130th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate will hold committee meetings this week, but no sessions.
Medicaid to be Expanded — Maybe: A showdown is expected in the Controlling Board meeting on October 21, 2013 as Governor Kasich seeks approval for $2.56 billion in federal funds so that Ohio can expand its Medicaid program and cover more uninsured individuals under the Affordable Care Act. The governor’s plan circumvents a vote in the Ohio House and Senate and the Republican majority, which is currently considering several bills to reform Medicaid. The governor’s plan has the supposed backing of three individuals on the panel, Senator Tom Sawyer, Representative Chris Redfern, and Randy Cole, president of the board, but needs a fourth vote to pass. The other members of the board are Representatives Ron Amstutz and Cliff Rosenberger and Senators Bill Coley and Chris Widener.
Change for the CSRAB: Former Senate President Richard Finan stepped down on October 17, 2013 as chair and member of the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB). He served on the CSRAB for 24 years, overseeing the historic renovation of the Statehouse. Senate President Keith Faber appointed former Senate President Tom Niehaus to the vacant seat. Senator Chris Widener has temporarily assumed the chairmanship of the board.
Senate Approves Dyslexia Bill: The Ohio Senate approved on October 16, 2013 HB97 (Brenner/Letson) Dyslexia Awareness Month, which would designate October as “Dyslexia Awareness Month.”
Federal Government Reopens: President Obama signed into law H.R. 2775 (Continuing Appropriations Act 2014) on October 17, 2013, a bipartisan bill negotiated by the U.S. Senate and approved by the U.S. House, to reopened the federal government after a 16 day shutdown. The law funds government agencies and services through January 15, 2014, suspends enforcement of the debt ceiling until February 7, 2014, provides aid for flash-flood victims in Colorado, grants the District of Columbia authority to manage its own operations through FY 2014, requires the verification of household income for people receiving heath insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, creates a joint budget conference committee to work on possible compromises, and more. The law does not change sequestration, however, which has resulted in budget reductions for all federal departments and agencies, including a $2.4 billion reduction in the U.S. Department of Education’s budget.
This Week at the Statehouse
House Education Committee: The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton, will meet on October 23, 2013 at 3:00 PM in Hearing Room 121. The committee will receive testimony on HB8 (Roegner) School Safety Laws; HB111 (Duffey/Stinziano) State Universities-Student Board Members; HB178 (Phillips) School Safety Drills; and HB216 School Indebtedness (Patterson).
News from the ODE
Operating Standards Committee: The State Board of Education’s, Operating Standards Committee, chaired by Ron Rudduck, met on October 17, 2013 and reviewed three rules and a timeline for updating operating standards. The committee was appointed to update Standards for Ohio’s Schools and School Districts, commonly known as operating standards, which are Ohio Administrative Code Rules 3301-35-01 through 14. Ohio law requires that rules be reviewed and updated every five years, and some committee members are using this opportunity to simplify the standards and reduce mandates, especially for high performing districts. The proposed rule changes will be posted on the ODE website soon, so that stakeholders can give feedback about them. The committee will be meeting at least twice a month, and expects to file the new standards with the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) in April, 2014, so that they can go into effect in July 2014.
Schools of Promise Recognized: The Ohio Department of Education announced on October 16, 2013 that 141 schools have been designated as Schools of Promise and 37 schools as High Performing Schools of Honor this year.
To qualify for the designation as a School of Promise, a school must serve 40 percent or more economically disadvantaged students; achieve 75 percent or better average proficiency rate on the Ohio Achievement Assessments and Ohio Graduation Tests for the 2012-2013 school years; achieve a 75 percent threshold in two subgroups; achieve an A or B grade for annual measurable objective (AMO); achieve an A, B or C progress grade on the local school report card; and achieve a graduation rate of A or B.
