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Second Big Overhaul For School District Report Cards In Ten Years Headed To Ohio Governor

Students at Worthington Kilbourne High School came back to class in March, with COVID protocols in place.
Dan Konik
Students at Worthington Kilbourne High School came back to class in March, with COVID protocols in place.

State lawmakers have sent to Gov. Mike DeWine a bill that would replace the A-F grades on report cards for Ohio’s more than 600 school districts with a new rating system. DeWine has hinted he will sign the bill, the second major overhaul for the school report cards in less than a decade.

Sen. Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware) said the House bill, sponsored by Reps. Don Jones (R-Freeport) and Jon Cross (R-Kenyon), scraps the A-F grades and replaces them with a rating system of five stars.

“The five components that would be rated are achievement, progress, gap closing, early literacy and graduation rate," Brenner said.

College, career workforce and military readiness would be non-graded for three years but could become a sixth component if lawmakers adopt that.

The A-F grades had been instituted under Republican former Gov. John Kasich in 2012 because critics said designations such as “effective” and “academic watch” were confusing.

But the A-F system has been called misleading, arbitrary and simplistic. The move to get rid of that system started in 2018, and a study of report cards put out by a group of lawmakers in 2019 pushed the idea further.

Report card ratings are important not only for parents and teachers, but also for those who might seek state-paid vouchers. Students in school buildings that are considered failing are eligible for EdChoice vouchers. The proposed Senate budget increases those EdChoice vouchers, and both the House and Senate versions of the budget would have the state directly funding them, rather than money for each student be deducted from a school district when a student leaves the district.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen Kasler
Contact Karen at 614/578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.