Arts On Line Education Update October 14, 2013

ACTION ALERT:  SBE Operating Standards Committee to Meet

The State Board of Education’s Operating Standards Committee, chaired by Ron Rudduck, will meet on Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 3:30 PM in the board room at the Ohio Department of Education, 25 South Front Street in Columbus. The committee is revising Operating Standards for Ohio’s Schools and School Districts, Ohio Administrative Code Rules 3301-35-01 through 14, and expects to complete the process so that the revised standards can be implemented in the 2014-15 school year.

Arts education advocates should be prepared to respond to action alerts regarding this process.

Currently operating standards provide an important framework for creating the conditions for learning and minimum quality standards for arts education programs in Ohio’s schools. Unfortunately several State Board members, including the chairman of the committee, have expressed their intent to eliminate standards of best practices and opportunity to learn standards (often referred to as “inputs”) so that school districts have more flexibility to operate. Instead of using input standards, some board members are proposing to use indicators on the state report card (referred to as “output measures”) to hold schools and districts accountable for student achievement.  The obvious problem with this strategy is …… Ohio doesn’t have “output measures” in the arts, or state assessments of student achievement in the arts, to hold schools and districts accountable for student access or achievement in the arts.

Arts education advocates have had many discussions with state policy makers over the years about developing state assessments and indicators to measure student achievement in the arts, but for now, without state assessments of student achievement in the arts, operating standards must continue to include some input measures to ensure that students have access to the arts, and the arts education programs meet minimum quality standards.

Ohio News:  The House and Senate will hold hearings and sessions this week, and the Senate Education Committee will meet.

School Funding Legislation Proposed:  Senator Sawyer presented sponsor testimony on SB15 and SJR2 on October 8, 2013 before the Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner.  The combined legislation would require the General Assembly to determine and cost-out the components of a high quality public education system; determine additional funding for students with special needs, limited English proficiency, and gifted students; and provide sufficient state funds, when combined with 20 mills of funds raised locally, to support a quality education program. SJR2 would amend Sections 7 and 8 of Article VI of the Ohio Constitution to require the General Assembly to implement and fund schools/districts based on the new school funding formula.  Senator Sawyer has introduced this legislation in previous General Assemblies in an effort to create a constitutional state school funding system that would meet the standards set forth in the DeRolph decisions I-IV, issued by the Ohio Supreme Court between 1997-2002.

Testimony to Repeal Common Core Standards:  Representative Andy Thompson presented sponsor testimony on HB237 on October 9, 2013 before the House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton.  HB237 would repeal the Common Core State Standards; prohibit the state board of education from using any assessments based on the Common Core State Standards; and prohibit access to certain data collected by schools and the ODE. In place of the Common Core Standards, the bill requires the State Board of Education to adopt standards developed for Ohio.

National News

Vouchers Are Not Worth the Cost:  Stephanie Simon writes for Politico that taxpayers in the U.S. will be spending $1 billion a year to help pay private school tuition, but “…there is little evidence that the investment yields academic gains.” (See Vouchers don’t do much for students by Stephanie Simon, Politico, October 7, 2013 at http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/vouchers-dont-do-much-for-students-97909.html)

The article states that 245,000 students in 16 states plus D.C. are using state funded vouchers to attend private schools, and nine states added or broadened voucher programs this year.  Some states, like Ohio, first established voucher programs to help low income students in low performing schools find alternative education programs, but now vouchers are being given to students whose families make $71,000 in Milwaukee (family of four) and $59,000 in Louisiana. In Wisconsin two-thirds of students who receive Wisconsin’s Parental Choice Program were attending private schools at the time that they received the voucher.

The author examines student achievement results in states and cities with voucher programs, such as Milwaukee, Cleveland, and New Orleans, and finds little difference between students who use the voucher to attend private schools and students who remain in the public schools. In Louisiana, students attending some private schools with state vouchers did so poorly that State Superintendent John White “barred them from accepting new voucher students.”  The author also reports that some of the private schools that accept vouchers in Louisiana are teaching that the earth is just several thousand years old and that the Biblical story of creation is scientific.

