Arts On Line Update 02.13.2012

Ohio News

129th Ohio General Assembly:  The Ohio House and Senate will meet this week and hold hearings and sessions.

Bill Would Repeal HB194:  Senator Bill Coley introduced this week SB295, which repeals HB194 (Mecklenborg-Blessing), the election law reform that faces a referendum on the ballot in November 6, 2012. The proposed law is controversial, because if SB295 is approved, there is no precedent for voters to vote on a referendum to repeal a law that has already been repealed. Implementation of HB194 has been on hold since the organization Fair Election Ohio led the effort to qualify the referendum for the ballot.

Workforce Transformation:  Governor John R. Kasich signed on February 9, 2012 Executive Order 2012-02K creating the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation (OWT) and the Governor’s Executive Workforce Board.

The Office of Workforce Transformation will coordinate and align workforce policies, programs, and resources; determine best deployment of state and federal workforce resources; establish an effective state and local workforce data collection system; recommend changes in federal laws; and coordinate an interagency team to implement the Office of Workforce Transformation.

The Governor’s Executive Workforce Board will advise the Governor and the OWT on the development, implementation, and continuous improvement of Ohio’s entire workforce system, and carry out the functions provided in the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1988 and related provisions of Ohio law.

The executive order is available.

Legislative Update:  The Ohio House approved on February 8, 2012 SCR11 (Lehner) Graduation Rate Change, which approves the Department of Education’s proposed graduation rate changes to the state’s accountability system for public schools.

This Week at the Statehouse
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner The Senate Education Committee will meet at 9:30 AM in the South Hearing Room.  The committee will receive testimony on the following bills:

  • SB230 (Sawyer) Office of Regional Services and Accountability: Creates the Office of Regional Services and Accountability in the Department of Education.
  • SB220 (Sawyer) Inter district Open Enrollment: Requires a study of inter district open enrollment, and repeals sections of the Revised Code effective July 1, 2015, terminates inter district open enrollment on that date with the possibility of renewal following the study’s findings.
  • 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 15, 2012
Senate Government Oversight & Reform Committee, chaired by Senator Coley The Senate Government Oversight & Reform Committee will meet at 8:30 AM in the North Hearing Room to receive testimony on SB295 (Coley) Election Law, which would repeal versions of sections the Revised Code amended or enacted by HB194 of the 129th General Assembly and continue in operation the provisions of the Election Law currently in effect.

House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton The House Education Committee will meet at 5:00 PM in Hearing Room 313.  The committee will receive testimony on the following bills:

  • HB437 (Roegner/Patmon) School Board Vehicles – Out of State Travel: Increases the number of miles a school district board may authorize its motor vehicles for out-of-state travel.
  • 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,

Thursday, February 16, 2012
Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission, co-chaired by Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder (R-Medina) and Representative Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) The Ohio Constitution Modernization Commission will meet at 9:00 AM in Hearing Room 114. The 32 member Constitutional Modernization Commission was created through HB188 (Batchelder) to facilitate revising the Ohio Constitution, if, in November 2012, voters approve a question to call a constitutional convention.  A panel of 12 legislative members of the commission (6 Republican and 6 Democratic members) met on December 28, 2011 to begin the process of selecting additional members and outlining how the commission will work.

Based on the 1912 Ohio Constitution, Ohio voters are asked every twenty years if they want to call a constitutional convention to revise the state’s constitution. The purpose of this commission is to identify parts of the constitution that could be clarified, eliminated, amended, etc. and make recommendations. For example, the commission could recommend that the state’s redistricting process be changed.

Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder (R-Medina) and Representative Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) were selected as co-chairs of the commission. Applications for the 20 other members of the commission will be accepted through January 31, 2012. The panel also adopted rules, and will require a two-thirds vote of the Commission to approve any recommendations. The commission is required to report to the General Assembly by January 1, 2013, and will dissolve by July 1, 2021.

The legislative members of the commission include House Speaker William Batchelder (R-Medina), and Representatives Matt Huffman (R-Lima), Lynn Slaby (R-Copley). Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent), Dennis Murray (D-Sandusky), and Vernon Sykes (D-Akron).

