Tawls 2012 - Red and BlueGood Afternoon!

HB74 (Testing):  On Wednesday, May 13th by a vote of 92-1 the House passed its version of testing reform.  Among the changes proposed, HB74 would:

  • Limit each state assessment or end-of-course exam to no more than three hours.
  • Require that the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) issue a request for proposals for new state assessments. Multistate consortia (such as PARCC) are ineligible to submit a proposal.
  • Change graduation requirements by reducing end-of-course exams to five (eliminating English II and geometry).
  • Eliminate the requirement of online testing for 2015-2016.
  • Eliminate writing and math diagnostics for grades 1-3, with the exception of math in the 2nd grade.
  • Allow districts to offer an alternative to the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA).
  • Require the State Board of Education to review and make recommendations for changes to the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES).

The bill now heads to the Ohio Senate.  The Ohio Senate recently received recommendations from the Senate Advisory Committee on Testing.  The recommendations called for state tests to be shorter, in a single window closer to the end of the school year.  However, the recommendations did not specify eliminating PARCC.  Instead, it stated if the current vendors of state tests do not make changes to accommodate the recommendations ODE must find a vendor that will.

HB64 (The Budget Bill):  On Monday, April 20, 2015, the Ohio House Finance and Appropriations Committee passed House Bill 64, the budget bill, along party lines. Prior to passage, the committee accepted an omnibus amendment that contained approximately 90 changes to the substitute bill.

The omnibus amendment contained many changes that OEA supported and for which we had advocated. They include: removal of the attack on higher education faculty collective bargaining rights; removal of the provision that would have excluded charter school employees from membership in STRS or SERS if they elect to organize under federal collective bargaining laws; an extension of safe harbor provisions for teachers, districts and students to the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years; the creation of a new $102 million fund to guarantee that school districts do not receive less funding than FY 2015 levels due to the phase out of the tangible personal property tax; and an update to the rights of individuals with developmental disabilities to choose the programs in which they wish to participate including disability and facility specific workshops.

After House floor deliberations on Wednesday, April 22, 2015, the Ohio House passed House Bill 64 by a vote of 63-35. The bill now goes to the Ohio Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee and subcommittees for consideration.  Details of the major changes from the House substitute bill to the House-passed bill are attached to this email for reference.

OEA Spring RA:  Chris Hodnicki, Rhea Young, Matt Durham and Jennifer Gent represented TAWLS at this assembly.  Below is a report of the New Business Items that were passed by the 898 delegates in attendance.  The last item, SP-2015-11 caused quite a bit of discussion as it relates to Opting Out of standardized testing.

  • SP-2015-01 – The OEA President shall appoint a joint committee of higher education and K-12 members to study the College Credit Plus (CCP) program and make recommendations to the OEA Board of Directors regarding the formation of a unified organizational strategy on CCP.  The recommendations should include legislative, bargaining and local organizing approaches to implement the strategy.  Recommendations of the committee shall be presented to the OEA Board of Directors and the Executive Director no later than the September 19, 2015 Board meeting.
  • SP-2015-05 – The OEA shall consult with NEA and other allied organizations to develop a strategy that would educate members about the impact of the tax on “cadillac” health care plans and to develop a plan to address said tax’s impact on OEA members.
  • SP-2015-06 – OEA shall consult with NEA to investigate potential civil rights implications of Ohio’s graduation requirements tied to standardized testing results regarding their impact on English language learners.
  • SP-2015-08 – OEA staff to investigate the feasibility and report back to RA about a statewide program to strengthen the relationships between schools and targeted community and legislative leaders through conducting interactive school visits within every legislative district in the Ohio area.
  • SP-2015-10 – OEA will use communication tools (for example; an article in newsletter or an OEA website) to advise district representatives regarding radon testing.
  • SP-2015-11 – OEA will lobby the state legislature to require that ODE notify parents of their right to refuse and the implications of refusing statewide standardized tests that are not required for any grade promotion or graduation.

