The long-awaited education deregulation bill, as SB 216 is commonly referred to, was introduced on October 10, 2017. The Senate Education Committee has held four hearings on SB 216 yet still has not voted on the bill. A number of school and educational service center superintendents have provided proponent testimony on the bill; however, many others have opposed the bill as well.
Meanwhile, Sen. Peggy Lehner, who currently serves as the Education Committee Chair, recently proposed a new bill, SB 240, on December 12 that would also mandate changes to the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES). SB 240 and SB 216 have many important similarities – and many differences.
SB 240 proposes only one substantive difference in R.C. 3319.111 from that of SB 216. In SB 216, the deadline for a local board to adopt a modified OTES policy is July 1, 2018, but SB 240 delays this deadline to July 1, 2019. Changes adopted in policy would become operative at the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement in effect on the effective date of either adopted bill.
Both bills remove student growth measures as a component of OTES evaluations but require that “high quality” student performance measures be used as evidence in teacher evaluations. Both bills also tweak the requirements of professional growth plans for teachers on the “skilled” and “accomplished” off-year cycles. The bills delete the option to permit an accomplished teacher to submit a project in order to reduce the number of formal observations in an evaluation year.
SB 216 removes the requirement to use value-added data and incorporates use of student assessment instruments into the evaluation system. SB 216 prohibits the use of shared attribution data in OTES as well under this section. It also removes a section of the law that previously required ODE to develop a list of student assessments that measure mastery of the course content for those grade levels where value-added data was not available.
SB 240 takes a different approach to use of student measurement data. The bill specifically mandates that evaluations include at least two measures of “high quality” student data, which will be defined by ODE. The data must incorporate the value-added progress dimension when applicable to the grade level or subject area taught by the teacher, as well as at least one other measure that demonstrates student learning. The bill specifies that the data may be used as evidence in any of the following five domains:
- Knowledge of the students to whom the teacher provides instruction
- The teacher’s use of differentiated instructional practices based on the needs or abilities of individual students
- Assessment of student learning
- The teacher’s use of assessment data
- Professional responsibility and growth
SB 240 also prohibits the use of both shared attribution and student learning objectives as high-quality data, and maintains language that requires ODE to develop a list of student assessments that measure mastery of the course content for those grade levels where value-added data is not available.
Finally, the two bills have some similarities under this section of the law. Both bills require ODE to provide guidance to districts on how high-quality student data may be used as evidence in OTES evaluations. ODE must also develop guidance on how information obtained from tools that were previously developed for the alternative framework may be used as evidence in OTES. The alternative framework tools include student surveys, student portfolios, peer review evaluations, teacher self-evaluations, and other locally determined tools.
Both bills repeal the alternative framework, which is codified in this section. However, both bills incorporate a change to R.C. 3319.112 that requires ODE to determine how a school district may use approved alternative framework tools as additional sources of evidence in evaluations.
Changes on the Horizon
Regardless of which bill passes – if either – it is likely that OTES will be modified by the legislature in the near future. Many of the changes proposed in SB 216 and SB 240 incorporate recommendations made by the Educator Standards Board in January 2016 and formally adopted by the State Board of Education on April 11, 2017.
You can review SB 216 and SB 240 on the Legislative Service Commission website. Check back frequently to find the status of these two bills.