129th General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate are scheduled to hold sessions and hearings this week.
House Welcomes New Members: Ohio House Democrats selected Nicholas Celebrezze to represent the 15th House District, replacing Representative Timothy DeGeeter, who resigned. House Speaker William Batchelder announced that the House Republican caucus had selected retired Judge Philip Rose to replace Representative John Carey 87th House District, on an interim basis, until after the March 2012 primary.
Governor Appoints New Education Director: Governor Kasich announced on January 25, 2012 that he was appointing former Reynoldsburg Superintendent Richard Ross as the director of the Governor’s Office of 21st Century Education effective February 1, 2012. Dr. Ross replaces Bob Sommers, who announced his resignation last week.
New Minority Leadership in the Senate: The Senate Democratic Caucus has chosen Senator Eric Kearney as Minority Leader, replacing Senator Capri Cafaro who recently resigned as Senate leader. The Senate Democrats also selected Senator Joe Schiavoni, assistant minority leader; Senator Nina Turner, minority whip; and Senator Edna Brown, assistant minority whip. Senator Tom Sawyer will become the ranking minority member on the Senate Finance Committee. Other committee changes are expected to be announced soon.
Sent to the Governor: The Ohio House concurred with Senate amendments to HB116 (Barnes) School Anti-Bullying Act (Jessica Logan Act). The bill will be sent to the governor to sign into law. The bill enacts the School Day Security and Anti-Bullying Act to require age-appropriate instruction on, and parental notification of, public schools’ policies prohibiting harassment, intimidation, or bullying.
House Education Committee Action: The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton, met on January 25, 2012 and took the following actions:
- Reported out SCR11 (Lehner) Graduation Rate Changes. This resolution approves changes made by the Ohio Department of Education in the way the high school graduation rate is determined to comply with federal law. Federal law requires states to adopt a uniform, four-year graduation rate; establish annual targets for graduation; and permits states to add an extended year adjusted cohort graduation rate.
- Reported out HB375 (Butler) Property Sale by School Districts, which would allow school districts to sell real property to private, nonprofit institutions of higher education.
- Accepted a substitute bill for HB191 (Hayes/Patmon) Minimum School Year. This bill would establish a minimum school year for school districts based on hours, rather than days, of instruction. Currently schools, other than community schools, must be open a minimum of 182 days for instruction, and a certain number of hours per day, depending on the grade level of the school. Community schools are required to be open 910 hours per year for all grade levels. The original bill also prohibited schools from being open after Memorial Day and from opening prior to Labor Day.
The substitute bill changes the number of hours specified in the bill to align with the current number of hours school districts, STEM schools, and nonpublic schools are already open. The substitute bill requires that schools operate 455 hours for half-day kindergarten; 910 hours for full-day kindergarten and grades 1 through 6; and 1,001 hours for grades 7 through 12.
The substitute bill eliminates the provision in the bill prohibiting schools from staying open after Memorial Day, but still prohibits schools from opening prior to Labor Day, unless the district board of education meets certain requirements. These requirements include holding a public hearing; adopting a resolution approving the opening day prior to Labor Day; and receiving a waiver from the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Constitutional Commission Seeks Members: The Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission, co-chaired by House Speaker William Batchelder (R-Medina) and Representative Vern Sykes (D-Akron), is seeking volunteers to fill 20 open public member seats on the commission. The process to apply for the open seats was announced last week.
