To the editor:

Substitute House Bill 154, a replacement for the infamous House Bill 70, is undergoing hearings in the Ohio Senate Education Committee.

The chairman of the Senate Education Committee is bent on having the state takeover school districts that are rated F on the severely flawed state report card. Invited testimony was heard this week on Sub HB 154 – an entirely new bill.

The House-passed version of HB 154 essentially repealed HB 70 of the 131st General Assembly.

The testimony presented focused on the components of the substitute bill. Fordham Institute and Ohio Excels, as one would expect, offered substantial support. State education organizations pointed to problems with the bill.

It is disheartening that many legislators believe the solution to the problem of low test scores in districts serving poverty students is merely to change the governance structure.

During the hearing, one senator, more than once, asked the question – how much time should we give those who drove the bus into the ditch to get it out? The notion that educators and administrators working in high poverty districts are inept is completely unwarranted.

Children in poverty typically enter kindergarten or first grade two to three years developmentally behind. School districts are graded on an instrument that assumes all children start at the same level of development.

Sub. HB 154 will be heard again next week in the Senate Education Committee.

William L. Phillis
Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding