130th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House has scheduled two committee meetings this week. The Senate will not be meeting, and the House and Senate Education committees will not be meeting.
Senate Changes Schedule: The Ohio Senate has added a voting session on Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 11:00 AM; cancelled the session for Tuesday, May 13, 2014; and added a session on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Both the House and the Senate have scheduled sessions on May 28, 2014, and “if needed” sessions the first two weeks in June.
STEM Schools Added: The Ohio Stem Learning Network announced on April 11, 2014 that six additional schools will be added to the network. The schools were required to submit a proposal and meet a variety of criteria outlined in the document.
The newly designated STEM schools are
- Marysville STEM Early College High School.
- Akron’s National Inventors Hall of Fame School. (This reflects an expansion of the grades covered.)
- Metro Early College Middle School – Columbus.
- STEM+ME2 Academy – Youngstown (opens August 2015).
- Thurgood Marshall High School – Dayton.
- Ridgeview Junior High School – Pickerington.
The commission gave provisional approval to Northwestern Local Schools’ Middle School and High School upon meeting certain conditions by May 10, 2014.
The new STEM schools join the current designated STEM schools:
- Baldwin Road Junior High School – Reynoldsburg.
- BIO-MED Science Academy – Rootstown.
- Dayton Regional STEM School.
- Global Impact STEM Academy – Springfield.
- Hughes STEM High School – Cincinnati.
- MC2 STEM High School – Cleveland.
- Metro STEM School – Columbus.
- National Inventors Hall of Fame School – Akron.
- Reynoldsburg High School eSTEM.
- Reynoldsburg High Schools
Update on PARCC Assessments: Patrick OʻDonnell reports for the Cleveland Plain Dealer that students piloting this month the new PARCC assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards say that the questions are harder, more complex, and that there isnʻt enough time to complete the exam. The new assessments developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) will replace the Ohio Achievement Assessments next year, and new end of course exams will eventually replace the Ohio Graduation Tests (OGT).
According to interviews with teachers and administrators in several schools, Mr. OʻDonnell writes that students were frustrated with the number of steps required to answer questions, and surprised about the amount of writing required. Some thought that they had not covered the topics, and didnʻt have enough time to respond to all of the parts of the questions.
Some technical problems were also reported with the assessments which are taken online.
The scores for the exams for this year wonʻt count, but next year the scores will be factored into the stateʻs new report card.
See “Even high-performing suburban districts are worried about the Common Core tests” by Patrick OʻDonnell, Cleveland Plain Dealer, April 17, 2014.
Tennessee Reassessing PARCC: As Ohio students pilot the PARCC assessments, Chalkbeat Tennessee reports that the Tennessee General Assembly voted on April 17, 2014 to delay administering the PARCC assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The bill has been approved by a conference committee, but still must be signed by the governor. If signed into law students will continue to take the current Tennessee Comprehensive Assessments, and the stateʻs department of education will start a new competitive bidding process to procure new assessments for the 2015-16 school year. Recently Florida, Indiana, and Kentucky have changed their plans regarding the common core state standards and/or assessments aligned to the new standards.
See “State legislature votes to delay Common Core-aligned assessments” by Jaclyn Zubrzycki, Chalkbeat Tennessee, April 17, 2014.
School Segregation is Still a Problem: A new report issued by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) on April 17, 2014 says that school segregation is still a problem 60 years after the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision was issued by the U.S. Supreme Court on May 17, 1954. Richard Rothstein, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, explains in the report that the Brown decision eliminated the “separate but equal” concept adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1898, and invigorated efforts across the country to support the civil rights movement in the 1960s. But, the Brown decision has not been successful in creating integrated schools and eliminating achievement gaps based on race and other inequities among groups of students.
According to the author African-American children are “more racially and socio-economically isolated today than at any time since data have been available”, and attend schools with insufficient resources, high mobility, problems with discipline, and the lack of adult role models.
He writes, “Schools remain segregated today because neighborhoods in which they are located are segregated. Raising achievement of low income black children requires residential integration, from which school integration can follow. Education policy is housing policy.”
See “Brown V. Board at 60: Why Have We Been So Disappointed? What Have We Learned?” by Richard Rothstein, Economic Policy Institute, April 17, 2014.
