Update from OEA on SB229

March 28, 2014
 

Senate Bill 229 – Teacher Evaluation Bill Intended to Provide More Local Flexibility is Turned Upside Down by House Education Committee
 
The House Education Committee made drastic changes to Senate Bill 229 this week when it unveiled a new version of the bill.  It turned the bill on its head and left  it almost unrecognizable from the bill that was approved unanimously by the Ohio Senate.  The changes to what had been a bi-partisan bill in the Senate were accepted by the House committee on a party-line vote, with all Democrats voting “No.”  In comments to the committee, ranking Democrat and former teacher Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) said the bill had been “hijacked.”  OEA Vice President Scott DiMauro urged the Committee to support the Senate- passed version of SB 229.  To read the testimony, click here .

The chief sponsor of SB 229, Sen. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green), was not made aware of the changes before they were released on Wednesday, March 26.  Stripped from the Senate version of the bill was a key provision that provided local flexibility to adjust the student growth measure portion of teacher evaluations to 35% from 50%.  Further, the provision that would provide local flexibility to adjust the frequency of full annual evaluations for highly-rated teachers was diluted. More than 30 new provisions were added to the bill, including changes to various aspects of the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES).
Instead of supporting teachers and administrators by providing local flexibility to key areas of OTES, the new House version adds even more burdens, complexities and bad policy on Ohio’s educators.  In addition, numerous exemptions to collective bargaining were added to the bill in a blatant attempt to silence the voice of educators.

Here’s a summary of OEA’s position on the new House version of SB 229:

  • The OEA strongly opposes the House Substitute Bill and the hostile takeover of the effort to provide much-needed local flexibility to teacher evaluations.
  • The litany of changes made to SB 229 by the House Education Committee has turned the bill on its head.  Instead of supporting teachers and administrators by providing local flexibility to key areas of OTES, the House version adds even more burdens, complexities and bad policy on Ohio’s educators.
  • The OEA will continue to work with the sponsors and supporters of the Senate-passed bill to implement legislation that provides the local flexibility needed to make Ohio’s teacher evaluation system more effective, fair and efficient.

For an analysis of SB 229 (House Substitute Bill), please click here .

To send a letter to your state Representative, please click here.