Arts on Line Update June 23, 2009

A message from the director, Donna Collins:
The economic crisis in Ohio is impacting each of us at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.  In these final days of the fiscal year, which ends on June 30, I hope that you will become a loud and powerful voice for the arts and arts education.  It is more important than ever before that we talk passionately and with conviction to our members of the Ohio House and Senate, the Governor, the Conference Committee, and our friends.  Ohio Citizens for the Arts sent another Action Alert this morning (June 22nd) in regards to funding for the Ohio Arts Council – numbers surfacing in the past few days indicate funding levels at the mid-1980s.  The action alert should have hit your email box around 10:00 AM.  A thousand voices are needed today!

It is critical that we also take action on the Alert issued by OAAE last week (Arts on Line, June 15th): http://capwiz.com/artsusa/oh/issues/alert/?alertid=13531686&queueid We must work towards the best education system possible for Ohio’s children.  The HB1 Conference Committee deliberations are in full swing.  Arts education advocates need to contact their lawmakers NOW and urge them to support the evidence-based model (EBM) included in the House version of Am. Sub. HB 1 so that a comprehensive plan is finally in place to reform Ohio’s education and school funding systems.  The action alert issued last week includes all the information you need to take action.

As I contemplate the future it becomes increasingly apparent that without citizen and policy maker action on behalf of the arts and arts education in Ohio there will be a day in the near future that we may cease to exist and that the things we have worked so hard for in the last few decades will be gone.  While I’m furrowed by these thoughts I also believe that together we can and will make a difference for the arts and arts education in Ohio.  Join me today, right now, and take action!  One thousand Ohioans writing an email to policy-makers can make a huge impact.

128th General Assembly: The House and Senate have scheduled sessions and committee hearings this week.  Tentative sessions have been scheduled on Friday for both the House and Senate in the event that the Conference Committee on HB 1 finalizes its report.

*Ohioans mourn the death of Senator Robert Schuler, who passed away on June 19, 2009.  Senator Schuler was elected to the Ohio Senate in 2003 representing the 7th Senate District.  He also served in the Ohio House between 1993 and 2000.

*The Senate concurred with House changes to SB 79 (Stewart) on June 16, 2009.  This bill eliminates the term “Mental Retardation” from county boards and state agencies.  The bill will now be sent to Governor Strickland to sign.

*A new web site has been developed in support of the evidence-based model (EBM), Governor Strickland’s plan to reform education and school funding included in the House version of Am. Sub. HB1 (Sykes). (The Senate version of Am. Sub. HB 1 removes the evidence-based funding model.) The web site is sponsored by the Ohio Education Association, the Ohio School Boards Association, the Ohio Federation of Teachers, and the Ohio Association of School Business Officials, and includes information about the evidence-based model and the rational for adopting Governor Strickland’s education reform agenda. The web site is located at http://www.futureofohio.org.

Governor Strickland Offers Framework to Balance HB1: Governor Ted Strickland held a news conference on Friday afternoon June 19, 2009 to propose a “framework” to balance the state’s FY10-11 budget included in Am. Sub. HB 1 (Sykes), now in conference committee. The six member conference committee, chaired by Representative Sykes, is working toward finalizing the $50 billion plus budget bill to meet a June 30, 2009 deadline.

According to the Governor, the proposed framework is not the end point, but a starting point for conference committee discussions. The framework includes recommendations to close a projected $3.198 billion deficit in the budget bill as passed by the Senate with a combination of budget reductions, cash management strategies, and new revenue.  The framework includes a controversial provision to expand gambling in Ohio by allowing video lottery terminals (slot machines) at race tracks.

At the news conference Governor Strickland emphasized Ohio’s serious economic problems, and how further cuts in state government are not welcome but necessary.  The governor also stressed the need to reform Ohio’s education system in order to strengthen Ohio’s economy, and pledged to continue support for K-12 education and higher education.

