130th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate will hold sessions and committee hearings this week.
The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner, will meet on January 22, 2014 at 4:00 PM in the South Hearing Room, and receive testimony on HB111 (Duffey/Stinziano) State Universities-Student Board Members; HB342 (Brenner/Driehaus) Straight A Program; and SB167 (Tavares) School Policies-Inappropriate School Policies-Inappropriate Behavior.
The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton, will meet on January 22, 2014 at 5:00 PM in hearing room 313. The committee will receive testimony on HB304 (Hayes) Public School Facilities Access; HB58 (Gerberry) State Board of Education Membership; HB158 (Brenner/Patmon) Nonrefundable Tax Credits-Nonpublic Schools; and HB343 (Stebelton) Educational Programs-Non High School Graduates.
State of the State Address: Governor Kasich’s office announced last week that the annual “State of the State Address” will be delivered at the Medina Performing Arts Center, Medina, OH on February 24, 2014. The Ohio House and Senate voted last week to approve the change of venue from the Ohio Statehouse. The governor is also expected to introduce the Mid Biennium Review budget in February.
- HB193 (Brenner) High School Graduation: The House Education Committee approved HB193 several weeks ago, but the bill has not come up for a floor vote in the Ohio House. The bill would change the testing requirements for high school graduates and the time line for implementing new graduation exams. The proposed changes differ from recommendations approved by the State Board of Education in November 2013. See the report for the State Board of Education’s Legislative Budget Committee in #3 below for more details.
- The Ohio House passed last week HB171 (McClain/Patmon) which permits public schools to adopt policies that allow students to attend and receive credit for release-time courses in religious instruction conducted off school property during school hours.
- The Ohio House also passed HB342 (Brenner/Dreihaus), which permits an educational service center to partner or be a lead applicant for the Straight A Program.
Ethics Complaint Filed: According to Doug Livingston, reporter for the Akron Beacon Journal, a complaint filed with the Inspector General’s Office in December 2013 against State Board of Education member C. Todd Jones has been forwarded to the Ohio Ethics Commission. The complaint was filed by Sally Roberts, former president of the Ohio Association for Gifted Children. It asks for an investigation of Mr. Jones’ work as a lobbyist and president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio, and his engagement on the State Board in the development of rules and policies regarding dual enrollment and post-secondary options programs. His involvement in these rules could be a “conflict of interest”, because the colleges and universities, who he represents, are financially compensated when students enroll in these programs.
See “Ohio Ethics Commission Receives Complaint About State School Board Member”, by Doug Livingston, Akron Beacon Journal, January 16, 2014.
Congress Approves Appropriations Bill: The U.S. House and Senate approved last week the Fiscal Year 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, H.R.3547, a $1.1 trillion appropriations package to fund federal programs through September 30, 2014.
The bill was sent to President Obama to sign on January 17, 2014. It includes $70 billion for K-12 education, $8.6 billion for Head Start, and $2.4 billion for Childcare and Development Block Grants. Although the bill includes increases for some K-12 programs, overall federal funding for education is $739 million below FY13 levels. The new spending plan would go into effect for the 2014-15 school year.
The bill also includes $146 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, $146 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities, $226.86 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services; and $445 million for Corporation for Public Broadcasting
The following is a summary of FY14 appropriations for some federal education programs. The increases noted are over FY2013 levels:
- Arts in Education: $25 million
- Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act: $5 million. This program has been defunded since 2011.
- Head Start: $8.6 billion, an increase $1 billion. Head Start lost 57,000 slots during the sequestration.
- Early Head Start: $500 million
- Child Care and Development Block Grants: $2.4 billion, an increase of $154 million
- Title 1 Grants to Districts: $14.4 billion, an increase of $624 million
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act grants to states: $11.5 billion, an increase of $497 million
- National Center for Special Education Research: $54 million, an increase of $7 million
- Impact Aid: $1.3 billion, an increase of $64 million
- Career and Technical Education: $1.1 billion, an increase of $53 million
- Teacher Quality State Grants: $2.4 billion, an increase of $12 million
- Teacher Incentive Fund: $288 million, an increase of $5 million
- State Assessments: $378 million, an increase of $9.1 million
- Investing in Innovation: $141 million
- School Safety Programs: $140 million, an increase of $28 million
- School Improvement Grants: $505 million. No change in funding from last year, but the bill changes some requirements of the program, and provides schools and districts with more flexibility regarding strategies to improve low performing schools. Schools would also be able to receive grants for up to five years rather than three years in current law.
