130th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio Senate completed work on several bills last week and is now on recess. The House is still meeting, and has scheduled committee hearings and a session this week.
The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton, will meet on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 5:00 PM in hearing room 313. The committee will receive testimony on the following bills:
- HB241 (Hagan) School Employees-Sexual Conduct: To prohibit 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.
- HB158 (Brenner/Patmon) Nonrefundable Tax Credits-Nonpublic Schools: To authorize nonrefundable tax credits for donations to nonprofit entities providing scholarships to low-income students enrolling in nonpublic schools.
- HB171 (McClain/Patmon) Released Time Courses-Religious Instruction: To permit public school students to attend and receive credit for released time courses in religious instruction conducted off school property during regular school hours.
- HB178 (Phillips) School Safety Drills: To amend with respect to school safety drills.
- HB193 (Brenner) High School Diploma Requirements: To revise current high school diploma requirements including state-administered assessments.
Democrats Select New Leadership: The Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus announced on December 4, 2013 the election of new leadership to replace Senators Kearney and Turner, who are running for statewide offices in 2014. Senators Joe Schiavoni (Boardman) was elected minority leader; Charleta B. Tavares (Columbus) assistant minority leader; Edna Brown (Toledo) as minority whip; and Lou Gentile (Steubenville) as assistant minority whip.
New SAT Delayed: David Coleman, president of The College Board, announced on December 4, 2013 that the College Board will administer a new version of the Scholastic Aptitude Test aligned with the Common Core State Standards in the spring 2016. The revised PSAT/NMSQT® will be released in the fall 2015 so that students can take the new PSAT before the SAT. The delay was needed to address concerns from higher education and the K-12 community about having sufficient time to plan for the new exams. The announcement by David Coleman was published by Valerie Strauss in the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog on December 4, 2013.
Legislative Update/Ohio: The Ohio Senate approved on December 4, 2013 SB229 (Gardner) Teacher Performance Evaluation. The bill amends sections 3319.111 and 3319.112 of the Ohio Revised Code in the following ways:
- Provides boards of education more flexibility regarding the evaluation of skilled and accomplished teachers. The board may evaluate an accomplished teacher every three, rather than two years. The board may evaluate a skilled teacher every two years.
- Requires that during off years, skilled and accomplished teachers still be observed and participate in a conference with a qualified evaluator.
- Allows boards of education to use surveys, teacher self-evaluations, and other methods to evaluate teachers.
- Allows boards of education to require teachers who receive an ineffective rating to prepare and implement an improvement plan.
- Allows boards of education to evaluate teachers on a more frequent basis if they so choose.
- Changes the percent of the teacher evaluation based on student academic growth from 50 percent to 35 percent, but allows boards of education to attribute an additional percentage to the academic growth factor, but the additional percentage cannot exceed fifteen percent.
- Specifies that the reforms would begin July 1, 2014 so that any changes do not occur during the current school year.
The Ohio House approved last week the following bill:
- HB215 (Devitis) School Safety: To authorize a board of education or governing authority of a school to enter into an agreement with a volunteer, who is a current or retired law enforcement officer, to patrol school premises to prevent or respond to a mass casualty event. Approved by the House 12/04/13.
The House Education Committee reported out last week the following bills:
- HB113 (Antonio/Henne) High School Physical Education. Reported out 12/02/13
- HB181 (Brenner) Personal Identifiable Information-Students: To prohibit submission of a student’s personal identifiable information to the federal government without direct authorization of the local school board. Reported out 12/04/13.
- HB342 (Brenner/Driehaus) Straight A Program: To permit an educational service center to be a partner or the lead applicant of an education consortia seeking a grant under the Straight A Program, and to modify the goals of projects supported by the program. Reported out 12/04/13.
Schools of Honor Announced: The Ohio Department of Education announced on December 5, 2013 the selection of 37 schools for its High Progress Schools of Honor Award.
The schools were selected for improving the academic achievement of students, including students from economically disadvantaged homes. The schools had to rank in the top 10 percent of schools that had increased combined proficiency scores in reading and math in all tested grades over the past five years; ranked in the top 10 percent of schools for gains in graduation rates over the last five years; and met other report card measures. A list of schools is available.
Straight A Fund Awards Announced: The Straight A Governing Board met on December 6, 2013 and selected 24 proposals to receive the first round of Straight A Funds to support student achievement, classroom instruction, or improve efficiency. The Straight A Fund was approved in HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget last June, and includes up to $250 million that will be distributed over FY14 and FY15 in earmarks and awards. In the first round of awards, which will be distributed in January 2014, the Governing Board will allocate $88.6 million.
