Arts On Line Update 12.19.2011

129 Ohio General Assembly:  The Ohio House and Senate completed work on a number of bills and ended the 2011 legislative session last week.  Members will return to Columbus in mid-January.

Legislative Update:  The Ohio Senate informally passed SB165 (Obhof/Grendell), which requires schools to include content on specific historical documents in the state academic standards and in the high school American history and government curriculum, and requires an “end of course” exam that is based 30 percent on the content of the documents.  The House had approved the bill on December 13, 2011 with amendments.

The Ohio Senate approved on December 14, 2012 HB96 (Celeste/Brenner) and HB157 (Schuring/Letson), and the House concurred on Senate amendments to HB157.  HB96 creates a pilot project in three school districts to determine the effectiveness of dyslexia identification and education programs. HB157 allows Educational Service Centers
(ESCs) to provide dyslexia training services; allows school districts to select an ESC to provide services; and provides more specific guidelines regarding legislation (HB153) authorizing college preparatory boarding schools.

One Map One Primary:  The Ohio House and Senate approved on December 14, 2011 HB369 (Huffman), which combines two primary dates (March and June 2012 included in HB318 – Huffman) into March 6, 2011,  and approves a new congressional redistricting map for Ohio. The bill also establishes a legislative task force in 2012 to recommend changes to the redistricting process. Governor Kasich signed the bill into law on December 15, 2011, and it goes into effect immediately.

The controversial redistricting map reduces the number of Ohio’s congressional seats from 18 to 16 as a result of the 2010 Census. According to reports Republicans will have 12 “safe” districts and Democrats 4 “safe” districts, even though the number of Republican and Democratic voters in Ohio is about even. Approval of this map also makes moot the proposed referendum on HB319 (Huffman), which included the first iteration of Ohio’s new map of congressional districts.

To view the new congressional map please visit

New Members Added to the Senate and House: Former Representative Lou Gentile of Steubenville has moved to the Senate to replace former Senator Jason Wilson in the 30th Senate District. Senator Gentile took the oath of office on December 14, 2011. For those keeping track, this is the ninth change in the Ohio Senate since the beginning of 2011,

On the House side Tony DeVitis, of Green, was selected to fill the 43rd House District seat, replacing former Representative Todd McKenney, and former House member Jack Cera, from Bellaire, was selected to fill the 95th House District seat, replacing former Representative Lou Gentile.

Resigning from the Ohio House last week were Representatives John Carey, Timothy DeGeeter, and Richard Hollington.

Update on HB136 (Huffman):  Representative Huffman held a news conference on December 12, 2011 to explain changes that he is proposing for HB136, which establishes the Parental Choice and Taxpayer Savings Scholarship Program (PACT). Representative Huffman stated that he was not sure when the amendments would be made, and that the legislation could be revised as a separate bill, added to existing legislation, or be combined with a future education bill that Governor Kasich is planning. HB136 was approved by the House Education Committee on September 19, 2011, but no action has been taken on it in the Ohio House.

According to documents about the proposed changes, a revised bill would establish the new voucher program as another educational option for parents in addition to open enrollment, charter schools, Post Secondary Enrollment Options, STEM schools, and the EdChoice, Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program, the Autism Scholarship Program, and the Jon Peterson Special Education Scholarship Program. The revisions that are being proposed would limit the scholarship amount to the amount of tuition or the amount of state aid a school district receives, and cap the amount at $4,500; limit the number of scholarships to 1 percent of a school district’s enrollment; tie income eligibility to Medicaid State Children’s Insurance Program (S-CHIP), which is set at 300 percent of poverty; and eliminate the Educational Savings Account.

See portions of the press conference.

Response to Proposed Changes in HB136:  The Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA), the Ohio Association of School Business Officials (OASBO), and the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA) issued a press release on December 13, 2011 expressing continued opposition to HB136 (Huffman), the Parental Choice and Taxpayer Savings Scholarship Program, even with changes proposed by the bill’s sponsor, Representative Huffman.

According to the organizations, “Even with amendments, the proposal still makes a dramatic change in Ohio school-funding policy, because it would allow students to attend private schools using taxpayer dollars, regardless of how well their own public school district performs,” said Tom Ash, BASA director of governmental relations. “Once the state takes this step, expansion will be just a matter of time. HB 136 is the foot in the door.”