- Race to the Top Early Learning: $250 million
- Promise Neighborhoods: $56.7 million
- 21st Century Community Learning Centers: $1.2 billion, an increase of $57.8 million
- First in the World (higher education): $75 million
- Charter School Grants: $248 million, an increase of $6.6 million
The work is not over. Congress now must begin work on FY 2015 appropriations, which will start after President Obama outlines priorities for education in the annual “State of the Union” address scheduled for January 28, 2014. The Obama administration will submit its budget request for FY15 in February 2014.
See “Boosts for Head Start, Title I, Special Education in Federal Spending Bill” by Alyson Klein, January 13, 2014 at Education Week Politics K-12 Blog.
See “FY 2014 Omnibus – Labor, Health, and Human Services and Education Appropriations” House Appropriations Committee.
NEA Posts Common Core Lessons: The National Education Association and BetterLessons announced on January 15, 2014 a new online website for lessons aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The website, CCBetterLessons, includes over 3,000 lessons developed by master teachers in math and English language arts. The lessons include videos, classroom activities, samples of student work, and step by step instructions. The developers of the site expect to add more lessons in the future.
The lessons are available.
2013 Bunkum Awards Presented: The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) announced recently the 2013 Bunkum Awards, a “tongue in cheek” recognition of the “lowlights” in educational research over the past year. This is the 8th year that NEPC has given the awards to national think tanks, foundations, and researchers who publish reports and studies based on “weak data, shoddy analyses, and overblown recommendations.” The term “bunkum” means “nonsense”. It was coined around 1820 in Buncombe County, North Carolina. There Representative Felix Walker delivered such a meaningless and endless political speech “for Buncombe”, that the term began to be used to describe something that is “nonsense.” Since that time the spelling of the word has changed to bunkum.
NEPC is awarding the Bunkums this year to the following organizations and researchers:
- The “Do You Believe in Miracles Award” goes to the Public Agenda Foundation for Failure is Not an Option: How Principals, Teachers, Students and Parents from Ohio’s High-Achieving, High-Poverty Schools Explain Their Success. This Ohio-based report receives the Bunkum for claiming, without supporting research or data, that certain school-based practices, such as engaging teachers, leveraging a great reputation, being careful about burnout, and celebrating success, can overcome the impact of poverty on student performance. According to NEPC, “A particularly egregious disservice is done by reports designed to convince readers that investment in disadvantaged communities can be ignored. In this increasingly common mythology, students’ substandard outcomes are blamed on teachers and schools that don’t follow the miracle-laden path of exceptional schools.”
- The “We’re Pretty Sure We Could Have Done More with $45 Million” Award goes to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for their Measures of Effective Teaching Project (MET). The MET project, which cost $45 million, studied the effects of teacher observations, value-added test scores, and student surveys on teacher effectiveness. Unfortunately the researchers found “…correlations so weak that no common attribute or characteristic of teacher quality could be found. So in the end, they could not define an ‘effective teacher.”
- The “It’s Just Not Fair to Expect PowerPoints to Be Based on Evidence Award” goes to superintendents Elliot Smalley of Tennessee’s Achievement School District and Patrick Dobard of the Louisiana Recovery School District. They earned their Bunkums for making presentations in Milwaukee about the “successes” of their districts “….with only a veneer of evidence and little substance backing the claims made.”
- The “Look Mom! I Gave Myself an “A” on My Report Card Award” goes to three organizations that created “…a grading system that reflects the unsubstantiated policy biases of the rater while getting as many people as possible to believe that it’s legitimately based on social science.”