Members from the Ohio Senate include Senators Shannon Jones (R-Springboro), Larry Obhof (R-Medina), Mark Wagoner (R-Toledo), Eric Kearney (D-Cincinnati), Charleta Tavares (D-Columbus), and Mike Skindell (D-Lakewood).

News from Washington, D.C.
More Legislation Introduced to Replace NCLB: U.S. House Representative John Kline, chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, released on February 8, 2012 two pieces of legislation to replace the No Child Left Behind Act:  the Student Success Act and Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act.

Congressman Kline has introduced a total of five bills to replace parts of the No Child Left Behind Act, and one, a measure promoting and providing start-up money for charter schools, has been approved by the U.S. House. The other two bills, one dealing with funding flexibility and the other eliminating duplicative federal programs, have passed the Education Committee and are awaiting votes on the House floor.

The “Student Success Act” would eliminate “adequate yearly progress”, and require states to implement their own accountability systems; provide states and school districts greater flexibility to meet students’ unique needs; strengthen programs for schools and targeted populations; maintain and strengthen long-standing protections for state and local autonomy.

A summary of the bill is available.

The “Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act” would eliminate the “highly qualified teacher” designation under NCLB, and require states to develop their own teacher evaluation systems, which must include assessments of instructors’ classroom leadership and their students’ academic achievement, within three years.

A summary of the bill is available.

ESEA Re-authorization and NCLB Waivers: President Obama, the U.S. Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, chaired by Senator Tom Harkin, and the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, chaired by Representative Kline, have developed recommendations to re-authorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

ESEA, re-authorized in January 2002 by President Bush as the No Child Left Behind Act, was due to be re-authorized in 2007, but little progress has been made, even though there is general consensus that several provisions of the law need to be changed.

For example, one of the most controversial requirements of the law that most policy-makers agree should be changed is adequate yearly progress (AYP), because the goals in the original law are unrealistic.  The Center on Education Policy (CEP) released on December 15, 2011 a new report entitled “AYP Results for 2010-11” by Alexandra Usher.  The report estimates that 48 percent of U.S. public schools failed to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) under No Child Left Behind Act in 2011. In 2010 39 percent of schools did not make AYP.  AYP targets are based on students achieving the proficient level on state tests in math and English language arts in grades 3-8. Schools that fail to meet AYP for two consecutive years or more are required through the No Child Left Behind Act to implement certain interventions. The CEP report is available.

Even though there is bipartisan agreement to change some provisions of the law, the political climate; the pending presidential and congressional elections; and stakeholder opposition to repealing certain provisions of the law mean that expectations for re-authorizing NCLB this year are diminishing.

In the meantime, and to address some of the most controversial aspects of the No Child Left Behind Act, President Obama announced on February 9, 2012 that ten states will receive an ESEA Flexibility Waiver from certain NCLB mandates. In exchange, these states have agreed to raise standards to ensure that students are career and college ready; improve accountability through state-developed differentiated recognition, accountability, and support systems; increase the effectiveness of teachers and principals through evaluations and supports that include factors beyond test scores, such as principal observation, peer review, student work, or parent and student feedback; and reduce duplications and burdens.

The ten states approved for flexibility are Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.  New Mexico and 28 other states are considering a request from waivers also.

According to a press release issued by Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, NCLB “drives down standards, weakens accountability, causes narrowing of the curriculum and labels too many schools as failing. Moreover, the law mandates unworkable remedies at the federal level instead of allowing local educators to make spending decisions.”

The President’s waiver option is very controversial for several reasons:

  • Some stakeholders, policy-makers, and lawmakers do not agree that the President has the authority to grant a waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act.
  • Some stakeholders, policy makers, and lawmakers do not agree that the President has the authority to require states to adopt the Obama administration’s education reform agenda in place of the NCLB Act in order to receive the waiver. (These policies are outlined in the Race to the Top grant competition.)
  • Advocates for students with special needs, students who do not speak English, or students at risk of failure support provisions of NCLB that required states to be accountable for closing the achievement gap among groups of students, and are concerned that these provisions and others that protect students will be eliminated or ignored.
  • Some advocates for education reform supported NCLB’s accountability provisions that sanctioned failing schools and required school districts to adopt specific reforms to transform failing schools, including turning failing schools into charter schools.
  • Some education experts believe that the President’s education reform policies still rely too much on testing rather than multiple ways to determine student achievement, and are not based on research, including the policies regarding turn-around schools and teacher evaluations based on student academic growth.

