130th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate will hold hearings and sessions this week.
The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner, will meet on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 4:00 PM in the South Hearing Room. The committee will receive testimony on HB342 (Driehaus), Straight A Program, and HB111 (Duffey/Stinziano), State Universities-Student Board Members.
The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton, will meet on January 29, 2014 at 5:00 PM in Hearing Room 313. The committee will receive testimony on the following bills:
- SB69 (Beagle) Course and Program Sharing Network
- HB281 (Ruhl) Tobacco-Nicotine Law
- HB303 (Hayes) Student Religious Expression
- HB362 (Scherer/Derickson) STEM Schools
- HB367 (Driehaus/Sprague) Opioid Abuse Prevention Instructions-Schools
Legislative Update: The House approved last week HB8 (Roegner/Kunze), School Employee Concealed Weapon, by a vote of 62-28; SJR6 (Manning-Bacon), State Capital Improvement Program; and HB193 (Brenner), Graduation Requirements, by a vote of 88-1.
HB8 would allow boards of education to approve a district policy that designates school employees to carry a concealed firearm; prohibits the disclosure of the names of those employees; extends civil liability protections to the school board; authorizes off-duty police officers to carry firearms on school grounds; and requires the attorney general to develop related safety curricula for employees. The policy is also exempted from collective bargaining.
SJR6 places on the May 2014 primary ballot the reauthorization of the State Capital Improvement Program (SCIP). If approved by voters, the State of Ohio would be able to issue additional general obligation bonds to fund public infrastructure and capital improvements under Section 2s of Article VIII of the Ohio Constitution.
HB193 (Brenner) is a comprehensive reorganization of assessments and requirements for high school graduation. The bill differs from the current path that has been recommended by the State Board of Education. Never-the-less the bill was approved overwhelmingly by Democrats and Republicans in the House last week. See #3 below for details. For highlights of the State Board of Education’s recommendations for graduation, please see the November 17, 2014 issue of Arts on Line Education Update, at #3 State Board of Education Meeting/Graduation Requirements Committee.
Governor Says He Will Focus on Education Policy: The Toledo Blade reports that Governor Kasich will emphasize education reform and vocational education during the remainder of his term, and wants students as early as first grade to learn about jobs. The governor shared ideas about education policy in a speech at the Wood County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner in Bowling Green on January 23, 2014. According to the article, the governor said ‘We need significant, dramatic change in the way we do education’. He also talked about expanding the role of businesses and faith-based organizations in the schools to support at-risk children.
See “Kasich Vows Education Reform: Governor Says Ist Graders to be Introduced to Employment Ideas” by Tom Troy, The Blade, January 24, 2014.
State of the Union Address: President Barack Obama will give the annual State of the Union address on January 28, 2014. He is expected to advocate for increasing the minimum wage, extending unemployment insurance, reforming immigration policies, expanding early childhood education; decreasing income inequity; and strengthening the economy.
Business Groups Show Support for CCSS: T.H.E. Journal reports that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable have launched a nationwide advertising campaign to support the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). As more state lawmakers on the left and the right question the CCSS and the aligned assessments being developed, business leaders are concerned that some states will opt out of the implementation of the CCSS, which they believe are more rigorous than current state standards, and will better prepare students for higher education and jobs.
See “Big Business Speaks Out for the Common Core” by Andrew Trotter, T.H.E. Journal, January 14, 2014.
Are Schools Ready for CCSS Assessments? Last week ASCD’s SmartBrief asked teachers to weigh in on questions about administering online assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards CCSS.
When asked “How prepared are educators in your school or district to implement new online assessments under the Common Core State Standards?” respondents reported the following:
Not prepared – 58.46 percent
Somewhat prepared – 24.62 percent
Well-prepared – 10.77 percent
My school or district is not participating in the CCSS – 6.15 percent.
SmartBrief also asked teachers, “How is your school or district working to help students develop technology skills needed to complete online assessments under the Common Core State Standards?” Close to 40 percent of respondents (39.58 percent) said that many students still need to learn the technology skills needed to complete the assessments online.
When asked “How would you assess the amount of instructional time devoted to preparation for standardized testing — including time spent on technology aspects and subject knowledge — in your school or district?” almost 75 percent (74.74 percent) reported that “Too much instructional time is spent on test-prep in my school or district.”
See “Preparing for standardized testing” by Katharine Haber, SmartBlog on January 23, 2014.