The organizations also cited the results of a survey conducted in September 2011 in Ohio by Fallon Research and Communication, Inc. about the public’s attitude toward public funding for private schools.  Sixty percent of respondents to the survey said “no” and 33.5 percent said “yes” when asked if they supported “….taxpayers subsidizing tuition so that students who elect to attend private or parochial schools will have part of the costs for it paid with public education funds”.  The survey also found that 76.4 percent of respondents had no children enrolled in public schools. The survey is available.

Organizations Issue Report on Redistricting:  The Ohio Campaign for Accountable Redistricting (OCAR), Jim Slagle project manager, released a report entitled “The Elephant in the Room” on December 12, 2012. The OCAR report, a project of 25 Ohio organizations led by the League of Women Voters of Ohio Education Fund and Ohio Citizen Action, alleges that the process to create new congressional districts was shrouded in secrecy and originated with national Republican party officials. The report rates politicians a D minus for transparency regarding the redistricting process.  The report states, “…..we are seeing districts manipulated in the backrooms, so that the winning candidates can be determined before the votes are ever cast.  Politicians are choosing their voters instead of the other way around.”

According to the report, the OCAR was able to obtain through public records requests a number of documents that show the “backroom” activities that led to the development of the proposed congressional map included in HB319 and signed into law on September 26, 2011.  The documents are said to show the following:

  • The corporate headquarters of the Timken Corporation was moved into Congressman’s Jim Renacci’s district at the request of Speaker John Boehner before the map was made public, signifying the lack of transparency and the influence of political forces on the process.
  • Correspondences indicate that Ohio Republican officials created 12 safe Republican districts and 4 safe Democratic districts to save millions in future Republican legislative campaigns.
  • Correspondences indicate that Speaker John Boehner’s political team controlled the congressional mapmaking process, and that Senate President Niehaus committed to adopting a map which Speaker Boehner supported.
  • $210,000 was secretly paid to two Republican staffers for working three months on the maps.
  • $9,600 was spent to rent a secret hotel room in Columbus called “the bunker”, where operatives met to develop the congressional map.

The OCAR report concludes that decisions about redistricting were not made in public; public input was ignored; the public had limited opportunity to review proposed maps; the public was not provided with relevant data for the proposed districts; nonpartisan redistricting criteria were not used; and the criteria used to evaluate the plans were never publicly identified.

Some of the documents requested in October 2011 have not been turned-over to OCAR as yet, and so more revelations are possible. The full report and several appendices are available.

News from Washington, D.C.:  The U.S. House and Senate approved over the weekend H.R. 2055, a $1.043 trillion spending plan through September 30, 2012.  Appropriations for FY12 are now set for all federal departments and agencies, including the U.S. Departments of Education and Interior.  By approving this bill Congress also averted a partial government shutdown last Friday.

The U.S. Senate also approved H.R. 3630 on December 17, 2011.  This bill extends the payroll tax cut for two months; extends unemployment benefits; increases Medicare payments for doctors; and requires the President to make a decision about the Keystone pipeline in 60 days. The House is expected to consider the bill this week, but it is not clear if House Speaker Boehner has enough Republican votes to pass it.

The FY12 appropriations included in H.R. 2055 follow levels set by the debt-ceiling agreement approved by Congress and the President last August, and will provide $24.6 million for arts in education programs; $146.2 million each for the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities; and $30.9 million for museums.  More information about the appropriations will be included in the next issue of Education Update. Read the education-related information about the measure.

News from the ODE
Early Childhood Grant Awarded to Ohio:  The U.S. Department of Education announced on December 16, 2011 that Ohio is among nine states to receive funding ($70 million) to improve early-childhood education programs through the federal Race to the Top program’s Early Learning Challenge initiative. Ohio’s grant proposal calls for an expansion of the state’s “Step Up to Quality” early childhood education rating system; support for early child care professionals to earn degrees; and a collaboration with Maryland to develop better pre-Kindergarten assessments.  Ohio was among 35 states competing for the funds that will be used to support early childhood education services to prepare children for Kindergarten.  Other states that will be funded include California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Washington.  More information about Ohio’s proposal is available.

