As arts administrators, sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in our daily tasks that involve budgeting, fundraising, and managing programs. These duties don’t always remind us why we’re devoting our time and energy to the arts. We might walk by the same artwork every day and never stop to notice it, or hear the music coming from rehearsal halls and never pop our heads in to watch the students singing or dancing. But interrupting our busy lives to witness arts education in process energizes us to continue working passionately to facilitate positive experiences for students of all ages in the arts. In addition, it helps us embody the practices that we urge educators everywhere to implement in their own teaching.
I have recently been spending Thursday afternoons with a fifth grade class during their weekly forty-five minute dance class. Watching and participating with the students as we navigate rhythm and movement through their bodies and work with each other to create dances of their own is inspiring and invigorating to my mind-body-spirit. Engaging with dance and students in this way each week helps me as an artist, an administrator, and perhaps most importantly, an active advocate for arts education.
If you haven’t noticed the artistic or creative projects happening around you lately, maybe some time soon you could stop, take a deep breath, and let it out as you remind yourself why you’re here.
Dr. Mara J. Gross
Columbus Children’s Choir, Managing Director
Ohio Alliance for Arts Education Board Member
129th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio Senate has scheduled a tentative session this week. The House and Senate Education committees are not scheduled to meet.
New Primary Dates Set: Governor Kasich signed HB318 (Blessing) into law on October 21, 2011. The law sets two primaries, one in March and one in June 2012, to provide additional time for lawmakers, or the courts, to settle the controversy about the newly drawn map of congressional districts included in HB319 (Huffman). HB319 is being challenged through the referendum process. Last week Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office certified that the referendum campaign, Ohioans for Fair Districts, had met the initial signature requirement to go forward with the next step and begin collecting 231,150 signatures to place a referendum on HB319 before the voters in November 2012.
HB318 provides for a primary for local, state, and U.S. Senate candidates in March 2012, and a primary for the U.S. President and U.S. House candidates in June 2012. It also eliminates the August special election, which is sometimes used by school districts to get voter approval of school funding issues.
State Board Cannot Use Secret Ballot: Attorney General Mike DeWine notified State Board of Education President Debe Terhar on October 18, 2011 that the State Board of Education must conduct all of its votes in public, thus eliminating the use of a secret ballot to vote for Board president and vice-president. The State Board of Education has traditionally used a secret ballot to elect officers every two years in January. This year that practice was challenged by newly appointed and elected members of the State Board of Education in January 2011 after the Board elected Rob Hovis president by secret ballot. At issue also was the legitimacy of the vote, because one of the members of the State Board had not been confirmed by the Ohio Senate, even after being on the Board for over a year. The Board took another vote in March 2011 and elected Debe Terhar president and Tom Gunlock vice-president.
According to the opinion, R.C.121.22 Ohio’s open meeting law, requires all meetings of any public body be “public meetings open to the public at all times” and decisions made publicly.
Read the Attorney General’s opinion.
News from Washington, D.C.
Senate Committee Approves ESEA Bill: The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, chaired by Senator Tom Harkin, approved a revised Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization Act (ESEA) on October 20, 2011, formerly known as the No Child Left Behind Act. The committee added several amendments to the bill before approving it by a vote of 15-7. The vote included support from Republican Senators Enzi (Wyoming-ranking member), Alexander (Tennessee) and Kirk (Illinois).
According to a press release from the committee, the bill will do the following:
- maintains required student testing in grades 3-8 and once in high school
- eliminates “adequate yearly progress” targets and mandated federal sanctions for all schools
- supports state-designed accountability systems consistent with principles supported by the Council of Chief State School Officers
- requires districts and schools to report disaggregated information about school effectiveness -promotes college and career-ready standards
- addresses 12 percent of schools that produce 50 percent of dropouts
- fosters collaboration between early childhood programs and school systems to ensure that children start school ready to succeed
- promotes improved support and evaluation systems for teachers and principals
- promotes the recruitment and preparation of teachers for high-need subjects like math and science
- supports a well-rounded education with time for the arts and physical activity
- promotes safe and healthy schools
- prepares more teachers to teach the diverse learners in America’s schools including students with disabilities and English learners -directs federal resources to turn around chronically struggling schools and those with significant achievement gaps and allow states to take student progress into consideration while rating schools -promotes smooth transition and alignment from early learning to K-12 to higher education, and across federal education programs
- consolidates and streamlines 82 programs in the current law into 40 broader funded programs, and eliminates those that are duplicative or unnecessary
The committee accepted an amendment from Senator Robert Casey (Pennsylvania) entitled the “Well-Rounded Education Fund Amendment” that creates a grant program at the U.S. Department of Education to provide states “well-rounded education grants”. The States in turn would allocate the grants to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) through a competitive sub grant process. The amendment encourages partnerships with non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, or other state education agencies to support the arts, history, civics and social studies, economics, environmental education, financial literacy, foreign languages, geography, health education, and physical education.