State Board of Education: The State Board of Education, Debe Terhar President, met in Columbus on April 14 & 15, 2014. This month the State Board of Education welcomed new Board member Brad Lamb, who Governor Kasich recently appointed to the State Board to replace Bryan Williams (District 5). The board also held a 119 hearing regarding proposed new rules; approved a resolution to amend HB487 (Brenner) the Mid Biennial Budget K-12 Education; discussed anti-discrimination policies regarding sexual orientation; and postponed taking action on the consolidation of the Newbury and Berkshire school districts. The Board also recognized Tina Thomas Manning for her service to the State Board. She is leaving the ODE to become Superintendent of the Reynoldsburg City Schools. The following are highlights of the meetings:
119 Hearing on Proposed Rules
The State Board conducted a hearing on April 14, 2014 regarding three proposed Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) rule changes:
-3301-24-10, Alternative Educator License
-3301-46-01, Innovative Education Pilot Program
-3301-51-01 to -09, -11, & -21 Operating Standards for Ohio Educational Agencies Serving Children with Disabilities.
During the public hearing on the rules Dr. Linda Wellman, a licensed speech/language pathologist, who serves on the Ohio Board of Speech/Language Pathology and Audiology, testified in support of OAC Rules 3301-51-01 through 09, 11 & 21. She said that the Ohio Board of Speech/Language Pathology and Audiology supports the amendment that clarifies case loads, and also suggested that the Ohio Department of Education communicate the new case load determinations to the field.
Hearing on Autism Rule
The Capacity Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, held a special hearing on April 14, 2014 to receive testimony and comments from the public and stakeholders regarding a proposed rule being revised by the committee. The draft Autism Instructional Assistant Aid Permit, Rule 3301-25-10, will be considered by the committee at their June meeting.
Jennifer Kangas, ODE Director, Office of Educator Licensure, and David Hansen ODE Executive Director, Office of Quality School Choice and Funding, opened the hearing by providing background information regarding the proposed rule. The autism scholarship program was established in law in 2003 and currently serves 2,795 students (17 percent participation across the state) through 285 approved providers. Across the state there are at least 18,000 students, who would qualify for the scholarship.
The proposed changes for the autism instructional assistant permit are based on a recent change in law (129-HB279), and require additional education requirements for the permit holder than in the current rule. Candidates must complete an associate degree or higher, or complete at least two years of college, which is defined as 48 semester hours or 72 quarter hours.
Concern was expressed at the hearing about the additional educational requirements, which could limit the number of individuals who would qualify for the permit, and provisions about the supervision of assistants who perform in-home services. The proposed rule recommends supervision of five percent of the hours of service performed in the home, and face-to face meetings per month. Some stakeholders believe that this provision lessens the supervision requirement, while other stakeholders believe that there are other ways to supervise the assistants.
The Accountability Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, met on April 14, 2014 and discussed a framework for combining report card measures to create a single grade for schools and districts; the definition of the industry credential; and the Prepared for Success component on the state report card.
Mr. Gunlock opened the meeting by congratulating Dr. Chris Woolard, director of ODEʻs Office of Accountability, for receiving the Data Quality Campaignʻs 2014 State Data Leader Award. The Ohio Department of Education was also recognized for its newly redesigned interactive state report card.
Chris Woolard provided the committee with an update about the latest work of the ODE staff regarding the state report card.
- He reported that the workgroup to create a gifted indicator has met three times and has two more meetings scheduled before they report to the board in May 2014.
- He also said that the district narrative will be reported on the report card in 2015 rather than this year. ODE staff has been looking at other states (including New Jersey and Illinois) that have created district narratives, and has determined that there is not enough time to identify and collect the appropriate data to prepare the district narrative this year. More work needs to be done with stakeholders to develop a framework for identifying the types of data that should be collected by EMIS and reported in the narrative.
- The law requires that other data be reported (not graded) on the 2014 report card, and the committee will receive a report in May regarding these “other data pieces.”
Combined Measures: The committee then reviewed simulations for school districts, schools, and charter schools and options regarding the impact of weighting certain components more or less on the report card. The committee was asked to consider three components and proposed options to 1) weight the performance index relative to the indicators; 2) weight the four year graduation rate relative to the five year graduation weight; and 3) consider how to combine the overall and subgroups value added measures.
