Written by Joan Platz
October 19, 2017
Senator Matt Huffman (R-Lima) introduced on October 10, 2017 SB216 (Huffman), the Ohio Public School Deregulation Act. The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Peggy Lehner, is now holding hearings on the bill.
According to Senator Huffman, the bill was developed based on the recommendations from several school superintendents in his 12th Senate District (Lima), and from other superintendents around the state. A working group from the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA) also contributed to the bill.
These superintendents identified state mandates in law that added to school district costs, or were inefficient or ineffective. The bill’s intent is to reduce regulations and mandates for local schools to increase local control, improve efficiency, and reduce costs, while still supporting improved student achievement.
One of the bill’s provisions, for example, changes state law to revise Ohio’s Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) based on the recommendations of the Educator Standards Board and the State Board of Education. The Ohio Education Association is also working on a bill with Senator Peggy Lehner to revise OTES.
But relaxing other mandates, such as the requirement that teachers be certified in the subjects that they are teaching, could lower the quality and effectiveness of classroom instruction, which could lower student achievement.
The bill makes changes in the following areas of law:
- Ohio Teacher Evaluation System
- Student academic growth
- Additional features of OTES
- Frequency of evaluations
- Professional growth plans
- Formal observations of teachers
- Alternative framework – repealed
- Educator license grade bands
- Teacher employment for any subject area or grade level
- Educational aide permits and educational paraprofessional licenses
- Individuals required to hold a permit or license
- Nonteaching employee contracts
- Educator licenses for substitute teaching
- Professional development for certain gifted services providers
- State achievement assessments
- Paper and online administration of certain state assessments
- Analysis and assistance
- Kindergarten readiness diagnostic assessment eliminated
- Effect on the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee
- College Credit Plus
- Comparable course delivery
- Study on results and cost-effectiveness
- Background on CCP
- Excessively absent students
- Background on student attendance
- Special education preschool staffing
- Reading improvement plans
- Reporting of student performance
- School mandate reports
SUMMARY OF SB216 (HUFFMAN) THE OHIO PUBLIC SCHOOL DEREGULATION ACT
The following is a summary of the bill based on the bill as introduced and an analysis prepared by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission:
Section 3301.02 State Report Card: The bill eliminates the requirement that districts, in which fewer than five percent of students have scored below grade level on the kindergarten assessment, receive no letter grade on the K–3 literacy component on the report card.
Section 3301.078 Analysis of Assessment Questions: New Sections (C) and (D) require the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to request that the American Institutes for Research (AIR) provide at the beginning of each school year starting in the 2018-19, an analysis of assessment questions on the state exams developed by AIR, and show how the questions are aligned to Ohio’s state academic content standards. AIR must also provide schools and districts with practice materials and guides for the assessments.
Section 3301.079 Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA): Under current law, each school district, community school, and STEM school is required to administer certain diagnostic assessments in reading, writing, and math in kindergarten, first, and second grade, and in reading and writing in third grade. These assessments are used to determine student progress, and identify which students need to receive additional services in order to attain grade level performance under the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.
The Ohio Department of Education has approved eight assessments that can be used by school districts to evaluate literacy progress, but the law requires the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) to be administered to all kindergarten students in the fall. The results of the KRA are used to evaluate preschool programs under the “Step Up to Quality” program, but not all preschools participate in this program.
Some school districts question the requirement to administer the KRA, because it can’t be administered in the spring to evaluate incoming kindergarten students; takes teachers out of the classroom and away from their students to individually administer the assessment; and doesn’t provide valuable information about students in a timely manner. Most school districts administer other assessments to provide ongoing information about student progress in literacy throughout the school year.
The bill eliminates the KRA diagnostic and the inclusion of kindergartners in the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.
Several other sections of the ORC are amended as a result of the elimination of the KRA. These include sections 3301.074; 3301.0715; 3301.163; 3301.52; 3302.13; 3310.03; 3313.413; 3313.608; and 3314.35.
Section 3301.0711 Administer and Grading State Assessments: The bill allows school districts, other public schools, or chartered nonpublic schools to administer any state assessment in a paper format, or a combined online and paper format, in the third, fourth, or fifth grades. This would include state assessments in English and math in grades three, four, and five; assessments in social students in grade four, and assessments in science in grade five.
