130th General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate will hold sessions and hearings this week.
The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner, will meet on January 15, 2014 at 4:00 PM in the South Hearing room. The committee will receive testimony on SB167 (Tavares) School Policies – Inappropriate Behavior.
The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton, will meet on January 15, 2013 at 5:00 PM in room 313. The committee will receive testimony on the following bills:
- HB58 (Gerberry) State Board of Education Membership: Changes the voting membership of the State Board of Education to consist of a member from each electoral districts with boundaries coinciding with the state’s Congressional districts. The board’s president would be appointed by the Governor if there is an even number of electoral districts.
- HB211 (Williams) Lottery Report: Requires the Director of the State Lottery Commission to prepare a report related to the Lottery Profits Education Fund.
- HB343 (Stebelton) Educational Programs: Regarding educational programs for certain students and individuals who have not received a high school diploma.
- HB348 (Henne/Hagan) College Health Plans: Prohibits state institutions of higher education from requiring students to be covered by a health insurance policy or a health care benefits plan as a condition of enrollment or from automatically enrolling students in such policies or plans.
One Down, Three to Go: Governor Kasich appointed on January 7, 2014 Rebecca Vazquex-Skillings, vice-president for business affairs at Otterbein University, to the State Board of Education. She replaces Angela Thi Bennett, who resigned last summer from the board after taking a new job that conflicted with her duties as a board member. The Governor needs to appoint three more members to bring the board to its full membership of 19.
Ohio Teachers Recognized: The White House announced on December 20, 2013 the recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Two Ohio educators were among the 102 recipients named. Elizabeth Pitzer, a fifth grade mathematics teacher in the Arcanum Butler Local School District and Natalie Harr, an early childhood science teacher in the Crestwood Local School District, were recognized by a panel of scientists, mathematicians, and educators for their ability to help students make progress in mathematics and science. Recipients of this presidential honor receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation and are invited to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony.
Information about the award is available at https://www.paemst.org/.
AFT President Raises Questions About VAM: According to several reports in the media, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), is questioning the use of value added modeling (VAM) as a component of state teacher-evaluation systems. Stephen Sawchuk, writer for Education’s Week Teacher Beat blog, reported that the AFT will ask the U.S. Department of Education to reassess their support for including VAM in state teacher evaluation systems under the Race to the Top grants. The article states that Ms. Weingarten cites recent reports about mistakes made in calculating teacher value added scores for the District of Columbia, which led to the unnecessary termination of a teacher, as a reason for questioning the use of VAM for teacher evaluations or merit pay. Ms. Weingarten also notes that a number of researchers have opposed using VAM to evaluate teachers, because of its inconsistency from year to year, and the lack of transparency regarding the formulas used to calculate VAM.
Side note: Some of the researchers who oppose using VAM to evaluate teachers are Linda Darling-Hammond (Stanford University), Edward H. Haertel (National Research Council Board on Testing and Assessment), Jesse Rothstein (University of California-Berkeley); Audrey Beardsley (Arizona State University); and Bruce Baker (Rutgers University).
See “AFT’s Weingarten Backtracks on Using Value-Added Measures for Evaluations” by Stephen Sawchuk Education Week’s Teacher Beat blog, January 7, 2014.
Complaint Against CMS resolved: The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced on January 7, 2014 that it had entered into an agreement with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMS) to ensure that the district provides Limited English Proficient (LEP) and Latino students with equal access to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs offered at the high school level in CMS.
The agreement resolves an OCR investigation, which determined that the district provided unequal access to its high school STEM programs for Limited English Proficient and Latino students.
The district operates four STEM schools: the Cleveland School of Science and Medicine, the Metropolitan Cleveland Consortium STEM High School (MC2STEM), Design Lab-Early College at @ Health Careers, and Garrett Morgan School of Science. The district also incorporates STEM-themed training into the curriculum and academic programs at three other high schools.
According a press release about the agreement, investigators from the ORC found that during the 2012-13 school year only 130 of the district’s 5,586 Hispanic students enrolled in the district’s four STEM high schools; the district did not make information about the STEM programs available to parents in other languages; and the location of the high schools was a barrier for Hispanic students living in Cleveland.
