News from the Statehouse: The Ohio House and Senate will not hold sessions or committee meetings this week.
Early Voting Begins: Early voting for the November 2, 2010 Election began on September 28, 2010. Voters must be registered by October 4, 2010 to vote in the November election, and can request an absentee ballot through October 30, 2010 from their county boards of elections. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by November 1, 2010 and received by the board of elections by November 12, 2010. In-person voting is also available at county boards of elections and other designated locations. For more information please click here.
House Speaker Armond Budish and Senate President Bill Harris announced this week that the Ohio House and Senate will meet for a joint session at noon on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 to honor some 200 recipients of the Ohio Military Medal of Distinction. This award is presented to Ohioans who have given their lives in service to their country. A ceremony will be held at Franklin County Veterans Memorial Auditorium, where the joint session will take place. This is the first year that the awards will be presented, and is the result of legislation, 127-SB248 (Austria), which calls for the General Assembly to convene once per year to honor the medal recipients.
News from Washington, D.C.
Update on the FY11 Federal Budget: The U.S. House and Senate were unable to approve all of the FY11 appropriations bills to fund federal government departments and agencies by the start of the new fiscal year on October 1, 2010. A temporary spending bill, H.R. 3081
– Continuing Appropriations Act 2011, was approved by both chambers and signed by President Obama on September 30, 2010. This law will fund the government at current levels through December 3, 2010.
Congress then recessed so that members could return to their campaigns for the November 2, 2010 elections. Lawmakers were not able to complete work on a number of items before recessing, including legislation that would extend tax-cuts, a school nutrition bill already approved by the Senate; ethics trials in the House; and more. Lawmakers are expected to return to the Capitol after the election.
The U.S. Department of Education announced last week the following grant awards:
-$18 million for the “Strengthening Institutions” program, to help 48 higher education institutions expand their capacity to serve low-income students. Among the recipients is Lourdes College (Ohio), which will receive $399,960.
-$100 million for the Smaller Learning Communities program and High School Graduation Initiative program to assist 28 high schools and 29 states and school districts reform high schools and improve educational outcomes of students. -$100 million for the Magnet School program, to assist 36 school districts in 15 states expand school choice and diversity in schools.
-$3.5 million for 15 Special Education Parent Training and Information Centers (PTI), and $1 million to ten Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRCs).
More Conversations on Education Reform: The release on September 24, 2010 of the documentary “Waiting for Superman,” directed by Davis Guggenheim, has set-off a number of conversations about public education policies and reforms in the U.S. The documentary follows five students and their families as they seek a better education. To read more about the film visit the site.
NBC News hosted a week-long program entitled “Education Nation”, a nationally broadcast conversation about improving education in American schools. The program included a summit with top education leaders; discussions with experts in education policy; multi-media coverage of education issues on the Nightly News and Meet the Press; a Teacher Town Hall meeting; interviews with students, and more. To learn more about the program please click here.
Education National also featured an interview with President Obama on September 27, 2010. In the interview the President outlined his education reform agenda, which includes increasing the number of math and science teachers; improving graduation rates; expanding successful charter schools; extending the school year by a month; etc. He also spoke about tying more money for education to specific reforms, like those required in the “Race to the Top Initiative”; elevating the teaching profession; and helping struggling teachers with more training. To see the interview please visit this site.
News from the ODE
The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) recently held regional meetings in Columbus, Bowling Green, Logan, Dayton, and Massilon for Local Implementation Teams for Ohio’s Race to the Top (RttT) grant. The meetings were held to share details about the “Final Scope of Work”, required from each participating district and community school. The Final Scope of Work must be submitted to the ODE by October 22, 2010. The questions and answers from each of the sessions will be posted on the RttT website in the future. The RttT website.
The Controlling Board approved the request from the ODE regarding appropriation authority for a grant of $361 million from the federal Education Jobs Fund. This new federal initiative will provide over $10 billion nationally to assist local school districts save or create education jobs. The ODE will make these funds available to school districts and schools through their Comprehensive Continuous Improvement Plans (CCIP). For an update on the allocation of these funds, please click here.
