By Scott Halasz
XENIA — Xenia Community Schools passed a resolution Monday calling for the state to make sweeping changes to mandated testing.
The resolution, which passed 5-0, makes several requests of the state, but there are four main concerns, according to Superintendent Denny Morrison.
“We need a true reduction in state testing,” he said. “When PARCC was abolished two years ago, legislation was passed to limit testing. They did reduce the time spent taking the actual tests, but they did not reduce any of the instructional time lost preparing for these tests. There needs to be a reduction which includes both preparation time and actual test taking time.”
The resolution asks for a minimum of three years before any additional report cards are initiatives are implemented.
“School districts need time to catch up with all of the changes,” Morrison said. “It is frustrating trying to hit one target and while we are in the process of trying to do that, the target changes. During the last three years, our students have been assessed by a different group of tests each year under widely different conditions.”
District officials are also unhappy with how the results are presented.
“The state report card is made widely available to the public,” Morrison said. ” However, only a very brief explanation is offered. The report card has many different components making it very difficult for people to understand.”
Morrison also said the state system of testing requires district implementation without any additional state funding.
“This is just one more example of an unfunded mandate,” he said.
The resolution specifically calls for the Ohio Department of Education to list and describe the associated unfunded mandates, and separately identify those unfunded mandates required by state testing that a school district is unable to fund, and list all state testing requirements and mandates from which private and charter schools are exempt from addressing while receiving state funding.
Copies will be forwarded to the Ohio School Boards Association, Governor John Kasich, members of the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives, the superintendent of schools for the ODE and the state board of education. It also asks the Ohio School Boards to send to all Ohio public schools boards of education for their consideration.
“I believe that it will take more than one school district to make a difference, but the Greene County superintendents have been already been working together on some of these issues,” Morrison said. “We have also been meeting with our legislators expressing concerns in hopes of moving forward.”
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.