Highlights of HB193: Schools and school districts in Ohio are transitioning to a new statewide assessment system aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The system changes were set in motion in 2009 when lawmakers approved H.B. 1, which replaces the current Ohio Graduation Tests (OGT), which are general assessments by subject areas, with end-of-course exams.
Ohio joined in November 2011 the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), one of two consortia in the nation developing the CCSS aligned assessments, and planned to implement the new assessments in the 2014-15 school year. The new assessments focus on students being prepared for higher education or the workforce; include a statewide assessment of college-and career-readiness; and include other state chosen assessments, such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaurete, ACT, and SAT.
The State Board of Education’s Graduation Requirements Committee, chaired by C. Todd Jones, approved new state assessment requirements for graduation, aligned to the CCSS, in November 2013. The State Board adopted an emergency resolution at their November 2013 meeting to also approve the assessment requirements for graduation. (For highlights of the State Board of Education’s assessment requirements for graduation please visit Arts on Line Education Update for November 17, 2013 at #3 State Board/Graduation Requirements Committee.) However, some schools/districts have been expressing concerns to lawmakers about the cost of implementing the new assessments; the technology required to administer the assessments online; keeping student data private; and the compact time line to administer the new assessments.
In response to stakeholders Representative Andy Brenner introduced HB193, which makes a variety of changes in the number, types, and time line for implementing the new assessments. The Ohio House overwhelmingly passed HB193 last week by a vote of 88 to 1, and so now the bill will move to the Ohio Senate for consideration. The following are highlights of an analysis of HB193 prepared by the Legislative Services Commission on January 9, 2014. The full analysis is available.
Time Line: Prohibits the State Board of Education from administering elementary or secondary level online assessments prior to the 2015-16 school year, with the exception of exams in American history and American government, which can be administered in the 2014-15 school year. The State Board is also prohibited from creating or requiring any additional assessments for granting any type of high school diploma other than those prescribed by the bill.
Diploma Requirements: Revises the requirements to receive a diploma for students enrolled in public and chartered nonpublic high schools beginning with students entering the ninth grade on or after July 1, 2015 (Class of 2019) and eliminates the current requirement that students pass the Ohio Graduation Tests (OGT). Students can earn a diploma by meeting certain curriculum requirements (unchanged from current law), and meeting one of the following conditions:
- Score at “remediation-free” levels in English, math, and reading on nationally standardized assessments. Remediation free has been determined by the presidents of Ohio’s public institutions of higher education pursuant to HB153 FY12-FY13 Biennial Budget.
- Score at “remediation-free” levels on the end-of-course examinations in English III and Algebra II
- Attain a cumulative passing score on the end-of-course examinations, or
- Attain a passing score on a nationally recognized job skills assessment, or obtain either an industry-recognized credential or a state agency- or board-issued license for practice in a specific vocation.
- Unlike current law, attaining a passing score on each of the assessments is not required for graduation. A student may qualify for a high school diploma with a cumulative score on a variety of different assessments.
- Permits school districts and schools to include “remediation-free” or “workforce-ready” endorsements on a student’s diploma.
Number of Exams: Establishes end of course examinations in five subject areas: science, American history, American government, algebra II or its equivalent, and English language arts III, and authorizes the ODE to offer additional end-of-course exams in math and English language arts, if there are sufficient funds. However, schools and school districts and chartered nonpublic schools are not required to administer one or both of the additional examinations.
Equivalent Exams: Requires the State Board to compile a list of equivalent assessments that districts and schools may administer instead of the prescribed end-of-course exams. The State Superintendent and the Chancellor will select a single equivalent exam in each subject area, rather than multiple exams. The list of equivalent exams must include nationally recognized, “nationally norm-referenced” subject area assessments, such as Advanced Placement (AP) exams, International Baccalaureate (IB) exams, SAT subject tests, and ACT end-of-course examinations. The bill specifies that districts and schools may use any of these equivalent examinations as an alternative to an examination selected by the State Superintendent and the Chancellor. The bill expressly permits the State Board to update or revise the list of equivalent examinations. The State Board must develop a table of corresponding score equivalents for all of the examinations.
Specifies that school districts and schools that elect to administer the equivalent examinations in lieu of the end-of-course examinations will be reimbursed the lesser of the actual cost to administer the equivalent examinations or the cost that the state would have incurred if the end-of-course examinations were administered.
Exemptions: Eliminates the exemption for students attending a chartered nonpublic school accredited through the Independent School Association of the Central States from passing the end of course examinations as a prerequisite for high school graduation.
