Superintendents Make ESSA Recommendations

In a letter to Paolo DeMaria, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Ohio Department of Education, 52 public school superintendents representing the Greater Cincinnati School Advocacy Network made the following recommendations for Ohio’s policy relative to the Every Student Succeeds Act:

  • The State of Ohio should adhere to requirements set forth in the Federal ESSA legislation. Those specifically include testing in grades 3-8 Reading/Math and in Science in grades 5 and 8 only, as well as use of the ACT/SAT as the high school assessment.
  • The removal of End of Course exams.  We strongly believe that the administration of the ACT/SAT is much more relevant to our students and provides a more comprehensive and useful tool for our families.  In advocating for the use of ACT/SAT, we recommend that a high school graduation standard be implemented on the assessment.  The use of a college entrance standard does not take into account students who choose a field or occupation that does not require post-secondary education. We also strongly urge clarity in regards to career technical/industry credentialing as a pathway to graduation.
  • The State of Ohio must provide results in a timelier manner. Assessment results must be made available to individual districts and buildings to enhance programs, not to rank and grade districts.  In addition, an item analysis for each question should be provided to allow individual teachers to better gauge student learning.
  • Removal of the student growth aspect of the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System.  Although we agree the value added aspect is very important, we also believe it is just one piece of data available to identify gaps in curriculum, not data to be used for teacher evaluation.
  • Finally, we strongly recommend the elimination of the A-F grading of school buildings and districts on the Local Report Card. ESSA requires an accountability system, however, the rating of schools and districts with a grade is not part of this requirement.  We believe the Local Report Card has lost relevance for our communities.  Since its inception, the report card has repeatedly changed and is now more cumbersome than ever, with multiple measures used to create a single letter grade, rendering the “grade” inaccurate and inexplicable to the public.  In addition, numerous reports have found that the grades and rankings assigned to districts by the State of Ohio closely mirror the socioeconomic demographics of each district.

The Greater Cincinnati School Advocacy Network which includes school districts in Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties is part of a statewide grass roots initiative to restore local control of Ohio’s public schools.

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