130th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate have a very brief committee hearing schedule this week, and the House and Senate education committees are not meeting.
Second Round of Applications for the Straight A Fund: According to the Hannah Report for April 22, 2014, the Ohio Department of Education has received 339 Straight A Fund grant applications in the second round of the program, which will provide up to $150 million in awards. Most of the applications (446) included traditional public schools, but 125 applications included charter schools, 34 included educational service centers, 32 included joint vocational districts, and 129 applications included consortia.
The Straight A Fund Governing Board will meet on May 12, 2014 to review the applications to determine if they meet the financial sustainability criteria. The board is scheduled to vote on final second-round awards on June 20, 2014.
Bill Signed into Law: Governor Kasich signed into law on April 21, 2014 HB296 (Johnson/Duffey) Schools-Epinephrine Auto injectors. The law allows schools to stock epinephrine auto injectors and exempts schools from certain licensing requirements related to the possession of epinephrine auto injectors.
K12 Schools Lose NCAA Eligibility: According to the Athnet website the National Collegiate College Association (NCAA) notified on April 17, 2014 twenty-four virtual schools that their student coursework was not in compliance with NCAA nontraditional school eligibility requirements, and would not be accepted beginning in the 2014-15 school year for student eligibility. The schools are operated by K12, Inc., which is a for-profit education company founded by Ronald Packard in 2000 and funded by Michael and Lowell Milken, and others. More information is available.
The list of schools not in compliance with NCAA eligibility requirements includes the Ohio Virtual Academy, which is a virtual school operated by K12, Inc. in Maumee, OH.
See NCAA No Longer Accepting Coursework from 24 High Schools, Athnet, April 17, 2014.
According to a search on the NCAA website, the coursework at the Ohio Virtual Academy, Kyle Wilkinson primary contact, “..does not meet NCAA nontraditional core-course legislation. Coursework completed in the 2014-15 academic year and beyond will not be used in the initial-eligibility certification process.”
Federal Rules about Teacher Preparation Programs Coming this Summer: Stephanie Simon at Politico reported last week that President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are moving forward with federal regulations that would require states to evaluate teacher education programs using specific measures. Programs that do not measure-up could lose federal student aid, which totals $100 million a year. The measures include the number of graduates who find teaching jobs, how long graduates stay in the teaching profession, and student academic growth (value added), measured by standardized test scores.
According to Ms. Simon, the Obama administration made a similar recommendation in 2012, but the plan fell apart due to the “significant controversy” that arose about holding teacher preparation programs accountable for the student value added scores of their graduates. The article notes the ongoing debate among researchers about using student value-added scores to rate teachers. A recent statement on value added issued by the American Statistical Association, states that research shows that teachers account for less than 15 percent of the “variability in student test scores”. Also, about 70 percent of teachers are teaching subjects or in grades in which students are not assessed by standardized exams. This includes most high school teachers, early elementary teachers, plus teachers in the arts and physical education.
A draft of the teacher preparation program regulations is expected to be released this summer.
See Barack Obama cracks down on poor teacher training by Stephanie Simon, Politico, April 25, 2014.
Washington State Loses NCLB Waiver: The controversy over Washington state’s teacher evaluation program came to a head last week when Secretary of Education Arne Duncan informed state education officials that the U.S. Department of Education was revoking its No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) waiver, because the state refused to meet its commitment to include student growth in teacher and principal evaluations.
According to an article by Caitlin Emma in Politico, the loss of the waiver means that school districts in Washington will have less flexibility regarding how federal dollars are spent, and schools will be rated based on NCLB standards, which could increase the number of schools rated as failing and subject to certain consequences, including closure. Under NCLB all students in grades 3-8 must be proficient on state tests of reading and mathematics by 2014. No state has met this standard, and, according to the article, no country in the world can report that all of their students are proficient in math and language arts.
The controversy began when the Washington State Legislature refused to pass a law that included student growth as a “significant factor” in teacher and principal evaluations for the 2014-15 school year. The requirement was part of the state’s waiver request from No Child Left Behind requirements.
Washington is the first state to lose its waiver, but Arizona, Kansas, and Oregon are also “at risk”, according to the article.
