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Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District News Article

Spring Test Scores to Determine EdChoice Status in 2023-2024

Mar. 26, 2021 -- Ohio lawmakers recently passed that includes language which will allow the Ohio Department of Education to use state standardized test scores from the 2020-2021 school year to determine EdChoice eligibility for the 2023-2024 school year. Knowing that this spring’s test scores will be dramatically impacted by the pandemic, this would be yet another devastating blow to the District, as current EdChoice legislation has already cost our schools tens of millions of dollars over the past several years.

How do test scores impact EdChoice?
EdChoice eligibility is based, in part, on a building’s performance index rankings. Under the current legislation, performance index scores for this spring will be used in determining EdChoice scholarship eligibility in 2023-2024. This will almost certainly make it more difficult for schools to come out of EdChoice status and make it easier for them to enter it.

When a school is in EdChoice status, students living in its boundaries can apply to receive vouchers to attend private schools. Because of the way state funding operates in Ohio, this causes the CH-UH Schools to lose funds for two reasons: 1) The vast majority (more than 93%) of EdChoice students within District boundaries have never attended our public schools. This means that they were never factored into our budget to begin with. 2) We lose $6,000 per new high school student and $4,650 per new elementary school student using EdChoice due to a freeze in state funding.

What are the implications of opting out of testing?
Unfortunately, ODE has mandated that state testing be completed in person this year. We understand that some families may wish to opt their child out of testing due to health and safety concerns as the pandemic continues. The Ohio Department of Education does not have an opt-out form or process. If a student does not take the tests, they earn zero points and are still included in the denominator with a score of zero. This affects the performance index, which in turn puts our schools at risk of entering/remaining in EdChoice status. We respect each family's right to make a decision that is in the best interest of their child and urge you to speak with your child’s school counselor with any questions about testing. Contact information can be found on each school’s page.  

How can we advocate for our children and our schools?
Please write to and regarding and using the following points:

  • OST scores from 2020-2021 should not be used to determine EdChoice eligibility in any school year.
  • It is because of the major concerns surrounding the legitimacy, accuracy and fairness of standardized testing during a global pandemic that the CH-UH Board of Education passed a on March 2, 2021 urging the state to waive standardized testing entirely for Spring 2021.
  • Parents should have the choice of opting their children out of testing without risking financial harm to their public school.
  • The CH-UH City School District has been disproportionately affected by EdChoice and cannot sustain further damages that this legislation will cause.

Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby has been working this week with ODE officials, lobbyists and area superintendents to gain clarification on how to best proceed in the best interest of our students and will provide updates as they become available.

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