News from the Statehouse: The Ohio House has scheduled committee hearings this week on a number of bills, including two that address education issues. Lawmakers in the House are “fast-tracking” HB1 which authorizes the creation of JobsOhio and the privatization of the Department of Development. The following is a list of selected committees that will meet this week:
TUESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2011
*House State Government and Election, Mecklenborg, chair, at 1:30 PM in hearing room 116.
-HB1 (Duffey) JobsOhio: Authorizes the Governor to create JobsOhio, a nonprofit economic development corporation.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 26, 2011
*House State Government and Election, Mecklenborg, chair, at 11:00 AM in hearing room 116
-HB1 (Duffey) JobsOhio: Authorizes the Governor to create JobsOhio, a nonprofit economic development corporation.
*House Education, Representative Stebelton, chair at 7:00 PM, hearing room 017
-HB21 (Combs) Education: Allows new Internet- or computer-based community schools to open under certain conditions; requires the use of student performance data in evaluating teachers and principals for licensure; and qualifies participants in Teach for America for a professional educator license in Ohio.
-HB30 (Gardner) School Funding: Eliminates spending and reporting requirements related to the school funding system; abolishes the School Funding Advisory Council; eliminates the requirement that school districts offer all-day kindergarten; eliminates the requirement that schools establish family and civic engagement teams; and reduces to three years the period covered by financial forecasts of school districts, community schools, and STEM schools.
THURSDAY, January 27, 2011
*House Finance and Appropriations, Representative Amstutz chair, at 9:00 AM in hearing room 313.
-HB1 (DUffey) JOBSOHIO: Authorizes the Governor to create JobsOhio, a nonprofit economic development corporation.
Lobbyists Are the Focus of a Report on Campaign Spending: Ohio Citizen Action released on January 18, 2011 a study entitled “Lobbyists — Affluence and Influence” by Catherine Turcer and Leontien Kennedy.
According to the study, there are more than 90 lobbying firms active in Ohio. During the 128th Ohio General Assembly almost 60 percent of contributions received by members of the Ohio Senate Finance Committee and nearly 50 percent of contributions to the members of the House Finance Committee came from lobbyists, their firms, and those who hire them.
Campaign contributions from lobbyists to the members of the Ohio General Assembly totaled $738,465, and in-kind contributions totaled $202,186. Political action committees (PACs) contributed more than $15.5 million to the campaigns of House and Senate candidates.
The study calls for greater transparency and more restrictions on lobbyists, such as prohibiting them from hosting fund raising events for lawmakers, and requiring some restrictions on lawmakers who plan to become lobbyists after they finish their terms in the Statehouse.
The report is available here.
News from Washington: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will host an Education Stakeholders Forum on Monday, January 24, 2011 from 9:00 – 10:30 AM in Washington, D.C. This is the first forum of the new year and will provide updates about the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program; the Department’s new initiative for sharing state data profiles; the Department’s legislative and programmatic priorities for 2011; and provide an opportunity for questions.
The forum will be streamed live here.
State Board of Education Meets: Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown administered the oath of office to the newly elected and appointed members of the State Board of Education on January 18, 2011. The following is a list of the members of the State Board of Education and when their terms will expire:
Ann Jacobs (District 1), Lima December 31, 2012
Kathleen McGervey (District 2), Avon December 31, 2014
Jeffrey Mims (District 3), Dayton December 31, 2014
Debe Terhar (District 4), Cincinnati December 31, 2014
Rob Hovis (District 5), Millersburg December 31, 2012
Kristen McKinley (District 6), Columbus December 31, 2012
Tammy O’Brien (District 7), Akron December 31, 2014
Deborah Cain (District 8), Uniontown December 31, 2014
Michael Collins (District 9), Westerville December 31, 2012
Jeff Hardin (District 10), Milford December 31, 2012
Mary Rose Oakar (District 11), Cleveland December 31, 2012
Tess Elshoff, New Knoxville December 31, 2014
Joseph L. Farmer, Baltimore December 31, 2014
Dannie Greene, Gallipolis December 31, 2012
Thomas W. Gunlock, Centerville December 31, 2014
Martha Harris, Cleveland Heights December 31, 2012
C. Todd Jones, New Albany December 31, 2012
Dennis Reardon, Pickerington December 31, 2012
Dennis Shelton, Delaware December 31, 2014
The State Board of Education held its biennial organization meeting on January 19, 2011. The Board elected Rob Hovis president and Tim Gunlock vice president.
During its business meeting on January 19, 2011 the Board received the reports of the Achievement and Capacity committees, which had met on January 18, 2011.
