Week in Review - 12/06/2019

Week in Review - 12/06/2019

EDUCATION

A bill, SB121 (Sykes-Kunze), directing the State Board of Education (SBOE) to adopt health education standards received a spirited hearing at Tuesday's meeting of the Senate Education Committee, with proponents saying the standards would offer needed guidance to educators and opponents calling the bill unnecessary and voicing concerns about the standards stepping into the bounds of the family. According to an informational presentation provided by Adrienne Fischer, policy associate with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Ohio is the only state that has not adopted some sort of health standards.


The Ohio Supreme Court accepted Toledo City Schools' appeal of a court ruling on the standard for determining when school personnel can be held liable in bullying cases. The case emanates from the experience of A.R., a student enrolled early in kindergarten at four years old in Toledo's DeVeaux Elementary School. A.R.'s parents' initial lawsuit in Lucas County Common Pleas Court alleged another student, S., teased and bullied A.R. over months, eventually striking A.R. with a sharpened pencil. The lawsuit charges reckless and neglectful conduct in responding to the bullying by teacher Amanda Lute, assistant principal Cynthia Skaff and principal Ralph Schade.


The Rural Schools and Community Trust recently released a 50-state report of rural education co-authored by several Ohio University (OU) faculty members. The report, "Why Rural Matters 2018-19: The Time Is Now," ranks states on their overall highest needs in rural education and many individual measures of progress, according to OU. Nearly one in five U.S. students attend rural schools (about 9.3 million students), and about half of rural students live in 10 states including Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Alabama and Texas, which has the largest population of rural students (694,000), according to the report.


At its final meeting, the Report Card Study Committee received testimony detailing a comprehensive overhaul of the state's school district report cards from members of the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) Urban Network Report Card Work Group. Network representatives Ross May and Chad Henderly presented to the committee of legislators and school administrators a report card framework they said would align with 10 "strategies" from the Ohio Department of Education's Strategic Plan for Education. They said this would shift the report card to rely less on standardized tests, to encourage districts to communicate additional data to the state and to allow for easier comparisons among similar districts.


The Education Management Information System (EMIS) Professional Qualifications and Development Workgroup of the EMIS Advisory Council met Wednesday to discuss challenges facing EMIS coordinators and potential changes to OAC 3301-14-01, which is currently up for review. The group focused on "main challenges" including a lack of resources, support, training, understanding, and collaboration for EMIS coordinators. Attendees widely agreed that part of what makes problem solving difficult is the wide variation across school districts, with some having much more resources than others. 


While school officials across the state recognize the physical harm that can be caused by tornadoes, they think storm shelters should continue to be optional because extreme wind is only one of a multitude of health and safety issues educators and students face, according to a draft report from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC).


The Northeast Ohio village of Hills and Dales asked the Ohio Supreme Court this week to order Plain Local Schools to comply with a new law on school district territory transfers, under which Hills and Dales seeks to join the nearby Jackson Local Schools. Justices quickly agreed with the village's request to expedite the case.