Click Here to Open the Latest Legislative Watch  Publication

Legislative Watch 4_24_15

Have a wonderful week!!!


Junior High Transfers:  A K-8 or 1-8 license does NOT automatically meet highly qualified standards in grade 7-8 core subjects.  This license automatically makes you highly qualified in all subjects up through grade 6 but not in all subjects at the junior high level.  In order to be highly qualified in grades 7-8, you must have one of the following:

  • Passed the Ohio State Licensing Exam, the Praxis II or the NTE in the specific subject area (math, history, science, etc.) in 1991 or later.

FYI…The following Praxis II tests DO NOT apply here:  Principles of Learning and Teaching, Special Education, Early Childhood Education, Education of the Young Child, Elementary Education: Content Knowledge, Education in the Elementary School or Elementary Education: Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment

  • You have an Academic Major or the equivalent in the core academic subject of your teaching assignment.  (Major or equivalent = 30 semester hours/45 quarter hours in Undergraduate and/or Graduate courses in the specific subject area)

FYI…30 semester hours in social sciences does not meet highly qualified status for junior high social studies any more.

  • You have a Master’s Degree in the core academic subject (math, history, science, etc.)

FYI…A masters degree in administration, curriculum, special education or other similar degrees does not count toward highly qualified

  • 90 clock hours or 6 semester hours in the core content area, including a minimum of 45 clock hours (3 semester hours) in subject-specific content knowledge; and up to a maximum of 45 clock hours (3 semester hours) in teaching skills pedagogy or Ohio Academic Content Standards may apply.

You must meet highly qualified standards at the time of the transfer.  We encourage anyone who wants to be in a position to transfer to the junior high at any time in the future to determine their HQ status now and take the necessary steps as needed to meet the HQ standards for the core subjects in which you are interested.

Professional Development Days:  Will be held on June 5th and June 8th.  The plans for these two days should be determined at each building through staff input.  Whatever plans are decided upon, they should be based upon staff input and be meaningful activities.  The days should allow for a combination of things that best meet your individual and building needs.  If you have specific needs or ideas to be productive, please discuss them with your building principal.


Testing Update:  

After several weeks of meetings, the Senate Advisory Committee on Testing has completed its recommendations to the Ohio Senate on needed changes to Ohio’s state assessments.  The 28-member committee is comprised of teachers, administrators, policy makers and other education stakeholders.  According to a press release issued by the Chair of the committee, Senator Peggy Lehner (R- Kettering), a written recommendation is being finalized and will include the following:

  • The new twice a year administration of tests that occurred this winter and spring should be scaled back to once a year and the tests should be shortened. The testing window should be closer to the end of the school year to provide more time for classroom instruction and less disruption in learning.
  • Accommodations for children with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) must be improved and more clearly communicated to parents and schools. Training must be provided for intervention specialists and paraprofessionals who assist students with IEPs.
  • Test results must be returned in a timely manner to benefit student instruction – although the group recognized that results from a writing test may not be able to be returned as quickly as the rest of the results.
  • Transparency – test questions and answers must be made available within a reasonable timeframe after the administration of the tests to ensure the tests are aligned to Ohio’s learning standards and that questions are developmentally appropriate for grade level.
  • Online testing is necessary and schools must plan to move in that direction; however, local schools must continue to have the option to administer paper/pencil tests for at least the next two school years. State funding for technology based on need should be considered.
  • A single technology platform is preferable for next year’s tests. Improvements in technology are needed to ensure smooth administration of the tests.
  • A “safe harbor” must be in place that allows results from this year’s tests to be reported but students, teachers or schools should not be penalized for results this year due to the transition to a new test and the concern that results may not accurately reflect a student’s achievement level.
  • A comprehensive communications plan must be developed to provide parents, teachers, school leaders and the general public with clearer information about the tests.
  • If the current vendors for state tests – PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College & Careers) for the math and English language arts assessments and AIR (American Institute for Research) for the science and social studies assessments will not make changes to the test for next year to accommodate these issues, the Ohio Department of Education must find a test vendor that will.