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Resolution to Repeal Ohio’s School Takeover Law

March 16, 2019

 

Youngstown, Lorain, and East Cleveland are high-poverty school districts that are under state control in Ohio due to low performance on the state report card. Dayton schools could be next at the end of this school year. Columbus, Ashtabula, Canton, Euclid, Lima, Mansfield, North College, Painesville, and Toledo Public Schools face undemocratic state takeovers after next school year. State takeovers of public school districts are UNDEMOCRATIC, UNACCOUNTABLE, and UNACCEPTABLE.

Demonstrating growing Statehouse contempt for House Bill 70, Ohio’s school takeover policy, at least two bipartisan bills have been introduced to eliminate the disruptive school takeover law.

Ohioans need to show their support for these bipartisan bills by passing official resolutions seeking an immediate repeal of HB 70, because one cannot assume that the proposed legislation will move forward through the policy-making process without citizen input.

We must all work together to put a stop to the state takeovers of public school districts in Ohio.

Now.

Urge your local community leaders, school board members, district administrators, PTAs, public education advocates, and others to pass official resolutions asking Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly to completely and immediately repeal HB 70 and replace it with an evidence-based turnaround model that restores local control and improves student outcomes.

To save time, all are welcome to copy, paste, and personalize the following composite:

Resolution to Repeal Ohio’s School Takeover Law – House Bill 70

WHEREAS, after months of covert meetings led by the Ohio Department of Education at the behest of the governor, Ohio’s 131st General Assembly swiftly enacted a school takeover bill in 2015, and the governor signed HB 70 into law, a plan to take over public school districts with low test scores and replace them with charter schools; and

WHEREAS, Ohio’s citizens have never agreed to any initiative to give the state authority to take over struggling public school districts; and

WHEREAS, House Bill 70 may have bypassed Article VI Section 3 of the Ohio Constitution, stating that, “Provision shall be made by law for the organization, administration and control of the public school system of the state supported by public funds: provided, that each school district embraced wholly or in part within any city shall have the power by referendum vote to determine for itself the number of members and the organization of the district board of education, and provision shall be made by law for the exercise of this power by such school districts;” and

WHEREAS, an elected school board provides a democratic voice for parents and community members to influence decision-making regarding public education; and

WHEREAS, school takeovers eliminate local democratic control when struggling districts are placed under state takeover; and

WHEREAS, school districts in economically distressed areas generally have low grades on the state report card, and school districts in affluent areas have high grades; and

WHEREAS, an overwhelming majority of the public believes that disinvestment in schools is a primary obstacle to a high-quality public education; and

WHEREAS, efforts to change the governance of public schools will not result in the infusion of needed resources and will shift responsibility for providing a sound public education away from the state and towards financially struggling parents; and

WHEREAS, school takeover policies in other states have failed to raise student achievement and have created disruptions for students, parents, and community members; and

WHEREAS, high-quality opportunities for all students require additional resources, including  better access to health and social services, early childhood education, and academic enrichment programs, which are the cornerstone of improved outcomes for Ohio’s children; therefore be it

RESOLVED that  ____________________ supports the complete and immediate repeal of HB 70, as well as replacement of the policy with an evidence-based turnaround model that restores local control and improves student outcomes; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED that  ___________________ shall inform the press and the community regarding the harm inflicted by HB 70.

 

Signed resolutions should be forwarded to Gov. DeWine, the Ohio General Assembly education leaders, and the media.

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Voices

Dawn’s Story

I am a public school teacher in Oberlin, Ohio. As I do year after year, I had my fifth-graders write editorials for the Newspaper in Education contest sponsored by our local Chronicle-Telegram newspaper. And as I always do, I gave the students free choice to choose their topics and to come up with their own polished submissions.

When so many of them started writing about testing, I freaked out a little because prior to this month’s AIR testing, I had rarely even mentioned the topic to them, refusing to stress them out about the upcoming three weeks of testing. I sent some of their work to our principal with a note that said, in so many words, “Holy smokes, look at what these kids are saying. I promise that I haven’t been stressing them out about these tests!” She wrote back saying she thought their submissions sounded just fine.

I’m so thankful to have a principal who values our students’ feelings.

When I talked to the kids about the testing, I told them how surprised I was by their topic choices and asked why they were feeling so worried. After all, I told them, I had barely mentioned the topic and told them I’d be the last person to put pressure on them or try to stress them out. One student told me, “You are working with the wrong kids, Mrs. Randall. You don’t have to stress us out. We stress ourselves out enough for all of us.”

They then started sharing stories about last year’s PARCC test, when they tested on and off from February through May when they were in 4th-grade. They shared about how scared they were that they wouldn’t pass the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee reading test the year before that and then fail the entire year. Ohio legislation is insane.

But worst of all, one student said, “This is the third new kind of test we’ve had in three years. When will Ohio get this right?”

This same student was the one who took it upon himself to go to the Ohio Department of Education website on his Chromebook and research his topic and find out that some schools were able to still do paper/pencil tests, and he was pretty upset that he couldn’t.

I sent a note to the newspaper staff member about all their submissions and she told me to please not censor their writing, but to send it all in. She wanted to see it all.

Today, I opened the newspaper supplement to these two student submissions ruling a whole spread. Apparently, the judges heard them loud and clear and felt their words needed to be heard by our community.

All this high-stakes testing is really starting to take a toll on kids. When will our legislature hear and care about their voices?

Each child in my class is the SAME child who has been forced to sit through high-stakes testing year after year after year. When will enough be enough?

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