1) Ohio News
130th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate canceled “if needed” legislative sessions scheduled for next week, and no committee hearings are scheduled this week.
Update on Early Voting: U.S. District Judge Peter Economus, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, issued an order on September 4, 2014 in NAACP v. Husted. The decision found that SB238 (LaRose), signed into law on February 21, 2014, violates the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 when it reduced opportunities for Ohioans to vote early. The order restores some early voting hours, adds a Sunday to the voting schedule, and restores “Golden Week” voting, in which individuals can register to vote and cast a vote on the same day. The lawsuit was filed by the ACLU, the Ohio Conference of the NAACP, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, and others in May 2014.
This week attorneys for the State requested that Judge Economus’ order be suspended, and proceeded with an appeal of the ruling to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. The request to stay the order was denied by the Judge on September 10, 2014, but the appeal is going forward, which means that there is a chance that absentee and early voting schedules for the November 4, 2014 election might change again.
The League of Women Voters of Ohio has posted information on its website about absentee and early voting requirements for the November 2014 election, and will keep this information updated to reflect any new orders issued in the case.
Last week Senators Kearney and Turner introduced SB362 (Kearney/Turner) Absent Voting Revisions. The bill would allow county boards of election to set additional hours for early voting, after meeting minimum requirements established in the bill. The bill would require boards of election to do the following:
-provide 30 hours of early voting on weekdays during each of the five weeks before the election, and require that at least 10 of those hours be after 5:00 PM
-require boards of election to stay open until 9:00 PM on the last day of voter registration
-require boards of election to provide 8 hours for early voting on Saturdays and 4 hours on Sunday the two weekends before Election Day.
State Report Cards Released: The Ohio Department of Education released state report cards for schools and districts for the 2013-14 school year on September 12, 2014. The report cards are usually released in August, but were delayed his year, because so many schools were closed last winder due to storms, and could not administer state assessments on schedule.
A make-over of the State report card started last year, when letter grades and an online version were introduced, and more changes are expected in the future, as new measures of school and district performance are phased-in over the next few years. This year the State report card provides letter grades (A-F) for nine measures, and also provides additional “not graded” information, about schools and districts, such as information about student demographics and wellness. The assignment of an overall letter grade for schools and districts has been delayed until after the 2015-16 school year. Here are some of the changes in this year’s report card:
-The percent of students meeting proficient on performance indicators has been raised from 75 percent to 80 percent for schools and districts.
-The report card includes grades for the Performance Index; Percent of Indicators Met; Annual Measurable Objectives; Overall Student Progress; Progress for Gifted Students; Progress for Students with Disabilities; Progress for the Lowest 20 Percent of Students in Achievement; and Graduation Rates, which includes 4 and 5 year graduation rates. The “K-3 Literacy” component should have received a grade, but due to technical problems with the data, the ODE is recalculating it.
-Grades are available for Career Technical Planning Districts and Dropout recovery schools
-Data is reported for the “Prepared for Success” Measure
-Additional data is reported for gifted education programs under “Achievement”, and then find the link to Gifted Education highlighted in blue on the top right corner of the screen.
Report cards for school districts and schools, dropout recovery schools, STEM schools, and Career Tech Centers are available at http://reportcard.education.ohio.gov/Pages/default.aspx#
Report cards for charter schools not associated with a traditional public school district can be found under “Schools” and then under “C” at http://reportcard.education.ohio.gov/Pages/School-Search.aspx
Ohio’s Campaign Rules About False Statements Found Unconstitutional: Judge Timothy Black of the U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio Western Division, issued a decision on September 11, 2014 in the case Susan B. Anthony List, et al. v. Ohio Elections Commission, et al. The decision finds that Ohio’s statutes regarding the Ohio Election Commission’s responsibility to regulate and censor the truthfulness of political speech is unconstitutional, because it violates the First Amendment and the right to free speech. The case was filed by the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List and the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST), and alleges that a decision by the Ohio Elections Commission, which found that false statements had been made about former U.S. Representative Steve Driehaus during the 2010 campaign, violated the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, because it inhibits free speech, and makes a government agency determine what is the truth. According to Judge Black, “Lies have no place in the political arena and serve no purpose other than to undermine the integrity of the democratic process. The problem is that, at times, there is no clear way to determine whether a political statement is a lie or the truth. What is certain, however, is that we do not want the Government (i.e., the Ohio Elections Commission) deciding what is political truth — for fear that the Government might persecute those who criticize it. Instead, in a democracy, the voters should decide.”
