To:           School board members, superintendents, treasurers and other school business officials
 
From:      Tom Ash, BASA — (614) 846-4080
                Barbara Shaner, OASBO — (614) 325-9562
                Damon Asbury, OSBA — (614) 540-4000
 
Date:       Aug. 19, 2014
 
 
Re:         HB 597 Update — Member Action Needed!
              Plus: Bill Analysis, organization activity & opposition to the Common Core
 
On Monday, the House Rules and Reference Committee accepted for consideration a substitute version of House Bill (HB) 597, legislation that would eliminate and prohibit Ohio's use of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). State Reps. Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) and Matt Huffman (R-Lima) provided sponsor testimony, followed by testimony from approximately 20 supporters of the bill. Proponent testimony continues today and Wednesday morning. 
 
Hearings are expected to be scheduled next week for opponents of HB 597. We urge local education leaders to prepare testimony for next week!
 
Substitute HB 597 Provisions:
 
• eliminates/prohibits the use of CCSS after the current school year;
• eliminates/prohibits the use of Ohio's Standards for Science and Social Studies (adopted in 2010);
• prohibits the use of PARCC assessments;
• puts in place the Massachusetts Standards for Mathematics, English Language Arts, Science and Social Studies from “pre-CCSS” for two years (2015-16 and 2016-17);
• new Ohio standards in the four subject areas to be developed by the State Board of Education for use beginning with the 2017-18 school year.
 
This means that today’s freshmen would face three different sets of standards for math, English, science, and social studies during their four years in high school. 
 
The bill also:
 
• institutes a legislative steering committee to review any new proposed state standards;
• replaces the recently passed seven end-of-course exams (in HB 487) with five end-of-course exams required before graduation;
• contains unprecedented specificity on what the standards for each subject area should include. 
 
Organization activity:
Our three organizations hosted a press conference prior to the committee hearings on Monday where executive directors Kirk Hamilton (Buckeye Association of School Administrators); Richard Lewis (Ohio School Boards Association); and David Varda (Ohio Association of School Business Officials) spoke in support of CCSS. Superintendents Robert Hill from Firelands Local Schools in Lorain County and Steve Thompson from Willoughby-Eastlake City Schools, and Eric Germann, Lincolnview Local (Van Wert) board president and Vantage Career Center board member, made comments from their school districts' perspectives. Click here for a link to a press statement issued at the time of the press conference describing the event.
 
Opposition to CCSS:
Written testimony from bill supporters can be found here. A good portion of the complaints by opponents to CCSS actually seemed to stem from frustrations over excessive testing, the third-grade reading guarantee, and CCSS' perceived inappropriate grade-level content (students not yet prepared to master the content, possibly related to the speed at which CCSS have been implemented). However, there was also criticism that CCSS “dumb-down” Ohio’s standards.
 
We believe some frustrations with CCSS — even from some supporters of CCSS — do not stem from the standards themselves, but from the many other education reforms that have recently been enacted. Therefore, the method for implementing reforms may deserve further review; yet these issues should not be confused with discussions about whether or not CCSS are appropriate. 
 
Important Links:

 



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