Ohio’s Waiver Plan:  Ohio is expected to submit an ESEA Flexibility Waiver request for the second round of waivers by the February 22, 2012 deadline. Ohio is requesting waivers in the following ten areas and one optional area: Adequate Yearly Progress, AYP; school sanctions and accountability; supplemental services; extending the school year; using data to support accountability; adapting school improvement plans; aligning federal funds to meet school needs; using 21st Century Grant funds to meet school needs; and developing one comprehensive plan for continuous improvement.

Currently through NCLB, all states are required to meet AYP targets by the 2014-15 school year. Ohio is asking for waivers from AYP, and, in return, has recently adopted more rigorous Common Core Standards; is participating in national efforts to develop more rigorous national assessments; and has approved new school ratings based on performance index scores and expenditures.

Several education organizations have joined together to write a letter in support of the waiver request. The organizations include the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, Ohio Association of School Business Officials, Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators, Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators, Ohio Educational Service Center Association, and Ohio School Boards Association.

The ODE has established a website to receive feedback about the waiver process.  The website is available.

State of the State Address (SOTS):  Governor Kasich presented the State of the State address on February 6, 2012 at the Wells Elementary School in Steubenville, Ohio.  The Governor recapped his administration’s accomplishments and goals, but shared few specifics about new initiatives, the midyear budget, the capital budget, the new school funding formula, or election reform.

Listing as his administration’s accomplishments, the Governor noted the growth in jobs, balancing the budget, reducing taxes by $300 million, restoring the rainy day fund to $247 million, reforming sentencing, closing the pill mills, reducing the cost of construction for higher education, and creating JobsOhio.  He said that his administration and the General Assembly did this without “….harming the mentally ill, the poor, or the disabled”. Ohio is now number one in the midwest for creating jobs, and number nine in the nation.

According to the Governor his administration was able to accomplish these goals by reshaping and reorganizing government, including Medicaid, and working with the private sector.

His remarks about education focused on providing parents more choices, including vouchers and charter schools; allowing parents to take control of schools; strengthening teacher evaluations; directing state resources to classrooms and not administrators; and promoting early childhood education.

According to Governor Kasich Ohioans must build a consensus to reform public education and implement comprehensive reforms to change urban education in Ohio. He acknowledged the plan proposed by Mayor Frank Jackson to transform the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, and said that Ohioans must study what is working, “like fine charter schools”, and replicate what works.

The Governor also focused on workforce development and training; strengthening vocational education; and working with businesses, community colleges, and universities to align graduates with available jobs.

The Governor said that he has directed Ohio’s colleges and universities to create a university system; increase graduation rates; increase collaboration; eliminate duplicate programs; and create more jobs based on university led research projects.

In terms of the future, the Governor said that there is still work to be done. “We got cultural changes that we have to make and people who represent the status quo are going to fight us.” He advised that legislators stay clear of “mindless partisanship”; search for things to do together; build on accomplishments; and focus on jobs, workforce training, and growth.

During the speech the Governor presented a new award, called the Governor’s Courage Awards, to Jo Anna Krohn for her work to eliminate prescription drug abuse; Theresa Flores for her work to rehabilitate young women who have been victimized; and posthumously to Silver Star recipient Army Specialist Jesse Snow, who was killed in Afghanistan.  Governor Kasich created the award “…..to shine the light on people who do special things”.

He ended the speech by saying that he hoped that Ohio would be free of poverty and unemployment, and that it was an exciting time to work together to do good.

Democratic Response to the State of the State: Minority Leader Armond Budish, Representatives Matt Lundy and Alicia Reece, and Senator Teresa Fedor responded to Governor Kasich in a press conference following the State of the State address.

Representative Lundy suggested that Governor Kasich had forgotten his roots, and that his policies, including cutting funding to local governments and school districts, were hitting working families hard.