Consortia Win Grants to Improve Efficiency:  The Ohio Department of Education announced on December 15, 2011 that two consortia will share $500,000 in grants to improve efficiencies through collaboration. Funds to support the collaborations were included in HB153 (Amstutz) the biennial budget.

Schools in 18 southeast counties will receive a $250,000 grant to participate in a pilot program called The Southeastern Ohio Regional Service Center Collaborative. The collaborative will serve 65 school districts and 112,000 students and will work to reduce transportation costs by sharing routes and maintenance costs; reducing purchasing costs through bulk purchasing; reducing technology costs by adopting standardized equipment and sharing data centers; and more. The Educational Service Centers participating in the collaborative include Athens-Meigs, East Central Ohio, Gallia-Vinton, Jefferson County, Muskingum Valley, Ohio Valley, and Perry-Hocking.

School districts in four southwest counties that participate in the Interagency Shared Services Network of Southwest Ohio will use their $250,000 grant to design and implement a regional transportation center to serve students with disabilities; share information technology; and implement educator evaluations. Members of Interagency Shared Services Network of Southwest Ohio include the Educational Service Centers of Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, and Montgomery counties. The Interagency Shared Services Network of Southwest Ohio, serves 415,000 students in 15 school districts across four counties.

State Board of Education:  The State Board of Education, Debe Terhar president, met 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 met on December 12, 2011.

The Executive Committee, chaired by Debe Terhar, discussed several issues.  To improve communications with stakeholders, President Terhar proposed that Board members become liaisons with education associations in the state and report back to the Board about their activities of these organizations.  The committee also received a report from Board members Tess Elshoff and Angela Thi Bennett.  They were asked to develop procedural protocols for the Board based on suggestions made at the Board’s October Retreat. Board members were asked to review a proposed list of norms for how the Board should operate.  The list could be considered for adoption by the Board in January 2012.
President Terhar also described the following three new State Board task forces and invited Board members to serve on them:

  • A task force regarding the Ohio School for the Blind and the Ohio School for the Deaf.  Among other responsibilities, this task force will determine if the current supervisory and administrative structure for the schools is sufficient and study whether or not these schools are using the best methods for teaching students. Board member Dannie Greene will serve as chair.
  • A task force to review Board policies and procedures.  Board member Rob Hovis will serve as chair.
  • A task force to evaluate the superintendent.  Board member Dennis Reardon will serve as chair.

The Achievement Committee, chaired by Angela Thi Bennett, received an update on the alignment between Career-Technical and Higher Education from Steve Gratz, ODE Director of the Office of Career-Technical Education.  The ODE and the Ohio Board of Regents are currently working to align every program in Career-Technical Education with post secondary education by June 2013 to ensure that students have the opportunity to earn post-secondary credit.  127,000 students are currently in Career-Technical Education courses in Ohio. The committee requested more information about how many students complete career-technical courses and attend and graduate from institutions of higher education.

The committee also received an update from Michael Sponhour, ODE Executive Director of Communications, about a communication plan to promote efforts to ensure that Ohio students are ready for college and careers upon graduation. Ohio is working with Achieve on the “Achieve Future Ready” project to inform the public about the new Common Core standards and the importance of preparing students to be college and career ready. KnowledgeWorks, Kids Ohio, and Fordham are partnering with the ODE and Achieve on this project.

The committee then discussed amendments to Rules 3301-91-01,-04, and -09, School Lunch and Breakfast program.

The Capacity Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, discussed and approved a Resolution of Intent to Amend Rules 3301-89-01 to -03, Territory Transfers.  The changes in the rule modernize the language and also add another criteria, parental preference, that hearing officers must consider when issuing a decision. The committee amended the draft language to say that when parental preference is considered in territory transfer decisions, it must not be “inconsistent with existing statute and rules”.

The committee discussed HB153 and the requirement that the ODE develop recommendations to extend educational services to learners over 22 years of age, with the intention that these learners will earn a high school diploma. The ODE has drafted a plan which will be submitted to the General Assembly and the governor by December 31, 2011, in accordance to HB153 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget. The committee then accepted a resolution regarding amending Rules 2201-83-06 to -15, Pupil Transportation.

