Legislative Notice – HB 197

May 14, 2020
From CHEO’s Legislative Liaison, Melanie Elsey:

CHEO has been promising an update on the question of assessment waivers by mid-May. This is what we know at this point in time.

The Ohio Department of Education has posted that standardized assessments and 3rd option assessments (superintendent/parent agreed upon assessments) are waived from required inclusion in next year’s re-notification. The ODE has also postponed the deadline for submitting a portfolio review/written narrative assessment until December so it wouldn’t need to be included with the re-notification at the beginning of the school year.

However, the complete waiver of all assessments is still in process. This week, the State Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution to direct the State Superintendent to secure a legislative fix for the incomplete waiver recently passed in HB197. CHEO has been communicating with key legislators and staff for the past seven weeks to secure the complete waiver and we believe it will be granted.

We greatly appreciate your patience and will let you know as soon as this process is finalized. Also, we are truly thankful for your continued support of CHEO and your prayers!

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April 17, 2020

FROM CHEO’S LEGISLATIVE LIAISON, MELANIE ELSEY:

HB 197 was initially approved with uncodified language addressing state policies affected by the COVID-19 concerns. As we described at that time a paragraph was included to waive an assessment requirement for home educating families. The verbiage in this paragraph was specific to standardized achievement tests. I contacted the Ohio Department of Education and spoke with the person responsible for seeking this waiver. I was assured that the intent of the temporary waiver was to affect all homeschool assessments and that the ODE would provide such guidance to school districts.

At this time the ODE has posted “Additional Information on State Testing During the Ordered School Building Closure” as a link from its homepage. The description for “Homeschooled Student Reporting” only specifies the waiver for the nationally normed, standardized assessment and instructs the parents to choose one of the other 2 options for their annual assessment report.

Since this is different from what was assured 2 weeks ago, we are in the process of seeking a solution that would fairly and completely waive all portions of the assessment reporting requirement upon subsequent re-notification. Please be patient with us, with the ODE, and state policy makers as we work through this process. We are confident that we can resolve our concerns in a way that equally protects the safety of home educated students.

We will keep you updated via social media and our website. Thank you for your support. We are always working for you!

 


 

March 26, 2020

TO ALL HOMESCHOOL PARENTS:

As the effect of COVID-19 continues to spread in Ohio, our dedicated legislators have been hard at work to support the families and businesses across the state. On March 25, the Ohio Legislature approved HB197 with provisions added to address statutes and regulations affected by the Ohio Department of Health statewide orders and Governor DeWine’s response to the virus.

One paragraph in this 748-page bill affects home educators by waiving the state requirement to submit the “results of a standardized achievement assessment” when parents submit their NOI for the 2020-21 school year. This decision was made as a part of state strategy to mitigate community spread of COVID-19 during testing/assessment meetings.

Unfortunately, the language in the bill did NOT clearly waive the entire assessment requirement. It left intact the portfolio review option which would have created confusion for parents as they prepare for next year.

CHEO’s legislative liaison, Melanie Elsey, contacted the Ohio Department of Education with a concern that this could possibly compel every family to complete a portfolio review. The ODE senior staff member explained that the Department had requested the waiver, but it was intended to waive the entire assessment requirement in rule -04.

Consequently, the ODE is taking the extra step of communicating guidance to all school districts to ensure that the interpretation of this provision is that no school district shall require the parent of any home educated student to submit ANY form of an assessment report when re-notifying for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Just to be clear, this was not a legislative process that allowed CHEO or HSLDA the opportunity for any type of input. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the language wasn’t publicly available until after the omnibus amendment was passed. There was no draft to review…no committee process…no opportunity for input ahead of the consideration of amendments like normal. These are not “normal” times. This is simply a drafting error in the un-codified portion of HB197 and not intended to create issues for families. Rest assured, nothing has been added to your school year and this is not a permanent change.

We are thankful that Melanie was able to step in and quickly get clarification with ODE. We are also incredibly grateful to all the hard work and effort by legislators and other personnel in considering the needs of students both in traditional school settings and home educators.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
CHEO OFFICE: 740-522-2460

AMENDED SUB. H.B.197
(on pages 724-725 of the House concurred version)

Section 17. (L) No school district shall require the parent of any student who was instructed at home in accordance with section 3321.04 of the Revised Code for the 2019-2020 school year to submit to the district superintendent the results of a standardized achievement assessment administered to the student as a condition of the district allowing the student to continue to receive home instruction for the 2020-2021 school year.

To read the entire bill: Click Here
For word from HSLDA regarding this issue:  Click Here