Eye on Education

SB 316: Twelve Changes Coming to Schools Near You

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Some of the changes in SB 316 affect publicly funded daycare programs.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Teacher Prep Programs: The Board of Regents must report how well teachers from every Ohio teacher prep program perform in the classroom.
  5. Pre-K/Childcare: All publicly funded childcare providers must participate in a state rating program by July 2020.
  6. 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.
  7. Early Kindergarten Admission: Allows schools to admit kindergartners who aren’t 5 years old by Sept. 30 of that year.

Charter Schools and Vouchers

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. School Boards: Allows people to serve on five charter school boards at one time, up from the current limit of two.
  5. 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. 


  • http://www.facebook.com/patrick.mackin Patrick C. Mackin

    Does it really need to be included in a statute that schools can be closed for loose wild animal emergencies? I can just hear the principal now, ‘I’m sorry your son was devoured by a lion, Mrs. Jones, but we just didn’t have the statutory authority to close the school merely because there was an actual lion loose in the gymnasium.”

    • M_Bloom

      The law adds “law enforcement emergencies” to the list of reasons for not having to make up a day of school. The issue came up after the Zanesville animal escape: The schools did shut down for the day law or no law, but there were questions about whether they’d have to make up the missed day.

  • duckmonkeyman

    I’m pretty much resigned to the fact a teaching career will now last only a few years. Some outside evaluator who can’t understand algebra or walks into my lowest performing math class cause the principal has the hots for some young thing in tight pants will rate me “ineffective”. Guess that is what the “reformers” mean by “running the schools like a business”. I’ve got students in high school that can’t add fractions and immediately reach for the calculator. I aced the Praxis II and studied triple integrals with abstract ring theory in college but because I’m willing to take on the challenging students and want to help them succeed, I’m considered a failed teacher? Does self-preservation now mean good teachers have to avoid difficult schools and low achieving students? Is that what Ohio wants in its schools?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pam-Tignor/100003735748192 Pam Tignor

    Lets really look at a third grade guarentee!! This ASSUMES the teachers have the skills needed to teach reading and a curriculum that has the main componants of NCLB reading guidelines. That is a FAR stretch from what MOST schools have!!

    This common core will not fix anything.. Its a cork in a HUGE crack in the dam!

    StateImpact Ohio; Why not cover reading issues? Why not cover the training teachers actually have in reading? Why not cover the curriculums that most schools use to teach reading? Why not list the NCLB reading guidelines and see what schools actually follow them or have reading programs that meet them? Ohio is a WHOLE WORD state!! Publish some REAL NEWS on READING!! Why not also cover just How many children are in special education for reading??

    In this bill,,will ALL children be counted in their school grade or will the students with disabilities still be left out of that count?? Discrimination against groups of children is a disgrace and what is being published is a far cry from reality!! Get some guts and hit the REAL ISSUES that parents need to know!!! They need to know that their children are not reading because they are NOT being TAUGHT to READ and the real reason as to WHY!!!
    Now thats REAL NEWS!!!!

    • ilovetoteach

      I don’t know how the school you are discussing gets away with not counting all of the students in their school report card. None of our students are excluded. We take pride in our AYP for our IEP students. They do better than some of our regular ed kids that the system calls the “fall between the crack” kids. I always have the IEP kids and love INCLUDING them with the regular ed students. It is great to watch the growth of both sets of students.
      I have happily watched 5 of my past IEP students no longer need the interventions because the early interventions helped them be able to learn to suceed on their own. Love seeing that!
      I’m sorry your experience has not been positive. I pray it will become more positive.

  • Maboom

    I feel as if this is going to create more problems than solutions. Ohio is going to lose some good teachers thru this. I didn’t vote for Kasich and I am positive I did the right thing. He is gonna cost Ohio more than extra money. I don’t think this man is smart enough to help.

  • ilovetoteach

    When are we going to make parents accountable for their children? Children are coming to school less and less ready to learn. Teachers can NOT be made accountable for that. The brain is most impressionable BEFORE age 5. T.V. is no substitute for good old fashion verbal communication. Verbal communication teaches vocabulary, grammar, and following directions.
    I see more depression and nervousness in my students. These behaviors were not the norm even 3 years ago. It makes me wonder what is different in such a short time.
    I think instead of making teachers accountable for situations outside their control, our government should study the dynamics of families and see what has changed.
    The only way I can be in control of exactly what my students can learn in a year is to live with them to make sure they eat properly, are not abused, get to school on time and regularly and get regular counseling if they need it. Third grade guarantee WILL not change the family dynamics that are the root of the problem in our students in Ohio.

    Oh, by the way…..how can I be made accountable for the two students in my class who can not speak English? My one student has been in the U.S. for all of two weeks and the other has been here 2 years and still thinks a cake is what you drive down the street. They have to take the O.A.A. also and will be part of my scores.

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