129th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate will hold committee meetings and sessions this week. The House Finance and Appropriations Committee is expected to approve the Capital Budget (HB482 – Amstutz) introduced just last week, and the Senate Finance Committee is expected to approve a Capital Re-appropriations bill (SB312 – Widener), also introduced last week. Several House committees will be working on the Mid-Biennial Review Budget, introduced on March 16, 2012 as House Bill 487 (Amstutz).
Representative Weddington Resigns: Representative Carlton Weddington resigned on March 13, 2012 from the Ohio House (new 25th/former 27th House District) and withdrew from the November 2012 ballot after being indicted by a Franklin county grand jury. The House Democratic Caucus is accepting applications to fill the vacant position.
Repeal of HB194 in the Works: The Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee, chaired by Senator Coley, will meet on March 21, 2012 at 8:30 AM to consider a substitute bill for HB295 (Coley), which repeals HB194 (Mecklenborg/Blessing) Election Reform. A referendum on HB194, led by Fair Elections Ohio, will be on the November 2012 ballot.
Governor Kasich Proposes Midterm Legislative Changes: Governor Kasich and members of his administration held a news conference on March 14, 2012 outlining the budget and policy changes that are included in HB487 (Amstutz) the Mid-Biennial Review Budget (MBR), a mid-term legislative package that is reminiscent of the biennial budget bill for its thickness and the number of policy changes proposed. The press conference is available.
The midterm legislative package is the result of the Kasich administration’s comprehensive review of state government and agencies, operations and policies, and government management, referred to as the Mid-Biennium Review. The legislative package includes tax changes for oil and gas production; closing tax loopholes and reforming taxes for banks and financial institutions; reforming energy policies; implementing a Management Efficiency Plan (MEP) to reduce $113 million from state government and improve services for Ohio taxpayers; and more.
The policy areas covered in the MBR are summarized in several fact sheets about Management Efficiency and Health Care, Income Tax, Bank Tax Reform, Local Government, Energy, Education and Workforce, and Capital Improvements. These fact sheets are available.
The language to implement the changes in taxation, financial institutions, government organization, and health care reform is included in HB487 (Amstutz). Policy changes for education, including Mayor Jackson’s plan to reform the Cleveland schools, will be included in other bills that are expected to be introduced in the Ohio Senate.
Lawmakers are also considering at this time two other pieces of legislation, a capital budget (HB482) and a capital re-appropriations budget (SB312).
The legislative proposals will be considered by several House and Senate committees over the next weeks, but the capital budget and capital re-appropriations are expected to be approved quickly.
The following are highlights of the policy changes included in the separate bills:
Capital Budget, HB482 (Amstutz): The FY13-14 Capital Budget totals $1.74 billion in appropriations and $1.36 million in bond-funded projects. Ninety-five percent of the Capital Budget will be appropriated for maintenance and renovations of existing facilities. The Capital Budget doesn’t include any community projects this year, but does include funding in the following areas:
- Higher Education-$400 million. $369 million will be distributed to 37 colleges and universities based on the recommendations of the Ohio Higher Education Capital Funding Collaborative, chaired by E. Gordon Gee of OSU. Most of the funds will be used to address deferred maintenance of public colleges and universities, which was estimated in 2010 to be $5 billion. Also included in the Capital Budget is a policy change that creates a Higher Education Improvement Taxable Projects Fund, which will separate public/private collaborative funds for university projects from tax-exempt project funds.
- Ohio School Facilities Commission-$675 million. This amount includes $425 million in bonds backed by the state’s General Revenue Fund, and $250 million in Lottery Profits from video lottery terminals at race tracks to support school facilities projects.
- Ohio Public Works Commission-$365.3 million to fund local roads and bridges, water, and sewer projects.
- Cultural Facilities Commission/Ohio Historical Society-$7.5 million. The funds will be used to restore and rehabilitate several historical facilities (Stowe House, Rankin House, Zoar Village, etc.) and the Ohio Historical Center. $1.5 million is also included for the National Afro-American Museum and $222,000 for the Ohio River Museum.
- State Agency Maintenance and Renovation-$290 million, including the following:
- $51.2 million for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to do maintenance and improvements at state parks and forests
- $30 million for the Department of Administration Services, including $15.5 million for the State of Ohio Computer Center
- 67 million for renovations at the state’s prisons.
