Governor Kasich signed House Bill 487, or the “Education MBR,” into law on June 16. The final bill includes several changes to the version passed in the Senate last month. The most relevant language from a CTE standpoint – the expansion of CTE courses to grades seven and eight – remained intact.
Other major initiatives impacting career-technical and adult education include:
Career Readiness Graduation Pathway
The final version of the bill includes “career readiness” graduation pathway for students entering ninth grade on or after July 1, 2014 that is separate from the new end-of-course and college admissions exam pathways. These provisions were all added by conference committee at the end of the legislative process. The MBR enables such students who satisfy the necessary course credit requirements to qualify for graduation if they (1) earn an industry-recognized credential or state license to practice in a vocation and (2) attain a score demonstrating “workforce readiness and employability” on a State Board-approved, nationally-recognized job skills assessment. Ohio ACTE supports WorkKeys as a qualifying assessment and requested the Ohio State Board of Eduction consider it as an appropriate job skills assessment instrument. Districts will administer the job skills assessments to students utilizing the career readiness pathway, but the Department of Education will reimburse districts for all such administration costs. Click here for more information on graduation requirements.
Opt-Out for Course Requirements for Graduation
Ohio Course Requirements for graduation, the Legislature retained language extending of the opt-out provision for students who enter ninth grade between July 1, 2014 and July 1, 2016 (previously, only students entering ninth grade between 2010 and 2014 were eligible). However, the final version of the bill will require students who opt out pursuant to this extension to complete three units of science with laboratory experience (lab not required under current law); five (previously six) elective units; and four (previously three) units of mathematics, one of which must be in the area of statistics, computer programming, or applied mathematics.
College Credit Plus
The College Credit Plus (CCP) program language in HB 487 remained mostly unchanged, but the final bill includes a provision allowing districts to reach agreements with postsecondary institutions to provide courses for below the $40 floor amount.
The bill also incorporates language from House Bill 343 that permits eighteen year olds to take the GED without a superintendent sign-off if they have withdrawn from school and not received a diploma. Students between the ages of sixteen and eighteen may take the GED with written approval from a parent, guardian, or court official. Only sixteen to eighteen year olds who take the GED would count as dropouts on the report card of the last district or school of enrollment.
Finally, the General Assembly removed the references to teacher evaluations from the MBR and instead addressed that issue in House Bill 362, which also passed last week. HB 362 makes several changes to the evaluation system that, generally, provide boards with more options when creating an evaluation system framework and allows boards to elect not to evaluation teachers are who are retiring, on leave, or have scored accomplished or skilled on the most recent evaluation. Click here for more information on the changes to the Teacher Evaluation System.
The majority of the provisions in the bill will become effective on September 14, 2014 90 days after the Governor signed it into law.
Ohio ACTE will continue to work with legislators and regulators to make sure career-technical and adult education is represented in decisions regarding information.