129th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate will hold a joint session on Tuesday, February 7, 2012 at 1:00 PM in Steubenville, OH to receive Governor John Kasich’s 2012 State of the State speech. The speech will be delivered at Wells Academy, 420 N. Fourth St., Steubenville. The Ohio House will also hold session on February 8, 2012. Both the House and Senate will hold committee hearings this week.
Anti-bullying Legislation Becomes Law: Governor Kasich signed HB116 (Barnes) School Anti-bullying Act into law on February 2, 2012. The law requires age-appropriate instruction on and parental notification of public schools’ policies prohibiting harassment, intimidation, or bullying.
LSC Announces After-hours Voicemail Service: The Legislative Service Commission (LSC) has expanded its toll-free voicemail service to allow the public to leave messages at any time of day for members of the Ohio House. The number is 1-800-282-0253.
Ballot Issues on the March 6, 2012 Primary Ballot: According to the Secretary of State’s website, Ohio voters will consider 465 questions and issues on the March 6, 2012 primary election ballot. The total number of issues for school districts is 112, a very low number compared to previous years. For example, there were a total of 148 issues for schools on the May 2011 primary ballot and 176 on the May 2010 primary ballot. A break-down of the issues on the 2012 primary ballot follows:
- 9 bond issues (7 are school issues)
- 280 tax issues (85 are school issues)
- 124 local liquor options
- 9 combination questions (7 are school bond issues with a tax levy and 2 are school income tax issues with a bond issue)
- 43 miscellaneous questions, including 25 tax changes, 11 are school issues.
More information is available.
House Democrats Announce 2012 Priorities: The Ohio House Democratic Caucus, led by House Minority Leader Armond Budish, held a press conference on January 31, 2012 to announce their legislative agenda for 2012. The priorities focus on creating jobs, rebuilding communities, protecting the rights of Ohioans, and improving education workforce training opportunities. The 2012 priorities build on the “Compact with the Middle Class” announced last year.
New legislation will be introduced to support a Local Government Jobs Fund, a Community Foreclosure Protection Fund, a Voter’s Bill of Rights, the JobsOhio Accountability Act, the Ohio’s Back to Work Program, and more.
According to a summary of the legislative priorities, the Community Jobs Protection Fund will help restore police and fire protection in communities by directing all state revenue above estimates back to local governments that suffered cuts under HB153. The JobsOhio Accountability Act will ensure oversight and accountability of taxpayer dollars going to companies seeking state support. To support job creation efforts, the Small Business Working Capital Program will expand existing tax credits for new markets, film
production, and historic preservation.
The Ohio Voter’s Bill of Rights will protect against efforts to make it harder for Ohioans to exercise their constitutional right to vote by asserting that ballots are valid unless proven fraudulent.
To protect consumers, the Protecting Consumer Rights Act will include creating a health insurance exchange and developing new laws that give patients greater protections against rate increases and claim denials.
The Public Education Protection Act will provide greater oversight and transparency of public dollars that go to private, for-profit charter schools, and voucher programs, and will reduce the amount of public money going to failing charter schools.
The summary is available.
This Week at the Statehouse
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
The Ohio House and Senate will hold a Joint Session on Tuesday, February 7, 2012 at 1:00 PM in Steubenville, Ohio to receive the State of the State address from Governor John Kasich.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
House Ways and Means Committee, Representative Beck chair The House Ways and Means Committee will meet at 3:30 PM in hearing room 114, to receive testimony on HB210 (Ramos) School Levy Campaign Committee Contributions, which would grant an income tax credit for contributions to school district tax levy campaign committees.
House Education Committee, Representative Stebelton chair. The House Education Committee will meet at 5:00 PM in Hearing Room 313. The committee will receive testimony on the following bills:
- HB397 (Antonio) High School Physical Education; Specifies that school districts and chartered nonpublic schools may excuse from high school physical education students who play rugby in a school club.
- HB381 (Slaby) School District Property Offered to State Universities.
- HB377 (Duffy/Stinziano) 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.
- HB255 (Gonzales) School Breakfast Programs: Requires school districts and community schools to establish school breakfast programs in academic emergency buildings and makes other changes regarding school breakfast programs.
News from the ODE
Teacher of the Year Nominations: The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) is accepting nominations for the 2012 Ohio Teacher of the Year recognition program from principals and superintendents. The Teacher of the Year program is designed to honor and promote excellence in the teaching profession. Each nominee must be a PK-12 classroom teacher engaged in the direct instruction of students and who plans to continue in an active teaching role. Applications must be completed by April 27, 2012 and must include data as evidence substantiating student learning. The ODE will accept one nominee per district. More information on the program can be found.
