COLUMBUS—State Representatives Gary Scherer (R-Circleville) and Tim Derickson (R-Oxford) announced that the Ohio House of Representatives today concurred on House Bill 362, legislation which modifies the law for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) schools by creating a new designation of STEM school equivalents for a community school or chartered nonpublic school.

Under the new standards of H.B. 362, chartered nonpublic and community schools would be able to share programs and resources with nonprofit organizations and higher education entities.  The bill specifies that these schools are required to follow the same guidelines adhered to by traditional public schools that receive a STEM designation.  The seven requirements include the assurance that the school has a work partnership with higher education institutions and businesses, will follow the provisions of H.B. 362 and the STEM committee, follows preparation guidelines for college and that the school will attract school leaders who support the curriculum.

H.B. 362 also clearly states that schools designated as STEM equivalents are not eligible for state funding, but are allowed grants from STEM networks, private entities or foundations. 

In addition, an amendment was added to the bill in Senate Education Committee, which revises the Ohio’s Teacher Evaluation System (OTES).  The basic provisions are:

  • Teachers rated as accomplished may be evaluated every three years assuming their student progress measure remains average or above.

  • Teachers rated as skilled may be evaluated every two years assuming their student progress measure remains average or above.

  • Effective with the 2014-15 school year, districts may choose an alternative framework (from the existing 50 percent teacher performance and 50 percent student progress) where student progress is weighted 42.5 percent, teacher performance is weighted 42.5 percent and 15 percent of the evaluation      framework may include student surveys, peer review, student portfolios or other items approved by ODE.

  • Effective with the 2015-16 school year, districts may choose an alternative framework where student progress and teacher performance are weighted equally and cannot be weighted less than 42.5%. The remaining portion of the evaluation may vary from one to 15 percent.

  • Teachers on leave for more than 50 percent of the school year are exempt from evaluation.

  • Teachers whose retirement has been submitted and accepted by the board of education are exempt from evaluation.

“The STEM designation issue was brought to my attention by the New Hope Christian Academy, a school that my grandchildren attend.  I am happy to be able to help private and charter schools, such as New Hope, the opportunity to receive grants from STEM networks,” said Representative Scherer. “I am also pleased that this legislation will allow teachers to spend more time teaching and administrators less time on teacher evaluations.”

“Teachers just want to be able to teach our children. The administrative burden placed on them, as well as our on administrators, must be considered when passing legislation,” Rep. Derickson said.  “Today’s action will lessen that burden, allowing teachers to do what they do best: educate our kids.”

The bill will now go to Governor Kasich for his signature.

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