Technology Survey: Requires the Department of Education to conduct a survey of the capacity and readiness of each school district for the online administration of the elementary- and secondary-level achievement assessments, and issue a report and an implementation plan to address problems not later than 90 days after the bill’s effective date.
Setting Scores: Establishes dates for the ODE and the State Board to recommend assessments and set passing scores for the assessments.
Permits students who score at a specified level on certain examinations to earn course credit without completing the corresponding course of instruction beginning July 1, 2014. The State Board must adopt a policy to grant course credit to any student who demonstrates at least a proficient level of understanding by attaining any of the following scores:
- A score of three or above on the corresponding Advanced Placement examination
- A score of four or above on the corresponding International Baccalaureate examination
- A score that is at or above the proficient level on a corresponding end-of-course examination, or the equivalent, or
- A score set by the State Board that is at or above the proficient level on any other corresponding State Board-approved examination that is not included in the State Board’s list of equivalent examinations.
- Requires the ODE to develop and publish, not later than 30 days after the bill’s effective date, an estimated college and career-ready score for each of the sections of the Ohio Graduation Test. The scores must be published on all school district, school, teacher, and student score reports generated by the Department.
- Changes the terminology of the top two scoring levels on the elementary achievement assessment from “advanced” to “superior,” and “accelerated” to “commended.”
Dropout Recovery Programs: Phases in revisions to the graduation requirements for students enrolled in a dropout prevention and recovery program, and makes changes in the requirements for the state report card for dropout prevention and recovery community schools.
Content Standards: Requires the State Board, prior to adopting or revising any academic content standards, to hold not less than three public hearings that allow public testimony on the standards or revisions to the standards, and removes the requirement that the state model curricula be aligned with the elementary- and secondary-level assessments.
Student Information: Prohibits the Department of Education, school districts, schools, and third-party contractors from providing student names and addresses to any multi-state consortium that offers summative assessments without written permission from the student’s parent or guardian.
Report Card: Makes several revisions to the state’s report card for schools and school districts.
- Makes permissive the development of the high school student academic progress measure
- Removes a provision requiring the State Board to update the report card every six years
- Prohibits the report card ratings issued for the 2014-2015 school year from being considered in determining whether a school district or school is subject to sanctions or penalties.
- Permits a school district, community school, or STEM school to enter into a memorandum of understanding with its teachers’ union that stipulates that the value-added progress dimension rating issued for the 2014-2015 school year will not be used when making decisions regarding teacher dismissal, retention, tenure, or compensation.
Comparison Study of Assessments: Requires the ODE to select and administer summative assessments, developed by a nonprofit organization, for each of grades three through eight in English language arts and mathematics and field testing of summative assessments for each of grades three through eight in English language arts and mathematics, developed by the multi-state consortium, to students in school districts and schools of the same sample size and profile. The results of the assessments, including implementation of the assessments, are to be compared based on criteria specified in the bill. The ODE is then to submit a comparison report to the governor, chairpersons and ranking members of the House and Senate education committees, and the State Board by October 31, 2014.
Assessment Recommendations: Requires the ODE by November 30, 2014 to recommend to the State Board the elementary-level achievement assessments in English language arts and mathematics to be prescribed by the State Board. The State Board must approve one or more assessments in English language arts and mathematics for administration as the elementary-level achievement assessments by December 31, 2014.
Parents Concerned about Student Privacy: Several articles were published last week about student data and privacy issues.
Student Data A Concern: A poll of 800 adults conducted by Benenson Strategy Group for Common Sense Media in early January 2014 found that 89 percent of respondents are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about advertisers using kids’ personal data to market to them. The poll also found that almost 60 percent of respondents reported that they have heard little or nothing about how schools contract with private companies to collect and store personal data about students. The poll also found that 77 percent of respondents want to make it illegal for schools and education-technology companies to sell students’ private information to advertisers.
Common Sense Media launched in 2013 a “School Privacy Zone” campaign to engage edtech leaders, educators, policymakers, parents, and other stakeholders to develop recommendations to safeguard students’ personal information, and will convene on February 24, 2014 a national summit in Washington, D.C., to review practices to safeguard student privacy. The summit will include U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.
See “National Poll Reveals Deep Concern for How Students’ Personal Information Is Collected, Used, and Shared” by Amy Wilson in Common Sense Media.