The Achievement Committee, chaired by Mike Collins, reported that the committee had three items on its agenda and completed work on two.
Due to a lack of time the committee was not able to review the proposed revisions to the Gifted Spending Rules. Mr. Collins said that there was considerable interest in the rule, which will be discussed at the February meeting.
The committee received an update on the development of the Model Curricula, which is the second step in the revision of academic content standards in math, English Language Arts, science, and social studies as prescribed in 128-HB1. The draft Model Curricula is now being reviewed by the field through an online survey, and the Ohio Department of Education has received over 1400 comments so far. After completing the model the ODE will begin the next step of the process, which is the revision of the state assessments aligned to the new standards. The Achievement Committee will bring to the Board a resolution of intent to adopt the Model Curricula in March 2011.
The committee also discussed proposed changes to OAC Rule 3301-58, Value-Added. The committee will bring to the Board an intent to adopt these rules in February 2011.
The Capacity Committee, chaired by Rob Hovis, discussed the Anti-Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying Policy and whether or not to add specific language defining harassment to the current policy. The committee took no action to change the policy.
The committee also continued a discussion from a previous meeting about its responsibilities and items that committee members believe should be addressed by the committee. The purpose of the Capacity Committee is to ensure that students have the right conditions for learning. The committee identified two areas for further
consideration: the development of a policy map and gap analysis about Board policies, and an update about how the ODE communicates information about high performing schools to educators and the public in Ohio.
The Board also received the report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Deborah Delisle, who spoke about the implementation of the Race to the Top grant and its impact on other federally funded programs; ODE’s work with the Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations (QISA) and the Pearson Foundation; a symposium about how to align instructional systems with data systems to inform best practices for increased student achievement; and the recently published “Quality Counts 2011 Report”.
In her report about the Quality Counts report, Superintendent Delisle provided an overview of the report and how Ohio was rated in the different categories and ranked among the states. Ohio’s overall score has remained basically the same for the past three years, but Ohio’s rank among states dropped from fifth place to eleventh this year. According to the report Ohio’s strength is in the category of Standards, Assessment, and Accountability. Ohio received an A in this category. Superintendent Delisle noted that Ohio did not receive credit in some of the other categories for initiatives that are being phased-in, and some categories include indicators that are beyond the control of the ODE. For example, the Chance for Success category addresses issues such as poverty, income-levels, employment, adult education, etc.
Several Board members expressed support for Ohio’s continued progress to improve education, also noting the challenges that schools in Ohio face, especially in closing the achievement gaps among students. Following the discussion President Hovis requested that the Board receive a briefing about the Race to the Top grant in February or March.
The Board then took action on the resolutions included below and considered old business, new business, and miscellaneous business.
The Board accepted public participation from the following three witnesses on the Gifted Education Spending Rules, and adjourned.
-Christine Bero, one of five gifted coordinators from the Mahoning County ESC, described the services in gifted education provided by the ESC to 13 school districts in Columbiana and Mahoning Counties, and concerns regarding the proposed changes to the rules for gifted education.
According to the testimony, the school, staff, and community should have the flexibility to determine staffing and service needs for gifted students in the schools.
-Jane Buckingham, a gifted coordinator from Mahoning County ESC, spoke about the identification and service models for gifted education. She said that services for gifted students are determined based on data for each district, and might be different depending on the characteristics of the district. The proposed ratios for staffing levels for gifted in the draft standards are based on the total ADM for districts and might not reflect what is needed in each district. She asked for information about how the staffing ratios were determined.
-John Kuzma, a gifted coordinator from Mahoning County ESC, outlined concerns that he has about the draft spending rules for gifted education, especially the proposed ratios for the placement of the gifted coordinators and gifted intervention specialists based on ADM.
Resolutions considered by the State Board of Education on January 19, 2011:
#2 Approved a Resolution of Intent to amend Rules 3301-44-01 to 3301-44-03 and 3301-44-06 to 3301-44-09 of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) regarding the post secondary enrollment options program.
#3 Approved a Resolution of Intent to amend Rules 3301-92-01 and 3301-92-02 regarding school district budgeting.
#4 Approved a motion to postpone until the February 2011 meeting, consideration of the following two resolutions regarding territory transfers:
-A resolution to accept the recommendations of the hearing officer and to deny the transfer of school district territory from the Mansfield City School District, Richland County, to the Lexington Local School District, Richland County, pursuant to Section 3311.24 of the Ohio Revised Code.
