We have their ear about testing

As we told you in the May 11 issue of The CEA Voice, the Ohio Senate Advisory Committee on Testing completed its recommendations to improve state testing for next school year:

  • Shorten and scale the new tests back to once a year.
  • Improve the accommodations for children with IEPs and inform parents.
  • Train intervention specialists and paraprofessionals who assist students with IEPs.
  • Return test results in a timely manner.
  • Add more time to review the tests for standards alignment.
  • Preserve the option for paper/pencil tests for at least the next two school years and provide needs-based funding for technology.

The 30-member panel, which included CEA member Kimberly Jones (Mifflin MS), took only two months to complete its task.  Read the full report here. The Senate is expected to review the proposals.

Change seems to be at the core

In the years following the approval of No Child Left Behind (NCLB)—the name given to the last iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)—Congress has been receiving a lot of feedback from teachers, parents and states voicing concern about federal control and over-testing. NCLB more than doubled the number of high-stakes tests in reading and math.

The ESEA is once again up for reauthorization, and the message seems to be getting through, at least in part. The bill on the table is the U.S. Senate’s “Every Student Achieves Bill,” a compromise proposal that is intended as a middle ground preserving accountability and allowing for some local control. Senators are getting ready to vote on this bill. It then would go to the House.

The measure still would require states to continue breaking down student-performance data by demographic subgroups to assess proficiency differences. It also preserves annual testing in reading and math for grades 3-8 (and once in high school). But it would allow states more flexibility in how to design their accountability systems and support struggling schools. For instance, states may decide whether and how to adhere to the Common Core.

The National Education Association is watching these developments. Find out more here.

Schools could receive less money

Under Gov. Kasich’s budget plan, more than half of Ohio’s school districts would receive less funding than in the previous budget. The reason? Formulas that determine which districts are “needy,” and which have the “capacity” to generate more local revenues. Charter schools also receive state funding, and according to a recent study, that funding affects the allocation to school districts. OEA is tracking the developments. See the full story here.