As part of a long list of amendments to House Bill 64 (state budget bill) yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee included some education “reforms” that would take place starting next school year.  One of the most significant changes is to the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System framework and implies that legislators’ faith in the PARCC standardized assessments is waning fast.

Here is the proposed language in its entirety (page 377 of the omnibus):

(A)(1) Notwithstanding anything in the Revised Code to the contrary and except as provided in division (A)(2) of this section, the board of education of a school district, the governing authority of a community school established under Chapter 3314. of the Revised Code, or the governing authority of a STEM school established under Chapter 3326. of the Revised Code shall not use the value-added progress dimension rating that is based on the results of the assessments prescribed under sections 3301.0710 and 3301.0712 of the Revised Code administered in the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years for purposes of assessing student academic growth for teacher and principal evaluations conducted under sections 3311.80, 3319.02, 3319.111, and 3319.112 of the Revised Code or when making decisions regarding the dismissal, retention, tenure, or compensation of the district’s or school’s teachers and principals.

Here’s my “more readable” version:

The board of education of a school district, the governing authority of a community school, or the governing authority of a STEM school shall not use the value-added progress dimension rating that is based on the state standardized assessments administered in the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years for purposes of assessing student academic growth for teacher and principal evaluations or when making decisions regarding the dismissal, retention, tenure, or compensation of the district’s or school’s teachers and principals.

This means that value-added scores would not be included in any way as a part of a teacher’s evaluation for the next two school years.  This is a significant (even if temporary) shift away from the notion that the only (and “best”) way to evaluate teachers is based on the scores of students on standardized tests that are typically administered in one 2-3 hour sitting near the end of a school year.

In the short term, this also signifies that now the Senate, along with their peers in the House, are leaning toward switching away from the PARCC assessments and toward a different solution.  At the present time, PARCC has not demonstrated an ability, or maybe a willingness, to adapt their tests to the demands of Senator Peggy Lehner’s testing advisory committee, so the Senate now appears to be hedging their bets and recognizing that the instability that has been, and will be, created by constantly changing the state’s standardized assessments.

Furthermore, and in a slight nod to both local control and teacher unions, the next section of the amendment permits local schools or districts to use the value-added ratings as part of the evaluation process if they “enter into a memorandum of understanding collectively with its teachers or principals”.

This section leads us to believe that the Senate and the House are growing ever closer in their collective disappointment in the new tests and that more changes are certain to come when the final version of House Bill 64 emerges from the impending Conference Committee in the next two weeks.

 
  • rhetorical

    This is good news, but education reforms do not belong in the budget bill. Omnibus legislation is prohibited in the Ohio Constitution.

  • goofproof

    Thank you for the updates. PARCC is doomed to fail as any top down solution irrelevant to the reality of the classroom. The amorphous OTES has proven only that legislators, bowing to business interests, possess more hubris than sense.
    Not only is PARCC unwilling to adapt, but Arne Duncan still is trying to coerce states who dare question Common Core and PARCC, extending his autocratic federal fist to threatening schools, and indirectly parents, choosing to “opt out” of testing. He may be a short timer auditioning for his next job, but Arne is still clinging to his delusion of test-based “accountability”.

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