Senate Bill 216 or The Public School Deregulation Act, signed into law by Governor John Kasich on August 3, 2018, will change how teachers in Ohio are evaluated.
According to Melissa Cropper, President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT), this legislation “downplays test scores” and instead will:
. . . embed the testing into the other part of the rubric, so that instead of looking simply at results, now evaluators will be looking at how do teachers analyze that data and use it to change their instructional practices.
Cropper also said:
This is a more accurate reflection of the teacher and what’s happening in the classroom to make beneficial improvements.
Changing teacher evaluations, however, is just a small part of this bill, which incorporates many provisions recommended by school district superintendents in Northwest Ohio.
The primary intent of the bill, introduced by Ohio State Senator Matt Huffman (R-Lima), is to create more “flexibility” in Ohio law for school superintendents regarding teacher licensure and classroom assignments, qualifications for educational aide permits, substitutes, and continuing contracts (tenure) for non-teaching employees.
The Ohio Education Association (OEA), Ohio’s other union, while in accord with OFT on the testing provisions, opposes the bill’s primary measures. Prior to the signing of the bill, the following statement was posted on their website:
OEA is opposed to Senate Bill 216 because most provisions in the bill would eliminate requirements that support educators and protect students. However, the bill makes other proposals regarding testing and evaluations that OEA supports . . . .
The National Alliance for Charter Schools, an advocacy group for the public charter school movement, supports the new law, posting this statement applauding it as:
. . . a bill that will bring more transparency and accountability to full-time virtual charter schools in the Buckeye State. Among other provisions, SB 216 requires full-time virtual charter schools to automatically un-enroll students who miss a certain number of consecutive unexcused hours and creates a legislative committee to make recommendations on a performance-based funding model for virtual charter schools.
National Alliance President and CEO Nina Rees released the following statement in response to Governor Kasich signing SB 216 into law:
We applaud the Ohio legislature and Governor Kasich for taking these important steps to ensure full-time virtual charter schools are more transparent and accountable. The underperformance of too many full-time virtual charter schools calls for state lawmakers to take bold action to improve the performance of these schools. SB 216 is an important step in that direction. It is important to keep at the forefront of our focus the students whose individual needs can be uniquely served by full-time virtual charter schools and ensure that these options are of the highest quality.
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