Business Leaders Praise Clarity and Fairness of Ohio’s New School Report Cards



 

Pandemic’s Effects Are Clearly Evident and Policymakers Urged to Continue Supporting Schools’ Efforts to Address Them

COLUMBUS – Ohio’s business leaders praised the state’s new school report cards for delivering on what policymakers promised—ease of understanding, fairness and honesty. The new reports cards are a product of reforms made last year and were issued today by the Ohio Department of Education. They can be found here.

“Ohio has consistently been a national leader in helping parents and communities understand how well their children’s schools are doing, and the new reports issued today take our system to a higher level,” said Lisa Gray, president of Ohio Excels, a non-profit coalition of Ohio business leaders focused on strengthening education policy and workforce solutions. “They succeed in bringing the new improvements that Ohio’s business community and other school and student advocates supported by clearly, honestly, and fairly evaluating schools and school districts and then communicating those metrics in understandable ways. Ohio’s students deserve to be in schools that are constantly improving, and parents and the public deserve to know if that’s happening.”

An analysis of the data in the new report cards show that they are already earning their keep by shining a brighter, clearer light on a known, but not fully understood challenge: the impacts of the pandemic on student outcomes. Chronic absenteeism has increased to alarming levels with 30% persistently out of school statewide. While overall achievement modestly increased last year, far too many students – 60% of all students – are not able to read at grade level, especially at the early grades.

“While it is sobering to see the challenges students face, the report cards provide necessary and valuable information,” said Pat Tiberi, president and CEO of the Ohio Business Roundtable, who also serves as chairman of the Ohio Excels board. “It will help families, educators, community organizations, and business leaders know where students need help. We all must lean in to find a solution, and the report card is a critical component of this. I hope these results will start conversations in local communities and among state policymakers about the comprehensive effort required to help students show up to school, learn to read, and be successful after they graduate.”

 

“We all knew the pandemic dealt a blow to learning and student achievement and the new school report cards are helping us better understand that,” said Gray. “We need to continue the supportive steps the state is taking and look at specific, additional reading and attendance supports in areas where it’s clear it can make a difference. It would be tempting to change the height of the bar to make it appear we’re doing better but that’s not in anyone’s best interest and we hope policymakers resist ideas to make changes this soon.”