This Week at the Statehouse

The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner, will meet on October 15, 2013 at 1:30 PM in the South Hearing Room.  The Committee will receive a presentation from the Early Childhood Advisory Council on budget-related programs and testimony on  HB97 (Brenner/Letson) Dyslexia Awareness Month, which would designate October as “Dyslexia Awareness Month.”  

Updates from the ODE 

Discussion about Teacher Preparation:  The Ohio Board of Regents has scheduled a series of meetings with school district leaders and higher education faculty to discuss how to strengthen teacher preparation programs in Ohio. Participants may attend any session, but are requested to RSVP by contacting B.J. Potter at bpotter@regents.state.oh.us. The schedule and locations are:

  • Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 9:00 to 11:00 AM at the Akron Public Library, 60 South High Street, Akron, OH 44326
  • Tuesday, October 15, 2013,  9:00 to 11:00 AM at the Athens Area Public Library, 30 Home Street, Athens, OH 45701
  • Friday, November 1, 2013, 10:00 AM to noon at the New Carlisle Public Library, 111 East Lake Avenue, New Carlisle, OH 45344
  • Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 9:00 to 11:00 AM at the Westerville Public Library, 126 South State Street, Westerville, OH 43081.

Rural Education National Forum:  Battelle for Kids and the Ohio Department of Education are hosting the Rural Education National Forum in Columbus on October 31, 2013 and November 1, 2013 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The forum will highlight instructional and leadership practices in rural districts throughout the country, feature conversations about opportunities and challenges for rural education with national and local experts, and build a network for collaborative action. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is the keynote speaker.

Registration information is available.

Contact Battelle for Kids’ Support Team at 1-866-543-7555 or Support@BattelleForKids.org with additional questions.

Early Childhood Education Programs Expand in Ohio:  The Ohio Department of Education announced on October 9, 2013 that an additional 2,450 children will be able to attend early childhood eduction programs as a result of the additional funds allocated through House Bill 59 (Amstutz), the FY14-15 State Budget. An additional $10 million in FY14 has been allocated through the Early Childhood Education Expansion Grants targeted to high quality preschool programs that are located in high-needs areas of the state. The programs will provide early education and family supports that are required by Ohio for early learning programs to be considered high-quality, and will be monitored during the school year through Step Up To Quality, Ohio’s quality rating and improvement system for child care programs. A list of the programs that earned additional funding can be found at http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Early-Learning/Early-Childhood-Education/New-Early-Childhood-Education-Funding-2013–14

State Board of Education Meets:  The State Board of Education, Debe Terhar president, met on October 7 and 8, 2013 at the Ohio Department of Education, 25 South Front Street in Columbus, OH.  This month board members focused on committee work, received an update from Superintendent of Public Instruction Richard Ross on the implementation of the Straight A Grant Program and the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, and approved the Report and Recommendations of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.  During public participation parents, gifted coordinators, superintendents, and students requested that the State Board revise the September 5, 2013 draft of Operating Standards for Identifying and Serving Gifted Students, and reinstate many of the components that were removed from the current standards.

The following is a summary of the committee meetings, public participation, and the action taken by the board on the Report and Recommendations of the Superintendent of Public Instruction:

Graduation Requirements Committee

The Graduation Requirements Committee, chaired by C. Todd Jones, met and received an update from Sasheen Phillips, ODE Senior Executive Director, Center for Curriculum and Assessment, about the proposed changes to the graduation requirements.  The requirements are being aligned with Ohio’s new assessment system, which replaces the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) with ten end of course exams. The committee delayed adopting a proposal worked-out in August, because members were concerned that the assessment requirements might not align with the state’s new accountability components.