According to the simulations, weighting one component over another significantly increased the percent of districts, schools, and charter schools receiving an “F” grade. No action was taken on the options, but Dr. Woolard emphasized that the committee must make decisions soon so that the field has sufficient time to be informed. The simulations are available.
Industry Credential: Dr. Emily Passias from the ODE Department of Career and Technical Education led the committee in a discussion of the industry credential measure. 129-HB555 requires that one of the measures on the local report include the percent of students receiving industry credentials. The committee had decided in December 2013 to count industry credentials that required 450 or more instructional hours of training, but, upon investigation, the ODE staff only found 23 credentials that met that requirement. Dr. Passias said that after working with the Governorʻs Office and career tech leaders in the state, ODE staff were able to identify credentials in other fields that JobsOhio has identified as key Ohio industries, such as advanced manufacturing, automotive, aero-space, agribusiness, and bio-health. These industries are high demand, sustainable, and provide high wages.
Board member C. Todd Jones suggested that the definition for industry credentials align with the provisions included in the State Board of Educationʻs recommendations for new graduation requirements, which the Board adopted in November 2013. The ODE staff will review those recommendations for the next committee meeting.
Prepared for Success: In 2015 the state will include a grade for the Prepared for Success measure on the state report card. To successfully meet this measure a student must be remediation free, obtain industry credentials, or earn an Honors Diploma. Students can earn additional points through meeting requirements for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Dual Enrollment.
Committee members also discussed the possibility of adding a three-year graduation cohort measure, which would require a legislative change to be included as a graded measure on the state report card.
The Achievement Committee, chaired by C. Todd Jones, discussed the model curricula for the Fine Arts and World Languages and career connections.
Both model curricula are scheduled to be adopted by the State Board in June 2014. Susan Zake, Director of the ODE Office of Exceptional Children, introduced Kathleen Shelton ODE consultant for World Languages, and Nancy Pistone, ODE consultant for the Fine Arts, to answer questions about the models.
Sarah Fowler asked a number of questions about the model curriculum for the fine arts, and about specific components that she believed were developmentally inappropriate for students in the early grades. She said that she did not have enough time to review more than grades K-2 in the model, but believed that some of the components are narrowly focused, and emphasize appreciating the arts and building an awareness about the arts rather than creating art.
Dr. Pistone explained that the model is broad based and provides flexibility to guide school districts/schools as they create courses of study and classroom lessons in the fine arts. She said that there are three strands in the model curriculum that are based on the standards of perceiving/creating the arts; producing and performing the arts; and responding to the arts. The model integrates these processes.
Chairman Jones suggested that the committee continue to review the drafts for another week, and send their comments to ODE staff. He asked the staff to follow-up on the comments. The committee will consider the models for approval in May 2014.
Career Connections: Carolyn George, Program Administrator for the Office of Career Technical Education, provided the committee an update about the Career Connections initiative, which the ODE is implementing in grades K through 12 to provide students with opportunities to explore careers. The OhioMeansJobs tool has been expanded to provide middle and high school students and families with access to the online tool at no cost. The new OhioMeansJobs K-12 tool will offer teachers online resources for in-demand jobs, education, and training options. This online tool will be ready in September, 2014.
The Operating Standards Committee, chaired by Ron Rudduck, discussed Ohio Administrative Code Rule 3301-35-05 Staff Focus and Rule 3301-35-06 Educational Program and Supports.
The proposed drafts of the two rules eliminate references to the Ohio Revised Code, but links to the code will be available in the online version of the revised operating standards.
The committee also amended OAC 3301-35-05(A) in March 2014, and removed the phrase “…and every school with fifteen or more full-time equivalent classroom teachers shall be assigned the services of a full-time principal. No principal shall be assigned to more than two schools.” The draft rule now reads: “Every school shall be provided the services of a principal.”
At this meeting the committee approved the following changes in Rule 3301-35-05:
- Removed the language, “…without discrimination on the basis of age, color, ancestry, national origin, race, gender, religion, disability, or veteran status” and replaced the language with “in accordance with state and federal law.”
- Replaced the provision regarding Educational Service Personnel at 3301-35-05 (A)(4) with the language, “Educational Service Personnel are credentialed staff with the knowledge, skills, and expertise to support the educational, instructional, health, mental health, and college/career readiness needs of students.”
