129th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate have scheduled committee hearings and sessions this week.
Opportunity for Arts Educators to Give Input: Governor Kasich is asking educators, students, parents, and taxpayers for feedback on a requirement included in 129-SB5 (Jones) (law) and also included in Sub. HB153 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget, to implement a performance pay system for K-12 teachers in Ohio.
An online feedback form to gather comments is available. The feedback form states, “Currently, teachers are paid largely on the basis of how many years they’ve been on the job. That’s not fair because it fails to recognize the successes of Ohio’s highest-performing educators. I want to hear from those teachers who want a better way and who have ideas for how to get us there. I look forward to working with them to create a better way.” – Governor John R. Kasich
Arts educators should take advantage of this opportunity to explain to the governor the role of licensed arts educators in the holistic education of children, and the issues that must be addressed when developing a fair, accurate, predictable, and verifiable teacher evaluation system, that includes teachers in the arts.
Senator Coley Seated: The Ohio Senate elected on May 24, 2011 Representative William Coley (55th House District) to fill the 4th Senate District seat vacated by Senator Gary Cates (R-West Chester). Senator Cates resigned on May 23, 2011 to accept a position with the Ohio Board of Regents as senior vice chancellor for Innovation and Enterprise Development. House Republicans are now accepting nominations to select a new representative for the 55th House District.
Budget Update: The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Widener, received by a May 26, 2011 deadline hundreds of amendments for Sub. HB153 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget. A substitute bill is expected to be introduced in committee on May 31 or June 1 2011. After the committee reports the bill, the full Senate is expected to take action on it either June 8 or 9, 2011. Once the Senate has taken action, the House will have an opportunity to accept or reject the changes in the bill. If the changes are rejected, House and Senate leaders will appoint a conference committee to work-out the differences between the versions of the budget bills. The state’s budget needs to be signed into law by July 1, 2011.
Election Law Reform Approved by the Senate: The Ohio Senate on May 24, 2011 approved its version of election law reform, SB148 (Wagoner), on a vote of 23-10. The House has also approved its own version, HB194 (Mecklenborg-Blessing) Election Reform. Both the House and Senate versions were approved along party lines and include several controversial provisions.
Bill on Dyslexia Passes the House: The Ohio House passed on May 24,2011 HB96 (Celeste-Brenner), which would specify dyslexia as a learning disability in the Ohio Revised Code, and creates a pilot project in three school districts to screen for the reading handicap.
This Week at the Statehouse
TUESDAY, MAY 31, 2011
Senate Finance Committee: The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Widener, will meet on May. 31, 2011, at 2:30 PM in the Senate Finance Hearing Room, or at the call of the chair, to consider amendments for HB153 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1, 2011
Senate Finance Committee: The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Widener, will meet on June 1, 2011, at 9:00 AM in the Senate Finance Hearing Room, to consider amendments to HB153 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget. The hearing will resume at 2:30 PM.
House Education Committee: The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton, will meet at 5:00 PM in hearing room 017. The committee will receive testimony on the following bills:
- HB219 (McClain) Religious Courses – Public School Students: Permits public school students to attend and receive credit for released time courses in religious instruction conducted off school property during regular school hours.
- HB221 (Mecklenborg/Driehaus) College Preparatory Boarding Schools”: Permits the establishment of public college-preparatory boarding schools for at-risk students to be operated by private nonprofit entities, and establishes the College-Preparatory Boarding School Facilities Program.
- HB205 (Derickson) Hybrid Community Schools: Permits the establishment of hybrid community schools that provide both remote technology-based and classroom-based instruction.
- HB157 (Schuring/Letson) Teacher Development on Dyslexia: Authorizes educational service centers to provide teacher professional development on dyslexia.
- HB211 (Adams) American History Academic Standards: Includes content on specified historical documents in the state academic standards and in the high school American history and government curriculum.
THURSDAY, JUNE 2, 2011
Senate Finance Committee: The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Widener, will meet on June 2, 2011 at 1:00 PM in the Senate Finance Hearing Room, or at the call of the chair, to receive testimony on HB153 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget.
FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 2011
Senate Finance Committee: The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Widener, will meet on June 3, 2011 at 9:00 AM in the Senate Finance Hearing Room, or at the call of the chair, to consider amendments for HB153 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget. The committee will resume at 2:30 PM, or at the call of the chair.
News from Washington, D.C.
U.S. House Committee Votes to Eliminate Funding for Arts Education: The House Committee on Education and the Workforce, chaired by Representative Kline, approved on Wednesday, May 25, 2011 the “Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act” (H.R. 1891) along party lines.
The bill is one among several proposed by House Republicans to re-authorize parts of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind Act. This bill does not address policy issues raised by ESEA, but basically eliminates funding for 40 education programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education, including funding for “Arts in Education”. This program provides competitive grants to promote innovative arts education programs; funding for some arts education programs administered by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; and funding for VSA.
Funding for the U.S. DOE’s Arts in Education program was reduced from $40 million to $27 million in the continuing resolution that Congress approved to finalize appropriations for FY11. Funding for this program has been targeted for elimination in several other budget bills, and President Obama’s budget recommends that funding for arts education and other programs be consolidated into eleven new authorities.
Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) introduced an amendment in the House Education and Workforce Committee to restore funding authorization for several programs including Arts in Education, but the amendment was defeated along party lines.
The next step will be for the bill to be brought to the U.S. House for consideration. The Senate is working on legislation to re-authorize ESEA also, but is considering a comprehensive bill, rather than separate bills.
Runner-up States Eligible for Addition RttT Funding: U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, announced on May 25, 2011 that $700 million in additional funding for Race to the Top (RttT) recently allocated by Congress will be used to support a new early childhood education grant program and grants for nine states that applied for first and second round RttT grants, but were not selected.
The nine states, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and South Carolina, will be eligible to compete for grants ranging from $10 million to $50 million.
A new $500 million RttT competition will target early childhood education and be jointly administered by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. States must develop plans focused on high-quality programs, increased access for low-income children, and workforce development.
More information about these programs is available.
Annual Report on Public Education Finances Released: The U.S. Census Bureau released last week “Public Education Finances: 2009”, which provides information about revenues, expenditures, debt, and assets (cash and security holdings) of elementary and secondary public school systems, gathered from reports from school districts. Statistics cover school systems in all states and the District of Columbia. Data are available in viewable tables and downloadable files.
According to the report, the total amount of funding for public elementary and secondary education is $590.9 billion. State sources contribute 46.7 percent; local sources 43.5 percent; and federal sources contribute 9.5 percent.
The national average level of per-pupil spending is $10,499. New York has the highest per-pupil spending amount at $18,125 and Utah the lowest at $6,356. Ohio ranked 20th at $10,560 per pupil. The report is available.
COE Released: The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics released on May 26, 2011 the “Condition of Education” (COE). This congressionally mandated annual report summarizes developments and trends in education, and presents 50 statistical indicators that describe developments in the status and trends of education from early childhood learning through graduate-level education.
The report is organized into 5 sections: Participation in Education; Learner Outcomes; Student Effort and Educational Progress; Context of Elementary and Secondary Education; Context of Post secondary Education.
This year’s report also examines post secondary education by institution level (2-year or 4-year) and control (public, private not-for-profit, or private for-profit), and describes the current state of post secondary education and how it has been changing in recent decades.
The following are some of the findings in this new report:
- Enrollment in U.S. schools is expected to grow through the decade, as the U.S. population increases and participation rises. From 2008-09 through 2020-21 enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools is projected to increase from 49.3 to 52.7 million students.
- Enrollment in post-secondary education has quadrupled in the last decade at private for-profit post secondary institutions.
- Enrollment in charter schools has tripled from 1990-2000 to 2008-09, from 340,000 to 1.4 million students; in 2008-09, some 5 percent of all public schools were charter schools.
- Private school enrollment in pre kindergarten through grade 12 increased from 5.9 million in 1995-96 to 6.3 million in 2001-02, and then decreased to 5.5 million in 2009-10. Some 10 percent of all elementary and secondary school students were in private schools in 2009-10.
- In 2009, some 21 percent of children ages 5-17 (or 11.2 million) spoke a language other than English at home, and 5 percent (or 2.7 million) spoke English with difficulty. Seventy-three percent of those who spoke English with difficulty spoke Spanish.
- The number of children and youth ages 3-21 receiving special education services was 6.5 million in 2008-09, corresponding to about 13 percent of all public school enrollment.
- On-time high school graduation varies by state. Three-quarters of public school students graduated on time in 2008. The District of Columbia and Nevada reported the lowest averaged freshman graduation rate (AFGR), or percentage of students who graduated from public high school on time with a regular diploma, at 56 percent. Wisconsin had the highest, at 90 percent.
The report is available.
Report Outlines Problems and Solutions for America’s Education System: The National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) released on May 24, 2011 a report entitled “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: An American Agenda for Education Reform” by Marc S. Tucker. The report identifies education policies and practices of the countries that now lead the world in student performance, including Canada (focusing on Ontario), China (focusing on Shanghai), Finland, Japan, and Singapore. The research on these countries was conducted by a team assembled by the National Center on Education and the Economy, at the request of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on behalf of U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.
According to the report, “….the strategies driving the best performing systems are rarely found in the United States, and, conversely, that the education strategies now most popular in the United States are conspicuous by their absence in the countries with the most successful education systems.”
The report also notes the following: “As you read this paper, bear in mind that, although we think there are useful roles that the United States government can play in improving dramatically the performance of our schools, we believe the main player has got to be state government. When we speak of changing the system, it is the states, not the national government, we have in mind.”
The report identifies two broad themes that drive the most effective education systems in the world: the concept that all students, including the most difficult to education, must graduate with the highest levels of skills, and the concept that teaching is a profession that requires highly skilled individuals adequately compensated. Entry into the teaching profession; teacher preparation and training; compensation; the structure of the profession; the authority of teachers and what they teach; and the role of teachers’
unions will need to change in order for the U.S. education system to significantly improve.
