•130th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate are on recess.
The Legislative Schedule for the second half of 2014 has been posted. The House and Senate have scheduled “if needed” sessions in September; the Senate has scheduled an “if needed” session in October; both the House and Senate have scheduled sessions and committee hearings in November after November 11, 2014 (Veterans Day); and both the House and Senate have scheduled sessions in December.
•Governor Signs Bills: Governor Kasich signed into law on June 16, 2014 two mid-biennium review bills (MBR), HB483 (Amstutz) MBR Operations and HB487 (Brenner) MBR Education, and HB393 (Baker/Landis), which requires public high schools to publish a career decision guide annually.
Because HB483 is an appropriations measure, the governor could apply a “line-item” veto. He vetoed three provisions, including one education provision. The governor vetoed Section 3318.36, which would have allowed school districts impacted by the tangible personal property tax phase-out to negotiate new school construction agreements with the Ohio School Facilities Commission. In the veto statement Governor Kasich explained that he vetoed the provision, because it would increase state costs.
•August Special Election: Ballot issues for the August Special Election have been posted on the Secretary of State’s web site at http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/elections/Research/electResultsMain/2014Results.aspx
There are a total of 16 issues, including seven school issues. The following counties have issues on the August ballot: Brown, Champaign, Clark, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Hocking, Licking, Lucas, Pickaway, Portage, Stark, Summit and Warren.
•ODE Releases Test Results: The Ohio Department of Education released last week the latest results of student testing on state assessments, including the Ohio Achievement Assessment and the Ohio Graduation Tests.
•Ohio Achievement Assessment – Third Grade Reading: Eighty-eight percent of students statewide earned a passing grade on the third-grade reading exam administered in the spring 2014. Last fall about 36 percent of students failed to pass the reading test. Twelve percent of students could be retained in third grade next school year, if they do not pass the reading test or an alternative exam this summer, or are not granted an exemption. Students needed to achieve a cut score of 392 to pass the exam this year, but the State Board is considering raising the cut-score, because 400 is the score for proficient. The State Board of Education’s Achievement Committee voted on June 9, 2014 to increase the cut-score to 394 for next year. The State Board will consider the proposed cut-score increase at their July 2014 meeting.
•Ohio Graduation Tests: Seventy-one percent of Ohio 10th grade students in traditional public schools and charter schools passed all five sections of the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) administered in the spring 2014. The passage rates for each exam breaks down in the following ways:
-89.4 percent of students passed the reading test
-77.4 percent passed the science test
-88 percent passed the writing test
-82.9 percent passed the social studies test
-82.3 percent passed the math test
Also taking the OGT were 12,111 nonpublic students. The passage rates for nonpublic school students for each exam breaks-down in the following ways:
-97.5 percent passed the reading test
-91.0 percent passed the science test
-97.1 percent passed the writing test
-93.9 percent passed the social studies test
-92.3 percent passed the math test
The results are still preliminary and need to be verified by the schools.
•Second Round Straight A Fund Grants Announced: The Straight A Fund Governing Board, chaired by Alex Fischer, announced on June 20, 2014 the recipients of the second-round of Straight A Fund grants for FY2015. The Governing Board selected 34 projects to fund and three additional projects to fund on a conditional basis, from about 339 applications submitted in April 2014.
The Straight A Fund program was created in HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget to support education projects that either raise student achievement; reduce spending; or target a greater share of resources to the classroom. The projects also must prove that they are self-sustaining.
The fund included around $250 million for two rounds of project grants. The first round of grants, totaling $88.6 million, was awarded in December 2013. In this second round about $150 million will be awarded.
The Straight A grants are subject to approval by the Controlling Board, which is scheduled to meet on Monday, July 28, 2014.
•DC Holding Off on Using VAM for Teacher Evaluations: According to Education Week, D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced on June 19, 2014 that value added scores based on student test results will not be used in teacher evaluations for the coming school year. Chancellor Henderson said that it was not fair to use student scores on new tests and new standards until a baseline is established and complications are resolved. Value-added measures (VAM) currently account for 35 percent of a teacher’s evaluation for teachers who teach in tested grades and subjects in the Washington DC school district. In place of VAM teacher evaluations will be based on observations and other measures.
