SAT voluntary.  However, the state will continue to offer a paid administration of the test for high school juniors who choose to take it.

As passed by the House, the bill now includes the following provisions:

  • Require school districts to convene a local work group made up of teachers, parents, and administrators to examine district-required testing and make recommendations for ways to reduce the amount of time students spend taking tests.
  • Reduce the number of high school end-of-course exams by combining American History and American Government assessments into a single test.
  • Alter the existing provision that allows local school boards to pass a resolution to exceed testing limits by requiring that such action be taken on an annual basis and be reported to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).
  • Provide that the state continues to offer administration of the ACT/SAT tests for high school juniors, but student participation would be voluntary.
    Exempt the 2020-2021 school year from student retention tied to the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.
  • Require that ODE issue an annual report on the time spent on state- and district-required testing in Ohio’s schools.

House Bill 239 will now advance to the Ohio Senate.  You can urge your State Senators to support this important legislation by clicking here.

Ohio Education Association Urges Federal and State Lawmakers to Provide Relief in Face of Looming Budget Cuts

[May 6, 2020] As school districts across Ohio face the prospective loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in state aid due to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ohio Education Association (OEA) calls on federal and state lawmakers to take urgently needed steps to provide relief so that Ohio’s students are not hurt.

“Parents and communities cannot count on being able to go back to work unless they can count on their kids going back to safe schools,” said OEA President Scott DiMauro. “It is going to be really hard to count on safe schools for our kids if we have massive cuts to education funding,” he said, adding that social distancing in classrooms and other safety measures will only be possible with adequate staffing to keep class sizes small.

“While we understand that state leaders have to make difficult choices, we have to make sure we are prioritizing education,” DiMauro said. “This is our future.”

DiMauro said the kids that are going to be most directly affected by budget cuts are the kids who are already suffering. “They’re the ones that don’t have technology access,” DiMauro said. “They’re the ones that come from communities that don’t have as many local resources to provide support to them.”

In order to make school districts whole for the remainder of the fiscal year, OEA is calling on state leaders to utilize funds from Ohio’s $2.7 billion rainy-day fund to preserve state funding that directly supports K-12 public education, the state share of instruction for public colleges and universities, and education services provided at adult and juvenile correctional institutions and County Boards of Developmental Disabilities. “As has been widely acknowledged, it is surely raining in Ohio now,” DiMauro said.

The OEA is also urging Congress to provide $175 billion in critical funding for the nation’s schools as part of the federal CARES Act for states and local communities.

“The federal government clearly has the ability to provide the resources that are needed right now,” DiMauro said. “It’s going to take those kinds of resources to make sure we don’t lose a generation of kids.”

OEA represents 122,000 teachers, faculty members and support professionals who work in Ohio’s schools, colleges, and universities to help improve public education and the lives of Ohio’s children. OEA members provide professional services to benefit students, schools and the public in virtually every position needed to run Ohio’s schools.

https://www.ohea.org/press-releases/2020/oea-urges-federal-and-state-lawmakers-to-provide-relief/?fbclid=IwAR36NCHxBHJ6h6SDk8_GDEefsfOyLq8-NY3wBzY4O4_oSb6f8N4RIVupbu4

Become an Education Advocate Leader

Education Advocate Leaders (EALs) are members! They strengthen their local associations legislative and political grassroots capacity year-round, by engaging fellow members around legislative and political campaigns.Each local can have up to three Education Advocate Leaders one to represent primary, intermediate, and secondary educators or one to represent the different classifications in a classified local, SCOPE or Higher Ed. Central OEA/NEA will provide a $100 stipend to each local Education Advocate Leader.To become an Education Advocate Leader apply online: www.centraloeanea.org/ealA list of criteria for receiving the Education Advocate Leader stipend follows.
Mandatory Criteria:

  • Communicate with your local/colleagues on education issues
  • Contribute to the OEA Fund for Children and Public Education
  • Recruit at least 10 colleagues to receive Central ACE’s emails and send their addresses to russell@jointhefuture.org
  • Attend an Education Advocate Leader training session

Strongly Recommended:

  • Play an active role in local election activities
  • Attend at least 1 OEA phone bank or canvass
  • Like and Share Central Social Media Content

Stipends are paid in December to Education Advocate Leaders who have completed all the mandatory requirements.Education Advocate Leader training details: Three (3) training opportunities are available:
May 14, 2020 @ 5:00pm at the Simon Kenton Inn, Springfield
May 19, 2020 @ 5:00pm at the Central Office
Jun 15, 2020 @ 2:00pm at the Airport MarriottRegister for a training by logging in to your Central account, where you will be taken to a list of events, then select “Going” from the drop-down of the training session you wish to attend.Topics covered will include:

  • Communication & Involvement (sign up colleagues to ACE’s list, disseminating info to your local)
  • How to deliver an effective message
  • 10 Reasons to belong to OEA
  • Cyber lobbying, and engaging Central, OEA, NEA Social Media
  • Understanding what FCPE is & is not
  • Statehouse lobbying
  • EAL Stipend Criteria
  • Campaign 2020
  • NEA Strong Public Schools

To apply to become an Education Advocate Leader apply online: www.centraloeanea.org/eal

Attend the OEA Member Lobby on March 25

Make Your Voice Heard at the OEA Member Lobby Day.

When: March 25th

Where: Join your colleagues at the OEA HQ Media Center, located at 225 E. Broad Street in Columbus, Ohio at 9:00 a.m. for an hour-long briefing before meeting with your legislators.

Register to attend lobby day and sign in at the briefing to be eligible for up to $50 reimbursement covering mileage, lunch and parking. Simply submit an expense form with receipts.

To register, Log in
Scroll down and click on Member Lobby Day
Select “Going” from the drop down menu. Wait a moment for it to register
That’s it!

Locals can apply for a Lobby Day Substitute Grant to cover the cost of a substitute for a member who attends lobby day.

Details and an application: HereCentral will make appointments with legislators on your behalf if you register before March 11th, and we’ll have an itinerary and expense form for you at the conclusion of the OEA briefing.Thanks for all you do!

JoinTheFuture

www.jointhefuture.org continues to keep you up-to-date on all the latest state education policy and news.