There was also a discussion about the development of new expenditure standards led by Eric Bode, ODE executive director of Quality School Choice and Funding.  The ODE is required through HB153 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget to develop a plan to rank school districts based on expenditures for classroom instruction and non-classroom instruction, and submit that plan to the Board by January 1, 2012. The Board is required by June 30, 2012 to adopt the standards to define “classroom” and “non-classroom expenditures”. The standards will consider the size of the district/school, and the type of school, such as traditional districts, joint-vocational schools, charter and STEM schools.

The committee postponed discussion about the proposed Praxis II Tests and Qualifying Scores.

The Select Committee on Urban Education, chaired by Joe Farmer, received a presentation from Eric Bode, ODE executive director of Quality School Choice and Funding, and Akron City Schools Treasurer Jack Pierson about the financial practices of urban districts.  The report included information about the average per pupil expenditures for the 21 urban districts, which is $13,568, compared to $9958 for non urban districts. But, when district expenditures are weighted to account for  the number of students with disabilities, students who are economically disadvantaged, or students with limited English proficiency, using an equivalent expenditures per pupil (EPP), the expenditure per pupil for the 21 urban school districts decreases to $10,115 and $8,365 for non urban school districts. Using an EPP to analyze expenditures provides a way to account for the additional resources that some students need to be successful in school.

In addition to the added costs for educating students who are disadvantaged, disabled, and have limited English proficiency, the cost of operating an urban district is complicated by declining enrollment, difficult to close school buildings, and class size.  The presenters noted that the 21 urban districts depend on federal funds to support many of their programs. Some of the recommendations by Jack Pierson to improve school funding for urban school districts include state purchasing of textbooks and developing a centralized approach for staff development.

College and Career Readiness:  The full Board received a report from Superintendent of Public Instruction, Stan Heffner, about one of the Board’s priorities this year, policies regarding college and career readiness in Ohio. According to Superintendent Heffner, the scores of Ohio students on national and international assessments such as NAEP and PISA, are not competitive and must improve in order for Ohio students to be prepared for college and careers.

Superintendent Heffner opened the presentation by explaining that college-ready means that a student is ready to enter the first year of college in a non-remedial course after high school graduation. Career-ready means that a student has the knowledge and skills to do a specific job after graduating from high school.  In today’s world career ready and college ready are interchangeable.

The Board discussed the policy issues and the decisions that the Board will need to make about ensuring that Ohio students are college and career ready. Some Board members agreed that the Board should focus on college and career readiness, but questioned using the term “college and career-readiness”.  College and career-ready means different things to the public, and so re-stating “college and career ready” as preparing students for the “next step”, whether that be higher education or a job, might be more acceptable and understandable to the public.

Superintendent Heffner noted that most educators when they understand the challenges Ohio schools are facing want to know what kind of strategies are being proposed to build the capacity of the schools to increase student achievement based on more rigorous standards. Superintendent Heffner also said that offering more professional development for educators will not be enough to address this problem, because only a small percentage of teachers participate in the type of professional development that will result in meaningful changes in instruction.

The challenge facing the Board is to better communicate why a more rigorous education is needed for today’s students and how to do it. This policy discussion will continue in January 2012 when Superintendent Heffner will bring back more policy questions.

Report on the Results of a Survey of Teachers:  Sarah Dove, Ohio’s Teacher Liaison to the Governor’s Office, presented to the State Board a report on the results of an online survey conducted about teacher evaluations and teacher compensation entitled “Ohio Evaluation and Compensation Reform:  Solutions by Teachers, for Teachers”.  The report was released on December 10, 2011.  The report includes the results of an online survey of 1400 teachers, feedback from a steering committee of teachers who vetted the survey results, and information from 19 meetings with teachers held throughout Ohio.

The results of the survey show that teachers are concerned about changing the evaluation system and compensation structure, but also are dissatisfied with the current systems in which hard-working teachers are often not recognized or compensated.

