Saturday, November 17, 2012

HB 555 - LRC and Accountability Changes

So here is an idea around a crowd-sourced response to the Ohio General Assembly re-write of the school accountability system.

I've drafted my response and change recommendations to HB 555 here.

Feel free to re-mix, mash-up, copy, add to, etc. this work.  The important point is to make sure your voice is heard on this bill that will have wide ranging implications.

The Legislative Service Commission Summary on HB 555 can be found here.

Find out who your State representative is here.

Below is the BASA legislative alert that summarizes their concerns.  While I don't agree with every point they make, it does serve as a frame of reference from which to approach thinking about recommendations you would like to make.

This bill is fast-tracked, so the time to have your voice heard is now.

To:         School board members, superintendents, treasurers, and other school business officials

From:    Damon Asbury, OSBA — (614) 540-4000
             Tom Ash, BASA — (614) 846-4080              Barbara Shaner, OASBO — (614) 325-9562

Date:     Nov. 15, 2012

Re:       Update on New Report Card Legislation

Earlier this week, the House Education Committee accepted a substitute version of House Bill (HB) 555, legislation that will make changes to Ohio’s academic accountability system. HB 555 is on the fast track and considered a priority for the lame-duck session. Amendments are due tomorrow and the bill could be voted out of committee on Nov. 28 with a full House floor vote on Nov. 29.

There are some positive changes to Ohio’s report card system contained in the bill. However, there are several provisions in HB 555 that are troublesome, and we need your help in making sure legislators are aware of the negative effects these will have on districts.

Please contact your legislator immediately on the following issues related to HB 555:

What we support:
• A report card that includes a “dashboard” approach that provides information on various elements — including items for public information purposes.
• Changing from an adequate yearly progress (AYP) measure to an annual measurable objective (AMO) that will measure the reduction of performance gaps within subgroups as opposed to meeting or not meeting annual performance targets.
• A plan to transition to a new system that allows time for districts to understand the changes and also to work with their communities to educate them on what is expected going forward.

What we want changed in HB 555:
• While the bill allow s for a transition period, attempting to allow for the implementation of the Common Core Standards, the transition doesn’t apply to the current school year! We believe changes to the report card system should not begin until the next school year (2013-2014).

• The bill postpones the implementation of a “composite” or “overall” score for the dashboard, but only for two years. We oppose the use of a composite score! An overall or composite grade should be removed from the bill for the following reasons:
-    A composite score would undermine the transparency of the various report card/dashboard components.
-    Each component of the “dashboard” may have different significance among districts and communities.  It would be impossible to determine an appropriate “weight” for each component in a composite score calculation that satisfies the needs and preferences in every community across the state.
-    With no “average” report card score, districts are more likely to successfully address areas where performance is lower.

• Some items on the proposed dashboard are beyond the control of the school district, or some districts may not have the resources to excel in those areas. Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, the following items should be “reported” — but not “graded” — for that school year or any year thereafter. These items should be for information-only purposes. The information may be valuable for the district, parents, and even state policymakers. Districts should not be penalized through a letter grade for the following components:
-    Annual measurable objectives (replaces AYP).
-    National standardized test fo r college admission participation rate and average score.
-    Advanced Placement participation rate and test scores.
-    Dual-enrollment program participation rate.
-    Kindergarten through third-grade literacy rate.

• Eliminate the “percentage of students determined “not to be ‘college ready’” category completely from the dashboard. Current available data on students requiring remediation in college (often quoted as 41% statewide) does not accurately portray the situation and should not be used against school districts. In the event that data inclusive of all students going on to an institution of higher learning (public and private, in-state and out-of-state) becomes available, this issue can be revisited.

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