Week in Review - 12/15/17

Week in Review - 12/15/17


The State Board of Education's Accountability and Continuous Improvement Committee discussed Monday possible changes to two sections of Ohio's report cards for local schools, one of which could show up on report cards for the current year, the other up for long-term discussions and contingent on federal approval of Ohio's plan for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).


The State Board of Education's Educators and Student Options Committee Monday unanimously approved a waiver that would allow a Columbus college-prep school, the Columbus Africentric Early College, to begin hand-picking a portion of its students, as opposed to a random lottery process. It still must go to the full board.


The State Board of Education appears likely to grant more leniency to providers in the 22+ Adult Diploma Program after hearing last month from the organization that runs programs at a few community colleges about the program's first-year struggles. Based on discussions in the Accountability Committee, the substitute resolution would set a 10 percent threshold for 2016-2017. The committee also discussed whether to then jump up to 40 percent for the current year and beyond, or phase it in, with an intermediate benchmark of 25 percent for this year.


Leadership and members of the State Board of Education appeared to reach consensus Tuesday on a plan to recommend the classes of 2019 and 2020 be allowed to use the additional options for high school graduation created for the class of 2018, though a few tweaks are possible. But many on the board expressed hope for ultimately moving to a much different system of determining how students qualify for a diploma.


The State Board of Education approved two resolutions recommending elimination of state tests, following months of debate on the topic. The resolutions recommend elimination of the English Language Arts I end-of-course exam, the WorkKeys job skills assessment, and any assessments developed solely to meet the state requirement for student data to be used in teacher evaluations.


Ohio debuted a new online resource for parents and teachers of preschool-age children to help support early learning and literacy development. Most of the materials available at the INFOhio Early Learning portal are free, with a few requiring a "minimal" fee. The portal is at https://www.infohio.org/early-learning.


Several kindergarten teachers and school administrators blasted the state requirement to administer the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) on Wednesday, by telling the Senate Education Committee it's a waste of time and hampers their ability to effectively teach children.



The federal unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1 percent in November, while the nation added 228,000 jobs, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said Friday.



Following the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) vote to repeal net neutrality rules, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has introduced a resolution to undo the agency's action. Republican commissioners outvoted Democrats 3-2 Thursday to gut the 2015 Open Internet Order, which prohibited Internet service providers (ISPs) from setting up Internet fast and slow lanes and banned them from blocking or slowing down traffic.



The House held its final session of 2017 on Wednesday, passing a total of 16 bills. They included: HB21 (Hambley), requiring verification of enrollments at community schools to be performed by the community school rather than the district, and HB338 (Ginter) allowing chiropractors to perform medical exams for school bus drivers. The lower chamber also concurred on Senate amendments to HB170, addressing computer science education;.



Behavioral health providers who aren't ready for the new billing procedures Ohio Medicaid will roll out in January can get paid about quarter of their usual payments for three months under a contingency plan the Kasich administration presented Thursday, though the advances will be recouped via deductions from payments later in the year. A major organization representing providers is unsatisfied with the plan. Notwithstanding that fallback option, Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) Director Barbara Sears told the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee (JMOC) that beta testing to-date shows the system is ready to go live with new billing codes for the Behavioral Health Redesign Initiative.