See Duncan yanks NCLB waiver from Washington state by Caitlin Emma, Politico, April 24, 2014.
In response to the waiver revocation, Washington State Representative Chris Reykdal (D) said in a statement that Washington has a “robust” bipartisan supported teacher evaluation system. The federal government does not have the right to dictate education policy, and should “…fix the deeply-flawed and failed No Child Left Behind Act, and get back to empowering the states instead of coercing them.”
The statement goes on to say, “No Child Left Behind is a failed policy of the Bush administration that focuses on student failure and school punishment. This is no way to run a public education system. Enacting bad policy at the state level as a result of bad policy at the federal level will not help schools – and certainly won’t help students – be successful.”
More information is available.
New Tennessee Law Removes Value Added in Teacher License Renewal: According to an article in Tennessean.com, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed into law on April 22, 2014 House Bill 1375/Senate Bill 2240, which revokes the requirement that linked the renewal of teacher licenses and advancements to teacher evaluations based in part on student value added scores. The requirements based on value added were approved by the Tennessee Board of Education in August 2013 and are still supported by Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman. The Tennessee Education Association initiated a successful petition drive against the value added licensing requirements, and received support from legislators and the governor.
See Haslam signs bill undoing controversial teacher license policy by Joey Garrison, Tennessee.com, April 25, 2014.
Report Identifies Challenges of CCSS and New Aligned Assessments: Morgan S. Polikoff at the Center for American Progress released on April 17, 2014 a report that identifies the challenges facing schools implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and aligned assessments developed by the Partnership for Assessment of College and Career Readiness (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia (SBAC). The report also includes some recommendations about how policy makers can address these challenges.
According to the report the challenges include a possible increase in the number of students not passing, because of the higher cut scores; higher costs to schools to upgrade technology; computer scoring; assessing all of the CCSS; the amount of time required for testing; overtesting; finding evidence that the assessments are valid and reliable for the variety of purposes that they are being used; the overlap of state tests during the transition to the new standards and assessments; and technical issues regarding implementing the assessments.
The report includes the following political and technical recommendations for testing companies and state and federal policy makers to consider to successfully implement the CCSS and new assessments:
- Focus on test quality to ensure that the cognitive demands of the standards are met, and the tests cover the full domain of the standards.
- Improve validity and reliability evidence in regard to how the test results are used. Validity refers to the accuracy and appropriateness of the judgements made based on the test results, and reliability means the consistency and stability of the results over time.
- The author writes, “The burden for meeting this element lies less with test developers than with states and districts that are using new assessment results to inform decisions about individual students, teacher evaluation and professional development, and school ratings.”
- Better communicate the reasons for increasing expectations for students, schools, and teachers.
- According to the author, the new assessments will likely cause a drop in student achievement levels and “…cause a blowback among educators and the general public.” To combat the blowback, “states will need to focus arguments on how the new tests and standards better prepare students for economic competitiveness and success in college.”
- Encourage the development of well-designed and accurate state accountability systems that are not overly punitive. The author writes, “Because CCSS tests will not be perfect, however, evaluation policy design is important. For instance, an evaluation system that uses student-growth measures that do not fully account for student characteristics may encourage teachers to avoid teaching certain groups of students. And policies that tie student-learning objectives or other nonstate test measures of student performance to high stakes might lead teachers to game the system by setting easily attainable goals.”
- Encourage good assessment practices. The author recommends not constraining the assessments to “grade level content”, but “seek an accurate measure of each child’s performance relative to the range of K-12 content. Doing so will improve the measurement of each student’s performance and facilitate more accurate growth measures.”
There is also a recommendation that the federal peer review guidelines for test quality be revised to “encourage multiple alignment methods to triangulate results from alignment studies.”
In addition, the report states, “The U.S. Department of Education could also actively encourage the creation or adoption of tests in other subjects and perhaps offer targeted grants to districts or states that demonstrate a clear commitment to maintaining a broad, rich curriculum. All subjects need not be tested in all grades to have the effect of limiting the curriculum narrowing that has taken place in the past decade.”
The author concludes, “Perhaps the most important recommendation is to act thoughtfully and not punitively in the immediate future, giving educators the time to implement the standards. In contrast, if poorly designed accountability is pushed in the next several years, there is no question that it will undermine the CCSS and lead to an expansion of the kind of resistance that is already nascent.”