High Performing Schools of Honor must be Title 1 eligible; serve 40 percent or more economically disadvantaged students; achieve a 90 percent or better average proficiency rate over a five-year period on the Ohio Achievement Assessment and Ohio Graduation Test; achieve a 75 percent proficiency level for four significant subgroups on the same tests; earn an annual measurable objective report card grade of A, B, or C; earn a progress grade of A, B, or C on the report card; and earn a graduation rate over a five-year period of 90 percent or higher.
The full list of Schools of Promise is available.
The full list of Schools of Honor is available.
RttT Statewide Education Conference: The Race to the Top (RttT) Statewide Education Conference will be held on October 28-29, 2013 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The conference will highlight innovative models and “promising practices” used by RttT districts and community schools. Presenters include author Andy Andrews and Mark Anthony Garrett. Workshops will be offered on topics such as teacher evaluations; student learning objectives; Kindergarten readiness assessment; early childhood education; college and career readiness; the Ohio Appalachian Collaborative; and more. The conference is free for education stakeholders, however registration is required. Information about the conference is available.
Ohio’s Open Enrollment Task Force to Meet: The first meeting of the Ohio Open Enrollment Task Force will be held on October 21, 2013 at 9:00 AM at the Ohio Department of Education, 25 S. Front St., Columbus.
The Ohio Open Enrollment Task Force was established to review and make recommendations regarding the process by which students may enroll in other school districts under open enrollment, and the funding mechanisms associated with open enrollment deductions and credits. The following are members of the task force:
- Steve Dackin, Superintendent – Reynoldsburg City School District (Chairman)
- Bruce Steenrod, Treasurer – Federal Hocking Local School District
- Kevin Robertson, Treasurer – Sandusky City School District
- Jenni Local, Treasurer – Lakota Local School District
- Tim Myers, Superintendent – Van Buren Local School District
- Steve Thompson, Superintendent – Willoughby-Eastlake Local School District
- Steve Switzer, Superintendent – Pettisville Local School District
- Debbie Gossett, Treasurer – Miami Valley Career Technology Center
- Kellie Lester, Treasurer – East Holmes Local School District
- Dan Good, Superintendent – Columbus City School District
- Bill Stauffer, Superintendent – Springfield Local School District.
The Percent of Students from Low Income Families Increasing: The Southern Education Foundation released on October 16, 2013 a new report entitled A New Majority, Low Income Students in the South and Nation by Steve Suitts with the assistance of Nasheed Sabree and Katherine Dunn. The report is based on data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for 2011, which is the most recent comparable data available for all public school districts. Students from low income families are defined as those who are eligible for free or reduced meals, which means that they live in households where the income is 185 percent or less than the poverty threshold in 2011. For example, a student from a single parent family would qualify for free or reduced meals if the annual family income was less than $26,956 per year.
According to the report, “A majority of public school children in 17 states, one-third of the 50 states across the nation, were low income students – eligible for free or reduced lunches – in the school year that ended in 2011. Thirteen of the 17 states were in the South, and the remaining four were in the West. Since 2005, half or more of the South’s children in public schools have been from low income households.1 During the last two school years, 2010 and 2011, for the first time in modern history, the West has had a majority of low income students attending P-12 public schools.”
Overall 48 percent of all public school children were eligible for free or reduced lunch in 2011. The South and West regions had the highest rates of low income students of 53 percent and 51 percent respectively. The rate of low income students in the Midwest region was 44 percent and 40 percent in the Northeast region. New Hampshire and North Dakota had the lowest percentage of low income students at 25.2 percent and 31.8 percent respectively. Ohio’s low income student rate was 42.7 percent.
The states with the highest percentage of students from low income families are Mississippi (71 percent); New Mexico (68 percent); Louisiana (66 percent); Oklahoma (61 percent); Arkansas (60 percent); Georgia (57 percent); Kentucky (57 percent); Florida (56 percent); Tennessee (55 percent); South Carolina (55 percent) Alabama (55 percent); California (54 percent); West Virginia (51 percent); Oregon (51 percent); Nevada (51 percent); North Carolina (50 percent); and Texas (50 percent).
According to the report, “In 2011, more than two-thirds of African American and Hispanic students in the United States attended public schools where a majority of school children were low income, but white students also constitute a majority of low income public school children in a large number of schools and school districts, especially in the South.”
