The 129th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate are not scheduled to meet this week.
Election News: Secretary of State Jon Husted directed boards of elections last week to provide in-person absentee voting on the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before the November 6, 2012 election. The directive came in response to a U.S. Supreme Court statement that rejected an appeal by Secretary Husted of a U.S. Sixth Circuit Court Appeals decision in Obama for America v. Husted. That ruling upheld the decision by U.S. District Court Judge Peter Economus directing the state to provide early in-person voting the three days prior to election day. A summary of the status of the lawsuit is available.
Another Elections-Related Lawsuit Filed: Several non-profit organizations filed a lawsuit on October 15, 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to allow Ohio voters who are in jail the weekend before the November 6, 2012 election to vote an absentee ballot. Secretary of State Jon Husted, Attorney General Mike DeWine, and the Hamilton County Board of Elections are named defendants. (Fair Elections Ohio, The AMOS Project, et. al v. Husted)
The suit was filed by the Ohio Justice and Policy Center on behalf of Fair Elections Ohio, The AMOS Project, CURE-Ohio, Central Ohio Prisoner Advocates, and Community Re-entry. The plaintiffs claim that the rights of people who are jailed the weekend before the election are violated under the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution, because they might not have time to apply for an absentee ballot before a noon application deadline on the Saturday before the elections. Currently hospitalized voters can receive an absentee ballot beyond the application deadline. The lawsuit is available.
National Outlook for Education Related Legislation: Alyson Klein writes for Education Week that lawmakers face “a legislative logjam” when they return to Washington in November following the election. (“No Matter Who Wins, Congress Faces Rocky Path on Ed. Issues” by Alyson Klein, Education Week, October 9, 2012.)
In addition to concerns about the national budget, mandatory budget cuts (sequestration), the debt ceiling, and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, lawmakers must address the reauthorizations of other important education-related laws, including the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Program; the Community Development Block Grant program, which includes funds for child care; the Workforce Investment Act; the Individuals with Disabilities Act; the Higher Education Act; and the Education Sciences Reform Act. The article is available.
NYC Seeks to Certify Its Own Teachers: An article in GothamSchools describes how the New York City Department of Education is seeking changes in state law to certify teachers in the New York City school district. (“Department of Education wants the state to let it certify teachers” by Philissa Cramer, GothamSchools, October 16, 2012.)
According to the article, the NYC Department of Education wants to train new teachers in areas in which there is a shortage of qualified teachers, such as in special education and science. Currently most teaching candidates in New York State must complete an approved college/university teacher education program and pass exams to be licensed to teach. New York State also allows alternative certification programs to train teachers, such as Teach for America, the American Museum of Natural History, and Relay GSE.
The article is available.
More Report Card Data Released: The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) released on October 17, 2012 more preliminary information about school/district performance for the 2011-12 school year. The information, which includes preliminary district/school ratings, the performance index score, and attendance rate, was made available on the ODE web site in a spreadsheet format rather than the annual Local Report Card PDF. The State Board of Education decided to release the available performance data in this format pending the conclusion of an investigation by Auditor of State David Yost of irregularities in school attendance data reports.
The following is a summary of the preliminary ratings:
Traditional Public Schools: Total 610
Excellent with Distinction: 138 (22.6 percent)
Excellent: 249 (40.8 percent)
Effective: 172 (28.1 percent)
Continuous Improvement: 38 (6.2 percent)
Academic Watch: 11 (1.8 percent)
Academic Emergency: 2 (.3 percent) (Lorain City and Cleveland Metropolitan School District)
Charter Schools: Total 352 (50 were not rated).
Excellent with Distinction: 4 (1.1 percent)
Excellent: 26 (7.3 percent)
Effective: 54 (15.3 percent)
Continuous Improvement: 96 (27.2 percent)
Academic Watch: 55 (15.6 percent)
Academic Emergency: 66 (18.7 percent)
The spreadsheet with the preliminary data is available.
Comments Sought for New Quality Standards: The Ohio departments of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) and Education (ODE) announced on October 19, 2012 that they are accepting comments on proposed new quality standards for child care providers and preschool operators. Ohio is expanding the Step Up To Quality rating system for child care providers to include all state-funded programs as part of Ohio’s Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant. The new standards will apply to programs that serve children birth to age 5 in school districts, child care facilities, and private homes funded either by ODJFS or ODE.
