Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, announced the recipients of the 2014 Americans for the Arts Annual Local Arts Leadership Awards yesterday. Presented each year, these awards recognize the achievements of individuals, organizations or programs committed to enriching their communities through the arts. This year’s recipients are:
• Chris Appleton, Georgia. American Express Emerging Leaders Award
• Robert Bush, North Carolina: Selina Roberts Ottum Award for Arts Leadership
• James M. Clark, Kentucky: Michael Newton Award
• Donna S. Collins, Ohio: Alene Valkanas State Arts Advocacy Award
• Norie Sato, Washington: Public Art Network Award
• Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, California: Arts Education Award
Since 2006, the Alene Valkanas State Arts Advocacy Award has honored an individual whose arts advocacy efforts have dramatically affected the political landscape at the state level. As the executive director of Ohio Citizens for the Arts (OCA) and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (OAAE), Donna S. Collins, has helped to foster a diverse community of arts advocates, educators, artists, and professional organizations that cultivate local, statewide, and national initiatives and actions that directly impact children, families, communities, and the creative economy in and through the arts.
“I am delighted that Americans for the Arts is recognizing Donna’s leadership and service. The spotlight shines on the entire field of arts and arts education in Ohio when leaders like Donna are recognized for their expertise, gifts and talents,” said OAC board chair Jeffrey A. Rich.
Collins was selected by the OAC board in February to succeed Julie S. Henahan as the new executive director of the OAC – a role she will assume on July 1. Henahan will retire from the OAC on August 1, after 30 years of service to the organization.
“Our Local Arts Leadership Awards honorees have distinguished themselves as leaders in innovation, education, management and advocacy for the arts in communities across the country. Each of this year’s honorees are driven by both a passion for their work and a deep belief in the power of the arts to transform individual lives and communities,” said Robert Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, in a prepared statement. “We want to ensure we recognize their priceless contributions toward strengthening the arts in America.”
“It is an honor to receive this most prestigious award from Americans for the Arts,” Collins added, “but the real honor goes to every arts advocate in Ohio who speaks up and stands up for the arts and arts education.” Honorees will be presented their awards at the upcoming Americans for the Arts 2014 Annual Convention during the Opening Plenary session, Friday, June 13, 2014 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Presentations will be live streamed online at http://convention.artsusa.org.
130th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate will hold hearings and sessions this week.
- The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton, will meet on May 7, 2014 at 9:00 AM in hearing room 313. The committee will receive testimony on HB449 (Gonzales) Higher Education-Residency Status, HB460 (Brenner/Driehaus) School Restructuring, and SB229 (Gardner) Teacher Performance Evaluations.
- The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Oelslager, will meet on May 7, 2014 at 2:30 PM and on May 8, 2014 at 9:30 AM in the Senate Finance Hearing Room, to receive testimony on HB483 (Amstutz) MBR-Operation of State Program, which includes several provisions related to education, HB484 (Rosenberger) MBR-Higher Education, and HB492 (Scherer) MBR-Taxation.
- The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner, will meet on May 7, 2014 at 10:00 AM in room 110 and on May. 8, 2014 at 10:00 AM in the South Hearing Room. The committee will receive testimony on HB487 (Brenner) MBR K-12 Education Programs and SB241 (Sawyer) Straight A Program Governing Board.
May Primary Election: On May 6, 2014 Ohio voters will have an opportunity to vote on State Issue 1, a proposed constitutional amendment to fund public infrastructure capital improvements by permitting the issuance of general obligation bonds. Also on the May ballot are 614 local issues, including 150 school issues, and candidates for the November 2014 General Election, including candidates for statewide executive offices, such as Governor/Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Auditor, Secretary of State, and State Treasurer; members of the Ohio House; members of the Ohio Senate representing odd-numbered districts; representatives to the U.S. Congress; members of the State Board of Education; county offices; and judicial offices.
Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission to Meet: The Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission, co-chaired by House Speaker William Batchelder and Senator Charleta Tavares, will meet on Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 1:30 PM in the Ohio Judicial Center Room 101.
Several committees of the commission are meeting on May 8, 2014, but not the Education, Public Institutions & Miscellaneous and Local Government Committee, chaired by Chad Readler. Chairman Readler recommended at the April 2014 meeting of the committee to remove from Article VI Section 2 of the Ohio Constitution the obligation of the Ohio General Assembly to ensure a “thorough and efficient” system of schools in Ohio.
In response to that recommendation the Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding, Bill Phillis executive director, has developed a sample resolution that school officials, boards of education, and citizen organizations can use to register their opposition to the removal of the “thorough and efficient” clause from the Ohio Constitution.
Learn more about the sample resolution by contacting Bill Phillis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ACLU Files Elections Lawsuit: The National Voting Rights Project of the Ohio Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Christine Link, Executive Director, filed on May 1, 2014 a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the Ohio Legislature and Ohio state officials have violated federal law and the U.S. Constitution by “…eliminating the early voting opportunities used by more than 157,000 Ohioans in the 2012 election,”
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Omega Baptist Church, the College Hill Community Church Presbyterian, USA, the A. Philip Randolph Institute, and Darryl Fairchild.
The lawsuit challenges Ohio Senate Bill 238, which was signed into law in 2014 and eliminates a week in which voters can register and cast a ballot on the same day, referred to as the “Golden Week”. The lawsuit also challenges a Secretary of State directive that decreased opportunities for early voting on all Sundays and the Monday before the election, and limited the hours for voting in the evening.
The lawsuit notes that during the 2012 election, more than 157,000 Ohioans voted on the days that have been cut, and many of voters affected are low-income and African-Americans, who find it more convenient to vote on Sundays and during the evenings, because of work. Sunday voting has become popular as churches sponsor “souls to the polls” events.
The lawsuit alleges that the State of Ohio has established a pattern to depress voter turnout by passing laws and issuing directives that limited early voting opportunities in Ohio in 2011 and 2012.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio Eastern Division Ohio State. The lawsuit is referred to as Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Omega Baptist Church, College Hill Community Church Presbyterian, USA, A. Philip Randolph Institute, and Darryl Fairchild v. Jon Husted in his official capacity as Ohio Secretary of State, and Mike DeWine, in his official capacity as Ohio Attorney General.
More information is available.
Charter Forum to be Held in Upper Arlington Library: The Central Ohio Friends of Public Education will sponsor a forum on charter school accountability and performance on May 7, 2014 at the Upper Arlington Public Library, 2800 Tremont Road. Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) and other advocates for public schools will convene the panel, which includes retired Department of Education charter school office staffer Denis Smith, retired Ohio Virtual Academy Head of Schools Jeff Shaw, Innovation Ohio Education Policy Fellow Steven Dyer, representatives from the Southwestern City School District and school board, and a teacher from the Columbus City Schools.
More information is available.
Houston Teachers File VAM Lawsuit: Valerie Strauss reports for the Washington Post “Answer Sheet” that seven teachers in the Houston Independent School District (HISD) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on April 30, 2014. The lawsuit alleges that the Educational Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS) used in the HISD to measure teacher effectiveness is flawed and arbitrary, and violates the due process and equal protection rights of teachers under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. According to the article, the Houston teacher evaluation system is used to determine teacher wages and continued employment in the Houston schools. When a teacher receives a “below-average” EVAAS score, it translates to a lower score for instructional practice on their overall evaluation. The lawsuit claims that EVAAS is “inaccurate and unfair” and unreliable, because it changes from year to year; has no connection to the actual performance of teachers; and fails to factor in outside factors that influence student achievement. The article goes on to say that administrators in Houston have used EVAAS in teacher evaluations since 2007, and defend it as a way to measure teacher effectiveness. However, the article also notes that the American Statistical Association released a statement in April 2014 warning practitioners about using value added measures for purposes other than determining student academic growth.
