Arts on Line Update 10.31.2011

Seeking 12 Ohio High Schools To Represent Ohio’s 1.8 Million Students! Is Your High School The Perfect Match?

Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation, in partnership with the Ohio Arts Council, offers a unique community service opportunity for high school students in conjunction with Ohio’s annual Arts Day and Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Ohio.  Twelve high schools from around the state will be chosen to send a team of six students to Columbus to serve as student advocates.  These students will participate in a range of activities highlighting the value and importance of the arts and arts education as a part of a complete curriculum. This is a valuable opportunity for your students to participate in the democratic process in a way that is personally meaningful to them.

You are invited to express your interest in having your students participate in Arts Day 2012 to be held in Columbus on Wednesday, May 9th.  Please respond in writing by November 3, 2011 by email, fax, or US mail (contact information can be found at the close of this message).  High school selections will be made by the end of November from those indicating their interest to participate.

WHAT: Arts Day 2012 Student Advocate Program
WHEN: Wednesday, May 9, 2012   9:00 AM – 1:30 PM
WHERE: Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts and the Ohio Statehouse

ACTIVITIES:

  • Students attend an advocacy briefing
  • Students meet with state legislators or their aides to advocate for the arts and arts education
  • Students attend the Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Ohio and Arts Day Luncheon with members of the state legislature
  • Students tour state buildings and other cultural venues while in Columbus

OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Collaborate among academic departments within the high school (ex. arts, government, and language arts)
  • Host a member of the Ohio House of Representatives and/or Senate in your school for a pre-Arts Day orientation to discuss the role of a legislator in education and the arts funding process
  • Raise student awareness of the legislative process and citizens’ participation in government
  • Receive positive recognition for your school
  • Make an important contribution to the continuation of state funding for the arts and arts education

REQUIREMENTS:

  • Six (6) students who demonstrate an interest in the arts and the day’s activities
  • Advance preparation by students: identify and write their Ohio legislators
  • School-provided release time for: a) two-hour in-school legislative visit; and b) trip to Columbus on Arts Day
  • School-provided transportation to Columbus for students and accompanying adult(s)
  • Teacher and/or school administrator to “advise” the student participation and serve as a liaison with the Arts Day Committee member

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Donna Collins, Executive Director
Email: donnacollins@ohiocitizensforthearts.org
Telephone:  614.221.4064 Fax:  614.241.5329
Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation
77 South High Street, 2nd Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215-6108

129th Ohio General Assembly:  The Ohio House and Senate are not scheduled to meet this week.  The House and Senate Education committees are also not scheduled to meet this week.

Senate Committee Changes:  Senate President Tom Niehaus made some changes in minority membership of some Senate committees last week. Senator Joe Schiavoni will replace Senator Charleta Tavares on the Senate Education Committee;  Senator Eric Kearney will replace Senator Edna Brown on the Senate Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Committee;  Senators Kearney and Skindell will serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee, replacing Senator Schiavoni; and Senator Nina Turner was appointed ranking minority member of the Senate State and Local Government and Veterans Affairs Committee.

Changes in House Schedule:  House Speaker William Batchelder revised the House calendar.  Sessions for November 9 and 30, 2011 have been canceled.  Sessions are still scheduled for November 15, 16, and 29, 2011 and December 6, 7, 13, and 14, 2011.

November 8, 2011 Ballot Issues:  According to the Secretary of State’s web site, voters in all 88 counties will be considering local ballot issues in addition to the state-wide issues on the November 8, 2011 ballot. The total number of issues appearing on the ballot is 1,734 and includes the following:

  • 7 bond issues (6 are school issues)
  • 1,009 tax issues (142 are school issues)
  • 333 local liquor options
  • 15 combination questions:  14 are school bond issues with a tax levy and 1 is a school income tax with a bond issue
  • 370 miscellaneous questions:  112 electric aggregation questions; 11 gas aggregation questions; 165 charter amendments; 9 zoning amendments; 57 tax changes (21 are school issues); 16 miscellaneous questions.

More information about the ballot issues on the November 8, 2011 ballot is available.

News from Washington, D.C.