- Department of Mental Health-$10 million to support community housing, treatment and support projects
- Department of Developmental Disabilities-$14.6 million to fund projects at its 10 developmental centers
- Department of Development-$10 million for coal research and development
- eTech Commission-$3.56 million
SB312 Capital Re-appropriations (Widener) The Capital Re-appropriations Budget makes capital re-appropriations for the biennium ending June 30, 2014 and re-purposes other appropriations. The Office of Budget and Management needs the General Assembly to authorize appropriations for a period of more than two years. This bill will re-appropriate an estimated $1.27 billion in un-expended balances of capital projects at the end of June 2012. It also “re-purposes” some appropriations, and amends HB153 in some cases.
HB487 (Amstutz) Mid-biennial Review Budget (MBR) Several House and Senate committees will receive testimony this week regarding the provisions recommended by Governor Kasich in House Bill 487 (Amstutz) the Mid-biennium Review Budget (MBR). Representative Amstutz, chair of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee, outlined on March 16, 2012 how the provisions of the bill will be considered:
- Provisions regarding financial institutions and tax policies will be considered by the House Ways and Means Committee in separate legislation
- Taxes on oil and natural gas will be removed and considered as separate legislation in the future
- Other tax policy changes will also be considered by the House Ways and Means Committee
- Subcommittees of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee and other standing committees will consider other parts of the MBR
- The education policy changes and the Cleveland Plan will be included in separate legislation, to be introduced later.
The following is a general summary of the MBR from the prepared fact sheets, and as presented by Governor Kasich:
- Reduce the personal income tax, and replace the revenue with the proceeds of the new energy tax. The estimated amount of the cut could be $1 billion by 2016, or 5 percent of the income tax revenue.
- Replace the corporate franchise tax for small banks and financial institutions with a single new Financial Institutions Tax (FIT) that is easier and fairer for both bank and non-bank financial institutions.
- Bring Ohio law up to date, by removing outdated or unnecessary language, clarifying tax policies, and updating the tax code to take advantage of new technologies.
- Reduce the current operating budget by $113.5 million through reductions and reforms. Update, consolidate, and reform programs °Merge the State Architect’s Office with the School Facilities Commission into a new Facilities Construction Commission
- Consolidate two Department of Natural Resources programs – recycling/litter prevention and scrap tire regulation – into closely related programs in the Ohio EPA.
- Transfer license examinations from the Highway Patrol to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and consolidate part-time examination stations with full-time Deputy Registrar offices.
- Expand the authority to consolidate operations of the county Departments of Job and Family Services (CDJFS) from three pilot counties to the entire state.
- Allow the Department of Administrative Services to lease older, outdated or unused state facilities to private developers.
- Merge the duties of the Ohio Medical Transportation Board with a restructured State Board of Emergency Medical Services.
- Combine related responsibilities now held by the Department of Health and a separate Manufactured Homes Commission under the authority of the Commission.
- Provide better services and operations : Help state agencies provide better services to Ohioans who need them and better value to taxpayers.
Improve health systems
Build on the major reforms of the Jobs Budget to enhance program performance, create better health outcomes for individuals, and provide employers with a healthier workforce.
Provide cost-savings tools for local government and schools
- Support Ohio’s local governments and schools to reduce costs, achieve efficiencies and continue transforming the way they provide services through the following: The state will provide an online clearinghouse of information, sample materials and tools for shared services; Ohio will create a new online portal through which schools and local governments can engage in joint purchasing in order to lower their costs for many services and products that they currently must pay for individually; Ohio school systems will be allowed to save funds by allowing treasurers to also function as business managers; Local health departments will be able to go outside their traditional borders to share or contract with staff; County auditors will be permitted to serve as fiscal agents for other offices and to share employees across county lines.
- Eliminate mandates and increase flexibility by eliminating certain annual reports; increase competitive bid limits for cities and villages; and simplify background check procedures.
- Use 21st Century Technology to streamline local government programs, such as a new statewide public notice website.
- Includes policy changes for electric generation, transmission, and distribution; energy efficiency and research; and workforce training. Also includes changes for the type of tax applied to oil and gas production. Enacts a tax based on the percent of some oil and natural gas production. Taxes on conventional oil wells would stay the same. Taxes on high-volume horizontal wells would be 1.5 percent the first year and 4 percent thereafter. Different percentages would be applied to dry and liquid natural gas wells and would depend on the amount of gas produced.
Education & Workforce
HB487, as introduced, includes some changes in law pertaining to education:
- promotes shared service agreements among political subdivisions
- authorizes alternative construction delivery methods for school facilities commission approved projects
- creates the Ohio facilities construction commission, which includes the Ohio school facilities commission
- requires state institutions of higher education to report to the chancellor by November each year information about the academic growth of students (in math and English language arts) assigned to graduates of the teacher preparation programs; a description of dual enrollment programs offered by school districts, community schools, STEM schools, college preparatory boarding schools; and the academic impact of the co-op/internship program.