See “DC to suspend test scores in teacher evaluations” by Ben Nuckols and Kimberly Hefling, Education Week Teacher, June 20, 2014 at http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2014/06/19/dc-to-suspend-test-scores-in-1.html
•Teacher Evaluation Agreement Worked-Out in New York: The New York Post is reporting that Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature have agreed on a new teacher evaluation plan for the coming school year. The plan delays using student test score results for teachers rated “ineffective” or “developing” for two years, 2014 and 2015. Instead, these teachers will be evaluated using other methods. Teachers rated “effective” or “highly effective” will still receive ratings based on student scores.
See “Albany OKs Common Core reprieve for low-rated teachers” by Pat Bailey, Aaron Short, and Carl Campanile, New York Post, June 19, 2014.
•Louisiana in a Conundrum over Common Core and Assessments: Lyndsey Layton of the Washington Post reported on June 18, 2014 that opposing sides of the Common Core Standards and PARCC assessments were issuing directives regarding the future policy direction of the state. Earlier in the week Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal had issued an executive order for the state to withdraw from participating in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) assessments. According to the article, Governor Jindal questioned Louisiana’s involvement in PARCC, which he believes is in violation of the state’s lowest bid procurement process. Louisiana State Board of Education chairman Chas Roemer and Superintendent of Education John White later responded saying that the governor had no legal authority to withdraw Louisiana from PARCC or change state standards. Yet the governor later suspended the state’s contract with PARCC and the procurement of the PARCC assessments. Stay tuned!
See “Jindal says he’s withdrawing Louisiana from Common Core standards” by Lyndsey Layton, Washington Post, June 18, 2014 at http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/jindal-w
Poll Finds that Few Know About CCSS: NBC News and the Wall Street Journal released on June 18, 2014 the results of a poll conducted by Hart Research Associates/Public Opinion Strategies. The poll of 1000 adults conducted between June 11-15, 2014 covers a variety of topics about the economy, the popularity of the president, presidential candidates, and some questions about education. The pollsters found, for example, that 47 percent of the 1,000 adults surveyed have not heard of the common core state standards; 22 percent said that they had heard a lot about the standards; and 30 percent said that they had heard “some” about the standards.
When the common core standards are described in a positive way, 27 percent of respondents reported that they strongly support the standards; 32 percent said that they somewhat support the standards; 11 percent said that they somewhat oppose the standards; 20 percent said that they strongly oppose the standards; and 10 percent said that they are not sure.
Regarding the quality of schools, 5 percent of those surveyed responded that public schools are working well; 31 percent said that some changes are needed, but basically schools should be kept the same; 35 percent said that major changes are needed; 26 percent said that a complete overhaul is needed; and 3 percent said that they are not sure.
The poll also found the following:
•Role of Government: 46 percent reported that the “government” should do more to solve problems and help meet the needs of people, while 50 percent said that the “government” is doing to many things better left to business and individuals.
•November Election: 32 percent surveyed said that their representative to Congress deserves to be re-elected; 57 percent said that someone else should have a chance; and 11 percent said that they were not sure.
•Children in the Household: Only 28 percent of respondents reported that they have children living in their household.
See MSN/Wall Street Journal June 2014 Poll at http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/MSNBC/Sections/A_Politics/14463%20JUNE%20NBC-WSJ%20Poll%20%286-18%20Release%29.pdf
Summit Recommends Policies to Address Poverty: The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institute held a two-day summit on June 19-20, 2014 entitled Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis. The Hamilton Project was founded at Brookings in 2006 to recommend “innovative policy proposals on how to create a growing economy that benefits more Americans.” The project is guided by an Advisory Council of academics, business leaders, and policy makers.
