Conference Committee on HB59: As expected, the Ohio House refused last week to concur with Senate changes for Am. Sub. HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget. A conference committee was appointed and includes Representatives Amstutz, Sykes, and McClain and Senators Oelslager, Sawyer, and Coley. The committee is scheduled to meet on June 18, 2013.
HB59 Funding Levels Leave Students Behind: The Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools (CORAS) released on June 10, 2013 an analysis of the proposed state funding levels included in Am. Sub. HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget as amended by the Senate. The analysis shows that 31 percent of CORAS school districts (52 out of 168) will receive no increases in state aid in FY14-15 in the proposed state budget. The median increase in state funding for CORAS districts included in HB59 is $163,603 compared to $273,149 for non-CORAS school districts. According to Lori Synder-Lowe, Superintendent of the Morgan County School District, “…it is plain to see that children living in one of the highest poverty areas of the state are not being treated fairly or funded equitably.”
For information about the analysis contact Tom Perkins, CORAS President 740.260.1484.
Battelle Grant Supports STEAM: Columbus-based Battelle Memorial Institute announced on June 13, 2013 that it had selected five arts programs in central Ohio to receive $460,000 through a new STEM Grant Program that integrates STEM with a diverse mix of disciplines, including the arts, digital technology, dance, and theater.
According to the press release, Battelle believes that “a high-quality STEM education is deeply integrated with the arts and creativity.” Students can better succeed in STEM when they are engaged “through the subject that most inspires them to learn.”
Receiving the grants are
- Surge Columbus: A Creative Circuit for Youth – a project of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus Museum of Art, COSI, Wexner Center for the Arts, and WOSU ($300,000)
- Living Library Museum – a project of the Granville Studio for the Visual Arts and Reynoldsburg City Schools ($50,000)
- The Wiggle Jig Program – a project of Ballet Met ($50,000)
- Science of Glass & Polymers – a project of The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology ($25,000)
- STEAM Residency – a project of CATCO ($35,000)
The press release is available.
Declaration to Rebuild America: The Education Opportunity Network, a group of educators and policy advocates, released on June 11, 2013 an “Education Declaration” that proposes an education agenda focused on providing students with learning opportunities; addressing the health and social needs of students; providing teachers with the resources they need; and respecting teachers.
According to the “Education Declaration”, since the release of A Nation at Risk in 1983, a topped-down approach to improve schools has been imposed by policy makers and has focused on “….punitive high-stakes testing while ignoring the supports students need to thrive and achieve.” Neighborhood public schools have been closed or turned into underfunded “uncreative, joyless institutions”; educators have been stripped of their dignity and autonomy; and children have been deprived of opportunities to learn.
The supporters of the declaration note that a report released in April 2013 by the Federal Equity and Excellence Commission entitled For Each and Every Child identifies the “glaring inequities in access to educational opportunities and resources” that exist in our nation, and the re-segregation of our schools and communities by class and race.
In response to the report, the Education Opportunity Network has launched a national campaign and released a book entitled Closing the Opportunity Gap, edited by Prudence L. Carter and Kevin G. Welner, to focus national attention on the “powerful picture of denied opportunities” and promote sensible, research-based policy approaches to enhance learning opportunities for all students.
The “Education Declaration” includes the following recommendations to create a 21st century education system that supports students:
- Early Education and Grade Level Reading: Guaranteed access to high quality early education for all, including full-day kindergarten and universal access to pre-K services, to help ensure students can read at grade level.
- Equitable Funding and Resources: Fair and sufficient school funding freed from over-reliance on locally targeted property taxes, so those who face the toughest hurdles receive the greatest resources. Investments are also needed in out-of-school factors affecting students, such as supports for nutrition and health services, public libraries, after school and summer programs, and adult remedial education — along with better data systems and technology.
- Student-Centered Supports: Personalized plans or approaches that provide students with the academic, social, and health supports they need for expanded and deeper learning time.
- Teaching Quality: Recruitment, training, and retention of well-prepared, well-resourced, and effective educators and school leaders, who can provide extended learning time and deeper learning approaches, and are empowered to collaborate with and learn from their colleagues.
- Better Assessments: High-quality diagnostic assessments that go beyond test-driven mandates and help teachers strengthen the classroom experience for each student.
- Effective Discipline: An end to ineffective and discriminatory discipline practices, including inappropriate out-of-school suspensions, replaced with policies and supports that keep all students in quality educational settings.
- Meaningful Engagement: Parent and community engagement in determining the policies of schools and the delivery of education services to students.
