(The Center Square) – The Ohio Education Association wants Ohio lawmakers to take advantage of what it calls an opportunity and change how the state grades its schools.
As the COVID-19 pandemic gripped schools in the spring, lawmakers suspended standardized testing across the state. Currently, Senate Bill 358, if passed, would do the same for this academic year, as well as the next.
“Senate Bill 358 is a good start, but much more work is needed to address the foundational issues with Ohio’s current school report card system,” OEA President Scott DiMauro said in a news release.
Last week, Buckeye Institute Research Fellow Greg Lawson also welcomed the opportunity to change school accountability standards but remained steadfast in the idea parents need assessments to be able to make informed decisions about their child’s education.
“While the idea of a freeze is understandable, given the ongoing uncertainty associated with COVID-19, legislators should be certain that parents can still obtain information to accurately assess how well their school is educating students,” Lawson wrote last week.
“At the end of the day, we’d be open to changes regarding how things are being done, but an ongoing freeze robs parents of the information they need to see what services they need to get for their students,” Lawson said.
OEA believes the state’s current letter-grade system punishes low-income students and undermines local control in poor districts, according to the news release.
“The state needs a truly informative accountability system that fairly identifies improvement areas while empowering stakeholders to direct resources where they are needed most,” DiMauro said. “That – rather than punishing poor kids and schools – should be lawmakers’ guiding light.”
SB 358 is scheduled for a second hearing in the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday. According to the committee agenda, opposition and interested party testimony is expected.
J.D. Davidson is a regional editor for The Center Square