Ms. Phillips said that discussions with the Accountability Committee to align the graduation requirements with the accountability components continue, and a final plan for the graduation requirements will be presented to the board in November, 2013.  The final plan is expected to include the courses that students will be required to complete in order to graduate, along with the required end of course exams; the level of achievement that students much achieve on the exams to graduate; the endorsements and rewards that students can receive; and the transition plan. The proposed plan includes the following components:

  •  SB311 Course Content Requirements:  Maintains the graduation requirements included in SB311 (Gardner) of the 126th Ohio General Assembly (signed by Governor Taft in 2007), including the graduate requirement in the arts for certain students.
  • End of Course Exams:  Requires that students take end of course exams in English Language Arts, math, science, and social studies, but also provides students with other ways to demonstrate and show proficiency.
  • Minimum Points for Graduation:  Requires that students earn a minimum of 25 graduation points and a minimum set of points in each content area: English language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science.  The points will be awarded based on the level of achievement that students attain on the end of course exams on a scale of 1-5, with 5 points being the highest score awarded.
  • Retake Provision:  Allows a student who scores two or lower on an end of course exam to retake the exam in grades 9-11.  A student in the twelfth grade will be allowed to retake any end of course exam, no matter the score.
  • Weighted Exams: Allows school districts to choose to administer 10 end of course exams or 8 exams.  The two exams that would be optional are lower level exams in English Language arts or mathematics. If districts select this option, the scores on the exams that the students take would be weighted more, so that the students would still receive graduation points for passing the exams to reach the 25 point requirement.
  • Alternative Demonstrations of Proficiency:  Provides options for students to earn graduation credits if they haven’t earned enough credits by taking the end of course exams, but have scored well on national exams, such as the SAT or ACT, or have done well on career-technical assessments. The ODE is still working on how to implement this provision.
  • Endorsements and Rewards:  Creates a Diploma Endorsement Board to determine the types of endorsements and rewards that should be granted to students who achieve at high levels on the end of course exams.  Endorsements and rewards will be based on the first score that the students receive on the end of course exams, and not on the scores received on retakes. The types of endorsements/rewards that could be available to students include those for achievements in career technical education; college readiness; the level of achievement on the end of course exam; and meeting the standards to receive an honor diploma. The endorsements would be phased-in.
  • Legislative Changes: The chair noted that the goal is to enact the new graduation requirements with few legislative changes.  However, the Ohio Department of Education has requested a legislative change for students to begin taking the end of course exams in 2014, and to enact the new graduation requirements as soon as the rule has been approved. The law currently states that the graduation requirements cannot be implemented until a year after the end of course exams have been administered.

Achievement Committee

The Achievement Committee, chaired by C. Todd Jones, reviewed the proposed changes for Rules 3301-51-15: Operating Standards for Identifying and Serving Gifted Students, to comply with the state’s five year rule review requirement. The members of the Achievement Committee are C. Todd Jones, Tess Elshoff, Joe Farmer, Sarah Fowler, and Ann Jacobs.

The committee received information from Sue Zake, Executive Director, ODE Office of Exceptional Children, and Wendy Stoica, Assistant Director, Office of Exceptional Children, about the public response to the September 5, 2013 draft of the standards, as proposed by the Ohio Department of Education. The ODE received 255 public comments, mostly from parents, but also comments from teachers, gifted coordinators, and education organizations, including the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA), the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA), the Ohio Association of School Business Officials (OASBO), the Ohio School Psychologist Association, the Ohio Federation of Teachers, the Ohio Association for Gifted Children, the Gifted Coordinators of Central Ohio, the Mahoning County ESC coordinators, and more.

According to the ODE, most of the respondents opposed the elimination of the minimum instructional times, the class-size and case load ratios, and the qualifications for gifted coordinators; supported professional development for staff; and recommended that the rules address the social-emotional needs of gifted students and hold schools/districts accountable for spending state funds allocated for gifted education on gifted education programs.   

Some of the education organizations (OSBA, BASA, and OASBO) requested that the standards provide local school districts more flexibility to implement gifted education programs, and require fewer mandates.

Chairman Jones declared that the committee would not move any rule changes forward this month, because he believed that there was no consensus on the recommendations proposed by board member Tess Elshoff over the weekend, and he did not have enough time to review the recommendations. However, he also admitted that he had not talked to committee members Sarah Fowler or Joe Farmer about the revisions proposed by Ms. Elshoff. 

State Board member Ann Jacobs questioned the decision to delay approving the rule, saying that she felt comfortable with the proposed recommendations by Ms. Elshoff, and wondered why the committee could not vote on the recommendation this month?