The bill also defines “other public schools” as community schools; STEM schools; or a college preparatory boarding school.
Section 3301.0714 Education Management Information System (EMIS): This section includes an amendment regarding data pertaining to the kindergarten readiness assessment, which is eliminated in the bill.
The bill also requires school districts to report the person or persons, if any, at whom the student’s violent behavior was directed starting on July 1, 2018.
Section 3301.0715 Reading Improvement Plan: The bill removes a provision that required a board of education to administer to kindergarten students a readiness assessment, and a provision that allowed a chartered nonpublic school to administer the kindergarten readiness assessment.
The bill also requires any school district, community school, or STEM school in which less than 80 percent of its students score at the proficient level or higher on the third-grade English language arts assessment prescribed under section 3301.0710 ORC to establish a reading improvement plan supported by reading specialists. Prior to implementation, the plan must be approved by the school district’s board of education.
NEW Section 3301.68 School Mandate Report: The bill requires the ODE to establish a school mandate report to consolidate safety requirements and mandates identified in this section. Each district or school must complete and file the report on an annual basis prior to the end of the school year. The district or school must provide its board of education a written explanation for why it is not in compliance with the specified mandates, and submit a written plan of action to comply with the mandate.
Section 3302.03 Report Cards: The bill changes the minimum number of students for any group for reporting purposes from 10 students to 30 students, referred to as the N-Size. The result is that no performance data for a specific student group will be reported if fewer than 30 students are in that group for a school or school district.
Section 3311.80 Municipal School District: Requires a municipal school district to continue to follow Section 3319.112 ORC regarding OTES, as it existed prior to the effective date of this amendment.
Section 3313.413 Community School: Adjusts report card grades and ratings as a result of removing the scores of kindergarten students from the literacy progress measures.
The bill also makes a technical amendment to a provision that requires a board of education to offer property that it is selling to high performing community schools, college-preparatory boarding schools, and STEM schools.
Section 3313.608 Third Grade Reading Guarantee: The bill amends this section to conform to the elimination of the kindergarten readiness assessment.
Other changes are made that align this section to changes in the OTES, and the assignment of teachers to students who are not reading at grade level.
Section 3319.075: Professional Development Plans: The bill adds division (H) to the requirements for professional development plans. This new division requires boards of education to use their professional development standards to guide professional growth plans and improvement plans resulting from teacher evaluations conducted under section 3319.111 of the ORC.
Section 3319.081 Nonteaching School Employees: The bill allows nonteaching school employees hired by non-civil service school districts, to renew a limited contract after one year, and three additional limited contracts lasting two years. At the end of the third two-year contract, the non-teaching employee would be eligible for a “continuing contract” (tenure).
Section 3319.088 Educational Aide Permits and Educational Paraprofessional Licenses: Current law requires any nonteaching employee, whether working in a federally funded program or not, to have a permit or license in order to directly assist a teacher in a school district.
The bill re-defines “educational assistant” as any nonteaching employee who is working in a federally funded program and assists a teacher as defined in section 3318.09. Therefore, the requirement to obtain an educational aide permit or paraprofessional license seems to only pertain to those working in a federal program.
The bill also removes in current law requirements that individuals seeking a permit meet minimum education, training, health, and character qualifications, but directs the State Board to adopt rules prescribing the types and requirements for educational aide permits.
The bill requires educational assistant applicants to undergo criminal records checks, and for the State Board of education to issue educational aide permits and educational paraprofessional licenses for candidates that meet the requirements.
The bill allows nonteaching employees who substitute for educational assistants to do so without a permit or license pursuant to this section.
Section 3319.111 Teacher Evaluations: The bill requires a board of education to update its standards-based teacher evaluation policy pursuant to Section 3319.112 no later than July 1, 2018. Any changes in the policy will be implemented once the current teacher’s contract with the board of education expires.
The bill eliminates in division (B) the requirement that measures of student academic growth in a teacher’s evaluation include the value added progress dimension prescribed in section 3302.021 ORC, or an alternative student academic progress measure prescribed in section 3302.03. Instead the bill requires that when measures of student performance are used as evidence in a teacher’s evaluation that those measures “be high-quality student data, as defined under division (A)(6) of section 3319.112 ORC.”