The report also shows that our nation’s cities have the highest rates of low income students in public schools. “Sixty percent of the public school children in America’s cities were in low income households in 2011.” Mississippi (83 percent), New Jersey (78 percent), Pennsylvania (75 percent), and New York (73 percent) have the highest percentage of low income students in city schools. The percent of low income students in city schools in Ohio was 67.8 percent.
Overall rural and suburban schools had lower rates of low income students: 44 percent of students in rural schools and 40 percent of students in suburban schools were eligible for free and reduced lunches in 2011.
The authors of the report explain that the 2008 recession reduced family incomes and added to the growth in the number of low income students, but the rate of students from low income families had been increasing since 1989. The percent of low income students attending public schools was 38 percent in 2001 compared to 48 percent in 2011. The percent of low income students in the South reached over 50 percent in 2007.
Low income students are also achieving at lower rates than students from wealthier families, according to test results in fourth grade reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Between 2003-2011 the gap between average scores for students from low income families and high income families was about 20 points. And, the report also shows that the gap between average test scores on NAEP of low income students compared to high income students in private schools between 2003 and 2011 has remained the same.
The authors conclude, “There is no real evidence that any scheme or policy of transferring large numbers of low income students from public schools to private schools will have a positive impact on this problem. The trends of the last decade strongly suggest that little or nothing will change for the better if schools and communities continue to postpone addressing the primary question of education in America today: what does it take and what will be done to provide low income students with a good chance to succeed in public schools? It is a question of how, not where, to improve the education of a new majority of students.”
The report is available.
More on VAM: Bruce Baker writes on October 16, 2013 in his blog School Finance 101, that the “…evidence is mounting of a massive value-added and growth score train wreck.” He describes the issues that researchers must address when using value added models (VAM), and how the different models now being used by states to rate and rank teachers and teacher preparation programs are different than the value added models and data used in high profile VAM research.
He says, “Constraints imposed in research to achieve higher quality analyses often result in loss of large numbers of cases, and result potentially in clearer findings, which makes similar approaches infeasible where the goal is not to produce the most valid research but instead to evaluate the largest possible number of teachers or principals (where seemingly, validity should be an even greater concern).”
According to the blog, other researchers who have examined using value added models to rate teachers, believe that the information the VAM scores provide “may be systematically biased for some teachers and against others…”
In examining different value added models that are being used to evaluate teachers and teacher education programs, Professor Baker found the following:
- The number of teachers in the top 20 percent for multiple years running was very low for the model being used by New York City.
- Schools and teachers with students who had higher prior year test scores, on average, had higher value added scores, and teachers of classes with higher percentages of economically disadvantaged students had lower value added scores for the model being used by New York State.
- A study of the New York State value added model for teacher evaluation by administrators in the Lower Hudson Valley found that New York did not adequately weigh factors such as poverty when measuring students’ progress. Teachers with higher numbers of students in poverty were more often classified as ineffective or developing.
- The year to year correlations of value added scores for teachers in Ohio were nearly zero and the year to year ratings of schools were “barely correlated with themselves”.
- The value added model used in New Jersey “appear to be the most problematic”. According to the model, the most effective teachers in New Jersey are those that are in schools that serve the fewest minority students and non-proficient special education students, and have the highest rates of proficiency.
- Using a single set of estimates to determine teacher effectiveness is not reliable because, “Numerous analysis using better data and richer models than those adopted by states have shown that teacher, school or other rankings and ratings vary sometimes wildly under different model specifications.”
Professor Baker concludes, “At this point, I’m increasingly of the opinion that even if there was a possible reasonable use of value-added and growth data for better understanding variations in schooling and classroom effects on measured learning, I no longer have any confidence that these reasonable uses can occur in the current policy environment.”
He goes on to say, “Unlike a few years back, when I was speculating that such problems might lead to a flood of litigation regarding the fairness of using these measures for rating, ranking and dismissing teachers, we now have substantial information that these problems are real.”
