130th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate will hold hearings and sessions this week. Lawmakers will be working on several MBRs bills (Mid Biennium Review), including two that include provisions regarding K-12 education, HB487 (Brenner) and HB483 (Amstutz). The House and Senate education committees are not meeting this week.
Straight A Fund Accepting Applications: The Ohio Department of Education announced last week that it would be accepting applications for the second round of funding through the Straight A Fund on April 4, 2014 through April 18, 2014. $144 million in grants is available for schools and consortia to support projects that meet certain goals. The awards will be announced on June 20, 2014. More information is available.
Ohio Supreme Court Accepts Charter School Case: The Ohio Supreme Court agreed on March 26, 2014 to hear an appeal of the decision in the case Hope Academy Broadway Campus v. White Hat Mgt., L.L.C from the Tenth District Court of Appeals of Franklin County.
The plaintiffs in the case are ten governing boards of charter schools that had hired White Hat L.L.C. as their management company in 2005. In 2010 the governing boards of the schools filed a lawsuit against White Hat, which had refused to provide the boards with information about how it had spent over $90 million in state funds to operate the schools over the past five years.
The Franklin County Court of Common Pleas granted in part, and denied in part, the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment concerning the property rights of the schools in a decision on August 4, 2011. The trial court found that White Hat is a “public official” and that the fees paid to White Hat are “public money” and ordered White Hat to turn over financial information.
The trial court also found, however, that White Hat was not acting as the “purchasing agent” for the schools in all instances based on the contractual agreements, and that some of the property and assets procured with public funds belonged to White Hat.
This part of the decision was appealed and affirmed by the Tenth District Court of Appeals of Franklin County on November 14, 2013. Furthermore, the Appeals Court held that the state funds White Hat received from the governing boards to operate the schools, lost their “public nature” immediately upon payment to White Hat.
According to the plaintiffs’ memorandum seeking Supreme Court jurisdiction in the case, “This appeal gives this Court the opportunity to address three important issues concerning public education and the use of taxpayer money. Through the Schools’ first proposition of law, the Court can determine the point at which public funds become a private entity’s earned profit, particularly in the context of a private entity exercising a government function. The second proposition of law will allow the Court to examine the nature of funds allocated for public education and to decide whether property purchased with such funds must be titled in the name of a public school. The third proposition of law, which addresses the existence of a fiduciary relationship, will allow the Court to determine the degree to which a private management company is accountable to a community school. Each of these questions is vitally important to Ohio’s system of public education.”
More information is available.
Forum on Charter Schools and Testing: The public is invited to a forum entitled “Accountability: Charter Schools and High Stakes Testing in Ohio” on Monday, April 28, 2014 from 6:30 – 8:30 PM at the Union Baptist Church, 528 Lincoln Avenue, in Youngstown, Ohio. The speakers include:
- Doug Oplinger, Akron Beacon Journal, “What Journalists Can– and Cannot– Tell You about Charter Schools”
- Sherry Tyson, Assist. Treasurer Youngstown City Schools, “What Choice Costs Youngstown Taxpayers”
- Dr. Ronald J. Iarussi, Superintendent of Mahoning County Educational Service Center, “Testing and Mandates in the New Age of Accountability”
- Dr. Randy Hoover, Professor Emeritus Youngstown State University, “The Reality of Student and School Academic Performance”
The forum will be moderated by the League of Women Voters of Greater Youngstown. The sponsors of the forum include ACTION; the City of Youngstown: the Mayor and City Council; the Youngstown City Schools Board of Education; the Youngstown Junior Civic League; Youngstown State University College of Education; the YWCA of Youngstown; and the Core Team of Union Baptist Church, Michael H. Harrison Sr., Pastor.
Governor Signs Capital Budget: Governor Kasich signed into law on April 1, 2014 HB497 the State’s Capital Budget for the Biennium beginning July 1, 2014. This is the first capital budget that provides state funds for local capital projects since the 2009 recession. The budget totals $2.39 billion and includes $1.64 billion in re-appropriations; $160 million for community projects; $675 million for primary and secondary schools; $459 million for the Board of Regents and the state’s higher education institutions; $369 million for the Public Works Commission; $574.3 million for state facilities and infrastructure; $100 million for the Clean Ohio Program; and $263.4 million for the Department of Natural Resources.More information is available.
