House Bill 420 had not even had a single hearing before sponsor Kristina Roegner (R) entered a substitute that took a good bill and turned it on it’s head.  Roegner’s initial version of HB420 sought only to protect schools from being unfairly penalized by the increasing number of students opting out of Ohio’s standardized assessments.  That version of the bill received wide bi-partisan support.  Before the House Education Committee even got to consider the bill, however, Roegner dropped a bombshell of a substitute bill that seeks to penalize any school employee who dares to even inform parents of their opt-out rights.  Teachers would lose their license for a year and all employees would be charged with a misdemeanor.

After Facebook began blowing up with this news on Wednesday, Roegner began to quickly backpedal, with sources even quoting her as saying it went too far and she would ask the committee to remove the new language.

Weird, considering that Roegner’s testimony sounded as though she was 100% behind this new bill [emphasis-added]:

Additionally, this bill will ensure that students are not encouraged to opt-out of state assessments by school district employees. If an employee is found to have suggested opting out to a student or their guardian, their license will be suspended for one year, and is reason for termination of their contract. They would also be subject to a minor misdemeanor. We hope that this will help put to rest worries by some that school districts might encourage poorer-performing students to opt-out to boost the districts grades.

I am working with Senator Lehner, who will be carrying identical, companion legislation in the Senate in an effort to streamline the process. I thank you in advance for your consideration of Sub HB420, and am delighted to entertain any questions that the committee might have at this time.

Yes, it certainly “put to rest worries”, and we’re so glad that she was “delighted to entertain any questions” from the committee.

Here’s a question: If you thought this amendment went too far and already had plans to ask it to be changed, why the hell did you introduce it in the first place?

Here’s another: Is it because you still hate Ohio’s teachers, find yourself unable to treat them as professionals, and want to continue to demean the public education profession?

And how reassuring of you, Representative Roegner, to let us know that Senator Lehner will have identical, companion legislation in the Senate so that we won’t have to wait very long for this to happen. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Here is the exact language that Roegner has added to the bill that she hopes to get passed quickly (and as an “emergency”, meaning that it would take effect immediately upon passage instead of the normal wait of 90 days until effectiveness):

Sec. 3319.152. (A) No employee of a school district or public school shall negligently suggest to any student, or parent, guardian, or custodian of that student, enrolled in the district or school that the student should choose to not take any assessment prescribed by section 3301.0710 or 3301.0712 of the Revised Code. This prohibition does not apply to an employee of the district who is a member of an IEP team when determining individual appropriate accommodations that are necessary to measure the academic achievement and functional performance of a child with a disability on state and district-wide assessments for purposes of the child’s IEP.

(B) On a finding by the state board of education, after investigation, that a school employee who holds a license issued by the state board has violated division (A) of this section, the license of that employee shall be suspended for one year. Prior to commencing an investigation, the state board shall give the employee notice of the allegation and an opportunity to respond and present a defense.

(C)(1) Violation of division (A) of this section is grounds for termination of employment of a nonteaching employee under division (C) of section 3319.081 or section 124.34 of the Revised Code.

(2) Violation of division (A) of this section is grounds for termination of a teacher contract under section 3311.82 or 3319.16 of the Revised Code.

(D) As used in this section:

(1) “Child with a disability,” “IEP,” and “IEP team” have the same meanings as in section 3323.01 of the Revised Code.

(2) “License” means a certificate, license, or permit issued under this chapter.

Sec. 3319.99. (A) Whoever violates division (A) of section 3319.151 or division (A) of section 3319.152 of the Revised Code is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.

 

So, on January 29, 2016, at 6:12 pm, I say to every parent who has a choice* for their child – OPT OUT NOW.  Opt your child out of every single Ohio Standardized Test.  

 

*Students using School Choice vouchers are required to take the assessments in order to retain their voucher.  Students in 3rd grade must obtain a passing score on the state test or an approved equivalent in order to be eligible to advance to grade 4.  Most high school students must still obtain a certain number of “points”, obtained by passing certain assessments, in order to be eligible to graduate.

So there’s that – your parental control only goes as far as the legislature allows…

 

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