- changes the Ohio Learning Network to the eStudent Service
- requires the Ohio Digital Task Force to monitor implementation of its recommendations and report by June 30, 2013 if digital learning is advancing in Ohio schools
- changes the allocation of $12.522 million in Foundation Funding to the “Cleveland school choice program” to “school choice programs”
- requires schools serving preschool children with disabilities to participate in the tiered quality rating and improvement system -reduces funding for the School Management Assistance Program in FY13
- changes “Computer Services Operational” to “Information Technology Development and Support”
- makes other adjustments to the ODE budget.
The following education and workforce provisions are not included in HB487 as introduced, but have been included in Governor Kasich’s presentations about the Mid-Biennial Review Budget. These provisions are expected to be included in separate legislation. Separate legislation is also expected to be introduced to implement a plan for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, developed by Mayor Frank Jackson, the business community, Breakthough Charter Schools, and foundations.
- Third-grade reading guarantee
- Strengthen the third grade reading guarantee in current law to require the development of a reading intervention and monitoring plan for students who are not proficient in reading in kindergarten through second grade. If a diagnostic assessment of a child does not show the child reading at grade level, an intervention plan is to be completed within 60 days of receiving the results. Require retention for students that have participated in an intervention plan for two years, if they are not proficient in reading at the end of the third grade.
- Career Connections-Refocusing on Career Paths Include in the model curriculum for students in all K-12 schools, career awareness and tools to help teachers show the connection between what students are learning and future careers.
- School Performance System
- Adjust the formula to measure school and school district success and the local report card, and change to a letter grade system (A,B,C, etc.) instead of the current labels of excellent, effective, continuous improvement, academic watch, academic emergency.
- Create an accountability system for career technical schools.
- Blended learning
- Expand the use of blended learning; define its use; and create standards for blended learning environments.
- Teacher Evaluation Flexibility
- Allow teachers with top ratings to submit a portfolio of their work in lieu of another classroom observation.
- Allow credentialed third-party evaluators to conduct teacher evaluations in addition to school administrators.
- Allow teachers who are required to be re-tested to have multiple opportunities to pass the test, and encourage school districts to develop professional development plans for teachers.
- New Standards for Dropout Recovery Schools
- Base effectiveness of dropout recovery schools on student achievement and student growth.
- Create report cards to reflect the unique characteristics of the students.
- Use a new system to rate dropout recovery schools and close failing schools.
- Assess all early childhood programs.
- Workforce Development
- Create a task force to align state policies with the needs of individuals and businesses to promote meaningful employment opportunities in the community for people with developmental disabilities.
- Revamp the Executive Workforce Board
- Train those receiving unemployment for new careers through the Ohio Learn to Earn initiative.
- Provide online resources linking training with demand.
- Work with Veterans to match their skills with jobs through the Office of Workforce Transformation.
This Week at the Statehouse:
TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 2010
House Finance and Appropriations Committee, chaired by Representative Amstutz The House Finance and Appropriations Committee will meet at 10:00 AM in hearing room 313. The committee will receive testimony from the Office of Budget and Management on HB487 (Amstutz) the Mid-Biennial Review Budget. The committee will also consider HB482 (Amstutz) Capital Budget, and receive invited testimony on SB312 (Widener) Capital Re-appropriations.
Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Widener The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Widener, will meet at 2:00 PM in the Senate Finance Hearing Room. Among the bills that the committee will consider is SB312 (Widener) Capital Re-appropriations.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21, 2012
House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Representative Beck The House Ways and Means Committee will meet at 10:00 AM in hearing room 122 to receive testimony on HB487 (Amstutz) the Mid-Biennium Review Budget from directors of budget and management, taxation, and commerce.
THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012
House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Representative Beck The House Ways and Means Committee will meet at 1:15 PM in hearing room 122 to receive public testimony on HB487 (Amstutz) the Mid-Biennium Review Budget.
News from the ODE: The following items were published in the March issue of the Ides of ODE, produced by the Ohio Department of Education, Office of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, and available.
New Facebook Page for Teachers: Ohio Teachers’ Homeroom is a new Facebook page for educators from the Ohio Department of Education. ODE invites teachers to “Like” the page and receive regular updates when news is posted. Ohio Teachers’ Homeroom provides educators with the opportunity to connect and present ideas about lesson planning resources; events, conferences, webinars, or PD opportunities; and teaching and learning topics. Access the page.