Ohio House: The Ohio House approved on April 2, 2014 HB362 (Scherer/Derickson) STEM Schools. The bill authorizes the STEM Committee to grant a designation of STEM school equivalent to a community school or chartered nonpublic school, and makes other revisions to the law regarding STEM schools.
The Ohio House also approved on April 2, 2014 HB393 (Baker/Landis) Career Decision Guide Publication. The bill requires public high schools to publish annually a career decision guide in its newsletter or on its web site.
House Education Committee: The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton, reported HB447 (Lynch) Consolidated School Districts Loans on April 2, 2014. The bill permits a consolidated school district to receive a loan from the Ohio School Facilities Commission to construct a new facility to support the consolidation. The committee accepted a substitute bill before reporting the bill.
The committee also reported HB487 (Brenner) K-12 MBR. Please see below for details.
House Ways and Means Committee: The House Ways and Means Committee reported HB492 (Sherer) MBR-Taxation on April 2, 2014. The bill would make a variety of changes to increase efficiencies and clarify tax laws.
Education Committee Reports K-12 MBR Bill HB487: The House Education Committee reported out on April 3, 2014 HB487 (Brenner) K-12 Mid-Biennium Review (MBR). The committee accepted an omnibus amendment that makes several changes in the bill as introduced, and incorporates the provisions of two other House bills, HB216 (Patterson) school debt forgiveness and HB215 (DeVitis) law enforcement officers/volunteers in schools. The following are some of the changes included in the omnibus amendment:
•Section 3301.0712 College and Work-Ready Assessments: This amendment permits home-instructed students and students in non-chartered nonpublic school to participate in Ohio’s system of assessments.
Third Grade Reading Guarantee
•NEW Section 3301.163 Third-Grade Reading Guarantee/Scholarship Students: The amendment requires students who receive vouchers to attend nonpublic schools beginning July 1, 2015 to be subject to the third-grade reading guarantee retention provisions. It requires that nonpublic schools participating in the voucher programs adopt policies and procedures regarding students who do not read at grade level, provide services, and report the number of students reading at grade level, and the number of students not reading at grade level to the ODE.
•Section 3302.03 State Report Card: The amendment revises the calculation for the value-added progress measure on the school and district report cards. Only the most recent school year data will be used instead of up to three years of data. It also specifies that only data from students who have been enrolled and assessed by the school for two years or more shall be used.
The amendment also requires the ODE to include on a school or district’s report card the percent (rather than number) of students who have earned credit in advanced standing programs (formerly dual enrollment), such as college credit plus program (CCP) (formerly post-secondary enrollment options) and career technical courses.
Academic Distress Commission
•Section 3302.10 Academic Distress Commission: The amendment changes the criteria for the establishment of an academic distress commission. The new conditions are: The district has been declared for three or more consecutive years to be in academic emergency; or the district has received for three or more consecutive years a grade of “F” for the performance index score and a grade of “D” or “F” for the value added measure; or the district has received for three or more consecutive years an overall grade of “F”; or the district has received for three or more consecutive years a grade of “F” for value added; or at least fifty percent of the schools operated by the district have received for three or more consecutive years, an overall grade of “D” or “F” for the number of performance indicators met.
•Section 3310.03 (6) EdChoice Eligibility: Permits students in a 9-12 grade school that received a grade of “D” or “F” for the four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate for two out of three years to be eligible for an EdChoice scholarship.
•Section 3310.031 (B)(2) EdChoice Eligibility: Permits students attending nonpublic schools to be eligible for an EdChoice Scholarship if they attended a public school the previous school year, and would be assigned to a school that would qualify them for a voucher.
•NEW Section 3310.05 EdChoice and Cleveland Scholarship Eligibility: Permits students who are in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and are eligible for the Cleveland Scholarship Program to participate in the EdChoice Scholarship if the number of applicants to the Cleveland Scholarship Program exceeds the number of available scholarships.
