Ohio delays plan on new federal education law

The state’s plan for implementing new federal education law has been delayed until September.
The state’s plan for implementing new federal education law has been delayed until September.

The Ohio Department of Education has decided to delay until September submission of its plan to implement new federal education law, called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria said Monday the delay will allow the state more time to ensure that feedback can be considered carefully.

State officials held 10 public forums across the state last fall, including one in Dayton, to gather that feedback. But when the state’s draft plan was released this winter, many groups felt their ideas were not represented.

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The loudest complaints came from educators upset that the state was not taking advantage of the opportunity to reduce the amount of standardized testing — something many people had suggested in the state’s online survey.

DeMaria said Monday that many of the ideas people raised will be addressed, but that may happen outside of the state’s ESSA plan.

“Stakeholder sentiments were heard loud and clear, and we have stated our commitment to identifying solutions to the challenges raised,” DeMaria said. “Much of this work can be done outside the narrow focus of the ESSA specifications.”

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As examples, he said the state is convening a Superintendent’s Advisory Committee to focus on the full range of testing issues — including state-required tests, as well as district-level tests.

And the state’s Educator Standards Board has been asked for recommendations on any changes to the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System.

“In a transparent way, we will continue to work closely with legislators, the governor, business leaders, educators and the public to undertake a comprehensive strategic planning process,” DeMaria said. “The strategic plan will include a clear vision for education in Ohio, supported by a set of goals, strategies, tactics and metrics.”