The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all.
See Common Core State Standards Assessments: Challenge and Opportunities by Morgan S. Polikoff, Center for American Progress April 17, 2014.
College Completion Rates Increase Since 2008: The Lumina Foundation in Indianapolis, Jamie P. Merisotis president and CEO, reported on April 22, 2014 that the percent of Americans ages 25-64 with two and four year college degrees increased from 37.9 percent in 2008 to 39.4 percent in 2012. However, the report also warns that other countries are outpacing the U.S. in degree attainment, and there are persistent gaps in attainment based on race and socio-economic status.
According to the report, “Asian adults (ages 25-64) lead all races with 59.35 percent degree attainment (up from 59.13 percent) and whites follow with 43.87 percent attainment (up from 43.30 percent). Black adults rank third with 27.62 percent attainment (down from 27.14 percent), Native American adults rank fourth with 23.43 percent (up from 23.07 percent), and Hispanics rank fifth with 19.81 percent attainment (up from 19.31 percent).”
But, the report also notes that, “While 82.4 percent of potential students (of all races) in the top third of the income scale enroll in college, only 53.5 percent of those in the bottom third do so.”
The top ten states that have increased the percent of adults with at least an associate degree in 2012 are Massachusetts (50.5 percent), Minnesota (47.7 percent), Colorado (47.5 percent), Connecticut (47.5 percent), Vermont (47 percent), New Hampshire 46.7 percent), New Jersey (45.8 percent), North Dakota (45.6 percent), Maryland (45.5 percent), and Virginia (45.3 percent).
The percent of adults with at least an associate degree in Ohio is 36.5 percent, which places Ohio in 36th place compared to other states. Among adults ages 25-64 in Ohio, 68.70 percent of Asians have a degree; 37.27 percent of whites; 25.56 percent of Native Americans; 24.47 percent of blacks; and 23.42 percent of Hispanics.
To increase degree attainment to 65 percent by 2025, the Lumina Foundation recommends a complete redesign of our nation’s higher education system to include awarding degrees based on a demonstration of competency rather than seat-time; creating more pathways for students to earn credentials and degrees; and making higher education more accessible and affordable.
See A Stronger Nation through Higher Education, the Lumina Foundation, April 22, 2014.
Report Analyzes Funding System for Charter Schools: Innovation Ohio (IO) released on April 22, 2014 a report about how charter schools are funded in Ohio; the effects of the charter school funding system on traditional public schools; charter school spending patterns; and how many students are attending a charter school with a lower accountability rating than the resident school district. The report is based on a study of 2012-2013 data from the Ohio Department of Education, and updates a report released last year based on data from 2011-2012.
According to the updated report, “…the manner in which Ohio funds charter schools significantly reduces the money available to the 1.6 million children who stay in traditional public schools. Moreover, in the vast majority of cases, money is being transferred from better performing traditional school districts to worse performing charter schools. This holds true even in many urban school districts where performance scores have traditionally lagged.”
The first part of the report describes how charter schools are funded. The report explains that charter schools receive a per-pupil amount, which is deducted from the state aid allocated to traditional public school districts for students who reside in the school district, but attend a charter school. The per pupil amount for 2013-14 is $5,745 ($5,800 next year) plus additional state aid for students with special needs, students with limited English proficiency, students who are disadvantaged, students in career technical education programs, etc.
The amount of state aid deducted from traditional public schools and transferred to charter schools in 2013-14 is $887,880,706 for 123,497 charter-school students, which translates to $7,189 (on average) per pupil. On the other hand, traditional public schools receive from the state about $3,634 (on average) per pupil in state aid after charter school funding is deducted. The report did not address other funding sources for charter and traditional schools including local taxes, federal aid, grants, philanthropic support, etc.
The report also explains how the charter school deduction affects traditional school districts. It notes that the amount of state aid transferred from school districts to charter schools varies greatly across the state, and affects high achieving and low achieving urban, rural, and suburban school districts alike. For example, the Brooklyn City School District loses the highest percent of state aid, 65 percent, to charter schools; Columbus City Schools loses 27 percent; Princeton City SD loses 18 percent; Rocky River City SD loses 14.1 percent; and New Albany-Plain Local loses 13.2 percent.