The commission was created in HB188 (Batchelder) and its purpose is to review the Ohio Constitution and make recommendations for changes and revisions. The 32 member commission is composed of 12 legislators representing each legislative caucus in the Ohio General Assembly and 20 “public” members selected by the legislators. The commission is expected to select the public members in February 2012. Those interested in applying for the commission should send a cover letter and resume to both co-chairs at the following addresses:
Speaker William Batchelder, Co-Chair
Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission
77 S. High St.
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Rep. Vernon Sykes, Co-Chair
Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission
77 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
This Week at the Statehouse
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Senate Education Committee, Senator Lehner chair The Senate Education Committee will meet at 9:30 AM in the South Hearing Room. The committee will receive testimony on 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.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
House Education Committee, Representative Stebelton chair. The House Education Committee will meet at 5:00 PM in Hearing Room 313. The committee will receive a presentations about Ohio Digital Learning Day from Tom Vander Ark, author of “Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World”; Lisa Duty, director of external affairs for KnowledgeWorks Ohio; Kate Harkin, executive director of eTech Ohio; and Nicole Luthy, director of the Ohio Resource Center. The committee will then receive testimony on HB191 (Hayes and Patmon) Minimum School Year, which would establish a minimum school year for school districts based on hours, rather than days, of instruction, and make changes to the school year, except in specified circumstances.
News from Washington, D.C.
State of the Union Highlights for Education: President Obama presented the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on January 24, 2012. The address was entitled, “An America Built to Last”, and focused on rebuilding American manufacturing, energy, worker training, American values, the middle class, and the American dream.
The speech included the following recommendations to improve America’s education system so that all children have a chance to succeed:
Improve teacher preparation and quality: “Teachers matter. So instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo, let’s offer schools a deal. Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. And in return, grant schools flexibility: to teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test; and to replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn. That’s a bargain worth making.”
Keep students in school: “We also know that when students don’t walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma. When students are not allowed to drop out, they do better. So tonight, I am proposing that every state — every state — requires that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18.”
Keep student loan interest rates low: “At a time when Americans owe more in tuition debt than credit card debt, this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July.”
Make the American Opportunity Tax Credit permanent: “Extend the tuition tax credit we started that saves millions of middle-class families thousands of dollars, and give more young people the chance to earn their way through college by doubling the number of work-study jobs in the next five years.”
Keep college costs down: “States also need to do their part, by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets. And colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down.” “So let me put colleges and universities on notice: If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down.”
Pass the American Dream Act: “Let’s also remember that hundreds of thousands of talented, hardworking students in this country face another challenge: the fact that they aren’t yet American citizens.” “…[S]top expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, defend this country.”
More Details About the Speech: In a document that the White House made available to accompany the address (“Blueprint for An America Built to Last”) more details were provided about some of the proposals included in the speech.
For example, the Obama administration will promote new partnerships between high schools, community colleges, and businesses to train and place skilled workers, and streamline job training and employment services.
Some of the recommendations to reform the teaching profession include making the colleges of education more selective; creating new career ladder programs and enhancing salaries for teachers; establishing more leadership roles for teachers; improving professional development and increasing time for collaboration; creating evaluation systems based on multiple measures “rather than just test scores”; and re-shaping tenure to protect good teachers and promote accountability.
To keep students in high school President Obama’s administration would like to see all states increase the compulsory education age to 18. (Twenty states already require students to stay in school until 18.)
To hold down college costs for middle class families, the President proposes to continue to increase the Pell Grant award; make the American Opportunity Tax Credit permanent; shift some Federal aid away from colleges that don’t keep net tuition down; stop the interest rate on Stafford loans from doubling on July 1, 2012; and double the number of work-study jobs.
The Blueprint is available.
Reactions to the Speech:
- Congressman John Kline (R-MN), chair of the U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee said in response to the State of the Union address that, “Competition and transparency are basic principles Republicans have long supported to help lower costs in higher education, and institutions have a responsibility to do everything they can to provide a good education at an affordable price. We need responsible solutions that will serve the students of today and tomorrow without increasing the federal role in our nation’s education system. The president has proposed a number of interesting ideas that deserve a careful review.”