Plan to Manage Student Loan Repayments Introduced:  President Barack Obama announced on October 25, 2011 a plan entitled “Pay As You Earn” designed to reduce monthly payments for more than 1.5 million college students and borrowers. The proposal is one among several executive actions that President Obama is taking to address critical problems that are slowing down the economic recovery as Congress continues to debate the issues.

The program will allow borrowers to reduce monthly federal education loan repayments to 10 percent of their discretionary income in 2014; allow about 1.6 million students the ability to cap loan payments at 10 percent beginning next year and forgive the balance of their loans after 20 years; and allow approximately 6 million students and recent college graduates to consolidate their loans and reduce interest rates.

Current law allows borrowers to limit their loan payments to 15 percent of their discretionary income and forgives all remaining debt after 25 years. A new law enacted last year will go into effect for new borrowers after 2014.  It lowers the Income Based Repayment (IBR) to 10 percent of income, and forgives the loan after 20 years. More information about the IBR is available.

More information about this executive order is available.

Next International Summit for Teaching Scheduled for March 2012: Several organizations are joining together to host the second International Summit on the Teaching Profession in New York City on March 14-15 2012.  The summit will include representatives from The U.S. Department of Education, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Education International (EI), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the Asia Society, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the National Education Association (NEA), and public broadcaster WNET.

The theme of the 2012 summit will be “Preparing Teachers and Developing School Leaders” and will examine how to improve teacher preparation and school leader development to better address the needs of 21st century learning environments and changing expectations.

Countries and regions invited to participate include Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, the People’s Republic of China, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Additional information including an agenda, background materials, and details on media access will be released closer to the Summit.

More information on the International Summit on the Teaching Profession is available.

News from the ODE
ODE Offers New Service:  Pete LuPiba, Communications and Outreach at the Ohio Department of Education, is now providing a daily summary of education-related news in Ohio.  To sign-up for this free service, please visit Ohio Education News Summary

ODE Mobile Website:  The ODE announced last week the launch of a new website formatted for smartphones. The site is optimized to display on many common hand-held devices and includes the latest news releases, the newsletter EdConnection, ODE contact information, and more.

Ohio Receives More Federal Ed Jobs Funding: State Superintendent Stan Heffner announced last week that Ohio’s schools will receive an additional $5.3 million supplement from the U.S. Department of Education under the Education Jobs Fund program.  Ohio received $361 million last year from this program, which was used by local schools/districts to retain or rehire teachers. ODE expects to distribute the funds by early November.

ODE Develops AP Network: The Department of Education announced on October 25, 2011 that it will use $400,000 in Race to the Top funds to create an Advanced Placement Network among 21 schools in Ohio. The schools will receive $10,000 in grants to participate in the network, which will help increase the number of Advanced Placement courses offered and the number of students enrolled in these courses, and better prepare AP teachers. Funds will also be used to expand virtual learning options to reach underserved groups of students. Schools were chosen through a competitive application process.  More information is available.

State Teacher Evaluation Policies Reviewed:  The National Council on Teacher Quality released on October 26, 2011 a very useful report entitled “State of the State: Trends and Early Lessons on Teacher Evaluation and Effectiveness Policies.”  The report provides a detailed review of teacher evaluation policies across the states; an analysis of 17 states (including Ohio) with the most ambitious teacher effectiveness policies; and early observations on the development and implementation of performance-based teacher evaluations.

According to the authors, recent efforts to reform teacher evaluation programs across the states has been “impressive”. Policy-makers have made an important shift and are focusing on teacher effectiveness related to student achievement verses teacher effectiveness based on qualifications.  New laws in some 17 states and the District of Columbia require that student achievement and/or student growth be a factor in the evaluation of teachers and that the evaluation lead to the dismissal of ineffective teachers.

