Thursday, January 3, 2013

Removing Obstacles to Quality Education in Ohio

Guest Column from State Representative Jim Buchy

In the past two years you have heard a lot about changes to Ohio’s education system. Through a cooperative effort between lawmakers, teachers, parents, and students, we have passed several bills that increase and improve educational opportunities for young Ohioans. As we near the end of this General Assembly, I am proud to look back at everything the Ohio House has accomplished to strengthen Ohio’s schools.

In the general assembly we took six major steps to improve education in Ohio. House Bill 30, House Bill 21, House Bill 96, Senate Bill 316, House Bill 525, and House Bill 555 were enacted to give educators and students a better environment to teach and learn.

  • House bill 30 was passed on March 30th of 2011. It eliminated many frivolous and unfunded requirements of schools in Ohio, including the unfunded all day kindergarten mandate.
  • House Bill 21 was passed on April 13th of 2011. It permits Teach for America participants to complete an optional master’s degree at universities in Ohio. They are now teaching in struggling schools in Ohio, connecting our nation’s brightest college graduates with students who deserve the opportunities Teach for America can provide.
  • House Bill 96 was passed on December 16th of 2011. It specifies dyslexia as a specific learning disability and establishes early screening and intervention for the benefit of children.
  • Senate Bill 316 was passed on June 13th of 2012. It updated a number of aspects regarding Ohio’s curricula to improve student learning, including establishing a baseline reading level for all third graders to make sure the students are ready for higher grade levels.
  • House Bill 525 was passed on June 12, 2012. Known as the “Cleveland Plan,” this was a bi-partisan bill to reform the struggling Cleveland schools. I worked closely with the Cleveland Teacher’s Union to ensure their voice was heard in drafting and enacting the bill. The bill allows the mayor to establish a local panel to set standards for new charter schools to open in the city. It also calls for major changes in teacher layoffs and recalls by using an evaluation process instead of strict seniority to make sure our best educators remain in the best positions to help students grow.
  • House Bill 555 was passed on December 13th, 2012. It revises the report card system in Ohio to be more easily understood. It also puts Ohio’s educational standards inline with the federal government providing more access to federal financial aid for future college students.

Nothing is more important to the future of Ohio than the quality education of our children. As we move into a new year and the start of the 130th General Assembly, I will continue to make education a top priority in the Ohio House.

With reapportionment my office email has changed to Please follow this quick URL to complete an online survey and give me your thoughts to guide priorities for the next General Assembly:

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