Child care and preschool programs will receive a rating of one to five stars depending on the program’s ability to meet stringent performance standards in each of the following four domains of the new Step Up To Quality program:
Learning and Development: Is the program using research-based curricula aligned to Ohio’s new early learning and development standards from birth to kindergarten entry?
Staff Qualifications and Professional Development: Have administrators, teachers and assistant teachers obtained required credentials and ongoing professional development hours?
Administrative and Leadership Practices: To what extent does the program adhere to an annual continuous improvement process?
Family and Community Partnerships: How well does the program engage families and community partners to support children while they are enrolled in the program and as they transition into and out of the program?
ODJFS and ODE will implement the new standards beginning in July 2013. Participation for all publicly funded programs will be phased in and will be mandatory by 2020.
The standards are available for comment until November 2, 2012.
Setting Different Standards for Some Students: An October 15, 2012 article in Education Week entitled “States Punch Reset Button with NCLB Waivers” by Michele McNeil, describes an analysis conducted by Education Week of 34 new state accountability plans. The analysis found that a majority of states that received federal waivers from provisions in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) are setting different achievement measures for some students. The author describes this change as a “….dramatic shift in policy and philosophy from the original law.”
The U.S. Department of Education announced last year that it would grant waivers from certain provisions in the NCLB, also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, when Congress and the President were unable to agree on a way to reauthorize the law and change several provisions which have become impractical to meet. For example, thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have been granted a waiver from meeting the goal that 100 percent of students achieve proficiency in reading and mathematics by 2014. In return, waiver grantees had to assure that schools would be held accountable for closing achievement gaps among subgroups of students. However, some states set different passing rates for subgroups of students as well. Only Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Oregon set the same passing rates for all students, according to the article.
Several organizations that support student rights are concerned that establishing different achievement standards for certain students, such as students with disabilities, English-language learners, students from low-income families, and minority students, will increase the achievement gap among students, and will increase the number of students who are not college and career ready upon graduation.
The article is available.
College and Career Ready
College Readiness Indicator System (CRIS): The Fall 2012 issue of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, Voices in Urban Education highlights the College Readiness Indicator System (CRIS) initiative, a collaborative effort to develop, test, and disseminate effective tools and resources to ensure that high school students are college ready. (“College Readiness Indicator Systems: Building Effective Supports for Students”, Voices in Urban Education Fall 2012, Annenberg Institute for School Reform.)
The initiative includes the Annenberg Institute for School Reform (AISR) at Brown University and the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities (JGC) at Stanford University, and is supported by grants from the Gates Foundation. The initiative also includes the Consortium on Chicago School Research and CRIS sites in Dallas, New Visions for Public Schools in New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and San Jose California.
This issue of VUE includes the following articles about CRIS:
”Higher Expectations: Moving Toward Indicators of College Readiness” by Jacob Mishook
”Building and Implementing a College Readiness Indicator System: Lessons from the First Two Years of the CRIS Initiative” by Oded Gurantz and Graciela N. Borsato
”The K–12 College Readiness Pipeline in San Jose: Three Principals’ Perspectives” by Matthew Hewitson, Mary Martinez, and Emalie McGinnis
”Supporting Minority Students in Science” by Freeman A. Hrabowski III.
”Helping Schools Measure and Support Their Students’ College Readiness: The Central Office View” by Jamie Alter, Shane Hall, and Marcy Lauck
”College Readiness and Smart Education Systems” by Jacob Mishook
The CRIS framework helps schools/districts track their students’ college readiness starting in elementary school, and includes supports and interventions to ensure that students are prepared for college upon graduation. In addition to solid academic preparation, the CRIS framework recognizes that tenacity and college knowledge are the “soft skills” that students need to succeed in the college environment.
The VUE issue is available.
What is Career Ready?: The Career Readiness Partner Council has released a document entitled “Building Blocks for Change: What it Means to Be Career Ready.” The Council, formed in 2012, includes national education and workforce leaders who have come together to define “career ready” and inform policy makers and practices in states and communities about preparing students to be career ready.
According to the document, “A career-ready person effectively navigates pathways that connect education and employment to achieve a fulfilling, financially-secure and successful career. A career is more than a job. Career readiness has no defined endpoint. To be career ready in our ever-changing global economy requires adaptability and a commitment to lifelong learning, along with mastery of key knowledge, skills and dispositions that vary from one career to another and change over time as a person progresses along a developmental continuum of knowledge, skills and dispositions that are inter-dependent and mutually reinforcing. These include: Academic and Technical Knowledge and Skills and Employability Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions.”