The bill retains in division (C)(2)(a) a provision that allowed a board of education to evaluate each teacher who received a rating of accomplished on the teacher’s most recent evaluation conducted under this section once every three school years. But it replaces “so long as the teacher’s student academic growth measure, for the most recent school year for which data is available, is average or higher, as determined by the department of education” with “…so long as the teacher submits a self-directed professional growth plan to the evaluator that focuses on specific areas identified in the observations and evaluation and the evaluator determines that the teacher is making progress on that plan.”
The bill also retains in division (C)(2)(b) a provision that allows the board to evaluate each teacher who received a rating of skilled on the teacher’s most recent evaluation conducted under this section once every two school years. But it replaces “so long as the teacher’s student academic growth measure, for the most recent school year for which data is available, is average or higher, as determined by the department of education” with “..so long as the teacher and evaluator jointly develop a professional growth plan for the teacher that focuses on specific areas identified in the observations and evaluations and the evaluator determines that the teacher is making progress on that plan.”
The bill retains the requirements that in any year that a teacher is not formally evaluated, a qualified individual conduct at least one observation and hold a conference with a teacher who is accomplished or skilled. The conference must include a discussion of progress on the teacher’s professional growth plan.
The bill eliminates a provision in (E)(2) that allows the board of education to elect to require only one formal observation of a teacher who received a rating of accomplished on the teacher’s most recent evaluation, provided that the teacher complete an approved project.
Section 3319.112 Teacher Evaluations: The bill shifts the responsibility for revising the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) from the State Board to the ODE.
In division (A) the ODE is directed to revise OTES “… based on the recommendations of the educator standards board established under section 3319.60 of the Revised Code.” The ODE must submit a summary of the revisions to the State Board for review. Not later than May 1, 2018, the State Board must adopt the revised framework. Local boards of education must update their teacher evaluations to conform to the updated framework by July 1, 2018.
The bill eliminates student academic growth as measured by the value added progress dimension or an alternative growth measure as a factor in OTES. Instead, the bill requires that teacher evaluations be based on multiple evaluation factors; aligned with standards for teachers (Section 3319.61 ORC); including observations and classroom walkthroughs.
The bill retains the requirement that teachers be provided a written report of the evaluation.
Divisions (A)(6) and (7) in current law are eliminated. These divisions pertain to measures of student academic growth for grade levels and subjects for which the value added progress dimension does not apply. Instead, the bill requires the use of student assessment instruments approved by the district board of education.
In addition, the bill prohibits the shared attribution of student performance data among all teachers in a district, building, grade, content area, or other group, and requires development of a professional growth plan or improvement plan for a teacher that is aligned to the school district or building improvement plan required under the Every Student Succeeds Act.
The ODE must also revise, “as necessary” specific standards and criteria that distinguish between the levels of performance for teachers and principals for the purpose of assigning ratings on the evaluations. The bill retains the current ratings as accomplished, skilled, developing, and ineffective.
The following are other provisions in this section:
- Retains current provisions that require the ODE to assist school districts in developing evaluation policies under sections 3311.80, 3311.84, 3319.02, and 3319.111 ORC; serve as a clearinghouse of promising evaluation procedures and evaluation models that districts may use; and provide technical assistance to districts in creating evaluation policies.
- Adds the requirement that the ODE provide guidance to districts on how “high-quality student data” may be used as evidence of student learning attributable to a particular teacher, and provide guidance to districts on how information from student surveys, student portfolios, peer review evaluations, teacher self-evaluations, and other components determined appropriate by the district may be used as part of the evaluation process.
- Requires the ODE by July 1, 2018, in consultation with other state agencies that employ teachers, to update the standards-based framework for the evaluation of teachers who work in state agencies.
REPEALS Section 3319.114 Alternative Framework for Evaluating Teachers: The alternative framework for evaluating Ohio teachers requires the teacher performance measure to account for 50 percent of each evaluation, and the student academic growth measure to account for 35 percent of each evaluation. The remaining 15 percent of the evaluation can be based on the results of student surveys, teacher self-evaluations, peer review evaluations, and student portfolios. The bill repeals this section.
