If you’ve been following us regularly, you’re aware that Senate Bill 229 was created to make some small and reasonable tweaks to Ohio’s Teacher Evaluation System (OTES). The Senate adopted the bill unanimously, but the House Education Committee failed to follow suit and “hijacked” the bill, transforming it into a sweeping overhaul of the system despite the fact that the House Education Committee Chair, Gerald Stebelton, questioned why any changes were being proposed.
At this time, Senate Bill 229 appears to be dead in the House. Thanks to the efforts of educators across the state, the House Education Committee was flooded last week with testimony opposing their mutated bill and urging them to support the original version passed by the Senate. Members of the Ohio Senate have even been highly critical of Stebelton’s actions, leading up to today’s big news out of the Senate Education Committee.
During this morning’s hearing, the Senate Education Committee trumped the House and inserted the exact language from their version of SB229 into House Bill 487, the bill containing the education components of Governor Kasich’s budget bill. The full Senate is expected to adopt these changes and pass House Bill 487, setting up a showdown where the Ohio House will either adopt the changes as is, or send the bill to a conference committee where the details will be hashed out.
Educators have been inundating legislators in both houses with support for the original SB229, with many House members expressing support for the bill and frustration that it was held hostage by Stebelton for the last five months (and isn’t even on the committee’s agenda for next week).
Now, thanks to the efforts of everyone who advocated for the return of some local control to school districts, the Senate Education Committee has once again taken action to provide some much needed flexibility in the implementation of the new system for both principals and teachers.
Once the full Senate passes the bill with these changes, we’ll again call on educators to contact all members of the Ohio House to accept the new language when it returns to the House for a vote.