130th Ohio General Assembly: The second half of the 130th Ohio General Assembly begins this week. The House and Senate are scheduled to hold some committee hearings, but House and Senate sessions will not begin until next week. The House and Senate education committees are not meeting this week.
What’s on the General Assembly’s Agenda for 2014? Even though Ohio lawmakers had a rather robust fall legislative session, they are returning from their holiday recess to Columbus with another full agenda. This session lawmakers will be working on a number of bills addressing election laws (SB205, SB238, SB216, HB78 and SB175); the State Capital Improvement Program (SJR6); Ohio’s Medicaid system (HB208 and HB317); oil and gas severance taxes (HB375); municipal tax structure overhaul (HB5); green energy laws (SB58 and HB302); expansion of the homestead exemption for disabled military veterans (HB85); and several education bills.
One of the education bills that will be considered by the full House this session is HB193 (Brenner) Graduation Requirements, which was approved by the House Education Committee in December 2013. With the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Ohio lawmakers must approve legislation to replace the Ohio Graduation Test with assessments that are aligned to the CCSS and eliminate double-testing students as the new standards and assessments are phased-in. HB193 changes the number and types of tests that students will need to pass in order to graduate. The proposed changes differ from the proposed number and types of graduation tests recommended by the State Board of Education on November 11, 2013.
Governor Kasich is also expected to introduce this session another “mid-biennial review budget” that might include another reduction in personal income tax rates, and a biennial capital budget that will provide support for public construction projects, civic improvements, and community-based projects, including those in the arts. The capital budget is generally approved by the Ohio General Assembly in even-numbered years. The General Assembly approved in 2012 a $1.7 billion capital budget, but the budget did not include funds for community-based projects. According to an article in the Columbus Dispatch on January 3, 2014, the capital budget for this year is expected to be more than $1.7 billion, because of the financial stability of the state, and will include community-based projects.
To develop the capital budget from the ground-up, the Kasich administration asked area chambers of commerce to work with economic development officials in eight regions of the state to prioritize capital projects and submit requests to the Office of Budget and Management (OBM), Tim Keen executive director. A Capital Arts and Cultural Committee was appointed to vet capital projects for the arts. The committee included representatives from six economic development regions of the state and representatives appointed by the governor and universities. The committee submitted to the OBM 66 proposed projects in the arts, totaling $33 million.
The capital budget bill is expected to be introduced in the House in February 2014.
See “Area lines up requests for capital spending” by Alan Johnson, The Columbus Dispatch, January 3, 2014.
State Board Has Four Open Seats: Jeff Mims, representing the 3rd State Board of Education District, resigned from the board on December 31, 2013 to assume his newly elected position on the Dayton City Commission.
The State Board of Education, which is composed of 11 elected members and 8 appointed members, now has four open seats. Governor Kasich is required by law to fill vacant seats on the state board within 30 days, but some seats have been vacant since last year. Governor Kasich did appoint Ron Rudduck in August 2013 to complete the term of Jeff Hardin (3rd State Board of Education District), who passed away in March 2013.
Recent changes on the board include Bryan Williams, who resigned in December 2013; Angela Thi Bennett, who resigned in July 2013; and Dennis Shelton, who resigned in September 2012. Governor Kasich did not re-appoint Stanley Jackson to the board in January 2013, leaving that appointed seat also open.
Congress Takes No Action in 2013 on Many Federal Education Acts: The 113th Congress will return to Washington, D.C. in January 2014 with the same education laws to reauthorize as in January 2013. According to Alyson Klein, who reports for Education Week, the House and Senate have approved some education bills over the past year, but divisions among the Democrats, Republicans, and more conservative Republicans have prevented the reauthorization of several federal laws, including the following:
- Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act last renewed in 2006.
- Child Care and Development Block Grant Act last renewed in 1996.
- Education Sciences Reform Act last renewed in 2002.
- Elementary and Secondary Education Act (known as the No Child Left Behind Act) last renewed in 2002.
- Head Start Act last renewed in 2007.
- Higher Education Act last renewed in 2008.
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act last renewed in 2004.
- Workforce Investment Act last renewed in 1998.
See “Crush of Education Laws Awaits Renewal in Congress”, by Alyson Klein, Education Week, January 15, 2013.
See also, “Miller on Waiver Renewals and Prospects for Breaking the Education Logjam” by Alyson Klein, Education Week, December 18, 2013.
Appropriations for Federal Education Programs Debated: Alyson Klein reports in an article for Education Week that lawmakers returning to Washington, D.C. need to decide on appropriations for specific federal programs by January 15, 2014 as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act (H.R. 59), which was signed into law on December 26, 2013.