- Some of the reactions to the State of the Union address describe the inconsistent policies that President Obama and Secretary Arne Duncan are promoting. (See Education Week Politics K-12 Blog by Michele McNeil and Alyson Klein, January 24, 2012)
For example, the call for teachers to teach “with creativity and passion”, and to “stop teaching to the test”, conflicts with the Obama administration’s efforts that require states to use student academic growth to evaluate teachers and develop performance-based compensation plans in the Race to the Top and Teacher Incentive grants and in the guidelines for the No Child Left Behind waivers. Many educators also believe that the increased focus on student testing has narrowed the curriculum and contributed to a more stressful school environment, which has led to more students dropping out of schools.
President Obama Outlines Reforms for Higher Education: In a speech on January 27, 2012 at the University of Michigan, President Obama outlined a Blueprint for reforming higher education. The Blueprint included recommendations to make college more affordable and, through a proposed new $1 billion Race to the Top incentive, encourage states to revamp the structure of state financing for higher education; maintain adequate levels of funding for colleges and universities; and help students graduate on time.
The President is also proposing a new initiative called the “First in the World” competition, which would invest $55 million in colleges and nonprofits that are establishing or scaling up new programs to boost productivity and redesign courses using technology.
And, to help students reach college, the Obama administration will create a College Scorecard for all degree-granting institutions to help parents and students choose the best college for the best price; require colleges to put together a Financial Aid Shopping Sheet to make it easier for families to compare college financial aid packages; and begin to collect earnings and employment information for colleges and universities, so that students can have an even better sense of the life they’ll be able to build once they graduate.
News from the ODE
Ohio to Request NCLB Waiver: Last week Superintendent of Public Instruction Stan Heffner, notified school administrators about ODE’s intention to submit by February 21, 2012 a request for a waiver from portions of the federal No Child Left Behind law.
The intent of the waiver is to provide schools/districts with greater flexibility to use federal funds and produce results. In return schools will meet more rigorous standards and be more accountable. The proposal will focus on college- and career-ready expectations; quality of instruction; a culture of continuous improvement; enhanced community support; and the following Race to the Top goals:
- Increase the state’s on-time graduation rate each year
- Reduce the graduation rate gaps
- Reduce the gap between Ohio and the best-performing states; and
- Increase the number of students who graduate from high school and attend college remediation-free.
The Ohio General Assembly must pass a concurrent resolution in support of the waiver, and the U.S. Department of Education must approve it before it goes into effect.
Race to the Top Mini Grants Awarded: Superintendent Stan Heffner announced last week the recipients of Race to the Top mini grants to develop teacher evaluations based on student growth beyond the tested grades and subjects. Awards were made to the following school districts: Olentangy Local, Marion City, Winton Woods City, Granville Local, Goshen Local Schools, Monroe Local, Washington Courthouse City, Paulding Exempted Village, Finneytown Local, and the Sciotoville Community School, Fairborn Digital Academy, and Sciotoville Elementary Academy. Schools/districts are expected to expand the use of value-added data available by incorporating data on student achievement on the Terra Nova and ACT End of Course assessments.
The Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning and School Readiness (OELS&R) is joining with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) on Tuesday, January 31, 1:00 – 3:00 PM, to host a presentation about the RttT Early Learning Challenge Grant. OEL&SR Director Stephanie Siddens and ODJFS Deputy Director-Child Care Alicia Leatherman will provide an overview of the grant and the ways that it will benefit the early childhood community. Registration is required.
The webcast will be recorded and posted on the ODE website. Contact ODE at ELSR@ode.state.oh.us or (614) 995-9974 with additional questions.
NCTQ 2011 Yearbook Released: The National Council on Teacher Quality released on January 25, 2012 its fifth annual report, “2011 Teacher Policy Yearbook”, which reviews state policies that “shape the teaching profession” to help states build comprehensive policy frameworks in support of teacher effectiveness. The report provides a detailed analysis of teacher quality policies for all states and the District of Columbia, based on 36 research-based goals in the following five areas: delivering well-prepared teachers; expanding the teaching pool; identifying effective teachers; retaining effective teachers; and exiting ineffective teachers. These areas cover policies for teacher preparation, licensure, evaluation, career advancement, tenure, compensation, pensions, and dismissal.
