Late yesterday, the Dispatch website put up a story with this ominous headline:

More than half of city’s third-graders could be held back under new law

The timing was ironic because, late yesterday, Ohio legislators voted along party lines to zoom ahead in implementing the law, originally proposed by Governor Kasich and adopted into law in late 2012.

According to Hannah News, State Representative Teresa Fedor offered an amendment to the mid-biennium K-12 education bill that would have delayed the bill’s impact on student retention until the 2018-2019 school year. Fedor and others are concerned that the state is not funding school districts for the costs of the law, which will result in the need for additional reading specialists and classrooms when up to half of current third graders are held back next fall.

Even the Kasich administration acknowledges the law is an unfunded mandated on school districts. In its online FAQ, ODE states that retained students must be provided with services by “outside providers” (=more privatization), but makes clear that the responsibility of paying for outside providers is in the hands of districts and community schools, not the state.

Not only do teachers have no say in whether a student possesses the reading skills to advance — the law puts this function in the hands of private testing providers who administer the state’s high-stakes OAA reading exam — neither do parents. From the ODE FAQ: “the¬†law does not provide parents or guardians the right to refuse retention.”

The law will have dramatic impacts on children, families and schools. However, on a party-line vote, House Republican yesterday unanimously opposed an appeal to slow down the law’s implementation until its implications are more fully understood.

Below is a list of Representatives who voted to reject the Fedor amendment:

Adams, J. Adams, R. Amstutz Anielski
Baker Beck Becker Blair
Blessing Boose Brenner Brown
Buchy Burkley Butler Conditt
Damschroder DeVitis Derickson Dovilla
Gonzales Green Grossman Hackett
Hagan, C Hall Hayes Henne
Hill Hood Hottinger Huffman
Johnson Kunze Landis Lynch
Maag McClain McGregor Pelanda
Perales Retherford Roegner Romanchuk
Rosenberger Ruhl Scherer Schuring
Sears Slaby Smith Sprague
Stautberg Stebelton Terhar Thompson
Wachtmann Batchelder