According to the Governor, “We can’t eliminate essential safety net services that Ohioans need now more than ever. So, in order to balance the budget we must reduce services that Ohioans have needed and received in the past but the state can no longer continue to provide. But in reducing these services, we must minimize the impact on our most vulnerable, especially children, the elderly and disabled.”

The proposed budget framework includes the following:
-Reduces funding for state government overall by $2.43 billion.  This includes $1.299 billion from state departments, agencies, boards, and commissions.
-Maintains foundation funding for primary and secondary education; maintains a freeze on tuition at higher education institutions next year; and institutes K-12 education reforms.
-Permits video lottery terminals (VLTs – slot machines) at Ohio’s racetracks administered by the Ohio Lottery Commission.  Raises $295.8 million in FY10 and $637.4 million in FY11 in licensing fees and taxes on the VLTs.
-Includes a temporary two year reduction of $227 million in transfers to the Public Library Fund.
-Includes a temporary two year reduction from 14 to 8 percent in employer contributions made to the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS).  According to Director Pari Sabety of the Office of Budget and Management, this reduction will save $94 million (non GRF portion), and will be paid back to PERS over ten years.
-Reduces Medicaid expenditures by $770.4 million.  This reduction will also trigger a $406.7 million loss in federal matching Medicaid funds.
-Waves the end-of-the-fiscal-year balancing requirement to save $130 million over the biennium.
-Includes $201 million in cash management strategies.
-Provides $213 million in tangible personal property tax reimbursements for schools and local governments.
-Restores funding for the Closing the Achievement Gap Initiative, which was cut in the Senate version of the budget bill. Preserves the Help Me Grow program.

The framework provides $7,467,769,257 in FY10 and $7,179,433,593 in FY11 in General Revenues Funds for primary and secondary education.  This is $1.72 billion less than the Senate version of Am. Sub. HB 1 and a reduction of $850 million compared to FY09 estimates of $8,030,441,057 (LSC Budget in Detail). Reductions are made to line items in the Ohio Department of Education’s budget  for School Management Assistance; Educator Training; Alternative Education Programs; Policy Analysis; School Improvement Initiatives; Student Assessment; Accountability Report Cards; Child Care Licensing; STEM Initiatives; Bus Purchase Allowances; and Special Education Enhancements.

Governor Strickland said at the press conference that his office has determined that the latest a budget could be approved without causing an interruption in state government would be July 2, 2009.  A continuing resolution would not be “desirable” because of the budget reductions that have already been made to FY09 levels.  He also said that he is encouraged by the conference committee work on the K-12 budget.

The Office of Budget and Management has on its web site at http://obm.ohio.gov/ several documents that provide a summary of the proposed framework and budget cuts from the Ohio Department of Education.

This Week at the Statehouse: The House and Senate education committees are not meeting this week.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24, 2009

*The House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Representative Letson, will meet on Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at 3:00 PM in hearing room 114. The committee will hear testimony on HB144 (Grossman) Tax Credit-Baccalaureate Degree.  This bill grants an income tax credit eliminating tax liability for five years for individuals who obtain a baccalaureate degree and who reside in Ohio.

The committee will also hear testimony on HB218 (Winburn) Public Utility Tangible Tax Valuation.  This bill modifies the tax valuation of public utility tangible personal property used to generate electricity from renewable resources.

*The House Health Committee, chaired by Representative Boyd, will meet on Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at 4:00 PM in hearing room 018.  The committee will hear testimony on HB60 (Pillich) School Nutrition Standards.  This bill establishes nutritional standards for food and beverages sold in vending machines in public schools.

Stanford University Charter School Study Released: The Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University released a study on June 15, 2009 called “Multiple Choices: Charter School Performance in 16 States.”

The report presents a longitudinal analysis of student achievement of 70 percent of students who attend charter schools in the U.S., and provides an overview of their academic growth in math and reading.
The study also includes a separate state analysis for each of the sixteen states studied (including Ohio), and policy recommendations.

