129th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate will hold sessions and committee hearings this week.
Referendum on HB194 Moves Forward: Secretary of State Jon Husted certified on December 9, 2011 that enough signatures had been collected for a referendum on HB194 (Mecklenborg-Blessing) Election Reform to be placed on the November 6, 2012 ballot. Opponents of HB194, Fair Elections Ohio, submitted 307,000 valid signatures to qualify for the referendum. 231,000 signature were needed. The next step is for the Ohio ballot Board, chaired by Secretary Husted, to certify the official ballot language.
Opponents want to overturn HB194 because they believe that HB194 suppresses voters by eliminating in person absentee voting on Sundays and limiting Saturday voting until noon; eliminating in person early voting during the last weekend before an election; making it more difficult for county election boards to open extra offices for early absentee voting; prohibiting election boards from mailing unsolicited absentee ballot applications to all eligible voter; prohibiting election boards from paying return postage on absentee ballots or requests for them; not requiring poll workers to inform voters when they are voting in the wrong precinct; and more.
HB167 Becomes Law: Governor Kasich signed into law on December 9,2011 HB167 (Derickson/Mallory) Income Tax Deduction for Pell Grants. The new law authorizes an income tax deduction for the otherwise taxable portion of a federal Pell grant or Ohio College Opportunity grant used to pay room and board for a post-secondary student.
SB165 Moves Forward: The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton, amended and then reported-out SB165(Obhof/Grendell) on December 7, 2011. SB165 requires that content on specified historical documents be included in the state academic standards and in the high school American history and government curriculum, and that each school district adopt an interim end-of-course examination to assess mastery of American history and government standards according to the Ohio Revised Code.
Children’s Caucus Created: Senator Peggy Lehner and Representative Ted Celeste have been named chairs of the legislature’s Children’s Caucus. Co-chairs are Senator Nina Turner and Representative Dave Hail. The bipartisan caucus will work to develop public policies that improve children’s lives in the areas of health, safety, nutrition, education, early childhood education, and more. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Children’s Caucuses have been established in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, and New Hampshire.
This Week at the Statehouse
TUESDAY, December 13, 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:
- SB266 (Widener/Sawyer) Student Members of Trustees — Voting Powers: Grants student members of the boards of trustees of state universities and the Northeast Ohio Medical University voting power and the authority to attend executive sessions.
- HB157 (Schuring/Letson) Teacher Development on Dyslexia: Authorizes educational service centers to provide teacher professional development on dyslexia.
The Ohio Retirement Study Council: The Ohio Retirement Study Council, Aristotle Hutras chair, will meet on December 13 and 14, 2011 to discuss the selection of an interim director and receive presentations from OPERS, OPF and HPRS.
WEDNESDAY, December 14, 2011
House Education Committee: The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton, will meet at 5:00 PM in Hearing Room 313. The committee will receive testimony on the following bills:
- HB381 (Slaby) School District Property: Allows school districts to offer property to state universities.
- SCR11 (Lehner) Graduation Rate Changes: Approves the Department of Education’s proposed graduation rate changes to the state accountability system for public schools.
- HB375 (Butler) Property Sale by School Districts: Allows school districts to sell real property to private, nonprofit institutions of higher education.
- 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.
News from Washington, D.C.
Guidelines Released About Diversity/Racial Isolation: The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice issued on December 2, 2011 new guidelines for school districts and colleges and universities to use to promote educational diversity and reduce racial isolation among students.
The guidelines are based on three recent Supreme Court decisions: Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1; Grutter v. Bollinger; and Gratz v. Bollinger. They identify the legal standards required by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and Titles IV and VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and provide examples of options that schools and post-secondary institutions can consider to further diversity or reduce racial isolation, including program siting, drawing school attendance boundaries, grade realignment, restructuring feeder patterns, and implementing policies regarding admissions, recruitment, mentoring, tutoring, retention, and support programs. Previous guidelines issued by the Bush Administration in 2008 are withdrawn.
According to the press release, the guidance “….makes clear that educators may permissibly consider the race of students in carefully constructed plans to promote diversity or, in K-12 education, to reduce racial isolation. It recognizes the learning benefits to students when campuses and schools include students of diverse backgrounds.”
More information is available.
News from the ODE
College Readiness Expectations: According to the Ohio Department of Education, 41 percent of high school graduates need to take remedial courses when they enter college. To better prepare students for higher education the Ohio Board of Regents (OBR) has revised its College Readiness Expectations and the Ohio Department of Education is sponsoring a project to build partnerships between high schools and higher education institutions to do the following:
- Align the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the standards for science and social studies with the Board of Regents expectations;
- Align teacher preparation programs to meet CCSS; and
- Provide on-going data to promote student mobility and college success.