The act, which was negotiated by Senator Patty Murray and Representative Paul Ryan, funds the federal government through September 13, 2015; reduces some of the cuts in federal education programs imposed in March 2013 through sequestration; reduces the sequestration cuts that would have gone into effect in January 2014; caps federal spending at $1.021 trillion for FY14 and $1.014 trillion in FY15; and restores $22.5 billion of the $26 billion that was cut from non-defense domestic discretionary programs, which includes K-12 education programs.
Now members of the House and Senate appropriations committees must recommend the specific appropriations for the federal programs, such as ESEA, career and technical education, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, to name a few. This could be problematic, because of the competing ideologies about how federal programs should be funded as expressed by the Obama administration, Democrats, Republicans, conservative Republicans, and the education community.
The Obama administration, for example, is urging Congress to spend more funds on its education agenda, which includes continued funding for competitive grant programs such as Race to the Top, and provide additional funds to expand early childhood education programs. At the same time, some conservative members of the Republican party want the federal government to reduce its involvement on K-12 education, while some national education groups are urging Congress to allocate limited federal funds to programs that serve the most students to improve equity, rather than through the Obama administration’s selective competitive grant programs.
See “Showdown Brews as Congress Turns Focus to K-12 Spending” by Alyson Klein, Education Week, January 2, 2014.
States Setting Common Core Test Cutoffs: Catherine Gewertz writes in an article for Education Week that two consortia, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia, are aligning proposed cut scores for assessments of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) with the cut scores of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Both the Smarter Balanced and PARCC consortia have established the forth achievement level for students on the exams as meeting “college readiness”. The achievement levels for the Smarter Balanced assessments are “thorough”, “adequate”, “partial”, “minimum”, and the achievement levels for PARCC are “distinguished”, “strong”, “moderate”, or “partial”.
According to the article, fewer than four in ten students reached the “proficient” level on the 2013 NAEP reading and math examines, which means that if states align their new cut scores with the consortia recommended levels, overall state scores will drop when the new tests are implemented in 2015. States participating in the Race to the Top grant are required to report students performance on the new exams, but are not required to use the achievement levels recommended by the consortia for other purposes, such as a graduation requirement. Massachusetts, Louisiana, and Arizona have already decided to phase-in the use of the consortia assessments and cut scores, and other states, including lawmakers in Ohio, are debating the time line for administering the new assessments.
See “States Grapple with Common Test-Score Cutoffs: High targets risk steep drop in results”, by Catherine Gewertz, Education Week, December 10, 2014.
New Jersey Task Force to Examine Economic Achievement Gap: An article in the Newark, New Jersey Star-Ledger describes efforts by the New Jersey School Boards Association, Lawrence Feinsod executive director, to help school districts in New Jersey develop strategies to close the economic-based achievement gap among students. The task force, which includes eleven urban, rural, and suburban districts, and community and education leaders, is reviewing research and best practices to develop recommendations by next fall to overcome a persistent achievement gap among students from low-income families. The New Jersey School Boards Association has targeted student achievement as its priority, moving away from a previous focus on board governance.
See “N.J. School Boards Association to Study Ways to Close Economic Achievement Gap” by Peggy McGione, The Star-Ledger, December 24, 2013.
Improve Schools by Eliminating Inequity: David Berliner, regents professor emeritus at Arizona State University, describes in a paper published by the Teachers College Record, how the education reforms instituted over the past decade are not working, and concludes that the best way to improve America’s schools is through “jobs that provide families living wages.”
The 13-page paper includes a discussion about the current education reform efforts, and asks why these reforms have not improved American schools. Using research to support his observations, Professor Berliner describes how policy-makers unrealistically believe that children in poverty can improve their economic status through the heroic efforts of hard-working and dedicated teachers. The facts are more sobering, however. Earning a college degree could help low-income students improve their economic status, but, according to the research of Bailey and Dynarski (2011), only nine percent of low-income children obtain a college degree. Unfortunately, most children born in poverty remain in poverty. The author writes, “Powerful social forces exist to constrain the lives led by the poor, and our nation pays an enormous price for not trying harder to ameliorate these conditions.”
The author states that these “false ideas about the origins of success” are driving education policies and leading to the belief that the sources of school failure are inside the schools, “…resulting in attempts to improve America’s teachers, curriculum, testing programs and administration.” For example, the bipartisan No Child Left Behind Act, passed in 2001, requires more school accountability through testing and data reports, and severe consequences for schools that do not improve. Schools are required to close the achievement gaps among student groups, including students who are poor, African-American students, Hispanic students, Asian students, non-English speaking students, and white middle class students. The author shows, however, through several research studies, that the No Child Left Behind Act does not work. By 2008-2009 about one-third of all U.S. schools failed to meet their targeted goals under NCLB (Dietz, 2010), and researchers have identified a “plethora of negative side effects associated with high-stakes testing” that was implemented.