The lawsuit is entitled, Houston Federation of Teachers, Local 2415, Daniel Santos, Paloma Garner, Ivan Castillo, Andy Dewey, Joyce Helfman, Myla Van Duyn, and Araceli Ramos v. Houston Independent School District, Texas. Several teachers in Florida filed a lawsuit in April 2013 against using VAM in their teacher evaluations. The results of these lawsuits could affect teacher evaluation systems using VAM in other states, including Ohio.
See “Houston Teachers Sue Over Controversial Teacher Evaluation Method” by Valerie Strauss, The Answer Sheet, Washington Post, April 30, 2014.
States Delay Accountability Consequences: Policy makers in Florida and Louisiana are delaying plans to use the results of new assessments based on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in their accountability systems.
According to Andrew Ujifusa, who reports for Education Week, State EdWatch Blog, lawmakers in Florida approved a bill that would delay consequences for schools under Florida’s A-F accountability system for the 2014-15, which will become the baseline year. Governor Rick Scott is expected to sign the bill into law.
Mr. Ujifusa reports that members of the Louisiana House Education Committee approved a bill that would delay the impact of the results of the new CCSS aligned assessments on school ratings, teacher evaluations, and student promotions until 2016-17.
See “Two States Making Moves to Delay Accountability in Common-Core Era” by Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week, State EdWatch Blog, April 30, 2014.
Secretary Duncan Testifies in the House and Senate: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified about the President Obama’s FY15 proposed education budget before the House Education and Workforce Committee, chaired by Representative John Kline, on April 29, 2014, and before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, chaired by Senator Tom Harkin, on April 30, 2014.
In the House hearing, Chairman Kline outlined several concerns that he has about the Obama Administration’s education agenda, and among his comments, urged the Secretary to work closer with the House Committee to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), rather than issuing “waivers”, and prioritize funding for special education.
Secretary Duncan used his opening remarks to urge committee members to increase discretionary funding for education, which he said remains below 2010 levels, provide more investments in preschool and technology, provide more support for equality and equity of opportunities for all students, and support strategies that keep college costs down.
Secretary Duncan was asked several questions about the inconsistency in the U.S. Department of Education’s decisions to award states waivers of the No Child Left Behind Act. The state of Washington recently lost its waiver, because, according to Secretary Duncan, it did not meet its commitment regarding teacher evaluations.
However Chairman Kline and other committee members noted that other states, Illinois and Michigan, for example, have not completely complied with the U.S. DOE’s waiver requirements, and have not lost their waivers.
Committee members also questioned the administration’s decision to develop an accountability system for colleges and universities that receive federal funds. Secretary Duncan responded that it is the federal government’s responsibility to oversee over $150 billion in higher education investments each year, and the proposed rating system will be a step to ensure accountability.
In the Senate subcommittee, members asked questions about special education funding, NCLB waivers, and the proposed college rating system. Senator Moran was concerned that lower performing students would be excluded from colleges, if the colleges and universities were rated on college graduate rates. Secretary Duncan said that the U.S. DOE was carefully working to develop metrics that would encourage colleges and universities to work with all students and help them be successful.
Senator Lamar Alexander raised questions about the revocation of Washington state’s waiver from NCLB, and opined that the federal’s government’s over-reach regarding the waiver requirements is encouraging conservative opposition to federal involvement in K-12 education, the Common Core State Standards, and in teacher evaluations using student test results.
A video of the House committee hearing is available.
A video of the Senate committee hearing is available.
Study the Humanities and the Arts to Prepare for Life: Harvard University President Drew Faust recently wrote a letter in the March-April 2014 edition of the Harvard Magazine urging students to engage in the humanities, the arts, and literature as a way to be prepared for the careers of the future.
The letter was written in response to the “public discourse” about the bleak prospects for those who seek careers in the humanities and arts.
