Legislative Watch – March 19, 2021

House Bill 67 Advances to the Governor

The Ohio Senate amended and passed House Bill 67 this week. The bill, which deals with high school graduation and testing flexibility, was passed by a vote of 32-1 on the Senate floor. The Ohio House concurred with the amendments made by the Senate by a vote of 96-0. Importantly, the final bill does include an emergency clause and will go into effect immediately upon being signed into law by the Governor.

Key changes made by the Senate include adding an additional graduation pathway for this year’s seniors; limiting the ability to use course grades in lieu of test scores for the purposes of high school graduation to this year’s 11th and 12th graders; and reinserting the emergency clause. OEA supports HB 67 as it will offer increased flexibility for high school students who have had their learning experience disrupted to progress towards graduation. However, OEA is disappointed that the flexibility was limited to 11th and 12th grade students. A summary of key provisions of the bill is below:

  • Permit juniors and seniors to use course grades in lieu of test scores on end-of-course exams from the 2020-21 school year to satisfy conditions for a high school diploma
  • Permit schools to grant a diploma this year to a senior student who is 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
  • Creates another graduation pathway for the 2020-21 school year only. Student must complete all required courses and earn the OhioMeansJobs-readiness seal
  • Exempt schools from administering the state required American history end-of-course exam
  • Extend testing windows later in the school year and requires deadline extensions related to assessments
  • Require ODE to seek a waiver from federal accountability and school identification requirements
  • Extend back the deadline for school district/building report cards to October 14

HB 200: Report Card Overhaul Receives First Hearing Sponsor Testimony

Reps. Don Jones (R-Freeport) and Phil Robinson (D-Solon) provided HB 200 sponsor testimony in House Education Committee on March 16, 2021. This was the first committee hearing on HB 200.

HB 200 makes strong progress with regard to replacing misleading A-F letter grades with a series of measures (Achievement/Progress/Equity/Early Literacy) that use expectations/needs-based ratings as follows: “significantly exceeds expectations,” “exceeds expectations,” “meets expectations,” “significantly approaching expectations,” “moderately approaching expectations” and “in need of support.” Overall performance ratings of school districts and buildings are prohibited under the bill.

OEA is taking an “Interested Party” position on HB 200 and will be engaging with legislators and other stakeholders to support areas of progress while recommending additional improvements