Happy New Year! As we begin the 2013-14 school year we can start by celebrating National Arts in Education Week, enacted by Congress in 2010. House Resolution 275 states: Whereas arts education, comprising a rich array of disciplines including dance, music, theatre, media arts, literature, design, and visual arts, is a core academic subject and an essential element of a complete and balanced education for all students.
More information about National Arts Education Week can be found at the Arts Education Partnership.
To follow are some of the ways you can promote Arts in Education Week at your school and in your community:
- Write a letter to the editor for the local newspaper highlighting the significant impact arts education has on students and your community.
- Present at a board of education meeting, and highlight the contributions that arts education programs have made to students, the school district, and the community.
- Ask businesses in your community to display the Proclamation in their windows or information bulletin boards, and encourage them to support the arts in schools.
- Encourage teachers and school administrators to incorporate Arts in Education Week in school activities the week of September 8th. For example, request that an announcement about Arts in Education Week be made prior to the marching band’s halftime show at the football game, and request that information about Arts in Education Week be included on the school/district website, in school announcements, in school newsletters, and on information boards.
- Write to elected officials (school board members, city council, Ohio House and Senate members, etc.) requesting that they support an adequate, fair, and stable school funding system that includes sufficient resources to provide quality arts education programs for all students.
- Invite artists in your community to speak to students about being college and career ready in the arts.
The Ohio Alliance for Arts Education’s Board of Directors and staff wish every student and educator in Ohio a successful year that includes the arts!
Until next time,
Donna S. Collins
130th General Assembly: Some House committees are meeting this week, but the Ohio House and Senate will not hold sessions. House Speaker William Batchelder said last week that the House will probably not meet in September, but will return in October to address medicaid reform. The committees that are meeting this week are the House Tax Reform Study Committee, the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, and the House Higher Education Study Committee.
State Board of Education Appointment: Governor Kasich announced on August 2, 2013 the appointment of Ronald W. Rudduck of Wilmington to the State Board of Education. Mr. Rudduck is a former superintendent of the Clinton-Massie Local School District and serves as an adjunct professor at Xavier University and Antioch University Midwest teaching school finance. He will fill the 10th District seat left vacant when Jeff Hardin passed away in March 2013. The seat is one of the eleven elected positions on the State Board, and so Mr. Rudduck will face an election in November 2014. The term ends on December 31, 2016. Two at-large seats on the State Board are still vacant. Angela Thi Bennett resigned in July, 2013, and Dennis Shelton resigned in September 2012. Both are appointed positions.
Governor Appoints Two Members to the Straight A Fund Governing Board: Governor Kasich appointed on August 28, 2013 Alex Fischer of Columbus and Kristina Phillips-Schwartz of Loveland to the Straight A Fund Governing Board for terms beginning August 28, 2013 and ending June 30, 2015.
The Straight A Fund was created in Am. Sub. HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget, and includes $250 million for earmarked programs and competitive grants. A nine-member governing board will oversee the program. The governing board includes the Superintendent of Public Instruction, or the Superintendent’s designee, four members appointed by the Governor, two members appointed by the Speaker of the House, and two members appointed by the President of the Senate.
Entities eligible to apply for Straight A Fund grants include city, local, exempted village, and joint vocational school districts, educational service centers, community schools, STEM schools, college-preparatory boarding schools, individual school buildings, education consortia (which may represent a partnership among school districts, school buildings, community schools, or STEM schools), institutions of higher education, and private entities that partner with one or more of the educational entities.
The funds will be awarded for projects that aim to achieve significant advancement in student achievement; reduce spending; or increase resources for classrooms.
The governing board will select grant advisors with fiscal expertise and education expertise to evaluate proposals and advise the governing board.
Memorial Services Announced: Services for former Ohio Governor John Gilligan will be held on September 5, 2013 at 10:30 AM at the Statehouse. Governor Gilligan passed away on August 26, 2013. Family services will be held at the St. Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church in Cincinnati on September 4, 2013 at 10:30 AM.
OETC Registration Opens: Registration for the Ohio Educational Technology Conference (OETC) January 27-29, 2014 is available on the new OETC website at http://oetc.ohio.gov. The OETC is the nation’s third-largest state educational technology conference, bringing together more than 5,000 educational technology professionals and enthusiasts. The conference will be held at the Columbus Convention Center.
Arne Duncan Weighs in on ESEA Reauthorization: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan shared his views about the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), in a Washington Post op-ed on August 25, 2013.
(See America’s kids need a better education law by Arne Duncan, Washington Post on August 25, 2013)
Secretary Duncan states in the article that the original Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which was passed in 1965, promised Americans that students in public schools would be expected to achieve at high levels, and that the most vulnerable students would be protected.
