OEA Calls For Sweeping Changes To State Report Cards

Members of the Ohio Education Association (OEA) voted unanimously at their December 7th Representative Assembly to recommend a set of comprehensive reforms to the state report card system. The proposed reforms are based on a survey of OEA members about what they believe should be included in a more accurate and useful state report card for Ohio schools. Specifically, OEA calls on the General Assembly to replace letter grades with a system that provides more detailed and useful information on the performance of individual students and key sub-groups.

Instead of a cookie-cutter approach to state report cards, OEA envisions a system that uses a performance dashboard and a student opportunity profile that have proven successful in other states, such as Oregon and Massachusetts, in informing educators, parents, elected officials and policy makers of how districts and schools are faring.

In a recent survey of more than 1,400 OEA members, 96% indicated they do not believe the current state report card system fairly assesses Ohio schools, and 89.4% support the elimination of A-F grades.

“Now is the time to end the destructive practice of rating schools and districts on misleading and punitive A-F letter grades that shame public educators for the poverty of their students,” said OEA President Scott DiMauro. “Studies consistently show that there is a direct correlation between ratings and wealth, and for too long, low ratings have been used as cover for diverting taxpayer resources to unaccountable charter and private schools and as an excuse to punish communities and educators by depriving them of local control and collective bargaining rights through state takeover schemes.”

OEA’s recommended reforms include information on the demographic and financial make-up of schools and districts, and a performance dashboard on how well students are learning that includes three-year trends and comparisons to district and statewide averages. A proposed student opportunity profile would provide detailed information on what students have been offered to enhance their success.

“Current report cards in Ohio are overly complicated, depriving parents, policymakers and communities of understandable information that demonstrates how schools are really doing in providing opportunities for learning to students,” said DiMauro. “A new system is needed to ensure transparency, accountability, and fairness with the aim of identifying areas in need of improvement and empowering local stakeholders to make decisions that direct resources where they are most needed.”

To read the details of what was approved by the OEA Representative Assembly, click here.