The Cleveland Metropolitan School District agreed to do the following to resolve the issue:
- identify and assess barriers to Latino participation in STEM program
- develop and provide OCR, by the end of the current school year, with a plan to be implemented beginning in the 2014-15 school year to ensure equal STEM access district-wide
- promote STEM programs specifically to Latino students and their families
- make sure that information communicated to Limited English Proficient families about STEM programs is either translated or interpreted into their home language and specifically provide written notice that ELL services are available for students who enroll in STEM programs
- annually monitor student enrollment in STEM programs and make changes as necessary to improve access for Latino and ELL students
- improve academic counseling services and retrain district staff as necessary to improve equitable access to STEM programs in the district.
See “U.S. Department of Education and Cleveland Metropolitan School District Reach Agreement to Provide Equal Access to STEM Programs for Limited English Proficient (LEP) and Latino Students”, U.S. Department of Education Press Release, January 7, 2014.
New Federal Policy Guidance on Discipline Policies Released: The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice issued on January 8, 2014 new guidance documents to assist local education agencies develop school discipline policies that enhance school climate, increase safety, and comply with federal law. The new guidance documents support positive discipline policies that uphold the civil rights of students and are administered without discriminating against students on the basis of race, color, or national origin.
See “U.S. Departments of Education and Justice Release School Discipline Guidance Package to Enhance School Climate and Improve School Discipline Policies/Practices” U.S. Department of Education Press Release on January 8, 2014.
State Board of Education to Meet: The State Board of Education, Debe Terhar president, will meet on January 13 & 14, at the Ohio Department of Education, 25 South Front Street in Columbus, Ohio.
This month the State Board will receive a presentation from the Berkshire and Newbury school districts regarding their proposed consolidation; recognize Ohio’s Teacher of the Year, Debra J. McDonald and finalists; recognize and Milken Family Foundation award recipient, Sarah Franko; receive a presentation about the Straight A Fund; receive a presentation on Value-Added by Jamie Meade, Managing Director, Strategic Measures, Battelle for Kids; receive a report from the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Richard Ross; receive public participation on agenda and non-agenda items at 1:00 PM on January 14, 2014; and participate in the following committees:
The Achievement Committee, chaired by C. Todd Jones, will meet on January 13, 2014 at 8:45 AM. The committee will approve a resolution to adopt reading competencies for teachers, as required by Senate Bill 21; approve a resolution of intent to adopt proposed amendments to Rule 3301-51-01 to 11 and 3301-51-21, Operating Standards for Children with Disabilities; and discuss proposed amendments to Rule 3301-46-01, Innovative Education Pilot Program.
The Capacity Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, will meet on January 13, 2014 at 8:45 AM and discuss the Educational Testing Service’s Praxis Teaching Reading Elementary Education Exam; the Resident Educator Summative Assessment (RESA); and the ODE plan to review Ohio Assessments for Educators Licensure Exams.
The Urban and Rural Renewal Committee, chaired by Dr. Mark Smith, will meet on January 13, 2014 at 8:45 AM and discuss what is happening in Massachusetts; the Expanding Visions Foundation: School Improvement Grant data; and Mentorship State-Wide.
The Accountability Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, will meet approximately at 4:00 PM on January 13, 2014, and discuss the Gifted Indicator and K-3 Data.
The Operating Standards Committee, chaired by Ron Rudduck, will meet on January 14, 2014 at 8:00 AM and review changes to Rule 3301-35-04 and discuss the future work of the committee.
The Legislative and Budget Committee, chaired by Kathleen McGervey, will meet on January 14, 2014 at 9:00 AM. The committee will receive an update about recently approved legislation, receive an update on HB193 (Brenner) Graduation Requirements, and Educator Licensing.
The State Board will consider the following resolutions during their business meeting on Tuesday, January 14, 2014:
#2 Approve an Agreement to transfer territory from the Sycamore Community City School District, Hamilton County, to the Indian Hill Exempted Village School District, Hamilton County.
#10 Approve a Resolution to Amend Rule 3301-8-01 of the Administrative Code entitled Payment of Debt Charges Under the State Credit Enhancement Program.
#11 Approve a Resolution to Amend Rule 3301-24-04 of the Administrative Code entitled Teacher Residency.
#12 Approve a Resolution to Amend Rule 3301-26-01 of the Administrative Code entitled Examinations for Educator Licensure.
