129th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate are not scheduled to hold sessions this week, and, although some committees will meet, the House and Senate education committees are not scheduled to meet this week.
Coalition Aiming to Amend Constitution: A coalition called the Ohio Organizing Collaborative (OOC) announced on June 1, 2012 a new effort, the “Fighting for Ohio Jobs Campaign”, to advocate for higher paying jobs with benefits for Ohioans. The campaign also is working to register voters, advocate for better local infrastructure and support for schools, and to amend the Ohio Constitution to repeal tax cuts initiated in 2005. The coalition includes representatives from unions, community organizations, and churches. Kirk Noden is the executive director of the OOC and Jennifer Sconyers is the
communications director. For more information please visit http://ohorganizing.org/.
TEDxYouth @ Columbus 2012: The planning team for TEDxYouth @Columbus 2012 is seeking individuals age 14-25 to support the planning and core functions of TEDxYouth @ Columbus, which will be held October 3, 2012. TEDxYouth is sponsored by the Center of Science and Industry (COSI). More information is available.
News from Washington, D.C.
Shared Vision for the Next Generation of Teaching: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and national leaders in education agreed on May 23, 2012 to work to transform the teaching profession by implementing seven core principles for the teaching profession to ensure that every student exits high school prepared for postsecondary study, citizenship, and work.
The agreement was signed at the Labor Management Conference held in Cincinnati by representatives of the American Association of School Administrators, the American Federation of Teachers, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Council of the Great City Schools, the U.S. Department of Education, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the National Education Association, and the Nation School Boards Association.
The seven core principles to transform the teaching profession include —
- Establish a culture of shared responsibility and leadership
- Recruit top talent, prepared for success
- Support continuous growth and professional development for teachers
- Prepare effective teachers and principals
- Provide a professional career continuum with competitive compensation
- Support conditions for successful teaching and learning
- Engage communities
The principles were developed following the 2012 International Summit on the Teaching Profession held in New York City in March 2012.
More information is available.
Ohio’s ESEA Waiver Request Approved: The U.S. Department of Education announced on May 29, 2012 that Ohio and seven other states will be granted a waiver from some provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Eleven other states have already been granted waivers from NCLB. The eight new states are Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island.
Ohio first submitted an NCLB waiver request in February 2012, and submitted a revised request on May 24, 2012 based on negotiations with the U.S. DOE. The waiver establishes more realistic federal benchmarks for Ohio students and schools to meet. Currently, the
NCLB Act requires that 100 percent of students be proficient in math and reading by 2014.
The letter from USDOE granting the waiver also states that Ohio’s approval is conditional (granted for one year) based on the final plan for a new A-F rating system and report card for schools/districts. The original waiver request called for the new system to be implemented in August 2012, but now lawmakers and the ODE are expecting a new school/district rating system to be approved by September 15, 2012 for the 2012-13 school year.
According to statement issued by Superintendent of Public Instruction Stan Heffner, “The approval means Ohio is no longer subject to many elements of the 2001 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, including the Adequate Yearly Progress requirement that many local teachers and school leaders described as completely unrealistic. Instead, Ohio will move to a rigorous new system of rating schools while maintaining aggressive goals to cut performance gaps between socio-economic groups.”
Ohio’s proposal includes:
- Implementation of rigorous standards, assessments and principal and teacher evaluations.
- Replacement of the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measure, which had the unrealistic goal of 100 percent proficiency for reading and mathematics for every student in every demographic group. The new measures include rigorous, but realistic, objectives that aim to cut the achievement gap in reading and mathematics by half over six years, while requiring higher performance from all students.
- Changing the existing rating of schools to an A-F letter-grade system based on three criteria: student achievement, student growth and how much the achievement gaps among various student groups are closed. The system and formula will officially begin with the report cards released in August 2013.
- Eliminating the Supplemental Educational Services (SES) tutoring program for students in low-performing schools and returning those funds for schools to target services for struggling readers in grades K-3 as part of the state’s “third grade guarantee” or other interventions outlined in school improvement plans.