-A resolution to deny the transfer of school district territory from the Columbus City School District, Franklin County to the Westerville City School District, Franklin County, pursuant to Section 3311.24 of the Ohio Revised Code.
#13 Approved a Resolution to adopt Rules 3301-24-18, 19, 20, 21, and 22 of the OAC regarding resident and alternative resident educator licenses.
#14 Approved a Resolution to amend Rules 3301-35-11 of the OAC entitled Procedures for Evaluation and Intervention.
#15 Approved a Resolution to rescind Rule 3301-38-01 of the OAC entitled Transfer of Region within the Educational Regional Service System.
NEPC Analyses Raise Concerns About Recent Studies: The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) located at the University of Colorado at Boulder reviews and publishes analyses of recent studies and research on education issues prepared by researchers at universities throughout the U.S. for the Think Twice think tank review project.
The NEPC is directed by Kevin G. Welner, professor of education at the University of Colorado at Boulder School of Education.
NEPC researchers recently reviewed the following reports: “Learning About Teaching: Initial Findings from the Measures of Effective Teaching Project” and “Charter Schools: A Report on Rethinking the Federal Role in Education.” A summary of the reviews follows:
*”Learning About Teaching: Initial Findings from the Measures of Effective Teaching Project” (MET project) by Thomas J. Kane and Steven Cantrell; funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and published on December 10, 2010.
Jesse Rothstein, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley, published a review of the “preliminary results” of this study for NEPC on January 13, 2011. The review is entitled, “Review of Learning About Teaching.”
The MET project examines the validity of using value-added methodologies (VAMS) to gauge the effectiveness of teachers, and finds strong evidence for it based on an examination of student test score results from six school districts on a state assessment; an alternative assessment of higher order skills; and a student survey of teacher effectiveness. This preliminary report does not include the results of other types of evaluations of teacher effectiveness being collected through the MET Project, such as an evaluation of videos of teachers teaching.
The review by Professor Rothstein comes to a different conclusion and states that the results of the study were “predetermined”, and the analyses of the data actually “undermine rather than validate value-added-based approaches to teacher evaluation.”
In a review of the report and results, Professor Rothstein found that the value added scores for the state assessment is correlated 0.5 or less with the alternative assessments. According to the review, “…..many teachers whose value-added for one test is low are in fact quite effective when judged by the other.”
Professor Rothstein concludes that the preliminary results of the MET project do not support the conclusion that, “a teacher’s past track record of value-added is among the strongest predictors of their students’ achievement gains in other classes and academic years (p.6)”
He writes, “In fact, the preliminary MET results contain important warning signs about the use of value-added scores for high-stakes teacher evaluations. These warnings, however, are not heeded in the preliminary report, which interprets all of the results as support for the use of value-added models in teacher evaluation. Moreover, the report’s key conclusions prejudge the results of the unfinished components of the MET study. This limits the report’s value and undermines the MET Project’s credibility.” (page 1-2)
The review by Professor Rothstein is available here.
The MET study is available here.
*”Charter Schools: A Report on Rethinking the Federal Role in Education” (Brookings report) by Susan Dynarski, Caroline Hoxby, Tom Loveless, Mark Schneider, Grover Whitehurst, and John Witte, the Brown Center on Education Policy of the Brookings Institution, and published on December 16, 2010.
Gary Miron, professor at Western Michigan University, published a review of this study on January 20, 2011. The review is entitled, “Review of Charter Schools: A Report on Rethinking the Federal Role in Education.
According to the review, the Brookings report summarizes evidence from five studies of student achievement in oversubscribed charter schools; two studies on charter school revenues; information gathered at a Brookings conference; and makes recommendations to guide federal policies to expand and improve support for charter schools.
The review by Professor Miron identifies the following about the report:
-The evidence presented on student achievement from several studies suggests that charter schools are more effective at raising student achievement in popular urban charter schools. According to Professor Miron, “While these studies represent a rigorous and innovative approach to studying charter school performance, they have important limitations that must be considered. Because these are based on a relatively small number of popular charter schools with sufficient waiting lists, and because the schools had to be willing to participate in several of the studies, it is fair to conclude that they are not representative of all charter schools.”
He goes on to note, “Beyond the select studies cited in the Brookings report, a broad body of evidence specific to charter school performance was overlooked. There are still no definitive studies of student achievement in charter schools, and all studies suffer from some limitations. While no one study is definitive, other studies have a larger or national scope – and shed important light on the issues at hand.”
