Guest Column From State Representative Bill Blessing
House Bill 7 Grants Our Children Safe Harbor

As your state representative, it is a top priority of mine to ensure that the children of our state are able to succeed in school. House Bill 7, sponsored by my colleague Representative Jim Buchy, would provide a “safe harbor” for school children, ensuring that there are no negative consequences for students as a result of administering new state assessments, including those from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).

H.B. 7 would prohibit scores from the first year of these new state assessments from being used to determine granting credit and grade promotion.  The bill clarifies that the new state assessments will not be used to meet requirements under the third grade reading guarantee, and protects students’ privacy by ensuring that individual test scores from the 2014-15 school year cannot be released without the permission of a parent, guardian, or the student.

House Bill 487, which was passed during the last General Assembly, provided similar protections to teachers and school administrators. Instead of using the value-added progress measure calculated using results from state assessments, H.B. 487 gave school districts the option of using an alternative student progress measure to make decisions such as termination and the granting of tenure. It is only fair that we also offer students protection from any potential negative consequences.

H.B.7 was passed by the House and Senate with broad bipartisan support, and signed into law by Governor Kasich in time to be effective for the 2014-2015 school year. As a member of the House Education Committee, I am proud to have co-sponsored this bill. I will continue to work diligently to give the students of Ohio the best chance to succeed. I encourage you to contact my office with questions, concerns, and ideas regarding the education of your children or any other state government related issue.

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