#13 Approve a Resolution to Rescind Rule 3301-71-01 of the Administrative Code entitled Poverty Based Assistance.
#14 Approve a Resolution to Adopt Reading Competencies for teachers.
Recommendations Released for Ohio’s Dual Enrollment Programs: Board of Regents Chancellor, John Carey, released on December 30, 2013 a document entitled College Credit Plus, Chancellor John Carey’s Recommendations for Dual Credit Programs in Ohio.
The document includes recommendations to create a new College Credit Plus Program and establish clear requirements and goals for dual credit programs in Ohio.
The Kasich administration included in HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget as introduced a new framework for granting high school students college credit and high school credit at the same time. Lawmakers were not able to agree with the proposal, and so the Chancellor was directed in HB59 to develop recommendations by December 31, 2013, and report the recommendations to the governor and leaders in the House and Senate.
The recommendations were to address a number of issues with the current dual credit system, which has been described as confusing, under-utilized, and “…administered differently across the state with varying degrees of efficacy and quality”. There is also a lack of transparency in the way dual credit programs are funded, an insufficient number of qualified instructors, and a lack of data to make policy decisions about the program. Many policy-makers also believe that students do not take advantage of the program, because parents do not receive useful information in a timely fashion.
The Chancellor was directed in HB59 to develop the recommendations with the input from a variety of stakeholder groups, and so he convened representatives of the Inter-University Council of Ohio, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio, the Ohio Association of Community Colleges, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, the Ohio Association of School Business Officials, the Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators, the Ohio School Boards Association, the Ohio Association of Career Technical Superintendents, the Ohio Association of Independent Schools, and the Catholic Conference of Ohio.
Highlights of the Recommendations
The Chancellor’s recommendations for College Credit Plus Program include the following goals supported by a number of specific recommendations:
- Clearly define the College Credit Plus Program. (Three recommendations)
- Expand participation in dual credit opportunities among all student demographic populations. (Ten recommendations)
- Create a transparent dual credit funding system in which both school districts and colleges equitably share the costs of educating dual credit students. (Sixteen recommendations)
- Ensure that each college credit plus course is purposeful and meaningful for the student. (Six recommendations)
- Ensure that parents and students receive comprehensive and consistent communication regarding college credit plus opportunities. (Five recommendations)
- Require all secondary and post-secondary institutions to consistently collect, report, and track college credit plus data; to identify the students enrolled; the courses offered and taken; the number of credits earned; the instructor qualifications; student performances; and agreement innovations. (Two recommendations)
Current law requires that all high schools provide students with the opportunity to participate in a dual enrollment program, and that each high school provide at least one dual enrollment option.
The Chancellor’s recommendations define dual enrollment programs as “arrangements where a student is engaged in non-secular, non-remedial educational coursework while in high school that automatically results in transcripted high school and college credit at the successful conclusion of that coursework.” Programs in which high school students earn college credits in other ways, such as Advanced Placement or the International Baccalaureate, are not included in the College Credit Plus Program, but remain as “advanced standing options”.
According to the document, “The College Credit Plus Program will be the primary mechanism to pay for student-earned, transcripted college credit while in high school and will be paid via a transfer from the public school district’s foundation funds or from the funds appropriated for non-public and home-schooled students.” However, the recommendations also allow students/parents to have the opportunity to elect to pay for a college course and elect to receive only college credit for that course, or to receive both high school credit and college credit for that course.
All public school districts and schools, including STEM and charter schools, and all IHE (institutions of higher education) must participate in the program. There is an exception for Joint Vocational Schools. The recommendations also permit institutions of higher education to determine their own College Credit Plus admission requirements, but the institutions still “…must consider all available student data that may be an indicator of college readiness, including but not limited to end-of-course exams, standardized test results, grade point average, and teacher recommendations.”
The courses offered for the College Credit Plus Program, regardless of delivery environment, must be the same as courses offered on campus (included in the IHE course catalogue) at the partnering college or university for transcripted, non-remedial, credit.
College Credit Plus Program instructors must meet the academic credential requirements established by the Board of Regents (BOR). Secondary teachers, who earn graduate-level credit in a content area and meet the requirements established by BOR to qualify as a college course instructor, must be allowed to apply that credit to the required continuing education or professional development requirements necessary for licensure renewal.