In October over 500 education systems and consortia submitted proposals to the Straight A Governing Board. From those proposals, 359 were deemed sustainable, and were approved for another round of evaluations. The following proposals were selected to receive funding out of a field of 45 that were determined to be eligible:
- Northern Local School District, $14.99 million for a collaborative involving 27 Appalachian schools.
- South Central Local Schools, $111,500
- Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, $2.95 million
- North Canton City Schools, $4.6 million
- Fayette Local Schools, $3.4 million
- Springfield-Clark CTC, $212,490
- James A. Garfield Local Schools, $5 million
- Oregon City Schools, $200,431
- Milford Exempted Village Schools, $1.06 million
- Kelleys Island Schools, $525,092
- Painesville City Schools, $302,798
- Marysville Exempted Village Schools, $12.5 million
- Otsego Local Schools, $855,583
- TRECA Digital Academy, $219,000;
- Beavercreek City Schools, $3.86 million
- Principal, Winesburg and Mt. Hope Elementary Schools, $205,485
- Cincinnati City Schools, $14.5 million
- Portsmouth City Schools, $447,861
- Dayton Early College Academy, $478,241
- Paulding Exempted Village Schools, $1.57 million
- Carrollton Exempted Village Schools, $4.06 million
- Trumbull Career and Technical Center, $297,841
- Groveport Madison Schools, $1.82 million
- Reynoldsburg City Schools, $14.45 million
State Board of Education to Meet: The State Board, Debe Terhar president, will meet on December 9 & 10, 2013 at the Ohio Department of Education, 25 S. Front Street, Columbus, OH.
The Achievement Committee, chaired by C. Todd Jones, will discuss the English Language Proficiency Assessment Standards for English Language Learners, discuss proposed amendments for Rule 3301-51-01 to 11 and 3301-51-21, Operating Standards for Children with Disabilities, and discuss the Third Grade-Guarantee-Reading Competencies.
The Capacity Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, will discuss establishing performance levels and benchmarks for growth in student achievement in reading and mathematics for dropout prevention and recovery community schools, receive an update on SB337 (2012), Certificate of Qualification for Employment for Persons Subject to Collateral Sanctions, and discuss Rule 3301-69-03, Medicaid Cost Reimbursement.
The newly named Urban and Rural Renewal Committee, chaired by Dr. Mark Smith, will review the work of the Center for Accountability and Continuous Improvement, discuss the goals of the committee, and receive an update on Citizen Schools and a Florida mentorship program.
The Legislative and Budget Committee, chaired by Bryan Williams, will meet on December 10, 2013 and receive an update on the status of legislation before the 130th Ohio General Assembly.
The Operating Standards Committee, chaired by Ron Rudduck, will meet on Monday, December 9, 2013 after an executive session, approximately at 2:30 PM. The committee will hear a panel discussion about the purpose of operating standards; receive comments about Rule 3301-35-05, Student Focus; and receive information about a rule on blended learning.
The Accountability Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, will discuss the state report card and measures for Career Technical Education.
The State Board will convene its business meeting at 10:15 AM on December 10, 2013, and consider the following resolutions:
#4 Approve a resolution of intent to amend Rule 3301-51-15 of the Ohio Administrative Code entitled Operating Standards for Identifying and Serving Gifted Students. (Volume 2, page 13).
#5 Approve a resolution of intent to amend Rule 3301-69-03 of the Ohio Administrative Code entitled Medicaid School Component Administrative Costs. (Volume 2, page 35)
#13 Approve a resolution to adopt Rule 3301-28-07 of the Administrative Code regarding Kindergarten through Third Grade Literacy Improvement and to amend Rule 3301-28-06 of the Administrative Code Regarding the Value-Added Progress Dimension. (Volume 3, page 165)
#14 Approve a resolution of appointment to the Educator Standards Board (Volume 4, page 4)
2012 PISA Results Released: The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released on December 3, 2013 the latest results for the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). PISA is administered to 15 year old students every three years, and measures student achievement in reading, mathematics, and science literacy. (A separate report measuring problem solving skills will be released in 2014.) The results are presented for 65 education systems in the world, including the United States, and include separate data for three states, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Florida.
Students who score above 5 on the PISA are considered top scorers. Students who score below 2 are considered below baseline level of proficiency.
According to a document entitled “Selected Findings from PISA 2012”, “The U.S. average mathematics, science, and reading literacy scores in 2012 were not measurably different from average scores in previous PISA assessment years with which comparisons can be made (2003, 2006 and 2009 for mathematics; 2006, and 2009 for science; and 2000, 2003, and 2009 for reading).”
Students in Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong-China, Ireland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Macao-China, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Republic of Korea, Shanghai-China, Singapore, and Switzerland had higher average scores than students in the United States.
