Legislative Watch – March 5, 2021

Revamped Testing Bill Heads to Senate

On Thursday, March 4, 2021, a substitute version of House Bill 67 was voted out of the House and will head to the Senate. The bill addresses state testing for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. The bill passed 93-1. However, the bill’s emergency clause did not have sufficient votes with most House Democrats voting against the measure. Without an emergency clause the bill will not take effect for 90 days, after the end of the school year.

The new version of the bill emerged in committee this week after the announcement that the U.S. Department of Education would not grant waivers of federal testing requirements. The new version of HB 67 would do the following: 

  • For the 2020-21 school year, permits students to use course grade in lieu of scores on end-of-course exams to satisfy conditions for a high school diploma
  • Permits schools to grant a diploma in the 2021 school year to a student on track to graduate and for whom the principal, in consultation with teachers and counselors, determines the student has successfully completed high school curriculum or individualized education program
  • Exempts schools from administering the state required American history end-of-course exam
  • Extends testing windows later in the school year and requires deadline extensions related to assessments
  • Requires ODE to seek a waiver from federal accountability and school identification requirements
  • Pushes back the deadline for school district/building report cards to October 14

OEA supports HB 67. The lack of a federal waiver of testing requirements was hugely disappointing. However, HB 67 attempts to make the best of a bad situation. The bill offers some additional flexibility and, importantly makes sure that test results on this year’s end-of-course exams are not a barrier to graduation. Even those who support testing have stated that this year’s tests shouldn’t be tied to punitive measures or high-stakes decisions. For our high school students, their pathway to graduation has incredibly high stakes. HB 67 will need to pass as an emergency measure in order to have an impact. HB 67 is scheduled for its first hearing in the Senate on Tuesday and OEA will testify in support of the bill.

OEA Testifies on State Budget Bill

This week, OEA President Scott DiMauro testified on HB 110, the state budget bill for Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023.  In the testimony, DiMauro highlighted the following: 

  • Support for the Fair School Funding Plan;
  • Opposition to the removal of professional development regarding trauma informed care and cultural competence from the list of allowable expenses for Student Wellness and Success Funds;
  • Opposition to the requirement that each student, as a condition of graduation, to provide evidence of having completed and submitted a free application for federal student aid (FAFSA);
  • Support for extending the moratorium on new state takeovers through the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years;
  • Opposition to new computer science provisions contained in the bill; and
  • Advocating for changes to various licensure provisions within the bill.

You may read the entire testimony here.  Additionally, you may view an analysis of the Executive Budget proposals here.

HB 151: Eliminates Resident Educator Summative Assessment (RESA)

Recently introduced HB 151 would eliminate the Resident Educator Summative Assessment (RESA). In separate legislation passed at the end of last year, the Ohio Teacher Residency Program and Resident Educator license was reduced to two years from four years (Effective April 12, 2023; HB 442-133rd G.A.*).

In addition to eliminating RESA, HB 151 would require Local Professional Development Committees (LPDCs) to establish a 2-year mentorship program that “reflects on instructional practices, an introduction to the teaching profession and the school district or school, as well as any other topic determined appropriate by the committee.” Each new teacher would be assigned a mentor teacher that has at least 5 years of experience and has renewed their professional license at least once. Finally, the bill requires each school district to give one day of professional development to new teachers in each of those two years to observe a veteran teacher in action in the classroom.

HB 151 is sponsored by Rep. Don Jones (R-Freeport) and co-sponsored by Reps. Joe Miller (D-Amherst), Jeffrey LaRe (R-Canal Winchester), Jon Cross (R-Kenton), D.J. Swearingen (R-Huron), and Adam Bird (R-Cincinnati).

* HB 442 (133rd G.A.) reduces the duration of both the resident educator license and the Ohio Teacher Residency program to two years from four years effective April 12, 2023. The State Board of Education must determine a method to condense the four-year Teacher Residency program into a two-year program, including a timeframe by which individuals already enrolled shall complete the program.  

HB 6: School Nurse License Changes for Make Up Hours Educator Preparation Program

School nurses and ODE pupil services licenses: Provides that a licensed registered nurse is not required to obtain a pupil services license from the Ohio Department of Education to work in schools if the nurse also holds a bachelor’s degree (but the bachelor’s degree is not required to be in nursing).

Educator preparation program make up hours and weeks: Requires each educator preparation program to develop and implement a plan to provide its students with alternative experiences, assignments, or instruction in the 2021-2022 academic year to make up any hours or weeks of clinical experiences missed due to school closure or limited hours because of COVID-19.

 

For past Legislative Watch releases, visit the primary Legislative Watch page.