The recommendations call for the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Board of Regents to jointly establish rules governing participation in the College Credit Plus Program in addition to those listed in statute, including the rules about notifying students and parents; establishing College Credit Plus Agreements; submitting payment information to ODE; reimbursing institutions of higher education; and deadlines for students to declare their intent to participate in the program.
The Chancellor and the Superintendent of Public Instruction jointly will create a basic information packet that high schools can customize for distribution to students/parents to inform them about the College Credit Plus Program.
There are five additional recommendations regarding Early College High School programs, which will eventually become part of the College Credit Plus Program; granting waivers for innovative programs; and establishing a College Credit Plus Advisory Committee.
Information about the College Credit Plus Program recommendations is available.
Education Week Releases Quality Counts 2014: If it’s January then it’s time for the annual Quality Counts report, published by Education Week and the Education Week Research Center since 1997. The Quality Counts report rates the education policies of U.S. states and territories based on a number of indicators.
This year Quality Counts 2014: District Disruption & Revival: School Systems Reshape to Compete — and Improve, includes the usual state ratings on education indicators and also provides updated scores for states on the K-12 Achievement Index, Chance for Success Index, and school finance index; and includes a special section with a number of articles that focus on the “forces that are reshaping the traditional school district.”
The report does not include information on state ratings for some previous indicators, including standards, assessments, and accountability and the teaching profession. Some data for the Chance for Success Index was not included, because it was not available due to the federal government shutdown.
Highlights of the Quality Counts State Ratings
K-12 Achievement Index: This index assesses state performance based on 18 indicators, such as results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), high school graduation rates, scores on Advanced Placement exams, etc. Using a 100 point scale, the nation as a whole scored 70.2 and earned a C-, which is higher than the 69.7 points the nation earned in 2012.
Looking at state scores, Massachusetts and Maryland scored the highest marks with a B, while New Jersey came in with a B-; New Hampshire, Vermont, and Minnesota earned C+s; 7 states earned Cs; 12 states earned C-s; 22 states scored between a D- and a D+; four states earned a D-; and Washington, D.C. and Mississippi earned Fs. Ohio earned a C-.
According to the report, “The past two years have been a period of broad-based improvements in all the achievement outcomes tracked by the index. The United States as a whole and the majority of states have posted gains on NAEP reading and math scores, graduation rates, and Advanced Placement tests.”
However, the size of the poverty gaps in NAEP 4th grade reading and 8th grade math have widened for the nation and for most states between 2011 and 2013.
The Chance for Success Index: This index examines the link between education and beneficial outcomes at stages in a person’s life based on data from 13 indicators. The life-stages are early childhood years, participation and performance in formal education, and educational attainment and workforce outcomes during adulthood.
Scores on the report increased a half point since last year, but overall the U.S. received a C+. Massachusetts earned the highest ranking of A-, followed by Connecticut, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and North Dakota with B+; 17 states earned a B or B-; 25 states earned between a C+ and a C-; Mississippi and New Mexico receive grades of D-plus, while Nevada scored the lowest with a D. Ohio earned a C+.
According to the article, “Since 2013, scores have shown some improvement in 32 states, with half of those states gaining at least a full point on the index’s 100-point scale. The most rapid improvements are found for the District of Columbia, Iowa, and Tennessee, each of which gained more than two points.”
School Finance: This index includes 8 indicators that examine school spending patterns and equity. The scores are based on 2011 data, the most recent data available. Overall the U.S. earned a C in this category. The national average for per-pupil expenditures is $11,864 (after adjusting for regional cost differences) and the average state spends 3.6 percent of its taxable resources on education.
Wyoming has the highest per-pupil spending in the nation at $19,534. Spending levels are lowest in Utah, at $6,905 per student.
Wyoming earned an A- in this category for the sixth year in a row, followed by West Virginia, New York, and Connecticut, which earned B+s; 11 states earned Bs or B-s; 20 states earned a C+, C, or C-; and 13 states earned between a D+ and D-. Ohio earned an overall grade of C+ and spends on average $11,897 per pupil.
According to the report, “Overall, 12 states improved, with New Hampshire, North Carolina, and North Dakota making the biggest gains since last year, each picking up at least 3 points and half a letter grade. Scores declined in 35 states, five of which—Indiana, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wyoming—lost more than 2 points apiece. Finance grades are not issued for the District of Columbia and Hawaii since both are single-district jurisdictions.”