American students ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science, and 25th in math, among other developed nations. Among all 65 countries, the U.S. ranked 24th in reading, 28th in science, and 36th in math. The U.S. states of Massachusetts and Connecticut had higher average scores than the United States in all three subjects.
The following are some highlights of the 2012 PISA results:
- The percentage of top performing 15-year-old students (those scoring at level 5 or above) in mathematics literacy ranged from 55 percent in Shanghai-China to nearly 0 percent in Colombia and Argentina.
- The OECD average for top scorers was 13 percent. In the United States, 9 percent of 15-year-old students scored at proficiency level 5 or above. The U.S. percentage was lower than 27 education systems, higher than 22 education systems, and not measurably different than 13 education systems.
- The percentage of top performers in mathematics in the United States overall (9 percent) was higher than the state of Florida (6 percent), but lower than Massachusetts (19 percent) and Connecticut (16 percent).
- Average scores in mathematics literacy ranged from 613 in Shanghai-China to 368 in Peru. The average OECD score was 494. The U.S. average score was 481. The U.S. average was lower than 29 education systems, higher than 26 education systems, and not measurably different than 9 education systems. The U.S. average was lower than the states of Massachusetts (514) and Connecticut (506), but higher than Florida (467).
- Percentages of top-performing 15-year-old students (those scoring at level 5 or above) in science literacy ranged from 27 percent in Shanghai-China and 23 percent in Singapore to nearly 0 percent in eight education systems, and 8 percent for the OECD overall.
- In the United States, 7 percent of 15-year-old students scored at proficiency level 5 or above. The U.S. percentage was lower than 17 education systems, higher than 27 education systems, and not measurably different than 15 education systems. The percentage of top performers in science in the United States overall (7 percent) was lower than the states of Massachusetts (14 percent) and Connecticut (13 percent), but not measurably different than Florida (5 percent).
- Average scores in science literacy ranged from 580 in Shanghai-China to 373 in Peru. The OECD average score was 501. The U.S. average score was 497. The U.S. average was lower than 22 education systems, higher than 29 education systems, and not measurably different than 13 education systems. The U.S. average was lower than the states of Massachusetts (527) and Connecticut (521), but not measurably different than Florida (485).
- Percentages of top performing 15-year-old students (those scoring at level 5 or above) in reading literacy ranged from 25 percent in Shanghai-China and 21 percent in Singapore to nearly 0 percent in 3 education systems. The percent of top performing students for the OECD was 8 percent.
- In the United States, 8 percent of U.S. 15-year-old students scored at proficiency level 5 or above. The U.S. percentage was lower than 14 education systems, higher than 33 education systems, and not measurably different than 12 education systems. The percentage of top performers in reading in the United States overall (8 percent) was higher than the state of Florida (6 percent), but lower than Massachusetts (16 percent) and Connecticut (15 percent).
- Average scores in reading literacy ranged from 570 in Shanghai-China to 384 in Peru. The average OECD score was 496. The U.S. average score was 498. The U.S. average was lower than 19 education systems, higher than 34 education systems, and not measurably different than 11 education systems. The U.S. average was lower than the U.S. states Massachusetts (527) and Connecticut (521), but not measurably different than Florida (492).
Reaction to the PISA Results: Education policy-makers, pundits, and bloggers filled the internet on December 3, 2013 with comments, laments, excuses, explanations, and humor in response to the release of the PISA results, also known as PISA Day and PISA Palooza by some.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan: The U.S. Department of Education arranged a PISA Day event, including a panel discussion about the results with U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria, and an audience of students from around the world.
In a statement released on December 3, 2013, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that the PISA results show that “…U.S. 15-year olds are still well behind their peers in top-performing nations” and the results “must serve as a wake-up call against educational complacency and low expectation.”
He goes on to say that students in many nations are advancing whereas our students are “basically losing ground”.
He also notes that, “…the real educational challenge in America is not just about poor kids in poor neighborhoods. It’s about many kids in many neighborhoods. The PISA results underscore that educational shortcomings in the U.S. are not just the problems of other people’s children.”
In answer to critics of the Obama Administration’s education policies, Secretary Duncan says in the statement that the good news is that states are beginning to adopt the practices of nations doing well on PISA, according to a report issued in 2010 by the OECD. These practices include adopting higher education standards and Race to the Top efforts to place effective teachers and principals in the schools where they are needed.
In response to those who are critical of using the results of international assessments to drive education policies, Secretary Duncan notes that the world has changed, and U.S. dominance in the world economy will be based in the future on how well U.S. students can apply math and science skills and compete in the global market for jobs.
See “The Threat of Educational Stagnation and Complacency” by U.S Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, The Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Education, December 3, 2013.
Education Week: Writing for Education Week, Liana Heitin reports that, “U.S. performance in reading, math, and science has remained stagnant since 2009 as other nations have plowed ahead, according to new results from a prominent international assessment.”