Senator Teresa Fedor said that the State of the State address was devoid of any plan for the future of public education, which is being dismantled by charter schools, which are not accountable to the public, and privatization through the expansion of voucher programs. The public must speak-up about the funding system for schools, which was not covered in the address.

Representative Reece said that the SOTS was a great pep rally, but there was no substance; no plan to follow; and no ideas to take back to constituents.  She said that the Democrats had introduced several bills to strengthen workforce training and create jobs, through the Compact for the Middle Class and Working Class, but the bills are not moving in the General Assembly.

House Minority Leader Budish opined that the SOTS had some “ouching moments” and thought the Governor’s Courage Award was “a nice touch”. But, he thought that the SOTS was more of a retrospective than a look forward.  Governor Kasich produced a balanced budget, but it was balanced on the working class.  He said that the influence of special interests has “gone too far” and the Republican General Assembly has led efforts to restrict women’s choices, suppress voters, and privatize the state.  Democrats have proposed hundreds of amendments to bills to help create jobs, but these amendments haven’t received a hearing or have been tabled.

The Governor’s State of the State Address and the Democratic response are available at http://www.ohiochannel.org/

State Board of Education to Meet:  The State Board of Education, Debe Terhar president, will meet on February 12-14, 2012 at the Ohio School for the Deaf, 500 Morse Road, Columbus, OH.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2012
On February 12, 2012 the full State Board of Education (the Board) participated in a work session led by Superintendent Stan Heffner, Jim Herrholtz, Associate Superintendent, Division of Learning, and Sasheen Phillips Senior Executive Director, Center for Curriculum and Assessment, about the Board’s participation in the roll-out of college and career readiness standards articulated through the Common Core standards for math and English Language Arts, and Ohio’s standards for science and social studies.

Board members agreed that college and career readiness means that students are workforce ready after high school and prepared to do college work without remediation. Ohio defines college and career ready as “high school graduates have the necessary knowledge and skills to qualify for and succeed in entry level, credit bearing, college level courses, and post secondary job training and/or education for a chosen career.”

Board members discussed their role in communicating to students, educators, and citizens the purpose and goals of the college and career ready standards.  They agreed to reach-out to their constituents and communities and provide information to them about the importance of these standards, and how the standards will ensure that Ohio students are prepared for work, careers, and citizenship in the 21st century.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2012
On February 13, 2012 the Board will hold a Chapter 119 Hearing on Ohio Administrative Code Rules 3301-89-01 to -04, Territory Transfers.

The Executive Committee, chaired by Debe Terhar, will meet at 9:00 AM in the conference center and discuss the June 2012 Retreat.

The Achievement, Capacity, and Select Committee on Urban Education will meet at 9:30 AM.

The Achievement Committee, chaired by Angela Thi Bennett, will receive an update about the Standards for Fine Arts and Foreign Languages; receive an update on Financial Literacy and Business Education Standards; and receive an update about assessments.

The Capacity Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, will discuss the new Praxis II exams and qualifying scores for the area of arts education, technology education, and the Principles of Learning and Teaching exams.  The committee will also receive feedback from pilot schools and districts regarding the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System.

The Select Committee on Urban Education, chaired by Joe Farmer, will continue to discuss implementation of the diversity policy.

The Board will hold a ceremony at 11:30 AM to recognize Ohio’s Blue Ribbon Schools and then break for lunch.

Following lunch at 1:00 PM the Board will receive a presentation by Auditor of State David Yost regarding the performance audit of the Ohio Department of Education.  At 2:15 PM the Board will receive reports from the chairs of the Executive, Achievement, Capacity, and Urban Education committees.

The Board will convene its business meeting at 3:00 PM and immediately move into Executive Session.

At 4:00 PM the Legislative and Budget Committee, chaired by C. Todd Jones, will meet to discuss proposed legislative and budget recommendations for FY14-15. The committee will consider which General Revenue Funds should be considered foundation funding and will also discuss early childhood education.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2012
The State Board of Education’s task force meetings will be held starting at 8:30 AM.  This includes the Ohio School for the Blind and Ohio School for the Deaf Governance Task Force, chaired by Dannie Greene; the Policy and Procedures Task Force, chaired by Rob Hovis; and the Superintendent Evaluation Task Force, chaired by Dennis Reardon.