Territory Transfers/District Consolidation
•Sections 3311.24 and NEW Section 3311.241 Debt Consolidation: These sections are included in HB216 (Patterson), which was reported by the House Education Committee on October 30, 2013. They allow under specified conditions the cancelation of net indebtedness owed by a school district to the solvency assistance fund, when school districts consolidate.
CMSD Transformation Alliance
•Section 3311.86 CMSD Transformation Alliance/Community Schools: The amendment revises a provision in law that permitted the Transformation Alliance to recommend sponsors of new community schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD). The proposed change allows the Transformation Alliance to recommend to the ODE the “capacity and ability” of entities to sponsor community schools in the CMSD. The ODE would then approve or not approve the sponsor.
•Section 3313.537 Extra-Curricular Activities/Community Schools: The bill is amended to permit students enrolled in charter schools and STEM schools to have access to extracurricular activities in the district of residence, or in another school district if approved by the district’s superintendent, if the activity is not offered at the school the student is enrolled in, and if the activity is not interscholastic athletics or contests or competitions in music, drama, or forensics.
•Section 3313.603 Graduation Requirements: The amendment allows students who enter ninth grade before July 1, 2014 (rather than July 1, 2016 as stated in the bill as introduced) to qualify for graduation even if they have not completed the Ohio Core 3313.603 (C).
•Section 3313.6013 Advanced Standing Programs: The amendment requires school districts to provide students with certain information about advanced placement courses and international baccalaureate courses.
•Retains Section 3313.6015 Career Advising/Financial Literacy: This section requires that boards of education of each city, local, exempted village, joint vocational school district adopt a policy on college career readiness and financial literacy in the curriculum for grades seven or eight.
•Section 3313.6020 Career Advising: The amendment states that beginning in the school year 2016-17 (rather than 2015-16) each city, local, exempted village, and joint vocational school district shall adopt a policy on career advising, and update it every two years.
•Section 3313.612 Non public Schools Graduation Requirements: The amendment adds a new part (D), which states that a nonpublic school chartered by the state board may forgo end-of course exams if the school publishes the results of a standardized assessment prescribed for each graduating class to measure college and career readiness. The published results shall include the overall composite scores, mean scores, 25th percentile scores, and 75th percentile scores for each subject area of the assessment.
The amendment prohibits the state board of education from imposing additional requirements or assessments for the granting of a high school diploma for students in nonpublic schools, and requires the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to furnish the standardized assessment to measure college and career readiness.
The amendment eliminates an exemption to the state graduation requirements that had been available to private schools accredited through the Independent School Association of the Central States.
•Section 3313.843 Educational Service Centers Payment: The amendment clarifies the payment of the operating subsidy paid to educational service centers.
•Section 3313.90 Career-Technical Education: The amendment delays until 2015-2016 the expansion of career technical services to students enrolled in grades seven and eight and advising for career-technical education. The original bill required the expansion of career tech programs in the 2014-15 school year.
•NEW Section 3313.94 School Patrol Services/Tax Credits: This provision was originally included in HB215 (DeVitis) Law Enforcement Volunteers in School. It allows public schools and nonpublic schools to engage a current or retired law enforcement officer on a volunteer basis to patrol the premises of a school, and makes the volunteer eligible for a nonrefundable tax credit. Sections in law regarding nonrefundable tax credits are also amended in accordance with this provision.
•Section 3313.975 Cleveland Scholarship Program: The amendment allows students in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and are eligible for the Cleveland Scholarship Program to access the EdChoice Scholarship under certain conditions.
•Section 3314.016 Community School Sponsors: The amendment states that the Office of Ohio School Sponsorship, which is also a sponsor of community schools, shall be rated by a panel starting in July 2016, but the Office will not be prevented from sponsoring schools based on the rating. The evaluation panel will be formed no later than December 31, 2014 and include representatives from the following organizations:
- A statewide nonprofit organization whose membership is composed solely of entities that sponsor community schools and whose members sponsor the majority of start up community schools in the state
- An educational service center approved to sponsor community schools statewide
- A school district that sponsors one or more community schools that is not a municipal school district
- A qualified tax-exempt entity under section 501(cl (3) of the Internal Revenue Code approved to sponsor community schools
- The Cleveland Metropolitan School District
•Section 3314.02 Conversion Community Schools: The amendment makes changes regarding educational service centers sponsoring conversion community schools in counties outside of the territory of the service center or a contiguous county. It states that in these cases the conversion is subject to approval from the ODE, and that this section does not apply to the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West, formerly the Lucas County ESC, which operated the first pilot charter school program.