The committee also considered ODE staff recommendations to create a new rule that would include school safety standards entitled “Supporting Student Non-Academic Needs”, and rules for “blended learning”, which have been added to Rule 3301-35-06.
The committee defeated an amendment proposed by Stephanie Dodd to add the phrase “without discrimination on the basis of age, color, ancestry, national origin, race, gender, religion, disability, veteran status, and sexual orientation” in Rule 3301-35-05(A)(4).
Eric Price from Quality Dayton addressed the committee and provided some background information about the history of operating standards, and made several suggestions about the changes recommended for all of the Operating Standards.
Board member Mike Collins requested a summary of the comments submitted by stakeholders over the past months to see if there are patterns in the concerns/recommendations that the committee should address.
Legislative and Budget Committee
Brad Ingraham, the new director of ODEʻs Legislative Services division, presented an update to the Legislative and Budget Committee, chaired by Kathleen McGervey, about the Mid Biennial Review (MBR) bills regarding education, HB483 (Amstutz) General Operations and HB487 (Brenner) K-12 education.
Mary Rose Oakar requested information about the House changes in HB487 regarding the Cleveland Transformation Alliance. An amendment in HB487 revises a provision in law that permits the Transformation Alliance to recommend sponsors of new community schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD). The proposed change in the bill 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.
Mrs. Oakar said that Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson is frustrated about not having the ability to monitor the quality of all charter schools in Cleveland, which was thought to be included in 129-HB525, which created the Transformation Alliance, and became law in July 2012. In response to Mrs. Oakarʻs remarks, Senator Lehner said that she was not sure how the changes in HB487 will address the mayorʻs concerns.
Tom Gunlock asked the committee to approve a resolution for the full State Board to consider at their business meeting on April 15, 2014. He explained that the House version of HB487 included several provisions that would “undermine” Ohioʻs accountability system for schools. He asked for emergency consideration of a resolution that would restore in HB487 the three year average for the value added measure; restore the provision that test score data from students enrolled and assessed be counted if the student enrolled prior to the October count, rather than for the past two years; and restore the current way the ODE calculates the Third Grade Literacy measure. The committee approved the motion as an emergency, so that it could be voted on that day.
Mr. Collins also requested that the committee receive updates about the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission in light of the recent proposal to eliminate the “thorough and efficient” clause from the Ohio Constitution.
The Capacity Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, discussed the consolidation of the Newbury and Berkshire school districts in Geauga County. The districts had requested in January 2014 that the State Board begin the process to merge the two districts, but now have requested that the process be suspended. The process requires that the State Board conduct a study and approve the consolidation. The voters in both school districts would then be required to approve the consolidation. The Capacity Committee recently held a hearing about the merger in Geauga County, and found that members from both school districts had many questions about what was happening.
Committee members suggested that the ODE develop guidelines for school districts seeking consolidation. Stephanie Dodd and Sarah Fowler agreed to prepare a list of items that should be included in the guidelines.
Urban and Rural Renewal Committee
The Urban and Rural Renewal Committee chaired by Marc Smith, received presentations from the Mayville Local School District and Foxfire Community Schools, a dropout prevention and recovery charter school that Mayville sponsors. The presentation included information about how the schools address certain barriers to learning, including single family homes, poverty, mobility, and school attendance and engagement. Dr. Smith said that he would like to begin pulling information about mentoring and dropout prevention and recovery programs together to post on the ODE website, and develop some legislative recommendations.
State Board Meeting on April 15, 2014
The Board received testimony from four individuals on April 15, 2014 during public participation on non-agenda items.
- Steve Ray requested that the Board respond to questions regarding the privacy of students who take state assessments, and adopt a resolution requiring parent permission for students to participate in testing. He alleged that the State is not doing enough to ensure the privacy of personally identifiable information about students, and used as an example test prompts that ask students to write about their friends and family. He said that parents should opt-in to testing, rather than opt-out.
- Ms. Jimmie Beall, a counselor from the Columbus City Schools, asked the Board to include sexual orientation as a protected right under Ohio Administrative Code Rule 3301-35-05 regarding the employment of certified staff. The current rule requires that staff be employed “…without discrimination on the basis of age, color, ancestry, national origin, race, gender, religion, disability, or veteran status”, but doesnʻt include sexual orientation.