Receiving awards in this category are (second-runner up) StudentsFirst for their State Policy Report Card; (first runner-up) the American Legislative Exchange Council for Report Card on American Education: Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress, and Reform; and (grand-prize winner) the Brookings Institution for The Education Choice and Competition Index and for School Choice and School Performance in the New York City Public Schools.
The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) sponsors research, produces policy briefs, and publishes expert third-party reviews of think tank reports. Their goal is to provide high-quality information in support of democratic deliberation about education policy. NEPC is housed at the University of Colorado at Boulder School of Education.
See Bunkum Awards 2013.
Integrity in Education: Katie Ash reports for Education Week’s Charter & Choice Blog that a new advocacy group for public schools, called Integrity in Education, will work to expose connections between K-12 public education and for-profit companies, and counter voices promoting free-market reforms for education, such as StudentsFirst and Chiefs for Change. Integrity in Education is headed by Sabrina Stevens, a former teacher and staffer for the American Federation of Teachers. The group has already filed a Freedom of Information Act to investigate ties between the U.S. Department of Education and
for-profit education companies.
See “New Advocacy Group Seeks to Expose Corporate ties to Ed. Department“, by Katie Ash, Education Week, January 14, 2014.
State Board of Education: The State Board of Education, Debe Terhar president, met on January 13-14, 2014 in Columbus. The board discussed the following topics:
District Consolidation: The State Board of Education received a presentation on January 13, 2014 regarding the proposed consolidation of the Berkshire and Newbury local school districts in Geauga County. The last time that school districts in Ohio consolidated was in 1988.
According to the Ohio Revised Code there are several ways for school districts to consolidate. The provision that the two school districts have selected to follow, Section 3311.37 ORC, requires the State Board to conduct a study of the proposed merger and adopt a resolution recommending the consolidation. The resolution needs to be adopted by June 2014, so that the two school districts can place the consolidation issue on the November 2014 ballot for local voters to decide. The General Assembly also has to adopt a concurrent resolution recommending the consolidation.
Berkshire Superintendent Doug DeLong and Newbury Superintendent Richard Wagner told the board that declining enrollment and finances have threatened educational opportunities for students, such as AP courses and all day Kindergarten. The combined enrollment of the districts is 1,500 students, which is projected to drop to 1,200 by 2018. Both boards of education have approved resolutions to consolidate.
President Debe Terhar directed the Capacity Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, to add this issue to their agenda.
Straight A Fund Update: The State Board received a presentation about the first round of grants that will be funded through the Straight A Fund, a new grant program included in HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget. Dr. Susan Tave Zelman, who oversees the program for the ODE, described the selection process for the 24 projects that will receive grants totaling $868 million. The common themes among the projects selected are expanding the use of technology in learning, expanding STEM opportunities, increasing access to postsecondary options, and increasing partnerships and collaborations. Presenting to the board were representatives of grant recipients from Kelley’s Island, Dayton Early College Academy, Cincinnati Public Schools, Princeton City Schools, Marysville Exempted Village School District, Northern Local School District in Perry County, and James A. Garfield Local Schools in Portage County.
Value-Added Update: Jim Mahoney, Executive Director, and Jamie Meade, Managing Director, Strategic Measures, Battelle for Kids, presented to the board an overview of what teachers and administrators should know about the value added methodology used in Ohio to identify student academic growth. Battelle for Kids began working with the SAS EVAAS MRM Model in 2001 to develop a multivariate model to quantify student academic growth, inform professional development, and raise student achievement. The presentation included an explanation of the components of the model, known as the “mean gain model”, which looks at the average growth of a group of students compared to 2010 base-line data.
Achievement Committee: The Achievement Committee, chaired by C. Todd Jones, approved a resolution to adopt reading competencies for teachers, as required by Senate Bill 21; approved 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 discussed proposed amendments to Rule 3301-46-01, Innovative Education Pilot Program.
Senate Bill 21, which became law in 2013, requires the State Board to adopt by January 31, 2014 reading competencies for teachers who want to earn a reading endorsement or become licensed in Ohio to teach reading. The law requires that the competencies include phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, appropriate use of assessments, differentiated instruction, and selection of appropriate instructional materials and application of research-based instructional practices.