•NEW Section 3314.191 Payments to Opening Community Schools: Requires newly opened charter schools to confirm to the ODE the following before receiving payments from the State:
- Compliance with all provisions regarding the employment of a licensed treasurers
- Sponsor approval of financial controls
- Sponsor approval of facilities
- The chief administrator is managing daily operations at the school
- The projected enrollment reported to the ODE is accurate.
•NEW Section 3314.352 Reopening a Permanently Closed Community School: Prohibits community schools to reopen under another name if the new school has the same sponsor as the closed school; if the new school has the same chief administrator as the closed school; if the governing authority of the new school consists of the same members as the closed school; if 50 percent of the teaching staff and administrators is the same as the closed school; and if the performance standards and accountability plan prescribed by the sponsor are the same as the closed school. This provision does not apply to internet or computer-based community schools.
•Section 3314.016 Community School Sponsor Rating System: This amendment states that the ODE will develop and implement an evaluation system for sponsors of charter schools in “conjunction with a statewide nonprofit organization whose membership is comprised solely of entities that sponsor community schools and whose members sponsor the majority of start-up community schools in the state.” The evaluation of sponsors shall include academic performance, rates of student improvement, adherence to quality practices, and compliance with applicable laws and administrative codes. The ODE is required to establish a schedule to review sponsors for adherence and compliance.
•Section 3324.09 Expenditures for Gifted Students: The amendment requires school districts to report to the ODE by July 31st of each year the spending of funds for the identification and services provided to the district’s gifted students.
•Section 3324.11 Gifted Education: This amendment prohibits a school district from reporting that it has provided services to a student identified as gifted unless those services are paid for by the district.
Advanced Standing Program
•Section 3345.06 (D) Admission Higher Education: The bill includes a new section (D) that requires institutions of higher education to accept a sworn affidavit from the chief administrator of a chartered nonpublic school or a student’s parents, verifying the successful completion of the high school curriculum by the student.
•REPEALS Section 3345.062 which requires institutions of higher education to offer distance learning courses to high school students.
College Credit Plus Program
•Sections 3365.01 – 3365.15 College Credit Plus Program: The omnibus amendment includes several changes in the proposed College Credit Plus Program. The bill now permits school districts to negotiate agreements below the $40/credit hour floor with institutions of higher education (Section 3365.07 ORC); permits seventh and eighth graders to participate (Section 3365.033 ORC); permits out-of-state colleges whose programs are approved by the Board of Regents to participate; and specifies the type of data to be collected and reported about the program.
The amendment adds a high school counselor to the College Credit Plus Advisory Committee, and changes the application requirements for nonpublic school and home-instructed students participating in the College Credit Plus program. It requires the State Board of Education to provide the application, and for the student’s parents or guardians to provide certain information.
Provisions in Temporary Law
Section 3: Amends Section 3314.016. This provision relates to sponsors of community schools. It requires the ODE to develop and implement an evaluation system for sponsors “in conjunction with a statewide nonprofit organization whose membership is comprised solely of entities that sponsor community schools and whose members sponsor the majority of start-up community schools in the state”. The system would rate each entity that sponsors charter schools based on certain components, including a measure for academic performance of students enrolled in the schools overseen by the sponsor, adherence to quality practices, compliance with applicable laws and administrative rules. The ODE is required to determine a schedule for completing these reviews and calculating the measures.
The amendment further states that an effective rating for a sponsor will be valid for three years and an exemplary rating for a sponsor will be valid for five years.
This provision also requires the ODE to implement peer review of sponsor adherence to quality practices and enter “into an agreement with a statewide nonprofit organization whose membership is comprised solely of entities that sponsor community schools and whose members sponsor the majority of start-up community schools in the state for that training.”
