Recently, our children have come under increased pressure due to a drastic increase in school testing. With the number of testing hours reaching a threshold that bordered on unhealthy for our children, it was clear that the Legislature needed to step in to help reduce the stress level placed on the students.
This is why I introduced House Bill 7 last year, which provided safe harbor to students taking the PARCC test. The PARCC test, which has since been a proven failure, already had a safe-harbor provision for the teachers and districts; however, HB 7 extended that protection to those who need it the most — our children.
Even though HB 7 proposed safe harbor for students many families still chose to “opt-out” their children. The PARCC test was an unproven, untested examination. Following the failure of this test Ohio lawmakers voted to end the PARCC testing, ensuring it will not be used in the future.
The state education report card grade is scheduled to be released in February, posing problems for local districts because scores will reflect zeros for students who did not take the PARCC. Projections show that our local schools will see their scores drop as much as 40 points, ranking them as D’s or F’s because bureaucrats have refused to recognize the impact of the opposition to PARCC testing.
In order to right this wrong, I am pushing for a bill that will require the Ohio Department of Education to adjust the performance index score on the state report card for students who opted out of the failed PARCC test. This is an emergency measure that needs to be passed this month so our students are not unfairly punished for opting-out of an inadequate standardized test. Without emergency legislation, the Ohio Department of Education will release false scores, eliminating the Legislature’s intent for a safe harbor.
We have the best and brightest education minds right here in west-central Ohio. I am confident that if these education professionals come together to develop a program, Ohio will certainly prove to have superior public education.
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The writer represents the 84th District in the Ohio House of Representatives.