Once the competencies are adopted, the law also requires the ODE to incorporate the competencies into ODE’s approved list of credentials and training programs beginning July 2014; incorporate the competencies in licensing exams for teachers in grades K-3 and grades 4-9 beginning July 1, 2017; and incorporate the competencies in reading endorsement programs by July 1, 2016. The Board of Regents is required to incorporate the reading competencies into teacher preparation programs by July 1, 2016.
Committee member Ann Jacobs also asked about the status of rules known as “Operating Standards for Identifying and Serving Gifted Students”, which the Achievement Committee narrowly approved in November 2013. The standards were approved without a provision that requires schools to spend state allocated funds for gifted education on gifted education programs. Some board members want to amend the rules to include the spending provisions, but questions have been raised about the authority of the board to include the spending rules in the operating standards, after Governor Kasich vetoed certain budget language in HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget that required school districts to spend state funds to identify and serve gifted students.
President Terhar announced in December 2013 that further board action on the operating standards for gifted would be delayed until a representative from the Attorney General’s office has an opportunity to address the concerns of the board about the impact of the governor’s veto on the funding components of the rules for gifted education.
Ms. Jacobs told the committee that the State Board has the authority to adopt standards regarding the distribution of public monies that the legislature has appropriated for public schools, and should move forward with amending and adopting the gifted standards.
Capacity Committee: The Capacity Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, discussed three items:
- The Educational Testing Service’s Praxis Teaching Reading: Elementary Education Exam. The exam is being used to qualify teachers to teach reading under the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. Four states are currently using the exam. So far 290 Ohio teachers have taken the exam, and 96.6 percent have passed.
- The Resident Educator Summative Assessment (RESA) is a performanced-based assessment that is part of the Ohio Resident Educator Program. Nearly 3300 resident educators have completed the first of the five tasks that are required by the exam.
- The ODE will begin a review of the Ohio Assessment for Educators (OEA) Licensure Exams. The new teacher licensure exams were implemented in September 2013. The pass rates set by the State Board for the exams will be reviewed by the Capacity Committee starting in February 2014.
Chairman Gunlock also announced that the committee discussed the process that will be used to consolidate the Berkshire and Newbury local schools. Members of the Capacity Committee plan to visit the districts and meet with residents to discuss the consolidation as part of the requirement that the board conduct a “study” of the merger.
Urban and Rural Committee: The Urban and Rural Renewal Committee, chaired by Dr. Mark Smith, discussed three items:
- Cornell Lewis, director of the Columbus-based Expanding Visions Foundation, told the committee that his mentorship program has worked with 65 students, and all of them have graduated. He is currently working with an additional 71 families. The committee would like to expand the program statewide, and set-up a clearinghouse for other districts to use to address barriers to learning.
- Pam Vanhorn, director of the ODE Office of Improvement and Innovation, shared an analysis of school improvement data for the 2012-2013 school year. An analysis of the performance index found that priority schools made the most gains. These are schools in the lowest five percent of student achievement. Focus schools also made gains on the performance index.
Operating Standards Committee: The Operating Standards Committee, chaired by Ron Rudduck, met on January 14, 2014 and continued to discuss the format of “operating standards”, which are Ohio Administrative Code Rules 3301-35-01 through 15.
John Richard, Senior Executive Director for ODE’s Center for Accountability and Continuous Improvement, explained that the ODE staff has produced a document that shows what a web-based operating standards could look like if the standards only reflected administrative code and references to the Ohio Revised Code were eliminated. He said that what is being proposed will “drastically” reduce the content of the standards in print, but what will happen is the standards will be reorganized not deleted, and some of the standards might be combined. The ODE staff will also start discussions with IT about what the web site design will look like.