According to the information about the summit, “…roughly one-in-seven adults and one-in-five children live in poverty.” The impact of poverty imposes a number of challenges on people, including inconsistent nutrition, inadequate skills, poor health, and limited wages and job opportunities.
The summit was used to introduce the following 14 new policy proposals to combat poverty:
-Expand preschool access for disadvantaged children
-Address the parenting divide to promote early childhood development for disadvantaged children
-Reduce unintended pregnancies for low-income women
-Design effective mentoring programs for disadvantaged youth
-Expand summer employment opportunities for low-income youth
-Address the academic barriers to higher education
-Expand apprenticeship opportunities for disadvantaged students
-Provide disadvantaged workers with skills to succeed in the labor market
-Support low-income workers through refundable child-care credits
-Build on the success of the earned income tax credit
-Encourage work sharing to reduce unemployment
-Design thoughtful minimum wage policies at the state and local levels
-Develop smarter, better, and faster predictive analytics and rapid-cycle evaluation to improve programs and outcomes.
The Impact of Toxic Stress and Poverty on Children: The United Way of Central Ohio released on June 18, 2014 a report entitled 2014 Franklin County Children’s Report: How Toxic Stress Threatens Success.
The report describes how poverty increases the level of trauma, insecurity, anxiety, and stress on children, and negatively affects their development. The report also includes some strategies that foster resiliency in children, and identifies the steps that are needed to foster in Franklin County an environment where all children have opportunities to succeed.
According to the report, toxic stress in children is caused by a prolonged exposure to adversity so that children feel that they are in a state of constant danger. As a result the children have high levels of stress hormones in their bodies and are unable to focus on learning. Their normal development is disrupted, increasing the risk of cognitive impairment and poor health conditions throughout their lives.
About 25 percent of children in Franklin County (70,700 children) are considered to be living in poverty, and many of these children experience the following conditions that could result in toxic stress:
-Unstable homes, families, and schools: Research shows that students who change schools often perform worse academically than their peers. In 2012-13 seventeen percent of students in Franklin County (32,987 students) attended one school for less than a full academic year.
-Food Insecurity: Researchers have found that hunger adversely affects the physical and cognitive development of children between ages 0-3, and going hungry actually makes children sick. About 21 percent of children in Franklin County experience food insecurity and about 45 percent receive SNAP assistance.
-Juvenile Detention: Research has found that the experience of incarceration impacts the mental, physical, and emotional health of adolescents. In Franklin County 2,640 youth were admitted to the juvenile detention system in 2013.
The report notes, “Unfortunately, our policy and program responses often fail to align with what neuroscience tells us can improve life outcomes—health, economic and educational. We invest too little in children during their early years when their cognitive and non-cognitive abilities are the most malleable. Gaps in non-cognitive abilities between advantaged and disadvantaged children appear early in the lives of children, and are heavily influenced by the environments in which they grow up and the relationships they enjoy from birth—those things that neuroscience tells us are important for healthy child development, in fact, “schooling after the second grade plays only a minor role in alleviating these gaps, schooling quality and school resources have relatively small effects on ability deficits and only marginally account for any divergence by age in test scores across children from different socioeconomic groups.”
To help children develop secure attachments and feel safe, parents and caregivers must be able to manage stress and provide children with nurturing attention. Positive support systems can help parents develop resiliency, competence, and lower anxiety in families. The negative impact of toxic stress can be reversed through the following early and ongoing interventions with children and with parents:
•Early intervention for pregnant women: According to the report, “We need to do everything we can to support mothers of young children, from making sure their basic emotional and physical needs are met to just hanging out with them and being available when they need us most.”
•Stability: Creating caring environments that promote empathy and resiliency will help children build trust. Researchers have found that countries that exhibit more interpersonal trust and equity enjoy greater economic prosperity. According to the report, “…schools that report greater student connectedness have lower rates of drug use, violence, heavy drinking, smoking and suicide attempts—so the benefits don’t just go to the children who would otherwise be victimized, but to the whole community.” The report recommends that schools become hubs for wrap-around services for families to increase food security, housing stability, and access to mental and physical health care, etc.
