Ohio Senate Bill 229, a bill designed to modify the new teacher evaluation system in Ohio, has finally made it back to the agenda of the House Education Committee. Despite passing 33-0 in the Ohio Senate in early December and being assigned to the House Education Committee on December 10, Chairman Gerald Stebelton delayed bringing it to his committee for consideration until February 12.

Now, six weeks later, the bill has slowly crept back on the agenda for the March 26 committee meeting.  According to the Education Committee notice, the bill will still not be up for a vote this week — in fact, the announcement denotes that a substitute bill could be introduced.  This means that a bill that passed unanimously out of the Senate will once again be picked apart by the House Education Committee members and contain significant changes.  The effect of this will be a further delay in the adoption of reasonable changes that schools need to start planning for now.

To remind you, Senate Bill 229 would provide some much needed relief to Ohio’s principals who are being run ragged trying to keep up with the onerous processes required by the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) and better allow them to be the instructional leaders in Ohio’s school buildings instead of the paper-pushers that they have been forced to become to implement the new law.

In addition, the bill would make modifications that would treat educators with a modicum of professionalism by reducing the frequency with which our high-quality teachers would need to run the OTES gauntlet simply to prove to [no one in particular] that they are doing the job that they are paid to do and doing it very well.

Lastly, the legislation would allow districts more control to reduce the emphasis of disconnected and one-day high-stakes standardized tests that simply don’t apply to the vast majority of students or teachers.

All of these changes to the state evaluation system would be a good start to bringing better balance to a new system that was discovered to be flawed early on in the implementation as it quickly became an unnecessary and time-consuming distraction to teachers, principals, schools, and districts trying to focus on the work of educating children while dealing with fewer resources from the state.

Again, this bill received unanimous support in the Republican-dominated Senate and should have been quickly adopted by the House so that the Ohio Department of Education and Ohio’s schools can begin to plan the necessary changes for next school year now instead of again scrambling to implement last-minute legislation as has become the norm under the Kasich administration.

The committee will meet next Wednesday, March 26, at 9:00 am (see notice below).

Take action: Contact Representative Stebelton’s office by phone at (614) 466-8100 or by email (click here) and tell him to get SB229 adopted ASAP.

Urge other members of the House Education Committee to support this bill without change — you can find their contact information here.

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