130th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate will hold hearings and sessions this week as lawmakers wind down for the anticipated summer break. Lawmakers are expected to complete work on two mid biennium review bills (MBR), HB483 (Amstutz) MBR Operations and HB487 (Brenner) MBR Education, which have been assigned to conference committees to work out difference between House and Senate versions.
The Conference Committee on HB483 (Amstutz) will meet on Monday, June 2 at 4:00 PM in Hearing Room 313, and at 2:00 PM on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 “if needed.” The members of the conference committee are Representatives Ron Amstutz, Lynn Wachtmann, and Denise Driehaus, and Senators Scott Oelslager, Bill Coley, and Mike Skindell.
The Conference Committee on MBR HB487 (Brenner) will meet on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at 1:30 PM in room 121. The members of the conference committee are Representatives Gerald Stebelton, Andrew Brenner, and Teresa Fedor, and Senators Peggy Lehner, Randy Gardner, and Tom Sawyer.
The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner, will meet on June 3, 2014 at 9:15 AM in the South Hearing Room. The committee will consider the appointment of Brad Lamb to the State Board of Education and receive testimony on HB362 (Scherer/Derickson) Stem Schools, which would authorize the STEM Committee to grant a designation of STEM school equivalent to a community school or chartered nonpublic school and make other revisions to the law regarding STEM schools.
Legislative Update: The Ohio House and Senate approved HB484 (Rosenberger-Brown) MBR Higher Education on May 21, 2014 sending it on May 30, 2014 to Governor Kasich to sign.
The Senate approved on May 28, 2014 HB492 (Scherer) MBR Taxation, which would make changes regarding tax policies, and HB85 (LaRose), which would increase the homestead exemption on property taxes for veterans who are 100 percent disabled due to service-related disabilities.
The Senate Education Committee approved on May 27, 2014 HB171 (McClain/Patmon) Religion School Credit, which would permit public school students to attend and receive credit for released time courses in religious instruction conducted off school property during regular school hours.
The Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee, chaired by Senator Jones, approved on May 28, 2014 HB264 (Wachtmann/Barnes), regarding the care of students with diabetes in schools.
The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton, reported out on May 28, 2014 two bills: HB470 (Barnes), the School Bullying Prevention Awareness Act, would designate September as School Bullying Prevention Awareness Month and declare an emergency, and HB454 (Gonzales), Concealed Carry-School Safety Zone, would expand and clarify the authority of a concealed handgun licensee to possess a handgun in a school safety zone.
Straight A Fund: The Straight A Fund Governing Board met on May 27, 2014 and approved 220 out of 339 projects to move to the next stage of the grant approval process. This is the second round for the Straight A Fund grant program, which includes up to $150 million in available grants. The proposals were evaluated to determine if they would be sustainable in the future, and those approved will now undergo a programmatic review. The Straight A Fund Governing Board will announce its decisions on grants on June 20, 2014.
State Funds Decrease for All Counties: Policy Matters Ohio and Innovation Ohio have updated the website http://www.cutshurtohio.com/, which provides information about the status of state funds for schools and local governments by county. The data was compiled from the Ohio Department of Education, the Ohio Department of Taxation, the Ohio Office of Budget and Management, the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, and the Ohio Casino Control Commission, and shows that every county in the state in 2014 received fewer state dollars than in 2010.
According to the website, “Education losses are based on fiscal years 2010-11 compared with fiscal years 2014-15, and include the following funding streams: direct state formula aid, tax reimbursements for TPP and PUPT, State Fiscal Stabilization Funds, and casino revenues. Casino revenues were based on the receipts received for the semiannual payments received by school districts for the 2013-2014 school year. Schools receive their casino revenue differently than local governments, getting one in August and one in January. The payments for the 2014-2015 school year were estimated to be the same, for purposes of the calculation.”
“Local Government loss in aid is based on calendar years 2010-11 compared with calendar years 2014-15 and includes Local Government Funds, Public Library Funds, tax reimbursements (for elimination of Tangible Personal Property (TPP) and Public Utility Property Taxes (PUPT)), estate tax and casino revenues.”
State funds for local governments have decreased statewide by a total of $1.5 billion and by $349 million for K-12 education. The total decrease is $1.86 billion since 2010.
National Voucher Bills: Voucher bills have been introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate.
