Updates on Ohio HB1 and SB1

March 1, 2001 Update

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  From: LZJOSHUA@aol.com
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2001 10:19:11 EST
Subject: Update on Tuesday's hearings re: HB1 and SB1
3/1/01
 
To all:
 
It was my intention to send this update to you yesterday.  However, my mother
was taken to the emergency room and consequently I needed to help her.  This
is just a note of explanation.  I consider it a privilege to help her, not a
burden.  She has been a wonderful lifelong inspiration to me.
 
I also want to express deep appreciation to everyone who took the time out of
busy and sometimes complicated schedules to come!  THANK YOU!!  For HB 1
concerned citizens filled up and overflowed two hearing rooms -- some were
sitting on the floor or stood for hours.  The House Education Committee took
testimony from 3:30 - 9:00pm --  5 1/2 straight hours of opponent testimony!!
 THANK YOU to everyone who prepared testimony -- it was ALL outstanding! 
THANK YOU to everyone who attended to demonstrate the magnitude of public
concern.  Your presence was CRITICAL. 
 
The members of the House Education Committee listened patiently and their
questions were a reflection of their desire to understand the concerns.  I
have requested the list of witnesses from both the House and Senate hearings.
 The details that I have from the Senate hearing are sketchy, but I will
summarize what I can after I get the witness slips and copies of testimony. 
 
On the House side, there were a wide variety of witnesses ranging from
classroom teachers to parents to a veteran school psychologist.  One
highlight was in the testimony of a mom toward the end of the hearing who
shared the results of her daughter's 4th grade writing test.  She acquired
the actual test taken by her daughter before it was shredded.  Her daughter
passed the writing portion with numerous errors in sentence structure as well
as spelling [e.g. mud - spelled mude].  The students were instructed prior to
taking the test that they could earn the best score if they did certain
things -- one of which was to "try" to spell correctly.  This was an
important piece of evidence that the "standards" for a criterion-referenced
assessment system are ARBITRARY.
 
Several parents and teachers passionately argued and gave evidence to the
need for scraping the proficiency test system.  It isn't working.  It is
flawed.  It should not be continued.
 
So...presenting testimony was the "easy part" even though it took great
effort to get there for many of the citizens.  Now the challenge will be to
follow up with phone calls and contacts to legislators. [see outline below] 
We will NEED the effort of citizens statewide to continue the process of
impacting state policy on this issue.
 
NOTE:  The briefing material I prepared for legislators has been posted on
the Eagle Forum of Ohio website http://www.ohioeagleforum.org 
 
NEXT STEPS: CONTACT MEMBERS OF THE EDUCATION COMMITTEES AND YOUR OWN LEGISLATORS WITH THE FOLLOWING POINTS:
 
VOTE NO ON HB 1 AND SB 1 UNLESS ALL OF THE CONCERNS BELOW ARE ADDRESSED:
The points  outlined here are basic and should not be compromised.  If
legislators fall for crumbs of compromise on this bill, what is already bad
policy in state law will become worse.  I do not say this lightly.  Nor is
this an overstatement.  As proposed HB 1 gives unlimited and unchecked
authority to the ODE to EXPAND state testing and completely finish the job of
eliminating local control.  Ohio can't have a top-down state driven system
and local control at the same time.  The two cannot co-exist.
 
1.  Put an IMMEDIATE MORATORIUM or REPEAL the criterion-referenced testing system [Ohio Proficiency Tests].  It makes no sense to continue a system that
has no credibility.  There are other ideas that can be debated to achieve
reasonable accountability.
 
Legislators on the House Education Committee were given examples of
Proficiency Test questions compared to questions on previous versions of the
Iowa Test of Basic Skills.  It was a night and day difference.
 
2. To fulfill the need for annual statewide testing -- DEFINE DIAGNOSTIC
TESTS IN LAW TO BE A  "NATIONALLY  NORM-REFERENCED STANDARDIZED ACHIEVEMENT TEST"  [e.g. Iowa Test of Basic Skills, California Achievement Test, etc]  IN READING/LANGUAGE ARTS AND MATH ONLY. This will fit the requirements of federal Title I regulations if standards
are benchmarked to these tests.  These tests already provide diagnostic
profiles and other information that can be used to determine learning
strengths and weaknesses. 
 
We lost this baseline of information in 1992 when the requirement for schools
to administer norm-referenced tests was dropped.
 
This can be amended to section 3301.079 of HB 1.
 
3.  RESTORE THE PROTECTIONS FOR OHIO FAMILIES THAT WERE REMOVED IN HB 1 AND
SB 1.
 
3301.0715 (C) protects students from performance-based testing beyond 5
academic areas
 
3301.0716 (B) protects Ohio from bad policy in health curriculum by requiring
that the curriculum model in health receive public hearings and approval by
the Ohio General Assembly.
 
4.  DISCONNECT  INTERVENTION FROM THE TRUANCY STATUTES.
If they tie intervention to truancy laws, parents will be fined up to $500 if
their child doesn't attend or in certain circumstances in which there is
already a problem with attendance in school, not showing up to intervention
will mean ciriminal charges could be filed against the family in the juvenile
court system.  THIS  HORRIBLE POLICY extends compulsory education to
evenings, weekends, and Saturdays -- with no school transportation provided.
 
These are the FOUR BASIC POINTS that need to be stressed with legislators.
 
I have almost finished drafting specific language for legislators to use.  It
is more technical and lengthy for most people, so I will send it to you if
you request it -- AFTER key legislators have had the opportunity to review it.
 
ACTION: PLEASE START MAKING PHONE CALLS IMMEDIATELY.
1. Call members of the HOUSE Education Committee  and your own legislator
with the above points.  Also call the members of the SENATE Education
Committee.
 
2.  Share this alert and ask others to call.  If you don't know who
represents you in Columbus, contact your County Board of Elections and find
out.
 
I WILL UPDATE YOU WITH AMENDMENTS AND VOTING RECORDS.  THIS IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY.  THIS INFORMATION WILL ALSO BE POSTED ON THE OHIO EAGLE FORUM WEBSITE AND OTHER WEBSITES.
 
*********************************
House Education Committee Members (* denotes a brand new legislator)
[ALL phone numbers below are in the 614 area code.]
 
Jamie Callender (chair) 466-7251
* Kevin DeWine (vice-chair)  644-6020
Charles Calvert  466-8140
*  Diana Fessler  466-8114
*  Arlene Setzer  644-8051
Dennis Stapleton  466-3506
Jim  Hoops (sole sponsor of HB1)  466-3760
Merle Grace Kearns  466-2038
*  Linda Reidelbach  644-6030
*  Steven Reinhard  644-6265
Twyla Roman  466-1790
*  Shawn Webster  644-5094
Bryan Williams  644-5085
William Hartnett  466-5802
Catherine Barrett  466-1645
*  Kenneth Carano  466-6107
George Distel  466-1405
Brian Flannery  466-3454
*  Teresa Fedor  644-6017
*  Derrick Seaver  466-1507
*  Claudette Woodard  644-5079
 
Senate Education Committee Members
[ALL phone numbers below are in the 614 area code.]
 
Robert Gardner (chair)  644-7718  [sponsor of SB1]
Bill Harris (vice-chair)  466-8086  [sponsor of SB1]
Stephen Austria  466-3780
Randy Gardner 466-8060  [sponsor of SB1]
Larry Mumper   466-8049
Scott Oelslager  466-0626
Michael Shoemaker  466-8156
Linda Furney 466-5204
C.J.Prentiss 466-6247
 
Respectfully submitted,
Melanie Elsey
LZjoshua@aol.com

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