The Ohio Public School Advocacy Network has been created to provide Ohio’s citizens with an opportunity to discuss and help shape statewide education policy. Below are reports on policy issues of concern to most of OPSAN’s pilot school districts and community conversations that are currently taking place in some of them.
- Fair school funding (H.B. 305) – At the request of two state legislators, Bob Cupp (R-Lima) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson), the Fair School Funding Plan was created by a team of school district superintendents and treasurers to align state funding with what it actually take to educate a child who attends a public school in Ohio. This school funding plan is one of the topics being discussed in three of the OPSAN pilot districts: Boardman, LaBrae and Mayfield. For details about this proposal, you can visit the Fair School Funding Plan website. In addition, Ryan Pendleton, one of the treasurers who helped create the plan, has created a video update of House Bill 305.
- High stakes state testing – The impact of high stakes state testing has been an ongoing concern of local school administrators and teachers for years. In fact, it is one of reasons why the Ohio Public School Advocacy Network was created. During a forum on September 11 with two state legislators and a board member of the Ohio Department of Education, the topic was discussed in depth. One of the most important takeaways from the meeting was it appears that some, if not many, of our state’s policymakers understand the negative impact of high stakes state testing and the growing sense of urgency to do something about it. In fact, when the three statewide policymakers were asked point blank how widespread the awareness of the testing problem is, they said, “very widespread.” One legislative proposal has been introduced to reduce the amount of state testing. It is House Bill 239, the Testing Reduction Act.
- Social/emotional Student Needs – While some of the leadership teams in the OPSAN pilot districts have touched upon this growing concern, they have not discussed it in depth. In January 2020, however, that will change as the OPSAN leadership team for the Boardman Local School District will be hosting a discussion regarding what the school system is currently doing to address the social/emotional and security needs of its students. It is important to note that the Ohio General Assembly has set aside $491 million to be used by Ohio’s public school districts to pay for social services for students.
- Expansion of EdChoice – On December 4, the OPSAN leadership team for the North Royalton City School District initiated a discussion about the expansion of EdChoice in Ohio. Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Patrick O’Donnell provides an explanation of EdChoice and how it is impacting some of OPSAN’s pilot school districts. Kathleen Knight Abowitz, a member of OPSAN’s statewide leadership team, also discusses the impact of this educational policy.