More About Student Privacy Concerns: Allie Bidwell reports for U.S. News and World Report that even though there are strict guidelines under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) governing what private companies can and cannot do with certain student data, there are loop holes and other sources of data about students that are not protected. According to the article, Joel Reidenberg, a professor of law at Fordham University, says that student data with information about dates of birth, addresses, grades, test scores, and disciplinary records are protected under FERPA, but if the school uses a cloud service provider for email, the content of that email is not protected under FERPA. Also not protected is student data collected by outside vendors, such as a vendor providing food service or transportation for the school district. Many times contracts with outside vendors fail to prohibit the sale of student data for marketing purposes.
See “Parents Worry Student Data Will Be Used for Marketing, Not Education: Data privacy groups urge states to adopt policies addressing privacy and security concerns” by Allie Bidwell, U.S. News and World Report, January 23, 2014.
Three Research Studies Published About Student Privacy: The Berman Center for Internet & Society released on January 16, 2014 three reports as part of its ongoing Student Privacy Initiative.
Student Privacy & Cloud Computing at the District Level: Next Steps and Key Issues, provides information about state and national laws and policies, and norms, values, attitudes, and practices when K-12 schools adopt cloud services. It also includes recommendations about resources and opportunities for school districts to collaborate to protect student data.
K-12 Edtech Cloud Service Inventory provides information about 16 cloud services for K-12 schools.
Youth and Media Research Brief, Youth Perspectives on Tech in Schools provides information about student attitudes about the technology they are using. It was prepared based on responses from 30 national focus groups of students ages 11-19.
Research is available.
Chiefs Affirm Student Privacy: Chief state school officers representing 34 states, including Dr. Richard Ross, Ohio’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, released on January 23, 2014 a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan saying that they would not share any personally identifiable information about K-12 students with the U.S. Department of Education or any federal agency. The chiefs said that they would continue to provide school-level data from state assessments as required under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
BOR Releases Remediation Report: Karen Farkas reports for The Plain Dealer that the 2013 remediation report from the Ohio Board of Regents (BOR) shows that 40 percent of the 51,627 students who enrolled in a public two or four-year college in 2012 took remedial math or English. About 34 percent of students needed remediation in math; 20 percent in English; and 14 percent in both.
See “2013 Status of Ohio Graduates Remediation Report by District” prepared by the Ohio Board of Regents, December 2013.
The report includes the number of first-time students who enrolled in a public two and four year colleges/universities in Ohio from each school district/high school in the state in 2012, and the percent of those students who took remediation classes in either math or English. The report doesn’t include students who attended a college or university in another state.
The percent of students who needed remediation dropped from 41 percent in 2012 to 40 percent in 2013, according to the article.
The presidents of Ohio’s public colleges and universities established in 2012 uniform statewide standards in mathematics, science, reading, and writing for student enrolled in a state institution of higher
education to meet to be considered “remediation-free”. The remediation free standards are available.
See “Forty percent of high school graduates who enrolled in a public college in 2012 required remedial math or English” by Karen Farkas, The Plain Dealer, January 17, 2014.
New Study Looks at High Performing Urban Schools: Policy Matters Ohio released on January 22, 2014 a new study that examines the demographic characteristics of top rated schools in Ohio’s eight largest school districts. The study, “Misleading Measurements” by Jennifer DePaoli, looked at 57 district and 28 charter schools that were rated excellent or higher in either the 2010-11 or 2011-12 school years, and found the following:
- The overwhelming majority of highly rated district and charter schools served fewer students with disabilities than their home districts.
- High scorers had lower poverty rates than the average rate of 86 percent for Ohio’s eight large urban districts.
- Most top-rated schools served fewer minority students.
- More than 60 percent of high-scoring district schools have selective enrollment policies, keep enrollment low to maintain small class sizes, and use application processes that could discourage some parents from applying.
- None of the charter schools located in urban districts enrolled only students who live in those districts, and many top-rated district schools enrolled students from other districts as well.
- In several districts, top-rated schools, especially charters, enrolled significantly fewer students than the district average building enrollment.
The report concludes that some high-scoring schools in Ohio’s urban districts are helping students achieve while tackling difficult problems. However, most are serving populations that are “…substantially different from the students typically served in urban districts.”
The author writes, “We should not pretend that schools with larger class sizes and more troubled or disadvantaged students, for example, can easily achieve what smaller classrooms in selective schools manage.”
See “Misleading Measures” by Jennifer DePaoli, Policy Matters Ohio.
•HB405 (Budish/Hottinger) Income Tax Credit-Certain Degrees: Grant an income tax credit to individuals who earn degrees in science, technology, engineering, or math-based fields of study.