Professor Berliner writes that since students only spend about 10 percent of time in school between the ages of 5-18, “out of school variables account for about 60 percent of the variance that can be accounted for in student achievement”. These variables include family income, the neighborhood’s sense of collective efficacy, violence rate, medical and dental care, food security, number of moves a family makes over the course of school years, the number of parents in a family, provisions of high quality early childhood education, and languages spoken at home.
Citing research studies conducted by Wilkinson and Pickett in 2010 identifying the correlation between the size of the income gap in a nation and the number of social problems the nation will encounter, the author concludes that “…the design of better economic and social policies can do more to improve our schools than continued work on educational policy independent of such concerns.”
In addition to “a living wage” for all families, Professor Berliner identifies other strategies to improve student achievement:
- Higher taxes to support the essential services for a community and school, including counselors, librarians, school nurses, mentors for technology
- High quality preschool
- Small class size in the early grades
- Summer education opportunities
- Tutoring struggling students
- Reduce “teacher churn” in schools
- Visiting nurse services for new mothers
- Wrap-around services for children and families
- Education programs for adults
See “Effects of Inequality and Poverty vs. Teachers and Schooling on America’s Youth”, by David C. Berliner, Teachers College Record 115, Columbia University, November 12, 2013.
Study Examines SAT Scores and Low Income: A study published in the Teachers College Record by Ezekiel J. Dixon-Román (University of Pennsylvania), Howard T. Everson (City University of New York), and John J. McArdle (University of Southern California) examined the following questions:
- Is the relationship between family income and SAT performance non-linear?
- Does the relationship differ markedly by race?
- How strong are the effects of poverty on SAT performance?
- To what extent does poverty account for the problematic Black-White performance differences on the SAT?
The researchers analyzed, using structural equation modeling, a large national sample of Black and White college-bound high school students who took the SAT in 2003. The model was developed to examine the direct and indirect effects of family income on SAT performance for Black and White students, and also the direct and indirect effects of family income on SAT performance after controlling for the combined effects of parental education and high school achievement. High school achievement was measured by student reported GPA.
The study found that high school achievement has a strong impact on SAT scores for both White and Black students. Family income was found to have a nonlinear direct effect on total SAT performance, and the association was substantially larger for Black students than for White students, especially for those students with low family income.
See “Race, Poverty and SAT Scores: Modeling the Influences of Family Income on Black and White High School Students’ SAT Performance”, by Ezekiel J. Dixon-Román, Howard T. Everson, and John J. McArdle, Teachers College of Record, December.
HB393 (Baker/Landis) Career Guide: Requires public high schools by April first of each year to publish a career decision guide in their newsletter or on their web site for parents and students. The career decision guide would be developed in coordination with local employers and workforce investment boards, and include a discussion of various careers and job profiles, including average salaries in the region, paths to achieving the careers, strategies for minimizing debt in attaining the careers, and region-specific labor data; cost comparisons among different educational options; and information on student debt, including an explanation of loan repayment and return on investment.
Mansfield’s Partners in Education Offers Workshops: The Mansfield-based Partners in Education, a program sponsored by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, is offering a series of professional development workshops to help teachers learn how to integrate arts activities into lesson plans to engage students and address learning styles.
The Mansfield Partners in Education Team includes Jody Nash, Principal, Spanish Immersion School; Carole M. Swope, Board Member, Mansfield Art Center; and Michael Miller, President/CEO and Chelsie Thompson, Director of Operations at Renaissance Theatre.
The Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education Program helps teachers implement the arts as part of their daily curriculum through arts integration. Arts integration is an approach to teaching in which students engage in a creative process that connects an art form, such as dancing or singing, with another subject area, such as math or reading. Since not all students learn the same way, the arts integration approach uses dance, music, drama, and visual art to engage children in learning all subjects.
The Kennedy Center partnership offers a wealth of resources to Mansfield area teachers, including access to local, state, and national teaching artists in their classrooms.
Teachers can sign up for two professional development workshops this year: “Poetry in Motion” with Randy Barron, January 28, 2014, and “Exploring Latin American Culture through Folk Tales” with Felix Pitre, March 25, 2014.
Funding for the Partners in Education is provided by Charles P. Hahn of Lincoln Financial Group, the Richland County Foundation, and the Ohio Arts Council.
To reserve a place in one of the workshops, contact the Ren Education Dept. at 419-522-2726 ext. 251.