The new well rounded education grant program is targeted at low-income, high-need districts, which include students with disabilities and English learners. The LEAs must identify in their application the academic subject areas for which they are seeking funds. Programs in the arts would be competing for funding with the other subject areas, and so there would be no guaranteed of a federal funding stream.
An additional hearing on the bill is scheduled for November 8, 2011. The hearing is the result of an agreement reached between Chairman Harkin and Senator Ron Paul, who challenged the committee process and threatened to hold-up the bill. Chairman Harkin has stated that he intends to bring the ESEA bill to the Senate floor before Thanksgiving, with the intent that a final bill could be worked out with the U.S. House by the end of the year. The House has been working on a number of separate bills to reauthorize ESEA rather than a complete bill.
More information about the Senate bill is available.
Legislation To Keep Teachers Working on Hold: Senators filibustered S.1723 on October 21, 2011 preventing consideration of a pared-back version of S.1660, The American Jobs Act.
S.1723, entitled “The Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act of 2011” (Menendez), would provide States with $30 billion in relief to support almost 400,000 educator jobs nationwide next year and also provide $5 billion to support the hiring and retention of public safety and first responder personnel. S. 1723 is paid for through a surtax on those Americans making over $1 million per year.
More information is available.
Schools of Promise Announced: The Ohio Department of Education announced on October 19, 2011 the 122 schools designated this year as “Schools of Promise” based on the results of the 2010-11 Local Report Card. This is the 10th year of this program, which recognizes schools that meet high standards for student achievement (for all subgroups of students), attendance, and graduation, yet enroll 40 percent or more of students from low income families that qualify for free and reduced-price lunches.
Several school districts, including the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Columbus City Schools, Steubenville City Schools, Claymont City Schools, Piqua City Schools, and Gallia County Local Schools, had three schools that met the standards to be named Schools of Promise.
More information about the Schools of Promise is available.
Ohio Submits Early Learning Challenge Proposal: Governor Kasich and Superintendent Stan Heffner submitted on October 19, 2011 a proposal to the U.S. Department of Education for a “Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge” grant (RTT-ELC). The proposal was developed in partnership with the Governor’s Office, the Ohio Department of Education, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Mental Health, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, the Head Start State Collaboration Office, the Early Childhood Advisory Committee, and The Ohio Business Roundtable.
According to the proposal, “Nearly 75 percent of high-needs children in Ohio enter school without the skills they need to succeed in kindergarten.” By fourth grade only 22 percent of economically disadvantaged students were proficient in math, and only 15 percent were proficient in reading. (2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress.)
The request is for $70 million to do the following by 2015: *Increase access to high-quality experiences for more than 37,000 high-needs children
- License family child care providers who receive public funding
- Require participation in the State’s TQRIS (Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System) called “Step Up to Quality”, for all licensed, publicly funded programs
- Test incentives for high quality programs to serve more high-needs children
- Test incentives for parents of high-needs children to choose high-quality programs
Increase the number of highly rated programs available to high-needs children by nearly 1,300
- Continue the tiered reimbursement system that pays for performance
- Create and deliver training on new comprehensive content and program quality standards
- Provide scholarships to early childhood professionals to support course work that will lead to the attainment of a degree
Improve results on Ohio’s current kindergarten readiness assessment (literacy) for high needs children by 5 percent; Include kindergarten entry assessment results on the local school report cards; include information on child outcomes in TQRIS consumer information.
- Join forces with the State of Maryland to develop comprehensive Pre-K and K entry assessments.
- Use a common, comprehensive Pre-K assessment in all rated programs
- Track outcomes of all children in publicly funded early education and development programs through the use of SSID
Ohio’s Early Education and Development Officer will oversee the plan and provide comprehensive reporting. Governor Kasich issued an executive order on October 14, 2011 establishing the Early Education and Development Innovation Committee to offer advice on ways to improve kindergarten readiness and creating the position of Early Education and Development Officer, who will work with the governor and his Office of 21st Century Education on a kindergarten readiness assessment process.
