Focus on Local Control: Mason Schools Advocacy

Focus on Local Control: Mason Schools Advocacy

The Mason City School District is a leader in the Greater Cincinnati School Advocacy Network. We believe that educational decision-making is best done by the people closest to students: our teachers, principals, parents and locally elected school boards.  Consequently, we are advocating for reduced state testing, local control, and stable funding.

 

Here are some reforms that we believe are needed to improve state accountability measures:

  • Gather input from local school districts and their stakeholders before Ohio creates its Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) guidelines.

Rationale: It is critical that local school district leaders, and families have adequate time to give input on the spending of title dollars, special education waivers, OTES and value added academic content standards, the report card’s accountability measures and structure, state and local assessments, highly qualified teacher and licensure requirements, Ohio’s intervention plan for struggling schools, subgroup performance targets, and alternate assessments for students with significant special needs.

 

  • Reduce state testing to federal requirements.

Rationale: Under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states are required to test students annually in math and reading in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school. Science must be assessed at least once in grades three through five, grades six through nine, and once in grades 10 through 12.  States must then publicly report the scores according to race, income, ethnicity, disability and whether students are English-language learners.

 

  • Use ACT for high school graduation test, and eliminate end-of-course exams.

Rationale: The ACT is a nationally-normed test that can be used to ensure students are ready for college. End-of-course exams should be determined at the local level.

 

  • Make retention decisions at the local level.

Rationale: Retention is an option that should be personalized to an individualized student with input from the child’s family, teachers, counselors, school psychologists and administrators. That system ensures that the whole child is considered, and that if a child is behind grade level in reading, he or she is given the supports (which may include retention) to make progress.

 

  • Eliminate “opt outs” from counting in school/district rating systems.

Rationale: Ohio can decide how participation rates should figure into their overall school rating system, and should not penalize schools, educators and districts if parents choose to opt their children out of state tests.

 

Here is a reform that we believe is needed to support stable funding for public schools:

  • Stop transferring local tax dollars to charter schools.

Rationale: Ohio sends far too much money to charter schools that underperform traditional public schools. The state must insist on the same level of accountability for charters as it does for traditional public schools, and must stop draining local resources from public schools by transferring local tax dollars to charters.

 

Take Action To add your voice to this important conversation, please contact Rep. Paul Zeltwanger, 67th District: district67@ohr.state.oh.us, Senator Shannon Jones at SDO7@senate.state.oh.us, State Board of Education President Tom Gunlock at Tom.Gunlock@education.ohio.gov and District 4 State Board of Education Representative Pat Bruns at Pat.Bruns@education.ohio.gov.

 

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