Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 6:12 PM
There has long been talk of updating the way Ohio grades its schools.
The current report cards rely on a complicated evaluation system that many say is imperfect.
[audio href="http://audio2.ideastream.org/statenews/2010/1129_report_card_bill.wav" title="House Passes HB 555"]The bill would make state report cards simpler to understand, and tougher on districts.[/audio]
The biggest complaint against the current school report cards is that it’s too easy on schools, and too difficult to understand. Sponsors of the house bill try to address both those concerns. Their bill would translate the current scale that runs from “Excellent with Distinction” to “Academic Emergency” to a simpler and more familiar one using letter grades.
The bill also aims to make it tougher for a district or a school to get a top grade. Last year, more than 90 percent of Ohio’s districts got a B or higher.
"It's a good bill, it's a comprehensive bill, it's a bill that's been a long time coming," says (R) Rep. Gerald Stebelton, the bill's co-sponsor. "Could it be better? Probably. Will it get better in the future? We hope so."
He calls the current report cards a “blunt instrument” and says the bill would be a step in the right direction.
The bill would also increase oversight of charter schools. For example it would establish a new system to evaluate charter schools that teach high school dropouts. Until now, those programs have been exempt from laws that require poorly performing charter schools to shut down.
It would also establish more stringent oversight for charter school sponsors, the groups that make sure charter schools follow the law, spend their money wisely and perform well academically.
The bill now heads to the Senate.