A Tale of Two Ohio Common Core Bills

Ohio State Capitol in Columbus, OH
Photo credit: Jim Bowen (CC-By-2.0)

After I had written about HB 176, introduced into the Ohio House of Representatives in early April, I was informed there was a second bill. HB 181 was introduced five days after HB 176, It is sponsored by State Representatives Ron Hood (R-Ashville) and Thomas Brinkman (R-Mt. Lookout) and has 13 co-sponsors.

You can read the text here.

In my opinion, this is a weaker bill. There is some great language. For instance, it bans the use of PARCC and Smarter Balanced:

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Revised Code or in any rule or directive of the state board of education, superintendent of public instruction, or department of education, on or after July 1, 2017, the department of education shall not use any assessment related to the partnership for assessment of readiness for college and career (PARCC), the smarter balanced assessments, or any other assessment developed by a multistate consortium, for use as any of the assessments prescribed under sections 3301.0710 and 3301.0712 of the Revised Code.

It prohibits officials from tying the state to any memorandum that would tie the state’s hands.

No official or board of this state, whether appointed or elected, shall enter into any agreement or memorandum of understanding with any federal or private entity that would require the state to cede any measure of control over the development, adoption, or revision of academic content standards.

Regarding academic standards, the bill says: “The state board shall not adopt academic content standards that are developed at the national level or by a multistate consortium.”

Great.

Here are the weaknesses of this particular bill compared to HB 176:

  • It does not explicitly forbid the Ohio State Board of Education from continuing to use Common Core. It just says the state shall “periodically adopt standards.” There is no deadline for new standards in math or ELA from what I can see.
  • While the legislation states that the state board “shall not adopt academic content standards that are developed at the national level or by a multistate consortium” there is nothing in the bill that would prevent the Board from just revising their current standards and then declaring them to be “Ohio standards.” We have seen this done in numerous states.
  • It does not require the adoption of quality standards in the interim. HB 176 required the implementation of the Massachusetts standards pre-Common Core.
  • The bill does not require the State Legislature to approve the new standards unlike HB 176. Sorry, state boards of education have proven themselves to be completely untrustworthy in repealing Common Core when review bills have become law.
  • It does not give school districts flexibility in how much they will utilize standards approved by the State Board of Education.

Is it better than nothing? Yes if they implement HB 181 in good faith. I have yet to see a state board or department of education operate in good faith when academic standards reviews are concerned. I should also note that HB 176 has twice the number of co-sponsors that HB 181 has. I would recommend that the Ohio House pass the stronger bill.

2 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Ohio Common Core Bills

  1. Shane’s assessment of “weaknesses” in Ohio HB 181 is somewhat misleading, and I would like to comment on some of his conclusions:
    *HB 181 states that content standards cannot be adopted “that are developed at the national level or by a multistate consortium.” This eliminates Common Core.
    *HB 176 calls for interim content standards; HB 181 does not. It makes little sense to adopt temporary standards that will only last 1-3 years. It takes longer than that to implement new standards, curricula, and assessments.
    *New or revised standards under HB 181 must be “approved by both houses of the general assembly by concurrent resolution.” Thus, the State Board of Education does not have final authority.
    *HB 181 does give districts and teachers increased flexibility. First, when new content standards are completed “the state shall inform all school districts.” The districts do not have to adopt or follow the state standards. Second, content standards “shall be based on general content areas and shall not be based on specific course subject areas.” The intent is for the standards to be based on the Scope and Sequence used for the norm-referenced assessments chosen by the state; these identify general subject areas rather than detailed performance expectations. Third, the state “shall not adopt a model curriculum for instruction in any subject area.” Fourth, not all state assessments are mandatory; a district “shall not be required to administer any such assessment [in writing or math for grades 1-3].”
    *Finally note that 12 state representatives sponsored or co-sponsored both HB 176 and HB 181. This reflects the facts that (1) there are many similarities in the two bills and (2) either bill would be a positive step forward.
    Both bills will be considered in the House, with the hope that the final bill will be something that has enough support to pass and be signed by the Governor.

  2. This is in reply to Robert Lattimer. The immediate temporary adoption of the Massachusetts standards is critical to saving another generation from the debilitating Common Core standards. Hopefully, those standards could become the long term solution as they are proven to work to increase learning results. It doesn’t take a long time as they are not experimental. They are easy to understand for all parties, parents, teachers and students. They have materials which can be used off the shelf.

    We have repeatedly seen bills that are not specific turn into simple rebranding of standards with no results for our children. A decisive, clearly stated bill is necessary to finally stop poisoning our kids and our future with Common Core!

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