In order to conduct the study, researchers created a virtual twin, based on demographics, English language proficiency, participation in special education and subsidized lunch etc., in traditional public schools to match 84 percent of charter school students.

According to the Executive Summary, “The group portrait shows wide variation in performance. The study reveals that a decent fraction of charter schools, 17 percent, provide superior education opportunities for their students. Nearly half of the charter schools nationwide have results that are no different from the local public school options and over a third, 37 percent, deliver learning results that are significantly worse than their student would have realized had they remained in traditional public schools.”

*Overall charter students trail the academic growth of traditional public school (TPS) students by .01 standard deviations in reading, and by .03 standard deviations in math.

*Nationally, elementary and middle school charter students exhibited higher learning gains than equivalent students in the traditional public school system.

*Some subgroups of charter school students demonstrated greater academic growth than their traditional public school twins. This includes students in poverty and English language learners.

*Other subgroups, including Black and Hispanic students, as a whole, show significantly smaller learning gains than those of their TPS twins.

*The effectiveness of charter schools was found to vary widely by state. In Arkansas, Colorado (Denver), Illinois (Chicago), Louisiana, and Missouri charter school students experienced significantly larger growth – ranging from .02 standard deviations to .07 standard deviations – than would have occurred in TPS. In six states – Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, and Texas – charter school students experienced lower learning gains – ranging from .01 to .06 – than would have occurred in TPS. In four states – California, District of Columbia, Georgia, and North Carolina – the results were mixed or no different from the gains for TPS.

RESULTS FOR OHIO
This study includes an analysis of academic achievement data of 36,329 students in charter schools in grades 3-8 from 321 charter schools in Ohio from 2005-2008. (These grades were selected because students are assessed through Ohio’s achievement tests.)

*The results suggest that new charter school students have an initial loss of learning in both reading and math compared to their counterparts in traditional public schools. In subsequent years, charter school students receive no significant benefit in reading from charter school attendance compared to their counterparts in traditional public schools. However, charter school students continue significant losses of learning in math after the first year of attendance.
*The results show that in Ohio, African-American students enrolled in charter schools receive no significant benefit in both reading and math compared to their counterparts in traditional public schools.
*Hispanic students enrolled in charter schools receive a significant loss of learning compared to their counterparts in traditional public schools in both reading and math.
*Students in poverty enrolled in charter schools do significantly better in both reading and math compared to their counterparts in traditional public schools.
*Special Education students in charter schools in Ohio receive no significant benefit from charter school attendance compared to their counterparts in traditional public schools in both reading and math.
*English Language Learning students in charter schools in Ohio receive no significant benefit as a result of charter school attendance compared to their counterparts in traditional public schools in both reading and math.
*Charter schools do about the same as traditional public schools in reading and charter school attendance leads to significantly worse results in math across all deciles for students compared to their virtual peers from traditional public schools.

POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS
The following policy recommendations were also proposed in the study:
*Charter schools or school models demonstrating success should be further studied and replicated.
*Additional research is needed to determine why charter schools are not adequately serving certain student groups. “Whatever the reason, the policy community needs to be aware of this dichotomy, and greater attention should be paid to the vast number of students not being well served in charter schools.”
*Charter school operators should take steps to mitigate or reverse the learning loss of students in their first year of attendance.
*The overall findings of this report indicate “…a disturbing – and far-reaching – subset of poorly performing charter schools.  Authorizers must be willing and able to fulfill their end of the original charter school bargain: accountability in exchange for flexibility. When schools consistently fail, they should be closed.”
*Neither market mechanisms nor regulatory oversight have been a sufficient force to deal with under performing schools.
*A national set of metrics should be developed to compare the performance of charter schools and the actions of authorizers across state lines.  Using these metrics Authorizer Report Cards should be developed to provide transparency and put pressure on authorizers to act in clear cases of failure.

The report is available at http://credo.stanford.edu/.