In addition, the document states that career readiness requires a “comprehensive system of supports that deliver learning when it is needed, where it is needed, how it is needed, and by a cadre of experts that includes teachers and career professionals.”
The Career Readiness Partner Council hopes that this definition “spurs conversation and action in communities across the nation” to transform education and workforce development.
The document is available.
Update on PARCC and SBAC Assessments:
New Assessments on the Way: Catherine Gewertz reports in the Education Week Curriculum Matters Blog that two consortia are releasing more sample Common Core test items as schools prepare to implement new assessments in 2014. (“Consortium Releases Sample Test Items” by Catherine Gewertz, Education Week, October 11, 2012.)
Most states that adopted the Common Core standards in mathematics and English language arts are working with one of two consortia, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) or the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), to develop and implement high-tech standardized assessments.
Both consortia released sample test items in August, but the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium posted new items in early October 2012, and is seeking feedback on the items. According to the author, “Educators have been chomping at the bit to get a better idea of what the tests for the common standards will look like. Getting a peek at sample items is an important way to shape curriculum, both for school districts and publishers, so the sound of a restless field has been getting louder and louder as the school year gets under way.”
The Smarter Balanced consortium sample test items are available.
The PARCC items are available.
Comparison of PARCC AND SBAC Assessments: Carol Meyer provides an analysis of some Common Core sample test items released by two consortia, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced), in an article in the Poughkeepsie Journal. (“Valley Views: Students should be focus of test criteria” by Carol Meyer, Poughkeepsie Journal, October 13, 2012.)
According to Ms. Meyer, who is the director of Bard College Master of Arts in Teaching Program, while the test items from both consortia are “tightly aligned” with the Common Core standards, there are three basic differences between the PARCC and Smarter Balanced tests:
The PARCC test items, which are delivered on a computer, are fixed. Every student receives an equivalent set of questions. The Smarter Balanced items are “computer adaptive” which means that the “….questions posed to students are based on their previous answers. They get easier or harder depending on how the students perform.” The adaptive approach will provide more information about student achievement at all levels and not just at the proficient level.
The Smarter Balanced assessments have “….features that cater to a wider range of learning needs” compared to the PARCC assessments. For example, the Smarter Balanced assessments include sound files for all texts, so that students with special needs or English learners can hear them.
The PARCC system includes a midyear test similar to an end-of-year exam to measure student progress. The results of this exam could be used to provide teacher evaluation data. The Smarter Balanced system includes interim assessments to measure student progress at any time of the year, but these assessments “….are less oriented toward teacher evaluation.”
The article is available.
Dancing to Learn: OhioDance is presenting a free workshop entitled Dancing to Learn: Strategies and Assessment for the 2012 Dance Learning Standards, on Saturday, November 3, 2012 from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM at Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School, Building 63, 546 Jack Gibbs Boulevard, Columbus, OH 43215. Sessions will provide information on the following:
- Implementing the 2012 Dance Standards: Putting Ideas in Action for All Learners
- Connecting with Dance History: Studying the Work of Ted Shawn
- Dance and Social Commentary: Engaging Dancers in Issues of Relevance
- Perceiving, Performing, Reflecting: Using Ohio’s New Dance Standards to Support Creative Teaching and Learning
- The Role of Performance in Dance Assessment.
Facilitators include: Loren Bucek (Columbus City Schools); Ambre Emory-Maier (BalletMet Columbus); Karen King-Cavin (Columbus City Schools); Marlene Leber (Hathaway Brown School); Marissa Beth Nesbit (Ohio State University); Nancy Pistone (Ohio Department of Education); and Gabrielle Stefura (Columbus City Schools).
The registration deadline is October 24, 2012. Register online.
For additional information contact
Jane D’Angelo, OhioDance Executive Director
More Professional Opportunities in the Arts: The Ohio Department of Education has added to its web site information about arts education professional opportunities which will be held October 17, 2012 through November 30, 2012 in cooperation with Educational Service Centers, school districts, and arts organizations. The sessions are open to dance, drama/theatre, music, and visual art educators, and focus on the 2012 Arts Learning Standards and teacher evaluations. Facilitators include the ODE staff and art standards writing team teachers. For details and attendance information, contact Nancy Pistone, at email@example.com
The schedule is available.
