SB 316

Governor Kasich signed SB 316 into law on Monday.

Here is the original text of the bill as submitted to Kasich….all 592 pages of it.

This beautiful annotation (from State Impact Ohio) of the Legislative Service Commission’s comparative analysis highlights the most important aspect of the legislation, and this “Fiscal Note & Local Impact Statement” zooms in on the potential financial impacts of the legislation at the state and local levels.

State Impact Ohio did this rundown of the “Twelve Changes Coming to Schools Near You“.  @M_Bloom did such a fantastic job summarizing the key points in the twelve changes, that you should definitely go there for a quick overview.

For all the day’s news about passage of the bill, go to (and follow) @jointhefuture

The Big Issues and My Thoughts…

1.  The Third Grade Reading Guarantee

  • Applies to public and charter schools
  • Beginning in 12-13, State Board will set level (not lower than “limited”) a student must meet on the 3rd grade ELA assessment to be promoted to fourth grade; level will be reviewed and raised each year until it is set at “proficient”
  • Beginning in 12-13, schools and community schools must administer state-developed diagnostic in ELA or a comparable tool developed by ODE to all student K-3 by September 30
  • Beginning 13-14, students who do not meet designated level on state reading test cannot be promoted to 4th (different rules apply for students with disabilities, English language learners, and students who have been held back and received intervention)
  • Students who are held back (to begin in 14-15) will receive 90 mins of reading tutoring per day and be placed in classroom with high-performing teacher
  • Students will also have the option to be promoted mid-year
  • Increased costs to schools:  requires more assistance to more students, costs to administer the diagnostics, score the diagnostics, submit scores to ODE (but costs may not be significant since the diagnostics are to be provided by the state at no cost), screening and approving nonschool district providers of reading intervention services.

Research about the positive and negative effects of retention and reading guarantees is all over the place.  While I am cautious about the actual implementation of students being held back in 2014-15, this is a great opportunity to really encourage Response to Intervention at those younger grades.  It will be interesting to see if this comes to fruition and how many students this will actually effect in the course of the next few years.

Interestingly, in Lucy Calkins’ Pathways to the Common Core, she strongly encourages the use of running records as a way to increase reading skills and to meet the rigor requirements of the Common Core.  It seems to me that by combining running records, RtI, and some of the work happening in text complexity, there might be a way to implement Common Core while taking on all these legislative requirements.  Hmm….I need to think about that some more.

2.  New State Report Cards

I have come to the conclusion that statistics will only say what you want them to say.  This same sentiment applies to these new report cards; because of the many ways to work the formulas involved, the report cards will ultimately say what people want them to say.  That being said, when I think about moving to another school district, I am guilty of first looking at that school’s performance ratings through ODE, which should be even easier to access now that…

  • Schools must give parents a copy of current report card during admissions

3.  Dropout Recovery Charter Schools

  • Though the requirement for the State Board to develop a measurement for the performance of dropout recover charter schools was removed..
  • The law exempting these charters from closing was eliminated and…
  • The legislature will develop new performance standards for these schools that will determine when they must close for poor performance

4.  Teacher Evaluations (See this post about using student growth measures and the OTES framework, and this post for details about effectiveness designations and their implications)

  • Third parties can be hired to evaluate teachers after receiving credentials from ODE (register through STARS)
  • High-performing teachers can have one evaluation instead of two “if the teacher completes a project approved by the employer to demonstrate continued growth and practice at the accomplished level”
  • Beginning 2015-16, teachers who are “ineffective” for 2 out of 3 years must take written content knowledge tests; teachers who pass the test must take and pay for their own PD in areas in which they are “ineffective”; teachers can be fired if they fail to complete the PD or are rated ineffective again
  • By 2014, teacher prep programs will know how their graduates are doing agter the Board of Regents begins reporting the numbers and percentages of graduate that perform at each evaluation level
  • You should be getting familiar with Student Growth Measures, since they are an important part of the new evaluations
  • Join the Future posted a fantastic blog with videos detailing the new evaluations.

I am very optimistic about the new evaluation systems.  When I hear that teachers are “afraid,” of the new process, I account this fear to one of two things…1) Fear resulting from poor teachers-to-administrators relationships, and 2) Fear about the potential connection between evaluations and pay.  Poor relationships could result in poor evaluations, but a solid evaluation rubric (based off the very clear Standards for the Teaching Profession) should help alleviate subjectivity.  As far as the connection between evaluations and pay, it may be time to look at the step system and determine another way to effect raises for educators.  I would encourage unions to begin looking at some alternatives, such as a 1.25% pay increase with .25% allocated for various areas–.25% for attendance, .25% for evaluation results, .25% for leadership, etc. etc.  This approach to raises could, in effect, be a cost savings to some districts who would not be shelling out full step increases, but it could also be a real benefit to teachers who consistently go above and beyond.  Some teachers would get raises, some would not.  I’ll step off my soapbox, but I think being proactive and posing these ideas before they are legislated down is more effective.

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