Ohio lawmakers seated on the House of Representative’s Education and Career Readiness Committee got the proverbial earful from concerned citizens, policy makers and education professionals over the much maligned Common Core curriculum implemented in schools throughout the Buckeye State.
More than a dozen individuals spoke out against the status quo and offered testimony in support of House Bill 176, a measure that calls on the state Board of Education to replace academic content standards in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies with new standards consistent with the standards adopted by Massachusetts prior to that state’s adoption of the Common Core standards.
The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Andrew Thompson of Marietta, said his bill seeks to change education’s current state of affairs — “the learning conundrum that confronts the students, parents, teachers and administrators of Ohio’s schools.
“House Bill 176 is the epitome of a grassroots-driven, bottom up response to the top down, federally-driven mess that we have now.”
HB 176 would require only three (English, Math and Science) end-of-course exams, giving local school districts to choose the standards they feel will help them best educate their students.
Also, elementary and high school assessments would be those administered prior to 2010 in Iowa, and will be norm-referenced, presumably obliterating the practice of “teaching to the test.”
Perhaps most remarkable, the legislation makes the Third Grade Reading Guarantee Test permissive to be used as a diagnostic tool.
“It eliminates the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment; the fourth and sixth grade social studies assessments; and the fall administration of the third-grade English Language Arts assessment,” Thompson said. “It eliminates the Resident Educator Summative Assessment, the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System and the Ohio Principal Evaluation System, but permits districts to institute their own evaluations they may have employed in the past.
“Graduation will be determined by coursework rather than the results of assessments.”
Patty Russo, the mother of a junior studying at a high school in the Loveland City School District, witnessed her son, previously a self-described lover of math, become a student who no longer cared for the subject as it was being taught via the Common Core Standards curriculum.
“A kid, who as a 6th grader exclaimed that he loved soccer because it was ‘all about the angles’ learned to hate Honors Geometry,” she told committee members. “And of course he did, because it wasn’t geometry at all.
“When I learned of this reality, I immediately enrolled him at Huntington to ‘reteach’ him traditional algebra and geometry. He didn’t love the extra work but appreciated the opportunity to learn to enjoy real math again.”
She said the reality is that many parents of school-aged children can’t afford outside tutoring.
“And, none of us should have to,” Russo said.
Thompson recognized revamping the educational practices won’t be an easy task.
“House Bill 176 is not a panacea for whatever ails local districts, but it is a significant step in the right direction to an educational system that is more bottom up and less top down, that is more responsive to local needs and concerns and one that empowers those that are closest to the people they represent,” the lawmaker said. “I have a significant number of cosponsors of this legislation, several more who have committed to vote for the bill, and have also met with interested parties across the board.
“I sense a willingness to consider this proposed legislation very seriously.”
More than two dozen lawmakers have signed on as cosponsors of the bill, which had not been scheduled for a third hearing as of publication.