Ohio will nominate Green Ribbon Schools in March: The ODE announced last week that Ohio is among 35 states participating in the 2011-2012 year of the Green Ribbon Schools recognition program sponsored by the U.S Department of Education. The purpose of the program is to recognize schools across the nation where staff, students, officials and communities have come together to produce energy efficient, sustainable and healthy school environments. Ohio will nominate up to four schools by March 22, 2012, for this national recognition. Schools wishing to participate must submit their completed application by March 1. View the online application.
Kathe Shelby Leadership Award: The ODE is sponsoring an award in recognition of Kathe Shelby who was director of ODE’s Office for Exceptional Children from September 2008 until her untimely death in August 2011. The award will be presented to an outstanding special education leader currently employed in Ohio who has demonstrated exceptional skills in improving the quality of special education programming for Ohio’s school children. Nominees should display daily evidence of initiative, influence, and respect toward children with special needs, their parents, special and regular education teachers, related services personnel, and school administrators. The first annual Kathe Shelby Leadership Award will be presented at Ohio’s 6th Annual Special Education Leadership Conference on September 26-27, 2012 in Columbus. The application deadline is March 30, 2012. More information is available.
Boarding School Likely to Open in Cincinnati: An article published in the Cincinnati Enquirer on February 2, 2012 entitled, “SEED school awaiting state approval to set roots here” by Jessica Brown, explains that a new type of public school for at-risk students is likely to open in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Public Schools and the SEED Foundation, based in Washington, D.C,, have signed an operating agreement to open the first public boarding school for at-risk and disadvantaged students based on legislation approved by the General Assembly last year, House Bill 153 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget. The school will provide a college-preparatory curriculum and social supports for up to 400 students in grades 6-12, and will be staffed by members of the Ohio Federation of Teachers. Students will live at the school during the week, and are allowed to visit home on the weekends. Officials are now looking for a place to build the school. The SEED Foundation currently runs two public boarding schools in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, and is planning to open another boarding school in Miami-Dade County Florida in 2013.
According to the article, the SEED Foundation has been discussing opening a boarding school with the Cincinnati Public School District since 2010. Ohio will pay about $25,000 a student for boarding costs. Any school district in the state can join the Cincinnati SEED partnership, as long as they’re willing to provide the transportation for the students. SEED officials expect most students will be from the Cincinnati Public Schools or nearby districts.
Read the article.
ECS Report Highlights 12 Issues Facing Education: The Education Commission of the States (ECS) released in January 2012 a report entitled “12 for 2012: Issues to Move Education Forward in 2012” edited by Jennifer Dounay Zinth and Kathy Christie. The report is a compilation of information about 12 high-profile policy areas; the major challenges for policy makers and educators in these areas; state progress in these areas; and additional reading and information. The following are the policy areas covered in the report:
- Pre-K and expanding its focus to P-3.
- K-12 finance: Creating and maintaining efficiency and financial accountability without lowering expectations.
- Blended learning, how to launch it and implement it.
- Implementation of the Common Core Standards.
- Developing civic engagement in Pk-12: State action in the absence of federal funding.
- Teacher quality.
- Enhancing the potential of education in rural America.
- Access to what teachers and leaders need to improve student outcomes and the skills to use the information.
- Individualized instruction. Faster, cheaper, smarter.
- Performance funding: Building a model without a blueprint.
- Assessment of remedial education,
- Credentials of value: Some are better than others.
The report is available.
What is a Creativity Index? An article in Education Week on February 2, 2012 entitled “States Mulling Creativity Indexes for Schools” by Erik W. Robelen, describes how several states are exploring the development of an index that would gauge the extent to which schools provide students opportunities to foster creativity, innovative thinking, and entrepreneurship. Policy makers in these states believe that there is a connection between economic competitiveness and creative and innovative thinking, and believe that schools have a role to play in building the capacity of students to create and innovate. They also believe that the school curriculum needs to be better balanced to provide students with more opportunities, during and after school, to practice creativity oriented skills.
The states that are taking a lead in this effort are Massachusetts, California, and Oklahoma. Massachusetts has established a commission to develop the Creative Challenge Index to rate schools; legislation in the California Senate calls for the development of a voluntary Creative and Innovative Education Index; and in Oklahoma a public-private partnership will develop an innovative index to rate schools.