The report makes the following observations about “early lessons” learned:

  • Teacher effectiveness measures don’t have to be perfect to be useful.  They are a “marked improvement on evaluation systems that find 99 percent of teachers effective with little attention to a teacher’s impact on students”.
  • Insistence on comparability of measures for all teachers could cripple evaluation efforts.
  • Designing measures of student growth for non-tested grades and subjects is an important challenge facing states.
  • States shouldn’t lose sight of the importance of classroom observations.
  • In addition to providing actionable feedback to all teachers, the most useful initial capacity of new evaluations will be to discern the most and least effective teachers.
  • Stakeholder input is important – but bold leadership is even more important.
  • State review and approval of district evaluations may not be an adequate approach to ensuring quality and rigor. “States that have left districts to their own devices without any oversight are even more worrisome. There is a good reason to be skeptical that all districts in such states will have the capacity and will to implement strong evaluation systems on their own.”
  • States should start with annual evaluations for all teachers and modify for highly effective teachers once the system is fully operational.
  • States and districts should use third party evaluators when possible.
  • A scarlet letter isn’t appropriate teacher effectiveness policy.
  • Teacher evaluation policy should reflect the purpose of helping all teachers improve, not just low-performers.
  • States should anticipate and address the anxieties a new evaluation system creates for teachers.
  • Escape clauses need to be shorn up and loopholes closed that may undermine new teacher evaluation systems.
  • States need to get on top of policy plans for equitable distribution of effective teachers now.
  • States need to attend to potential bias with systematic checks of their evaluation system; states also need to maintain flexibility to make adjustments to the system as needed.

The authors describe some of the ways in which states are developing student growth measures as part of the teacher evaluation system for non-tested grades and subjects, including the arts.  For example, some states are developing new tests in currently non-tested subjects or expanding tested grades; some states are developing lists of approved assessments for districts/schools to use in non-tested areas; and some states are encouraging districts to use pre/post assessments developed by the districts or teachers.  Tennessee is using school-level value added measures where individual classroom measures don’t exist.  Rhode Island is implementing a system of student learning objectives (SOL) developed by teams of administrators/teachers by grade-level or by content areas.  Teachers are typically responsible for student growth in 2-4 objectives.

The authors make a case for using different measures of effectiveness for different types of teachers. The authors state, “Measurement that varies by type of teacher – music versus biology, or social studies versus vocational education – is a kind of “inconsistency” that we can not only live with, but is appropriate in evaluating teachers. We need to abandon the lock step mentality that has controlled too many aspects of the teaching profession. Comparability of all measures isn’t the ultimate goal; fair, rigorous and appropriate measures of teacher performance are the bottom line. Developing such measures for grades and subjects for which there are no statewide measures is a valuable process.

This isn’t to argue that where states (and districts) have comparable data across sets of teachers, those data shouldn’t be used to measure student growth and teacher effectiveness in a way that maintains comparability. In fact, states should insist on this. But where those measures don’t exist, the choices aren’t between developing statewide tests for every grade and subject and throwing out the whole project because we can’t measure growth and evaluate teachers all in exactly the same way.”

The report concludes:  “What this policy review and early lessons suggest is that performance-based teacher evaluation must be approached in a measured, realistic and transparent way. Performance measures are not perfect and good teachers are not the product of formulas. Conducting teacher performance evaluations that focus on the results and the behaviors that matter most will move us toward a system that recognizes and encourages effective instruction and prepares and values highly-effective teachers.”

The report is available.

Questions Raised About Virtual Schools:  The National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder published on October 25, 2011 a policy brief entitled “Online K-12 Schooling: Uncertain Private Ventures in Need of Public Regulation” in the U.S. by Gene V Glass, Kevin G. Welner, and Justin Bathon.  Accompanying the policy brief is a another document entitled “Model Legislation Related to Online Learning Opportunities for Students in Public Elementary and Secondary Education Schools” by Justin Bathon, University of Kentucky.

The policy brief raises questions about the oversight of full-time virtual schools; the effectiveness of these schools as a replacement for traditional education; and recommends steps to improve online learning, including more careful financial monitoring of schools and face-to-face exams for students.

According to the report, virtual schooling is the fastest growing alternative to traditional K-12 education in the United States. Forty states operate or authorize online classes for K-12 students and more than 30 percent of the nation’s 16 million high school students have been enrolled in at least one online class. Virtual charter schools are now operating in 27 states and enroll over 200,000 students.