Start Ready, Graduate Ready regional forums offered The State Board of Education, the Ohio Educational Service Center Association (ESC), the Ohio School Boards Association and the Ohio Department of Education are sponsoring regional evening forums entitled “Start Ready, Graduate Ready” to learn more about Ohio’s college and career-ready standards and the new state tests for social studies, English language arts, mathematics, and science that will be used, starting with the 2014-2015 school year. During each two-hour meeting, which will be held from 6-8:00 PM, participants will take a deeper look at the changes coming and what you can do now to prepare. View a schedule of meetings.
Statewide Educator Evaluation Symposium: Educators are invited to attend a Statewide Educator Evaluation Symposium on May 25, 2012 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Participants will learn about educator evaluation models and promising practices for piloting and implementing the Ohio Principal Evaluation System and the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System. Register through STARS. Use “evaluation” in the keyword search. Enter May 25 as the event date.
State Board of Education Meets with Governor Kasich and Dr. Dick Ross:
The State Board of Education (SBE), Debe Terhar president, met on March 12, 2012 with Governor Kasich and Dr. Dick Ross, the newly appointed director of the Governor’s Office of 21st Century Education, at the Governor’s Cabinet Room at the Statehouse.
Dr. Ross spoke about his background as a teacher, principal, college professor, and Superintendent of the Reynoldsburg City Schools for twenty years, and his interest in promoting high expectations, standards, quality school choice options, and quality schools for the boys and girls in Ohio.
According to Dr. Ross, the proposed changes in Ohio’s accountability system and report card will be uncomfortable for some schools/districts, but will drive students and schools to achieve at higher levels and raise expectations.
He also talked about how students learn in different ways and need a variety of opportunities to be successful. One of the promising ways to engage students is through blended learning, which combines computer-assisted learning activities with classroom instruction. Dr. Ross believes that in 10-15 years schools will look very different and will be implementing more blended learning strategies. The Ohio Digital Learning Task Force, chaired by Dr. Ross, has been researching how technological developments are driving instruction and assessment. The Task Force is preparing a report about how to facilitate new learning environments in Ohio’s schools using technology.
Governor Kasich then addressed the SBE. He expressed hope that the difficult times that occurred last year, referring to the resignation of Superintendent Deb Delisle and the do-over election of the president of the Board, were in the past.
He said that he was committed to achieving two missions: create jobs and improve education to prepare students for careers and success.
He then described the reasons for pushing students and schools to achieve higher standards, saying that too many Ohio students who enter college must take remediation classes, and too many Ohio students dropout before graduation. The education policy reforms that he will propose through the Mid-Biennium Review will include more options for students with disabilities to participate in productive work; a third-grade reading guarantee; standards for dropout recovery schools; a more transparent system to rate schools/districts; alignment of school curriculum with careers; measuring the quality of career-technical schools; standards for blended learning classrooms; allowing third-parties to evaluate teachers; and more.
He also said that his proposal for a new school funding formula “will be a doozy”, and will be a big change for schools/districts, and require more cooperation to stretch limited resources. The changes in the school funding formula are not included in this legislative proposal, however, and are now not expected to be introduced until the next budget.
The Governor then spoke about Mayor Jackson’s plan for transforming the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, and “begged” the Board to support the plan. He said that Mayor Jackson “has to get this thing done”, but without bipartisan support it won’t pass in the General Assembly.
The Governor told the SBE members that the business community in Cleveland has “had it” and will walk away from the levy and the schools if the plan is not implemented. He said that he is “all ears” and will discuss any type of reform for Cleveland, as long as it does not support the “status quo”.
The Governor then answered some questions from Board members.
Board member Mary Rose Oakar said that many children in Cleveland come from dysfunctional families and asked how parents could be more involved in the schools? The governor noted that schools such as the Frederick Douglas Academy in New York City were able to overcome poverty and other barriers by providing services to families. He said that broken homes and families are not a reason for letting students fail.
Debbie Cain said that not enough of the “teacher voice” was included in the Cleveland Plan. The governor replied that Mayor Jackson should be told about that concern, but that this is the mayor’s plan, and if Cleveland does this, other districts will do it too.
Jeff Mims asked the governor how students can find “their passion” if the schools focus so much on testing. The governor mentioned that connecting what students are learning from an early age to future careers will help students identify career opportunities. He said that he has asked Nationwide Insurance to adopt Columbus students and take them into the workplace to learn about careers and workplace skills. Superintendent Heffner also explained how career connections are included in the model curricula.
