Arts On Line Update 6.20.2011

Action Alert from Americans for the Arts: Americans for the Arts requests that arts education advocates contact members of the U.S. House of Representatives and ask them to oppose the elimination of the U.S. Department of Education’s Arts in Education program in H.R. 1891, “Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act”.

This bill terminates 43 federal education programs through the U.S. Department of Education.  One of the programs that would be eliminated is Arts in Education.  This program provides critical federal leadership for arts education and promotes a well-rounded curriculum in schools. It currently funds 57 active arts-education projects around the country; has supported more than 210 competitive arts-education grants serving students in high-need schools; and supports the affiliates of the Kennedy Center and VSA arts education programs.

H.R. 1891 was approved by the House Education & Workforce Committee on May 25, 2011, and might be considered by the full House prior to their August Congressional Recess.

Arts education advocates can contact their House Representative through Americans for the Arts customizable e-alert, and request that he/she oppose the elimination of federal support for arts education included in H.R. 1891.

The e-alert site is available.

129th Ohio General Assembly:  The Ohio House and Senate will hold committee hearings and sessions this week.

Senator Gillmor to Leave Senate:  Governor John Kasich announced last week the appointment of Senator Karen Gillmor (26th Senate District) to the Industrial Commission of Ohio. The Senator is expected to resign from the Senate in July.  Her new appointment will begin after the Senate confirms her nomination. The Senate Republican Caucus is expected to announce a process to fill the seat once it is vacant.

Update on Sub. HB153 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget:  A conference committee was appointed and met last week to review Sub. HB153 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget, and begin the process of aligning the Senate and House versions of the proposed state budget.  The members of the conference committee include Representatives Amstutz (R) chair, Carey (R), and Sykes (D) and Senators Widener (R), Jones (R), and Skindell (D).

The conference committee received information from Tim Keen, director of the Office of Budget and Management, and Mark Flanders, director of the Legislative Service Commission, about current and future revenue projections for the state.  According to the testimony of Director Keen, state revenues will exceed estimates by $1 billion at the end of this fiscal year (FY11), but most of the funds will be used to address outstanding obligations. Director Keen (representing Governor Kasich) recommended that any remaining funds in the General Revenue Fund (estimated to be $187 million) should be used to replenish the rainy day fund (Budget Stabilization Fund -BSF).

Governor Kasich also announced last week that negotiations with casino interests could secure millions of additional dollars for the state from casinos and video lottery terminals at race-tracks. These new funds are not included in the revenue projections used to develop the current Senate/House versions of the biennial budget.

The conference committee is expected to complete work by the end of this week and prepare a conference committee report on HB153 for the week of June 27, 2011 for the House and Senate to consider.  The biennial budget needs to be approved by the House and Senate and signed into law by June 30, 2011.

HB224 Reported:  The House State Government and Elections Committee, chaired by Representative Mecklenborg, reported out on June 14, 2011 HB224 (Dovilla/Stinziano) Absent Voter’s Ballots.  This bill would permit uniformed services and overseas voters to request ballot applications and absent voter’s ballots by electronic mail or internet delivery; specifies that a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot submitted by such persons may be used as the person’s voter registration form and absent voter’s ballot; establishes emergency election procedures for such persons involved in armed conflicts, troop mobilizations, or other emergencies; and adds daughters-in-law and sons-in-law to the list of family members who may request an absent voter’s ballot on behalf of a uniformed services or overseas voter.

SBE Executive Committee Narrows Candidates for Superintendent:  The State Board of Education (SBE), Debe Terhar president, announced that the SBE’s Executive Committee had narrowed the number of candidates for the Superintendent of Public Instruction position.  The remaining candidates include former Illinois State Superintendent Robert Schiller; Director of the Governor’s Office of 21st Century Education Bob Sommers; and Superintendent Steve Dackin of the Reynoldsburg City Schools. The State Board of Education is expected to interview these candidates and make their selection at the July meeting of the State Board.

On June 19, 2011 the Columbus Dispatch reported that Bob Sommers had withdrawn his name from consideration based on the advice of counsel. According to article if Dr. Sommers had been selected as Superintendent, he would be required to follow ethics laws, and would not be able to communicate with members of the Kasich administration (his former employer) for a year.

This Week at the Statehouse
TUESDAY, JUNE 21, 2011

Senate Education Committee: The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner, will meet at 9:30 AM in the South Hearing Room.  The committee will receive testimony on the following bills:

  • SB175 (Schiavoni) Community Schools, which would prohibit 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.
  • SB177 (Turner) Federal School Improvement Grant Moneys, which would require public high schools that receive federal school improvement grant moneys to establish student advisory committees.
  • SCR11 (Lehner) Graduation Rate Changes, which would approve the Department of Education’s proposed graduation rate changes to the state accountability system for public schools.
  • SB165 (Obhof/Grendell), which would include content on specified historical documents in the state academic standards and in the high school American history and government curriculum.

State Government Oversight & Reform: The State Government Oversight & Reform Committee, chaired by Senator Faber, will meet at 10:00 AM in the Senate Finance Hearing Room to receive testimony on HB194 (Mecklenborg/Blessing) Election Law.