She writes, “The ability to innovate—a skill that nine of out ten employers agree is the most important for new hires—requires thinking beyond immediate needs and making creative leaps. Where better to model this approach than in the arts and humanities? They champion boldness in doing and thinking, leading to new and deeper understandings of the world.”
Study of the arts and humanities does more than transmit knowledge. It helps students see the world “…through a new lens, to look at the world through others’ eyes. Students in the humanities learn how to think critically and communicate their ideas clearly, and those transferable skills lead to rewarding lives and careers in every field of endeavor.”
She goes on to write, “Understanding derives from both what is measurable and what is unmeasurable—it is enhanced by scientific insights and mathematical proofs, by philosophical puzzles, and by literature and art that transform the heart as well as the mind. Education must encompass all of these as it seeks to fashion not just employees and employers, but human beings who can help create a better future—for themselves and for the world.”
See “See, Compare, Reason, Decide” by Drew Faust, Harvard Magazine, March/April 2014.
National Graduation Rate Increases: The U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, released on April 28, 2014 a report entitled Public High School Four-Year On-Time Graduation Rates and Event Dropout Rates: School Years 2010–11 and 2011–12. The report builds on the U.S. DOE’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education’s release of state-level Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR) data required under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The following are selected findings from the report:
- For SY 2010–11, the estimated national 4-year Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR) for public high school students was 79 percent, and for SY 2011–12 was 80 percent. “This indicates that nearly 4 out of 5 students receive a regular high school diploma within 4 years of starting 9th grade for the first time.”
- For SY 2010–11, American Indian/Alaska Native, Black, and Hispanic students had 4-year ACGRs below the national average at 65, 67, and 71 percent, respectively;
- White students and Asian/Pacific Islander students had ACGRs above the national average at 84 and 87 percent, respectively;
- Economically disadvantaged students, students with limited English proficiency, and students with disabilities all had ACGR rates below the national average for all students at 70, 57, and 59 percent, respectively.
- For SY 2011–12 American Indian/Alaska Native, Black, and Hispanic students had a 4-year ACGR below the national average at 67, 69, and 73 percent, respectively.
- White students and Asian/Pacific Islander students had 4-year ACGRs above the national average at 86 and 88 percent, respectively.
- Economically disadvantaged students, students with limited English proficiency, and students with disabilities all had 4-year ACGR rates below the national average for all students at 72, 59, and 61 percent, respectively.
- In both SY 2010–11 and SY 2011–12, the Adjusted Freshman Graduation Rate for female students was 84 percent, and exceeded the graduation rate for male students, which was 77 percent, by 7 percentage points. The rates were 85 percent for females vs. 78 percent for males in SY 2011–12.
- The public high school event dropout rate for the United States remained constant at 3.3 percent for both SY 2010–11 and SY 2011–12.
- In SY 2010–11, twenty-four states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands had an event dropout rate that exceeded the national dropout rate, and twenty-four states and Puerto Rico had an event dropout rate that was below the national dropout rate.
- In SY 2011–12, twenty states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands had an event dropout rate that exceeded the national dropout rate, and thirty states and Puerto Rico had an event dropout rate that was below the national dropout rate.
- For SY 2010-11 Ohio’s 4-year adjusted cohort graduation rate was 80 percent and for SY2011-12 81 percent. Here is the breakdown for the ACGR for Ohio by race/ethnicity and selected demographics:
- American Indian: SY10-11 71 percent SY11-12 65 percent
- Asian/Pacific Islander: SY10-11 88 percent SY11-12 90 percent
- Hispanic: SY10-11 66 percent SY11-12 68 percent
- Black: SY10-11 59 percent SY11-12 61
- White: SY10-11 85 percent SY11-12 86
- Economically Disadvantaged: SY10-11 65 percent SY11-12 68
- Limited English Proficiency: SY10-11 53 percent SY11-12 62
- Students with Disabilities: SY10-11 67 percent SY11-12 68
- The dropout rate for Ohio is 4.4 percent in SY10-11 and 4.6 percent in SY11-12. The national rate in SY10-11 and SY11-12 is 3.3 percent.