•HB413 (Stautberg/Brenner) Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Carrers: Prohibits the administration of the assessments developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers for the 2014-2015 school year; prohibits the renewal of the state’s memorandum of understanding with the Partnership; and declares an emergency.
Students from Six Ohio High Schools Chosen to Participate in Arts Day 2014: The Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation recently announced the selection of six high schools in Ohio to participate in Arts Day 2014, May 21, 2014, co-presented annually by Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.
Schools selected to participate in Arts Day 2014 are Clark Shawnee High School, Springfield; Eastwood High School, Pemberville; Federal Hocking Secondary, Stewart; Princeton High School, Cincinnati; Reynoldsburg High School – Encore Academy, Columbus; and Shaker Heights High School, Shaker Heights. Each high school will choose ten Students Advocates to participate in the event based on their interest in the arts and the legislative process, ability to speak in public with individuals or small groups, and willingness to follow through with written assignments.
This year more than 40 high schools expressed interest in the event, which provides an opportunity for students to engage with lawmakers in their local community and in Columbus; learn more about the legislative process; and build advocacy skills in support of arts education. The Ohio Alliance for Arts Education assists with the program.
Prior to Arts Day, each participating school will host a state legislator who will share with the students information regarding the state government process. The legislator will receive in turn information about the school’s arts education and civics programs. The Student Advocates will also receive professional training on advocacy and public speaking. On Arts Day, May 21, 2014, the Student Advocates will travel to Columbus to spend the morning speaking with legislators about the impact the arts have had on their lives. In the afternoon, they will attend the 2014 Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Ohio and Arts Day Luncheon.
For more information about the legislative school visits and Arts Day 2014, please contact Janelle Hallett at Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation, 614.221.4064.
Arts Integration: Matthew Lynch writes for Education Week’s Education Futures Blogabout correctly integrating the arts to help students achieve at high levels. The article describes several high performing schools that have integrated the arts with science, math, language arts, and social studies curriculum to better engage students. These include the West Michigan Academy of Arts & Academics in Ferrysburg, Michigan and Public Middle School 223 in the Bronx. Both of these schools integrate the arts, dance, drama, music, media arts, and visual art, in the curriculum, so that students engage more of their brain in the learning process, which strengthens attentiveness, reaction time and comprehension, long term retention, and provides students a way to express their creativity.
The author writes that there is no reason for the arts to have a secondary place in K-12 learning when integrating the arts can improve student achievement, reduce absenteeism, and better engage students.
See “Happier Students, Higher Scores: The Role of Arts Integration” by Matthew Lynch,Education Week’s Education Futures Blog, on January 22, 2014.
Advocating for Arts Education: Drew Faust, president of Harvard University, and Wynton Marsalis, trumpeter and composer, published in USA Today in December 2013 a joint article saying that “…the education we are fashioning for our children and their children seems ill-suited for the lives they will lead.” Although policy-makers are gearing K-12 education to meet specific employer needs, the authors opine that “…many of today’s students will hold jobs that have not yet been invented, deploying skills not yet defined.”
They recommend that students have educational opportunities that nurture judgment as well as mastery, include ethics and values as well as analysis, enable students to interpret complexity and learn to be adaptive, teach students to collaborate, and help students to understand those who are different from themselves. They recommend “…learning that incorporates what the arts teach us.”
According to the authors, learning in the arts is about “imagining beyond the bounds of the known”. Studying music, dance, drama, and visual art requires students to become self-disciplined, to listen to themselves and others, to work with others, and to learn from mistakes. The arts help bridge the vast diversity of our nation, peoples, and cultures, by providing a “critical means of communicating” and sharing.
Unfortunately there has been a “…retreat from arts education in American schools” over the past years. The authors note that, “In 1982 nearly 66% of 18-year-olds in the U.S. reported taking art classes; by 2008, the number had fallen to below 50%. The percentage of elementary school students who had theater or dance classes available to them went from 10% in the early ‘90s to only 4% and 3%, respectively, in the 2009-10 school year.”
They write, “We must teach our children to be ready for a world we cannot yet know, one that will require the attitudes and understanding sparked and nurtured by the experience of the arts.”
“These are the qualities by which the future will measure us.”
President Faust invited Mr. Marsalis to present a series of six lectures and performances at Harvard University focusing on the impact of the arts on students.
See “Faust/Marsalis: The Art of Learning: Arts Education Gives Students Skills to Create, Adapt, and Take Risks in the Future”, by Drew Faust and Wynton Marsalis, USA Today, December 31, 2013.