*The Ohio Retirement Study Council RFP Subcommittee The Ohio Retirement Study Council RFP Subcommittee, chaired by Senator Kirk Schuring, will meet at 4:30 PM in Hearing Room 114 to discuss a request for proposal (RFP) for an independent actuarial review of Ohio’s five pension systems. The directors of Ohio’s pension systems recently sent a letter to the chair outlining their concerns about the RFP.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22, 2011
State Government Oversight & Reform: IF NEEDED:  The State Government Oversight & Reform Committee, chaired by Senator Faber, will meet at 10:00 AM in the Senate Finance Hearing Room to receive testimony on HB194 (Mecklenborg/Blessing) Election Law.

Senate State & Local Government & Veterans The Senate State & Local Government & Veterans Committee chaired by Senator Jordan, will meet at 2:30 PM in Hearing Room 110 or after session.  The Committee will receive testimony on HB159 (Mecklenborg/Blessing) Voters Provide Photo ID, which would generally require electors at a polling place to provide photo identification, and establishes a process for those who cannot provide a photo or who have a religious objection to being photographed.

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:

  • HB233 (Letson/Huffman) AD Space on School Buses: Authorizes school districts to sell commercial advertising space on school buses.
  • HB191 (Hayes/Patmon) Minimum School Year: Establishes a minimum school year for school districts based on hours, rather than days, of instruction, and prohibits schools from being open for instruction prior to Labor Day or after Memorial Day, except in specified circumstances.

THURSDAY,  JUNE 23, 2011
State Government Oversight & Reform: IF NEEDED:  The State Government Oversight & Reform Committee, chaired by Senator Faber, will meet at 10:00 AM in the Senate Finance Hearing Room to receive testimony on HB194 (Mecklenborg/Blessing) Election Law.

News from Washington, D.C.: Expansion of Charter Schools Proposed for ESEA:  Congressman Duncan Hunter, chairman of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, introduced on June 16, 2011 the “Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 2218)”. The proposed legislation would facilitate the development and expansion of charter schools.

This is the second in a series of education reform bills that the House Education and Workforce Committee, chaired by Representative John Kline, has considered that reauthorizes a part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

On May 25, 2011 the Committee approved “The Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act” (H.R. 1891), which eliminates a number of education programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education, including Arts in Education.  (See Americans for the Arts action alert above.)  The House might take action on H.R. 1891 before recessing in August, while the U.S. Senate is still working on comprehensive legislation to reauthorize ESEA.

H.R. 2218 would increase access to charter schools by providing federal grants to states through the Charter School Program to replicate or expand successful charter schools. Currently federal law only provides grants to states to support new charter schools. The bill would also create guidelines to monitor charter school quality and provide additional facilities support for charter schools.

A summary of the bill is available.

Controversy Over Waiver Announcement:  Last week (June 13, 2011) U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan set off a controversy when he announced that the U.S. Department of Education is developing a plan to grant states waivers from certain provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) if Congress fails to reauthorize the law before the beginning of the next school year.  To receive a waiver states would need to commit to education reform initiatives, such as those outlined in Race to the Top grants and supported by the Obama administration, but the details about these new requirements were not available.

Both the U.S. House and Senate are currently working on language to reauthorize the 2001 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (also known as the No Child Left Behind Act) and adjust provisions that call for all students to demonstrate proficiency in reading and math by the 2013-14 school year. Accountability provisions in the current law require schools that do not meet certain standards to be labeled as “failed”, which can result in the implementation of certain sanctions.  However, most education and policy leaders now recognize that the law should be changed, because it does not distinguish between schools in which some students are struggling verses schools in which all students are struggling.  In addition, most states are currently realigning their curriculum and assessments to meet new “common core” standards in English language arts and math, while the NCLB proficiency provisions are geared to meet the former standards. Some members of Congress also believe that Secretary Duncan does not have the authority to change the law’s accountability provisions.  They support congressional action to reauthorize the bill and make changes in the act to provide more flexibility for states.

Read Secretary Duncan’s remark.

Read the press release.

Redistricting Begins:  The Ohio Legislative Task Force on Redistricting, Reapportionment, and Demographic Research met on June 16, 2011.  Members include the Speaker of the House, William Batchelder (R); Senate President Tom Niehaus (R); House Minority Leader Representative Armond Budish (D) Senate Minority Leader Capri Cafaro (D); House Chief of Staff Troy Judy (R) and Senate Chief of Staff Matt Schuler (R).

The task force was created through 125-HB516, to conduct research and a statistical analyses of the 2010 Census, and conduct other activities to develop a plan to assist the General Assembly in its duty to establish districts for the election of representatives to Congress (redistricting), and the State Apportionment Board in its duty to provide for the apportionment of the state for members of the General Assembly (apportionment). The State Apportionment Board must meet between August 1, 2011 and October 1, 2011. The Board includes the governor, auditor of state, secretary of state, and a Republican chosen by the speaker and the president of the Senate, and a Democrat chosen by the minority leaders of the Legislature.

