130th Ohio 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 February 12, 2014 at 4:00 PM in the South Hearing Room.
The committee will receive testimony on the following bills:
- HB193 (Brenner) High School Diploma Requirements
- HB342 (Brenner/Driehaus) Straight A Program Changes
- HB111 (Duffey/Stinziano) State Universities-Student Board Members
The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton, will meet on February 12, 2014 at 5:00 PM in hearing room 313. The committee will receive testimony on the following bills:
- SB229 (Gardner) Teacher Performance Evaluation
- HB228 (Brenner) School Funding
- HB343 (Stebelton) Educational Programs-Non High School Graduates
- HB348 (Henne/Hagen) Higher Education Student Health Care Plan Requirement
- HB362 (Scherer/Derickson) STEM Schools
ODE Webcasts: The Ohio Department of Education is offering two webcasts this week.
The first webcast on February 11, 2014 at 3:30 PM, will provide information about the application process for the Straight A Fund. Register and participate.
Applications for the second round of funding for the Straight A Fund are now available online. The deadline to submit an application is 4:00 PM on April 3, 2014. The amount of funds available for this round of funding is $150 million. Information is available.
The second webcast on February 12, 2014 at 2:30 PM will provide information about the new Kindergarten Readiness Assessment. Register and participate.
Ohio Statistics on Vouchers: According to Gongwer News Service, over 31,000 Ohio students have received vouchers to attend private schools this school year through five different voucher programs. About 18,080 students received vouchers through the EdChoice Program; 1,176 through EdChoice expansion; 7,039 students received vouchers as part of the Cleveland Scholarship Program; 2,336 students received vouchers through the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship, and 2,748 students received vouchers through the Autism Scholarship. See “Application Window Opens For EdChoice, Special Needs Vouchers”, February 5, 2014.
New York Lawmakers Propose Delay in Teacher Evaluations: New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos have proposed legislation to delay for two years the use of student test results in teacher evaluations and delay the creation of a statewide student database. Current New York law requires that 20 percent of a teacher’s evaluation be tied to student achievement on tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
See “NY legislators urge delay of Common Core Tests for Evaluations” by Associated Press, New York Post, February 5, 2014.
Also in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced who would be on an 11-member panel appointed by the governor to advise him about implementing the Common Core State Standards. The panel includes state legislators, educators, a parent, business leaders, and Stanford University professor Linda Darling-Hammond, who is one of several assessment experts who opposes using student test scores to evaluate teachers. The panel was formed in response to the public outcry at townhall meetings held throughout New York State last fall to inform parents about the Common Core State Standards and aligned assessments. Parents voiced opposition to the amount of testing their children are experiencing and the inadequate preparation their children received before they took assessments based on the Common Core State Standards last spring.
See “Gov. Cuomo seeks changes to ‘flawed’ Common Core implementation” by Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, January 22, 2014.
See “Governor Cuomo Announces Members of Common Core Implementation Panel” February 7, 2014.
Federal Restraint and Seclusion Bill to be Introduced: U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP), is expected to release on February 12, 2014 a report about the use of seclusion and restraint policies in public schools. He is also expected to re-introduce the Keeping All Students Safe Act. The bill was first introduced in 2011 and would outlaw the use of physical restraint and seclusion rooms in schools.
See “Senator Harkin holds event to introduce Keeping All Students Safe Act”, February 5, 2014.
Model Legislation for Teacher Preparation Programs: The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Sharon P. Robinson president and CEO, released last week the Teaching Fellows Program Act, model state legislation to enhance the quality of candidates for the teaching profession. The legislation calls for awarding scholarships to academically talented students who commit to teach in high-need public schools for four years after graduation. The model legislation is supported by the American Federation of Teachers, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the National Education Association, and the Opportunity to Learn Campaign.
See “Teaching Fellows Program Act”.
State Board to Meet: The State Board of Education, Debe Terhar president, will meet on February 10 & 11, 2014 at the Ohio Department of Education Conference Center, 25 South Front Street, Columbus, OH.
