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School Report Card Bill HB 555 Passes Senate

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Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 12:54 AM

An amended bill to revamp Ohio school report cards has passed the state Senate and is expected to receive House approval soon before moving to Gov. John Kasich for final approval.

But Gongwer News Service reports state Sent. Peggy Lehner, who chairs the Senate Education Committtee, said even then the bill, HB 555, will likely not be a "final product:"

"I suspect that as issues arise related to the common core, this body may be asked to revisit the provisions contained in this bill to assure that at all times the success of our students remain our primary consideration," she said.

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The bill would move from rating schools using labels such as "Excellent" and "Continuous Improvement" to an A-F grading system. It would make it harder for schools to get a top grade.

The bill would also:

  • Revise report cards to include a "dashbaord" of individual grades in areas including state test scores, student growth and college/career readiness;
  • Delay awarding schools a single overall letter grade until 2014-15; and
  • Create a separate grading system for charter schools serving students who have dropped out of other schools.

The bill gives the state Board of Education significant responsibility in determining important details of the new report card system such as the requirements to receive each grade.

The Senate version of the bill also includes a "safe harbor" provision that would protect schools from some consequences of lower ratings under the new report cards. Those consequences include having students become newly eligible for private-school vouchers and, for charter schools, automatic closure. Gongwer reports:

The change requires the Department of Education to determine what the expected drop in assessment scores are based on an average decrease across the state. If a school is within two standard errors of measure of that expected drop, it is protected from any potential sanctions.


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