U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced in January 2014 the CHOICE Act (S. 1909) in the Senate. This bill would encourage states to create and expand voucher programs for students with disabilities, funded by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; expand the voucher program in D.C.; and create a pilot voucher program for children in military families.
More information is available.
U.S. Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN) introduced a similar bill on May 28, 2014 in the U.S. House, also called the CHOICE Act. The bill would encourage states to establish school choice programs for students with disabilities and expands educational options for children with special needs; expands choice options for the approximately 200,000 children who live on domestic military installations; and expands the voucher program in Washington, D.C.
According to a press release about the bill,
“Rokita’s CHOICE Act, builds on the innovative rewrite of No Child Left Behind, the Student Success Act (H.R.5), which passed the House in 2013, and the education research reform, the Strengthening Education through Research Act (H.R. 4366). H.R. 4366 reauthorizes the Education Science Reform Act, legislation which governs and promotes high-quality education research in early childhood, elementary and secondary education, and increases access to data that is important to families as they determine the best school for their children.”
“Rokita’s Student Success Act reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and reforms its current authorization, No Child Left Behind. The Student Success Act currently awaits consideration in the Senate.”
More information is available.
The National School Boards Association sent a letter on May 28, 2014 opposing the House and Senate voucher bills. According to the letter the NSBA urges Congress to maximize resources for “our public schools, which serve all students regardless of gender, disability or economic status, and adhere to federal civil rights laws and public accountability standards.”
More information is available.
Oklahoma Reverses Retention Policy: Liana Heitin reports for Education Week that lawmakers in Oklahoma voted on May 21, 2014 to overturn Oklahoma’s Governor Mary Fallin’s veto of a bill that would allow students to move from 3rd to 4th grade despite having failed a state standardized reading test.
According to the article, Oklahoma adopted the reading-retention policy two years ago, but parents, teachers, and lawmakers pushed back when 8000 students were identified for retention this year. Decisions about retention will now be made by a team of parents, teachers, administrators, and reading specialists within the schools.
The 3rd grade retention policy originated in Florida in 2002-03 and has served as a model for policies in other states, including Arizona, Indiana, and Ohio.
See “Oklahoma Ends Retention Policy for 3rd Graders Who Fail Reading Test” by Liana Heitin, Education Week Blog, May 22, 2014.
The Akron Beacon Journal Publishes Series on Dropout Schools: The Akron Beacon Journal published a series of articles last week about students who drop out of school and the schools that they attend. Three of the articles were written by Doug Livingston, and one by Ashley Morris and Brittany Landsberger. The articles describe the opening of the first dropout recovery charter schools (Life Skills) in Ohio by David Brennan (White Hat) in 1998, and the status of the 77 dropout recovery schools today. The report notes that as the student dropout rate decreased nationally to around 3.4 percent for 2013-14, the rate increased in Ohio to 4.6 percent, because of low graduation rates and high dropout rates for dropout recovery charter schools.
Doug Livingston writes that there are a total of 13,828 students attending dropout charter schools in Ohio.
“In the 2012-13 school year, more than 5,300 dropouts — a quarter of all Ohio dropouts that year — attended one of two online charter schools: the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow or Ohio Virtual Academy. Collectively, these two charter schools have a dropout rate 45 times higher than traditional public schools, and 10 times higher than the state’s eight largest city school districts.”
“Another 6,829 students -— about a third of all Ohio dropouts — attended charter schools designed specifically for dropouts, among them Invictus and Life Skills. Last year, these dropout charter schools enrolled one percent of Ohio’s public school students but accounted for roughly the same number of dropout events as did public district schools, which enrolled 91 percent of Ohio’s students.”
According to the articles,
- “A quarter of all dropouts are ninth-graders, and about 85 percent are at least teenagers.”
- “Of the dropouts, 58 percent left because of truancy; nearly a quarter turned 18 and were no longer obligated to attend school; about 13 percent moved and are believed not to be in school; and the rest failed graduation tests or sought employment.”
- “Traditional districts enrolled 91 percent of all public-school students and reported 33 percent of the state’s dropouts. Charter schools, including dropout programs, enrolled 7 percent of students and 66 percent of dropouts.”
- “13 Life Skills facilities in Ohio received $15.4 million in state aid for 1,807 students and reported 1,957 dropouts, reflecting a rate 2.6 times higher than all other charter school dropout programs.”