More information about this project and the partnerships is available.
ODE Seeks State Trainers for the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System: The State Board of Education adopted the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) on November 15, 2011. Under the new system school districts are required to adopt teacher evaluation policies aligned to the OTES Teacher Evaluation Framework. The evaluators that will be
required to implement the OTES will be trained and credentialed by state-trained evaluation system trainers. The Ohio Department of Education is accepting applications from Ohio educators to become certified as State Trainers for OTES. Interested applicants can apply before December 31, 2011 by visiting the Educator Evaluation Systems in Ohio website.
State Board of Education to Meet: The State Board of Education, Debe Terhar president, will meet at the Ohio School for the Deaf, 500 Morse Road, Columbus, OH, on December 12 – 13, 2011.
Meeting on December 12, 2011: The Executive, Achievement, and Capacity committees, and the Select Committee on Urban Education are scheduled to meet on December 12, 2011.
The Executive Committee, chaired by Debe Terhar, will meet at 8:30 AM and discuss stakeholder engagement, board norms and procedural protocols, and governance of the Ohio School for the Blind and the Ohio School for the Deaf.
The Achievement Committee, chaired by Angela Thi Bennett, will meet at 9:30 AM. The committee will receive an update on the alignment between Career-Technical and Higher Education; receive an update on the communication plan on College and Career Readiness; and discuss amendments to Rules 3301-91-01,-04, and -09, School Lunch and Breakfast program.
The Capacity Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, will discuss a Resolution of Intent to Amend Rules 3301-89-01 to -03, Territory Transfers; discuss HB153 and the requirement to extend educational services toward a high school diploma for adult learners; discuss amending Rules 2201-83-06 to -15, Pupil Transportation; discuss new
expenditure standards required by HB153; and discuss the proposed Praxis II Tests and Qualifying Scores.
The Select Committee on Urban Education, chaired by Joe Farmer, will meet at 9:30 AM. The committee will receive a presentation and discuss financial practices of urban districts.
The full Board will receive Board member and committee reports starting at 11:15 AM. Following lunch at 1:00 PM, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Stan Heffner, will present a report about policy matters regarding college and career readiness.
The Board will begin its business meeting at 3:00 PM and will immediately convene an executive session.
A 119 Hearing will be conducted at 4:00 PM regarding the following rules:
Rule 3301-41-01 Ohio High School Equivalence Diploma
Rule 3301-44-03 PSEO
Rule 3301-101-01 to 13, Peterson Special Education Scholarship Program
Rule 3301-104-01 to 03, Expenditures for Computer or Internet Based Schools
Meeting on December 13, 2011
The Legislative and Budget Committee, chaired by C. Todd Jones, will meet at 8:30 AM to discuss the Federal ESEA platform; discuss the FY14-15 State Budget Process; discuss a student member on the State Board; and receive an update about legislation.
The State Board will reconvene its business meeting at 10:00 AM. The Board will accept public participation on agenda items; receive a report from the Legislative and Budget Committee; and take action on the Report and Recommendations of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, which are included below. The Board will then consider old business, new business, miscellaneous business, receive public participation on non-agenda items (which is scheduled at 1:00 PM), and adjourn.
Resolutions to be considered by the State Board of Education at their December 2011 Meeting:
#1 Approve a Resolution of Intent to Amend Rules 3301-89-01 to 3301-89-03 regarding transfers of school district territory. (VOLUME 2, PAGE 1)
#2 Approve a Resolution of Intent to Adopt new Praxis II subject assessments and qualifying scores for licensure in the areas of business education, teaching reading, and special education (intervention specialist mild/moderate and moderate/intensive) (VOLUME 2, PAGE 5)
#9 Approve a Resolution to Amend Rule 3301-16-02 entitled establishing criteria for awarding the diploma with honors. (VOLUME 3, PAGE 1)
#10 Approve a Resolution to Adopt Rules 3301-16-03 of the Administrative Code entitled Community Service Learning Special Certification. (VOLUME 3, PAGE 11)
#11 Approve a Resolution to Rescind Rule 3301-3301-61-14 of the Administrative Code entitled Rule for the Provisions for the Career Technical Education Construction and Equipment Loan Fund. (VOLUME 3, PAGE 17)
#12 Approve a Resolution to Adopt a Physical Education and Wellness Measure for the 2012-2013 Local Report Card. (VOLUME 4, PAGE 1)
#13 Approve a Resolution to Adopt a Gifted Performance Indicator (Volume 4, Page 7).
#14 Approve a Resolution to Revoke the Charter of Westpark Academy. (Volume 4, Page 11).