Jeff Hardin explained that some elementary teachers do not have knowledge of children’s literature and should be required to take a children’s literature class to receive their educator’s license. He also asked the governor to review the requirements to become a school media specialist. The governor said that the Board of Regents should be consulted about the issue, and that a commission might be established through the Mid-Biennial Review to study licensure for media specialists.
Dannie Greene asked how students should choose between college prep courses and career technical education. The governor replied that students should pick both to be successful.
Teachers Recognized: Following the meeting with Governor Kasich, the Board recognized Brian Page, the Ohio Recipient of the 2011 National Educator Award from the Milken Family Foundation. Brian Page is an economics and finance teacher at Reading High School (Hamilton County), and received the Milken Family Foundation’s $25,000 Milken Educator Award. Brian is the 60th Ohio educator, and one of only 40 nationwide this year, to receive this coveted award.
The Board also recognized Ohio’s finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
State Board of Education Meeting, Continued:
SBE MEETING ON MARCH 12, 2012
The State Board of Education resumed its meeting at the Ohio School for the Deaf on March 12, 2012 following its meeting with Governor Kasich and Dr. Dick Ross, director of the Governor’s Office of 21st Century Schools at the Statehouse.
Achievement Committee: The Achievement Committee, chaired by Angela Thi Bennett, discussed the following topics:
- Extended standards for exceptional children: Extended standards articulate what a student with significant cognitive disabilities is expected to understand and be able to do to make progress in the grade level academic content standards.
- The ODE has developed extensions in grade bands K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and high school for both the Common Core and Revised State Standards for students with disabilities to inform performance-based alternate assessments.
- Stakeholders responded to the draft extended standards between February 6-29, 2012 and the ODE solicited feedback from the USDOE and national experts.
- Professional development about the standards will begin in May, and State Support Teams will help school-based teams build awareness about the standards beginning in the fall 2012.
- Race to the Top: Maggie Niedzwiecki, Director of the RttT initiative, led a discussion about the progress so far (1.5 years) in implementing Ohio’s federal Race to the Top grant.
- The ODE coordinates RttT efforts through a systematic strategy, which includes regional coordinators and specialists in the field and programmatic and fiscal experts at the ODE, including the RttT Unit. Local education agencies (LEAs) submit monthly monitoring reports and updates through a monitoring tool, and the ODE submits monthly reports to the USDOE. The ODE connects with participating RttT LEA’s through the network and a web site, and bi-weekly newsletters.
- Continuing challenges include compliance v. systemic change; making connections between all ODE reform strategies; and monitoring and providing feedback. The ODE has developed a three tiered system based on the Response to Intervention rubric, to provide more support for LEAs in Tier 3 (8 percent) and less support for LEAs in Tier 1 (50 percent).
- Credit Flexibility: Tom Rutan, Associate Director for the Office of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, led the discussion about credit flexibility. The State Board of Education approved guidance for school districts to use to implement a credit flexibility plan pursuant to Senate Bill 311, Ohio Core, beginning with the 2010-11 school year. Credit flexibility allows students in traditional and community schools to earn high school credit based on demonstrating subject area competency instead of, or in combination with, completing hours of classroom instruction. (Nonpublic schools can now opt-out of credit flexibility as a result of a provision included in HB153 (Amstutz – Biennial Budget.)
- The state plan requires LEAs to adopt a local plan, communicate the plan with stakeholders, establish a district-level appeals process, and provide data to the ODE about participation. The state plan was implemented in 2010.The ODE has developed a series of guidance documents and webinars to inform LEAs about how to implement credit flexibility programs.
- The ODE is also developing a network of providers and practices to assist schools/districts find supports for students who want to participate in a credit flexibility experience.
- A continuing concern is how to identify the teacher of record for some credit flexibility projects.
Capacity Committee: The Capacity Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, changed its agenda and canceled a discussion about standards for dropout prevention schools. Legislation to be introduced by Governor Kasich is expected to include those standards, and so an intent resolution regarding the standards was also pulled from the SBE’s business meeting agenda.
College Prep Boarding School: The committee received an update and timeline from Dr. Kathy Shibley, Senior Executive Director, Center for Student Support and Education Options, about the establishment of a College Preparatory Boarding School in Ohio. Provisions to authorize a boarding school to serve disadvantaged, at-risk youth in grades 6-12 were included in HB153(Amstutz) the FY12-13 Budget, Section 3328. The school is expected to open in Cincinnati. (The Cincinnati Board of Education approved on January 30, 2012 a partnership with SEED to share students, teachers, and best practices.)
