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Rep. Robinson statement as school ratings reform bill heads to governor's desk

More work will be needed, but HB 82 is a first step in the right direction
June 29, 2021
Phillip M. Robinson, Jr. News

COLUMBUS— State Rep. Phil Robinson (D-Solon) issued a statement today applauding the passage of Sub-House Bill (HB) 82, which was amended in the Senate, adding provisions of a compromise plan for changing the state report card system to improve rating Ohio schools. It now heads to the governor to be signed into law.

“While I’m not a fan of stars, I am a fan of the descriptors for rating our schools and happy to end the scarlet letter of ‘A’ through ‘F’ grades that unfairly judge students and their communities. Compromise is important in order to get things accomplished in government, and each side gave something up,” said Rep. Robinson. “This plan does not do everything I would like it to do, but this plan is progress that I can support. It is a first step in the right direction for continued, future reform and improvements working toward accurately and equitably rating our schools, and showing all of the hard work of educators and our children.”

Provision of the plan include:

  • Replacing the “A-F” letter grades with a 5-star and descriptors ratings system for the components and overall grades of schools. Half stars are included to create nine rating levels to show progress in the ratings. Struggling schools are no longer inaccurately called “failing,” but now correctly showing their status of “needing support.” The new ratings descriptors are:
    • 5-Stars: Significantly Exceeds State Standards,
    • 4.5 to 4-Stars: Exceeds State Standards,
    • 3.5 to 3-Stars: Meets State Standards,
    • 2.5 to 2-Stars: Needs Support to Meet State Standards,
    • 1.5 to 1-Stars: Needs Significant Support to Meet State Standards.
  • Fixes some of the flawed metrics of the rating components, with more data reported instead of rated;
  • The most flawed and subjective component “Prepared for Success,” will not be graded for the next three years. A review by the state legislature will be needed if the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) wishes to grade the component. Currently, 84% of all schools received a “D” or “F” grade on this component.
  • A new Student Opportunity Profile that reports useful data regarding a school’s opportunities and statistics like student to teacher and staff ratios, teacher education levels, school technology, and more;
  • Creates a long term, bipartisan school rating study committee. The committee will be made up of an equal number of legislators in both chambers and parties, and educators appointed by the state superintendent. The committee will examine existing problems and potential future improvements to rating schools over the next three years and submit a report showing their findings. 

The compromise reform plan is the product of Rep. Don Jones’s (R-Freeport) and Rep. Robinson’s bipartisan HB 200, which was worked on for over a year, collaborating closely with superintendents and representatives of other educators and school officials, and State Sen. Andrew Brenner’s (R-Delaware) Senate Bill (SB) 145, working with business interests in education.

After both bills had their initial hearings, Rep. Robinson and Rep. Jones brought together Sen. Brenner and several interested parties to work out a compromise reform plan between the two bills. These groups included: 

  • HB 200 supporters: Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA), Ohio School Board Association (OSBA), Ohio Association of School Business Officials (OASBO), Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators (OASSA), Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators (OAESA)
  • SB 145 supporters: Ohio Excels, The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Ohio Association for Gifted Children, Alliance for High Quality Education
  • Other interested parties included: ODE, Ohio Education Association (OEA), Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT)

HB 82 also allows students to choose to opt-out of taking the SATs and ACTS, cutting down on over-testing for students with post high schools plans besides attending college.