OMEA OTES Update – ESSA & HB 212

FEDERAL UPDATE
On December 10, 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 was passed and signed into law. The former law, known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and U.S. Dept. of Education waivers will expire on August 1, 2016, while the new law will be fully implemented in the 2017-18 school year.

Highlights of the ESSA:
· Redefines the federal role in elementary and secondary education and increases the authority of states and school districts for decision making.

· Does not require states to set up teacher-evaluation systems based in significant part on students’ test scores (a key requirement of NCLB and USDOE’s state-waiver system and Race to the Top Funding).
The focus on test scores proved to be highly unpopular with teachers and fueled the testing “opt-out” movement among parents last year.

· Abandons the requirement that states staff each core academic class with a “highly qualified” teacher. Generally that meant that a teacher had to hold a bachelor’s degree, state certification/licensure and have demonstrated content knowledge (Praxis, Ohio Assessment for Educators, 2013). Under ESSA, parents will no longer have to be notified in writing if their children are being taught by non-highly-qualified teacher.

· Music and Arts are listed as part of a “Well-Rounded” Education (formerly known as Core Academic Subjects). This listing importantly connects music and arts to various other cited provisions throughout ESSA. (Funding for Title I: Improving Basic Programs Operated by State and Local Educational Agencies; Title II: Preparing, Training, Recruiting High-Quality Teachers, Principals, or Other School Leaders; Title IV: 21st Century Schools; Title VI: Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native Education; and Title VIII: General Provisions.)

State Reactions:
· The South Carolina Superintendent will be asking her state board of education to delay for two years the requirement for districts to use Student Learning Objectives (SLO’s) which are student-growth goals set by teachers, for evaluation. She would like to make SLO’s an artifact examined by evaluators, but not a specific, weighted component of a teacher’s review.
· Georgia’s Superintendent has been vocal about his concerns of the state’s weighting of student achievement for 50% of a teacher’s evaluation rating.
· In Oklahoma, districts have struggled to implement student-growth measures for teachers in non-tested subjects. The Oklahoma superintendent would like the state to consider using student survey results instead. She believes that teachers should receive “value added” information on student progress, but that it shouldn’t trigger consequences like dismissals.
· New York state officials last month approved plans to delay for four years the tethering of test scores to teacher evaluation.

Still other state officials are already on record saying they plan to hold firm to the teacher evaluation systems already in place.
· New Mexico – we absolutely intend to stay the course.
· North Carolina’s superintendent said she could envision only minor alterations to NC’s teacher evaluation system.

“The new ESSA law still requires the state testing systems that provide fodder for teacher evaluations, so I don’t think that ESSA by itself is likely to alter the trajectory of statewide teacher-evaluation systems.” Aaron Pallas, Sociologist of Education, Teachers College, Columbia University.

National Education Association – Teachers’ unions see an opening to change teacher evaluation policies that their members broadly rejected and they are far more powerful among state legislatures than at the federal congressional level.

Final Note:
Teacher Evaluation policies are set in law or regulation which means states will need to rewrite legislation or regulations.

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Update on HB212 – Academic Standards-Curricula (from OAAE)
The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Brenner, received testimony on HB212 (Thompson) Local Authority Restoration Act on February 10, 2016.

This bill revisits recent changes in law regarding state assessments, the amount of testing, academic content standards, teacher and principal evaluations, student privacy, and the powers of the State Board of Education.

For example, the bill would require that the State Board of Education replace Ohio’s Learning Standards with standards that are consistent with those used in Massachusetts’ schools before the Common Core was adopted.

The bill would also prohibit the use of the PARCC exams; require school districts to use assessments that Iowa or Massachusetts used prior to 2010; replace the seven high school end of course exams with a standards-based or norm-referenced exam in English language arts, math, and science; and eliminate diagnostic assessments in kindergarten.

In addition, the bill would eliminate the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES), the Ohio Principal Evaluation System (OPES), and the Resident Educator Summative Assessment.

The organizations support the proposed changes for the OTES and OPES, which would continue the trend in Ohio to move away from the inconsistent and inappropriate use of student growth and value added to evaluate teachers.

Read more HERE.

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