The Ohio Department of Education is awaiting approval of its education accountability plan that was handed to federal education officials in September. But while the state waits for the government review, a national education advocacy group says Ohio’s plan is one of the best in the country.
Bellwether Education Partners is a nonprofit that does research and analysis of education policy. The group reviewed each of the 50 state ESSA plans, or the accountability plans required under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.
Ohio scores a 3 or 4 out of 5 in almost every category reviewed by Bellwether, including its supports for low-performing schools, clear academic goals, and measurements of the long-term performance of student subgroups, like minority or low-income children.
But Bellwether principle Chad Adleman says it’s Ohio’s focus on getting kids to read on level by the third grade that other states should take a good look at.
“School doesn’t start in third grade, and yet often our accountability systems do,” Adleman says. “So, it makes sense to start looking at what’s actually happening in Kindergarten through third grade. Are students developing fundamental reading skills in those early years?”
The standards in Ohio’s ESSA plan are based on a 2012 state law that requires third graders pass a test to prove they’re reading on grade level before they can advance to the 4th grade.