Bruce Baker is a professor in the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
The article is available.
Two Articles On Education Reform: Last week Alexander Russo and Mark Tucker published articles about the progress of education reform initiatives in the United States.
(See “Reform in a Recession: Tough economic times were an impetus for action. But what’s next?” by Alexander Russo, This Week in Education at Scholastic.com and “The American System For Improving Our Schools” by Marc Tucker, Education Week blog on October 17, 2013 3:42 PM)
Alexander Russo writes that reforming education is difficult in good economic times, but even harder during a recession. As poverty rates have increased even in the suburbs, policy makers have been questioned about their priorities and focus on education reforms when communities are pressing for more jobs, financial security, and child care. Opposition to education reforms are growing in the aftermath of the recession as veteran teachers are replaced by Teach for America fellows and neighborhood schools by charter schools.
The end of the recession could provide an opportunity for different sides of the education reform debate to come together and push for an agenda that most policy makers could agree upon, such as focusing on anti-poverty initiatives and early childhood education.
Mr. Russo concludes, however, “The only outcome that seems unlikely is for reform efforts to emerge from the recession entirely unchanged. The core reform agenda—expanding the numbers of charter schools, rating teachers based on student achievement—has been tarnished too thoroughly during these recessionary years to remain unchanged going forward.”
Marc Tucker writes that efforts to improve the performance of schools in America are ineffective, uncoordinated, often at cross-purposes, usually not evaluated, wasteful, and not aligned to an effective education system.
He states that, “The single biggest difference between education in the United States and education in the countries with the most effective education systems is that the latter actually function like systems and ours does not. The American style of education research, by focusing on the intervention and not the system, is part of the problem, not the solution.”
Countries with the highest achieving students do not randomly implement school reforms, because someone with an idea finds a wealthy benefactor to provide the funds. Instead, changes in how schools operate are “generated by the people who run the system in a systematic effort to shore-up weaknesses in the system”. Reform efforts are therefore designed to fit into the system and are implemented only after careful review of needs and context. Teachers implement the new idea and modify it until it works, and only then is it scaled-up.
Alexander Russo is a free lance education writer and Marc Tucker is president of the National Center on Education and the Economy.
Moody’s Report Shows the Financial Impact of Charter Schools: A report released on October 15, 2013 by Moody’s Investors Service entitled Charter Schools Pose Growing Risks for Urban Public Schools, states that “….the rise in charter school enrollments over the past decade is likely to create negative credit pressure on school districts in economically weak urban areas.”
The report notes that the loss of enrollment in some public school districts due to charters has reduced revenues and costs for public school districts, but as a result, “As some of these districts trim costs to balance out declining revenues, cuts in programs and services will further drive students to seek alternative institutions including charter schools.”
School districts experiencing financial stress due to charters include Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. Some of these cities have had a difficult time adjusting operations in response to the loss of enrollment to charter schools, because of institutional barriers, contract obligations, capital footprint, liberal policies for opening charter schools, and generous funding for charter schools.
The report is available through purchase.
HB299 (Grossman) Property Valuation Complaints: Requires counties, municipal corporations, townships, and school boards that file complaints against the valuation of property they do not own to pass a resolution approving the complaint.
HB303 (Hayes) Student Religious Expression: Creates new sections 3320.01, 02, and 03, to permit a student enrolled in a public school to engage in religious expression before, during, and after school hours in the same manner and to the same extent that a student is permitted to engage in secular activities or expression during corresponding times. Religious expressions include prayer, religious gatherings, distribution of written materials or literature, and other activities, including wearing symbolic clothing or expression of a religious viewpoint. The bill also states that students cannot be prohibited from expressing their religious views in the completion of homework, artwork, or written or oral assignments.
HB304 (Hayes) Public School Facilities Access: Requires that students have access to school facilities for the purpose of engaging in religious expression as is given to secular student groups.
