Just three months ago, we told you about the laundry list of ways Gov. John Kasich wanted to change education in Ohio.
The two policy changes in Kasich’s 2012 education bill that got the most attention were a proposed third grade reading guarantee and a new way of grading schools.
But there’s more than that packed into the bill’s 400-plus pages, like special exemptions to allow underage drinking in culinary schools and for schools to close on days when wild animals are on the loose. (Call it the “Zanesville clause.”)
This week, with the bill ready to head to the governor’s desk, we present you with a quick-read version of education policy bill Senate Bill 316, starting with the third grade reading guarantee.
- Third Grade Reading Guarantee: Beginning with students entering third grade in 2013-14, schools cannot promote students who score below a certain level (to be determined by the state Board of Education) on the state reading test. Students who are held back must receive extra help. There’s no new funding for reading help in this bill, but a separate bill signed into law earlier created a $13 million state grant program.
- New School Report Cards: There’s nothing in this particular bill about establishing the new, tougher way of grading schools called for in Ohio’s application for a waiver from some parts of the No Child Left Behind Act. Legislators have said they’ll likely take it up in the fall.
- Teacher Evaluations: Changes include allowing school districts to hire third parties (i.e., someone who doesn’t actually supervise their teachers) to evaluate teachers and also requiring low-performing teachers to take written tests and pay for their own professional development.
- Teacher Prep Programs: The Board of Regents must report how well teachers from every Ohio teacher prep program perform in the classroom.
- Pre-K/Childcare: All publicly funded childcare providers must participate in a state rating program by July 2020.
- Workforce Development: Continues move to centralize control of state and county working training programs. Removes some current limits on how governor can allocate federal workforce development funds.
- Early Kindergarten Admission: Allows schools to admit kindergartners who aren’t 5 years old by Sept. 30 of that year.
Charter Schools and Vouchers
- Online Education: Creates rules for schools that use a “blended learning” model, a model that requires students to be in a school (or other facility that isn’t their home) for part of the time and to take lessons online the rest of the time.
- Dropout Recovery Schools: Removes the current law that exempts charter schools that mostly serve students who have dropped out of traditional schools from closure for poor academic performance. Allows the legislature to develop new performance standards for these schools.
- Charter Schools for Gifted Students: The final bill does not call for establishing charter schools across the state just to serve gifted students. But it does allow for the creation of science/technology-focused schools just for gifted students.
- School Boards: Allows people to serve on five charter school boards at one time, up from the current limit of two.
- Vouchers: Schools must tell parents of children with disabilities about the state-funded private school/provider vouchers available.
Senate Bill 316 – Ohio Education Policy
Note: An earlier version of this story was unclear about whether additional state funding had been allocated to pay for extra reading help as part of the third grade reading guarantee. We wrote that SB 316 does not include funding for reading tutoring. That was true. However, but a separate bill passed earlier this session does provide some funding.