Earlier this month, the House passed a bill that I see as having a very positive effect on our schools, in Medina County and across the state. House Bill 74, sponsored by my colleague State Representative Andrew Brenner (R-Powell), will revise the state assessments and examinations given to Ohio’s students.


Last March, when I spent the morning with the teachers and the students of Huntington Elementary School in Brunswick, I saw and heard first-hand the destructive impact of over-testing on learning.  I heard from the teachers and the school administrators ample evidence that the new standards and cumbersome system of teacher evaluation were driving up the administrative costs of education, destroying the love of learning, and undermining the joy of teaching.   House Bill 74 is a much needed step toward altering the mandates on our public education system that have been imposed upon them from above.


The bill is expected to reduce overall state testing time by 50 percent, ensuring more local control for schools and districts over assessments. I see this as increasing efficiency in our schools, as the local school districts are more in tune with the needs of their students.  Schools without the resources to administer certain assessments effectively will have some of the burden taken off of their backs, allowing them to get back to educating our students.


The bill includes several major provisions, chief being reducing the administration time for state assessments. This administration time has increased approximately 120 percent in recent years, and I look forward to seeing that number cut back down. The bill will delay online testing, requiring the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to evaluate the technology needs for individual districts before this continues.


ODE will also be required to identify assessments that can be used for multiple purposes, further reducing testing time, and to study the impact of online state assessments, ending with a report to the General Assembly and the Governor by June 30, 2016. Teacher and administration input will also be required when making decisions about state assessments.


Overall, I’m thrilled about the provisions of this bill. Parents, teachers, administrators and students have all shared their concerns in regards to the amount of state testing that has been required in recent years, and together we are going to help our students succeed and reach their true potential. 


HB 74 is currently receiving consideration in the Ohio Senate. I look forward to seeing its passage, and hope you will contact me to discuss this issue further.

 
 
 
  
Featured Posts