There has long been talk of updating the way Ohio grades its schools. The current report cards rely on a complicated evaluation system that many say is imperfect. But, yesterday the Ohio House approved a bill that would simplify and toughen that report card system.
The biggest complaint against the current school report cards is that it’s too easy on schools, and too difficult to understand. Sponsors of the house bill try to address both those concerns. It would translate the current scale that runs from “Excellent with Distinction” to “Academic Emergency” to a simpler and more familiar one – letter grades, A through F. The bill also aims to make it tougher for a district or a school to get a top grade. Last year, more than 90 percent of Ohio’s districts got a B or higher.
Republican Gerald Stebelton from Lancaster co-sponsored the bill. He calls the current report cards a “blunt instrument” and says the bill would be a step in the right direction.
"Could it get better? Probably," says Stebelton. "Will it get better in the future? We hope."
The bill would also increase oversight of charter schools. For example it would establish a new system to evaluate charter schools that teach high school dropouts. Until now, those programs have been exempt from laws that require poorly performing charter schools to shut down.
The bill now heads to the Senate.