The Ohio House and Senate will not hold sessions this week.
Primary Election: 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.
Redistricting Legislation Introduced: Two resolutions were introduced last week in the Ohio House and Senate that would establish a new way to draw state and congressional districts. House Joint Resolution 5 (Celeste/Duffey) and Senate Joint Resolution 4 (Sawyer/LaRose) would repeal and amend the Ohio Constitution Article XI to revise the redistricting process for the General Assembly and Congressional districts. The proposed amendment would be submitted to the voters on November 6, 2012.
The resolutions were developed by two Republican and two Democratic members of the General Assembly. The proposal establishes a seven member commission to draw the voter maps. The commission would include the governor; the auditor of state; the secretary of state; the speaker of the house of representatives; the legislative leader of the largest political party in the house of representatives of which the speaker of the house of representatives is not a member; the president of the senate; and the legislative leader of the largest political party in the senate of which the president is not a member. The new district maps would need to be approved by five members of the commission, and at least two of the affirmative votes must be from members of the minority party. If the members can’t agree on a plan, then a process would be used for the voters to decide the redistricting map.
The redistricting process for the state and Congressional districts would be determined based on specific criteria to ensure that the new districts are compact, composed of contiguous territory, and to the extent that it is possible, to keep small government units together and promote competitiveness.
The proposal also creates a nonpartisan office of Redistricting Information Services within the Legislative Services Commission to gather census data and information needed to draw the new maps. The proposal would not take effect until 2021.
The Constitutional Modernization Commission (HB188) and the Redistricting Reform Task Force (HB369), which has not met yet, will also be looking at redistricting reform in the General Assembly.
News from Washington, D.C.
ESEA Re-authorization Update: The U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, chaired by Representative John Kline, approved two pieces of legislation last week to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind. The Republican-backed bills were approved along party lines. “The Student Success Act” (H.R. 3989) was approved by the committee in a vote of 23 to 16, and “The Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act” (H.R. 3990) was approved in a vote of 23 to 16.
These bills are among several that the Committee on Education and the Workforce has approved over the past year to re-authorize parts of ESEA. According to a press release the bills reduce the role of the federal government in education and provide more flexibility to states regarding K-12 education.
The Student Success Act would revise adequate yearly progress (AYP), and allow states to develop their own accountability systems. It would also eliminate the requirement that states test students in science, and funding for the School Improvement Grant program.
Learn more about the Student Success Act.
The Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers would require states and districts to develop teacher evaluation systems, and create a block grant program in place of current federal education programs.
Learn more about the bill.
Read the press release.
The Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee, chaired by Senator Tom Harkin, approved on October 20, 2011 a bill sponsored by Senator Harkin to re-authorize the entire ESEA. The bill had the support of Republican Senators Michael B. Enzi, of Wyoming, and Lamar Alexander, of Tennessee in committee, but has not been sent to the full Senate for a vote.
Meanwhile, Representative Kline’s committee has approved several other bills to re-authorize parts of ESEA, and the U.S. House approved on September 13, 2012 the Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 2218).
College and Career Ready: Last week key education organizations in Ohio launched an effort to inform and engage the public about the new education standards that go into effect for the 2014-15 school year.
The State Board of Education, the Ohio Educational Service Center Association, the Ohio School Boards Association, and the Ohio Department of Education are sponsoring “Start Ready, Graduate Ready” evening forums to share information about Ohio’s college and career ready standards and the new state tests for social studies, English language arts, mathematics, and science.
The new assessments will measure student progress at intervals during the school year; will be taken online; and will provide immediate feedback to students and teachers.
The “Start Ready, Graduate Ready” forums will be conducted from 6-8:00 PM at regional Educational Service Centers. To register, please email your name, organization, and contact information to the forum that you plan to attend:
- March 14, Muskingum Valley ESC email@example.com
- March 20, Montgomery County ESC firstname.lastname@example.org
- March 22, ESC of Central Ohio email@example.com
- March 26, North Point ESC firstname.lastname@example.org
- March 29, Athens-Meigs ESC, held at Athens High School email@example.com
- April 2, Stark County ESC, held at RG Drage Career Technical Center firstname.lastname@example.org
- April 4, Allen County ESC, held at Elida High School (No pre-registration required)
- April 5, North Central Ohio ESC email@example.com
- April 11, Butler County ESC firstname.lastname@example.org
- April 16, Lake Erie West ESC email@example.com
- April 19, Mid-Ohio ESC firstname.lastname@example.org
- April 23, Southern Ohio ESC email@example.com
- April 30, ESC of Cuyahoga County, held at Dr. Harry E. Eastridge Professional Development Center firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information visit the Ohio Student Progress Portal at Battelle for Kids.
NCLB Waiver Application Filed: Ohio and 25 other states submitted waiver requests on February 28, 2012 with the U.S. Department of Education regarding some provisions of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
This was the second opportunity that the U.S. Department of Education had set for states to file waiver applications. Eleven states were granted waivers in early February 2012 including Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and later New Mexico.
States filing requests this time are Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Arizona, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.