•Nurturing relationships among children and youth: According to the report, “…mentoring relationships have been shown to have numerous positive outcomes, including: improvements in self-esteem; better relationships with parents and peers; greater school connectedness; improved academic performance; and reductions in substance use, violence and other risk behaviors.”
•Trauma-informed interventions: Children who experience trauma often show behavior problems in school. Using strict punishments, however, only re-traumatize the children. Suspending children from school is also not helpful, because the school might be the only safe and stable place that the child knows. Interventions must support conditions that reduce trauma and build resiliency.
•Coordinate poverty programs: Asset-mapping should be used to identify existing community programs that support parents and families in poverty, and identify gaps so that resources can be targeted. The report also emphasizes that organizations that work with families should develop mutual goals and coordinate resources to achieve the goals.
See “2014 Franklin County Children’s Report: How Toxic Stress Threatens Success”, prepared by the Kirwan Institute, Community Research Partners, and Champion of Children, an initiative of United Way of Central Ohio, June 18, 2014 at
State Board of Education Update
The State Board of Education, Debe Terhar president, met on June 9 and 10, 2014 in Columbus. The following is a summary of committee and board actions:
The Achievement Committee, chaired by C. Todd Jones, met on June 9, 2014. The committee approved an increase in the passing cut-score for the Ohio Achievement Assessment for Grade 3 Reading. If approved by the State Board of Education in July 2014, the cut-score will increase from 392 to 394 on a scale in which 400 is proficient. Cut-scores have been set to determine whether students are reading at a “limited”, “basic”, “proficient”, “accelerated” or “advanced” level. The new cut-score, 394, is considered to be “high basic” and will be used as the passing score in reading for the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.
The State Board will need to review the cut-scores for all exams in the future, as schools in Ohio transition to new assessments that are aligned to the Common Core State Standards and are administered by PARCC, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.
The Accountability Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, met on June 9, 2014. The committee approved the component scores on the state report card for the gifted indicator for future school years. The gifted indicator includes three components: progress (value added), the performance index score, and input points. School districts must meet all of the component scores to meet the gifted indicator.
For 2013-14 and 2014-15 the component scores are Progress, C and above; Performance Index, 115 and above; Input Points, 40 and above. For 2014-15 the component scores are Progress, C or above; Performance Index, 115 and above; and Input Points, 40 and above. For 2015-16 the component scores are Progress, C or above; Performance Index, 116 and above; and Input Points, 60 and above. For 2016-17 the component scores are Progress, C or above; Performance Index, 117 and above; Input Points, 80 and above.
•Operating Standards Committee
The Operating Standards Committee, chaired by Ron Rudduck, met on June 9, 2014. The committee continued the discussion about the revision of Operating Standards, Ohio Administrative Code Rules 3301-35-01 through 15. The committee received more information about blended learning, and decided that a separate rule should be created for blended learning. Currently it is referenced in Rule 3301-35-06 of the Operating Standards. Next month the committee will discuss Rules 3301-35-07,09, and 11.
State Board Business Meeting June 10, 2014
-Dr. Jennifer Miller, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator for Middle Childhood Education at Hiram College, and Dr. Paula M. White, Professor of Education and Director of Middle Childhood Education at Ohio Wesleyan University, addressed the State Board about the low rates of passage for teacher candidates on the middle-level content licensing exams. The exams, developed by Pearson, were administered in 2013 for the first time.
Both presenters are officers in an organization called the Ohio Middle Level Professors Association, which serves as a forum for educators who prepare middle-level teachers in Ohio. The Ohio Middle Level Professors Association recently evaluated the new Pearson licensing exams for middle level teachers and identified the following issues:
-The exams are not aligned to the state approved K-12 curriculum
-Institutions of higher education were not given sufficient time to realign their curriculum to prepare teachers
-The cost of the required tests and license fees for middle-level teacher candidates is over $800, and higher than other teacher licensing exams and fees.