Currently the ODE is selecting an operator for the school. The SEED Foundation was the only respondent to an ODE request for a school operator, and the ODE is currently developing a contract. The SEED Foundation already operates boarding schools in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland. The Capacity Committee will consider in April and the full Board in May whether or not to accept the contract with the SEED Foundation. The Capacity Committee and the full Board will also need to adopt rules to implement the program. The rules are expected to reflect statute. The school is expected to open in August 2013.
Expenditure Standards: Eric Bode, ODE Executive Director, Quality School Choice and Funding, provided the committee with an update about the proposed standards for determining the amount of annual operating expenditures for classroom instructional purposes and non-classroom purposes for school districts, and community and STEM schools.
The standards will be used to rank school districts on expenditures on the local report card, which is released in August.
Stakeholders have identified a number of concerns regarding the ranking system, and the ODE has developed some strategies to address them.
For example, per pupil expenditures are dependent on the types of students served and the types of educational programs offered. The ODE will use a weighted pupil value to factor in the higher cost to education students in special education, poverty, or English language learners, and make available data about the educational services that are provided by schools/districts.
Stakeholders are also concerned about the consistency of the data and coding of data in accordance with the USAS. The ODE will work with the Auditor of State and the Ohio Association of School Business Officials to provide training to school treasurers to make the coding choices more consistent.
Select Committee on Urban Education: The Select Committee on Urban Education, chaired by Joe Farmer, amended and voted to send the Diversity Strategies for Successful Schools Policy to the Executive Committee and full Board for consideration. The Select Committee has been working on the diversity strategies document for several months with representatives of the Kirwan Institute for Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University. Before voting to move the document to the Executive Committee, the members of the Select Committee requested that the Diversity Strategy document include a definition of which schools must comply with the diversity strategies policy, and that the document include data on religious diversity.
SBE MEETING ON TUESDAY, MARCH 13, 2012
Legislative and Budget Committee: The Legislative and Budget Committee, chaired by C. Todd Jones, reviewed President Obama’s FY13 federal budget recommendations; received a presentation about the Financial Management Assistance program and its budget; received a presentation about the budget for the Ohio Education Computer Network and other Instructional Technology initiatives impacting schools; discussed taking action next month on House Bill 462 (Pelanda) School Credits; and received an update about Governor Kasich’s Mid-Biennial Review Budget and legislation to implement the Cleveland Plan proposed by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.
Board member and chair of the Legislative and Budget Committee, C. Todd Jones, said that in response to the request from Governor Kasich for the State Board of Education to endorse the Cleveland Plan, it was his intent to wait until legislation regarding the Cleveland Plan had been introduced in the legislature before taking action on the plan. He said that if the legislation is introduced before next month, then the Legislative and Budget Committee would consider how to respond to it in April as an emergency resolution.
Policy Discussion on ESEA Waiver: Superintendent of Instruction, Stan Heffner, presented to the Board several documents explaining the key elements of Ohio’s proposal to request waivers from the U.S. Department of Education for certain provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) in exchange for higher student achievement and greater school accountability. The ODE submitted the waiver request to the U.S. Department of Education on February 28, 2012.
Superintendent Heffner explained that Ohio pursued the federal waiver, because there wasn’t any evidence that Congress would reauthorize or amend NCLB in the near future, and the waiver provides Ohio and other states an opportunity to present their best ideas about how to improve student achievement in exchange for more flexibility. Without the waiver, 90 percent of Ohio’s LEAs will not meet Adequate Yearly Progress this year. Currently 80 percent of the achievement gap among groups of students in Ohio can be attributed to 16 school districts.
Ohio’s waiver request replaces Adequate Yearly Progress; reforms supplemental education services; targets assistance for the lowest performing 5 percent of schools; cuts red tape; and changes Ohio’s accountability system to make it more transparent.
In the new accountability plan LEAs would receive a letter grade in four specific areas and an overall grade, rather than a designation as excellent, effective, etc. The four areas that will be graded are the Performance Index, Performance on Indicators, Value Added, and School Performance Gap. The changes in Ohio’s accountability system are subject to legislative action, although the ODE can still use the letter grades even if the General Assembly keeps the current designations. The new system would go into effect in August 2012.
The new accountability system will make flaws in the current system more transparent, because one indicator will not be able to cover-up a lack of progress in another. Based on current data, 22 LEAs would be rated an “A” under the proposed accountability system compared to 382 LEAs rated excellent under the current system.
