Lawmakers recognize that changes are long overdue for Ohio's current school and district report cards. While work occurs on a report card system to better reflect the important work of schools across the state, House Bill (HB) 200 looks to tackle some of the issues with the current report card structure. We are thankful that HB 200 will make the report more palatable for districts and will provide an immediate fix to flaws in the current accountability system, but we cannot stop there. More legislation will be needed for a long-term overhaul to address the issue that the report card remains largely tied to state-mandated tests - tests that are known to be correlated to race and family income. 

These performance-related measures are embedded in federal law and cannot be done away with entirely - and they shouldn't be eliminated. Such measures for at-risk children have made clear the reality of achievement and opportunity gaps and bring to the forefront our responsibility to address the gap.

However, overemphasizing performance-related measures derived from state-mandated tests serves no good purpose. Overemphasis? In the current report card, four of the six sections — achievement, progress, gap closing and K-3 literacy — are based on how well students score on state tests. Using the same biased data four times to analyze school or district effect is unjust. There is a better way to depict student, school and district performance, one that evaluates schools and districts less on state tests and more on how well they execute the state’s strategic plan for schools. 

We have much work ahead of us, but this work is important and it's essential to get it right.




Posted by Kim Miller-Smith on 3/29/2021