Nominations for the ODE’s Asset Builder Awards are due October 15, 2010. This award recognizes individuals, schools, districts, youth organizations, businesses, or community members, that contribute to effective prevention, intervention, and youth development programs. The winners will be honored on November 17, 2010 at the 2010 Ohio Prevention and Education Conference in Columbus. For more information, please visit this site.
The eTech Ohio Commission has released two modules, Podcasting for Teaching and Learning and Transformational Connections with Blogs and Wikis. The modules consist of exercises, reading materials, and videos that guide the learner through effective use of these technologies, and are designed to introduce educators to technologies that can be used in the classroom. To access the modules please visit this site.
Results of the American Community Survey Released: The U.S. Census Bureau released the results of the 2009 American Community Survey (ACS) on September 28, 2010. The ACS is a nation-wide, ongoing survey that provides data to determine state and federal government allocations of up to $400 billion in federal and state funds each year. The ACS survey asks questions about age, income and benefits, disabilities, education, health insurance, employment, etc., and has replaced the long-form census questionnaire.
The following are some of the highlights from the 2010 ACS:
· Household Income: Real median household income in the United States fell between 2008 and 2009 – decreasing by 2.9 percent from $51,726 to $50,221. Between 2008 and 2009, real median household income decreased in 34 states and increased in one: North Dakota.
· Poverty: Thirty-one states saw increases in both the number and percentage of people in poverty between 2008 and 2009. No state had a statistically significant decline in either the number in poverty or the poverty rate.
· Health Insurance: Between 2008 and 2009, the percentage of insured children in the United States increased from 90.3 percent to 91.0 percent, with 1.1 million more insured children in 2009. Between 2008 and 2009, the percentage of uninsured adults increased from 14.6 percent to 15.1 percent, with 2.2 million more uninsured in 2009. The percentage of uninsured increased in 26 states, decreased in three states (Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico), and did not change significantly in 22 states.
· Industry and Occupation: Work hours in the United States fell by about 36 minutes per week from 39.0 hours in 2008 to 38.4 hours in 2009. Self-employed workers experienced a greater reduction in work hours between 2008 and 2009 than workers in other types of employment. Workers who were self-employed in their own unincorporated businesses worked 66 minutes less per week in 2009, while those self-employed in their own incorporated businesses worked
· 49 minutes less in 2009.
· Home Values: In 2009, the median property value for owner-occupied homes in the United States was $185,200.
· After adjusting for inflation, the median property value decreased in the United States by 5.8 percent between 2008 and 2009.
· Labor Force Participation: The labor force participation rate for men 16 to 24 decreased nationally from 61.5 percent in 2008 to 59.2 percent in 2009, while for women this age the rate decreased from 60.4 percent to 58.7 percent. For men 25 to 54, the national labor force participation rate decreased from 88.5 percent in 2008 to 87.9 percent in 2009, while women in this group experienced an increase from 77.0 percent to 77.1 percent. For men 55 and older, the national labor force participation rate remained unchanged (at 45.2 percent) from 2008 to 2009, while the rate for women increased from 32.8 percent to 33.2 percent.
· Education – Science and Technology: The estimated number of people in the United States 25 and over with a bachelor’s degree or higher was 56.3 million. Of this group, 20.5 million, or 36.4 percent, held at least one science and engineering degree. The percentages of all bachelor’s degrees in the science and engineering fields were 28 percent or less in Mississippi, North Dakota and Puerto Rico, and as high as 51 percent in the District of Columbia.
· Foreign-Born: 38.5 million of the 307 million residents in the United States were foreign-born, representing 12.5 percent of the total population.
For more information about the 2009 ACS please visit this site.
According to the ACS survey for Ohio, 15.2 percent of Ohioans lived at or below the poverty level in 2009, including 21.9 percent of Ohio children (under 18 years of age.) For more information about the survey results for Ohio please click here.
Study Raises Questions about the Effects of Merit Pay: The National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development, in cooperation with the RAND Corporation and the University of Missouri, Columbia, released on September 21, 2010 a report entitled Teacher Pay for Performance, Experimental Evidence from the Project on Incentives in Teaching, Matthew G. Springer, executive director of the National Center on Performance Incentives.