The Operating Standards committee voted on April 14, 2014 to remove the nondiscrimination language in the rule and replace it with “in accordance with state and federal law.” She asked that the nondiscrimination language be restored and sexual orientation be added, so that it is clear that discrimination cannot occur based on sexual orientation.
- Elyzabeth Holford, executive director of Equity Ohio, also asked the Board to restore the nondiscrimination language in OAC Rule 3301-35-05 and add sexual orientation. She said that Governor John Kasich approved an executive order including sexual orientation in the stateʻs anti-discrimination policy for employment, and that 80 percent of Ohioʻs top 98 employers include sexual orientation in their policies, according to JobsOhio.
- Scott DiMauro, vice president of the Ohio Education Association, also asked the Board to restore the anti-discrimination language in OAC Rule 3301-35-05 and add sexual orientation to the language. He noted that sexual orientation is often a factor in instances of bullying in school, and that anti-discrimination policies that are specific ensure that students and teachers have safe and supportive environments.
Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction
Superintendent of Public Instruction Richard Ross introduced several new ODE staff members to the State Board during his report. Brad Ingraham will be the new legislative director, Aaron Rausch will be the new budget director replacing Kelly Weir, and Jessica Voltolini is returning to the ODE to be a legislative liaison, replacing Jennifer Hogue, who resigned to take a job with the Ohio School Boards Association. Other new hires include Dean Wittwer, who will replace John Richard, who has been promoted to Associate State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Dr. Ross said that he will soon be able to report a replacement for Steve Gratz, who replaced Kathy Shibley as director of the ODE Office of Career Technical and Adult Education.
Board member Stephanie Dodd asked Superintendent Ross about the ability of students to opt-out of the exams. He responded by saying that parents have the right to make decisions about students taking assessments. There are certain assessments that are required in law and have certain consequences, such as the third grade reading assessment, which determines whether or not student can enter the forth grade, and the Ohio Graduation Tests, which determine whether or not a student receives a diploma. If students do not take the state assessments, the schools receive zero for the test, which would lower their grade on the state report card.
Ms. Dodd also invited the superintendent to her district to meet with superintendents and learn first hand about the issues that they are experiencing with the administration of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) online assessments being piloted this year.
He responded that the field tests have gone very well in Ohio, and 90 percent of the students are connected online. There is a problem with access to the computer labs when students are being tested.
Debbie Cain said that she met with about 50 superintendents last month, and even though the overall report about field testing the new assessments was positive, they reported connectivity issues; the high cost of connectivity when there are few servers in the region; and disruptions to the education program of the students who are not being tested. She said that the cost of buying additional computers to meet the testing requirements as well as instructional requirements of schools should be considered, and requested a summary of the administration of the field tests.
Senator Peggy Lehner, an ex-officio member of the State Board, said that she has heard some concern about confusing questions on the field tests. Superintendent Ross said that PARCC will use the results of the field tests to improve the assessments. She also urged the State Board to recommend expanding early childhood education programs in the next budget.
Mike Collins requested a monthly update about the field testing, because he is hearing from superintendents every day about the need for more IT infrastructure. He also is concerned about the funding for the proposed College Credit Plus program included in HB487 (Brennan) MBR K-12, and hoped that it would not be taken from the general fund of school districts. He recommended that a dialogue begin between Chancellor Carey from the Board of Regents and the ODE about funding for the College Credit Plus program. He also requested an update about the status of Ohioʻs Race to the Top Grant.
Action on Resolutions
The State Board of Education took the following actions at it business meeting:
#4 Approved a Resolution of Intent to consider the proposed transfer of school district territory from the Cincinnati Public School District, Hamilton County, to the Madeira City School District, Hamilton County, pursuant to Section 3311.24 of the Ohio Revised Code.
#4A Approved a Resolution of Intent regarding “payment of lieu of transportation”.
#9 Approved a Resolution recommending that HB487 (Brennan) MBR K-12 Education be amended in the following ways:
- Restore the three year average for value added measure
- Restore the provision that test data from students enrolled and assessed be counted if the student is enrolled in a school prior to the October count, rather than for the past two years -Restore the current way the ODE calculates the Third Grade Literacy measure
- Remove a new provision that would allow private schools to forego end-of-course exams, but still grant diplomas, if the school publishes the results of standardized tests for each graduating class. Furthermore, the provision would require the Department of Education to provide the assessment being administered by the private school.
