Social Policy: Primary & Secondary Education

Social Policy: Primary & Secondary Education

Support the use of public funds only for public schools, state education standards, and state funding for education that guarantees a realistic and equitable level of per-pupil expenditures.
Position In Brief: 

Support the use of public funds only for public schools. Support an elected State Board of Education whose responsibility is policy making/planning. Support state education standards as a method of attaining a high-quality education; adoption and implementation of standards must avoid consequences that may harm educational quality and the futures of children. Support state funding for education that guarantees a realistic and equitable level of per-pupil expenditures, and support local school districts assuming a reasonable share of the financial burden.

Primary and Secondary Education

(Adopted 1969, 1983, 1984, 1991, 1994; Updated 2019)

State Board and Department of Education

  1. The League of Women Voters of Ohio supports the con­tinuation of a State Board of Education which should be elected rather than appointed.
  2. The primary responsibility of the State Board of Edu­cation should be policy making/planning.
  3. The primary responsibilities of the State Depart­ment of Education should be administrative and regulatory.
  4. The LWVO identifies two main areas of State Board of Education operations that need im­provement: commun­ications and management of responsibilities.
    • Improved direct communication is needed be­tween the State Board of Education and the public, educators, and the legis­lature to increase public awareness and State Board of Edu­cation visibility.
    • State Board of Education respon­si­bil­ities should be reduced and prior­ities set so that the Board can func­tion effec­tively and effi­ciently as a policy making/plan­ning body.

    State Education Standards

    LWVO supports:

1.  The use of state education standards as a method of “requiring a general education of high qual­ity.”

2.  Compliance with the same state stan­dards by all chartered schools.

3.  The establishment of guidelines for granting any exceptions to the state education standards by the State Board of Education for “good and sufficient reason.”

4.  The development of a timely, open process for the evaluation and improvement of the state education standards. 

5.  Within schools, assessment of student learning should include measures other than standardized tests. Such assessments (including standardized tests) provide a useful tool for: 

    • Monitoring academic progress
    • Helping teachers modify instruction
    • Identifying students who need additional support, and
    • Informing placement decisions

6.  State-mandated standardized tests should be developed in a transparent manner with a clearly designated purpose. They should be aligned with state-adopted academic standards. Such assessments and their consequences should be modified based on needs of students with disabilities and those who are English-language learners. Standardized tests may be useful in:

    • Monitoring student academic growth
    • Promoting consistent content in subject areas
    • Measuring overall academic progress and achievement within and across groups, and
    • Comparing student performance across schools, districts, and states

7.  While well-designed standardized tests have positive uses, the League believes that attaching high-stakes consequences to test results negatively impacts student wellbeing, curricular programs, district budgets, and instructional time. These negative effects may include aspects such as student and teacher stress, a narrowing of curriculum to spend more time on tested subjects, lack of availability of student electives because of focus on tested subjects, demands on district budgets for testing and remediation, and loss of instructional time to test preparation and administration. Therefore:

    • Standardized assessments should not be used for high-stakes determinations such as grade promotion or graduation requirements.
    • Standardized assessments should not be a basis for evaluating the effectiveness of teachers or administration.
    • Funding should not be linked to standardized test performance. All schools should have adequate funding to enable their students to be successful.
    • Standardized testing, including benchmark and practice tests, should be limited in frequency.

8.  Information obtained through testing should be made available to students, parents, and schools of attendance. Without student and/or parent permission, individual student data should not be available to colleges, employers, and the general public.

9.  The League believes that legislation and policy regarding education assessments need to be carefully formulated to reduce potential litigation in areas such as special education, parental rights, and privacy concerns.

Education Finance

LWVO supports the following princi­ples as the role of the state in funding ele­mentary and secondary educa­tion in Ohio:

1.  LWVO supports a funding system for public elementary and secondary education that is accountable and responsive to the taxpayers. LWVO believes that public funds should be used only for public schools.

2.  LWVO supports a guarantee by the state of a re­alistic level of per pupil expenditure in all school districts, in­cluding compensatory educa­tion pro­grams where needed.

3.  The equalizing function of the distrib­ution formula for Foundation Basic Aid should be en­hanced by de­creas­ing the use of Basic Aid Guarantees.

4.  Additional state education funding to school dis­tricts should be allocated primarily through Foun­dation Ba­sic Aid, as these moneys are unrestricted in use.

5.  State aid should be distributed to compensate for variations among school districts in their ability to raise local revenue to fund edu­cation.

6.  The state aid formula should be calculated to re­flect the effects of the tax reduction factor on the amount of revenue school districts can raise through property taxes.

7.  The state aid formula should be calculated to re­flect income wealth of school districts.

8.  The state aid formula should be calculated to re­flect:

    • the actual costs to school dis­tricts for state-mandated programs;
    • meeting the educational needs of the children within the district;
    • consideration of the eco­nomic/geographic character­istics of school dis­tricts statewide.

9.  The state should be able to assist school districts in capital im­provements and building con­struction to comply with appro­priate codes in order to en­sure health and safety. (Adopted May 1991)

10.  Tax revenue from commercial/ industrial/ mining/ public util­ity property should be distributed to compen­sate for variations in taxable wealth among school dis­tricts. (Adopted May 1991)

11.  The General Assembly should establish a method to minimize fluc­tuations in state funding for ele­mentary and secondary edu­ca­tion programs. (Adopted May 1991)

12.  The state share of the cost of pupil trans­portation should be separated into two budget line items: public and non­public. (Adopted January 1985)

13.  The functions and operations of the county school system should be evalu­ated for possi­ble action by the State Board of Education and/or the legisla­ture. (Adopted Jan­uary 1985)

14.  LWVO supports the following principles for the role of the local commu­nity in fi­nancing elementary and sec­ondary education in Ohio:

    • Individual school districts should be required to as­sume a reasonable share of the financial burden and should retain the option of increasing per pu­pil expen­diture beyond this level through local taxes.
    • School districts should be participants in the decision-making process when tax abatements are being considered. 
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