“The tests and subsequent report cards are myths that mislead the public on the success of our schools (and) beginning next year, this series of tests will be combined with virtually unattainable graduation requirements creating a dire situation for our students slated to graduate next year,” he said.
“We need local control (of schools) where teachers are free to teach and students can learn beyond a myriad of standardized testing. To prevent future Ohio Department of Education and State Board of Education train wrecks, unfunded mandates must be approved by a majority of the 612 local boards of education in Ohio,” Orr suggested.
Leaders from Badin High School, Butler Tech and Miami University’s regional campuses also spoke to the crowd, highlighting their various institutions’ growing lists of accomplishments in recent years. The event, sponsored by the Hamilton Rotary Club and the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce was held at the Courtyard by Marriott.
While Orr isn’t alone among area superintendents in his criticism, he has emerged in recent months as the most vocal.
In October, the Journal-News was the first in the region to report Orr’s high-profile opposition to new, higher graduation requirements for the class of 2018.
He was later joined by other superintendents elsewhere in the state, who also complained to state education officials, leading to the Ohio Legislature to recently begin a committee review on possibly changing the graduation standards.
And comparisons of school districts through the changing Ohio standardized tests has been problematic in recent years, ODE officials have admitted, due to annual changes as the student measurements are moved toward uniformity and greater details.
But Orr also rattled off a list of notable Hamilton School academic, career education and extra-curricular activities achievements and a growing network of private and community partnerships that benefit not only students but the entire city.
“Hamilton Schools are the place to educate children and our future is on track,” said Orr.