OSU KRA-L Study: Researchers at the Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy at The Ohio State University released on April 8, 2014 the results of a study that examined the ability of the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment – Literacy (KRA-L) to predict proficient readers in the third grade.
The study examined the test results of 11,515 students who entered kindergarten in the Columbus City School between 2005 and 2009, and were evaluated using the state-mandated kindergarten readiness assessment (KRA-L) and later took the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA) in reading in the third grade. The study did not include students with individual education plans or students with limited English proficiency.
The KRA-L is a state-mandated kindergarten readiness assessment developed by the Ohio Department of Education in 2004 and is administered to students the first week of kindergarten. The OAA is a state-mandated test that is administered in the third grade.
According to the report the study found “…positive relations between kindergarten readiness, based on the state-developed KRA-L, and third-grade reading achievement, based on the OAA. The correlation between KRA-L and OAA Reading Assessment scores was .47, indicating a modest longitudinal association that is similar to those reported in other samples. More importantly, findings showed general stability in children’s reading status over time: two-thirds of students identified as having poor kindergarten readiness were non-proficient readers in third grade, whereas four-fifths of students identified as having good kindergarten readiness were proficient readers in third grade. To a large extent, study findings show that kindergarten readiness helps to guarantee a student’s future reading success.”
The study also found:
- Sixteen percent of the variance in studentsʻ third-grade reading scores on the OAA was attributable to the school they attend. The impact of the school of attendance is not trivial, but not significant either, according to the researchers.
- “The strong relations observed between children’s readiness skills and third-grade reading success, as presented in this study, point specifically to the importance of what children experience prior to entering school, and its potential for predicting reading achievement nearly four years post-kindergarten.”
The report includes the following recommendations:
- ”First, we recommend that students’ performance on the KRA-L be carefully studied with respect to each of the six subtests.” The screening results should be used to differentiate kindergarten reading-related instruction for students.
- ”Second, we recommend that students who do poorly on any one of three specific KRA-L subtests be prioritized as candidates for intensive interventions.” The study showed that the six KRA-L subtests do not have “equivocal predictive power.” The subtests that examine letter identification, initial sounds, and rhyming production are more influential in predicting student reading success.
- ”Third, we recommend that the KRA-L be retained as an essential screening tool in the Ohio education system.” Ohio is working with Maryland to develop a new kindergarten assessment and will phase-out the KRA-L. The researchers thought that this was not a good idea, since this study has validated the KRA-L, and it will take years to validate the proposed new kindergarten assessment.
See “Ready to Read and School Success: Kindergarten Readiness and the “Third Grade Reading Guarantee” by Jessica Logan, Laura M. Justice, and Jill Pentimonti, Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy at The Ohio State University, College of Education and Human Ecology, Winter 2014.
More About Thorough and Efficient: On April 10, 2014 the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commissionʻs (OCMC) Education, Public Institutions and Miscellaneous and Local Government Committee, Chad Readler chair, met and discussed a proposed amendment to Article VI of the constitution regarding public education. The amendment, proposed by Chad Readler, removed the “thorough and efficient” clause in the article.
On April 12, 2014 the Akron Beacon Journal published an editorial entitled “What Kind of Public Schools?” by Michael Douglas. According to the editorial, removing the “thorough and efficient” clause, which the author describes as a “dark deed”, would result in “gutting the court holding on school funding”, referring to the four DeRolph decisions that found the stateʻs system of funding schools unconstitutional.
The new language proposed by Mr. Readler to replace “thorough and efficient” calls for the legislators to “…provide for the organization, administration and control of the public school system of the state supported by public funds”, which Mr. Douglas says would remove the “pesky courts” from any further role in guaranteeing a “…higher constitutional standard to meet.”
Mr. Douglas goes on to describe why a standard of quality for education in the constitution is important. He writes, “Still, there is much value in constitutional language that endures, guides and aspires, across generations, reflecting the merit of checks and balances, the courts in position to test whether governors and legislators are measuring up.”
Even with the “thorough and efficient” clause and the court decisions Mr. Douglas goes on in the editorial and lists the inequities and inadequacies of Ohioʻs current school funding system, including the heavy reliance on local property taxes; inequity of opportunities; revamping the school funding formula half a dozen times over the past 17 years; burdening teachers with mandates that take them away from actual instruction; etc.
