Ohio House Bill 597thumbs, which would repeal the Common Core curriculum and the associate PARCC testing, passed out of a House Committee on Wednesday, setting up a possible vote by the full House.  The real question now is whether or not the leaders of the House will force the current members to take a very public stand on this controversial topic.

In addition to repealing the Common Core State Standards, the bill would require Ohio to develop new content standards in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies not later than June 30, 2017.

The bill would require that the “state board shall ensure that the standards include the essential academic content and skills that students are expected to know and be able to do at each grade level; instill life-long learning by providing essential knowledge and skills based in the liberal arts tradition, as well as science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and career-technical education; and be clearly written, transparent, and understandable by parents, educators, and the general public.”

In addition, the bill states the following about those content standards:

(i) The standards for English language arts shall require a systematic approach to teaching phonemic awareness and phonics both in context and independent of context; include significant instruction in English grammar; require that at least eighty per cent of reading instruction focus on imaginative literature, including poetry, drama, and fiction, and consisting of literary works studied on the basis of literary merit and cultural and historical significance rather than current popularity or political considerations.

(ii) The standards for mathematics shall require a mastery of the standard algorithm; require fluency with addition and subtraction of multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithms by third grade; require fluency with arithmetic operations on decimals and multiplication and division of multi-digit numbers using the standard algorithms by fifth grade; prepare students to take the first authentic Algebra I course by eighth grade; and include a traditional Euclidean geometry course.

(iii) The standards in science shall be based in core existing disciplines of biology, chemistry, and physics; incorporate grade-level mathematics and be referenced to the mathematics standards; focus on academic and scientific knowledge rather than scientific processes; and encourage students to analyze, critique, and review, in an objective manner, the scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the standards.

(iv) The standards in social studies shall incorporate the original texts and the original context of the declaration of independence, the northwest ordinance, the constitution of the United States and its amendments with emphasis on the bill of rights; incorporate the Ohio constitution; define the United States of America as a constitutional republic; be based on acquisition of real knowledge of major individuals and events; require the study of world and American geography; and prohibit a specific political or religious interpretation of the standards’ content.

While the State Board of Education is directed to oversee the creation of new standards, an additional provision of the bill dictates that the final approval of the standards would be ultimately by controlled by elected legislators, not educators [emphasis-added]:

Sec. 3301.0718. (A) The state board of education shall not adopt or revise any academic content standards in the areas of English language arts, mathematics, science, or social studies until both of the following conditions are satisfied:

(1) The proposed standards or revisions are approved by both houses of the general assembly by concurrent resolution. The standing committee having jurisdiction over education legislation in each house shall conduct at least one public hearing on the proposed standards or revisions.

(2) The proposed standards or revisions for each subject area are approved by the appropriate subcommittee established under division (D)(4) of this section.

(B) The state board shall not adopt or revise any standards or curriculum in the area of health unless, by concurrent resolution, the standards, curriculum, or revisions are approved by both houses of the general assembly. Before the house of representatives or senate votes on a concurrent resolution approving health standards, curriculum, or revisions, its standing committee having jurisdiction over education legislation shall conduct at least one public hearing on the standards, curriculum, or revisions.

(C) The academic content standards steering committee is hereby established.

Prior to submitting academic content standards to the general assembly for approval as required under division (A) of this section, the state board shall propose any new or revised standards to the academic content standards steering committee.

Meetings of the committee and its subcommittees shall be open to the public.

The committee shall be composed of thirteen members as follows:

(1) The governor, or the governor’s designee;

(2) Six members appointed by the president of the senate, of whom not more than one may be a member of the senate;

(3) Six members appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives, of whom not more than one may be a member of the house of representatives.

To replace these standards in the next few years, Ohio would be required to adopt pre-2011 standards from the state of Massachusetts:

Section 4. (A) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in sections 3301.079 and 3301.0718 of the Revised Code, the State Board of Education shall do the following not later than ninety days after the effective date of this section:

(1) Replace the academic content standards in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies adopted under section 3301.079 of the Revised Code with new standards that are consistent with the standards adopted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as they existed prior to December 21, 2010. The standards adopted under this section shall be as identical as possible to those adopted by Massachusetts, except where an Ohio context requires otherwise. The standards shall be effective for the 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018 school years only.

(2) Adopt or develop elementary- and secondary-level assessments in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies that are aligned with the academic content standards adopted under division (A) of this section for use during the 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018 school years only.

(B) The State Board shall not adopt any model curricula that are aligned with the academic content standards adopted under division (A)(1) of this section.

Finally, if this bill passes the House, somehow passes the Ohio Senate (not likely) and is signed by the Governor, tests for the current school year would be the same as last year’s tests:
For the 2014-2015 school year, the Department of Education shall furnish and school districts and schools shall administer the elementary and secondary assessments administered for the 2013-2014 school year under section 3301.0710 of the Revised Code.
If you wish to provide your thoughts about the bill, we suggest you contact current House Speaker William Batchelder and Speaker Pro Tempore Matt Huffman (HB597 co-sponsor) as they will dictate whether the bill actually gets a up-or-down vote by the full Ohio House.
William Batchelder: (614) 466-8140
Matt Huffman: (614) 466-9624
 
  • jr6020

    Frankly, as a retired Ohio Public schoolteacher I don’t care anymore. Whatever “standards” the SBE adopts will be a total waste of time and in a few years (or less) something else will pop up to replace it. Folks, there is no one panacea to access student learning as long as politicians like the radical righties who control every aspect of Ohio state government are in control. Where is the funding to pay for all the testing and assessment? Will all the generously funded charters and voucher schools be held to the same standards mandated by test results? Me thinks the real aim of the current bunch in control of state government is too destroy public schooling and turn it over to their charter and private school sugar daddies. God help us all…

  • Think.

    I will be surprised if this bill goes any further, because it already fulfilled its purpose of confusing and dividing parents and educators right before an election.

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