In response to the report Board members expressed concern about the small number of respondents to the survey, and asked if professional organizations (OEA and OFT) were involved; expressed that they would have liked to know the results of this report before voting on the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System framework; expressed concern about measuring student growth without a state assessment in a particular course; and more.  Board members agreed that the results of the survey should help inform the implementation of the teacher evaluations based on the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System framework currently being piloted in some school districts. The report is available.

The Board began its business meeting in the afternoon and convened an executive session.

A 119 Hearing was conducted at 4:00 PM regarding the following rules:

  • Rule 3301-41-01 Ohio High School Equivalence Diploma
  • Rule 3301-44-03 Post Secondary Enrollment Options
  • Rule 3301-101-01 to 13 Peterson Special Education Scholarship Program.  Three individuals testified about the rules.  Mr. Jason E. Warner representing School Choice Ohio and Rabbi AD Motzen representing Agudah Israel asked that the rules be amended to allow families to contract with multiple providers.  Larry Keough from the Catholic Conference of Ohio testified in support of the rules as written.  He said that the rules will provide a transparent structure for the program and maintain its accountability.
  • Rule 3301-104-01 to 03 Expenditures for Computer or Internet Based Schools.

Meeting on December 13, 2011
Legislative and Budget Committee Report: The Legislative and Budget Committee, chaired by C. Todd Jones, received an update about legislation and approved the Board’s federal platform for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Overall the platform contains nine subjects areas and 34 recommendations with rationale statements, and aligns with national recommendations from many education organizations and Race to the Top requirements.

The platform also calls for the following changes in ESEA:

  • permit state-driven accountability systems supports and interventions
  • allow for growth models
  • provide incentives for states to partner on common standards and assessments
  • extend the four year uniform graduation rate to five or six year rates
  • focus on highly qualified and highly effective teachers
  • permit state determined educator evaluations
  • support more cohesiveness of federal law and partners
  • relieve burdens, and
  • broaden flexibility in the use of funds.

The committee reviewed with Kelly Weir, Executive Director of the Office of Budget and Planning, the process that the Board will use to develop its 2014-15 budget and policy/legislative recommendations.  The budget process usually begins in January with information sessions about the budget for the Board. The Board receives a draft budget developed by the Superintendent and ODE staff in June/July, deliberates on the budget between June – September, and submits the State Board’s recommended budget to the Office of Budget and Management (OBM) in October.

The ODE is recommending the following process be used for the next budget:

  • The ODE will recommend a budget that is within OBM recommendations. The OBM is expected to release the budget limits in June 2012.  In the past the ODE has recommended budgets that exceeded the limits, or submitted different version of the budget, including one that fits the limits.
  • Include a place-holder for foundation funding until Governor Kasich completes work on developing a new school funding formula. Submit with the budget State Board developed principles that should be considered in the development of the new formula.
  • Include funding recommendations for the non-foundation programs.
  • Eliminate the information sessions and replace them with policy/budget discussions with the Legislative Committee.
  • Continue publishing the budget book, but include foundation funding in its own section.

Several Board members noted that the Board has a responsibility to develop a budget and legislative recommendations that the Board believes will support a high quality education, and should go beyond the OBM recommendation limits if necessary. It was also suggested that the Board should also provide input about the proposed new school funding formula between now and June.

Due to time constraints the committee tabled the discussion about having a student member on the State Board of Education until January 2012.

Discussion about HB136 (Huffman) Parental Choice and Taxpayer Savings Scholarship Program: Following the report from the Legislative and Budget Committee to the full State Board, there was a discussion about HB136 (Huffman) the Parental Choice and Taxpayer Savings Scholarship Program.  Several Board members expressed opposition to the bill, and requested that the State Board officially oppose the bill. Board member Rob Hovis stated that he has received a number of calls and emails requesting that the State Board oppose the bill. Board member Mike Collins also reported that the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools had conducted a survey of its members and 89 out of 90 superintendents who responded opposed the bill. Mrs. Cain and Mrs. Jacobs also have received copies of resolutions approved by local boards of education in opposition to HB136, and recommended that the State Board take action now because of the devastating impact that the bill could have on public education. Mr. Mims stated that school district budgets are already strapped and this bill poses an added burden that will prevent funds from being used to support important programs that the State Board wants to implement in urban schools. Mr. Jones stated that he did not think that the Legislative Committee could come to a consensus on a position on the bill, because some members have different views about the bill. Other Board members recommended that the committee wait and review the bill after proposed amendments have been made to the current bill.