- ”Dropout programs operated by traditional public schools and county educational service centers do better. Those operated by private groups and companies have a dropout rate that is twice as high.”
- See “Ohio’s charter school dropouts soar, push state in opposite direction of U.S.” by Doug Livingston, Beacon Journal education writer, May 25, 2014, Updated: May 27, 2014.
- See “Akron district compares well on dropouts” by Doug Livingston, May 26, 2014, Updated: May 27, 2014.
- See “Charter school operators use key words to entice families away from public schools” by Ashley Morris and Brittany Landsberger, TheNewsOutlet.org, May 27, 2014.
- See “Successful dropout schools are turning from White Hat computer model” by Doug Livingston, Beacon Journal education writer, May 26, 2014, Updated: May 28, 2014.
Condition of Education Released: The U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, released on May 28, 2014 The Condition of Education 2014, a report that presents 42 indicators that measure the condition and progress of education (elementary, secondary, and higher education) based on available data.
This annual report is mandated by Congress to provide policymakers with information about the progress of education in the United States. The data used in the report were obtained from many different sources, including students and teachers, state education agencies, local elementary and secondary schools, and colleges and universities, using surveys and compilations of administrative records. The following are some of “examples” of the indicators, which are arranged in four chapters.
Chapter 1: Population Characteristics
- Indicator 1: “In 2013, some 34 percent of 25- to 29-year-olds had earned a bachelor’s or higher degree. Between 1990 and 2013, the size of the White-Black gap at this education level widened from 13 to 20 percentage points, and the White-Hispanic gap widened from 18 to 25 percentage points.”
- Indicator 5: “In 2012, approximately 21 percent of school-age children in the United States were in families living in poverty. The percentage of school-age children living in poverty ranged across the United States from 11 percent in North Dakota to 32 percent in Mississippi.”
Chapter 2: Participation in Education
- Indicator 6: “In 2012, some 93 percent of 5- to 6-year-olds and 98 percent of 7- to 13-year-olds were enrolled in elementary or secondary school. In that same year, 47 percent of 18- to 19-year-olds and 40 percent of 20- to 24-year-olds were enrolled in postsecondary education.”
- Indicator 7: “From 1990 to 2012, the percentage of 3- to 5-year-olds enrolled in preprimary programs increased from 59 to 64 percent. The percentage of these children who attended full-day programs increased from 39 to 60 percent during this period.”
- Indicator 8: “From school years 2011–12 through 2023–24, overall public elementary and secondary school enrollment is projected to increase by 5 percent (from 49.5 to 52.1 million students), with changes across states ranging from an increase of 22 percent in Nevada to a decrease of 11 percent in West Virginia.”
- NOTE: In Ohio the projected percentage change in public school enrollment in grades prekindergarten through 12 between 2011-12 and 2023-24 is a decrease of less than five percent.
- Indicator 9: “From school year 1999–2000 to 2011–12, the number of students enrolled in public charter schools increased from 0.3 million to 2.1 million students. During this period, the percentage of public school students who attended charter schools increased from 0.7 to 4.2 percent.”
- NOTE: Charter school laws have not been approved in Alabama, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia. The District of Columbia (39 percent) and Arizona (13 percent) have the highest percentage of enrollment in charter schools. The percent of students enrolled in charter schools in 2011-12 is highest for White students (36 percent) followed by Black students (29 percent) and Hispanic students (28 percent).
- Indicator 10: “Private school enrollment in prekindergarten through grade 12 increased from 5.9 million in 1995–96 to 6.3 million in 2001–02, then decreased to 5.3 million in 2011–12. The percentage of all students in private schools decreased from 12 percent in 1995–96 to 10 percent in 2011–12.
Chapter 3: School Characteristics and Climate
- Indicator 19: “Of the 6.1 million staff members in public elementary and secondary schools in fall 2011, some 3.1 million, or 51 percent, were teachers. For public schools, the pupil/teacher ratio fell from 26.9 pupils per teacher in 1955 to 17.9 in 1985, and then further declined to 15.3 in 2008. In the most recent years, the pupil/teacher ratios in 2010 and 2011 (both at 16.0) were higher than the ratio in 2009 (15.4).”
- NOTE: In 2011 less than 45 percent of school staff were teachers in public elementary and secondary school systems in Ohio. This is below the national average of 50.6 percent.
