Ohio Education Plan HB 1 : To Assess Attitudes and Behaviors

Governor Strickland has proposed very expensive and controversial education reforms in the state budget, which is currently under consideration in the Ohio House (HB 1). His school funding reforms are fairly complex and repeal the concept of the state basic aid being based on a per child amount and will virtually hinder school choice to the point of extinction. He is also intending to lengthen each school year by one month.

By far, the most controversial portion of his changes to state policy (not receiving much media attention) is an expansion of state mandated testing to include the attitudes and behaviors of students (K-12), including scoring criteria of interpersonal skills as a part of earning a diploma. These changes will directly affect every student in public and chartered private schools. But every taxpaying citizen in Ohio should be very concerned. A less rigorous academic focus (which we have been experiencing for quite some time) will continue to contribute to the decline in our economy. How will it help the economy if students are enthusiastic, flexible, collaborators with substandard academic skills?

We fought this exact same battle sixteen years ago (also in the state budget) against outcome-based education. It is back and we need in the short term heavy public engagement. The House Finance Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education is having general public hearings Monday through Wednesday this week. (see schedule below) Every concerned citizen should also be calling their state legislators with the message to vote no on House Bill 1 – the state budget if the Governor’s education reforms are not removed.

The Subcommittee hearing schedule is as follows:

Monday, March 16, 4 pm
Public hearing
Stivers School for the Arts
1313 East 5th Street
DAYTON, Ohio 45402

Tuesday, March 17, 1pm
Public Hearing
Ohio Statehouse, Room 313
COLUMBUS, Ohio 43215

Wednesday, March 18, 7pm
Public Hearing
Ohio Statehouse, Room 313
COLUMBUS, Ohio 43215

Public testimony can and should be brief. It is very simple to stand before the subcommittee members and tell them you oppose these types of state assessments.

Phone calls are also necessary. Please contact your state legislators and express your concerns with the state mandating these assessments. For a directory of Ohio legislators, go to www.legislature.state.oh.us.

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