The report also notes that many states continue to have large disparities in education funding across districts, and just seven states, Alaska, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming, provide higher funding for poor districts than wealthier districts.
The special section of Quality Counts 2014 includes several articles on the forces that are reshaping traditional school districts, including the impact of charter schools, vouchers, and virtual education on established districts, and the increased federal role in K-12 education.
According to a survey of 450 administrators, 89 percent reported that economic and fiscal challenges were the most important drivers of change in their districts, followed by accountability pressures (86 percent), and technology shifts (83 percent). Seventy percent said that large achievement gaps among students was an important driver.
When asked about what educational settings were influencing their districts, 58 percent of administrators reported that private schools had been an influence; 53 percent virtual schools; 53 percent home schooling; and 48 percent charter schools. Fourteen percent of administrators said that they supported vouchers as a school reform; 59 percent supported charter schools; 58 percent supported home schooling; and 74 percent supported virtual/online schools.
One strategy that has been discussed to address disparities in education funding across districts is merging high and low poverty districts. Most school administrators (62 percent) believed that this approach would increase equity in school funding, but only 31 percent believed that it would also raise student achievement.
Most administrators reported that they did not believe that state-led turnaround strategies would help a struggling school. Fewer than one fifth, 19 percent, believed that turnaround strategies would raise student achievement, and only 18 percent reported that this strategy would reduce achievement gaps.
See Quality Counts 2014.
Arts Education for All Students: Several national organizations released on January 8, 2014 a Statement supporting arts education as part of a balanced education. The Statement, entitled “Arts Education for America’s Students: A Shared Endeavor”, calls upon public policy leaders to provide a “systematic and rigorous arts education for all students in all public schools by leveraging the expertise and experience of the partners involved in arts education.” Arts are defined as dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts.
Endorsing the Statement are the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, Americans for the Arts, the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Educational Theatre Association, the League of American Orchestras, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the National Art Education Association, the National Dance Education Association, the National Education Association, the National Association for Music education, The John F. Kennedy Center for The Performing Arts, the National Guild for Community Arts Education, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education, and Young Audiences Arts for Learning.
The Statement asks policy makers to:
- Advance policies and resources that ensure access to arts education for all students—delivered by certified arts educators—and that develop artistic literacy through a sequential, standards-based arts education.
- Ensure that all students have access to in school and community arts learning opportunities that add value to a standards-based PK-12 education in America’s public schools.
- Encourage certified arts educators, community arts providers, and certified non-arts educators to provide quality arts education for their students by collaborating together in support of improved instructional and classroom practices.
- Foster proactive, long-term advocacy collaborations among certified arts educators, community arts providers, and certified non-arts educators that engage parents, school leaders, and other key stakeholders to support student access to high-quality arts education throughout the school and community.
The organizations are asking others to endorse the statement.
The Statement is available.
Latest NCCAS Press Release: The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) has scheduled a final public review of the draft PreK-12 arts standards in dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts begin on February 14, 2014 and close February 28, 2014. A draft reading copy of the revised standards will be available at http://nccas.wikispaces.com on January 30, 2014.
Writing teams for each of the arts disciplines are expected to complete revisions of the standards, based on the public comments, and release the web-based version of the standards in June 2014.
The writing teams are now creating a set of over-arching anchor standards that articulate an alignment of artistic practice among the five art forms, and are also finalizing examples of model cornerstone assessments to include in the February draft review.
Teachers, policy-makers, and the public will be able to view the structure and content of the standards beginning in March as work is completed.
Information about the standards is available.
White House Film Festival – Call for Entries: The White House is looking for videos that highlight the power of technology in schools for the first ever White House Film Festival. Films should address how students use technology in the classroom or school, or the role technology will play in education in the future. Some topics that might be featured include: how technology helps …..
• Personalized Learning
• Online Learning
• Global Collaboration
• Student Creativity
• Making and Tinkering
• Project Based Learning
• Critical Thinking
The contest is open to U.S. students in grades K-12. Films must be under 3 minutes, including credits. Submissions are due by January 29, 2014. Videos must be uploaded to You Tube or Vimeo to be submitted.
Finalists could have their videos screened at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, and posted on the White House website.
See the Official Rules for this contest.