States applying for the waiver had to declare how they would meet more rigorous standards for college- and career-readiness; implement differentiated accountability systems; and implement more rigorous teacher evaluation systems in exchange for being exempt from certain provisions in the law, such as meeting adequate yearly progress goals by 2014. The U.S. DOE will notify states in spring if their plan warrants a waiver.
Ohio’s waiver request focused on the following 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 asked 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 (PARCC); and has approved new school ratings based on performance index scores and expenditures.
According to the waiver request, Ohio’s vision is “All students start ready for kindergarten, actively engage in learning, and graduate ready for college and careers.” College and Career Ready means
- Content Knowledge: A deep core-content knowledge in academic and applicable technical content.
- 21st Century Skills: The effective use of academic and technical skills (e.g. research, problem solving, systems thinking.
- Readiness Behaviors: The acquisition of readiness behaviors, such as goal setting, persistence, and resourcefulness.
- College and Career Survival Skills: The acquisition of knowledge and skills needed to navigate successfully within the world of higher education and the world of work.
To achieve the vision, Ohio will implement strategies to support college and career readiness; effective instruction and leadership; and accountability, recognition, and capacity. By 2020 Ohio’s goals will be to further increase the state’s on-time graduation rate by .5 percent each year post Race to the Top; further reduce the graduation rate gaps by 50 percent post Race to the Top; further reduce the gap between Ohio and the best-performing states in the nation by 50 percent post Race to the Top; further increase the number of students who graduate from high school remediation-free for college and careers.
The waiver application is available.
NEW Designations for the Local Report Card: Also included in the waiver request is a plan to revamp Ohio’s accountability system and the local report cards for school districts and schools. To implement the new system and report card designations, legislation will need to be approved by the General Assembly and the governor.
The proposed new accountability system will include the following:
- Continue to use the current Performance Indicators, Performance Index, and Value-Added measures
- Create a new proficiency and graduation gap measure which will include AMO (annual measurable objectives) targets to cut proficiency gaps for all identified subgroups in half by 2017 and provide a letter grade to demonstrate the performance of each measurable subgroup in the LEA
- Establish a new index to identify, support, and intervene in LEAs with the largest achievement gaps
- Eliminate designations (Excellent, Effective, Continuous Improvement, Academic Watch, Academic Emergency) for each LEA and school and assign a letter grade (A, B,C,D,F) (Effective in the 2011-12 school year.)
- Report college and career ready data and the performance of gifted students
The new accountability system will also include some new measures:
- The percentage of state indicators met represented by a letter grade
- The Performance Index score represented by a letter grade.
- Proficient and Graduation Gap measures. These new components will measure the performance of all subgroups against an AMO in reading and mathematics and the graduation rate benchmark, and will assign a letter grade.
- Value Added: Ohio will retain the SAS and EVAAS model for its Value-Added measures. Districts and schools will be assigned a letter grade based on two years’ data.
- Are You Ready? This component will include college and career ready indicators. A transitional indicator will be used until college and career ready assessments are operational by 2014-15. (Early warning: 2011-12; CCRS 2012-13)
- Four-Year Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (2011-12)
- New Indicators for Gifted Performance. The indicator includes the percentage of students that have been identified as gifted; the percentage of students receiving gifted services; and the performance of identified students in mathematics and reading on statewide tests. (2012-13)
- Measures of a Rigorous Curriculum will continue.
- New Rankings Based on Academic and Fiscal Performance will be added.
- Teacher Quality will be measured based on teacher effectiveness and student growth rather than the system of “highly qualified teachers”.
According to an article in StateImpact on February 29, 2012 (“Ohio Wants to Nix No Child Left Behind 100-Percent Student Success Goal” by Molly Bloom and Ida Lieszkovszky), the new rating system for schools would significantly change current school district and school report card ratings.
The article states that the ODE has already run comparisons of the new rating system and the current rating system. Currently 52 percent of schools are rated Excellent; 25 percent Effective; 13 percent Continuous Improvement; 6 percent Academic Watch; and 5 percent Academic Emergency. In the new rating system, only 3 percent of schools would receive an A; 45 percent a B; 20 percent a C; 20 percent a D; and 12 percent would receive an F.
The article is available.
Update on Ohio Teacher Evaluation System: The Ohio Department of Education held a meeting on February 28, 2012 to provide more clarification about the Teacher Performance Measures and the Student Growth Measures in the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) framework. The presenters from the ODE, including Jim Herrholz, Julia Simmerer, Chris Woolard, Lori Lofton, Jim Wright, and others, said that evaluating teachers based on student growth measures is “a work in progress” and that this work will change over time with more data, experience, and feedback. The ODE is proposing the “best thinking” at this time to guide schools/districts, and is using feedback from stakeholders to adjust the system.
The OTES framework, based on law (129-HB153) and adopted by the State Board of Education in November 2011, requires that 50 percent of teacher evaluation ratings be based on teacher performance and 50 percent on student growth measures.
Student growth can be determined by using Option A: Value Added Data (meaning SAS and EVAS in grades 4-8) Option B: using data from state approved assessments, and Option C: using growth measures developed by local education agencies (LEAs).
