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Education group proposes new report card to measure school quality

Jeremy Kelley, Journal-News |

While the Ohio House and Senate each consider bills to tweak the state K-12 report card system, a group of Ohio educators has proposed a more significant overhaul — evaluating schools less on state tests and more on how well they execute the state’s strategic plan for schools.

The Urban Network group that wrote the new report card proposal says scores in tested subjects reflect only a fraction of what schools do, adding that Ohio’s strategic plan lays out the 10 strategies schools are supposed to follow.

“It’s just that simple. We have a plan, so we should measure it to see how well the plan is being implemented,” said Lorain City Schools Assistant Superintendent Ross May, who helped lead the Urban Network plan. “We think (the state plan) makes a lot of sense and lends itself well to measurement … rather than just a report card based on state tests.”

Ohio’s strategic plan for schools puts four domains on equal footing — foundational academics like English and math, other subjects such as science and the arts, social-emotional learning (including decision-making), and leadership/reasoning, which includes problem-solving and creativity.

The Urban Network proposal suggests measurements for the state’s 10 strategies.

Earlier this month, state Rep. Don Jones helped introduce House Bill 200 to revamp the K-12 state report card. The bill would remove schools’ overall rating, replace the A-F letter-grade system, stop grading the “Prepared for Success” high school component, and soften some scoring rules. But most of the core report card structure would stay the same.

Jones said he likes the Urban Network Plan, but he called it a huge overhaul that could be considered in the coming years after HB 200 is resolved.

Meanwhile state Sen. Andrew Brenner, chair of the Senate Education Committee, introduced Senate Bill 145 last week. Brenner was meeting with education stakeholders about his bill Friday. The Legislative Service Commission has not yet published an analysis of the provisions of Brenner’s 156-page bill.

The Ohio School Boards Association said it supports “the work and dedication” of the Urban Network to improve and “fundamentally change” Ohio’s report card. But OSBA is also focused on House Bill 200.

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