The committee reviewed a power point prepared by Chairman Rudduck that explained how the new operating standards would include three parts: administrative code rules (operating standards); a guidebook for best practices, recommendations, etc. for how to run a school; and an interactive clearinghouse, which would link operating standards to the Revised Code and other relevant links to the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Administrative Code. This format would allow the operating standards to be revised more frequently, rather than just every five years. The revised rules would also include additional topics, such as blended learning and safety.
The committee also reviewed proposed changes for Rule 3301-35-04 Student and Other Stakeholder Focus. The revisions reflect the direction that ODE staff is taking to remove all references to Ohio Revised Code and reorganize the content.
The revisions of the operating standards are now expected to be completed sometime in the summer, but probably won’t be approved by the Board until the end of 2014 and implemented in 2015.
Legislative Budget Committee: The Legislative and Budget Committee, chaired by Kathleen McGervey, received an update about legislation passed during the first half of the 130th General Assembly and an update from Kelly Weir, Executive Director of the Office of Legislative Services and Budgetary Planning, about HB193 (Brenner).
HB193 was approved by the House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton, in December 2013, and is pending in the House. It makes a variety of changes related to the number and type of assessments that Ohio students will be required to pass in order to graduate. The provisions in HB193 differ from the State Board’s recommendations for new graduation tests in the following ways:
- Delays implementation of the new assessments to replace the Ohio Graduation Test for two years from 2017 to 2019.
- Extends some deadlines, but the Ohio Department of Education still cannot meet some of the new deadlines in the bill, such as the requirement that the ODE compile a list of alternative end of course exams, and meet a deadline that requires the State Board to adopt rules to develop a corresponding score of equivalence for all of the end of course exams. The ODE has expressed their concerns about the deadlines with lawmakers.
- Proposes five end of course exams rather than the ten exams recommended by the State Board. The five exams include one in English language arts; one in mathematics; one in American history; one in American government; one in science; and two optional exams in English language arts and math, if districts choose to offer them.
- Permits schools and districts to form consortia to purchase and administer “equivalent end of course exams”, and requires that the schools/districts be reimbursed for the cost of administering the equivalent exams in lieu of the state assessments. The ODE is concerned about the cost of developing and implementing state end of course exams when students in some districts might not take them. And, reimbursing school districts for the cost of the alternative exams would mean that the state will be paying twice for the exams.
- Allows schools to pick multiple exams for the same subject area. The ODE has told the House and Senate that this action could create validity issues regarding the value added measure on the local report card.
- Proposes other pathways for students to receive a high school diploma, which could be less rigorous.
- Allows students to earn course credits by passing an end of course exam at a certain grade level, even if they did not take the course. The State Board considered a similar idea, but recommended that a study be conducted to examine how this concept would be implemented fairly, and determine some rules.
- Requires the ODE to create by June 30th a model process for selecting text books, electronic text books, and other educational materials.
- Requires the ODE to conduct a survey to assess the capacity and readiness of schools and districts to implement online assessments. The ODE has made available a tool that school districts can use to determine their readiness to administer the new exams online. Information populated on the tool is then sent to the ODE, which has technical experts to work with districts on IT issues. However, some school districts have not used the tool, and so the ODE doesn’t know how many districts cannot implement online exams.
- Requires the ODE to conduct a comparison study of assessments for grades 3-8. The study would compare results for the consortia assessment and a non-consortia assessment based on certain criteria. The State Board would be required by December 31, 2014 to select an assessment. The ODE has a concern that it would not be able to meet the deadline for this requirement. -Permits schools and districts to administer online or paper pencil assessment.
Accountability Committee: The Accountability Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, discussed two items: the gifted indicator/dashboard and K-3 literacy data.
Chris Woolard, Director of Office and Policy and Research, presented information about the development of the gifted dashboard, which will provide parents with more details about student achievement on the local report card. The ODE is currently putting together a “mock” draft of the gifted dashboard.
Matt Cohen, Chief Research Officer, reviewed the ODE’s proposal for the composite gifted indicator. According to the presentation, the ODE proposes that the composite gifted indicator include three measures: the gifted opportunity index, the gifted performance index, and gifted progress (value added). The ODE is recommending a revision to the gifted performance index, which would use the same Performance Index data for gifted students, but compare the progress of gifted students to the progress of non-gifted students in the school or district. The proposal would also require that schools/districts meet the benchmark on all three measures to meet the composite indicator.