News from the ODE: The June 2009 issue of The Ides of ODE published by the Ohio Department of Education includes information about the following:

*Standards Revision Process: A meeting with education stakeholder groups was held on June 18, 2009 to discuss the revision process for Ohio’s Academic Content Standards in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. Another meeting with teachers and curriculum specialists will be held on June 30, 2009. Information from the June 30, 2009 meeting will be posted by July 10, 2009 on ODE’s Web site at www.education.ohio.gov, keyword: revision. A survey will also be available.

Advisory teams and working groups for each content area will work during July – September. The timeline calls for draft standards to be posted on ODE’s Web site by early November.  Focus groups will be organized to provide additional feedback, and feedback will also be accepted online.  The draft standards will also be reviewed by national experts during the months of November and December.

A chart summarizing stakeholder group involvement in the standards revision process can be found on ODE’s Web site at
http://www.ode.state.oh.us/GD/Templates/Pages/ODE/ODEDetail.aspx?Page=3&TopicRelationID=1696&Content=68694

*Ohio Performance Assessment Pilot Project Update: The Ohio Performance Assessment Pilot Project’s goal is to explore the possible utilization of curriculum-embedded performance assessments as a component of the state’s next generation of assessments. Fifteen school sites were selected to participate in the project. Teachers, administrators, and support staff from these sites have participated in professional development led by the Ohio Department of Education and Stanford University content consultants, and hosted by the ESC of Central Ohio. The teachers have articulated performance outcomes that reflect subject specific content and skills necessary for college and/or careers in math, science, and English language arts, and have begun creating corresponding performance tasks. Participants have also revised rubrics for scientific inquiry and performance outcomes, and identified professional development needs and how to meet those needs.

Settlement Reached in LWVO Lawsuit: The League of Women Voters of Ohio (LWVO) and Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner announced on June 17, 2009 that a settlement had been reached on June 15, 209 in the lawsuit, League of Women Voters of Ohio v. Brunner before the United States District Court Northern District of Ohio Western Division. The League of Women Voters of Ohio, League of Women Voters of Toledo-Lucas County, and a dozen Ohio citizens filed the lawsuit in 2005 alleging that then Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, Governor Bob Taft, and their predecessors had failed to protect the fundamental rights of eligible Ohio voters to cast a meaningful ballot, as required by the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

According to LWVO president Meg G. Flack, “Ohio voters won a great victory today with the settlement of this case which was about giving all eligible Ohio voters the chance to vote in a fair election and have their votes counted. Careful planning and uniform execution of elections was our goal and we believe this agreement achieves that.”

The agreement requires the state to provide for uniformity and consistency in Ohio election procedures so that the opportunity to vote can be enjoyed equally by all Ohio citizens. It addresses deficiencies identified in the 2004 election, but also deficiencies over the past three decades pertaining to election planning, voter registration, absentee ballot processes, training poll workers, assuring security, allocating equipment and resources, and providing access for voters with disabilities. The terms of the Agreement will remain in effect until January 11, 2015.  Any claims arising out of the Agreement will be heard by Judge James G. Carr of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

One of the issues that is not settled is the implementation of the statewide database of voters in Ohio.  The Settlement Agreement requires Secretary Brunner to report progress on this issue to the court by December 31, 2009.  Plaintiffs must wait until January 15, 2010 to re-file the lawsuit based on the database claims.

According to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, “This landmark agreement will ensure that the administration of elections is uniform and consistent across the state and ensure that all Ohioans have equal access to the ballot box.”   (http://www.lawyerscommittee.org/projects/voting_rights/page?id=0046)

Redistricting Competition Winners Announced: The Ohio Redistricting Competition partners announced on June 18, 2009 the results of a public competition to develop compact, competitive, and fair congressional districts that also addressed community interests. The partners include the Office of the Secretary of State, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, and Ohio Citizen Action, Common Cause Ohio, Rep. Dan Stewart (D-Columbus), former Rep. Joan Lawrence, and Richard Gunther, a political science professor at Ohio State University.  The purpose of the competition was to prove that an open, public, process based on objective criteria can be used to produce fair legislative districts in Ohio.