Digital High School Planned for Cleveland: Patrick O’Donnell reports for The Plain Dealer that the Cleveland Metropolitan School District is planning to open the Cleveland High School for the Digital Arts. Planning for the school is in the early stages, and is supported by the Center for Art-Inspired Learning, formerly Young Audiences, and the Cleveland and George Gund foundations. Students will be able to study film, music, video games, visual art, and the other arts along with other subjects, and create digital products, such as games, recordings, or films that demonstrate mastery of essential concepts.
See “High school that teaches through video games, film and music: Coming to Cleveland soon?” by Patrick O’Donnell, The Plain Dealer on December 31, 2013.
Arts Education Book Reviewed: Anna Beresin recently reviewed for the Teachers College Record a book entitled Transforming City Schools Through Art: Approaches to Meaningful K-12 Learning by Karen Hutzel, Flavia M.C. Bastos, and Kim Cosier.
According to the review, the book includes a collection of essays that are based on case studies and the experiences of the authors, and align with the writings of John Dewey, Jean Piaget, and Paulo Freire.
The book is divided into three parts:
- Part I is entitled “Seeing the City: Resources, Assets, and Possibilities”, and includes chapters on “Artful Cityscapes: Transforming Urban Education with Art” by coeditor Bastos; “The Business of Beauty: Women as Assets in the City Beautiful Movement” by Funk; and “Counternarratives: Considering Urban Students’ Voices in Art Education” by Whitehead. The chapters in Part 1 focus on assets of urban living and creating meaning through the arts.
- Part II is entitled, “Reimaging Teacher Education Through Art: The Dialectic of Freedom” by coeditor Cosier. This section of the book focuses on the difficulty teaching the arts in the No Child Left Behind era. Included here are chapters entitled, “The City as Culturally Quilted Pedagogical Territory” by Guimaraes; “Community Arts Academy” by Heise and Bobick; and an interview with Olivia Gude by Cosier.
- According to the review Part III, entitled, “Engaging Pedagogies: Curriculum and Methodologies in the City”, is the most pragmatic section, and includes chapters entitled, “A Possibility of Togetherness: Collaborative Art Learning for Urban Education” by Hutzel; “Picturing City Youth as Writers, Artists, and Citizens” by Zenkov and Sheridan; “Growing up Gay in the Midwest: The Youth Video OUTreach Project” by Rhodes; a chapter by Ng-He on the creation of a teen museum; “Sacred Structures” by Rolling, Jr.; and “Public Art” by Buffington and Waldner.
The reviewer writes, “One of the concepts that I will personally take away from the book is this idea of researching/interpreting public art/space, and then having students respond WITH ART, and then inviting critique from local community members (p. 140). The conclusion itself quotes the great Brazilian playwright Augusto Boal, suggesting that when precise explanations are elusive, “the way is open for poetic interpretation” (p. 148). The cure for our city schools? Deeply poetic art. The cure for our ailing cities? Deeply, poetic, art.”
See the book review for Transforming City Schools Through Art: Approaches to Meaningful K-12 Learning by Anna Beresin, Teachers College Record, December 18, 2013.
Title: Transforming City Schools Through Art: Approaches to Meaningful K-12 Learning
Author(s): Karen Hutzel, Flavia M.C. Bastos, & Kim Cosier
Publisher: Teachers College Press, New York
ISBN: 0807752924, Pages: 192, Year: 2012
Ohio State to Create a World-class Arts District: According to an article in the Columbus Dispatch, Ohio State will invest $200 million to upgrade facilities for visual art, dance, music, and the performing arts over the next decade to create an arts district on campus, and connect the campus with art galleries in the Short North and the museums, theaters, and other artistic spaces Downtown.
Long term facilities plans developed by the university call for Sullivant Hall, the Wexner Center for the Arts, and the Mershon Auditorium to serve as the entrance to the arts district. The university has already spent $33 million renovating Sullivant Hall, which houses the world’s largest academic cartoon library, OSU’s dance- and art-education departments, OSU’s Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design, and a new center that was created with a $6 million gift from an alumnus to help students understand the business side of the arts.
Hughes Hall (music), Hopkins Hall (art and computing), and Hayes Hall (art, art history, and industrial, interior, and visual communication design), have also been renovated.
OSU is also supporting a campaign to raise funds to expand and renovate Weigel Hall and build a recital hall and teaching/rehearsal studios. The university has already committed $20 million in university funds for these renovations.
Discussions are underway to explore expanding the Wexner Center, which might include demolishing the Mershon Auditorium, and building a performing-arts complex on High Street.
The university has set aside $50 million from the interest received from the parking facilities lease agreement to support these projects.
See “Ohio State to Create World Class Arts District” by Encarnacion Pyle, The Columbus Dispatch, December 30, 2013.