Students in Shanghai, China performed the highest in all three subjects, and students in Poland and Germany made significant gains in scores to surpass students in the United States.
The article also notes, however, that students in Massachusetts “demonstrated strong performance on the global stage”, and that only the scores for students in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Macao were publicly released, although students in twelve Chinese provinces took the exam.
The international report of PISA results also shows that poverty and other socioeconomic factors affect student scores, reports Ms. Heitin. But the PISA results also identify “countries in which achievement is not as closely tied to such factors, including Hong Kong, Estonia, and Japan.”
One correlation that was not evident in the latest PISA results, according to Ms. Heitin, is the belief that high performing countries draw their teachers from the top third of students. The results show instead, that high performing countries value education and develop teacher talent.
See: U.S. Achievement Stalls as Other Nations Make Gains by Liana Heitin, Education Week, December 3, 2013.
Education Week, Curriculum Matters Blog: In another post for Education Week’s Curriculum Matters Blog, Liana Heitin writes that there are caveats to avoid when interpreting the latest PISA data. For example, it is tempting to say that the U.S. ranks 24th in reading, “But in truth, the United States ranks somewhere between 19th and 31st in reading, because there is a range in which scores do not differ to a statistically significant degree. Countries that fall within that range should be described as on par with each other or within the same performance category.”
School Finance 101 Blog: Rutgers University Professor Bruce Baker offers a statistical analysis of the PISA results and poverty in his School Finance 101 Blog: Data and thoughts on public and private school funding in the U.S.
He calls the release of the international scores “PISA-Palooza”, because of the “wild punditry” and the “mass condemnation of the U.S. public schools” that follows the release of such international comparisons of student achievement.
Through an analysis of the data he has identified that there is a reasonably strong association between the percent of children in families below 50 percent of median income and PISA math literacy scores. He finds that these students are actually “beating the odds” by achieving higher scores than expected, when family poverty rates are considered.
He writes, “Bottom line – economic conditions matter and simple rankings of countries by their PISA scores aren’t particularly insightful (and the above graph only marginally more insightful). Further, comparisons of cities in China to entire nations is a particularly silly approach.”
See “Graph of the Day: My contribution to PISA Palooza” by Bruce Baker, posted on December 3, 2013.
HB370 (Phillips) Boards of Education-Public Improvement Contracts: To make a board of education of a school district or the governing board of an educational service center subject to the Prevailing Wage Law for public improvement contracts.
SB248 (Cafaro) Internet-Computer Based Home Schooled Education Recommendation: To require a public children services agency to recommend whether a child should be admitted to an internet- or-computer-based community school or excused by a school district superintendent from attendance at school for home education.
HB374 (Patterson/Rogers) Straight A Program: To make an appropriation for additional funding for the Straight A Program.
Governor’s Awards for the Arts Announced: The six winners of the 2014 Governor’s Awards for the Arts were announced last week. The winners will receive their recognition along with original artworks by Ohio painter Steven Walker at a May 21, 2014 public luncheon at the Columbus Athenaeum. The event will be hosted by the Ohio Arts Council and Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation.
The award categories and recipients are:
- Arts Administration, Sherri Geldin, Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus
- Arts Education, Dancing Wheels Company & School in Cleveland
- Arts Patron, The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation in Cincinnati
- Business Support of the Arts, Macy’s, Inc.
- Community Development and Participation, Neal Gittleman, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra
- Individual Artist, Sheri Williams, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company
The winners were selected from 76 submitted nominations that were reviewed by the annual selection committee.
The luncheon is being held on Arts Day in Columbus on May 21, 2014. Arts Day also includes an arts advocacy briefing, student exhibitions, and an arts showcase at the Statehouse.
See more here.
Free Webinar About Evaluating Arts Teachers: Education Week will host a free webinar on December 9, 2013 from 2:00 to 3:00 PM ET entitled Using Classroom Portfolios to Evaluate Arts Educators. The webinar will feature a discussion about the Tennessee Fine Arts Growth Measures System, which is an alternative system to evaluate teachers when standardized test scores are not available. The system was developed by Shelby, County, Tennessee, and uses portfolios of student work before and after instruction to measure student growth for teacher evaluations. Teachers submit their portfolios electronically to the state, where they are scored by trained peer reviewers.
Participating in the webinar are Dru Davison, fine arts adviser, Shelby County school district, and Marcy Singer-Gabella, education professor and associate chairwoman of teacher education, Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. The webinar will be moderated by Erik Robelen, assistant managing editor, Education Week.
All Education Week webinars are archived and accessible “on demand” for up to four months after the original live-streaming date.
Information about the webinar is available.