The Early Childhood Development Officer will work with state agencies to:
- define and measure kindergarten readiness, and develop and implement a comprehensive kindergarten readiness assessment process that determines the extent to which children entering school are ready for kindergarten. The results will be reported publicly and used as the basis for early childhood system improvements.
- break-down silos that exist between agencies and programs to ensure that all government support to high-need children is coordinated, streamlined, and effective.
- improve system performance
The executive order is available.
In addition to Ohio, 34 states and the District of Columbia are submitting applications to compete for the $500 million Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge program. Applicants will be eligible for early-learning awards worth between $50 million and $100 million.
Ohio’s application is available.
The application is an excellent resource for those interested in understanding the current status of early education programs, funding for programs, number of children enrolled, etc.
Drivers of Education Reform: Michael Fullan has released a paper for the Centre for Strategic Education Seminar Series entitled “Choosing the Wrong Drivers for Whole System Reform” (April 2011). The paper examines education policies and strategic levers, and compares those that have the best change of driving successful reform to achieve the “moral imperative of raising the bar (for all students) and closing the gap (for lower performing groups) relative to higher order skills and competencies required to be successful world citizens” with those that do not.
Successful drivers of education reform, as defined by the author, foster intrinsic motivation of teachers and students; engage educators and students in continuous improvement of instruction and learning; inspire collective or team work; and affect all teachers and students – 100 per cent. These drivers are “right” because they change the culture of the school (values, norms, skills, practices, relationships).
By contrast, many current education reform efforts engage drives that “make matters worse.” Four ineffective drivers are:
1) accountability: using test results, and teacher appraisal, to reward or punish teachers and schools vs capacity building;
2) individual teacher and leadership quality: promoting individual vs group solutions;
3) technology: investing in and assuming that the wonders of the digital world will carry the day vs instruction;
4) fragmented strategies vs integrated or systemic strategies.
The author writes that although these four “wrong” drivers have a place in reform, they can never be successful. These ineffective drivers “….alter structure, procedures and other formal attributes of the system without reaching the internal substance of reform — and that is why they fail.”
For example, instead of focusing on accountability, the focus should be on capacity building; instead of focusing on individual quality, the focus should be on group quality; instead of focusing on technology, the focus should be in instruction; and instead of focusing on fragmented strategies, and focus should be systemic changes.
The paper is available.
Challenges Facing Public Schools: A recent interview by Larry Ferlazzo (edublog – October 2011) features Stan Karp, editor and contributor of Rethinking Schools. Mr. Karp taught in Paterson, New Jersey for 30 years, and now provides a classroom teacher’s perspective on policy issues such as school funding, school governance, district reform, and federal issues. Recently he coordinated the NOTwaitingforsuperman.org site, to counteract negative media about public school teachers.
In the interview Mr. Karp identifies the major challenges facing public education as:
1) The inequalities of race, class, and opportunity that follow students to school and the resource inequities they find when they get there. The solutions are systematic efforts to reduce poverty and better school funding systems that provide high quality education for all kids instead of just some kids;
2) The “testing plague” and the need to end the test and punish approach to school reform, and put teachers and students back at the center of teaching and learning;
3) Strengthening the democratic and public character of schools and preserving the right of all children to a free public education.
According to Mr. Karp, corporate interests are increasingly dominating our society, and the survival of public schools, collectively owned and democratically managed, by all citizens, is being threatened by private and commercial interests.
Read the interview.
Bills Introduced: SB239 (Sawyer) State Board of Education Districts: Establishes state board of education districts based on the 2011 plan of apportionment.
Revised Draft Arts Standards are in Final Preparation: According to the October Ides of ODE, educators in the counties served by the Ashtabula and Western Buckeye Educational Service Centers had an opportunity to review the revised arts standards drafts and shared their feedback at recent regional professional development sessions. Other visual and performing arts teachers and artists across the state will have a chance to comment on the revisions during fall in-service and arts association meetings and conferences. The K-12 drafts in the four arts areas – dance, drama/theater, music, and visual art – will be posted in the fine arts section of the ODE website for public review and comment in mid-November. State Board adoption of the revised arts standards is projected for June 2012.
Westerville Project Seeks Art Work for Public Spaces: The “Public Art in Westerville Spaces – Sculpture Project 2012-2013” is a yearlong community arts project sponsored by the City of Westerville Parks and Recreation Department, Westerville Parks Foundation, and the Arts Council of Westerville, Inc. The project is seeking 7-10 sculptures by Ohio artists to feature in a 2012 – 2013 exhibition.