Some Board members were concerned about how quickly the new grading system would be implemented and whether or not school districts and schools would have enough time to respond, and enough time to explain the new system to their communities. Added to this concern is the fact that schools/districts will be implementing more rigorous standards and assessments in 2015, which could also lower school/district ratings. Board member Jeff Hardin opined that schools/districts are frustrated because the goals keep changing. Mike Collins recommended that the State Board take action to decide when the new accountability system would be implemented.
Superintendent Heffner responded by saying that students are not being helped when they are achieving below expectations, and schools/districts need to have incentives to raise student achievement. The ODE will work with schools/districts through professional development, partnerships, communication, and feedback from the State Board to improve student achievement.
SBE BUSINESS MEETING
The Board reconvened its business meeting and accepted public participation on non-agenda items. Maureen Crossmeker and Sue Tobin from Ohio Legal Rights, and Helena (no last name) requested that the State Board of Education adopt rules about restraint and seclusion of students. During the presentation Helena explained how, as a student with asperger syndrome, school personnel frequently locked her in a storage room without windows for hours. Even after intervention from her mother and representatives of the Ohio Department of Education, school officials continued this practice, and eventually Helena dropped out of school.
The presenters recommend that the State Board require schools/districts to comply with rules to keep students safe, and only allow restraints and seclusion to be used in an emergency situation when the safety of students is involved, and require that the use of restraints be reported to parents and the ODE within 24 hours.
Board members were shocked to hear Helena’s testimony and requested that the ODE take immediate action. Superintendent Heffner explained that the Office of Exceptional Children was already working on a policy that aligns with federal guidance issued by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and that a draft will be shared with stakeholders. The policy will include recommendations for Positive Behavioral Supports, recommend training, and provide guidance documents for schools/districts.
Superintendent’s Report: Superintendent of Public Instruction Stan Heffner provided additional information about Ohio’s No Child Left Behind waiver request through his monthly report to the SBE.
According to Superintendent Heffner, Ohio intends to submit waivers to the U.S. DOE regarding two other areas of law: alternative assessments for students with disabilities and extending English language instruction for some students learning English.
Special Education: Ohio would like to increase the percent of students with disabilities allowed to take the alternative assessments. Ohio has more than the one percent of students with disabilities who are currently allowed to take alternative assessments according to federal guidelines, and some districts have a higher concentration of students with disabilities because of the programs that they offer. The ODE is considering using a differentiated formula for school districts with higher concentrations of students with disabilities.
Students Learning English: The second item affects school districts with English language learners who have never attended school before. A large number of students are coming to school without any literacy skills, and can’t learn enough English in two years to successfully move into a regular classroom. The ODE would like these students to be granted additional time to learn English, before they are required to take assessments in English based on Ohio’s standards.
The ODE will be working with experts to develop waiver requests in these areas.
The Board then took action on the resolutions listed below.
Under miscellaneous business Debbie Cain reported that Barbara Carter, a second grade teacher at the Toranto City Schools, will be retiring after 57 years of teaching. The Board extended their congratulations to Ms. Carter, and will consider a resolution in her honor at the next SBE meeting.
Jeff Mims reported that he had attended the Board of Directors meeting of the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (OAAE) on March 3, 2012, and was most impressed by a presentation made by Cindy Kerr, Delaware City Schools, about integrating the arts throughout the school curriculum. Mr. Mims also reported that OAAE members were concerned about the number of school districts that were cutting arts programs due to budget deficits, and that the OAAE would be providing the State Board with occasional information about the benefits of arts education programs and highlight outstanding arts education programs in the state.
The Board then adjourned.
Resolutions considered by the State Board of Education at their Meeting on March 13, 2012:
Personnel Items: Resolutions 1-4 and 8-10.
#5 Approved a Resolution of Intent to Adopt New Praxis II Licensure Exams and Qualifying Scores for Art Education, Technology Education, and the Principles of Learning and Teaching Exams.
#6 REMOVED. A Resolution of Intent to Adopt New Legislative Recommendations for Performance Standards for Community Schools that Operate Dropout Prevention and Recovery Programs.
#7 REMOVED. A Resolution of Intent to Adopt the State Board of Education’s Diversity Strategies for Successful Schools Policy.
#11 Approved a Resolution to Amend Rules 3301-89-01 to -03 of the Administrative Code Regarding Transfers of School District Territory.
#12 Approved a Motion Regarding the 2012-13 State Board of Education Meeting Dates.