State Board of Education’s Business Meeting:  The State Board’s business meeting included a discussion about HB136 and about how the Board should address the instances of bullying in schools. It was suggested by Board member Mary Rose Oakar and Rob Hovis that the Legislative Committee discuss the bullying topic and possible legislation that might impose penalties on parents when their children are engaged in bullying.

The Board then took action on the Report and Recommendations of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.  (Please see the Resolutions below.)

The Board then accepted public participation on non-agenda items. Thomas Williamson and Robert Porter thanked the State Board for setting-up a task force to study the needs of deaf children in Ohio. Deb Tully from the Ohio Federation of Teachers responded to a question raised by Board members during the meeting on December 12, 2011 regarding a document about teacher evaluations developed by Sarah Dove, Teacher Liaison to the Governor’s Office. There was a concern that not many teachers responded to the survey.  Deb Tully stated that the OFT did not have knowledge about the survey to publicize it in a timely manner with members, but once that the OFT new about the survey they informed their members.  She also urged members to contact her if they have questions about the teaching profession and to continue to work together for the benefit of children.

Resolutions considered by the State Board of Education at their December 2011 Meeting:
#1 Approved a Resolution of Intent to Amend Rules 3301-89-01 to 3301-89-03 regarding transfers of school district territory. (VOLUME 2, PAGE 1) A section of the proposed new Rule regarding the criteria that the hearing officer should use in making a decision about a territory transfer was amended by the Capacity Committee.  The new criteria regarding “parental preference” (#11) was changed to require that when parental preference is considered in the decision it must not be “inconsistent with existing statute and rules”.

#2 Approved 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 Approved a Resolution to Amend Rule 3301-16-02 entitled establishing criteria for awarding the diploma with honors. (VOLUME 3, PAGE 1)

#10 Approved a Resolution to Adopt Rules 3301-16-03 of the Administrative Code entitled Community Service Learning Special Certification. (VOLUME 3, PAGE 11)

#11 Approved a Resolution to Rescind Rule 3301-01-61 through -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 Approved a Resolution to Adopt a Physical Education and Wellness Measure for the 2012-2013 Local Report Card. (VOLUME 4, PAGE 1)

#13 Approved a Resolution to Adopt a Gifted Performance Indicator (Volume 4, Page 7). The resolution was amended through substitution. The substitute resolution corrects the resolution to say that the performance indicator will be phased-in over three years, and the gifted dash board will be developed and presented. This information was included in the original resolution, but not in the Board Book version.

#14 Approved a Resolution to Revoke the Charter of Westpark Academy, Dayton, OH. (Volume 4, Page 11).

#15 Approved 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 Approved a Resolution to appoint a member of the State Library Board. (Volume 4, Page 29).

#17 Approved a Motion to Refile Rules 3301-101-1 through -13 regarding the Jon Peterson Scholarship. The State Board approved an Intent to Adopt the Rules in November 2011.  But, since that time stakeholders have raised concerns about how the Rules align to the intent in law. The Rules will be sent back to the Capacity Committee for further consideration.

More Investigations About Cyber Schools: An article in the New York Times on December 12, 2011 (“Profits and Questions at Online Charter Schools” by Stephanie Saul, New York Times) describes the results of a New York Times investigation of K12 Inc. and other for-profit management companies that operate online schools nationwide using taxpayer funds.

According to the article, there are 79 online schools that enroll over 200,000 students. K12 is the largest management company followed by Connections Education, owned by the Pearson publishing company. K12 earned over $720 million and Connections $190 million last year. Even though the schools don’t have to pay for transportation, food, or facilities, they collect nearly the same funding as brick and mortar schools, and spend a lot of public funds on advertising, recruiting students, and lobbying. For example, K12 spend $26.5 million on advertising in 2010; spent $681,000 on lobbying in Pennsylvania since 2007; and contributed nearly $500,000 to political campaigns from 2004-2010.  The author writes that the online management companies are using education as a “source of government-financed business, much as military contractors have capitalized on Pentagon spending.”