Participants were instructed how to use 2000 census data to develop18 congressional districts that would meet the requirements of the Voting Rights Act.  Fourteen plans were submitted, but three were disqualified. Three plans were declared winners based on the criteria. The winning entries were submitted by Stuart Wright of Columbus, Ohio; Illinois State Representative Mike Fortner; and Tim Clarke of Avon, Ohio.

Ohio’s current congressional district plan includes 13 Republican leaning districts and 5 Democratic leaning districts. Seven of the 18 congressional districts are rated as competitive for either political party. The plan also includes 44 county fragments, which lead to a low level of community preservation and districts that are not compact.

By contrast, the congressional plans selected as winners all decrease the number of partisan leaning districts; increase the number of competitive districts; reduce the number of fragmented counties; and increase the compactness of districts.

Bills Introduced
*SB 139 (Miller, R.) School Zone Speeding: Doubles the fine for a speeding violation that occurs in a school zone during restricted hours.
*HB 229 (Stewart) School Cleaning: Requires the Department of Health to establish a pilot program to test the effectiveness of the “OS1” comprehensive cleaning system in public schools.

FYI ARTS
NAEP Arts 2008 Assessment Released: The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the Nation’s Report Card: 2008 – Music and Visual Arts at Grade 8 was released on June 15, 2009. This report includes the results of the NAEP Arts 2008 Assessment, which was administered by the National Center for Education Statistics within the Institute of Education Sciences. A nationally representative sample of over 7,900 eighth grade students from public and private schools participated in the NAEP Arts 2008 Assessment conducted last year. The knowledge and skills of students in the arts were measured by asking students to observe, describe, analyze, and evaluate existing works of music and visual art (responding), and create an original work of art (creating). The scores were reported for the aggregate and for types of students based on race, gender, ethnicity, free and reduced-price lunch, etc.

According to the remarks by Stuart Kerachsky, Acting Commissioner, National Center for Education Statistics, the last NAEP report assessing student achievement in fine arts was issued in 1997. In this assessment researchers had to scale back the music questions, and only measured a student’s ability to respond and identify music, not create music.

Student knowledge and skills in theatre and dance were not assessed due to budgetary and data collection constraints, as was the case in 1997.

Comparisons between the 2008 and 1997 arts assessments were limited due to the passage of time. Since 1997, some of the methods used for training scorers had changed, some of the student art-work used for training scorers in 1997 had cracked or faded over time, and the kinds of art supplies and tools available today are not exactly the same as those available in 1997.

Comparisons of performance over time on individual multiple-choice questions was conducted, and comparisons between 1997 and 2008 regarding student participation in arts activities was also conducted.

The following results were reported for music:
*White and Asian/Pacific Islander students scored higher, on average, than Black and Hispanic students.
*The average score for female students in music was higher than that for male students.
*Students attending private schools had higher scores, on average, than those attending public schools. Viewed by school location, students attending city schools scored lower, on average, than those attending suburban, town, or rural schools.
*According to school administrators, in 2008 about 57 percent of eighth-graders attended schools offering music instruction at least three or four times a week. There was no significant difference between this 2008 percentage and the corresponding percentage obtained in the 1997 assessment.
*The percentage of student who said they were asked to write down music increased from 26 percent in 1997 to 33 percent in 2008. This was the only activity for which the percentage changed significantly over time.
*Overall, 34 percent of eighth-graders reported participating in one or more of these musical activities at school in 2008. Although questions about participation in these musical activities were also asked in 1997, changes in the format of the questions prohibit comparing results from the two years.