The work of the Legislative Task Force will be based on 2010 Census Data.  Because the Census data shows that Ohio lost population, the task force will need to consider how to eliminate two Congressional districts. The task force is required to publish a plan to realign congressional districts no later than October 5, 2011. A majority in the Ohio House and Senate and the governor must approve the congressional lines, which must be finalized by December 7, 2011, according to the time line established to hold primary elections.

The results of redistricting and reapportionment have serious implications for how the state and federal government adequately and fairly represent the people and interests of Ohio.  Every effort should be made to ensure that the process meets certain standards for transparency, fairness, and competitiveness of election districts.

The Columbus Dispatch recently reported that the public will be able to access tools (software, maps, and data) on the Secretary of State’s website to draw their own redistricting maps and submit proposals to the apportionment board or General Assembly.

Several organizations are also partnering to provide the public with tools (including software, maps, and Census data) to develop their own congressional and state election districts. The League of Women Voters of Ohio, Ohio Citizen Action Money in Politics Project, Common Cause Ohio, and Ohio Votes have formed “Draw the Line Ohio”, and will soon launch a competition for Ohioans to draw new congressional and state legislative districts based on objective criteria including preserving county boundaries; compactness; competitiveness among the different political parties; and representational fairness.

This competition is similar to one held in 2009 based on 2000 Census Data in partnership with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office under former Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner.  For information about the new competition please visit http://drawthelinemidwest.org/ohio/.

Lasting and Significant Effects of an Early Childhood Education Program: A study reported in “Science” on June 9, 2011 on the Child-Parent Center Education (CPC) Program in Chicago overcomes many problems associated with research on the effects of early childhood education on student populations, because it examines indicators of well-being for over 1400 participants and a control group up to 25 years later. (“School-Based Early Childhood Education and Age-28 Well-Being: Effects by Timing, Dosage, and Subgroups” by Arthur J. Reynolds, Judy A. Temple, Suh-Ruu Ou, Irma A. Arteaga, and Barry A. B. White).

The “Child-Parent Center Education Program” (established in 1967) is a publicly funded intervention program that begins in preschool and provides up to 6 years of service in inner-city Chicago schools. The program focuses on language development, academic skills, building self-confidence for children in preschool, and provides up to four years of educational and family services for children in grade school. Preschool teachers are highly trained, and parents are encouraged to participate in the program with their children.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota led by Arthur Reynolds have been able to follow and report over the years on the educational and social development of a cohort of low-income, minority children (957 individuals) who participated in the program compared to a control group of 529 individuals of the same age who participated in alternative early childhood programs in randomly selected schools, and who matched the program group on socioeconomic status.

The current study of the program found that “….relative to the comparison group receiving the usual services, program participation was independently linked to higher educational attainment, income, socioeconomic status (SES), and health insurance coverage, as well as lower rates of justice-system involvement and substance abuse. Evidence of enduring effects was strongest for preschool, especially for males and children of high school dropouts. The positive influence of 4 years or more of service was limited primarily to education and SES.”

According to lead researchers the average cost of preschool program for 18 months is $9,000 per child, but the cost-benefit is at least $90,000 in terms of increased earnings, tax revenue, criminal behavior, health costs, and other costs.

The findings confirm the enduring effects of sustained school-based early education.  According to Dr. Reynolds, “early education programs can impact life-course outcomes necessary for economic success and good health. The findings of this study indicate that while there are limits to the effects of the CPC program for particular outcomes and groups, impacts which endured provide a strong foundation for the investment in and promotion of early childhood learning.”

An abstract of the report is available.

A version of this report was previously published online in February 2011 and is available.

Bills Introduced

  • SB183 (Tavares) Community School Closure Exemption:  Exempts from closure certain community schools that enroll students receiving behavioral health services.
  • HB255 (Gonzales) School Breakfast Programs: Requires school districts and community schools to establish school breakfast programs in academic emergency buildings and makes other changes regarding school breakfast programs.
  • SB181 (Wagoner) Education/Preservation of State History: Implements recommendations of the Ohio Legislative Commission on the Education and Preservation of State History.
  • HB264 (Burke) Sunset Review Committee: Implements the recommendations of the Sunset Review Committee by abolishing, terminating, transferring, or renewing various agencies, and by reestablishing the Sunset Review Committee, but postpones its operation until the 131st General Assembly to terminate the operation of certain provisions of this act on December 31, 2016; and declares an emergency.

FYI ARTS
Webinar on Arts Integration:  Edweek.org will host a webinar on July 19, 2011 from 2-3:00 PM (EST) entitled “Integrating the Arts Across the Curriculum”.  The webinar will explore the potential of bringing together the arts with other subjects in a mutual learning experience. The presenters include Sandra Ruppert, director of the Arts Education Partnership and Shana Habel, dance demonstration teacher, Los Angeles Unified School District and co-president of the California Dance Education Association.  The webinar will be moderated by Erik Robelen, assistant editor, Education Week.

Access to the webinar will be available starting 15 minutes prior to the event. For optimal viewing the recommended browsers are IE for PC users and Firefox for Mac.

An archived version will be available within 24 hours of the presentation. The event is not close-captioned.

More information is available.

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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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