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Gov. Kasich Signs New Ohio School Report Card Bill HB 555

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Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Gov. John Kasich spoke at a Steubenville school earlier this year.

Gov. John Kasich has signed into law a bill that will change how Ohio schools are graded.

The bill (HB 555) replaces the current method of rating schools with labels ranging from "Excellent" to "Academic Watch" with an "A-F" grading system.

Under the new report-card system, it will be harder for schools to earn top grades, but many of the details of how report-card grades will be determined have been left up to the state Board of Education.

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Starting in with the 2012-13 school year, the new report cards will award schools and districts grades in each one of several areas.

Starting in the 2014-15 school year, schools will also receive a single, overall letter grade.

Ohio is one of about a dozen states plus the District of Columbia that have adopted or are planning to adopt A-F school grading systems, according to the education advocacy group founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Bush's group has pushed for the A-F grading systems as a way to "foster transparent accountability."

In addition to establishing a new school report-card system, the Ohio bill also:

  • Creates rules about when charter schools that serve students who have dropped out of other schools must be shut down;
  • Sets criteria for new, statewide online charter schools; and
  • Creates a one-year “safe harbor” that protects schools whose ratings fall under the new Common Core curriculum and standardized tests that start in 2014-15.

The bill makes report cards a lot more "meaningful for not only our educators but also our parents and students," says House Education Committee Chair Gerald Stebelton, R - Lancaster.

Stebelton says implementing the new report card system over the next year will "cause some heartburn" for school administrators, not just because of the implementation process but because the new ranking system makes it harder to get an "A."

"It’s going to cause some heartburn, I suppose, for some of our school districts and some of our administrators for a period of time, but they’ll get through it. And I think in the long term they’ll be better off for it," Stebelton says.

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