One of the most interesting observations of the report involved school funding. The report notes that most of the top performing countries have moved away from local funding for education and use a system that distributes state/national resources system-wide to ensure that all students have access to high quality education programs no matter where they live. As a result, schools with the greatest need receive the highest amount of funding, which discourages the assignment of the least prepared teachers to schools with the hardest to educate students. The report uses Canada as an example of a country which has reduced reliance on local taxes and has increased the state-funded proportion of the total budget for education in each province, whereby decreasing significantly inequities in funding among the schools within a province.
The report then provides “An Agenda for American Education” that outlines (with more details) the following strategies to re-structure (at the state level) education systems based on the experiences of countries in which students are achieving at high levels.
-Benchmark the education system of the top-performing countries -Design for quality by setting clear goals through public and professional consensus and including a world-class teaching force -Design for equity -Design for productivity -Ensure that systems are coherent and aligned
The report is available.
Article Identifies “Education Myths”: An article entitled “Five Myths about America’s Schools” by Paul Farhi published in the Washington Post on May 20, 2011, identifies five “fundamental misunderstandings about public education” that are driving education reform in the U.S. According to the author, the current education reform agenda “conflates the motivations and agendas of politicians seeking reelection, religious figures looking to spread the faith and bureaucrats trying to save a dime.” As a result, the following beliefs, that are not be true about public education, are perpetuated:
- Our schools are failing. The author notes that there are schools with “large numbers of low-income and English-as-a-second-language students” that need to improve student achievement compared to the achievement of students in schools with middle- and upper-middle-class students, but the percentage of American students earning a high school diploma has been rising for 30 years, and American students are scoring higher on SAT, ACT, and international exams.
- Unions defend bad teachers. Unions, according to the author, have been involved in several initiatives that 1) help struggling teachers improve, and 2) encourage teachers, who continue to perform below expectations, to leave the profession.
- Billionaires know best. The author writes that billionaires, such as Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Mark Zuckerberg, often make financial contributions to public schools to promote initiatives that in many cases are not supported by any research, such as incentive or performance pay for teachers.
- Charter schools are the answer. Unfortunately the call for more charter schools is not supported by evidence that students do better in charter schools, and, as the author notes, charter schools are often seen as “siphoning off” students and motivated parents from traditional public schools, leaving behind the students who are “most susceptible to falling through the cracks.”
- More effective teachers are the answer. In answer to this myth the author states that everyone supports improving teacher effectiveness, but teachers are not miracle workers, and there is “… only so much they can do to address problems that troubled students bring to class every day, including neglect, abuse, and unaddressed medical and mental health issues. The obvious and subtle ways that poverty inhibits a child’s ability to learn – from hearing, visual and dental problems to higher asthma rates to diminished verbal interaction in the home – have been well-documented.”
The article is available.
Commission Supports Civic Investment in Public Education: The National Commission on Civic Investment in Public Education, co-chaired by former Secretary of Education Richard Riley and Linda Darling-Hammond, the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University, released on May 26, 2011 a report entitled “An Appeal to All Americans”. The commission was established by the Public Education Network (PEN) to do the following:
- Develop a new narrative about civic investment in public education and reinforce the fundamental value of public education to our democracy,
- Examine the work and impact of public education assistance organizations and offer standards and practices to guide their growth, and
- Recommend ways that ordinary people with busy lives can fulfill their basic obligation to improve and support our children’s education.
The report calls for an increase in the nation’s civic investment in public elementary and secondary education, and recommends standards and guidelines for public education assistance organizations.
The authors identify transparent and ethical civic investment in public education as a way to ensure quality public education as a civil right for every child and to elevate public education as a fundamental institution of democracy. Currently over 19,000 non-profit civic organizations, such as community-based education foundations, are providing private dollars to support local school projects and implement systemic reform strategies in schools. These public education assistance organizations will increase their influence in our public schools as states and local communities face additional budget cuts or seek funding to implement education reform initiatives. Guidelines and standards need to be available to ensure that these organizations are accountable to the public.
The report also notes that state governments are accountable for the current state of public education, and discusses what policy makers can do to ensure that public schools are educating all students equitably.
The report is available.
- HB242 (Brenner) Tax Credits for Nonpublic Schools: Authorizes non-refundable tax credits for donations to nonprofit entities providing scholarships to low-income students enrolling in chartered nonpublic schools.
- SB175 (Schiavoni) Community Schools: Prohibits a community school from admitting a student from the school district in which it is located if the student’s district school has a better performance rating than the community school.
Workshop to Assess Arts Programs: The Cleveland Arts Education Consortium will host a workshop on Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM entitled “Building Effective Evaluations”. The workshop will be held at the Cleveland State University Student Center, Room 313, 2121 Euclid Avenue. (Parking is available off 22nd Street under the Student Center.)
The session will be led by Dr. Susan Philliber, one of the founders and senior partners of Philliber Research Associates. Dr. Philliber has 30 years of experience in evaluation and basic research, and has been the lead evaluator on numerous national projects including evaluations of the Harlem Children’s Zone, the Knight Foundation Journalism, the MacArthur Foundation, and others.