- Freeing schools from some reporting requirements and giving them greater flexibility in their use of federal funds for professional development and other purposes.
The ODE released simulations of the proposed new rating system for schools/districts based on 2011 data. The simulation shows that about 5 percent of districts would earn an A; 44 percent would earn a B; 30 percent a C; 13 percent a D and 9 percent would receive an F.
More information about the waiver request is available.
Virtual Learning Focus of NSBA Report: The National School Boards Association Center for Public Education released on May 14, 2012 a new report entitled “Searching for the Reality of Virtual Schools” by Patte Barth, director, Jim Hull, senior policy analyst and Rebecca St. Andrie, managing editor. The report describes how digital learning is offered to students, including for-profit and non-profit operators; current state and district policies; the effects of online learning on students; and some policy considerations as state and local policy makers expand online learning.
Online learning has expanded over the past ten years in the U.S. and currently 250,000 students participate in full-time online schools, and nearly two million students participate in online courses annually. But, student participation in online learning is still small compared to the 52 million students enrolled in public schools. The states with the highest number of full-time students enrolled in online learning in 2010-11 are Ohio with 31,142 students, followed by Pennsylvania and Colorado.
According to the report,
- Both for-profit and non-profit providers support online courses and online schools. For-profit companies K-12, Inc. and Connections Academy enrolled nearly half of the full-time online students in 2010-11.
- Funding for online learning ranges from 70-100 percent of state and local per pupil rates, but is not necessarily based on how much it actually costs to educate a student in a virtual learning environment.
- Research about student achievement results in virtual learning settings is mixed. One report shows a “modest positive” impact of online learning courses based primarily on data for post-secondary students, but other reports “show a troubling overall picture of poor performance and low graduation rates for full-time online students.” Some of the problems with tracking student achievement in virtual learning settings include lack of comparable data; research studies that are not based on rigorous research standards; and high student mobility.
- “There needs to be a clearer accountability path for online learning, especially in regard to monitoring student progress and performance as well as accounting for the cost of virtual schooling.”
The report also includes the following recommendations for policy-makers who are interested in expanding virtual learning opportunities for students:
- Demand more information about virtual learning before moving forward with it, including information about purpose, providers, formats, funding, etc.
- Ensure that systems are in place to closely and frequently monitor student progress.
- More research should be available about how much money it takes to provide a virtual education; how virtual schools are funded; and where that money is going.
The report is available.
New Roles for Traditional Public Schools and Education Entrepreneurs: Thomas Toch, senior fellow and director of the Washington office of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, recently posted a blog describing a new partnership with high performing charter schools that some leaders in traditional public schools are proposing. (“The Shifting Rhetoric of School Reform” Posted on May 23, 2012, originally published on The Avenue blog at The New Republic.)
Mr. Toch writes that at the annual NewSchools Venture Fund summit some former participants in Teach for America and leaders of the entrepreneurial education reform movement, including Kayla Henderson (Superintendent of D.C. Public Schools), Cami Anderson (Superintendent Newark, New Jersey Public Schools), and Chris Barbic (administrator in the Memphis City Schools), are recognizing the limitations of the charter school movement, and are proposing compacts between traditional public schools and high performing charter schools to revamp low performing urban schools.
These leaders acknowledge that the most “vulnerable” students are still educated in traditional public schools, which have become the default system for many students who have been pushed out of charter schools, are not served by charter schools, or whose families do not apply to charter schools. In some cases charter schools have become
“individual islands” of education excellence in some urban districts, but are not a “sufficient strategy for large scale reform.”
According to the author, “This is a far cry from the scorn that many education entrepreneurs have heaped on traditional school systems since the emergence of the charter school movement two decades ago.”
Read the blog.