Section 3319.22 Educator Licenses: The term “educator license” in Ohio can refer to a level of license, such as resident, professional, senior, or lead professional license, or a type of license, such as an Early Childhood Education license, a Multi-age license, or a license to be an Intervention Specialist.
Ohio law currently does not specify grade levels for educator licenses.
The current grade-level licenses are included in the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) rules, which are approved by the State Board of Education and the Joint Commission on Agency Rule Review (JCARR).
These rules authorize licenses to be issued for many purposes through OAC Rule 3301-24-05, but the main types of educator license are “Early Childhood” (grades pre-kindergarten through three), “Middle Childhood” (grades four through nine in named curriculum areas), “Adolescence through Adult” (grades seven through twelve in named curriculum areas), and Multi-age Licenses (preK-12) issued in a particular subject area, such as dance, drama/theater, music, or visual art.
The bill retains the current levels of educator licenses (resident educator license; professional educator license; senior professional educator license; and lead professional educator license).
However, the bill also requires that each license level specify whether the educator is licensed to teach grades kindergarten through eighth grade or grades six through twelve, rather than the current grade level bands specified in the State Board rules. The bill does not specify licenses for teaching subjects in grades preK-12, the current Multi-age license, or a license to teach preK, such as the current Early Childhood license.
The bill retains Section 3319.22(A)(1) which allows the State Board to issue any additional categories, types, and levels of educator licenses, and adopt rules for individuals to obtain an educator license.
The bill also retains the standards and qualifications for obtaining a residential, professional, senior, or lead professional license. Requirements to obtain a grade-level license, such as Early Childhood license, or a license to teach music, are included in OAC rules.
NEW Section 3319.226 (Repeals former Section 3319.226) Substitute Teaching License: Under current law (repealed by the bill) the State Board is required to issue educator licenses for substitute teaching that are valid for one year, five years, and any other length of time up to five years.
Instead, the bill requires beginning on July 1, 2018, that the State Board of Education issue educator licenses for substitute teaching under new Section 3319.226.
This provision requires the State Board to adopt rules establishing standards and requirements, but states that the rules “shall not require an applicant to hold a post-secondary degree in any specified subject area,” and “shall not restrict the number of school days that the holder of a license issued under this section may work.”
In addition, the holder of a license issued under repealed Section 3319.226 will be subject to the new requirements under law when their license is renewed.
NEW Section 3319.361 Employment: The bill allows a superintendent of a city, local, or exempted village school district to employ a person licensed under section 3319.22 of the Revised Code to teach a subject area or grade level for which the person is not licensed.
Section 3321.191 Student Absences: The bill requires school attendance officers to only consider un-excused absences when determining if a student is “excessively” absent from school. Current law requires the school to count excused and un-excused absences for students. The school must notify parents, guardians, or custodians when a student is identified as “excessively absent”.
Section 3323.022 Staffing Ratios for Preschool Programs for Students with Disabilities: The bill lowers the staffing ratio for half-day preschool programs for children with disabilities from sixteen to twelve children per staff member.
The bill also requires that each child served by a center-based teacher, receive a minimum of ten hours of services per week, unless otherwise specified in the student’s IEP.
NEW Section 3324.12 Gifted Education: The bill prohibits the State Board from requiring a licensed educator, who is designated as a provider of gifted services, but who does not hold a license or endorsement specifically in gifted education, to complete 30 hours of professional development related to gifted education.
Section 3365.03 College Credit Plus Program: The bill states that if a course is offered and delivered on the campus of a student’s secondary school under the college credit plus program, the student must take the course at the school, rather than on a college campus.
The bill allows for an exception if a course offered at the school is full. In that case the superintendent, or equivalent, of the school can allow a student to enroll in a comparable course that is delivered on the college campus, at another location operated by the college, or online.
Section 3365.07 College Credit Plus Textbook Purchases: The bill states that beginning with participation for the 2018-2019 school year, section 3365.072 of the Revised Code shall govern all arrangements for the provision and payment of textbooks under the program.
NEW Section 3365.072 states that under the college credit plus program, 50 percent of the cost of textbooks for students who elect to participate under division (B) of Section 3365.06 ORC during 2018-2019 school year and thereafter, will be paid by the student’s secondary school, and 50 percent by the student.