Mr. Jones said that he was seeking a consensus, if that is possible, but, “As committee chair I have no obligation to bring forward a regulation or any other motion for which the chair is diametrically opposed to the consensus of the committee, and that is one of the prerogatives of the chair”. 

He also said that if there were no consensus, he would not move rule forward at all, and then there would not be any rule in place.   At one point he and Superintendent Ross said that the State Board was running out of time to adopt this rule, because they had already asked the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) for two extensions, and the current rule would no longer be in effect if the committee was not able to come to a consensus.  That statement was questioned by board member Sarah Fowler, and in response Sharon Jennings, an attorney for the Ohio Department of Education, explained that the rule would not go away unless JCARR invalidated it.  

After the exchange between Mr. Jones and Ms. Jacobs, Ms. Elshoff explained to the committee that her recommendations reflect a “middle ground” for revising the standards. The recommendations include the following changes in the rule:

  • Keeps the technical changes which include changing “child” to “student” and “plan” to “identification plan” throughout the standards.
  • Eliminates class size ratios and the percentage of time to be spent providing instruction, but maintains maximum case loads. Keeps the minimum time requirements, but allows school districts to receive waivers if districts receive an “A” on the gifted performance indicator.
  • Eliminates the requirement that coordinators have to have a Masters’ Degree, but maintains some qualifications.
  • Adds a section that requires districts funded through the state formula to meet certain funding requirements.
  • Supports professional development for gifted staff; enhancing the written education plan for gifted students; requiring that districts coordinate gifted services; and two grades of whole-grade testing.
  • Includes more reporting and accountability requirements to monitor gifted identification and services as required in ORC.

Sarah Fowler suggested that the school funding requirements for gifted education be included in the rule, but Mr. Jones responded that the funding requirements were already in law, and so they didn’t need to be in the rule.

Ms. Fowler also asked about what the future gifted outcome measures would look like, and would the Achievement Committee be able to review them before they are implemented?  Mr. Jones said that the Accountability Committee is developing more accountability measures, including those for gifted education programs, and the full board will eventually review those recommendations.

Ms. Jacobs said that she supported Ms. Elshoff’s proposed recommendations, and suggested that it go forward, but Mr. Jones again said that he hadn’t had time to “absorb” the new draft, and wanted to postpone a decision on the standards until November.  

Other committee members did not object, and so the committee moved to the next topic, the revisions of the Operating Standards for Ohio Education Agencies Serving Children with Disabilities, Rules 3301-51-01 to 3301-51-09 and 33-1-51-11 of the Administrative Code. An intent to adopt these new rules will be considered in November 2013. 

Sasheen Phillips also provided the committee an update about a provision in SB21 that requires the Ohio Department of Education to develop reading competencies for teachers as part of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.  The State Board must adopt the requirements by January 2014.  The ODE has developed the competencies, which are now being reviewed by a variety of state and national experts.  The Achievement Committee will have an opportunity to review the competencies in November 2013.

Operating Standards Committee Meeting  

The Operating Standards Committee, chaired by Ron Rudduck, met to discuss the process that will be used to revise Operating Standards for Ohio Schools and Districts, Rules 3301-35-01-14. The committee was appointed this month and includes Darryl Mehaffie-vice chair, Bryan Williams, Debe Terhar, Stephanie Dodd, Sarah Fowler, and Mike Collins. The standards are being revised to comply with the five year rule review process.

Kevin Duff, a Senior Policy Analyst at the ODE, and Sharon Jennings, Deputy Council for the ODE, are leading the revision process for the ODE.

Chairman Rudduck opened the discussion by saying that there are several separate rules included in operating standards, and he will ask the State Board to approve them as a package, before the 2014-15 school year begins. 

Some of the rules affect private business operations, and will need to be reviewed by the Common Sense Initiative (CSI).  This is a process to ensure that state rules do not adversely affect economic activity in the state, and requires rule making agencies to provide a rationale for rules that do. Kevin Duff explained that Rules 3301-35-04, 05, and 06 must go through the CSI review.  These are also the most complicated rules in the operating standards, and address students, teachers, and programs.  These will also be the rules that the committee will review first.