The topics for the February board meeting include changes in the selection process for the Ohio Teacher of the Year; cursive writing; the Third Grade Reading Guarantee; and the proposed consolidation of the Berkshire/Newbury school districts.
The Operating Standards Committee, chaired by Ron Rudduck, will meet on February 10, 2014 at 9:15 AM in room B001. The committee will discuss revising Rule 3301-35-04 Student and Other Stakeholder Focus and Rule 3301-35-05 Faculty Focus.
The Achievement, Capacity, and Urban and Rural committees will meet on February 10, 2014 at 10:15 AM.
The Legislative and Budget Committee, chaired by Kathleen McGervey, will meet on February 10, 2014 after the executive session (around 4:00 PM). The committee will review legislative activity and receive an update about Governor Kasich’s Mid Biennium Review Bill.
The Accountability Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, will meet on February 11, 2014 at 8:00 AM and will continue to discuss the gifted indicator and the dropout recovery community school report card.
The board will consider the following resolutions during their business meeting on February 11, 2014:
#3 A Resolution of Intent to Rescind Rule 3301-24-10 of the Administrative Code Regarding the Alternative Educator License (VOLUME 2, PAGE 8)
#4 A Resolution of Intent to Amend Rule 3301-46-01 of the Administrative Code Entitled Establishing Provisions for Granting Exceptions From Statutory Provisions and Rules as Necessary to Implement Innovative Education Pilot Programs (VOLUME 2, PAGE 12).
#5 A Resolution of Intent to Amend Rule 3301-51-01 of the Administrative Code and to Rescind and Adopt Rule 3301-51-01 of the Administrative Code Entitled Operating Standards for Ohio Educational Agencies Serving Children with Disabilities (VOLUME 2, PAGE 15)
#18 A Motion Regarding the 2014-2015 State Board Meeting Dates (VOLUME 4, PAGE 4)
#19 A Resolution to Appoint an Associate Superintendent of Public Instruction
#20 A Resolution to Approve a Waiver Request from the Columbus City Schools.
Report on Higher Education Hearings Released: The Ohio House of Representatives Higher Education Study Committee, chaired by Representative Cliff Rosenberger, released on January 21, 2014 a report entitled Legislative Study Committee Higher Education, Chairman’s Report.
The Higher Education Study Committee was appointed by Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder last year to identify and examine policy issues affecting the University System of Ohio, which includes 13 four-year state universities, 24 brand and regional campuses, 23 community and technical colleges, a medical college, and more than 120 Adult Workforce Education and Adult Basic and Literacy Education locations.
The committee included Representatives Cliff Rosenberger, chair, Christina Hagan, vice-chair, Dan Ramos, ranking member, Richard Adams, Timothy Derickson, Heather Bishoff, and Michael Stinziano.
Committee members held hearings across Ohio starting last August to receive testimony about higher education policies, including tuition costs, K-12 preparation for higher education, workforce alignment, student debt and available loans, and internship programs.
The report includes the following recommendations:
- Establish state-level goals and annual benchmarks for important policy goals, such as the percentage of adults age 25-64 with a bachelor’s or associate’s degree; the percent of occupational certificates of value or licenses earned by high school students; the percent of college students and adults who complete workforce training; the percent decrease in college remediation; the percent increase in the high school graduation rate; and the percent increase in dual enrollment participation and accumulation of postsecondary credit.
- Establish higher education benchmarks for operational efficiency and further refine performance-based funding to encourage reduction in expenditure levels; reward efficient operation and cost reductions; and target increases to SSI funding to workforce needs and key performance benchmarks.
- Target increases in financial aid to encourage students to be prepared for college level courses without remediation; enroll and major in areas of high job demand; and achieve specific performance and persistence benchmarks.