Researchers have found, however, that oversight of these schools and programs is minimal.  There are few rules, standards, and a large number of students dropout of these programs before graduating. Justin Bathron writes, “Few states have addressed the issues of systemic integrity: reliability of budgets, authentication of student work, quality of instruction, fidelity of the virtual teaching staff, and clear, yet highly developed, state regulations.”

Five companies dominate online educational services in the U.S.: K12 Inc., Education Options Inc., Apex Learning, Plato: A+LS, and Connections Education, acquired by Pearson in September 2011.

The report cites several examples of questionable activities of some online programs, and makes the following recommendations:

  • Authentication of the source of student work: A trusted organization should be engaged to administer in-person exams to students.
  • Fiscal and Instructional Regulation: Four issues regarding the costs and effectiveness of virtual schools should be addressed: the level and extent of teacher involvement in the instructional process; the certification status of teachers employed by virtual schools; the role of tests in earning online credits; and reciprocity of teacher certification across state lines. Documenting student attendance for funding purposes should also be addressed.
  • Audits: “States should conduct audits of private providers, to determine actual costs incurred by such companies providing courses and services to virtual schools. Pegging reimbursements at some arbitrary level (e.g., 75% of the state’s average contribution), ignores the reality of actual cost savings afforded by online instruction. The funding system adopted should also deliberately include incentives to provide a high-quality as well as an efficient education; audits will inform such decision-making. Virtual education costs will depend on such things as the subject being taught, who serves as teachers, and how many students are being taught. While private companies must be allowed reasonable operating funding, audits can help determine this reasonable amount.”
  • Accreditation: There are few agencies to turn to for help in evaluating providers of online schooling. States or other public bodies should create and maintain a list of legitimate agencies that accredit providers of K-12 online education. To avoid abuses such as those encountered with proprietary schools (truck driving, cosmetology, and the like) and online diploma mills, the traditional high school accrediting agencies or some state or federal governmental agencies must address more vigorously the accreditation of commercial online providers of both courses and full-time K-12 programs.

This report was supported with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. Both reports are available on the National Education Policy Center website.

Crisis in Public Education:  The Campaign for America’s Future and the National Education Association published on October 13, 2011 a report entitled “Starving America’s Public Schools:  How Budget Cuts and Policy Mandates are Hurting our Nation’s Students” by Jeff Bryant.  The report focuses on five states — Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania — and describes the “true” crisis facing public schools:  austerity budgets that are affecting services to children, youth, and families and a transfer of tax dollars to “targets outside the traditional public education system”, such as private schools, charter schools, and contractors and companies that are setting up new systems for testing and accountability.

According to the author, major cuts in state education budgets over the past years has affected four major components of public education:  early childhood education; class size; student access to a well-rounded curriculum; and special programs for developmental, academic, and non-academic needs.  At the same time, the tax dollars that remain are being diverted to private interests, either private schools, charter schools, or education contractors and service providers.  Reports estimate that nearly $1 billion is being redirected every year from public schools to the private sector through voucher and tax credit programs. (ASCD report referenced.) And, the federal Race to the Top program and new teacher evaluation requirements have directed more public funds to testing companies and technical services to track student achievement for elaborate accountability systems.

The author concludes that policy-makers must acknowledge the new realities and adequately fund public education programs that serve all students, and provide regulatory relief to school districts to compensate for the transfer of public funds to private entities.

The report is available.

Chicago Public School Reform Reviewed:  The Consortium on Chicago Research (CCSR) at the University of Chicago published on September 2011 “Trends in Chicago’s Schools Across Three Eras of Reform” by Stuart Luppescu, Elaine M. Allensworth, Paul Moore, Marisa de la Torre, James Murphy with Sanja Jagesic”.  The report tracks three eras of school reform efforts in Chicago and contradicts “common perceptions about district performance over the last two decades”.

In order to do the trend analysis, researchers constructed statistical measures and methodology that allowed valid year over year comparisons, because “The publicly reported statistics used to hold schools and districts accountable for making academic progress are not accurate measures of progress.”  (Page 5 of the report.) The report shows areas of progress, concerns, and misconceptions about the state of Chicago’s schools, but does not draw conclusions about the effects of particular school policies on the progress of students.