Chairman Gunlock shared a second proposal that would include an array of measures (dashboard) that would be benchmarked and published annually. The dashboard measures could be incorporated into both the performance indicator and ranking system. He suggested that the committee review both proposals, and perhaps create a hybrid that incorporates elements of both.
Chris Woolard also presented preliminary information about K-3 literacy data. Some of the data will be used as K-3 literacy measures on the 2014 local report card. The State Board agreed to use diagnostic assessment results in reading for Kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and the results of the Third Grade Ohio Achievement Assessment to measure K-3 reading improvement.
According to the data, over 100,000 students were reported as having received at least one reading intervention in 2012-13. Out of 25 different types of interventions used to increase student achievement in reading, the top three interventions used are guided reading, phonemic awareness and phonemic decoding, and increased reading time.
The ODE is also preparing for the implementation of the Prepared for Success Indicator, which will be presented to the board in February 2014, and finalized in March.
State Board of Education Business Meeting
Board member C. Todd Jones announced during the full board meeting on January 14, 2014 that there could be further delays in addressing the operating standards for gifted. He has requested an advisory opinion from the Ohio Ethics Commission to determine whether or not there is a conflict of interest if he votes on rules that address dual enrollment and post-secondary enrollment options programs, which are referenced in the operating standards for gifted students. The Akron Beacon Journal reported on January 16, 2014 that a complaint filed by Sally Roberts with the Inspector General’s Office in December 2013 against State Board of Education member C. Todd Jones has been forwarded to the Ohio Ethics Commission. The complaint alleges that Mr. Jones has a conflict of interest, because the colleges and universities he represents as a lobbyist and president of the Association of Independent Colleges and University of Ohio, might benefit financially from his position on the State Board.
The “conflict of interest” issue was raised at the December 2013 State Board meeting by board member Mike Collins, who questioned whether or not certain board members, who are employed by colleges and universities, should vote on rules regarding dual enrollment and post secondary options program. Other members of the State Board are also employed by colleges and universities and might have a conflict of interest when voting on certain rules that affect funding for colleges and universities. These include Dr. Mark Smith, who is the President of Ohio Christian University, Darryl Mehaffie, who is a Trustee of Edison State Community College, and Ron Ruddock, who is an adjunct instructor at Xavier University. Rebecca Vasquez-Skillings, recently appointed to the board by Governor Kasich, is Vice President of Business Affairs at Otterbein University.
Questions about “conflicts of interest” regarding certain members of the board, including former member Bryan Williams, C. Todd Jones, and Dr. Mark Smith, were raised in series of articles about the State Board written by Doug Livingston at The Beacon Journal and students at the NewsOutlet at Youngstown State University and published in November 2013.
As a result of those articles, Bryan Williams, representing the 5th State Board District, resigned from the State Board in December 2013, citing possible violations of state ethics laws, because during his term on the State Board he acted as a registered lobbyist for the Associated Builders and Contractors of Ohio, which conducts business with school districts.
The State Board considered the following resolutions during their business meeting on Tuesday, January 14, 2014:
#2 Approved 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 Approved a Resolution to Amend Rule 3301-8-01 of the Administrative Code entitled Payment of Debt Charges Under the State Credit Enhancement Program.
#11 Approved a Resolution to Amend Rule 3301-24-04 of the Administrative Code entitled Teacher Residency.
#12 Approved a Resolution to Amend Rule 3301-26-01 of the Administrative Code entitled Examinations for Educator Licensure.
#13 Approved a Resolution to Rescind Rule 3301-71-01 of the Administrative Code entitled Poverty Based Assistance.
#14 Approved a Resolution to Adopt Reading Competencies for Teachers.
#15 Approved as an emergency a Resolution to Appeal the Darke County Court of Common Pleas decision to reverse and to vacate the State Board of Education’s order to permanently deny the three year pupil activity permit of Santiago Anguiano.