- Districts can combine the options to measure student growth, based on the available data for different teachers.
- Value Added data by definition uses multiple measures of student growth, because it provides a history of all assessments of a student.
- The ODE will provide a three year aggregate average of Value Added Data for teachers, because it is most accurate.
- Schools/districts will be able to phase-in measures by giving them different weights.
For example, in year one, a teacher with Value Added data could be measured based on 10 percent Value Added data and 40 percent LEA developed measures. In year 2 the teacher could be measured based on 25 percent Value Added data and 25 percent LEA measures. In year 3 the teacher’s evaluation could be based on 40 percent Value Added data and 10 percent LEA measures.
Work in progress:
- The ODE has been working with other states and researchers to develop a list of approved assessments for Option B. That list is expected to be released in mid March. New York state has already developed such a list.
- The ODE is working to expand the use of Value Added Data to other grades and subjects.
- Changes in legislation have been proposed to address certain issues as the process has unfolded. For example, legislation is being proposed to allow schools/district to use evaluators from outside the school/district to do observations; to clearly define who is a teacher; to better align the release of Value Added data (end of summer) with the April deadline for teacher evaluations to be completed. (This means that teachers are evaluated on last year’s Value Added data.) The mid-year budget bill might include some of the proposed legislative changes.
- Some districts working with Battelle for Kids might have additional assessment data to use to measure student achievement for students in other grades and subjects.
- Schools/districts must make sure that their rosters regarding student contact hours with specific teachers are accurate.
Option C: LEA-developed student growth measures should be rigorous (College and Career Ready); comparable across similar courses; provide information about student growth over time; be based on standards for what students should know and be able to do in a content area; and help improve instruction.
Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) are becoming a more acceptable way to measure student growth in content areas without standardized assessments. Student Learning Objectives articulate student growth targets over time based on available data and research about how students progress from baseline skills to meet rigorous learning objectives.
New York State has developed templates for teachers and evaluators to use to construct Student Learning Objective targets.
The ODE will release guidance about how to incorporate Student Learning Objectives into the student growth measures in mid March.
- HJR5 (Celeste/Duffey) Redistricting Process Revision: Revises the redistrict process for the General Assembly and Congressional districts in the Ohio Constitution.
- SJR4 (Sawyer/LaRose) Redistricting Process Revision: Revises the redistrict process for the General Assembly and Congressional districts in the Ohio Constitution.
Transforming Youth Through Art: A broadcast on WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station, by Deborah Becker (“Aiming to Transform Youth Through Art” March 2, 2012), describes an initiative by the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services to engage incarcerated youth in art. The project is open to all youth, and provides youth opportunities to create works of art, including painting murals on the walls of DYS facilities. Most of the youth have had some type of trauma in their lives, and cannot verbalize it. The project provides the youth with a safe environment to express their feelings and reflect on their lives
and actions. Some of the participants have said that the project has turned their lives around, and kept them out of trouble.
“The Arts and Juvenile Justice”, an exhibit of about two dozen pieces of artwork of the youth is on display at the Federal Courthouse in Boston until March 30, 2012. A slide show of the exhibition is available.
Story Pirates: An article in Education Week entitled “Putting Student Writing Center Stage: An acting troupe inspires kids to write by performing their stories” by Liana Heitin (February 29, 2012) describes how Story Pirates engages elementary students in an improvised “Idea Storm” performance and helps students become better writers.
The nonprofit Story Pirates, founded by graduates of Northwestern University, works with schools to bring to life student stories, and provides a variety of programs, workshops, assemblies, and professional development opportunities for schools. The group’s teaching artists use games, chants, improvisation, dance, and puppets to help students learn the elements of storytelling, based on state standards. Students are inspired by the Story Pirate artists to write the stories, and later the Story Pirates adapt the stories into short plays and perform them for the students. This gives the students a purpose for their writing.
According to the article, student attendance increases when Story Pirates are scheduled at the schools, and students not only learn the elements of storytelling, but also learn to express and communicate their ideas, and how to interact with their peers.
The article is available.
Study About Student Achievement and the Arts: Changing Worlds, Mark Rodriguez executive director, and researchers at Loyola University’s Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL) released on February 28, 2012 the results of a three-year longitudinal study of student academic achievement and social development in a report entitled “Unlocking Pathways to Learning”.
Changing Worlds has been working with the Chicago Public Schools since 2003 to integrate fine arts into the academic curriculum as a strategy to engage students in reading, math, social studies, and other core subjects through Changing Worlds’ Literacy and Cultural Connections program (LCC).
Three years ago Changing Worlds engaged researchers at Loyola University’s Center for Urban Research and Learning to track the learning outcomes in grades 4-6 of 95 children enrolled in three different Chicago Public Schools using various assessment measures.
According to the researchers, standardized test scores in reading and math of the participants in LCC averaged 11.5 points higher than those of a control group of students. Participating students also outperformed peers in writing, arts learning, and cultural awareness measures.
Read the results of the study.