According to the report, more changes were enacted in laws and regulations about teachers in 2011 than in any previous year, and almost half of the states now require objective measures of student achievement (value added or growth data) be included in teacher evaluations to make decisions about teacher tenure and dismissal. Eight states require student performance to be central to whether a teacher is awarded tenure and four states require evidence that students are learning before awarding tenure.
The nation earned an overall grade of D+ for all of the teacher quality areas, but 28 states improved their standing since 2009. The report states, “Seven states-Florida, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio-earned the highest grades we’ve ever handed out. States topping the list for the most progress on teacher policy include Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois and Rhode Island.”
Report for Ohio: Ohio earned an overall C+ for its teacher quality policies. Ohio earned a D+ in delivering well prepared teachers; a B- for expanding the pool of teachers; a C+ for identifying effective teachers; a C- for retaining effective teachers; and a C+ for exiting ineffective teachers.
According to the report, Ohio received its lowest grade, a D+, in delivering well-prepared teachers. The following is a summary of some of Ohio’s ratings in this area:
Ohio met the following goals:
- Secondary teachers are sufficiently prepared to teach appropriate grade-level content.
- The state requires a licensing test to verify that all new teachers meet professional knowledge standards.
Ohio did not meet the following goals:
- Teacher preparation programs admit only candidates with good academic records.
- Teacher preparation programs provide elementary teachers with a broad liberal arts education, the necessary foundation for teaching to the Common Core Standards. Ohio did not meet this goal because of the following:
- Ohio sets its passing score on elementary content licensure tests below the mean. (Only Massachusetts sets its passing score at the mean.)
- Ohio does not require all elementary teachers to have in depth knowledge of core content, including music and the arts. The report also states that, “Although 33 states recognize the importance of arts education in the elementary classroom by requiring preparation in music, only three states require art history coursework.”
- Ohio does not expect elementary teachers to complete an academic concentration.
- New elementary teachers have sufficient knowledge of the mathematics content taught in elementary grades.
- Special education teachers know the subject matter they will be required to teach.
Ohio partially met the following goals:
- New elementary teachers know the science of reading instruction.
- Social Studies teachers know all the subject matter they are licensed to teach.
- Teacher preparation programs provide teacher candidates with a high-quality clinical experience.
Ohio nearly met the following goals:
- Middle school teachers are sufficiently prepared to teach appropriate grade-level content.
- Science teachers know all the subject matter they are licensed to teach.
Ohio met a small part of the goal:
- The state’s approval process for teacher preparation programs holds programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce.
The full report is available.
More Agreement than Not About How to Evaluate Teachers: In an article in the New York Times, Ginia Bellafante writes that unions and policy makers generally agree on “what, in fact, constitutes sound teaching”, but that “bureaucratic impediments” rather than philosophical disagreements, are blocking the implementation of robust teacher evaluation systems. (New York Times, “Petty Differences Mask Consensus on Teachers”, January 20, 2012.)
According to the author, the controversy in New York about its proposed teacher evaluation system serves as an example. The impediments for implementing New York state’s new teacher evaluation system, based 40 percent on standardized test scores and 60 percent on classroom observations, are “not philosophical” but “bureaucratic”, including how “appeals of poor teacher ratings might be arbitrated.”
The author writes that there is a great deal of consensus about how to evaluate teacher effectiveness as a result of the work of Charlotte Danielson. Sixteen years ago Danielson created a method for evaluating teachers according to four domains, each with numerous categories and subcategories: the quality of questions and discussion techniques; a knowledge of students’ special needs; the expectations set for learning and achievement; and the teacher’s involvement in professional development activities.
Several states have already implemented teacher evaluation systems based on Charlotte Danielson’s work, providing information that student test scores alone cannot provide about teacher strengths and weaknesses, and how to help teachers improve.