The State Board also received a request to update the Career-Technical Education report card and the criteria for industry credentials, which will be reported as part of Prepared for Success component of the report card. The board approved two motions to move forward with the implementation of these two items.
Under Old Business, board member Tess Elshoff said that she would be bringing to the board for consideration next month a resolution in support of cursive writing.
Under New Business Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Richard Ross, explained to the board that the Columbus City Schools is requesting a waiver regarding student admissions to its magnet schools. The district would like to implement a “limited selective entry” program, which would set aside a certain number of seats for selected student admissions in magnet schools. The State Board must approve this type of waiver. Superintendent Ross said that he will be presenting a resolution to the board next month regarding this issue.
Under Miscellaneous Business Mary Rose Oakar requested information about how new charter schools are approved. Superintendent Ross said that he will prepare some information for the board about this issue.
- SB266 (Skindell/Lehner) Public Schools-Behavior Intervention: With respect to the use of seclusion and physical restraint on students and positive behavior intervention supports in public schools.
- SB264 (Schaffer) Schools-Occupational-Physical Therapists Workloads: Requires the Department of Education to solicit from school districts and educational service centers regular studies of the time spent by occupational and physical therapists on certain activities and to use the studies to determine appropriate workloads.
A Great Loss: Dr. Elliot W. Eisner, professor emeritus of Art and Education at Stanford University, passed away on January 10, 2014. As a leading researcher and scholar he lectured throughout the world and received numerous honorary degrees and awards. His research focused on advancing the role of the arts in education and developing qualitative research methods. He advocated for a rich school curriculum that includes the arts, because he believed that it is through the study of the arts that children learn critical thinking skills.
He was also a prolific author and published many articles in scholarly journals and several books, including The Educational Imagination (1979), Cognition and Curriculum (1982), The Enlightened Eye (1991), The Kind of Schools We Need (1998), The Arts and the Creation of Minds (2002), and Arts Based Research (2011 with Tom Barone).
His article, “Ten Lessons the Arts Teach” has probably been presented to more boards of education in support of arts education than any other advocacy message.
See “Stanford Professor Elliot Eisner, Champion of Arts Education, Dead at 80” Stanford Report, January 17, 2014.
Nominations for 2014 Youth Program Awards: The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, invites applications for the 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program.
The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award honors out-of-school arts and humanities programs, and celebrates the creativity of America’s young people, particularly those from underserved communities. This award recognizes and supports excellence in programs that open new pathways to learning, self-discovery, and achievement. Each year, the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards recognizes 12 outstanding programs in the United States, from a wide range of urban and rural settings.
Recipients receive a $10,000 grant and the opportunity to visit the White House and accept the award from First Lady Michelle Obama. Awardees also receive a full year of capacity-building and communications support, designed to make their organizations stronger. In addition, 38 exceptional youth-focused arts and humanities programs across the United States receive a Finalist Certificate of Excellence. One country each year also receives our International Spotlight Award for a remarkable youth-oriented cultural program.
Applications are due February 10, 2014 and are available.
Democracyworks Essay Competition Now Open: The Educational Theatre Association is accepting student essays for its annual Democracyworks competition. The winning essayist and a chaperone will be awarded a trip to Arts Advocacy Day in Washington D.C. on March 23-25, 2014.
This year’s prompt is “Tell us your SAW (Student Advocacy Works) Story”. What advocacy have you done or do you plan to do on behalf of arts education in your school, district, or state and how did it or will it make a difference?
Competition deadline is February 4, 2014. Information is available.
Arts Education Partnership Symposium March 22, 2014: The Arts Education Partnership (AEP) and the Council of Chief State School Officers will host an Arts in Education State Policy Symposium on March 22, 2014 at the headquarters of National Public Radio in Washington, D.C. The symposium is entitled, “Great Expectations for Learning: The Role of the Arts in Preparing America’s Students for College, Careers, and Citizenship.” Registration details will be available soon. Contact Laura Johnson at email@example.com for further information.