Mr. Rudduck then shared his thoughts about what the next operating standards should look like.  He said that after working in school districts for 30 years and working with the standards, he would like to eliminate duplicative references and components, and streamline and simplify the standards.  He would like give school districts more flexibility to operate and relieve them from requirements that don’t have an effect on education. He said that the State Board has an opportunity to begin with a clean slate to create standards that focus on outputs, rather than inputs. Although Mr. Rudduck reflected in his personal comments the recommendations of OSBA, BASA, and OASBO to make the standards less prescriptive, he also acknowledged that other stakeholders needed to be a part of the revision process. 

Sharon Jennings reminded the committee that operating standards conform to various sections of the Ohio Revised Code, and that the revised standards must not conflict with current law. Many of the rules directly relate to law and can only be changed by the legislature.  Senator Lehner suggested that as the committee reviews the standards that they identify those sections of the Revised Code that should be changed.

Because of the timeline and the number of standards involved, the committee will be scheduling additional meetings between State Board of Education meetings. The next meeting will be on October 17, 2013 at 3:30 PM in the board room at the Ohio Department of Education, 25 South Front Street in Columbus. 

Public Participation

The State Board received testimony from 18 individuals during public participation on October 8, 2013. Aside from Tony Cochran, who introduced himself to the board on behalf of Executive Committee of the State Advisory Panel for Exceptional Children, all of the presenters opposed the September 5, 2013 draft of Rules 3301-51-15: Operating Standards for Identifying and Serving Gifted Students.

The following is a summary of the comments and recommendations that were included in the testimony, and a list of those who testified:

  • Gifted education programs can fall apart quickly without strong standards and state mandates.
  • State rules about how state funds for gifted education programs should be spent should be developed, because the gifted money is often spent on other programs.
  • Don’t weaken the operating standards for gifted education. Programs have been cut already in cash-strapped schools, and it will only get worse without the standards.
  • Reinstate minimum contact service time, staff ratios, and staff qualifications.
  • Develop standards for spending state gifted funds and true standards for the identification of students and services for students.
  • The standards need to address the social and emotional issues that gifted learners face.
  • Ohio needs a better assessment system for gifted students, because the current assessments are scaled too low to accurately assess gifted students.
  • The standards need more accountability rather than flexibility.
  • Since 2009 many districts have eliminated gifted services and improperly spent gifted funds, because there was no accounting requirements and few repercussions from the ODE.  Many school districts are not in compliance with the letter or the spirit of the law regarding the identification of students, as demonstrated by the number of school districts that have not identified enough students to receive a rating for the gifted-subgroup value added score.
  • Since 2011 school districts have diverted funds for qualified gifted intervention specialists and coordinators, because the ODE expanded the approved spending list for state gifted funds.  Gifted funds have been used to purchase filing cabinets and cameras for performing arts programs even though no gifted students were identified in the performing arts.
  • The current revision of the standards ignores the importance of inputs in the provision of quality gifted services.  There is a critical link between funding, services, and staffing, and gifted student achievement.
  • The 2000 rule provided districts with more flexibility, and what they did is provide what is called “drive-by” services. The 2008 rule restored the prescribed contact time to resolve this issue.
  • Gifted programs benefit when a trained gifted coordinator is in place, because they have the knowledge and skills to support teachers, reach students, and advise parents.
  • Regular classroom instruction, with or without cluster grouping, is not working based on 15 research studies.
  • It is unethical for a gifted coordinator to perform the job without the proper education or training.
  • One third of the gifted coordinators in Central Ohio do not have the credentials to be gifted coordinators.  Some of these individuals report that they feel overwhelmed by the job.
  • The gifted population are the innovators in this country.
  • Evidenced based approaches should be used whether it is in business or education.