School districts are also required to provide charter school students transportation, at no cost to the charter school.
The report also includes some information about the spending patterns for charter schools, and states that for 2012-13 school year, “…the average brick and mortar charter school spends $918 more per pupil than the average district.” When the spending patterns of Ohio charter schools are compared with charter schools nationally, the report explains that, “The average brick and mortar Ohio charter school spends $2,777 more per pupil – almost 35% — than the average charter school nationwide.viii Only 67 of the 342 charter schools (about 1 in 5) listed by the ODE expenditure data spend less than that national average.”
Upon further analysis the report explains that on average Ohio charter schools spend 23 percent for non-instructional administration, compared to traditional public schools, which spend 13 percent.
The final section of the report compares the performance level of charter schools and traditional public schools based on an analysis of the Report Card and the Performance Index. The report states that in a “majority of cases”, state funds are transferred from higher performing traditional public schools to lower performing charter schools.
According to the report, of the “…5,187 transfers between a traditional public district7 and a charter school that received a report card grade in any of the 8 categories, 4,355, (or 84%) went from districts that outperformed the charter.8 And 88% of those transferring to charters that had performance index scores (4,555 of 5,177) went to schools with lower performance index scores than the districts they transferred from.9”
Furthermore, “Just 10 out of the 116,139 students who attended Ohio charter schools last school year enrolled in a charter that outperformed the feeder district’s schools in all 8 graded categories, and that encompassed only a single transfer between a single district and one charter school10. On the other hand, 63 charter schools (or 24% of those receiving at least one Report Card grade) were outperformed in every category by their feeder districts.11”
The report concludes with the following statement: “While charter schools can play an important role in Ohio’s educational mix, both the way they are funded and the strength of their performance are truly concerning. Until the state’s funding mechanism is fixed – and true accountability for charters is in place – kids will continue to be the primary victims. Those staying in traditional public schools – over 90% of our school-age population – will be cheated out of receiving the amount of money the state itself says they need. And the majority of those transferring into charters will be trading a better performing school for one that performs worse.”
See Short-Changed: How Poor-Performing Charters Cost All Ohio Kids, Innovation Ohio, April 22, 2014.
Crayola Creative Leadership Grant: Applications are due June 23, 2014 for the Crayola Creative Leadership Grant Program 2014 for innovative and creative leadership team building within elementary schools. Crayola and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) are collaborating on this grant program, which will award twenty grants of up to $2,500 and provide up to $1000 in Crayola products to selected schools. Grant proposals should include innovative strategies to develop the creative capacities of the school and community. The proposals must include the principal, who must be a member of the NAESP. Every Early Bird application submitted before midnight on Monday, June 9, 2014 will receive a Crayola product gift pack.
More information is available.
Ohio State Fair Youth Arts Exhibition: The Ohio State Fair Youth Arts Exhibition provides talented Ohio artists in grades preK-12 the opportunity to demonstrate their creativity and skills at the Ohio State Fair, July 23 through August 3, 2014 in Columbus. Here are some details:
- Entries for the Ohio State Fair Youth Arts Exhibition must be original works of art in any medium. Previously published, copyrighted, or works that have been prepared from kits, coloring pages, or paint by numbers are not eligible. Candidates may enter an unlimited number of artwork.
- A photograph of the original artwork must be submitted online by May 29, 2014 in the appropriate grade level category. Grade levels are based on the completed grade for the school year 2013-14.
- All artwork will be juried. Candidates that are accepted to display their artwork at the Ohio State Fair Youth Arts Exhibition will be notified by email by June 6, 2014. Artwork must be delivered to the Ohio State Fair Cox Fine Arts Center in Columbus or received by mail June 22, 2014. Candidates who will receive awards at the exhibition will be notified by July 21, 2014.
- The awards ceremony will be held on August 3, 2014 at 4:00 PM at the Ohio State Fair Cox Fine Arts Center, 717 East 17th Ave., Columbus.
- The Columbus College of Art & Design sponsors $1000 in awards and $1,250 in scholarships.
More information is available for detailed instructions about submitting artwork and information about the awards.