But he concludes by writing, “I know: What good is the standard of “thorough and efficient” if these are the results? Whatever progress the state has made in recent years has been due in no small part to those words, spurring discussion and action.
No system of education will be perfect, or even close. The goal is to get better at a competitive pace. Chances are, that will be a much tougher job without “thorough and efficient” or something like it.”
See “What Kind of Public schools?” by Michael Douglas, Akron Beacon Journal, April 12, 2014.
SB329 (Schiavoni) Community Schools-Auditing Requirements: Regarding Regarding audit and record-keeping requirements for community school sponsors and operators.
HB520 (Carney/Patterson) Community Schools-Auditing Requirements: Regarding audit and record-keeping requirements for community school sponsors and operators.
HB521 (Cera) State Teachers Retirement System Membership: Include in the membership of the State Teachers Retirement System certain teachers performing service entities providing computer-based instruction to students by contract with a school.
Arts Council Awards Grants: The Ohio Arts Council approved at their April 3, 2014 meeting 112 grants for FY14 totaling $424,000. This was the third round of grants awarded by the OAC in FY14, bringing the total amount of grants awarded for the year to 710 awards totaling $9.6 million. Awardees are required to match these awards with other public or private money on a one to one basis.
This round of grants included grants for Individual Excellence and grant award ratifications for Artists with Disabilities and Special-Organizations. Ratifications are the Councilʻs final approval of funds allocated since its September 17, 2013 meeting.
$355,000 was awarded for 71 “Individual Excellence Awards”, which are selected by peers in “recognition of creative artists for the exceptional merit of a body of their work that advances or exemplifies the discipline and the larger artistic community.”
Grants totaling $12,250 were approved for 32 artists through the “Artists with Disabilities Access Program”, which is designed to help artists with disabilities move to a higher level of artistic development.
Special-Organization grants totaling $57,563 were awarded to nine OAC programs with rolling deadlines, including Building Cultural Diversity, Artist Express, and one-time special projects.
The Council also ratified 18 special organization grants from 2013 totaling $103,647, and six special individual grants for $6,250.
The full list of grants awarded in the third round of FY14 is available.
Ohio Arts Council Receives $949,700 from the NEA: The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded the Ohio Arts Council a $949,700 Partnership Grant. According to a press release from the OAC, the grant will be used to expand support in the areas of arts education, artists with disabilities, under-served communities and community development.
The award is six percent higher than the FY12 NEA grant awarded to the Council, and is based on population and “the competitive nature of the work done by the stateʻs arts council.”
See “National Endowment for the Arts Awards $949,700 to Ohio Arts Council” by Malika Bryant and Elizabeth Weinstein. Ohio Arts Council news release, April 16, 2014.
Did You See This?? The first Annual Genius Awards in Stark County, sponsored by Diebold and produced by ArtsinStark, was presented to Mercy Medical Center, Canton, Ohio, on March 18, 2014 for creating an inflatable robot and an obstacle course with cardboard and duck-tape. The event was held at the Cultural Center for the Arts in Canton, Ohio on March 18, 2014, and was the culmination of an eight-week challenge, “…linking the arts and innovation with a healthy dose of humor.”
Thirteen corporate teams, comprised of eight members each, participated in this first Stark County genius challenge, which, in addition to the robot obstacle course, included making balloon hats; improving upon the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence; and making a video of everything, edited on a cell phone and posted to YouTube. (All team videos are available.)
The teams participating in this first annual challenge included Aultman, Belden Brick, Chase, Diebold, Day Ketterer, FirstMerit, Huntington, KeyBank, Kenan Advantage, Krugliak, Mercy Medical Center, The Repository, and Timken.
ArtsinStark is a 43 year old private, non-profit organization that awards grants, manages the Cultural Center, and runs the Annual Arts Campaign and other arts events in the Canton, Ohio area.
The Genius Awards are part of ArtsinStarkʻs ten-year plan to position Stark County as one of the 10 most innovative places in America, and position the arts as a key component of economic development in the county. In association with the genius challenge ArtsinStark released the first Stark County Innovation Index in America, which includes the number of creative industries, approved patents, new businesses, young professionals, community initiatives, and national news stories about Stark County, and goals for increasing these metrics.
Visit the Arts in Stark website.