The Education Opportunity Network is affiliated with the Institute for America’s Future and the Opportunity to Learn Campaign, and is funded by the Schott Foundation. The signers of the declaration include Anthony Cody, Jonathan Kozol, Diane Ravitch, (New York University), Linda Darling-Hammond (Stanford University), Robert Reich (University of California at Berkeley), Randi Weingarten (American Federation of Teachers), Dennis Van Roekel (National Education Association), Kevin Welner (Colorado Boulder School of Education), etc.
The declaration is available.
This Week at the Statehouse: The House and Senate will hold sessions and hearings this week.
TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 2013
The Senate Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Senator Schaffer, will meet on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 10:30 AM in the Senate Finance Hearing Room. The committee will receive testimony on the following bills:
- HB138 (McClain/Letson) Tax Appeals Board Law Changes: Makes changes to the law governing the Board of Tax Appeals.
- SB52 (Coley) Property Tax Complaints: Permits property tax complaints to be initiated only by the property owner.
The Conference Committee on HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget will meet on June 18, 2013 at 2:00 PM in hearing room 313. The committee will receive an update on state revenue and Medicaid case-load forecasts from the Office of Budget and Management and the Legislative Services Commission.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19, 2013
The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner will meet on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 1:30 PM in the South Hearing Room. The committee will consider the following appointments;
- John Carey as chancellor of the Board of Regents
- Thomas Humphries to the Board of Regents
- John Martin to the Ohio Higher Educational Facility Commission
- William Napier to the Midwestern Higher Education Compact Commission
The committee will also receive testimony on the following bills:
- HB167 (Heard/Grossman) Columbus Plan, which would authorize the Columbus City Schools to levy property taxes, and share the revenue with partnering community schools.
- SB96 (LaRose) High School Social Studies Curriculum, which would require one unit of world history in the high school social studies curriculum.
- HB14 (Pelanda) School Records – Abused – Neglected – Dependent Child, which would require boards of education, if ordered by a juvenile court judge, to release grades, credits, official transcripts, and other school documents about students who have been, or are alleged to be, adjudicated as abused, neglected, or dependent. These students are usually in foster care, and might have had to move to a different school. School districts currently can withhold school documents for these students, such as transcripts, due to unpaid fees.
The House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Representative Beck, will meet on June 19, 2013 at 3:00 PM in hearing room 116. The committee will receive testimony on SB42 (Manning/Gardner) Property Taxes School Security, which would authorize school districts to levy a property tax exclusively for school safety and security purposes.
THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2013
The House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Representative Beck, will meet on June 20, 2013 at 9:00 AM in hearing room 116. The committee will receive testimony on HB107 (Baker) Career Exploration Internships – Tax Credits, which would authorize a tax credit for businesses that employ high school students in career exploration internships.
California Budget Includes Funding for the Common Core: The Monterey County Herald reported on June 12, 2013 that California lawmakers are including $1.25 billion in the state’s biennial budget for schools to implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The funding will be distributed over two years and can be used to purchase equipment, such as computers, train teachers, and purchase new learning materials aligned to the CCSS.
California and most states are beginning to implement the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English language arts and mathematics this school year, and will begin testing based on the new standards in 2015.
According to the article, California lawmakers added funds to help schools implement the new Common Core State Standards during the debate over California’s budget bill, introduced by Governor Jerry Brown. California State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson believes that the additional funds will ensure that California students receive the world-class education that they deserve, but some educators say that $1.25 billion is still not enough to implement the new mandates. The article notes that Kevin Gordon, an education consultant at the state capital in Sacramento, stated that when California adopted new standards in 2001, it cost schools around $3 billion to implement.
The article is “California budget includes $1.25 billion for Common Core” by Claudia Melendez Salinas, is available.
Colorado School District Implements “Market-Based” Pay Scale for Teachers: The Chicago Tribune reported on June 10, 2013 a Reuters’ news article that describes the new “market-based” teacher pay scale being implemented by the Douglas County School District in Colorado. The new system differs from most “differentiated teacher pay systems”, which have been implemented in some school districts to recognize excellent teachers based on merit; attract teachers to hard to staff schools; or attract teachers to hard to staff teaching positions, such as special education.
According to the article, the Douglas County School District teacher pay scale is based on five “market-based” salary brackets developed by the district’s chief human relations officer, Brian Cesare. Elementary teachers in grades 2-5, and art, physical education, and middle-high school social studies teachers are in the lowest salary bracket. Their annual salary will top out at $61,000. Elementary teachers in K and 1st grades earn more. Middle-and high-school English teachers can earn up to $72,000. High-school science and math teachers can earn salaries of up to $82,000. Special education therapists can earn the top salary level of $94,000. No teacher currently employed by Douglas County will have to take a pay cut this year, but teachers cannot earn more than their “market value” in merit bonuses.