The full Board will receive a presentation on the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s proposal to transform the Cleveland’s schools from Eric Gordon, CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

The State Board will reconvene its business meeting at 10:30 AM.  The Board will receive reports from the Legislative and Budget Committee; the task forces; receive public participation on agenda items; receive the report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction; and vote on the Report and Recommendations of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Public participation on non-agenda items will be considered at 1:00 PM.

The Board will then consider old business, new business, miscellaneous business, and adjourn.

Report and Recommendations of the Superintendent of Public Instruction

Resolutions 1, 2, 5-9 are personnel items.

Resolution 3:  Adopt a Resolution of Intent to consider confirmation of the Lake Local School District’s determination of impractical transportation of certain students attending St. Matthew’s School in Akron, Summit County, OH.

Resolution 4:  Adopt a Resolution of Intent to consider confirmation of the Westerville City School District’s determination of impractical transportation of certain students attending St. Matthew Catholic School in Gahanna, Franklin County, OH.

Resolution 10: Adopt a Resolution to Amend Rules 3301-11-01 to -03, and -07 of the Administrative Code regarding the Educational Choice Scholarship Pilot Program.

Resolution 11: Adopt a Resolution to Amend Rules 3301-24-18 of the Administrative Code regarding the Resident Educator License.

Resolution 12: Adopt a Resolution to Adopt Rules 3301-101-01 to -13, of the Administrative Code regarding the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program.

Data Released about Advanced Placement:  The College Board released a report on February 8, 2012 entitled “The 8th Annual AP Report to the Nation”.  The report shows that more public school graduates are participating in the Advanced Placement Program® and a higher percentage of high school graduates are succeeding on AP exams.

Advanced Placement courses are increasingly being used by states to prepare students for college and careers.  According to the College Board press release, “Research indicates that students who succeed on an AP Exam during high school typically experience greater academic success in college, experience lower college costs, and are more likely to earn a college degree than their peers.”

The Advanced Placement Program enables high school students to take college-level course work in specific subject areas, and offers students an advanced placement exam to determine how well students have learned. Most universities will give students college credit for earning a score of 3 or better, on a 5-point scale, on the AP exams.

According to the report Maryland led the nation with the highest percentage of its graduates (27.9 percent) participating in AP and scoring a 3 or higher on an AP Exam. Other top ten states include:

Maryland (27.9 percent )
New York (26.5 percent)
Virginia (25.6 percent)
Massachusetts (25.5 percent)
Connecticut (25.3 percent)
Florida (23.9 percent)
California (23.4 percent)
Colorado (22.3 percent)
Vermont (21.4 percent)
Utah (20.7 percent)

The report shows that the number of Ohio students who passed AP exams increased slightly to 12.8 percent, but the number still is less than the national average of 18.1 percent. For the class of 2011 24,585 high school seniors took at least one AP exam and 15,453 scored 3 or higher at any point in high school. However the number of African American students who graduate from high schools in Ohio with AP credit is only 2.9 percent.

White Hat Management Ordered to Turn Over Records:  Judge John Bender of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas ordered on February 6, 2012 White Hat Management LLC to deliver by March 6, 2012 the financial records requested by 10 of the schools that it manages.  The order is one of several decisions that the Judge has made in a lawsuit that pits 10 charter schools against their operator, White Hat Management. (Case # 10 CVH-05-7423 – Hope Academy Broadway Campus et. al v. White Hat Management)

The original lawsuit was filed in 2010, but has become entangled in several court maneuvers by White Hat to forestall providing financial documents about how it has spent millions of dollars in public funds that it has received to operate the 10 plaintiff schools.

The Judge’s order states that the money that private management companies receive from the state is public money, and how it is spent must be thoroughly accountable to the public. The Judge ordered White Hat to disclose information about building leases; document the footnotes in its financial reports to the state; release information about its purchasing agreements; and tax returns.

The defendant White Hat LLS contents that the transactions with the schools that it manages are proprietary, and not subject to public disclosure, but the Judge rejected that argument.

Read the order.

