COLUMBUS -- State Representative Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) this week offered sponsor testimony on legislation he recently introduced aimed at boosting local control for school districts and reducing the stress placed on students caused by frequent testing. Currently being vetted in the House Education and Career Readiness Committee, the bill works to establish stability for teachers and encourages student success in the classroom.

House Bill 176 prioritizes local control within school districts by eliminating the use of Common Core State Standards and permitting school districts to implement new standards so long as these standards meet the state's minimum requirements. Drafted in coordination with schools and parents, the bill also makes changes to graduation requirements, teacher and principal evaluations and the Resident Educator Summative Assessment, while extending through the 2019-2020 school year the safe harbor provisions for students and school districts related to achievement assessment score results and state report card ratings, currently in effect for the 2016-2017 school year.

"I trust our local districts because they are closest to the people," Rep. Thompson said. "We need to enable them to pursue policies that best reflect the needs and values of their students, parents and teachers."

Beyond these provisions, the bill also protects students by preventing the collection of their personal data. Currently, student data such as social security numbers, medical records, and school grades can be sent to technology companies for their use.

House Bill 176 now awaits further testimony.