The researchers found the following about school reform in Chicago:

  • Graduation rates have improved dramatically, and high school test scores have risen; more students are graduating without a decline in average academic performance.
  • Math scores have improved incrementally in the elementary/middle grades, while elementary/middle grade reading scores remained fairly flat for two decades.
  • Racial gaps in achievement have steadily increased, with white students making slightly more progress than Latino students, and African American students falling behind all other groups.  The authors write, “The decline in equity, with African American students falling behind students from other racial/ethnic groups, is particularly disturbing and has raised questions about the policies around school closings and openings, which disproportionately affected African American students. As we have presented these findings, some people have wondered whether students were hurt by the shuffling of students that occurred when schools were closed, or whether neighborhood schools declined as charter schools proliferated.”
  • Despite progress, the vast majority of CPS students have academic achievement levels that are far below where they need to be to graduate ready for college.
  • Leadership, professional capacity, and parent involvement have improved, but the quality of instruction and supports for students have not. The improvements in overall school organization did not translate into better overall instructional quality in classrooms.
  • “This report raises important questions about what how much improvement we can reasonably expect in a large system over the span of two decades. Over the course of the three eras of school reform, a number of dramatic system-wide initiatives were enacted. But instead of bringing dramatic changes in student achievement, district-wide changes were incremental-when they occurred at all.”

The report is available.

FYI ARTS

Early Childhood STEM + ARTS: Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts and Northrop Grumman Foundation announced on October 27, 2011 the opening of ten National STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Learning Through the Arts programs for preschool and kindergarten students, teachers, parents, and care givers. The programs will integrate elements of the performing arts into existing school curriculum to teach STEM concepts and skills to young children.  The program is based on independent research that documents the impact of arts-based learning strategies on children’s cognitive and social development and school readiness in areas including math and logic. The program features multi-session classroom residencies; professional development workshops for administrators, teachers, and specialists; and family involvement workshops for parents and care givers. In each of these sessions, Wolf Trap Teaching Artists will provide instruction and collaborate with participants on ways to engage children in active STEM learning.

The program will be offered in schools in Long Island, New York; Irving, Texas; Los Angeles and San Diego, California; Washington, D.C.; Glen Burnie and Laurel, Maryland.; and Herndon, Virginia. More information is available.

New Research Bulletin from AEP on the Benefits of Music Education: The Arts Education Partnership (AEP) with the support from the Qunicy Jones Musiq Consortium, has published a new research bulletin entitled “Music Matters:  How Music Education Helps Students Learn, Achieve, and Succeed”.  The bulletin is based on evidence-based studies that document student learning outcomes associated with an education in and through music and support music education as a way to equip students to learn, facilitate student academic achievement, and develop the creative capacities for lifelong success. More information about the bulletin is available.

Online Registration Opens for Ohio’s Poetry Out Loud: For the seventh year in a row, the Ohio Arts Council is sponsoring Poetry Out Loud (POL) with national support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, and with local assistance from the Ohioana Library Association and Thurber House. Teachers may register online now for the 2011-12 season of POL. Free POL teacher toolkits and other materials are available upon request. When POL began in Ohio in 2005, the program only hinted at the life-changing potential that lay ahead. By May 2006, Jackson Hille had made history in Ohio by becoming the first ever POL National Champion and winning a $20,000 scholarship. As the program enters its seventh year, Ohio’s POL maintains the promise of influencing high school students across the state. Participants enhance their public speaking skills, cultivate self-confidence and discover the joys of memorizing and reciting classic and contemporary poetry.  Ohio’s POL state finals take place on Saturday, March 24, 2012, at Ohio Dominican University’s Matesich Theatre. POL school champions compete for cash prizes and an all-expense-paid trip to participate in the National Finals on May 15, 2012, in Washington, D.C. Ohio high school teachers are encouraged to sign up for this exciting celebration of our literary heritage. For additional information, please visit www.oac.ohio.gov/events/PoetryOutLoud/ or www.poetryoutloud.org.  For information on the upcoming POL Teacher Training Workshop or the Workshop for School Champions, please contact Chiquita Mullins Lee at chiquita.mullinslee@oac.state.oh.us.

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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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