- Indicator 20: “From school years 2000–01 through 2010–11, total elementary and secondary public school revenues increased from $530 billion to $632 billion (in constant 2012–13 dollars). During the most recent period from 2009–10 through 2010–11, total revenues for public elementary and secondary schools decreased by about $4 billion, or less than 1 percent.”
- NOTE: In 2010-11 state revenues made-up 40-49.9 percent of total public school revenues used to fund elementary and secondary schools in Ohio. The U.S. average is 44.1 percent. In 2010-11 property taxes made-up between 25-49.9 percent of total public school revenue used to fund elementary and secondary schools in Ohio.
- Indicator 21: “From 2000–01 to 2010–11, current expenditures per student in public elementary and secondary schools increased by 14 percent, after adjusting for inflation. Current expenditures per student in 2010–11 ($11,153) decreased from the amount expended per student in 2009–10 ($11,353).”
Chapter 4: Postsecondary Education
- Indicator 33: “From academic year 2001–02 to 2011–12, the number of associate’s degrees awarded increased by 71 percent, from 595,100 to over 1 million, and the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded increased by 39 percent, from 1.3 million to 1.8 million.”
See “The Condition of Education 2014” by Grace Kena, Susan Aud, and Frank Johnson: National Center for Education Statistics; Xiaolei Wang, Jijun Zhang, Amy Rathbun, Sidney Flicker-Wilkinson, and Paul Kristapovich: American Institutes for Research; Liz Notter and Virginia Rosario: Synergy Enterprises, Inc.; Thomas Nachazel Senior Editor and Allison Dziuba Editor: American Institutes for Research, May 28, 2014.
Catching-Up At Risk Students: ACT Researcher Chrys Dougherty examines at-risk student catch-up rates in Arkansas and Kentucky in a new report from ACT about helping at-risk students become college and career ready. However, the report is not encouraging, because it finds that it is difficult for students that are far off track to achieve college and career readiness status by the end of high school. According to the report, “The results of this study extend the findings of our previous research to show the additional difficulty of catching up Far Off Track students from at-risk demographic groups.”
The data base used in the study included students in grades 4-8; 8-11 or 8-12 by student demographic subgroups in Arkansas and Kentucky. The students took the ACT Explore in 8th grade and the ACT in high school, and were either rated as “on track”, “off track”, or “far off track” in meeting the ACT Readiness Benchmark in mathematics, reading, and science. A score of 16 or better on the ACT Explore Reading assessment indicated that a student was “on track”; “off track” students scored from 13 to 15, while students scoring 12 or below were classified as “far off track”.
When examining the ACT scores of all students in grades 11 or 12 compared to the results of the ACT Explore assessment taken in grade 8, the researcher found that two percent of “far off track” students were able to become “on track” students in mathematics; six percent of “far off track” students were able to become “on track” students in reading; and four percent of “far off track” students were able to become “on track” students science.
The report includes the following recommendations:
For schools, classrooms, school districts:
- Teach a content-rich curriculum in the early grades, including English language arts, mathematics, science, history, geography, civics, foreign language, and the arts. “Such a curriculum—the basis for preparing students long term for college, careers, and informed citizenship—is valuable for all students but is likely to be especially beneficial for students from at-risk demographic groups, who are more likely to arrive from home with limited knowledge and vocabulary.”
- Evaluate school and classroom practices for improvement in the areas of curriculum and academic goals; staff selection, leadership, and capacity building; instructional tools and strategies; student achievement and progress; and interventions and adjustments.
- Monitor and intervene early using multiple indicators to track student progress. Monitor student engagement.
- Provide support for “far off track” students that matches their needs.
For state and local policymakers:
- Enact accountability systems that focus on long term gains in student learning rather than the short-term test results. Include in accountability systems whether or not the school/district is implementing research-based practices that will “pay off” later, such as a content-rich curriculum.
- Identify realistic goals for schools with high numbers of at-risk students.
For federal policymakers:
- Encourage statewide longitudinal data systems for research studies with appropriate privacy protections for students.
- Fund research on teaching a content-rich curriculum in the early grades.
See “Catching Up to College and Career Readiness: The Challenge Is Greater for At-Risk Students” by Chrys Dougherty, Issue Brief: ACT Research & Policy, May 2014.
School Funding Matters!: The National Bureau of Economic Research released on May 9, 2014 a report entitled The Effect of School Finance Reforms on the Distribution of Spending, Academic Achievement, and Adult Outcomes by C. Kirabo Jackson, Northwestern University; Rucker Johnson UC Berkely; and Claudia Persico, a doctoral student at Northwestern University.