Bellafante also writes, “While the intensity around evaluation reform is ultimately a very good thing, it sidesteps something crucial: that we can’t attract the best and the brightest teachers without drastically changing the status of the profession.”
The article is available.
Update on the Revision of the National Standards for the Arts: The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCCAS) leadership team and the chairs of the writing teams met on January 23-24, 2012 to continue work begun last year to develop the next generation of voluntary academic content standards for the arts.
The coalition includes the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE), the Arts Education Partnership (AEP), the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA), The College Board, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the National Art Education Association (NAEA), the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO), and the State Education Agency for Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE).
The NCCAS is finalizing a conceptual framework for the revised content standards for the arts, and writing teams have been meeting since December 2011. Leading the discussion about the framework at the January 24, 2012 meeting were Marcia McCaffrey (New Hampshire), president of the State Education Agency for Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE); Lynn Tuttle (Arizona) and Debora Hansen (Delaware), also from SEADAE; Phillip E. Shepherd, NCCAS Project Director: and the chairs of the writing teams: Rima Faber, Dance; Rachel Evans, Drama/Theatre; Scott Shuler, Music; Dennis Inhulsen, Visual Art, and Dane Olsen, Media Arts.
In August 2011 the NCCAS leadership team developed a consensus document about the following concepts for the new national standards for the arts:
- Develop standards for preK-14 to delineate preK-12 and college expectations in the arts, and expectations that could apply to students in technical/community/junior colleges.
- Provide the basis for new AP and other exams/courses in the arts, designed to enable students to master and demonstrate their mastery of college-level work.
- Include Big Ideas/Enduring Understandings shared across art forms.
- Help teachers focus their work, rather than providing an unrealistically broad scope.
- Reflect embedded 21st century skills.
- Be based on the expectation that students, regardless of later elective choices, learn a common body of skills/content in each art form Pre-8.
- Include standards for each grade from PreK-8 in each arts area. Writing committees will consider whether to “level” standards – i.e., outline successive levels of competence – in secondary electives strands in all of the arts.
- Incorporate specific content to an extent that the original standards avoided.
- Differentiate standards for elective courses and align with NCES elective courses/codes, as revised in 2010, with input from professional arts education organizations.
- Base grade level (or possible cluster) expectations on what research reveals that students can do when provided with quality instruction over time.
- Validate the standards’ expectations by examining student work that demonstrates what well-taught students can achieve, and provide the basis for benchmarking (anchor sets), pre-service and in-service teacher training.
The NCCAS leadership and writing teams shared a draft conceptual framework for the next generation of content standards for the arts at the January 24, 2012 meeting. The draft framework shows how the components Philosophical Foundations, Lifelong/Transfer Goals, Processes of the Arts, Enduring Understandings, Essential Questions, and Evidence of Learning, fit together to provide a visual map for teaching and learning in the arts. The framework also includes model cornerstone assessments to demonstrate student learning.
In addition to the processes creating, performing/sharing, and responding, the team added connecting/connections to the framework to articulate that students should be able to apply the knowledge and skills learned through the study of the arts over the course of their lifetimes.
The leadership teams also provided an update about how the NCCAS would address Media Arts in the standards. After several meetings and discussions in 2011, the leadership team decided to add representatives of media arts to the NCCAS leadership team, and develop a writing team for media arts as a separate arts discipline.
The next phase of the project, to write the standards, is scheduled to be complete in June 2012, when the draft national standards will be available for review and comment. The national standards are expected to be completed and available online in 2013.
See the draft framework.
Free Workshop on the Critical Response Process (CRP): A free professional development workshop for teaching artists on the Critical Response Process will be held on Monday, March 12, 2012 from 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM presented by Susan Millard-Schwarz, professional classical singer. The workshop will be held at the Riffe Center for Government and the Performing Arts, 77 South High Street, Columbus, OH, 43215.