Study Examines Access and Participation in the Arts: Researchers M. Kathleen Thomas, Priyanka Singh, Kristin Klopfenstein, and Thomas C. Henry, have published a study that examines the variations in arts course offering and rates of student participation based on student-level data from 870 high schools in Texas.
The researchers developed several distinct indices that measure different dimensions of access to education in the arts to identify high schools rich in the arts based on individual-level administrative data from The University of Texas at Dallas Education Research Center (UTD-ERC).
The researchers first found that there was “no standard definition of what it means to be an arts-rich school”, including number and range of arts courses, based on school size, or rates of student participation.
They also found that high schools offering an extensive number of courses in the arts do not necessarily enjoy high rates of student participation, and high schools fostering high levels of student participation did not necessarily have the resources to offer a wide variety of courses.
The researchers conclude that “Evaluating arts programs along a single dimension, as is common in federal reports and other studies, fails to provide an accurate representation of access to arts education. Any examination of access to arts education should jointly consider course availability and student engagement in the arts. Policymakers can follow our approach and develop similar indices to assess the current state of arts education in their states.”
They also urge educators, practitioners, parents, and policymakers to “begin a dialogue about what defines an arts-rich school based on the data elements commonly found in state education databases.” The researchers recommend that, “The field needs to determine acceptable thresholds for both course offerings in the arts and rates of student participation”.
See “What Constitutes An Arts-Rich School?” by M. Kathleen Thomas (Mississippi State University), Policy Analysis for California Education, January 7, 2014.
See the full report “Access to High School Arts Education: Why Student Participation Matters as Much as Course Availability.” Education Policy Analysis Archives, 21 (83) by Thomas, M. K., Singh, P., Klopfenstein, K., Henry, T. (2013).
Vans Kicks-Off Fifth Annual Custom Culture Art Competition
Vans Custom Culture Inspires Students to Showcase their Creative Talents and Raises Awareness of Diminishing Arts Education; Awards Top Schools with Donations to Support Their Art Programs.
In partnership with Americans for the Arts, Journeys and truth®, invites high school art students across the country to take part in the fifth annual Vans Custom Culture, an art and design competition to celebrate student creativity and support arts education. Beginning today, high school art teachers can register for their students to vie against schools across the country to create the most artistic designs using blank Vans shoes as a canvas. The winning school will receive a $50,000 donation for their school art program, and one of the shoe designs will be put into production for sale in select Vans retail stores.
Vans Custom Culture was created to inspire and empower high school students to embrace their creativity through art and design, and call attention to the fact that school art programs are suffering due to diminishing education budgets. Vans Custom Culture has grown exponentially since its inception in 2010 with 326 schools, growing to almost 2,000 schools expected to participate this year. To date, Vans Custom Culture has reached hundreds of thousands of students and put more than $290,000 back into high school art programs.
Through Feb. 14 at 12:00 noon PST, high school art teachers can register their students for the 2014 competition on the Vans Custom Culture website (vans.com/customculture). Students will be tasked with designing four pairs of blank Vans shoes each to depict one of four themes representing the Vans “Off the Wall” lifestyle: action sports, art, music, and local flavor.
Vans employees will help select the top 50 schools to be semi-finalists. The public will then have the opportunity to vote for their favorites through the Vans Custom Culture website between April 25 and May 12. The top five schools will move on as finalists traveling to New York City to showcase their designs for celebrity judges and the chance to win $50,000 for their school art program. Vans will also donate $4,000 to each of the four runner-up schools, and another $50,000 to nonprofit partner Americans for the Arts, in support of their work as the nation’s leading organization for advancing the arts and art education.
National retailer Journeys and truth®, the nation’s largest youth smoking prevention campaign, are partnering with Vans again for this year’s competition and will offer additional award opportunities. Journeys will donate a $10,000 ‘Local Attitude’ award to the school that creates the most compelling ‘local flavor’ design, and truth® will offer the top 50 semi-finalists a chance to compete for yet another $10,000 award for their arts programs by customizing a skateboard deck illustrating the dangers of smoking.
For information and registration guidelines visit the Custom Culture website.