According to the article, the proposed index in Massachusetts would “rate every public school on teaching, encouraging, and fostering creativity in students” and be based “in part on the creative opportunities in each school,” such as arts education, debate clubs, science fairs, film making, and independent research.
Researchers who are studying how to build the creative capacity of individuals have found that creative individuals are willing to take risks and learn from failure, and link together seemingly unrelated factors to solve problems. One of the purposes of the index would be to provide an incentive for schools to create environments and opportunities for students to build their capacity for creativity. The commission in Massachusetts is discussing the possibility of piloting the rating system with a few school districts first, while other states are debating whether or not the index should be applied to all school districts, or just those who volunteer to be rated.
The article is available.
A New Paradigm for Schools: Tear down the walls: Arthur Wise writes in an Education Week commentary that adherence to the self-contained classroom is the primary force that reinforces the status quo and prevents significant educational transformation. (“End the Tyranny of the Self-Contained Classroom” by Arthur Wise,
Education Week, February 24, 2012.)
According to the author, the self-contained, four-walled classroom, with a fully qualified teacher responsible for every 25 or so students, perpetuates an education model in which learning takes placed in fixed locations, and education is provided by the “qualified teacher”. The self-contained classroom means that “the focus is on teaching students as a group rather than on the learning of each and every student” and “…it is clear that we have reached the limit of student achievement using the old paradigm.”
The author recommends the following:
“In most professional settings, teams made up of seasoned professionals, novice professionals, supporting personnel, and technology provide services to clients. As one example of breaking free of the divisive egg-crate model, we could define “classroom” as 150 students served by a team of professionals and others. At the cost of six fully qualified teachers, a team of 17 full-time members, led by a well-compensated, board-certified or otherwise accomplished teacher, could serve the class. Senior teachers would remain
accountable for the learning of the 150 students, but many other human and technological resources would be available to help students.”
The article is available.
- HB437 (Roegner K. Patmon B.) School Board Vehicles-Out of State Travel: Increase the number of miles a school district board may authorize its motor vehicles for out-of-state travel.
Winter 2012 Issue of Arts Update: The Ohio Department of Education, Office of Curriculum and Assessment, recently published the winter issue of Arts Update by Nancy Pistone, visual art consultant for the ODE. The Update pays tribute to Jerry Tollifson, who passed away on December 27, 2011. Jerry served as state arts consultant for 28 years, and he and Dick Shoup founded the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education in 1974.
The Update also includes information about the standards revising process. Over 200 online surveys about the draft content standards for the arts have been received by the ODE, which extended the deadline for commenting about the revised standards to February 6, 2012. (Comment about the proposed standards.)
Information is also included about the 2012 Governor’s Youth Art Exhibit, the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System, and P21 Arts Skills Map webinars available at http://www.p21.org/.
Creativity in Education Institute: The Tennessee Arts Commission will host its second “Create2012: Creativity in Education Institute” on July 15-18, 2012 at Middle Tennessee State University in partnership with the University’s College of Education.
According to the press release, “Create2012 will focus on focus on increasing creativity and collaboration in Tennessee schools. Sessions will be offered for K-12 classroom teachers, arts specialists, teaching artists, special-education and resource teachers as well as principals and superintendents.”
The first institute held at MTSU in July 2011 welcomed 400 participants from Tennessee and seven other states. The Institute emerged from the commission’s Value Plus Schools initiative, an arts-integration model with multi-year funding from the U.S. Department of Education. Value Plus demonstrated how the arts affect students’ success by helping to close the achievement gap. Schools participating in Value Plus made greater academic gains than the control schools, despite having larger numbers of economically disadvantaged students.
More information is available.
CMA Supports Music at the Nashville Public Schools: The Huffington Post reported on February 4, 2012 that the Country Music Association (CMA) will donate $1.4 million to help students learn music through the “Keep the Music Playing” campaign for the Nashville public schools. (“Country Music Association Donates $1.4 million to Help Students Learn Music” by Caitlin R. Young February 4, 2012 Huffington Post.) The CMA donates the proceeds from the CMA Music Festival to support “Keep the Music Playing,” which ensures that students have the opportunity to learn music. Student groups also participate in the Keep the Music Playing All Star Concert. CMA has donated more than $6.1 million to support music education in public schools. The money has been used to build music labs and purchase more than 4,000 instruments and supplies for 80 Metro Nashville public schools through a partnership with the Nashville Public Education Foundation.
The 2012 CMA Music Festival will be held June 7-10, 2012. Performers include Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, and Zac Brown Band.