- Increase completion of higher education programs by implementing the following reform:
- Establish 15 hours as the default standard for full time enrollment
- Establish incentives for remedial and gateway course reform
- Encourage structured scheduling of classes
- Provide focused, intensive advising for all students with less than 30 hours earned
- Provide broader access to credit for experiential learning similar to those initiatives for military training and experience
- Increase access to dual enrollment options for high school students ready for postsecondary coursework
- Establish the Adult Learner Task Force to identify specific recommendations to improve opportunities and outcomes for adult learners
- Better utilize secondary career and technical programs and integrate into larger workforce development initiatives
- Continue to implement one-year credit option with updates to legislature
- Expand opportunities to award credit for experiential learning
- Investigate additional funding for adult workforce based on performance (completion and placement)
- Create genuine career technical pathway to high school graduation with emphasis on industry-recognized assessments and credentials
- Implement reforms for teacher preparation programs, including raising entrance standards for teacher preparation programs; establishing performance standards for approval of teacher preparation programs; and tying SSI funding to approval for teacher preparation programs.
- Implement changes to dual enrollment program requirements to ensure quality, transferability, and improved participation (See Chancellor’s recommendations for College Credit Plus Program)
- Investigate tax credits for credentials of value with differentiation based on economic value
- Investigate expanded use of 529 Plans, including raising deduction and increasing marketing
- Improve financial literacy training – require personal finance training of all college freshmen
- Require the Board of Regents to identify factors contributing to higher-than-average student debt levels and make recommendations to reduce student debt levels
- Establish deadlines in legislation to ensure timely implementation of initiatives
The report is available.
A Framework for Competency-Based Learning: KnowledgeWorks and the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) released on February 3, 2014 a report entitled A K-12 Federal Policy Framework for Competency Education: Building Capacity for Systems Change. The report describes some barriers and opportunities that policy-makers can promote to support competency-based education and outcomes.
Competency-based education is often referred to as proficiency-based, performance-based, standards-based, or mastery-based education. The report defines competency-based education as:
- Students advance upon mastery.
- Competencies include explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives that empower students.
- Assessment is meaningful and a positive learning experience for students.
- Students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs.
- Learning outcomes emphasize competencies that include application and creation of knowledge, along with the development of important skills and dispositions.
The authors state that it is time to “…move away from traditional assumptions about how schools should look, how teachers should teach, and how students should learn. These assumptions too often restrict learning to physical buildings, bell schedules, credit hours, and static, paper-based learning materials. Many of these assumptions are further reinforced by federal, state, and local governments that incorporate them through outdated compliance requirements and funding structures.”
The authors make the following recommendations:
- Federal accountability policies should encourage districts, schools, and educators to use real-time, individual student data to tailor instruction, supports, and interventions to ensure that each student is on pace to graduate with mastery of college- and career-ready standards and aligned competencies.
- Flexible, balanced systems of assessments should measure mastery of competencies aligned to standards, with multiple measures, performance assessments, and evidence providing educators with a data-driven guide for prioritizing continuous improvement of student learning to ensure that every student is on pace to graduation.
- The federal government should support states and districts in the development and implementation of a proactive system of supports and interventions that use real-time data to help students advance to college and career readiness through learning experiences aligned to their personalized learning pathways.
- Student-centered data systems should collect, report, and provide transparent information on where every student is along a learning trajectory based on demonstrating high levels of competency, to help educators customize learning experiences to ensure that every student can master standards and aligned competencies. Data should provide useful information for improving teaching and learning, as well as for accountability and quality purposes.
See “A K-12 Federal Policy Framework for Competency Education: Building Capacity for Systems Change,” by Lillian Pace and Maria Worthen, KnowledgeWorks.
New Valued Added Study Released: The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences released in January 2014 a new study about using value added scores for teacher evaluations. The study is entitled, “Comparing Estimates of Teacher Value-Added Based on Criterion- and Norm-Referenced Tests” by David Stuit, Mark Berends, Megan Austin, R. Dean Gerdeman.