Also included in the amendment is a new section (D) that outlines how the ODE’s Office of School Sponsorship will be rated using the evaluation system developed for sponsors, and creates a panel to conduct the evaluation.
These provisions will go into effect on January 1, 2015.
Section 6: Adds a representative of the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities to the School Based Health Care Advisory Workgroup.
Section 8: Requires the Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents by March 31, 2015 to identify one or more nationally normed assessments that may be used to demonstrate remediation-free status, and establish score levels in the areas of mathematics, reading, and writing for each assessment. This section also allows state institution to use the assessments and adopt the remediation-free score levels to determine if a student meets the standards for remediation-free status.
This Week at the Statehouse
April 7, 2014
House Finance and Appropriations: The House Finance and Appropriations Committee, chaired by Representative Amstutz, will meet on April 7, 2014 at 10:00 AM in hearing room 313. The committee will receive testimony regarding HB483 (Amstutz) MBR – Changes in State Programs and HB484 (Rosenberger) MBR Higher Education Reforms.
April 8, 2014
House Finance and Appropriations: The House Finance and Appropriations Committee, chaired by Representative Amstutz, will meet on April 8, 2014 at 10:00 AM in hearing room 313. The committee will receive testimony regarding HB483 (Amstutz) MBR – Changes in State Programs and HB484 (Rosenberger) MBR Higher Education Reforms.
Senate Finance Committee: The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Oelslager will meet on April 8, 2014 at 2:30 PM in the Senate Finance Hearing Room. The committee will receive testimony regarding HB85 (Terhar/Gonzales) Homestead Exemption, which would enhance the homestead exemption for military veterans who are 100 percent disabled from a service-connected disability.
Congressman Ryan Releases FY15 Budget: Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), chairman of the House Budget Committee, introduced on April 1, 2014 a proposed FY15 federal budget entitled “The Pathway to Prosperity Act”. The plan sets broad spending parameters; includes tax reforms; repeals the Affordable Care Act; changes Medicaid funding; and cuts federal spending by $5.1 trillion over the next ten years.
The bill was quickly approved by the House Budget Committee on April 3, 2014, even though Congress approved and President Obama signed into law on December 26, 2013 the Bipartisan Budget Act, which funds the federal government through FY15.
The Pathway to Prosperity Act combines the budgets for the U.S. Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services, and sets the total at $73.9 billion in budget authority and $91.8 billion in outlays in FY15. The proposed budget doesn’t go into any detail about program funding, leaving decisions about specific funding levels to the committee of jurisdiction for the departments.
Regarding funding for K-12 education, the budget plan states that “The current structure for K—12 programs at the Department of Education is fragmented and ineffective. Moreover, many programs are duplicative or are highly restricted, serving only a small number of students. Given the budget constraints, Congress must focus resources on programs that truly help students. The budget calls for reorganization and streamlining of K—12 programs and anticipates major reforms to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which was last reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act. The budget also recommends that the committees of jurisdiction terminate and reduce programs that are failing to improve student achievement and address the duplication among the 82 programs that are designed to improve teacher quality.”
The Pell Grant Program is described in the budget plan as unsustainable. The budget recommends several reforms in the program, such as adopting a maximum award level and setting an income cap for students.
According to the proposed budget plan, “Federal subsidies for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting can no longer be justified. The activities and content funded by these agencies go beyond the core mission of the federal government. These agencies can raise funds from private-sector patrons, which will also free them from any risk of political interference.”
The budget plan would also promote state, local, and private funding for museums and libraries, and would end grants provided by the Federal government for the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
The Pathway to Prosperity Act is expected to be approved by the Republican-dominated House, but is not expected to clear the U.S. Senate.
More information is available.
Two Education Bills to be Considered by the U.S. House. The U.S. House Education, and the Workforce Committee, chaired by Representative John Kline (R-MN), will mark up on April 8, 2014 two bills that have bipartisan support, the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 10) and the Strengthening Education through Research Act (H.R. 4366).
The Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act was introduced by Chairman Kline and Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA). It will consolidate the Charter School Program and the Charter School Credit Enhancement Program, and will allow states to use federal grants to replicate and expand successful charter schools. According to a summary, the bill authorizes the Charter School Program at $300 million for fiscal years 2015 through 2020; clarifies that charter schools may conduct state-determined weighted lotteries; and allows students to continue in the school program of their choice by clarifying students in affiliated charter schools can attend the next immediate grade in that network’s school.
See the “Bill Summary” prepared by the U.S. House, Education, and Workforce Committee.
H.R. 4366, the Strengthening Education through Research Act (H.R. 4366), was introduced by Representatives Todd Rokita (R-IN) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY). It will reauthorize the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA), which governs the U.S. Department of Education’s research division called the Institute of Education Sciences. The bill reinforces current law prohibiting the involvement of the federal government in local decisions about curriculum by stating that federal funds cannot be used to “mandate, direct, control, or coerce the curriculum or academic standards or assessments of a state or local educational agency.”
See the “Bill Summary” prepared by the U.S. House, Education and Workforce Committee.
PISA Results for Creative Problem-Solving Released: The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released on April 1, 2014 the results of a new creative problem-solving test administered by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). The test was administered to 85,000 students age 15 in 44 countries and regions.
According to a summary of the report, students in Singapore, Korea, and Japan had the highest scores, and Shanghai, Canada, Australia, and Finland finished in the top 10.
US students were ranked number 18, and rated above average when compared to all students. This is positive news, because U.S. students have ranked below-average on recent reading and math PISA exams.
See PISA 2012 Results: Creative Problem Solving. Students’ Skills in Tackling Real-Life Problems Volume V, April 1, 2014, OECD.
Students in New York Opt Out of Common Core Tests: Denise Jewell Gee of The Buffalo News reported on April 1, 2014 that more parents in New York State are opting their children out of state standardized assessments than in the past. According to the article, in one district, West Seneca, 27 percent of students in grades 3-8 had opted-out of the state exams in English-language arts.
The article includes interviews of several parents who say that the tests are too high stakes, take up too much instructional time, can’t be used to improve instruction, and that using the test results to evaluate teachers is an inappropriate burden on children. One parent said that she didn’t want her children to be used as “pawns” in state education reform efforts.
See Parent Protest Expands in WNY as Large Numbers of Students Opt Out of State Exams, by Denise Jewell Gee, The Buffalo News, April 1, 2014.
Validate New Teacher Evaluations: Experts in psychometrics called upon testing professionals to “…lead the way in providing a framework for evaluating proposed systems that purport to measure teacher quality” in an April 1, 2014 Commentary published in Education Week.
Testing experts Tia Sukin, W. Alan Nicewander, Phoebe Winter, Howard Mitzel, Lisa Keller, and Matt Schulz write that validity studies of teacher evaluation systems should be conducted before teacher-evaluation systems are used “…for high-stakes purposes, such as identifying teachers for sanctions or rewards.”
According to the Commentary the widespread use of student test scores for evaluating teachers will constitute a serious violation of the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing without validation studies. These standards were developed by the American Educational Research Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education, and provide a criteria for evaluating test quality and appropriate uses for the test.
The authors identify the following assumptions that underlie the use of student test scores to evaluate teachers, and ask that the assumptions be examined for accuracy:
- ”The instruments that make-up the teacher evaluation system (e.g., accountability assessments, teacher-observation protocols, student-satisfaction surveys) are sensitive to classroom instruction and changes in classroom instruction across a diverse population of students.”
- ”The administration and implementation of the instruments are consistent with their protocols.”
- ”The scoring rules and rubrics used for instruments are appropriate. Scores assigned by raters (e.g., peers, principals, students) are accurate, consistent with scoring protocols, and free of bias.”
- ”Observations used in the evaluation are fair, using multiple observers and representing the variety of conditions that could affect teacher performance (e.g., time of year, time of day, subject area covered), so that results are generalizable to teacher performance as a whole.”
- ”The measurement instruments are sufficiently reliable.”
- ”Teacher-evaluation scores do not significantly correlate with variables associated with the students they teach (e.g., English-language proficiency, prior performance on content, free or reduced-price lunch status). That is, the instruments address factors that can be changed by the teacher.”