He writes that the success of our nation’s education system “…will be measured in the opportunities for our nation’s children, in a time when a solid education is the surest path to a middle-class life. Tight global economic competition means that jobs will go where the skills are. Raising student performance could not be more urgent.”
He goes on to say, “Students in our poorest communities should enjoy learning opportunities like those in our wealthiest communities. Zip code, race, disability and family income should not limit students’ opportunities or reduce expectations for them. The progress of U.S. students should remain transparent.”
ESEA is now six years overdue for Congressional reauthorization. Although the current law provides a transparent mechanism to follow the educational progress of all subgroups of students, including those in poverty, with special needs, and with limited English proficiency, Mr. Duncan notes that the current accountability system is inflexible and should be changed. However, he doesn’t support the House passed bill to reauthorize ESEA. According to Mr. Duncan the House bill would weaken federal authority to protect all children and promote opportunities for all, including students in low performing schools, and would reduce federal investment in K-12 education at a time when schools are struggling economically.
Instead of the House bill, Secretary Duncan prefers the Senate ESEA reauthorization bill. He urges lawmakers to consider the work that states are now doing to improve their education systems through higher standards, teacher and principal evaluations, rigorous assessments, and better support systems for schools, and incorporate those components in the reauthorization bill.
According to Secretary Duncan, the federal government should provide states flexibility, but should also ensure that states meet high standards, so that all students achieve success.
SBE Graduation Committee Recommendations: The State Board of Education’s Graduation Committee, chaired by C.Todd Jones, met on August 28, 2013 and approved recommendations for changes to Ohio’s graduation requirements. The Ohio Department of Education will prepare a report for the State Board’s September meeting, with the intent that the State Board will vote on the recommendations in October.
The committee was formed to clarify new graduation requirements when end of course exams replace the current Ohio Graduation Tests (OGT). Currently students must pass all Ohio Graduation Tests to earn a diploma, or meet alternate requirements. The new end of course exams will be based on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in math and language arts, and state standards in history and science at the high school level.
To meet the new graduation requirements, students would need to take three end of course exams in English language arts; three end of course exams in math; two end of course exams in history; and two end of course exams in science. The exams are scheduled to begin in the 2016-17 school year, but might overlap with the Ohio Graduation Tests, due to a requirement in law that delays the implementation of the new end of course exams for a year after they are developed. The ODE has requested that the General Assembly change current law to remove this delay, and eliminate the overlap between the end of course exams and the OGT.
According to the Graduation Committee’s recommendations, students could earn between 1 and 5 points on each of the new end of course exams. The points would be awarded based on the level of achievement on the exams. Students would need to earn at least 25 points in total, and earn a minimum number of points in each of the four subject areas, in order to graduate. With legislative approval, the point system would begin for the class of 2017, and would be fully implemented for the class of 2020.
Currently there are ten end of course exams proposed. But, the recommendations of the committee propose that local school districts have the authority to offer students eight end of course exams. If a district administers only eight exams, however, then the scores of the students on the exams would be weighted in order to meet the 25 point requirement.
The recommendations also would allow school districts to use advanced placement exams, International Baccalaureate tests, or other tests as alternatives to the end-of-course exams, if students do not earn a proficient score.
A new appointed Diploma Endorsement Board, also part of the recommendations, would develop additional credentials to be added to a diploma. For example, a “Remediation Free” credential would be added to diplomas in 2014-15 for students who earn a certain score, to be determined by the Ohio Board of Regents, on the ACT or SAT exams. Students would also be able to earn credentials signifying academic honors, Honors Diploma, Language Fluency, or Career Ready.
Prepare Recommendations NOW for the Straight A Fund: Do you have an innovative idea about how to increase student achievement or operational efficiencies through the arts? Superintendent of Public Instruction Richard Ross announced recently that the application process for grant proposals from the $250 million Straight A Fund will begin soon and end in mid-October. Now is the time to develop a team of partners (including other school districts and community organizations) to brain-storm ideas and hone recommendations to apply for these funds.
The Straight A Fund was created in Am. Sub. HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget, and includes $250 million for some earmarked programs and competitive grants. A nine-member governing board will oversee the distribution of the grants.
According to HB59 the grant application must include the following information:
- A description of the project including how the project will have substantial value and lasting impact.
- An explanation of how the project will be self-sustaining. If the project will result in increased ongoing spending, the applicant shall show how the spending will be offset by verifiable, credible, permanent spending reductions.
- A description of quantifiable project results that can be benchmarked.
- Who is the lead applicant if an education consortia is applying for the grant.
Grants of up to $5 million will be awarded to school districts, educational service centers, community schools, STEM schools, college-preparatory boarding schools, individual school buildings, institutions of higher education, or private entities partnering with one or more of the educational entities.
Grants of up to $15 million will be awarded to education consortia.
Sign-up to receive updates about the Straight A Fund.