Participants in Public Testimony Before the State Board of Education on October 8, 2013:

  • Karen Brownlee, Sycamore Hills
  • Sarah Bennett, 6th grade student from Chardon City Schools
  • Charlotte Bennett, 4th grade student in Chardon Schools.
  • Rebecca Bennett, Parent of Sarah and Charlotte.
  • Eugene Sanders, Superintendent of Sandusky City Schools
  • Angela Grimm, Lakota LEADS Program
  • Sally Roberts, Retired Coordinator from Huber Heights and Past President of OAGC
  • Karen Rohde, Coordinator for Gifted and ELL for the Berea City Schools and President of GCCG (Greater Cleveland Coordinators of the Gifted).
  • Colleen Boyle, Gifted Supervisor of Columbus City Schools and President of GCCO (Gifted Coordinators of Central Ohio).
  • Will Koran, Medina County ESC Superintendent.
  • Ann Van de Walle, parent from Orange City Schools.
  • Brenda Gift, Student Services Team Leader from Lake Erie West ESC.
  • Michael Triplett, Parent and businessman
  • Nancy Wingenbach, former Orange City Schools Superintendent.
  • Lucas Huang, 5th grader from Dublin.
  • Stephen Huang, Parent of Lucas.
  • Cynthia Coleman, Parent from New Albany.

The board took the following action on the Report and Recommendations of the Superintendent of Public Instruction:

#5 Approved a Resolution of Intent to Amend Rule 3301-8-01 of the Administrative Code entitled Payment of Debt Charges under the State Credit Enhancement Program. (VOLUME 2, PAGE 16)

#6 Approved a Resolution of Intent to Amend Rule 3301-24-04 of the Administrative Code Entitled Teacher Residency. (VOLUME 2, PAGE 22)

#7 Approved a Resolution of Intent to Amend Rule 3301-26-01 of the Administrative Code Entitled Examinations for Educator Licensure. (VOLUME 2, PAGE 27)

#8 THIS ITEM WAS REMOVED FROM THE VOTING AGENDA.

A Resolution of Intent to Amend Rule 3301-51-15 of the Administrative Code Entitled Operating Standards for Identifying and Serving Gifted Students (VOLUME 2, PAGE 32).

#8A Approved a Resolution of Intent to Hold a Hearing in an Appeal of the Decision of the West Liberty Local School District, Logan County, Regarding Credit Granted for a Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Program Course.

#9 Approved a Resolution of Intent to Rescind Rule 3301-71-01 of the Administrative Code Entitled Poverty-Based Assistance. (VOLUME 2, PAGE 58)

#17 Approved a Resolution to Amend Rule 3301-13-02 of the Administrative Code Entitled Administering Required State Assessments at the Designated Grades (VOLUME 3, PAGE 198)

#18 Approved a Resolution to Amend Rule 3301-57-01 of the Administrative Code Entitled Rules for Administering the Child Abuse Detection In-Service Training Program (VOLUME 3, PAGE 211)

#19 Approved a Resolution to Appoint Stephen Wood to the State Library Board. (VOLUME 4, PAGE 19)

Under new business, Sarah Fowler notified the board that she would be bringing a resolution about the suggested reading list under the Common Core State Standards to the board in November.  She has received numerous comments from parents about the list.

Kathleen McGervey also announced that she is working on a resolution to bring to the board in November.

Under miscellaneous business Stephanie Dodd updated the board about the Ohio School for the Blind Advisory Group meeting. The advisory group is working on developing a new strategic plan and determining what types of assessments would be best for their students.

Information about the State Board meeting is available.

LWVO Releases Predictable Results: The League of Women Voters of Ohio (LWVO) released a report on October 9, 2013 entitled Predictable Results: A Report from the League of Women Voters of Ohio Examining 2011 Gerrymandering and 2012 Election Results.

According to the report, the results of the 2012 election, including races for the U.S. House of Representatives, the Ohio Senate, and the Ohio House, were predictable before they even took place as a result of redistricting U.S. House districts and the reapportionment of Ohio House and Ohio Senate districts.  

The report explains that in 2011 new election districts were “drawn to pack as many Republicans or Democrats into districts as possible, so that each party would have a virtually guaranteed win in districts drawn to their advantage.” These “safe districts” ensure that there are no consequences for lawmakers, and no way to compel lawmakers to be responsive to their constituents.

The report states that in 2012 all sixteen U.S. Congressional districts voted as predicted; all state Senate districts voted as predicted; and 97 out of 99 House districts voted as predicted. 