- ”The instrument outcomes are related to the desired traits (e.g., those exhibited in classrooms that differentiate between higher- and lower-quality teachers).”
- ”Teachers with higher scores are more effective than teachers with lower scores.”
- ”Raters are able to appropriately assess teacher performance.”
The authors also state that the unintended consequences of the teacher evaluation system should be examined. For example, do the teacher evaluation systems discourage teachers from accepting teaching assignments for specific student populations?
About the authors:
- Tia Sukin is a senior psychometrician for Pacific Metrics, in Monterey, California
- W. Alan Nicewander is the chief psychometrician at Pacific Metrics and an associate editor of Psychometrika, the Journal of the Psychometric Society.
- Phoebe Winter was the executive vice president for education policy at Pacific Metrics when this Commentary was written. She has since retired.
- Howard Mitzel, who died in January, had been the president and principal founder of Pacific Metrics and retained a seat on its board at the time this Commentary was written.
- Lisa Keller is an associate professor of psychometric methods at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
- Matthew Schulz is the vice president of research at Pacific Metrics.
See “Take the Time to Evaluate Teacher Evaluation, Education Week COMMENTARY by Tia Sukin, W. Alan Nicewander, Phoebe Winter, Howard Mitzel, Lisa Keller, Matt Schulz, April 1, 2014.
SB322 (Tavares) Property Tax Exemption-Church Day Care Centers: Exempts church day-care centers from property taxation, provided the day-care center does not produce over $30,000 in income for the church per year.
SB312 (Jones/LaRose) School Security Grant Program: Require the Facilities Construction Commission to establish a school security grant program for nonpublic schools and certain local law enforcement agencies and to make an appropriation.
Early Bird Registration, American for the Arts Convention: The early bird registration deadline for the 2014 Americans for the Arts Annual (AFTA) Convention is approaching fast. Register now and save big! Early bird registration discount ends April 04, 2014. The convention will be held Friday, June 13, 2014 to Sunday, June 15, 2014 at the Omni Nashville Hotel, Nashville, TN.
The Power of Art to Transform People by Ben Folds will kick off the convention. There will also be three pre conferences on Public Art & Placemaking, Arts Education & Advocacy, and Arts Leadership; three keynote speakers; break-out sessions; and a reception at the expanded County Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
More information is available.
What Can Students Learn from Theatre? How to be an Engaged Citizen!: An article posted by Casey McDermott on the web site of the Student Press Law Center describes how a high school student coordinated efforts to reinstate a production of “Rent” and in the process supported the First Amendment, demonstrated the value of the arts as a way to communicate controversial ideas, and showed how decisions in a democracy should be made.
The article explains how senior Larissa Mark, president of the Trumbull High School Thespian Club (Trumbull, CT), worked with fellow students to convince the school’s principal, Marc Guarino, to permit the school’s theater group to perform the musical “Rent-Student Edition”, after the principal barred the production in November 2013. The principal was concerned about the adult content in “RENT”, which is a Tony Award-winning musical by Jonathan Larson, and focuses on drug use, HIV/AIDS, and sexuality.
According to the article, the production debuted in March 2014, but not until Ms. Mark and the Trumbull High School Thespian Society mounted a campaign that included survey data, a petition drive, a Facebook campaign, and national attention. Throughout the campaign students kept the school administrators informed about their activities, and shared with them the results of a community survey that showed that parents and the public were supportive of the production. The students also testified at board of education meetings, and shared their concerns about the need for students in the community to have opportunities to discuss the serious topics covered in the production, and explained how the musical could be a learning experience for everyone.
Ms. Mark said in the article that the campaign to reinstate the production was a call to civic action to protect First Amendments Rights and showed how the arts could be used to communicate ideas and create change.
For her efforts in support of free speech, Ms. Mark was awarded the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund Award.
See “Q&A: Student who coordinated efforts to reinstate high school production of ‘Rent’”, by Casey McDermott, Student Press Law Center, March 28, 2014.
The Student Press Law Center was founded in 1974 and provides legal assistance to high school and college students, teachers, and journalists regarding First Amendment issues.