The report includes the results of a scientific study conducted from 2005-2010, called the Project on Incentives in Teaching (POINT Experiment). The study addressed the question, “Does bonus pay alone improve student outcomes?” Researchers found that “..rewarding teachers with bonus pay, in the absence of any other support programs, does not raise student test scores.”
The researchers note, however, that the study opens the way to test “more nuanced” teacher incentive programs that are being implemented throughout the nation. Teacher incentive programs that included support systems such as professional development or guided instructional practices for teachers, were not examined in this study in order to focus on the effect of monetary teacher incentives on student achievement.
Two hundred and ninety-six mathematics teachers in grades 5-8 in the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) volunteered to participated in this study. Half of the teachers were assigned to a treatment group and were eligible for bonuses of up to $15,000 per year based on students’ test-score gains on the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP). The other teachers were assigned to a control group and were not eligible for the bonuses. All teachers were evaluated based on performance benchmarks for MNPS teachers. Thirty-three percent of the treatment group received bonuses, which averaged around $10,000.
According to the researchers, the implementation of POINT went smoothly, with no complaints from teachers about the fairness of the process. Researchers attribute the smooth implementation to the partnerships that were developed to support the study. Agreeing to participate in the study were the Metropolitan Nashville School Board, the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools administrators, the Mayor’s Office, the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association, the Nashville Alliance for Public Education, the Tennessee Education Association, and the Tennessee Department of Education.
To read the press release please visit this site. The full report is available here.
New Tools to Transform Education Systems: Education Resource Strategies (ERS) and Education Week (Editorial Projects in Education) have a series of “tools” for school leaders to use to improve student achievement. The tools are part of a series entitled Practical Tools for District Transformation, and are available on the ERS website.
One of the tools featured, Seven Strategies for District Transformation, is a self-assessment and resource guide to align resources to maximize education reform. The guide can be used to help school districts define their strategic priorities; assess how well their resources — people, time, and money — align with those strategic priorities; and make resource decisions that drive improved student performance and equity. Using the ResourceCheck school district leaders can identify where their resources, personnel, and allocations of time align with their education priorities, and develop plans for improving their schools and systems.
According to the guide, ERS researchers studied high performing urban schools, and identified the following “seven common misalignments” that impede overall school improvement:
· School Funding: Schools and students with the same needs receive different levels and types of resources that don’t match their needs.
· Teaching: Job structure, salary, and support do not encourage teacher effectiveness and contribution.
· School Design: Traditional school schedules and staffing practices do not match time and individual attention to priorities, or foster professional working conditions for teachers.
· Instructional Support: Spending on and organization of curriculum, assessment, instruction, and professional development are not aligned with school needs.
· Leadership: Districts make limited investments to build and reward leadership effectiveness.
· Central Services: Central school services and supervision are not designed to improve productivity and customize support to school needs.
· Partnerships: Districts do not leverage more cost-effective community and expert resources to provide student support and non-core academic instruction.
Seven Strategies for District Transformation is available here.
The following other tools are also available at http://erstrategies.org/resources/featured/.
· Turnaround Schools: District Strategies for Success and Sustainability -School Funding Systems: Equity, Transparency, Flexibility -Fair Student Funding Summit: A summit featuring school districts that use weighted student funding.
· Weighted Student Funding: Why Do Districts Decide to Implement WSF?
· Breaking the Cycle of Failure in the Charlotte-Mechlenburg Schools by Jonathan Travers and Barbara Christiansen -Time and Attention in Urban High Schools: Lessons for Urban School Systems by Stephen Frank
October is National Arts and Humanities Month (NAHM), an annual celebration of the arts and humanities throughout the nation. For information about event ideas and promotional tools and resources, please visit Americans for the Arts.
Statehouse Announces First Sesquicentennial Event: Creativity Challenge for Students K-12. In preparation for the 150th anniversary of the Ohio Statehouse in 2011, the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board recently launched its “Sesquicentennial Creativity Challenge” for K-12 students throughout Ohio. The challenge will be open through the next year, and will allow students to learn about the history of the Ohio Statehouse and Ohio democracy.
The announcement coincides with the month-long celebration of Arts and Humanities Month in Ohio, which began Friday, October 1, 2010. The Ohio Statehouse will also host a variety of special events throughout October and into 2011, including re-enactments and exhibits to celebrate the sesquicentennial of Ohio’s Capitol Building, which was completed in 1861. A schedule of those events will be announced later.