Questions have been raised about the benefit of online schools for children and taxpayers as K12’s operations, finances, and performance records have been reviewed. The Times has found that K12 Inc. “….tries to squeeze profits from public school dollars by raising enrollment, increasing teacher workload and lowering standards.” A forthcoming report from the National Education Policy Center shows that only one third of K12 schools achieved adequate yearly progress. Other investigations are being conducted by states to verify the number of students enrolled in the schools and the number of students who actually are logged-in and work each day. Researchers have also found that the number of students who withdraw from cyberschools is high compared to traditional schools, but cyberschools still profit from the student who leaves, because of contracts with schools that require “up-front” funding.

The article also includes information about Ohio-based My School, My Choice and the Ohio Virtual Academy, which is managed by K-12 and receives more than $60 million a year from the state.

This is one of several articles recently published by the Times about cyberschools.  Read the article.

NEA Report:  The National Education Association’s Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching released a report on December 8, 2011 entitled “Transforming Teaching:  Connecting Professional Responsibility with Student Learning.”  The report calls for “systemic changes” in educational structures based on three guiding principles:

  • Student learning is at the center of everything a teacher does. “To strengthen our focus on student learning, we must transform schooling from a time-oriented system based on grade level and credits earned to a performance-based system aligned to national learning standards.”
  • Teachers take primary responsibility for student learning.  “To set student learning goals and assess outcomes, effective teachers work in collaborative teams and use professional judgment based on teaching standards and practice.”
  • Effective teachers share in the responsibility for teacher selection, evaluation, and dismissal. “Teacher involvement in instructional decision-making must be significantly increased. Teachers must be physically present wherever and whenever decisions are being made. Teachers need to do more than simply implement others’ policies and visions.”

The report notes that, “Teachers around the country have made it clear to us that they embrace accountability when it comes with the equivalent authority in decision-making.”

The report is available.

Bills Introduced
HB396 (McGregor) Rule-Making and Review Procedures: Revises rule-making and rule review procedures and to declare an emergency.

HB391 (Huffman) 2012 Primary Election:  Establishes a single primary election on May 22, 2012, for the purpose of nominating all candidates for election in 2012

SB269 (Kearney) Primary Election Date Change: Changes the date of the 2012 primary election to May 8, 2012, and specifies a process for candidates to qualify for the ballot at that election, and declares an emergency.

ArtWorks Afterschool Apprenticeship Opportunity: Young Audiences’ ArtWorks Afterschool is accepting applications from students for apprentice positions for two days per week from 4:00 – 7:00 PM, January 30 through April 26, 2012 at the Halle Building (1212 Huron Road East, Cleveland) in downtown Cleveland.  Working in a small group of about 10 apprentices, under the guidance of a professional master teaching artist, students will acquire valuable skills, such as time and project management, collaboration, professional communication, problem solving, and critical thinking, through the creation of their own original art. Additionally, apprentices will participate in workshops addressing money management, resume writing, and the college application and financial aid process. Apprentices will receive $40 per week.  Some Saturdays and evenings may be required for special events or performances. Participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from the program. Spaces for this new opportunity are limited. Applications are due no later than 4:00 PM on Tuesday, January 3, 2012. More information is available.

Student Art Contest – Win $100! Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio believes that every student should have the chance to create, connect, understand, and experience the arts, and is seeking submissions for its 2012 Student Art Contest. Entrants must be a student (PreK-12). Entries must be 8.5″ wide x 11″ tall. All entries must include an entry form. The art work can be in any medium (2 dimensions). Submissions will be judged by the Young Audiences staff. The winner will be announced on March 1, 2012 and receive a prize of $100.

Please mail all entries to:
Program Guide Cover Art Contest
Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio
13110 Shaker Square, C203
Cleveland, OH 44120

The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2012. For more information please visit the YANEO website.

About OAAE

It is the mission of the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education to ensure that the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. We believe that: * All children in school must have quality arts education provided by licensed arts educators * All Ohioans have the right to expect quality arts education * All arts programs must have adequate resources * All arts and cultural organizations and artists have a critical role in arts education Learn more at
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