Legislative Watch – May 14, 2021

OEA Testifies in Support of Testing Reduction Legislation

This week, OEA Vice President Jeff Wensing and several other OEA members testified in support of House Bill 73. The bill is designed to help reduce the amount of standardized testing for Ohio’s students to allow more time for teaching and learning in the classroom.

Wensing highlighted OEA’s enthusiastic support for HB 73 including provisions that would reduce the number of state-required tests, establish district workgroups to review the amount of district-required testing, and eliminate the retention provisions of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. You can read the testimony here.

OEA members Dan Heintz (Chardon EA) and Rob Schofield (Avon Lake EA) also testified as proponents of the bill. Written testimony was also provided by Erin Stevens (Pickerington EA), Kara Jankowski (West Carrollton EA), and Matthew Jablonski (Elyria EA). If you would like information on providing testimony in support of HB 73, contact OEA lobbyist Robert Davis at davisr@ohea.org

SB 145 – OEA Provides Senate Education Committee Feedback on Report Card Bill

Bills under consideration in the House (HB 200) and Senate (SB 145) seek to address numerous flaws with the current state report card system for school districts and buildings.

OEA Vice President Jeff Wensing provided “Interested Party” testimony on SB 145 in Senate Education Committee on May 11, 2021. Mr. Wensing stated the report card proposals in SB 145 and HB 200 demonstrate broad consensus it is time to make significant and meaningful changes in the interest of students, families, and communities. A copy of the OEA SB 145 testimony can be viewed here.

Major OEA priorities include eliminating misleading letter grades, ending the use of overall grades (which are inherently over-simplified), and adding a Student Opportunity Profile that allows schools to provide report-only data for equity and access indicators that can be plainly understood by all users of the report card, including parents, the public and policymakers.

Mr. Wensing recognized positive elements of SB 145, but stated HB 200 most aligns to the Report Card Proposal adopted by OEA RA delegates in 2019 and therefore has the support of OEA.

SB 1 – Ohio Senate Unanimously Passes Half-credit Financial Literacy Requirement

SB 1 would create a half-credit financial literacy requirement for high school students. The Ohio Senate unanimously passed SB 1 on May 12, 2021. OEA is monitoring SB 1.

SB 1 would do the following:

  • Requires students who enter ninth grade for the first time on or after July 1, 2021, to complete at least one-half unit of instruction in financial literacy as part of the required high school curriculum.
  • Allows flexibility to provide the equivalent of a half-credit of instruction in financial literacy through currently offered courses or as a standalone course.
  • Beginning with the 2023-2024 school year, each public school and chartered nonpublic school must require an individual to have an educator license validation in financial literacy to provide instruction in financial literacy in high school.
  • Requires the State Board of Education to consult with an advisory committee of at least five classroom teachers prior to adopting any rules regarding the license validation. The teacher advisory committee must include a representative of each of the following: (1) the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics, (2) the Ohio Council for the Social Studies, (3) the Ohio Business Educators Association, and (4) the Ohio Association of Teachers of Family and Consumer Sciences.
  • Requires each district or school to cover any costs necessary for a teacher employed by a district or school to meet the additional requirements for the license validation. The bill establishes the High School Financial Literacy Fund to reimburse districts and schools for covering the costs of teachers obtaining a license validation. Allocates an initial $1.5 million to ODE for the reimbursement fund.