The report also describes “…the glaring disparity between the number of seats won by each party in comparison to the overall number of votes each party received statewide.” 

Ohio voters in 2012 were almost evenly divided between the two major parties. In U.S. House races, Republicans earned 51 percent of votes, and Democrats earned 49 percent of votes. However, since Republicans controlled the redistricting process, Republicans won 75 percent of the seats (12 seats) compared to the Democrats winning 25 percent (4 seats). 

In the Ohio House Republicans won 49 percent of the votes in 2012, and 60 percent of the seats, while House Democrats won 51 percent of the vote, but only 39 percent of the seats. 

In the Ohio Senate, 68 percent of the votes statewide were cast for the Republican candidates, but the party won 83 percent of the seats. Democrats won 31 percent of the votes, but only 17 percent of the seats. 

The report recommends a better way to draw districts using “public interest” criteria, such as eliminating bizarre shaped districts (compactness); keeping counties and cities in the same district (communities of interest); and increasing the competitiveness of the districts.  Drawing districts based on the public interest criteria would make the redistricting plan fair for all parties.

The report is available.

Organization Expresses Commitment to Public Education:  Jeff Bryant writes in his blog for the Campaign for America’s Future about a meeting held in Los Angeles on October 3-6, 2013 and hosted by the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign, the American Federation of Teachers, and in conjunction with the National Education Association.  The focus of the meeting was to strengthen the commitment to public education by organizing labor leaders, educators, clergy, members of immigrant communities, civil rights activists, representatives from grassroots student and parent groups, and community organizers fighting for fair housing, economic fairness, and other causes.

Participants adopted the following The Principles that Unite Us, based on ideas generated at town hall meetings held nationwide:

  • Public Schools are public institutions, committed to providing all children with an opportunity to attend a quality public school, and committed to including the public in decision-making.  The participants oppose charter schools for the purpose of privatization, closing public schools and then opening privately managed schools, and believe that public schools should not be a source of profit.  Participants support charter schools that are accountable to the public and are part of a unified education system.
  • The voices of teachers, principals, school staff, parents, and the community matter.  Schools must be guided by the public voice rather than corporate executives, entrepreneurs, or philanthropists. Participants oppose the take-over of school districts by mayors and disingenuous strategies like the “parent trigger” laws.
  • Strong public schools create strong communities.  Schools must be part of the community.  Schools can coordinate the supports and services that their students and families need, including expanded learning time and high quality early childhood programs.  Closing schools harms students, families, and the surrounding neighborhood.
  • Assessments should be used to improve instruction and must include multiple measures of on-going student work, observations, and discussions.  Participants support multiple accountability measures gathered from multiple sources over time.  The results of standardized assessments should not be used to evaluate teachers or close schools.  All children deserve rich educational experiences and a well-rounded culturally relevant and comprehensive curriculum that includes the arts, world languages, the sciences, social studies, and physical education.
  • Quality teaching must be delivered by committed, respected, and supported educators. Teaching is a career, and not a temporary stop.  Teacher preparation should be comprehensive and include significant student-teaching time in the classroom. Participants believe that class size matters, especially in struggling schools, so that teachers can differentiate instruction.
  • Schools must be welcoming and respectful places for all.  Participants believe that zero tolerance programs that push students out of schools should be eliminated.
  • Schools must be fully funded for success and equity.  Unfortunately, schools today remain segregated and unequal.  Participants oppose funding schools based on property wealth and support education funding that reflects the real costs of a complete education.

A Call to Action states that,

“Our schools belong to all of us: the students who learn in them, the parents who support them, the educators and staff who work in them and the communities that they anchor. No longer will we allow ourselves to be divided. We have developed these principles and are committed to working together to achieve the policies and practices that they represent. Corporate-style interventions that disregard our voices, and attempt to impose a system of winners and losers, must end. None of our children deserve to be collateral damage.

We call on our communities, and commit the power of the organizations that we represent, to pursue these principles in our schools, districts and states. Together, we will work nationally to make this vision of public education a reality.”

The blog is available.

Information about the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign is available.