The presenters said that the Ohio Middle Level Professors Association endorses the resolution before the State Board to adjust the passing score on the qualifying exam, but also noted that the issue goes beyond reducing the cut score. The presenters support the creation of the proposed middle-grade assessment panel to further investigate the issues that they have raised about the exam.
–Dan Dodd, representing the Ohio Association for Independent Schools, addressed the State Board regarding the graduation requirements for students in nonpublic schools. He asked the State Board to abide by a provision included in recently approved HB487 (Brenner) the Mid Biennium Review-Education, regarding the formation of a committee to review the graduation requirements for students in nonpublic schools. The committee is required to submit their recommendations to the Ohio General Assembly by January 15, 2015. He specifically asked that the State Board not make any “rash decisions” or go forward with “proposals in the next few months that would undermine what it is that the committee is trying to address.”
The State Board also recognized Lori Lofton, for eight years of service to the State Board. She has resigned from her position as Director of the Office of Educator Quality at the Ohio Department of Education, and accepted a position in the Westerville City School District.
The State Board took the following action on June 10, 2014:
-#6 Approved a Resolution of Intent to Amend Rules 3301-24-03 and 3301-24-18 of the Ohio Administrative Code Entitled Teacher Education Programs and Resident Educator License
-#14 Approved a Resolution to Rescind Rules 3301-21-05 to -07 of the Ohio Administrative Code Regarding Colleges and Universities Preparing Teachers.
-#15 Approved a Resolution to Amend Rules 3301-24-07 of the Ohio Administrative Code Entitled Provisional License Renewal.
-#16 Approved a Resolution to Amend Rules 3301-37-01 to 3301-37-12 of the Ohio Administrative Code Regarding Child Day Care Programs.
-#17 Approved a Resolution to adopt Rule 3301-102-011 of the Ohio Administrative Code Entitled Dropout Prevention and Recovery Schools’ Assessment of Growth in Student Achievement and to Adopt Rule 3301-102-12 of the Administrative Code Entitled Standards for Awarding an Overall Report Card Designation to Dropout Prevention and Recovery Community Schools.
-#18 Approved a Resolution to Adopt New Ohio Assessments for Educators Licensing Exams and Associated Qualifying Scores for Agriculture Science and Health Licensing Areas.
-#19 Approved a Resolutions to Adopt Adjusted Qualifying Scores for Five Ohio Assessments for Educators Licensing Exams.
-#20 Approved a Resolution to Adopt Model Curricula in Fine Arts and World Languages.
Arts Assessment Project Funded by the Straight A Fund: Congratulations to a consortium, led by Hamilton Local Schools, for receiving a $1.42 million grant from the Straight A Fund to develop 44 assessments in the arts. The grant was awarded last week to the consortium, which also includes the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, West Muskingum Local Schools, Cincinnati Public Schools, The Ohio State University, the Dublin Arts Council, and Battelle for Kids.
Arts Education Gets Big Boost in New York City: Geoff Decker reports for Chalkbeat New York that a coalition of arts organizations in New York City, led by the Center for Arts Education, wrote a letter on June 17, 2014 to New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina with recommendations for expanding access for students to the arts. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed an additional $23 million in the city’s budget to expand arts education opportunities for students in New York City schools. The money is to be used to meet minimum state requirements for arts education, but the arts organizations outlined in the letter other ways the money could be used to support the arts. These include using a percent of the funds to subsidize the salaries of arts teachers as an incentive for principals to hire more arts teachers; expanding partnerships between the schools and community arts organizations; expanding professional development for arts teachers; and including the arts in the district’s accountability framework.
According to the article, the school system lost more than 200 certified arts teachers over the past four years. Funding for the arts is now around $300 million, but one in five city schools is not providing state mandated instruction in the arts, according to a report prepared by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer.
See “Advocates ask city to help principals pay salaries for new art teachers” by Geoff Decker, Chalkbeat New York, June 18, 2014 at http://ny.chalkbeat.org/2014/06/18/advocates-ask-city-to-help-principals-pay-salaries-for-new-art-teachers/
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.