Week in Review > Week in Review 10-29-2021Posted by Buckeye Association of School Administrators on October 29th, 2021
State Board of Education President Laura Kohler will resign Friday rather than face rejection of her reappointment in the Senate, she told Hannah News. The situation stems from her opposition to repealing a July 2020 board resolution on racism and equity in education, but she said she has no regrets over support of that resolution. Meanwhile, a House committee took another step Thursday on a push to remove gubernatorial appointees from the board entirely by amending HB298 (Bird-J. Miller) to expand the board to 15 members and having them elected from the 15 congressional districts.
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Monday updated its official advice to schools for how to handle direct exposure of students and staff to COVID-19 in school settings, saying that with certain masking and testing policies in place they should be able to avoid home quarantine and continue to play sports and participate in other school-related activities. The new ODH guidance, which is voluntary for schools to adopt, includes “mask to stay” and “test to play” options, as follows:
– Those directly exposed to COVID-19 in school or a school-related setting can stay in the classroom and avoid home quarantine if they wear a mask for 14 days, monitor for symptoms and isolate if such symptoms develop. The 14-day in-school quarantine can end early with a negative result on a test administered between five and seven days after exposure.
– Those directly exposed to COVID-19 in school or a school-related setting can continue to participate in sports and extracurricular activities if they get tested upon initial notification of exposure and again between five and seven days after exposure, and also wear a mask when able, such as while riding on the bus to games or standing on the sidelines. As with the classroom option, a negative result on the second test can end the quarantine period.
Attorney General Dave Yost said Wednesday that U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland should withdraw a directive for federal law enforcement to respond to threats against local school board members, since the organization that requested the intervention, the National School Boards Association (NSBA), has apologized for the request. The NSBA had sent a letter to President Joe Biden in late September asking for federal law enforcement to respond to the threats and likening some of them to domestic terrorism and hate crimes. In response, Garland announced in early October he’d directed the FBI and U.S. attorney’s offices to meet with local law enforcement leaders to respond to the threats. However, the NSBA letter, particularly its language about domestic terrorism, sparked a backlash and the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) this week withdrew its membership from NSBA over the letter.
Members of district boards of education and their statewide association urged a House committee Tuesday to approve legislation that would increase their per-meeting compensation, expand the training they’re required to undergo and boost what they can be reimbursed for attending the training. Under HB334 (Ingram-Sobecki), board members’ per-meeting pay would increase from $125 to $200, and the cap on annual compensation of $5,000 would be lifted. Pay for attending trainings would increase from $60 to $96 for training lasting up to three hours, and from $125 to $200 for longer trainings.
Student testing data show significant learning losses for students at all grade levels during the pandemic, and particularly for Black and Brown students, according to a presentation on academic achievement during the pandemic from Ohio State University (OSU) Political Science Professor Vladimir Kogan to the Senate Primary and Secondary Education Committee Tuesday.
Legislation that would prohibit the teaching of “divisive concepts” in schools and in higher education received a new version Wednesday, with House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) indicating there is “great interest” among the Republican majority in the chamber in passing the bill. Rep. Sarah Fowler Arthur (R-Rock Creek) introduced substitute version 1448-7 to HB327 (Grendell-Fowler) in the House State and Local Government Committee, saying the sponsors are trying to be responsive to the concerns raised in testimony and working with interested parties to refine the bill a bit more. She said the substitute bill would “remove some of the ambiguous language. It is more specific in the definitions of promote or promotion. It would also specifically ensure that teaching about divisive concepts and a complete history of the United States including slavery, oppression and segregation are respected and protected while specifying that promotion of or using tax dollars to indoctrinate into a partisan philosophy or ideology is a misuse of funds. Protections and accountability for teachers are included.”
Gov. Mike DeWine Thursday signed the following bill into law:
– SB1 (Wilson-McColley) which addresses teaching financial literacy in high school, provides discretion regarding educational requirements of substitute teachers for the 2021-2022 school year, and declares an emergency. It became effective immediately on Thursday, Oct. 28 with the governor’s signing the bill.
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