2019 was a busy year for education in Ohio. Governor DeWine took office in January, replacing the term-limited John Kasich. The spring and summer months were dominated by the state budget cycle. And the latter half of the year was characterized by familiar controversies.
Here’s a look at the five biggest education policy stories of the year.
5) School funding
This spring, Representatives Bob Cupp and John Patterson released their long-awaited, a new state funding framework developed alongside a group of school district officials. Commonly referred to as the Cupp-Patterson plan, the proposal would increase state aid to districts and schools by $1.5 billion each year, an increase of roughly 15 percent above current state expenditures on K–12 education. Although the plan’s developers hoped to see their proposal included in the state budget, it didn’t make the cut. As a result, the remaining summer months and the entire fall session of the General Assembly were marked by almost in the statehouse and the media over the particulars of the plan and . (For a more in-depth look at the Cupp-Patterson plan and its implications for school funding in Ohio, see .)
4) Postsecondary attainment
Ohio’s Attainment Goal 2025 is a statewide objective for 65 percent of Ohioans between the ages of twenty-five and sixty-four to have a degree, certificate, or other post-secondary workforce credential of value in the workplace by 2025. It was first announced in 2016, but this year, the deadline started to loom large. Former Governor Kasich and several Ohio agencies initiallyin crafting a plan to tackle the attainment gap. When Governor DeWine took office earlier this year, he by commenting that everyone “deserves a chance to succeed, to get a good-paying job, to raise a family comfortably.” His initial budget proposal aimed at doing just that. Many of those provisions, such as the $25 million dedicated to helping high school students earn industry-recognized credentials, . Events like the emphasized the importance of connecting education and the workforce. The state’s with led to some . And new research on the shed additional light on attainment numbers.
3) School choice
School choice has been a major focus of education policy over the last few years, and thanks to the state budget, this year was no different. Quality charter schools will soon receive an additional $1,750 per pupil for economically disadvantaged students and $1,000 per pupil for other students. These state dollars should temporarily mitigate thecharters face compared to their district counterparts, and should to open new schools, expand high-performing networks, and recruit high-performing out-of-state networks.
On the voucher front, the budget made some big changes to theprogram. These include expanding eligibility to all low-income students in grades K–12 starting in 2020–21. The changes should also decrease the number of students who are each year. But other changes, including those related to and , caused us some heartburn. Voucher opponents, meanwhile, have been complaining about the recently released of . The roster more than doubled in size from the previous year, and for the first time there are several suburban districts included. The presence of these districts has —and has been .
2) Graduation requirements
Ohio has beenfor nearly three years now. It all started back in July 2017, when the Ohio General Assembly passed legislation permitting students in the class of 2018 to graduate based on weak —such as school attendance, course grades, a senior project, or volunteer hours—rather than demonstrating . During the early days of 2019, discussions around graduation data from the class of 2018 revealed some troubling outcomes: unsurprisingly took advantage of the weakened alternatives to inflate their graduation rates, and districts that were high-poverty or enrolled larger percentages of students of color via low-level alternatives.
The debate took another turn later in the spring, when a coalition composed of, the , and Fordham a set of graduation requirements that were markedly different than the plan by the state board of education. After a considerable amount of debate, the coalition proposal was included in the final version of the budget and signed into law by Governor DeWine. At long last, Ohio seems poised to move on from testy debates over graduation requirements to focusing on helping students meet the standards instead.
1) Academic Distress Commissions
Lawmakers spent much of 2019 trying to reach a compromise over how to modify(ADCs), Ohio’s method for intervening in persistently low-performing school districts. The debate has not been friendly. Each of the districts currently under the control of an ADC—Youngstown, Lorain, and East Cleveland—have made for throughout the year. So, too, has a related that’s still before the Ohio Supreme Court.
The budget process includedfor how to revise the ADC model. None of the proposed plans . Instead, the budget established a moratorium on any new commissions for the 2019–20 school year. After their summer break, legislators continued to . But efforts to find a compromise are still ongoing.
Well, there you have it. The five biggest education policy stories of the year. Agree? Disagree? What did we forget? Tell us onor .