Bills Introduced:

HB290 (Stebelton) School Premises Liability:  Regarding the use of school district premises by members of the public and immunity from civil liability for a school district and schools when permitting members of the public to use school premises.  

HB293 (Brenner) School District Transportation Consolidation Pilot Program: Establishes the School District Transportation Consolidation Pilot Program and makes an appropriation.  

HB296 (Johnson) School-Epinephrine Autoinjectors:  Permits public schools to procure epinephrine auto injectors in accordance with prescribed procedures and exempts them from licensing requirements related to the possession of epinephrine auto injectors.

HB294 (Brenner) Support School Choice License Plate: Creates a “Support School Choice” license plate. 

The following bills were referred to the House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton:

HB281 (Ruhl) Tobacco-Nicotine Law:  Revises the law regarding tobacco and nicotine use in public schools and at public school-sponsored functions.  

HB290 (Stebelton) School Premises Liability:  Regarding the use of school district premises by members of the public and immunity from civil liability for a school district and schools when permitting members of the public to use school premises.  

HB293 (Brenner) School District Transportation Consolidation Pilot Program: Establishes the School District Transportation Consolidation Pilot Program and makes an appropriation.  

HB296 (Johnson) School-Epinephrine Auto injectors:  Permits public schools to procure epinephrine auto injectors in accordance with prescribed procedures and exempts them from licensing requirements related to the possession of epinephrine auto injectors.

FYI ARTS

National Innovation Summit for Arts + Culture:  EmcArts Inc. will host the National Innovation Summit for Arts + Culture 2013:  Leaving the Shore, on October 20-23, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. Arts leaders and funders from across the country will explore the challenges, discoveries, and achievements of organizations that have expanded their capacity through innovation.  A Virtual Summit will be streamed online for the public to view. To register for the Virtual Summit visit http://artsfwd.org/summit/participants/

Teams from Cincinnati and Cleveland will be in attendance.  The Cincinnati team includes the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Contemporary Arts Center, the Kennedy Heights Arts Center, and ArtsWave.  The Cleveland Team includes the Cleveland Play House, the Cleveland Public Theatre, DANCECleveland, the Beck Center for the Arts, and the The Cleveland Foundation.

National Arts Policy Roundtable (NAPR):  The American’s for the Arts’ National Arts Policy Roundtable convened from September 18-21, 2013 at the Sundance Institute in Utah.  Over 50 representatives from the fields of business, government, the social sector, education, and the arts participated in this year’s event, which focused on the topic Arts and Healing:  Body, Mind, and Community

The National Arts Policy Roundtable (NAPR) was launched in October 2006 by Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, and Robert Redford, founder of the Sundance Institute. The Roundtable is brought together to discuss issues that affect the arts, and explore the role that the arts play in society.  This year’s topic was selected because of the growing awareness among the medical, public health, government, civic, and military communities about the capacity of the arts to heal mental and physical traumas. 

According to a summary about this year’s meeting, “Research has shown that incorporating the arts has numerous benefits not only for the patients, but also for their families, their caregivers, the hospitals, the communities, and our economy.” It also included examples of best practices and demonstrations of healing through participation in the arts.

A “recap” of the National Arts Policy Roundtable is available.

The recommendations from the 2013 Roundtable will be available at a later date.

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About OAAE

Since our founding in 1974, by Dr. Dick Shoup and Jerry Tollifson, our mission has always been to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Working at the local, state, and federal levels through the efforts of a highly qualified and elected Board of Directors, our members, and a professional staff we have four primary areas of focus: building collaborations, professional development, advocacy, and capacity building. The OAAE is funded in part for its day-to-day operation by the Ohio Arts Council. This support makes it possible for the OAAE to operate its office in Columbus and to work statewide to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Support for arts education projects comes from the Ohio Arts Council, Ohio Music Education Association, Ohio Art Education Association, Ohio Educational Theatre Association, VSA Ohio, and OhioDance. The Community Arts Education programs of Central Ohio are financially assisted by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners and the Greater Columbus Arts Council. We gratefully acknowledge and appreciate the financial support received from each of these outstanding agencies and organizations.
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