Thursday, Apr 27, 2017
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Ohio Department of Education delays submitting education plan

The Ohio Department of Education will delay submitting an education plan to the federal government, a victory for educators who have clamored in recent weeks for the state to incorporate more public feedback.

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State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo) speaks with area residents during a forum about the state education plan at Start High School. The Ohio Department of Education will delay sending a plan to the federal government after calls by legislators to do so.

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State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria announced today that the department won’t submit its response to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act in April, as previously scheduled. Instead, the department will wait until a second, later deadline in September to submit its education plan to the U.S. Department of Education.

Critics had blasted the plan for numerous reasons, including that it didn’t recommend cutting the number of state tests students take down to the federal minimum. Ohio students currently take 24 tests -— level maintained in the state’s draft plan. The federal law requires just 17. Changing the number of tests students take in Ohio requires a state law change.

The state’s education department said it listened to feedback from residents, teachers, and superintendents during the 13-month development of the plan — though many educators said the draft plan didn’t reflect the public’s comments. 

“The submission of the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) response should be an event that unites us. In recent weeks, we’ve heard from stakeholders who feel their input was not reflected in the ESSA template. In reality, however, stakeholder sentiments were heard loud and clear, and we have stated our commitment to identifying solutions to the challenges raised,” said Mr. DeMaria, in a written statement.

But, the state said it will pump the brakes on the plan to allow more time “to ensure that feedback received on the draft template can be considered carefully.”

Mr. DeMaria pledged that work will take place “in a transparent way.”

Teachers union members were among those who cheered the delay.

“This continues DeMaria’s commitment to engaging stakeholders and involving them in shaping a plan for Ohio’s children. This extra time will allow ODE, educators, parents and other stakeholders to craft more meaningful public education goals for our children,” said Melissa Cropper, president of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, in a written statement.

“Missing from the draft ESSA plan as it stands is a vision for reshaping our current education system to be more reflective of what students truly need,” she stated.

State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo) was among those calling for a delay. She held a meeting last week in Toledo in which about 50 people expressed concern about the state’s draft plan. Numerous superintendents from throughout Ohio also expressed unrest about the plan.

Contact Vanessa McCray at: vmccray@theblade.com or 419-724-6065, or on Twitter @vanmccray.

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