The Critical Response Process was developed by dancer/choreographer, Liz Lerman, to support her dancers at the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange as they choreographed their own dance works. The Process is a ground-breaking method that nurtures the artists as they share their art through a four-step, facilitated dialogue between the artist, peers, and/or audience. In this structure, feedback is given to the artist in an ordered, non-threatening, and caring environment. In use for more than 20 years, CRP is embraced by artists, educators, and administrators. The Process deepens dialogue between artists and audiences, enhances learning between teachers and students, and affirms all participants in their search for artistic meaning.
The workshop is sponsored by VSA Ohio, VSA International Organization on Arts and Disabilities, the Ohio Arts Council, the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, and the Ohio Department of Education. Space is limited, so please register by March 2, 2012 by sending your Name, Phone Number, Email Address, Street and City Address, Occupation, and Accessibility Requests to
Erin Hoppe, VSA Ohio, 77 S. High Street, 2nd Floor, Columbus, OH 43215, firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information please contact 614-241-5325 (p) or 614-241-5329 (f).
About the Presenter
Susan Millard-Schwarz is a professional classical singer and has been a performer and teaching artist for 25 years. While working as the Program Coordinator at the Ohio Arts Council-Office of Arts Learning, she encountered artists using Critical Response Process (CRP) and became interested in becoming a CRP trainer. She is currently training with John Borstel at the Dance Exchange in Washington, DC to become a certified CRP facilitator. Susan has served on numerous boards, including the Board of Directors for the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education. She has contributed to the analysis and review of the Ohio Fine Arts Academic Content Standards, and has designed and facilitated many panels, conferences and workshops for administrators, educators and artists. Currently, she serves as the Grant Administrator for the Ohio Alliance of YMCAs, and enjoys an active performing career as a mezzo soprano.
AEP Spring 2012 National Forum: Register now for the Arts Education Partnership Spring 2012 National Forum: “Are We There Yet? Arts Evidence and the Road to Student Success” on April 12 – 13, 2012 at the Renaissance Washington, DC Dupont Circle Hotel, in Washington, D.C.
This year’s theme acknowledges a growing body of evidence that learning in and through the arts contributes to educational excellence. Participants will explore the implications and impact of research on education policy and practice, and identify future directions for research.
Two new navigation aids will be previewed: The U.S. Department of Education’s report on the status and condition of American students’ access to arts learning, and ArtsEdSearch, a 21st-century GPS for education research and policy.
These tools will answer some compelling questions:
Do we now have the research to move the needle on education policy?
Do advocates and policy makers have the will to steer American education in a new direction?
Can children born today expect a complete education that includes the arts?
Are we there yet?
The keynote speaker will be John Merrow, PBS NewsHour Education Correspondent and president of Learning Matters, Inc.
The Renaissance Washington, DC Dupont Circle Hotel is located at 1143 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20037.
Information about the conference and registration is available.
NEA Webcast on Arts Learning and Assessment: The National Endowment for the Arts is sponsoring a webcast entitled “Improving Arts Learning through Standards & Assessment: A National Endowment for the Arts Research Roundtable” on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM EST.
More than a dozen experts in the fields of education and arts learning will examine standards and assessment in K-12 education from a variety of perspectives. The session will highlight findings from a national study commissioned by the NEA and conducted by evaluation firm WestEd: Improving the Assessment of Student Learning in the Arts. The report is the first nationwide effort to examine current practices in the assessment of K-12 student learning in the arts both in and out of the classroom.
Webinar participants include: Sandra Ruppert, Arts Education Partnership; Rocco Landesman, Sunil Iyengar, and Daniel Beattie, National Endowment for the Arts; Gene Wilhoit, Council of Chief State School Officers; and James H. Shelton III, U.S Department of Education.
For information please contact Victoria Hutter at email@example.com or 202-682-5692 with any questions.