Week in Review - 01/24/2020

Week in Review - 01/24/2020

EDUCATION

The General Assembly will act next week to address local school officials' concerns about a significant expansion of the EdChoice voucher program, Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) told reporters after the chamber's session on Wednesday. Obhof predicted that the legislation will have enough support to pass with an emergency clause.


State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria announced recently that 94 Ohio schools will receive the Purple Star Award, which recognizes schools that demonstrate a major commitment to serving students and families connected to the United States armed forces.


Several families and a collection of school choice advocacy groups urged lawmakers Tuesday to think first of the wellbeing of students when debating changes to the EdChoice scholarship program. Aaron Baer, head of Citizens for Community Values (CCV), and Averel Meden, head of the Ohio Christian Education Network (OCEN), said Statehouse furor on the issue has focused too much on school budget concerns, not what's in the best interest of parents and children. Those families have already started planning based on an EdChoice eligibility list published in the fall, they said.


Schools stand to save money and better serve struggling readers by building in-house capacity to recognize and teach students who are dyslexic, educators said at a Senate committee hearing Tuesday, where members also adopted changes to two bills on the topic. The Senate Education Committee called a fifth hearing on SB102 and second hearing on SB200, both jointly sponsored by the committee chair and vice chair, Sens. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) and Andrew Brenner (R-Powell), respectively. The former bill addresses dyslexia screening of young students and provision of information to parents of students identified as having dyslexia; the latter addresses training on dyslexia education in professional development and teacher preparation programs.


The legal saga over residents' attempts to transfer from one Stark County school district to another flared again recently with another lawsuit filed in the Ohio Supreme Court alleging local education officials are wrongly trying to push the issue to a later election cycle. Several families in the village of Hills and Dales want to use a new territory transfer petition process created in the recent state budget, HB166 (Oelslager), to leave Plain Local Schools and become part of Jackson Local Schools.