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State Board of Education To Vote on Controversial Rule Change

colored penciles, education, art
Alan Cleaver
Flickr Creative Commons

The Ohio Board of Education is planning to vote Tuesday on a controversial rule change that could affect school librarians, counselors and arts teachers. The board will decide whether to kill the “5 of 8 rule” that says school districts must hire the equivalent of 5 full time service personnel for every 1000 students it has.

The locals can choose from 8 options including art teacher, music teacher, counselor, nurse, librarian, and phys-ed teacher. But the new proposal means none of those positions would be required. The committee chair overseeing the board of education change, Ron Rudduck, says their principle is to give locals flexibility.

“It’s probably not prudent for the Department of Education to be mandating or dictating which positions you hire," says Rudduck. "Because we feel that the boards of education, leaders in the community, and leaders in the schools know best what the needs of their kids are.”

Fellow member Deborah Cain fears that students will suffer if the arts are taught by teachers who are not art or music specialists. Or the classes are cut altogether.

“Certain things spark in certain kids and it’s not always necessarily social studies, English, or math that’s where the spark is.  The spark can be in music or the spark can be in the arts or drama. So I find those subjects are just as important," says Cain. 

The full board votes Tuesday afternoon but it’s expected to see at least one amendment to the rules change.