The following results were reported for visual arts:
*White and Asian/Pacific Islander students had higher scores than Black and Hispanic students. In addition, female students outscored male students.
*The 10-point difference in scores for private versus public school students was not statistically significant. Students attending suburban schools had a higher average score than students attending city schools.
*The overall average percent of maximum score for creating in visual art was 52 out of 100. White and Asian/Pacific Islander students had higher scores than Black and Hispanic students, and female students scored higher than male students.
*According to school administrators, in 2008 about 47 percent of eighth-grade students attended schools offering visual arts instruction at least three or four times a week. There were no significant changes since 1997 in the reported frequency of visual arts instruction.
*The percentage of students who said their teachers allowed them to choose their own art project fell from 47 percent in 1997 to 39 percent in 2008. In contrast, the percentage who said they were asked to write about their own artwork rose from 21 percent to 27 percent. These were the only in-class activities in which we saw a significant change.
*The percentage of eighth-graders who reported that they visited an art museum or gallery with their class dropped from 22 percent in 1997 to 16 percent in 2008.
*In the creating part of the visual arts assessment, students were asked to create a self-portrait. They were given white drawing paper, colored oil pastels, a mirror, and a charcoal pencil. Their self-portraits were rated as “Sufficient,” “Uneven,” “Minimal,” or “Insufficient.”

Four percent of self-portraits received the highest rating, “Sufficient.”
Twenty-five percent of self-portraits were rated as “Uneven.”
Fifty-seven percent of self-portraits were rated as “Minimal.”
Fourteen percent of students’ self-portraits were rated “Insufficient.”

The following are some comments regarding the results of the NAEP Arts 2008 Assessment:

*U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued a statement noting the importance of the report, and how the results of the report remind us that the arts are a “core subject” and part of the complete curriculum.

According to Duncan’s statement, “This Arts Report Card should challenge all of us to make K-12 arts programs more available to America’s children and youth. Such programs not only engage students’
creativity and academic commitment today, but they uniquely equip them for future success and fulfillment. We can and should do better for America’s students.”

http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2009/06/06152009.html

*Americans for the Arts:  “As reported today in The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, and USAToday, the findings are “mediocre,” “lackluster,” and “may make America’s arts instructors kind of blue.”
http://www.artsusa.org/news/afta_news/default.asp#item27

New York Times.  “Study Finds Instruction in Art Lags in 8th Grade” by Sam Dillon, June 15, 2009.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/16/education/16scores.html?_r=3&hpw

Christian Science Monitor. “What does ‘p’ in music mean? Twenty percent of US students know. A report card on arts education released Monday shows room for improvement”, by Stacy Teicher Khadaroo, June 15, 2009 http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0615/p02s08-ussc.html

USAToday USA Today. “Picture is unclear on arts instruction in schools”, by Greg Toppo, –http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-06-15-naeparts_N.htm

For other reactions please visit http://www.artsjournal.com/dewey21c/ by Richard Kesslar.

###
This update is written weekly by Joan Platz, Information Coordinator for the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education.  The purpose of the update is to keep arts education advocates informed about issues dealing with the arts, education, policy, research, and opportunities.  The distribution of this information is made possible through the generous support of the Ohio Music Education Association (www.omea-ohio.org), Ohio Art Education Association (www.oaea.org), Ohio Educational Theatre Association (www.Ohioedta.org); OhioDance (www.ohiodance.org), and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (www.OAAE.net).

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About OAAE

Since our founding in 1974, by Dr. Dick Shoup and Jerry Tollifson, our mission has always been to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Working at the local, state, and federal levels through the efforts of a highly qualified and elected Board of Directors, our members, and a professional staff we have four primary areas of focus: building collaborations, professional development, advocacy, and capacity building. The OAAE is funded in part for its day-to-day operation by the Ohio Arts Council. This support makes it possible for the OAAE to operate its office in Columbus and to work statewide to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Support for arts education projects comes from the Ohio Arts Council, The John F. Kennedy Center, Ohio Music Education Association, Ohio Art Education Association, Ohio Educational Theatre Association, VSA Ohio, and OhioDance. The Community Arts Education programs of Central Ohio are financially assisted by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners and the Greater Columbus Arts Council. We gratefully acknowledge and appreciate the financial support received from each of these outstanding agencies and organizations.
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