The sculptures will be juried into the exhibit and installed outdoors, on concrete pads in high profile locations in historic uptown Westerville, Ohio and throughout City Parks and business areas. Online and print brochures will be provided to the public to inspire self-guided walking tours of the exhibit. Guided docent tours will also be available through the Arts Council of Westerville. On the launch date of Saturday, June 16, 2012, there will be a reception hosted by the Arts Council of Westerville for the artists and all the collaborators.
All work must be for sale and remain in the exhibit for the entire duration. Each artist will receive a $500 stipend. In addition to the stipend, a grand prize of $500 will be awarded. The postmark deadline for submissions is January 20, 2012, and artists will be notified by February 17, 2012.
Selection Criteria: Entries will be critiqued on artistic merit and originality. All finalists will have to meet standards of public safety and durability of design and materials. Freestanding sculptures will be considered. When choosing submissions, please keep in mind sculptures will be shown outdoors and should be of a substantive size and impact to complement surroundings. All work must be original, created by an artist residing in Ohio, for sale, and remain in the exhibit for one year.
Submission Procedure: “Public Art in Westerville Spaces – Sculpture Project 2012-2013″ is open to all artists 18 years of age and older residing in Ohio. Artists may submit up to three (3) original sculptures. The non-refundable entry fee for each sculpture submitted is $25 (make checks payable to the Westerville Parks Foundation).
Artists are required to complete in full an application and include a copy of their resume and an artist statement. Each application must also include a CD with digital images of the artwork, and each image file name must specify the title. Each image submitted must be a high resolution, 300 dpi. and measure 5” X 7”. Each submission must also include information about each sculpture which includes title, dimensions, media, date created, and retail price. The Westerville Parks and Recreation Department and The Arts Council of Westerville, Inc., reserve the right to reject, upon receipt, any sculpture that does not meet the aforementioned standards for outdoor display, is deemed unsafe, and differs from artist’s photo and/or description or for any other reason.
Benefits to the Exhibiting Sculptor
- $500 stipend
- $500 grand prize for “Best in Show”
- Sculptures will be placed high visibility sites in the Westerville, Ohio named one of “America’s Best Places to Live” by Forbes Magazine
- A yearlong marketing campaign, including press releases and brochures distributed in Central Ohio
Process to Apply
In order to be included in the selection process each application package must BE SUBMITTED BY JANUARY 20, 2012 and include the following:
1. Completed Application
2. $25 non-refundable entry fee per sculpture (check payable to Westerville Parks Foundation)
3. Resume/ Artist statement
4. Descriptive statement about each piece submitted
5. CD with high resolution images of each submitted piece and a detailed description of each piece
6. Artists that wish for return of materials must include a SASE
For an application or additional information, please contact Jan Fedorenko at 614-797-7100 or FedorenJ@westerville.k12.oh.us.
* NO ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED.
Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child Partnership Featured: An article in the Modesto Bee entitled “Partnership exposes 37,000 – plus Sacramento students to the arts” by Edward Ortiz (October 18, 2011) describes how students have benefited from the “Any Given Child” program. The program, which serves students in grades K-8, is a partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Sacramento Unified and Twin Rivers Unified school districts. Any Given Child combines available district resources with outreach activities by local arts groups and support from the Kennedy Center. The program trains teachers how to integrate the arts into everyday lessons, supports artists in residency programs, and provides opportunities for students to experience the arts in their communities. Sacramento is the first city nationally to participate in the program, which began last year. The program hopes to bring its outreach programs to 112 area schools by the end of the school year.
According to the article, “The partnership is seen as a crucial step in addressing the erosion of arts education in schools in California. A recent study by SRI International and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation found that 89 percent of California schools do not offer standards-based courses in dance, music, theater, and visual arts.”
National Arts Marketing Project: The National Arts Marketing Project published an article entitled “A Cornucopia of Audience Development Resources & Research” by Denise Montgomery (October 20, 2011). The article provides an annotated bibliography of audience development resources. Ms. Montgomery is the Director of Marketing and Communications at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and created the bibliography to help arts advocates, who long for more hours in the day to read all of the books and articles that might apply to their work. The bibliography is available.
Surdna Foundation Arts Teachers Fellowship Program: The Surdna Foundation supports arts education in public schools by providing arts teachers the opportunity to focus on their own creative practice and interact with other professionals in the field to provide better service to their students. This Fellowship is open to teachers from specialized public arts high schools and arts-focused charter and magnet high schools. The program is open to any full- or part-time arts faculty in public arts high schools from all disciplines that
have been with the same school for at least five years. The deadline to apply is November 14, 2011. More information is available.