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.”
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.