See “Public High School Four-Year On-Time Graduation Rates and Event Dropout Rates: School Years 2010–11 and 2011–12” by Marie C. Stetser and Robert Stillwell, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, April 28, 2014.
Study Released About Student Learning Objectives: The U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, released on April 29, 2014 a report prepared by Mathematica Policy Research that examines how eight early adopting school districts are using alternative assessments based on value added measures and student learning objectives (both referred to as alternative measures) to assess teacher effectiveness.
Alternative measures to assess teacher effectiveness are needed, because student growth measures based on state assessments are limited to grades 3–8 and only in math and reading.
The researchers found that districts using SLOs chose them as a teacher-guided method of assessing student growth, while those using alternative assessments-based VAMs chose to take advantage of existing assessments. SLOs can be used for teacher evaluation in any grade or subject, but, according to the study, require “substantial effort by teachers and principals”, and ensuring consistency is challenging.
The researchers report the following: “The findings presented here raise several questions about the implementation and use of the alternative growth measures, including the reliability and validity of the measures, the extent to which they differentiate teacher performance, and the specific costs and benefits of the measures for districts. To provide an in-depth description of the implementation of alternative growth measures, research on these measures should:
- Include data from a variety of stakeholders in each district.
- Assess how much differentiation scores on the alternative measures produce among teachers in each district.
- Look for evidence of the validity and reliability of the alternative measures.
- Describe the district-developed infrastructure for collecting and analyzing data on the alternative growth measures.
- Examine the perceived benefits and drawbacks of using each type of alternative growth measure for evaluating teachers.”
The researchers believe that this research would be useful to states and districts across the country as they work to incorporate student growth measures in teacher evaluation and compensation systems.
See “Alternative Student Growth Measures for Teacher Evaluation: Profiles of Early-Adopting Districts” by Brian Gill, Brittany English, Joshua Furgeson, Moira McCullough, Mathematica Policy Research for the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance.
Congratulations Donna Collins! Donna Collins, Executive Director of the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education and Ohio Citizens for the Arts, was named on May 1, 2014 as the 2014 recipient of the Alene Valkanas State Arts Advocacy Award. The award is presented by Americans for the Arts in recognition of work to influence the political landscape at the state level on behalf of the arts.
Donna was recognized for her leadership in the areas of advocacy and arts education, and for developing partnerships with statewide agencies and arts organizations to support a diverse community of arts advocates, who have positively influenced policy makers in Ohio, and increased support for the arts in Ohio.
In February, 2014 the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) Board selected Donna as the new OAC executive director. She will succeed current OAC executive director Julie S. Henahan, who is retiring in July 2014 after 30 years of service to the agency.
Donna will receive the award at the Americans for the Arts’ Annual Conference in Nashville, TN on June 13-15, 2014.
Congratulations to Lake Wilburn, 1st Runner-Up Poetry Out Loud Contest: Lake Wilburn, a junior at Centennial High School in Columbus, Ohio, won 1st Runner-up and a $10,000 prize in the 2014 Poetry Out Loud Contest. He performed Philip Levine’s They Feed They Lion in the national finals held on April 30, 2014. Fifty-three state champions competed on April 29, 2014 to earn nine finalists positions to advance to the National Finals, which was held at the Lisner Auditorium at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The $20,000 first prize was awarded to Anita Norman of Tennessee, and the second runner-up prize of $5,000 was awarded to Natasha Simone Vargas of New Jersey.
Poetry Out Loud is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Poetry Foundation, and in Ohio by the Ohio Arts Council. More information is available.
This update is written weekly by Joan Platz, Research and Knowledge Director for the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education. The purpose of the update is to keep arts education advocates informed about issues dealing with the arts, education, policy, research, and opportunities. The distribution of this information is made possible through the generous support of the Ohio Music Education Association, Ohio Art Education Association, Ohio Educational Theatre Association, OhioDance, and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education.