The bill exempts a student who is identified as economically disadvantaged according to rules adopted by the ODE, and 100 percent of the cost of the textbooks will by paid by the secondary school that the student attends.
The bill also requires each home-instructed participant enrolled in the college credit plus program to be responsible for the cost of textbooks required for courses under the program.
Uncodified Law Section 3: The bill requires the ODE to conduct a study on the results and cost-effectiveness of the college credit plus program, and submit a report of its findings to the Governor, the Chancellor of Higher Education, each member of the General Assembly, and the superintendent of each school district and each educational service center no later than one year after the effective date of this section.
The study must include the cost-effectiveness for secondary schools and students, the amount of money students save on college tuition, and the amount of time that students take to graduate.
“Huffman: Reducing mandates better for state’s students,” by Melanie Speicher, limaohio.com, October 12, 2017
Requirements in Law Regarding Teaching Licenses
Chapter 3319: Schools-Superintendent; Teachers; Employees of the Ohio Revised Code, specifies the professional qualifications of teachers, principals, and superintendents, the levels of educator licenses, employment of teachers, professional development requirements, nonteaching employees, and more.
Section 3319.22 Standards and requirements for educator licenses; local professional development committees, directs the State Board of Education to issue four levels of educator licenses: a resident educator license, a professional educator license, a senior professional educator license, and a lead professional educator license.
The State Board may issue any additional categories, types, and levels of educator licenses, and has done so under Ohio Administrative Code Rules 3301-24-05.
The law also requires the State Board to adopt rules establishing the standards and requirements for obtaining each educator license, in addition to minimum standards and qualifications included in law.
The Ohio Revised Code also includes provisions for non-licensed individuals to teach.
Section 3319.301 Board to issue permits to qualified nonlicensed individuals, requires the State Board to “issue permits to individuals who are not licensed as required by sections 3319.22 to 3319.30 of the Revised Code, but who are otherwise qualified, to teach classes for not more than a total of twelve hours a week, except that an individual teaching in a STEM school may teach classes for not more than a total of forty hours a week.”
The law also includes minimum requirements, such as “possession of a baccalaureate, master’s, or doctoral degree in, or significant experience related to, the subject the individual is to teach.” The nonlicensed teacher also must work under the supervision of a licensed teacher.
Exemptions for High Performing Schools
Section 3302.151 was approved in Senate Bill 3 of the 131st General Assembly and expanded the practice of exempting school districts from the state’s teacher licensing standards.
The Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, along with the Ohio Education Association and the Ohio Federation of Teachers, testified against several provisions of the bill in the House and Senate, and some changes were made before it passed. But the law still exempts a “high performing school district”, which is defined in division (D) of the section, from the following:
- Teacher qualification requirements under the third-grade reading guarantee
- The mentoring component of the Ohio teacher residency program
- Any provision of the Revised Code or rule or standard of the state board of education prescribing a minimum or maximum class size
- Any provision of the Revised Code or rule or standard of the State Board requiring teachers to be licensed specifically in the grade level in which they are teaching, unless otherwise prescribed by federal law. This exemption does not apply to special education teachers, and teachers must still hold a valid Ohio license in the subject area in which the teacher is teaching, and at least some grade level experience determined appropriate by the district board.
This law also allows the superintendent of a high performing school district to “employ an individual who is not licensed as required by sections 3319.22 to 3319.30 of the Revised Code, but who is otherwise qualified based on experience, to teach classes in the district, so long as the board of education of the school district approves the individual’s employment and provides mentoring and professional development opportunities to that individual, as determined necessary by the board.” The individual must also pass a criminal records check.
To qualify as a “high performing school district” the school district must meet the following requirements:
- The district received at least eighty-five per cent of the total possible points for the performance index score calculated under division (C)(1)(b) of that section
- The district received a grade of an “A” for performance indicators met under division (C) (1)(c) of that section
- The district has a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate of at least ninety-three per cent and a five-year adjusted cohort graduation rate of at least ninety-five per cent, as calculated under division (C)(1)(d) of that section.
A school district that meets these requirements can qualify for the exemptions for three school years, beginning with the school year in which the qualifying report card is issued.