-The evidence presented on charter school finances suggests that charter schools receive less funding than traditional public schools. Professor Miron’s review of the report notes that the report mentions “expenditures” but cites as evidence two reports on “revenues.” He writes, “Revenues and expenditures are not the same thing. Expenditures provide far greater detail and focus on what was actually spent and where it was spent. Simply looking at revenues does not illuminate the important questions.” (page 5).
-The evidence presented in the report does not include an examination of the revenues and patterns of expenditures of charter schools. A recent study on charter school finances by Gary Miron and J.L Urschel (“Equal or Fair? A study of revenues and expenditures in American charter schools”, Boulder and Tempe, December 27, 2010) found that on average charter schools receive 20 percent less per pupil in public sources of revenues; in some states the differences are minimal; in two states charter schools received more revenues per pupil; and in most states private sources of revenue for charter schools “are not as likely to be reported”. The study also found that charter schools spend less on instruction, student support services, and teacher salaries than neighboring traditional public schools, and more on administrators’ salaries and administration. Traditional public schools spend more on a range of services that charter schools do not provide, such as special education, transportation, food services, and student support services.
-The recommendations in the report concerning charter authorizers, federal involvement in charter schools, virtual charter schools, and charter school facilities are “…..unclear since the authors do not cite sufficient sources of evidence to support their descriptive summaries or their recommendations. Thus, the report suffers from procedural and methodological shortcomings.”
-Several recommendations in the report are justified and reasonable. These include encouraging the federal government to support the collection of more data; establishing an independent agency to oversee charter school lotteries; setting aside a portion of federal charter school funding for charter school authorizers; making federal charter school funding contingent on rigorous oversight; and examining the unintended consequences in existing federal regulations on charter schools.
Professor Miron recommends the following:
“Before considering new policies or revisions to existing regulations, it would be helpful for the federal government to revisit the purpose and intent of charter schools. After two decades and substantial growth, the charter school idea has strayed considerably from its original vision. Once dedicated to educational quality and innovation, today’s charter school movement is increasingly dominated by powerful advocates of market-based reform and privatization. These advocates typically call for the rapid growth and the expansion of private education management organizations that now manage more than 30% of all charter schools in the country. Although envisioned to provide diverse options based on pedagogical approaches, charter schools instead have promoted school choice based on race and social class preferences, which is leaving the public school system more segregated.”
“Charter schools can be returned to their original vision: to serve as a lever of change, spurring public schools to improve both by example and through competition. But if they are to do so, they must be better than traditional public schools, and they must be better able to demonstrate accountability.”
Gary Miron’s review is available here.
Charter Schools: A Report on Rethinking the Federal Role in Education is available here.
Study Evaluates Educational Productivity of Major School Districts: The Center for American Progress released on January 19, 2011 a report entitled, “Return on Educational Investment: A District-by-District Evaluation of U.S. Educational Productivity” by Ulrich Boser for the Doing What Works project. In the report school districts were rated on three productivity metrics: Basic Return on Investment (ROI), which rates districts on how much academic achievement they get for each dollar spent relative of other districts in their state; Adjusted Return on Investment, which accounts for higher costs associated with serving larger concentrations of low-income, non-English speaking, and special education students; and the Predicted Efficiency Index, which measures whether or not a district’s achievement is higher or lower than would be predicted after accounting for its per-pupil spending and concentrations of students from low-income families, those who do not speak English, and those in special education programs.
The report is the “first-ever” attempt to evaluate the productivity of nearly every major school district in the country. “Productivity” is defined as the achievement a school district produces relative to its educational spending, controlling for factors outside a district’s control, such as cost of living and students in poverty.
The report has three purposes:
-kick-start a national conversation about educational productivity -identify districts that generate higher-than-average achievement per dollar spent, demonstrate how productivity varies widely within states, and encourage efforts to study highly productive districts -encourage states and districts to embrace approaches that make it easier to create and sustain educational efficiencies.
According to the report, aside from Luxembourg, the U.S. spends more per student than any of the 65 countries that recently participated in an international reading assessment, and yet the achievement of U.S. students compared to other nations is average.
The report also notes that our system of financing schools is unfair. “Low-income and minority students are far more likely to attend schools that don’t receive their fair share of federal, state, and local dollars. But while the issue of fairness must be central to any conversation about education finance, efficiency should not be sacrificed on the altar of equity. Our nation must aspire to have a school system that’s both fair and productive.” p. 2.
The following is a summary of the findings of the report:
-Over 400 school districts were rated highly inefficient. These districts serve 3 percent of the 43 million students covered in the study.