Common Core Controversy Heats Up the Summer: Educators, parents, state leaders, political groups, and the public are asking more questions about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English language arts and math, and some states are backing away from participating in the two assessment consortia that have been formed to assess students on the common core standards.
According to the Center on Education Policy (CEP), teachers in most states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards are already teaching to the standards, but state agencies are struggling to make sure that all teachers and principals have access to training to implement the new standards.
The CEP issued two reports in August 2013 based on surveys of state deputy superintendents or their designees in 40 of the 46 states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards. The reports are entitled Year Three of Implementing the Common Core state Standards: States Prepare for Common Core Assessments August 28, 2013, and Year Three of Implementing the Common Core State Standards: An Overview of States’ Progress and Challenges (August 7, 2013).
The reports were written by Diane Stark Renter and are part of a series of reports on implementing the CCSS. The reports are available on the CEP website at http://www.cep-dc.org/.
According to the results of the surveys, states are implementing CCSS in several ways. Thirty states reported that the standards were currently being taught at some grades and at some schools. Some states have been phasing in the CCSS by grade level or in selected school districts. And, some states reported that they will begin this year or even later to implement the standards.
Forty states reported that teachers and principals were receiving professional training to implement the standards, but only ten states reported that over 75 percent of educators were prepared to teach CCSS.
The report also notes that 34 states say that finding adequate resources to support CCSS implementation at the state level is a challenge. States are having trouble finding qualified people to provide professional development to reach all teachers and principals.
When it comes to assessing the CCSS, 27 states say that they have modified state tests to align with the Common Core, even though consortia-developed test will be ready for implementation in school year 2014-15.
Most states also say that the new assessments being developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium will help to improve instruction, and are better than the assessments currently being used.
The report also notes that 17 states are considering using other CCSS aligned assessments in addition to, or instead of, PARCC or the Smarter Balanced tests.
Nineteen states reported that they are working with schools to ensure that students receive extra assistance, and are also working with the public and parents to help communicate the rigor of the new standards.
But, state education agencies also reported that they are facing challenges when it comes to administering the CCSS aligned assessments, including providing the technology (Internet access, bandwidth, and computers) and related technological support to administer the assessments online.
The cost of the assessments has also become a concern. PARCC recently announced that the cost to administer one test per student is expected to be $29.50, which is higher than the cost of state assessments in some states.
As a result of these challenges and mounting opposition to the standards and assessments from progressive and conservative groups, some state legislatures are re-considering implementing CCSS and participating in the assessment consortia. Education Week is now following the number of bills being introduced in state legislatures regarding the standards, and has set-up a website to keep track of them.
In Ohio, Representative Andy Thompson (95th House District) introduced on July 31, 2013 HB237, which prohibits the State Board of Education from adopting, and the Ohio Department of Education from implementing, the Common Core State Standards.
According to several reports, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, and Utah have dropped-out or have reduced their participation in the assessment consortia, but no state that had adopted the standards has decided against implementing them. Virginia, Texas, Alaska, and Nebraska, never adopted the standards, and Minnesota is only implementing the standards for reading.
(See States Train Teachers on Common Core, Stateline.com by Adrienne Lu, Updated 8/12/13 and Why states are backing out on common standards and test by Charles Chieppo and Jamie Gass for The Hechinger Report, August 15, 2013)
Opposition to the CCSS is bipartisan, progressive, and conservative. It includes researchers and teachers who believe that the CCSS need to be validated before they are implemented, and other groups that oppose federal involvement in K-12 education. There are also concerns that the standards were written without adequate participation of teachers, and are not based on solid pedagogy, and might not be developmentally appropriate. Others are concerned about how students will be assessed on the standards. There is a concern about the high cost of the assessments, when those funds could be used to assist classroom nstruction; the lack of technological support to implement the assessments in all schools; and the amount of instructional time that will be lost when the assessments are administered. And, some believe that the Common Core is another example of the corporate take-over of public education.
- SB175 (LaRose) Voter Registration Law: Revises the law concerning voter registration and requests for absent voter’s ballots.
- HB240 (Adams/Becker) Special Elections: Eliminates the ability to conduct special elections in February and August.
- HB241 (Hagen, C.) School Employees Sexual Conduct: Prohibits an employee of a public or nonpublic school or institution of higher education from engaging in sexual conduct with a minor who is enrolled in or attends that public or nonpublic school or who is enrolled in or attends that institution of higher education and is also enrolled in or attends a public or nonpublic school.
- HB245 (Barborak) Property Tax Rollback: Extends the 10 percent and 2.5 percent partial property tax “rollback” exemptions to new and replacement levies approved at the 2013 general election and declares an emergency.
