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.


Testing Scrutiny Begins

The Ohio Senate’s Advisory Committee on Testing has laid out its plan to address complaints about the time spent on, stress imposed by, and evaluative use of Ohio’s plethora of standardized tests. CEA Governor Kim A. Jones is on the 28-member panel of school teachers, administrators and policy experts. The first meeting, held March 18, focused on the next steps: review of the PARCC and AIR tests, and a review of the testing schedules across the state. The committee recently sent a survey to principals, teachers and superintendent asking them to describe amounts of time spent on testing versus instruction, technology issues they have experienced with the tests, and for any other comments. Jones said she believes the committee will conduct a thorough review. Its report is due later this spring. Learn more here. The committee’s website includes a public comment area.