Time Frame for the Adoption of Model Curriculum in the Arts: The Ohio Department of Education also announced last week a time frame for the State Board of Education to adopt model curricula aligned to the new standards for arts education approved by the State Board of Education in June 2012.
According to the time frame, during the fall 2012 through winter 2013 focus discussions will take place about the elements of the model curricula. Writing groups will be formed in the late winter 2013 and will work through the summer and fall of 2013 on the curricula models. Arts education associations and the public will have an opportunity to review drafts of the curricula in late fall of 2013. The ODE anticipates that the State Board of Education will approve the curricula in the spring of 2014.
The time frame is available.
Photography Contest for Kids: The National Geographic International Photography Contest for Kids is inviting children to enter their photographs into competition in four categories: animals, people, scenery, and humor. Participants should be legal residents of the United States between the ages of 6 and 14 on October 31, 2012. The maximum award is a 16.1-megapixel digital camera; an 8GB memory card; a copy of the books National Geographic Kids Almanac 2013, Weird But True 4, Everything Dogs, and Ultimate Weird But True.
Please inform your students about this competition.
The deadline to enter is October 31, 2012. Information is available.
The Ohio Arts Council Awards Grants: The Ohio Arts Council (OAC) board approved on September 27, 2012 thirty-four grants totaling $77,645 to support arts organizations, programs, and artists across the state. Organizations that receive OAC funds are required to match state tax dollars with additional public and private funds. In general, for every state tax dollar invested, $69 is raised in matching funds by recipient organizations.
The awards include 15 Artists with Disabilities Access grants equaling $5,250, three Special Projects grants totaling $8,770, two Special Individual grants equaling $5,000, and 14 Special Organization grants equaling $58,600.
The OAC provides services and funding to support Ohio artists and programs. Since the beginning of the 2013 fiscal year in July, the council has received 561 grant requests for more than $10 million.
Grant applications were reviewed by OAC staff and diverse panels of arts experts. The OAC board makes final decisions based on panel recommendations.
More information specific to this round of grant announcements is available.
New Arts Education Plan for Chicago: The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on October 19, 2012 a new cultural plan for Chicago that includes a new arts education plan for the Chicago Public Schools. (“CPS Unveils “Arts Abstract” for the Arts Education Plan: Plan Aims to Elevate the Arts in CPS Schools”, CPS Spotlight, October 19, 2012.)
The plan was developed with the support of a variety of stakeholders including teachers, students, parents, community members, and thousands of Chicago residents, and is designed to improve access to arts education for Chicago’s children.
According to CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, arts education will be elevated to a core subject “…..to ensure that every CPS student will receive a comprehensive and sequential study of the four art forms – visual art, music, dance and drama – from preschool through high school graduation.”
“Arts education will be tied to learning in other subjects such as math, reading and science, to develop the skills students will need for success in the 21st century workforce: creativity, innovation, critical-thinking and communication skills.”
Discussions about how to infuse the arts into the schools began in February, 2012, when the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) launched a series public meetings to solicit external input for crafting a new vision for the Chicago Cultural Plan. Throughout this public engagement process, a top concern was improving access to arts education for Chicago’s children.
The new Arts Education Plan includes the following:
- Dedicated weekly arts instructional time in the classroom, with more teachers and dedicated supplies and resources
- Significant increases in professional development and training for teachers, principals, and arts partners
- Increased community partnerships for schools, tapping the resources of Chicago’s cultural institutions and community organizations
- Increased funding assistance and strategies to ensure arts instruction in every school
Several world-renowned artists including New York City Ballet dancer Damian Woetzel, Chicago Lyric Opera star singer Renee Fleming, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma serve as “National Cultural Ambassadors” on the CPS Arts Education Plan Advisory Committee. Nicole Losurdo is the CPS Arts Education Coordinator.
More information is available.
Stories Wanted: The editors of ASCD’s Educational Leadership (EL) journal are requesting stories for the February 2013 issue entitled “Creativity Now!” The stories will be included in the journal’s “Tell Me About” column. Stories should be 200 words or less, and
- describe a time when you were a student and your creativity was super-charged
- describe what you think caused that burst of creativity, and
- describe why the experience was important to you in your future learning.
The deadline to submit stories is November 19, 2012. More information is available.