#13 Approved a Resolution to Grant the President of the State Board of Education Authority to Appoint an Advising Board Member and an Alternative Advising Board Member to Review Consent Agreements in Educator Disciplinary Matters.
#14 Approved a Resolution Expressing Condolences to the School communities of Chardon and Auburn Career Center for the Tragedy on February 27, 2012.
Assessing Preschools: The National Women’s Law Center and the Center for Law and Social Policy released on February 23, 2012 a report entitled “A Count for Quality: Child Care Center Directors on Rating and Improvement Systems” by Karen Schulman, Hannah Matthews, Helen Blank, and Danielle Ewen.
The report examines how states and communities evaluate the quality of childcare programs through a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS); provide incentives and assistance to improve programs; and provide information to parents about the quality of childcare available. The report is based on interviews with 48 childcare center directors from nine states about their experiences with QRIS.
The QRIS system includes standards about health, safety, positive development, and learning for children in childcare settings. The assessment process includes multiple observations (on-site and through written portfolios), and also includes an appeals process to allow providers to challenge their scores. The assessors must be trained to appropriately assess each type of child care setting.
According to the report twenty-two states had statewide QRIS in 2010, and four other states had QRIS in one or more communities. Most states have voluntary QRIS standards. QRIS is also a central component of the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grants.
The approaches to QRIS vary significantly from state to state in terms of the standards to be met; number of levels of quality that are achievable; and the amount of support that childcare centers receive to improve.
The authors found, “Overall, the child care center directors thought that QRIS offered a roadmap for strengthening the quality of care and an opportunity for lifting up the child care profession and child care system.”
QRIS work best when they help child care providers improve quality and align with early learning programs and afterschool programs. The report includes the following recommendations for state and local policy makers:
- Set quality rating standards that appropriately reflect elements essential to the quality of care.
- Establish a quality assessment process that is reliable and responsive.
- Provide sufficient, sustained incentives and support for improving quality.
- Design QRIS to meet the needs of children.
- Educate parents about QRIS and high-quality care.
- Align QRIS with other high-quality programs and components within the early childhood system.
The report is available.
HB482 (Amstutz) Capital Appropriations: Makes capital appropriations and make changes related to the laws governing capital projects.
HB487 (Amstutz) Mid-Bennium Review Budget: Makes operating and other appropriations, levies taxes and provides for implementation of those levies, and provides authorization and conditions for the operation of state programs.
SB312 (Widener) Capital Re-Appropriations: Modifies the Adult and Juvenile Correctional Facilities Bond Retirement Fund and makes capital re-appropriations for the biennium ending June 30, 2014.
Superintendent Concerned about Arts Education; An article published on Cincinnati.com reports that Superintendent of Public Instruction Stan Heffner is concerned about the cuts that school districts are making in their arts education programs, and hopes that when budgets increase arts courses will be restored. (“Ohio schools leader fears for the future of arts teaching”) The Superintendent made the comments in University Heights on March 10, 2012 to a group of Cincinnati business leaders. According to the Superintendent, the cuts in the arts are coming at a time when employers are looking for employees with creativity. The loss of the arts and extracurricular opportunities also affects academics. The article is available.
The Brain on Dancing: The Huffington Post posted on its website on March 18, 2012, a video about how researchers at Bangor Unviersity are mapping dance movements and also how a dancer’s brain views dance movements to inform dancers and scientists about how the body moves and the brain interacts with the body. (“Scientists Map The Brain During Dancing”, March 18, 2012. Video produced by the BBC.)
The research is being conducted by Dr. Emily Cross who is working with Riley Watts, a professional dancer, to capture his dance movements in a 3D motion capture studio, and then record how his brain responds to a video of his dancing using MRI. This field of research is called neuroaesthetics, and examines the brain’s reactions to artistic endeavors. The purpose of the research is to learn more about how the brain learns complex movements and can be used by therapists to teach motor skills to patients with neurological or physical injury. The video and story are available.
Survey Confirms Cuts in the Arts: Erik Robelen writes for the Education Week Curriculum Matter Blog that the results of the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher indicate that schools are cutting the arts and foreign languages to balance budgets. (“Teacher Survey Highlights Cuts to Arts, Foreign Languages” by Erik Robelen, March 9, 2012.)
According to the survey, 22 percent of responding teachers report that reductions or eliminations have been made to arts programs, 15 percent to foreign languages, and 11 percent to physical education.
The survey also found that 41 percent of teachers say their school has experienced layoffs of classroom teachers over the past year and 60 percent of teachers said that the average class sizes have grown.
The blog is available.