HB 154 needs to right wrongs

A bill to abolish state control of academically struggling school districts, including Lorain City Schools, passed in the Ohio legislature May 1, must have the support from the state Senate and Gov. Mike DeWine to make it the law.

State Rep. Joe Miller, D-Amherst, and state Rep. Don Jones, R-Freeport, introduced the bipartisan House Bill 154 that seeks to end state takeovers of Ohio schools and restore local control to education officials over the school improvement process.

An analysis of the legislation conducted by the Fordham Institute, indicates it found merit in some of its provisions in focusing on earlier intervention in schools, individual schools rather than a district approach and engagement of a broad group of stakeholders in creating a reform plan.

But HB 154 doesn’t provide additional intervention for schools that fail to improve after four years of local control; fails to establish clear, established exit criteria for schools operating under an improvement plan; and ignores student achievement and growth as benchmarks for districts to include in their improvement plan.

Aldis said rather than providing important fixes for academic distress commission implementation issues, HB 154 dismantles any sort of accountability.

He also believes that if HB 154 becomes law, students at persistently low-performing schools will be hurt.

But students are hurting now and something needs to be done now.

And HB 154 needs the chance to correct the wrongs of the flawed HB 70.

— The Lorain Morning Journal