Policy Matters Issues Report on State Tax  Policies:  Policy Matters Ohio issued a brief on Ohio tax policies on February 6, 2012 entitled “Bolster the income tax to meet Ohio’s needs: What higher rates on top earners would mean” by Zach Schiller.  The policy brief recommends that as Governor Kasich considers recommendations regarding a review of tax policies prepared by the Ohio Tax Commission Joe Testa, he should consider re-instituting the tax rate of 7.5 percent on income over $250,000, and institute a new rate of 8.5 percent on income over $500,000. These two changes in tax policies would generate $650 million annually, but affect mostly taxpayers in the top one percent of income in Ohio.

The policy brief states that more than a quarter of respondents to a recent Policy Matters Ohio survey indicated that they “……anticipated being in official fiscal distress in the coming year.” Recent cuts in state funding have affected local governments and services, colleges and universities, senior centers, libraries, early childhood education programs, school districts, and more. Ohio has lost a greater proportion of jobs than the U.S. as a whole, even though the 2005 tax overhaul, which cut income taxes, was enacted to spur job growth.

According to the brief, the proposed tax increase, “….would not change the amount of taxes paid by nearly 99 percent of Ohio taxpayers. It would affect only the most affluent, who can most afford to pay, and the increases for them would be relatively small. Yet it would allow the state to make up nearly half the cuts made to public schools and local governments in the current two-year budget.”

The authors write, current state and local tax policies in Ohio are “stacked in favor of high-income Ohioans, who pay a smaller share of their income in such taxes than low- and middle-income families do. If these policies continue they will lead to an “under investment in education and infrastructure”, which “will damage Ohio’s long-term economic prospects.”

The policy brief is available.

School Accountability Systems Need to Change: Dr. Thomas W. Payzant, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, writes in an article published in the Huffington Post on February 12, 2012 that the idea that assessment drives results is mistaken, and state accountability systems based on that belief are contributing to a host of bad results. (“The Problem with School Accountability Systems” by Thomas W. Payzant, Huff Post Education February 12, 2012.)

According to the author, “High-stakes evaluations based on student test scores put excessive stress on students, set unrealistic expectations for their parents, drive teachers to cut curriculum corners, game the system, or even cheat, and suck the satisfaction out of teaching in and leading schools. Such “accountability” systems isolate superintendents, rather than nurturing the ties to the broader community that are vital to helping our most troubled schools and students succeed.”

Viable accountability systems, on the other hand, are built on qualitative and quantitative measures.  They build capacity to improve teacher and school effectiveness by strengthening school leadership and quality instruction. These systems align assessments with rigorous content standards; include behavioral and social skills, which help students become college and career ready; and include broader measures of student well-being, including “….knowledge of history, the arts, foreign languages, science, health, and civic engagement.”

The article is available.

Studies Show Education Gap Growing:  Sabrina Tavernise reports on February 9, 2012 in the New York Times (“Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say”), that recent studies show that while the achievement gap between white and black students has narrowed significantly over the past few decades, the gap between rich and poor students has grown substantially during the same period. The studies were published last fall in a book entitled “Whither Opportunity?” compiled by the Russell Sage Foundation, a research center for social sciences, and the Spencer Foundation.

One of the studies by Professor Sean F. Reardon of Stanford University “…found that the gap in standardized test scores between affluent and low-income students had grown by about 40 percent since the 1960s, and is now double the testing gap between blacks and whites.” In the 1950s and 1960s race was a determining factor of success, but now family income levels seem to determine educational success.

The other study by researchers Susan M. Dynarski and Martha J. Bailey from the University of Michigan, found that “…the imbalance between rich and poor children in college completion – the single most important predictor of success in the work force – has grown by about 50 percent since the late 1980s.”

The author writes that education was historically considered a great equalizer in American society, enabling less advantaged children to improve their chances for success as adults. These recent studies undermine that theory, and suggest that the impact of the recession and declining family incomes on student success is likely to aggravate the educational gap between students from rich and poor families. To explain the influence of wealth on education, the article includes information from other researchers.  Recent studies have found that wealthy parents invest more time and money in their children and are more involved in their children’s schools. Children from wealthy families are exposed to more literacy activities and experiences than children from lower-income families, and by the time they start school children from wealthy families have about 400 hours more of literacy activities.