Nomination Deadline Extended: The Ohio Arts Council announced last week that it was extending the nominations deadline for the 2014 Governor’s Awards for the Arts from Wednesday, October 16, 2013 to Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 5:00 PM. The deadline for letters in support of nominations is also extended from October 23, 2013 to October 25, 2013 at 5:00 PM. The Governor’s Awards for the Arts are presented annually at a luncheon, which will be held on May 21, 2014 at noon at the Columbus Athenaeum in Columbus. Awards are presented in the following categories: Arts Administration, Arts Education, Arts Patron, Business Support of the Arts, Community Development & Participation and Individual Artist. Information is available.
Recruiting Students for Arts Day: The Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation, in partnership with the Ohio Arts Council, is seeking six high schools to send teams of ten students each to serve as student advocates for Arts Day, May 21, 2014 in Columbus, OH. The high school teams will participate in a range of activities (at their school and in Columbus) highlighting the value and importance of the arts and arts education as a part of a complete curriculum, and attend the annual Governor’s Awards for the Arts luncheon.
For information about this opportunity, please contact:
Janelle Hallett, Program Director, Arts Day Student Advocates
Telephone: 614.221.4064 Fax: 614.241.5329
Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation 77 South High Street, 2nd Floor Columbus, Ohio 43215-6108
More on STEAM: Michelle Fredette writes for T.H.E. Journal about how the arts are being integrated in two STEM schools to address the learning needs of more students, increase deeper understanding, and support creativity. (See “For These Schools, Adding Arts to STEM Boosts Curriculum: Adding the arts to a STEM curriculum engages students who might otherwise have been left behind” by Michelle Fredette, 10/17/13, October 2013 issue of T.H.E. Journal)
The author describes two examples of STEAM initiatives: University Place Elementary School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Taylor Elementary School in Arlington, VA. The staffs of both schools researched best practices and found that adding the arts to the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics curriculum provides students with the opportunity to express their creativity, engages students in a deeper understanding of the topic, and differentiates instruction for students.
At Taylor Elementary School in Arlington, VA, classroom teachers work with the music and art teachers on specific topics and develop lessons together. For a lesson on the life cycle of plants, the music teacher introduced the students to basic and more complex structures for music. The students created their own music using GarageBand, and described to classmates how their compositions reflected the life cycle of plants.
Support Music in the House Through Power2Give: Music in the House is a fun afterschool neighborhood choir program for young kids in urban neighborhoods of Columbus who want to sing, and do it with power! Music in the House kids will get to perform publicly, showing their families, friends, teachers, and lots of other people in their community what they’ve learned to do. Music in the House honors, respects, and celebrates all kids and their abilities, while focusing on families in higher-needs areas of Columbus that too often fall under the public radar. Donor funds will go directly to help pay for artists’ fees, apprentice teaching artists/musicians’ stipends, materials, sheet music, and other project costs.
There is currently a 1:1 cash match in place through the generous offer of PNC Bank, so every dollar you donate will be doubled! Please click on the power2give link below, and donate what you can to this project now, so kids who want to sing and learn music will have the chance to do it well! Thank you!
Music in the House is a partnership of the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (OAAE), Columbus Children’s Choir, and TRANSIT ARTS, a program of Central Community House. Students receive professional choir instruction after school, in settlement houses located right in the neighborhoods where they and their families live.”
WHAT IS POWER2GIVE.ORG?
power2give.org is an online cultural marketplace designed to connect donors and projects. Hosted by the Greater Columbus Arts Council, serving Franklin County, power2give.org allows non-profit organizations to post and promote arts and culture projects in need of funding and invites donors to contribute directly to projects that are intriguing to them.
power2give.org is devoted to supporting non-profit organizations and encouraging people to help the organizations they love turn their needs into a reality.
Click here to donate online.
This update is written weekly by Joan Platz, Research and Knowledge Director for the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education. The purpose of the update is to keep arts education advocates informed about issues dealing with the arts, education, policy, research, and opportunities. The distribution of this information is made possible through the generous support of the Ohio Music Education Association, Ohio Art Education Association, Ohio Educational Theatre Association, OhioDance, and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education.