#15 Approve a Resolution to Confirm the Mechanicsburg Exempted Village School District Board of Education’s determination of impractical the transportation of certain students attending St. Paul Lutheran, a chartered non-public school, and Emmanuel Christian Academy (Volume 4, Page 19.)
#16 Approve a Resolution to Appoint a member of the State Library Board. (Volume 4, Page 29).
A Realistic Role for the Federal Government in Education Reform: In a New York Times op-ed (“How to Rescue Education Reform”, NY Times, December 5, 2011) Frederick Hess and Linda Darling-Hammond describe the current debate between Republicans and Democrats about the role of the federal government in K-12 education and identify four education-related areas that the federal government can provide leadership and guidance.
According to the authors, who often disagree about education policy, the federal government “should not micromanage schools” but should focus on four functions: encourage transparency for school performance and spending; ensure basic constitutional protections using disaggregated assessment results; continue and strengthen support for basic research; and provide voluntary, competitive grants that “support innovation while providing political cover for school boards, union leaders, and others to throw off anachronistic routines.”
The authors state that beyond the four functions, “the federal government is simply not well situated to make schools and teachers improve — no matter how much ambitious reformers wish it were otherwise.”
The article is available.
Teachers Say Testing is Narrowing the Curriculum: Common Core and the Farkas Duffett Research Group recently released the results of a national survey of 1,001 3rd to 12th grade public school teachers entitled “Learning Less: Public School Teachers Describe a Narrowing Curriculum”.
The survey, which was sponsored by the Ford Foundation and the American Federation of Teachers, set-out to gather data about teacher behavior and classroom practice, such as how much time is spent in the classroom on certain activities. The following are some of the results of the survey:
- Two-thirds (66 percent) of teachers participating in the survey say that other subjects “get crowded out by extra attention being paid to math or language arts”. Math (55%) and language arts (54%) are the only two subjects getting more attention. Half of the teachers reported that art (51%) and music (48%) get less attention; 40 percent say the same for foreign language, 36 percent for social studies, and 27 percent for science receive less attention.
- All students appear to be affected-not just those who are struggling. 77 percent of teachers who believe math and language arts crowd out other subjects say this happens across the full student body; only 21 percent say it is targeted to struggling students.
- A majority of elementary school teachers (81 percent) report that other subjects are getting crowded out by extra attention being paid to math or language arts (62% middle school; 54% high school).
- About half (51 percent) of elementary school teachers say that struggling students get extra help in math or language arts by getting pulled out of other classes; the most likely subjects are social studies (48%) and science (40%).
- 59 percent of elementary school teachers report that social studies has been getting less instructional time and resources (28% middle school; 20% high school); 46% say the same about science (20% middle school; 14% high school).
- 93 percent of the teachers surveyed believe that state tests in math and language arts drive curriculum narrowing. 60 percent say in recent years there’s been more class time devoted to test-taking skills.
- 80 percent report that “more and more” of the time they should be spending on teaching students is spent on “paperwork and reporting requirements to meet state standards”.
- 90 percent say that when a subject is included in the state’s system of testing, it is taken more seriously. 61 percent say it’s easier to get money for technology and materials for subjects that are tested.
See the results.
NAEP Trial Urban District Results Released: The National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education administers the 2011 NAEP Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) in Mathematics and Reading to representative samples of students in grades 4 and 8 in 21 districts that volunteer to have their NAEP results reported separately. The primary goal of TUDA is to focus attention on urban education and measure educational progress within large urban districts. The majority of students in TUDA districts are Black, Hispanic or from lower-income households, and in many of these districts, concentrations of these populations are higher than in the nation. For example, nationwide the percentage of students who are eligible for free and reduced-price lunch is 52 percent, but in large cities and TUDA districts it can be as high as 100 percent. Some TUDA districts also have higher percentages of English language learners than other districts.
According to the 2011 TUDA results, there was no significant change in reading scores of fourth-and eighth-grade students in 21 urban public school districts on the 2011 NAEP. This followed the overall national trend for the latest NAEP results.
In mathematics, scores at the 4th grade in Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore City, and Philadelphia were higher in 2011 than in 2009. The same is true for 8th grade scores in six districts, Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, the District of Columbia, and Jefferson County, KY.
Overall TUDA districts showed a wide disparity in performance on both assessments, with low overall results. In eighth-grade math, for example, the percentages of students performing at or above Basic ranged from 29 percent to 74 percent in the districts.
The participating districts in TUDA are Albuquerque Public Schools, Atlanta Public Schools, Austin Independent School District, Baltimore City Public Schools, Boston Public Schools, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Chicago Public Schools, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Dallas Independent School District, Detroit Public Schools, District of Columbia Public Schools, Fresno United School District, Hillsborough County (Fla.) Public Schools. Houston Independent School District, Jefferson County Public Schools (Louisville, Ky.), Los Angeles Unified School District, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Milwaukee Public Schools, New York City Department of Education, San Diego Unified School District, and School District of Philadelphia.