The researchers, led by the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Research on Educational Opportunity (CREO), examined the degree to which value-added estimates of teacher effectiveness differ when different assessments are used to measure student achievement growth. They compared the value-added estimates of teachers based on the student scores of two different assessments used in 46 schools in Indiana, and found some “…variability between the estimates of teacher value added from two different tests administered to the same students in the same years.” The researchers suggest that “measurement error” could contribute to the variability. To reduce miss classifying teacher performance based on measurement error, the researchers suggest incorporating “confidence intervals for value-added estimates.”
See “Comparing Estimates of Teacher Value-Added Based on Criterion- and Norm-Referenced Tests” by David Stuit, Mark Berends, Megan Austin, R. Dean Gerdeman, U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, January 2014.
Is School Funding Fair? Bruce D. Baker, Rutgers University; David G. Sciarra, Education Law Center; and Danielle Farrie, Education Law Center, released in January 2014 the third edition of Is School Funding Fair?: A National Report Card. The report examines the condition of state K-12 finance systems as the country emerges from the Great Recession, and includes a state by state analysis of school funding policies, with a specific focus on the “fair distribution of resources to the neediest students.”
The researchers analyzed state school funding systems based on the following fairness measures:
- Funding Level based on 2011 data, although this edition also reviews school funding levels going back to 2007. The data is adjusted to account for a variety of interstate differences, so that average state and local revenue per pupil can be compared. States are ranked from the highest to lowest per pupil funding.
- Funding Distribution. This measure shows whether a state provides more or less funding to schools based on concentrations of poverty. States can be rated regressive, progressive, or flat based on this measure, when compared to other states.
- Effort. This measures differences in state spending relative to the state’s fiscal capacity. States are ranked according to the ratio of state spending on education to gross domestic product.
- Coverage: This measures the proportion of school-aged children attending the state’s public schools and also addresses the income disparity between families using public and nonpublic schools. States are ranked according to both the proportion of children in public schools and the income ratio of public- and nonpublic-school families.
The researchers found the following:
- ”Most states have largely stagnant or declining funding levels, and vast disparities among states remain. In fourteen states, funding levels in 2011 were below 2007 levels, even without adjusting for inflation. There is over a $10,000 gap between the highest funded state (Wyoming) and the lowest (Idaho).
- The majority of states have funding systems with “flat” or “regressive” funding distribution patterns that ignore the need for additional funding in high-poverty districts. Recent trends show an increase in the number of regressive states and a decline in the number of progressive states. For example, Utah and New Jersey, both of which previously were among the most progressive states, experienced a significant erosion of equity.
- Most states experienced a decrease in overall revenue resulting in a declining financial base from which to fund schools; most states also further reduced effort by lowering the share of economic productivity dedicated to education. The largest reductions in effort were seen in Maine, Hawaii and Florida.
- Coverage is a relatively stable indicator, but it demonstrates the degree to which wealthier families in some states opt out of the public education system, potentially affecting the public and political will necessary to improve school funding. A relatively large share of students in Louisiana and Washington, D.C. attend nonpublic schools. These children tend to come from far wealthier families than their public school counterparts.
- Only Minnesota, New Jersey, and West Virginia are positioned relatively well on all four indicators, though all three have areas in which they could improve. Two states — North Carolina and Missouri — received low ratings in each of the four indicators.”
The report rated Ohio 19th for Funding Level, but the report also shows that since 2007 Ohio has dropped from 17th place. State and local revenue for schools in Ohio has increased by $12 per student over the same period of time.
On the Funding Distribution measure Ohio was rated 5th in the nation on 2011 data, meaning the state’s school funding formula provides more support for poorer districts than wealthier districts. However, since 2007 Ohio’s formula has become more regressive.
For Effort Ohio is rated 9th in 2011 and its Effort Index is .042 on a scale in which the highest state effort is .055 (Vermont) and the lowest state effort is .022 (Delaware).
Ohio received its lowest rating of 39th on the measure Coverage, which indicates the economic disparity between students in public and private schools. The report shows that based on 2011 data, 85 percent of Ohio students between 6-16 years old attended public schools. The median household income of families whose children attended public schools in Ohio was $69,274 compared to a median income of $101,240 for students who attended private schools.