The report analyzes school finance reforms (SFRs) and data on per pupil spending in low and high-income school districts from 1967-2010 and their effect on students, such as graduation rate, length of time in school, and income level as an adult.
Supreme Courts in about 28 states during the 1970s-2010 directed states to reform their school finance systems in response to spending gaps between richer and poorer school districts. The researchers found that as a result of these court decisions, “SFRs have been instrumental in equalizing school spending between low- and high-income districts and many reforms do so by increasing spending for poor districts.”
According to Part One of the report, all funding reforms enacted during this time frame reduced spending inequality, but “…adequacy-based court-ordered reforms increase overall school spending, while equity-based court-ordered reforms reduce the variance of spending with little effect on overall levels; reforms that entail high tax prices (the amount of taxes a district must raise to increase spending by one dollar) reduce long-run spending for all districts, and those that entail low tax prices lead to increased spending growth, particularly for low-income districts.”
Part Two of the report examines the reform-induced changes in school spending and resulting adult outcomes, based on nationally representative data on children born between 1955 and 1985 and followed through 2011. In this analysis the researchers found, “…that a 20 percent increase in per-pupil spending each year for all 12 years of public school for children from poor families leads to about 0.9 more completed years of education, 25 percent higher earnings, and a 20 percentage-point reduction in the annual incidence of adult poverty; we find no effects for children from non-poor families. The magnitudes of these effects are sufficiently large to eliminate between two-thirds and all of the gaps in these adult outcomes between those raised in poor families and those raised in non-poor families. We present several pieces of evidence to support a causal interpretation of the estimates.”
See The Effect of School Finance Reforms on the Distribution of Spending, Academic Achievement, and Adult Outcomes by C. Kirabo Jackson, Rucker Johnson, Claudia Persico, NBER Working Paper No. 20118.
- HB577 (Phillips) School Districts’ Health Care Curriculum: Requires the health curriculum of each school district to include instruction on the positive effects of organ and tissue donation.
- HB578 (Letson/Winburn) School Bus Seat Belts: Requires all school buses purchased, leased, or rented after January 1, 2016, to transport students to and from school to be equipped with a seat belt assembly for all passengers.
- HB579 (Grossman) Property Tax Valuation Dispute Hearing: Prohibits any party to a property tax valuation dispute, other than the original complainant, from appearing at a county board of revision hearing.
AEP 2014 National Forum: The Arts Education Partnership (AEP) will hold its 2014 National Forum on Arts and Education: Preparing Students for the Next America In and Through the Arts in Pittsburgh, on September 11-12, 2014, in partnership with the Arts Education Collaborative centered in Pittsburgh.
According to the AEP web site, “AEP believes the arts can lead the way for change during this seminal moment in American education.” The forum will bring together leaders from across the nation to identify arts-centered solutions to ensure that students achieve higher learning expectations and are ready for college, careers, and citizenship upon graduation.
The forum is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, U.S. Department of Education, Heinz Endowments, and The Grable Foundation.
Registration opens on June 2, 2014.
The Arts Turn Around Missouri District: MariAn Gail Brown writes for District Administration about the success of the Jennings School District outside of St. Louis Missouri, which has integrated music and the fine arts throughout the curriculum to engage students and improve overall student achievement.
The district enrolls about 2,500 students: 95 percent of students receive free or reduced-price lunch; a number of students are homeless; and a number of students are from single-parent households, or live in extended family households.
Superintendent Tiffany Anderson in 2012 initiated a new program to infuse the performing arts, fine art, and music in the curriculum; established a Saturday Academy to reinforce weekly lessons and provide both breakfast and lunch; and established the College Prep Academy at the middle school, which includes an extra hour of instruction for students. The new middle school program also requires parents to volunteer at the school and provides parents with laundry facilities.
The aim of the new initiatives is to close the achievement gaps among groups of students, and the arts are part of the strategy: The article quotes Superintendent Anderson as saying,
“Music and art are a form of expression, and (they) can be used to simplify complex skills and to help students express themselves academically,”
“And the arts are used to accelerate learning in math, science and social studies. The arts are helping to give students a voice and helping to build their confidence.”
See “Jennings School District hums a new tune for success” by MariAn Gail Brown, District Administration, June 2014.
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.