As part of the celebration, the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board, in partnership with the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, will sponsor a Creativity Challenge, which will run through September 2011. The challenge asks students across the state to create a work of art based on the theme: “Picture Yourself at the People’s House.”
Ohio’s First Lady Frances Strickland is scheduled to accept the first submissions in the challenge from 53 Hanby Arts Magnet Elementary School (Westerville) students on Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 10:30 AM in the Ohio Statehouse Rotunda.
To enter the challenge students should submit an 8.5 inches x 11 inches piece of artwork, which can be of any flat media (pen, pencil, chalk, paint, markers, collage, etc.). Artwork will be uploaded into a special online gallery on the Ohio Statehouse website, and will also be displayed throughout legislative offices and on Capitol Square in Columbus. The artwork will become a permanent part of the historical record of the Ohio Statehouse.
Detailed information, including instructions, entry form, and creativity page template, are available at http://www.ohiostatehouse.org under the “education” tab.
News from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: The following items were included in the October issue of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Partnerships Education Department Update, by Barbara Shepard, director; John Abodeely, Program Manager; Kelsey Mesa, Program Coordinator; Anthony Barbir, Program Assistant; and Brooke LeBleu, Intern.
-NEW Teaching Award Announced: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts recently announced a new teaching award, the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards. This is a series of annual grants that will recognize inspiring teachers across the United States. The awards were created in honor of Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim, and are initiated and funded through the support of Freddie Gershon and his wife Myrna.
The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards will be presented each year on Sondheim’s birthday – March 22 – to a handful of teachers, kindergarten through college, who are nominated via the Kennedy Center website (www.kennedy-center.org).
The awards celebrate the teaching profession, the important role of teachers in society, and seek to inspire others to pursue this noble profession. Along with the Award, the selected teachers will be showcased on the Kennedy Center website and will receive $10,000.
Nominees must be living, legal residents of the United States, and currently teach, or have taught, in a K-12 school, college, or university in the United States. Teachers of all grade levels and subject areas are eligible. To nominate a teacher, you must be at least 18 years of age and must have been the Nominee’s student.
Nominations can be a written, audio, or video story. All required materials must be submitted online or postmarked by Wednesday, December 15, 2010. For more information, official rules, and nomination information, visit the website.
-NSBA and Kennedy Center Award: The Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network (KCAAEN) is again partnering with the National School Boards Association (NSBA) to recognize a local school board for outstanding support of arts education programs. The winning district will receive $10,000 to help strengthen arts education programs in the district. Nominations must be supported by the state school boards association, the state alliance for arts education, or these organizations jointly. The deadline for nominations is November 1, 2010 to the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education. For more information please contact OAAE at 614.224.1060.
-Wolf Trap Launches Early Childhood STEM Learning Through the Arts Initiative: The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts recently launched an Early Childhood STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Learning Through the Arts Initiative. This initiative focuses on the development, documentation, and dissemination of innovative, research-based models that integrate arts into early childhood STEM learning. Wolf Trap was awarded $1.15 million through the US Department of Education’s Arts Education Model Development and Dissemination grant program to support this initiative. Through classroom residencies and professional development workshops, Wolf Trap’s teaching artists will work alongside educators to develop and implement new strategies and content that correlate the fundamentals of dance, drama, and music with math/science learning outcomes in areas such as geometry/spatial relations, number/operations, pattern, measurement, and math reasoning. By the end of the grant period, Wolf Trap partner organizations will replicate the program in 10 regions throughout the US. For more information please visit this site.
-College Board Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts: The College Board is now accepting applications for a NEW award, “Excellence and Innovation in the Arts”. This award is a component of the Board’s Arts at the Core initiative, and will recognize and celebrate the achievements of SIX K-12 member schools that have implemented arts education programs that promote student learning and creativity in exemplary and innovative ways. One school from each of the College Board’s six regions will be recognized as a finalist and awarded a grant of $3,000 to support the continuation and growth of their arts programs. Of the six finalists, one school will be named the national winner, and will be awarded an additional $1,000. The deadline to apply is November 15, 2010. For more information please click here.