The article notes that since 2009 the Douglas County board of education has implemented a number of controversial policy changes. The board eliminated tenure protection for teachers in 2010; will no longer recognize the union after contract negotiations hit an impasse this year; expanded charter schools; and initiated a voucher program to pay the tuition for students attending private and religious schools. The voucher program is currently being challenged in court.
Controversy over the market-based pay system is increasing as teachers question why some of their colleagues are being paid more. The author writes that parents are also protesting why elementary school teachers are being paid less.
The article is entitled “Valuing physics over P.E., Colorado schools test novel pay scale” by Stephanie Simon (editing by Scott Malone and Doina Chiacu), Reuters, June 10, 2013, and available.
Why Choice and Accountability have Failed As Reforms: Valerie Strauss posted on the Washington Post Blog the Answer Sheet on June 13, 2013 an article by Jack Schneider, an assistant professor of education at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, entitled “Why two reform movements — choice and accountability — have fallen short”.
According to Schneider, accountability and school choice are school reform agendas that have transformed the face of K-12 education, but have not lived-up to expectations to improve our public schools. He identifies the lack of accurate information about quality schools as the reason, because both efforts depend on measuring quality precisely to make high-stakes decisions, but, according to Schneider, current data on what defines a good or bad public school “stinks.” Relying on standardized test scores provides a “very narrow picture of what happens inside schools”, he says, and ignores other important lessons that students learn in school, including character development and habits of mind. Even high performing schools can be mistaken as quality programs if they have eliminated opportunities for students to study history and the arts, or have failed to raise the achievement level of students who are gifted.
To improve data so that parents and the community have better information in order to make decisions, the author suggests that data be published about the following components:
- The arts. Measurements include how many hours each day are spent on art, music, and other creative activities, per pupil, and the number of full time teachers of the arts there are at each school.
- Family satisfaction and involvement. Measurements include the results of surveys of parents and students.
- Teacher satisfaction and support. Measurements include the results of surveys of teachers; the length of service at particular schools relative to district and state averages; collaboration and professional development opportunities; school climate.
- Diversity. Measurements include school demographics—racial, linguistic, ethnic, ability, etc.
- The future. Measurements include the achievement of students after they leave the school and after graduation.
The blog is entitled “Why two reform movements — choice and accountability — have fallen short” by Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, and is available.
- HB193 (Brenner) Graduation Requirements: This is a placeholder bill that will include provisions to revise current high school diploma and diploma with honors requirements and the method and timeline by which the end-of-course examinations, that are a part of the College and Work Ready Assessment System under section 3301.0712 of the Revised Code, would be implemented and incorporated into high school graduation requirements, and the applicability of the new graduation requirements to chartered nonpublic schools.
OAEA Workshop: The Ohio Art Education Association (OAEA) in partnership with the Ohio Department of Education is presenting a workshop entitled “Arts Learning Standards and the OHIO Teacher Evaluation System” (OTES) on Thursday, August 8, 2013 from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM at the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio, 2089 Citygate Drive, Columbus, OH 43219. The presentation will be made by Dr. Nancy Pistone, ODE State Arts Consultant.
The workshop will provide an overview of the OTES and the development of SLOs and their relationship to the revised arts standards. The day is designed to engage, inform, and share strategies to help arts educators address state initiatives through the arts and prepare for the 2013-2014 school year. Participants should bring a copy of the revised visual art standards, their district curriculum, and examples of pre- and post-assessments.
Space is limited to 50 people. The registration deadline is Thursday, July 25, 2013. Register online.
Please contact Erin Kraly w/online registration questions firstname.lastname@example.org
STEAM Room Helps Students Create: An article published on June 9, 2013 in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press (St. Paul, MN) describes a new “STEAM” room that will be available to students and eventually the public at Glacier Hills Elementary School of Arts and Science in Eagan, Minnesota starting in September 2013. (Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan Public School District) The new “STEAM” room will provide students with the opportunity to use tools, such as a 3-D printer and laser etcher, to explore science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics.
The school already provides students with hands-on opportunities to learn, but adding the new 3-D printer and laser etcher tools will enable students to experience a complete design process, including the production of a product. Science specialists and arts teachers are working with students to encourage them to do more creative thinking as they design and develop their projects.
The article is entitled “Glacier Hills Elementary School is taking hands-on learning to the next level” by Christopher Magan, Twin Cities Pioneer Press, June 9, 2013.