The report also includes three new indicators that recognize state policies to provide additional resources for schools to meet the needs of students. The new indicators include Early Childhood Education, Pupil to Teacher Ratios, and Wage Competitiveness.
The researchers found that New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Maryland have greater participation by low-income families in early childhood education programs; Minnesota and South Dakota provide greater staffing resources for high poverty districts, which reduces the teacher pupil ratio; and the average teacher salaries in most states are below the salaries of non-teacher, comparable professions. New York and Wyoming have competitive teacher salaries, while Colorado and Arizona have the least competitive salaries.
See Is School Funding Fair?: A National Report Card by Bruce D. Baker, Rutgers University; David G. Sciarra, Education Law Center; and Danielle Farrie, Education Law Center, The Education Law Center and Rutgers University, January 2014.
HB424 (Bishoff/Hackett) Social Media Privacy Laws – Students School Districts: Prohibits employers and educational institutions from requiring an employee, applicant, student, or prospective student to provide access to any personal Internet account of the employee, applicant, student, or prospective student.
HB428 (Anielski) JVS Boards of Education-Terms of Office: Revises the law regarding terms of office of members of certain joint vocational school district boards of education.
SB273 (Gardner) Graduating Seniors-Make-Up Days: Excuses graduating twelfth-grade students from attending school on make-up days that occur after the scheduled high school graduation ceremonies and declares an emergency.
Webinar on the Psychology of Creativity: The National Endowment for the Arts, Interagency Task Force on the Arts and Human Development, will host a public webinar on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM EST on the psychology of creativity. The speaker will be Dr. James C. Kaufman, president of the American Psychological Association’s Division 10: The Society for the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. The webinar will examine the latest psychological research about creativity, how creativity is expressed, and how it is measured. The Interagency Task Force is an alliance of 17 federal departments, agencies, divisions, and offices that encourages research on how the arts help people reach their full potential at all stages of life. Information is available.
Study Released About the Impact of NEA Grants: Researchers at Southern Methodists University’s (SMU) National Center for Arts Research released on February 5, 2014 a study that examined if funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) favored wealthier communities.
This question was raised in March 2013 by Congressman Paul Ryan (R-W), who was the architect behind the Republican proposed federal budget for 2014. The Republican-backed federal budget proposal did not include funding for the NEA, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), or the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), because, according to Congressman Ryan, grants funded through the NEA constitute “a wealth transfer from poorer to wealthier citizens.” (See N.E.A. Funds Benefit Both Rich and Poor, Study Finds by Patricia Cohen, New York Times, February 4, 2014.)
To determine the answer to the question, SMU researchers compared the community wealth characteristics of all arts organizations receiving NEA grants to the community wealth characteristics of all arts organizations that did not receive NEA grants.
The researchers found the following:
Finding 1: NEA grants do not favor arts organizations in wealthier communities; instead, funding is more often awarded to economically diverse communities with a higher percentage of households that are wealthy and a higher percentage of households that are below the poverty line.
Finding 2: There is no relationship between arts attendance and the median household income of the local community. However, attendance increases with increases in the percentage of households below the poverty line and with increases in the percentage of households with incomes above $200,000.
The researchers conclude that there is no evidence of inter-community wealth transfer, because a community received an NEA grant. Organizations receiving NEA grants tend to be in communities with greater income diversity.
See “Do Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts Represent a Wealth Transfer from Poorer to Wealthier Citizens?” by Anne Marie Gan, SMU MA/MBA Class of 2015; Glenn Voss, Research Director, SMU National Center for Arts Research; and Zannie Giraud Voss, Director, SMU National Center for Arts Research
The SMU National Center for Arts Research was created in 2013 to compile IRS information with current data bases to create a census of American arts activity. The center is a collaboration of SMU’s Cox Business School and the Meadows School for the Arts.