Read a summary of the TUDA results.
Brookings Report Focuses on Successful School Reforms: The Think Twice Think Tank Review Project released on November 29, 2011 a review of a report entitled “Organizing Schools to Improve Student Achievement” by Brian A. Jacob and Honah E. Rockoff from the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution.
The review was prepared by Patrick J. McEwan of Wellesley College, a contributor of the Think Twice Think Tank Review Project.
According to review, the Brookings report applies cost-benefit analyses to three school reform efforts and uses empirical studies to calculate improvements in student achievement that can be associated with each reform. The reform efforts highlighted in the report are starting schools later in the morning; replacing junior high or middle schools with a K-8 grade configuration; and increasing teacher specialization by grade and subject. The researchers found that the first two reforms could be associated with positive outcomes and projected the potential impact on the future earnings of students.
Reviewer McEwan found that the report was a fair presentation of the issues and based on sound research. Although some of the benefit estimates and projected costs could be considered weak, the researchers also identified the caveats regarding their analysis.
The Think Twice Think Tank Review Project of the National Education Policy Center is housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education. It provides the public, policy makers, and the press with timely, academically sound, reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible in part by the support of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
Recess Used for Instruction in the Arts: An article in the New York Times entitled “At Top Public Schools, the Arts Replace Recess” by Kyle Spencer (December 6, 2011) describes how some highly-rated elementary schools in New York City are providing instruction in music, visual arts, and enrichment activities during recess, because there isn’t enough time during the school day. The activities, referred to as clubs, are often funded by the PTA and parent groups because of school budget cuts. Some educators are questioning the use of recess time to provide these activities, because studies have found that students learn better when they have “free time” during the school day and students need more physical activity to be fit. New York City Schools Wellness Policy recommends (but does not require) that schools provide 20 minutes a day of physical activity for students.
The article is available.
NEA Task Force Announced: The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Rocco Landesman chair, and 12 other federal agencies announced on November 30, 2011 the formation of a new federal Interagency Task Force to promote research on the arts and human development. The NEA will lead the task force to research “how the arts help people reach their full potential at all stages of life”. This work will build on the findings outlined in a white paper entitled “The Arts and Human Development”, which proposes a framework for research on human development.
According to the press release from the NEA, the Interagency Task Force will help to close major gaps in research about the arts. For example, although there are small-scale studies about the links between the arts and cognitive, behavioral, and social outcomes, there are no large-scale studies on the arts and creative thinking, or how the arts affect people at different ages.
The Task Force will host a series of quarterly webinars on compelling research and practices; coordinate the distribution of information about funding opportunities for researchers and providers of the arts, health, and education across the lifespan; conduct or commission a gap-analysis and literature review of federally sponsored research on the arts and human development; identify and leverage joint research funding opportunities across agencies; and host a convening with researchers and practitioners for professional
development and capacity-building in the field of arts and human development.
More information is available.
ArtsEngine Launches New Website for Research: ArtsEngine, Theresa Reid executive director, is a collaboration of the University of Michigan’s College of Architecture + Urban Planning, School of Art & Design, School of Music, Theatre, & Dance, and the College of Engineering, and supports integrative efforts among the different
schools at the university. In November 2011 ArtsEngine launched a new national website designed to gather research, news, case studies, models, and tools, to integrate the arts in higher education. The information on the website will identify critical issues about the role of the arts and the creative process at research universities. To learn more please visit http://arts-u.org/
NEA Research Notes about Artists in the Workforce: The National Endowment for the Arts released on October 28, 2011 “Artists and Arts Workers in the United States: Findings from the American Community Survey (2005-2009) and the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (2010)”. This report is the first combined analysis of artists and industries, state and metro employment rates, and demographic information, such as age, education levels, income, ethnicity, and other characteristics.
The report provides industry-specific, regional, and demographic data on the 2.1 million artists working in the U.S. These artists make up 1.4 percent of the total workforce, and 6.9 percent of the professional workforce (artists are classified as “professional workers”).
According to the report, 69 percent of artists in the survey (829,000 workers) are designers, such as graphic, commercial, and industrial designers, fashion designers, floral designers, interior designers, merchandise displayers, and set and exhibit designers. Performing artists make up 17 percent; fine artists 10 percent; art directors and animators 10 percent; writers and authors 10 percent; and architects 10 percent.
The analysis is based on data from the U.S. Census American Community Survey, a new annual survey tool that complements the decennial census.
Information about the report is available.