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September 03, 2009
September 09, 2009
Last week, the Ohio Senate passed House Bill 487, also known as the Education Mid Biennium Review (MBR) with overwhelming support (by a vote of twenty-seven to five). The MBR contains a wide variety of education-policy changes, including some modifications that affect Ohio’s academic content standards and assessments.
Ohio’s current learning standards, adopted in 2010 by the State Board of Education, include standards for students in grades K–12 in English language arts, math, science, and social studies. When the standards were adopted four years ago, there was public input but little fanfare or controversy. That changed about a year ago, when critics began focusing on the math and English language arts standards, a.k.a. the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
As opposition to the CCSS heated up all over the country (the standards were adopted by forty-five states), the focal point in Ohio was House Bill 237, which proposed repealing CCSS completely. The bill, sponsored by Representative Andy Thompson, received two hearings in the House Education Committee, with the last hearing in November 2013 drawing more than 500 people to the Statehouse.
It’s too early to tell which of these changes will become law as the MBR still has to go to conference committee to allow the House and Senate to work out their differences. However, with these changes, the Ohio Senate appears to have effectively threaded the needle. It has reasserted Ohio’s commitment both to high-quality standards designed to prepare our students for success after high school and to rigorous assessments aligned to those standards. Meanwhile, the Senate has rightly listened to the reasonable concerns of parents and teachers across the state. Hopefully, educators around the state can breathe a little easier knowing that the standards they’ve been working hard to implement over the past four years won’t be changed in the final hour.