Parenting and the early life conditions of children also matter, according to another researcher, James J. Heckman, an economist at the University of Chicago. He believes that poverty is more than just income level, and that how children are stimulated affects a child’s cognitive ability and personality.

And, a cultural divide is being created between educated and less educated Americans, according to Charles Murray, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and author of “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010.”

Douglas J. Besharov, a fellow at the Atlantic Council states that there are no easy answers, because the problems are so complex and, “No one has the slightest idea what will work. The cupboard is bare.”

The article is available.

Bills Introduced

  • HB444 (Henne) Montgomery County Schools: Authorizes a pilot program for school districts in Montgomery County to operate certain for-profit activities.
  • HB445 (Hill) County Commissioner Boards Shared Services: Authorizes one or more boards of county commissioners to contract with another board of county commissioners for the services of that county’s coroner.
  • HB446 (Driehaus/Foley) Tax Expenditures Effectiveness: Provides for an appraisal of the effectiveness of tax expenditures.

FYI ARTS
Opportunity for Students through “What’s Going On…NOW”:  The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has launched “What’s Going On NOW,” a national arts and digital media campaign marking the 40th anniversary of Marvin Gaye’s album and his 1972 Kennedy Center performance.

In conjunction with the purpose of the project to inspire and engage youth, the project is accepting applications for two young people to be selected for a trip to Washington, D.C. to attend one of two concerts to be held on May 3, 2012 at the Kennedy Center featuring John Legend, Sharon Jones, the Dap-Kings, and the National Symphony Orchestra.

To qualify, students must share their own creative perspectives on the similarities and differences between Marvin Gaye’s “then” and their own “now.” They can upload video, photos, poems, music – whatever art form inspires their own creative expression. To be considered for the trip to Washington, they must submit their entry no later than March 23, 2012.

More information can be found at http://www.whatsgoingonnow.org/.

NEA Roundtable Webcast: Arts Education Standards & Assessment:  The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will host a webcast, “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. The roundtable will examine the latest trends, current practices, and future directions for arts learning standards and assessment methods. In addition to moderated panels of experts, the roundtable features a presentation of the NEA’s latest research report, “Improving the Assessment of Student Learning in the Arts: State of the Field and Recommendations”. This publication is available.

No pre-registration is necessary. To watch the webcast, go to the NEA’s website at the scheduled date and time. http://www.arts.gov/

Also, the webcast will be recorded and archived.

It will be available for viewing beginning February 21, 2012.

Webinar: A Roadmap to the pARTnership Movement:  Americans for the Arts launched in January 2012 the pARTnership Movement promoting the message to businesses that partnering with the arts builds their competitive advantage.

To build the capacity of arts advocates to implement the campaign locally, Americans for the Arts is presenting a series of pARTnership Movement webinars, beginning with “A Roadmap to the pARTnership Movement” on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 3:00 PM EST.

This first webinar will be an in-depth look at the website, with technical assistance for downloading and customizing the ads and information about marketing the movement at the local level.

Americans for the Arts will also go through the tool kit explaining how to make the case to businesses and how to initiate and maximize business relationships.

The webinar will be moderated by Emily Peck, director of Private Sector Initiatives at Americans for the Arts, with: Graham Dunstan, director of Marketing and Communications, Americans for the Arts, Chris Ebmeyer of Machinery and Anne Katz, executive director, Arts Wisconsin.

More information is available.

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About OAAE

Since our founding in 1974, by Dr. Dick Shoup and Jerry Tollifson, our mission has always been to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Working at the local, state, and federal levels through the efforts of a highly qualified and elected Board of Directors, our members, and a professional staff we have four primary areas of focus: building collaborations, professional development, advocacy, and capacity building. The OAAE is funded in part for its day-to-day operation by the Ohio Arts Council. This support makes it possible for the OAAE to operate its office in Columbus and to work statewide to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Support for arts education projects comes from the Ohio Arts Council, Ohio Music Education Association, Ohio Art Education Association, Ohio Educational Theatre Association, VSA Ohio, and OhioDance. The Community Arts Education programs of Central Ohio are financially assisted by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners and the Greater Columbus Arts Council. We gratefully acknowledge and appreciate the financial support received from each of these outstanding agencies and organizations.
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