-School districts could boost student achievement without increasing spending if they used their money more productively.
-Low productivity costs the national system as much as $175 billion a year.
-Without controls on how additional school dollars are spend, more education spending will not automatically improve student outcomes.
-More than a million students are enrolled in highly inefficient districts, and many of these are high-spending.
-Efficiency varies widely within states.
-Students from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to be in districts with high inefficiency.
-The nation’s least-productive districts spend more on administration, even as they fail to evaluate their productivity and have poor local education data.
-Districts that are highly productive tend to focus on improving student outcomes.
-Texas and Florida are the only states that annually publish an evaluation of school-level productivity and how well public funds are being spent.
-The quality of state and local education data is often poor. States do not have good data on the costs of transportation, for example.
The report also includes a number of recommendations.
The report is available here.
To see the productivity of school districts in Ohio, visit this site.
HB30 (Gardner) School Funding: Eliminates spending and reporting requirements related to the school funding system; abolishes the School Funding Advisory Council; eliminates the requirement that school districts offer all-day kindergarten; eliminates the requirement that schools establish family and civic engagement teams; reduces to three years the period covered by financial forecasts of school districts, community schools, and STEM schools. Introduced on 1/18/2011
HB38 (Luckie) Assault of School Security Guard: Imposes the same criminal penalties for assaulting a school security guard as are imposed for assaulting a school teacher. Introduced on 01/20/2011
HB39 (Luckie) Proprietary Schools: Makes changes to the laws regarding proprietary schools. Introduced on 1/20/2011
*See Jerry Tollifson’s Video: The Ohio Alliance for Arts Education congratulates Jerry Tollifson for winning the 2010 WOSU ArtZine video contest! Jerry’s video, “Systems of Paradox” was featured on WOSU TV on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 4:45PM, and is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9Hj6p7mHxw.
Jerry’s video features his amazing sculptures that depict paradox and are made of cement, neon, wood, and metal. As Jerry says in the video, “It is my challenge to bring together metaphors for the inconsistencies, anomalies, and ambiguities in life.”
Jerry believes that we should celebrate paradox in our lives rather than despair about them. A paradox of the highest order is this, “If we lose our lives in art, each of us will find it.”
*Web Site Provides Information About Revising Content Standards in the Fine Arts: Follow the progress of revising academic content standards in dance, drama/theater, music, and visual arts on the ODE web site.
The site includes information about the revision process, members of the writing team, a summary of the discussion at the November focus group meetings, a timeline for the revision process, and a way to provide comments.
According to a summary of the meeting of the writing team members held in December 2011, participants considered reorganizing the current five standards into three standards; changing the 9-12 grade levels to levels of mastery (e.g., beginner, intermediate, advanced); and dividing K-8 into K-2, 3-5 and 6-8 grade levels.
A first draft of the revised standards is scheduled to be complete by July-August 2011; a draft for public comment is scheduled to be ready in November-December 2011; and the final draft will be completed by March 2012. The standards are scheduled to be adopted by the State Board of Education in May 2012.
Stay informed about the revision process by following its progress through the web site, and be prepared to respond and participate!
*The Arts are Radical: Radical Idea #3 in the “How would you spend $100 million to really save education” is “Focus on the arts” submitted by Diane Ravitch, NYU education historian and author of “The Death and Life of the Great American School System”. Thirteen radical ideas to save education were collected from a variety of educators for an article by Anya Kamenetz in the January 12, 2011 issue of Fast Company (“How to Spend $100 Million to Really Save Education”). The article reflects on the recent offer by Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder and billionaire) to donate $100 million to the Newark City School District (New Jersey), and opines about how $100 million could make a difference.
According to the article Zuckerberg’s plans for the district, which include merit pay for teachers, closing failing schools, and opening more charters, are not very creative and “unlikely” to be successful.
So the magazine collected responses about how $100 million could be used to make a difference in our schools. Diane Ravitch’s response was short and to the point: “I’d focus on the arts — music and visual arts and dance, all the things that make kids joyful. Kids need a reason to come to school, and testing is not a good reason.”
Radical Idea #12 submitted by Kara Smith, a teacher at Lake City High School in Idaho, also mentioned the arts: “I would make sure that we have updated textbooks in the classrooms, supplies for labs, and instruments for music.”
Other ideas submitted include reduce class size; provide tutors for every child; expand opportunities for young children; coordinate health and other services for children; set-up urban think tanks for teachers to think about public education and how to change it; etc.
To read the article please visit this site.
This update is written weekly by Joan Platz, Research and Knowledge Director 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)