Ohio Senate to Study Testing in Ohio--What you can do
On Wednesday, March 4th, the Ohio Senate Education Committee appointed a committee to study what should be done about the amount of testing in Ohio. Here is a report on the formation of that committee, taken from a newsletter that superintendents received March 4, 2015:
Republican members of the Senate Education Committee and Faber held a press conference to announce the creation of the Senate Advisory Committee on Testing. The committee will be made up of educational experts from across the state and lawmakers and will make recommendations to the Senate on state-required assessments. Faber said the Senate wants to be responsive to parental concerns on testing.
(Sen.) Lehner (Chair, Senate Education Committee) said that in the midst of concerns over the PARCC tests, there are concerns on what she called the "dizzying array" of tests in some schools. She said they do not believe it is a problem they can handle alone, and have asked the education community to help.
She said she is impressed with the willingness to participate, noting, "We could have easily filled this committee three times over." She said not a single participant turned down a request to join the advisory committee.
The committee will begin meeting later this month, possibly as early as next week. Some of the recommendations are expected in the spring, including on the PARCC tests, and could be moved on by the Senate by the end of June.
You may know that as superintendent, I have sent a letter to Senator Lehner (R-Kettering; Chair, Senate Education Committee) and have published an opinion piece in the Athens Messenger on the over-testing of our children. I am very pleased that the Senate has taken seriously the voices of so many educators and parents in setting up this Committee.
Many parents have shared with me a concern about the amount of tests that their children take. This year, with the new tests, you have seen an increase in the number of state tests students take as well as the amount of time they spend on them. Some of you have asked me what you can do; others have opted to not allow their children to take the new tests. What I can now suggest to you is that there is a place for you to express either your displeasure with, or approval for, the amount of testing going on in our schools.
Below I have listed the members of the Senate committee so that you can express your thoughts directly to them. What they value and listen to the most are direct stories about how the current amount of testing affects you and your children. One of the things I have heard again and again when I testify at the state house or go to Columbus is that our representatives simply do not hear anything about such issues from the public. You could change that by taking a few moments to express your concerns to any and all of the following:
Senators who are on the committee (you can find their email at http://www.ohiosenate.gov/senate/members/senate-directory and going to the Senator’s profile):
Senator Tom Sawyer, 614-466-7041
Senator Cliff Hite, 614-466-8150
Senator Peggy Lehner, 614-466-4530
The regular mail address for all Senators is Senate Building, 1 Capital Square, 1st Floor, Columbus, Ohio, 43215.
State Board of Education member on the Committee:
Michael Collins (he represents our district on the Board): Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-299-8596 or 6169 Sugar Maple Lane, Westerville, Ohio, 43082
Todd Jones: Todd.email@example.com or 614-228-2196 or 41 S. High St., Suite 1690, Columbus, Ohio, 43215
You can also contact Senator Lou Gentile who represents our district at 614-466-6508 or via the direct mail or email links above.
I believe a vital part of a democracy is the ability of individuals to contact their elected officials and have input into the governing processes. I encourage you to take this opportunity to make your voices heard.
George Wood, Superintendent