New Report Released on Teacher Evaluation Systems: A new report on measuring teacher effectiveness was released on May 30, 2012 by ConnCAN, 50Can, and Public Impact entitled “Measuring Teacher Effectiveness: A Look Under the Hood of Teacher Evaluation in 10 Sites” by Daniela Doyle and Jiye Grace Han, New York: 50 CAN; New Haven, CT: ConnCAN; and Chapel Hill, NC: Public Impact.
The report provides information about how implemented teacher evaluation systems are working; how policy makers are evaluating teachers in subjects other than math, language arts, science, and social studies (M, LA, S, SS); and how policy makers are ensuring the
validity of teacher evaluation systems. The evaluation systems covered in the report include those for Delaware; Rhode Island; Tennessee; Hillsborough County. FL; Houston, TX; New Haven, CT; Pittsburgh, PA; Washington, D.C.; Achievement First (a charter
management organization); and Relay Graduate School of Education in New York City.
The report consists of four parts: an overview of teacher evaluation systems; a cross-site analysis that summarizes key components of the evaluation systems; detailed profiles of the evaluation systems; and a library of documents. The report represents a “snapshot” of teacher evaluation systems in time (current as of March 15, 2012), and will be updated to reflect new developments in the systems.
According to the report, the major implementation challenges of the teacher evaluation systems are
- Student achievement measures: Student assessment data does not tell us everything about a student and doesn’t exist for some students or grade levels; different students face different learning challenges; and all students are not starting from the same point.
- Classroom observations
- Other nonacademic measures
- Accuracy, validity, and reliability
- Reporting and using evaluation results
According to the report, some of the sites reviewed are creating new standardized assessments for students in subject areas and grades not currently tested. Other sites are using alternative measures, such as teacher created assessments; portfolios; multiple assessments of student work; student growth from pre-test to post-test; and student mastery of standards, to assess student achievement in subjects and grades without a standardized assessment.
The report is available.
Arts, Science, Technology, and Society on a Global Stage: The National Endowment for the Arts, the Salzburg Global Seminar, and the Embassy of Austria will host a discussion entitled, “Transcending Borders: The Intersections of Arts, Science, Technology, and Society on a Global Stage” on Monday, June 4, 2012. Participants will examine how today’s artists and scientists improve our critical understanding of the world by provoking new ideas, experimentation, and creative strategies. This conversation will feature artists-scientists teams, along with policy makers and curators who champion their work, to examine the impact creativity and collaboration across these sectors can have to reshape the world.
This event will be live webcast through the NEA website and an archive of the presentation will be available shortly afterward. More information is available.
Summer Concerts on Statehouse Lawn: The Ohio Statehouse Capitol Review and Advisory Board announced recently the summer schedule of performances at the Ohio Statehouse during 2012.
The Ohio Statehouse is partnering with 14 central Ohio performing arts groups to present the fifth annual Summer Fridays at the Statehouse, a free, lunch-time outdoor performing arts series. The weekly series is presented each Friday at noon from June 1 through
August 31, 2012 on the West steps (High Street side) of the Ohio Statehouse.
This year’s participating performing arts groups include the following central Ohio arts organizations:
June 8: Idiot Boys, Acoustic Bluegrass-Folk
June 15: Franklin Xpress, Rock ‘n Roll
June 22: Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus, Choral
June 29: Columbus State Gospel Vocal Ensemble, Gospel
July 6: Slim White and the Avery’s, Country
July 13: RMT Presents, Songs of America, Americana
July 20: Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestra Pops, Classical
July 27: Alliance of Greater Central Ohio, Barbershop Harmony
August 3: Ladies of Longford, Celtic
August 10: Grassahol Band, Bluegrass
August 17: One Way Gospel Singers, Gospel & Country
August 24: Ohio Dance, Dance
August 31: Opera Columbus, Classical
Performances will be canceled in the event of inclement weather. Up-to-the-minute performance information about summer concerts will be posted on the front page of the Ohio Statehouse website at http://www.ohiostatehouse.org.