- HB246 (Rogers/Blair) Tax Deduction-College Graduates: Allows recent college graduates to claim an income tax deduction for qualified higher education expenses and allows employers of recent college graduates to deduct the employer’s costs of employing the graduate from the employer’s gross receipts subject to the commercial activities tax.
- HB242 (Hagen/Foley) Higher Education-Pay Forward-Pay Backward Program: Requires the Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents to consider creating a pilot program called “Pay Forward, Pay Back” to replace the current tuition system at state institutions of higher education and declares an emergency.
- HB250 (Becker) Absent Voting Days: Reduces the number of days for absent voting.
- HB237 (Thompson) Common Core Initiative: With respect to the Common Core Initiative academic standards and the distribution of student information. The bill states the following: “Sec. 3301.078. (A) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the state board of education shall not adopt, and the department of education shall not implement, the academic content standards for English language arts and mathematics developed by the common core standards initiative. Nor shall the state board use the partnership for assessment of readiness for college and careers (PARCC), or any other assessments related to or based on the common core standards, as any of the assessments required under sections 3301.0710 and 3301.0712 of the Revised Code.”
- HB228 (Brenner) School Funding: Reforms the system of funding elementary and secondary education.
Update on National Standards for the Arts: The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS), a coalition of eight national arts and education organizations and media arts representatives, is writing the new, voluntary arts standards, which will be released in March 2014. The coalition continues to review the feedback received in July 2013 on the draft preK-8 standards for dance, drama/theater, music, visual art, and media arts. According to its website, writing teams are also working on the high school standards, which will be ready for an internal review in September, followed by a public review of the complete PreK-12 standards. That review will begin in January, 2014. A town hall style meeting and streaming live “chat” is being planned for early September, and will include an update on the work of the writing teams and a summary of the data collected during the recent public review. To learn more about the new, voluntary arts standards, or to review video archives of previous presentations, please visit the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards website at http://nccas.wikispaces.com.
STEAM Grants Available: Ovation, Americans for the Arts, and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) are again sponsoring the innOVATION Grant Awards Program. This year grants of $10,000 will be awarded to eight schools that have developed model STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) programs. Elementary through high schools within the U.S., including charter and magnet schools, are eligible to apply.
The innOVATION Grant Program invites school administrators and teachers to submit proposals that do the following: effectively incorporate in the curricula the arts with STEM subjects; demonstrate how creativity and innovation are infused in the program; and demonstrate robust partnerships to enhance learning.
The deadline to submit proposal is October 28, 2013. Recipients of the grants will be announced at a special ceremony in Washington, DC, in early 2014. Applications are available online.
Articles About Arts Education Programs in Schools
Tom Vander Ark describes in his EdWeek Blog, Vander Ark on Innovation, how two schools included the arts in their turn-around strategies and improved student achievement.
Bate Middle School in Danville, Kentucky, was recently named an Exemplar School by the Partnership for 21st Century Schools after years of dismal test scores. The school improved by implementing a project-based learning, engineering, and arts curriculum program.
According to the author, “In their redesigned educational environment, students receive in-depth experiences in engineering and the arts, as well as speech and communications, foreign language, and a multicultural curriculum. This is accomplished through individual growth goals supported by individualized instruction in math and reading complemented by individual and team projects.”
Walter Bracken Magnet School in Clark County, Nevada, became a top rated school after principal Katie Decker made changes to the curriculum to infuse the arts into STEM. The changes helped students find their passion for learning.
See Deeper Learning as a Turnaround Strategy by Tom Vander Ark, published on August 19, 2013.
An article in the Newark, N.J. Star Ledger describes how the Playground Theatre Project, a company of middle school, high school, and college students from New Jersey, is performing “Bang, Bang You’re Dead” to raise awareness about bullying, suicide, and violence. The Playground Theatre Project is part of the Actors Playground School of Theatre, a program in which young actors tour schools, youth groups, and churches throughout New Jersey and New York, and perform plays with a social theme. The program also provides acting classes so that students can hone their acting skills.
See Youth theater troupe acts out to lessen school violence, by Ronni Reich/The Star-Ledger, August 17, 2013.
An article in Education Week describes how more educators are using films to help students develop critical thinking skills. Facets Multimedia, a nonprofit arts organization in Chicago, holds a summer film camp each year to work with educators and prepare them to use films as a learning tool with younger students. According to John Golden, author of Reading in the Dark: Using Film as a Tool in the English Classroom, students who study films can learn critical thinking and analytical skills, which are important components of the new Common Core State Standards. Students also learn how film directors use literary devices, sound, lighting, camera angles, etc. to reveal the plot and themes of films. By knowing more about how films are made, students gain a deeper understanding of the meaning of the films, and can apply the analytical skills learned to better understand literature and other media.
See Teachers Look to Film to Foster Critical Thinking by Liana Heitin, Education Week, 8/15.