2) National News
Teacher Tenure Lawsuits in New York Combined: Chalkbeat New York reports that Supreme Court Justice Philip Minardo, of the Supreme Court of the State of New York Richmond County (Staten Island), consolidated two lawsuits filed in August 2014 in opposition to New York State’s teacher tenure laws. The lawsuits, Davids v. New York and Wright v. New York, claim that laws that protect teacher due process and seniority privileges in New York state make it too difficult and costly for school boards to fire incompetent teachers or re-assign teachers. They were filed by Mona Davids head of the NYC Parents Union and Partnership for Educational Justice, headed by Campbell Brown, former reporter for CNN. Justice Minardo, in combining the lawsuits, said that they would be known as “Davids v. New York”, and allowed the United Federation of Teachers to intervene as a defendant.
See ”Two Teacher Tenure Lawsuits are Combined, but Not in Harmony”, by Jessica Glazer, Chalkbeat New York, September 11, 2014 at
Update Federal Legislation: Congress is back in session and lawmakers made some progress on several bills last week, including the introduction of a continuing resolution, H.J. Res. 124, that will keep the government operating until December 11, 2014. The resolution was introduced by Representative Hal Rogers, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, and would fund government programs and services at the current annual cap rate of $1.012 trillion.
Representative John Kline, chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee, announced on September 12, 2014 that a bipartisan group of House and Senate leaders have agreed to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act. According to a press release, “The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act provides funds to states to help low-income families pay for child care while a parent works or is in an educational or job training program. The law has not been reauthorized since 1996. Today’s bipartisan, bicameral agreement is based upon legislation introduced in 2013 by Senators Mikulski and Burr that passed the Senate earlier this year.”
The proposed bill would do the following:
-Provides information about available care options from all providers, including faith-based and community-based providers.
-Strengthens safety standards in child care settings by requiring all providers to comply with state health, safety, and fire standards and undergo annual inspections.
-Promotes high quality child care by reserving funds at the state level to improve the quality of care provided to children, enhancing states’ ability to train providers and develop safer and more effective child care services.
See the bill at http://edworkforce.house.gov/uploadedfiles/s_1086_ans.pdf
The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP), chaired by Senator Harkin, is scheduled on September 17, 2014 to discuss H.R.4366, the Strengthening Education through Research Act. The act would reauthorizes federal education research through the Institute of Education Sciences, and was approved by the House last May.
NEP to Host Panel Discussions on Education: The Network for Public Education announced last week plans to host on Saturday, October 11, 2014 four panels of experts, who will discuss critical issues facing public schools. The topics and panelists include:
-Testing and the Common Core: New York Principal of the Year Carol Burris will lead a discussion with educators Takeima Bunche-Smith, Rosa Rivera-McCutchen and Alan Aja.
-Support Our Schools, Don’t Close Them: Chicago teacher Xian Barrett will moderate a panel featuring education professor Yohuru Williams, Hiram Rivera of the Philadelphia Student Union, and a representative of the Newark Student Union.
-Charter Schools: North Carolina writer and activist Jeff Bryant will host a discussion that will include New Orleans parent activist Karran Harper Royal, New York teacher and blogger Gary Rubinstein, and Connecticut writer and activist Wendy Lecker.
-Authentic Reform Success Stories: The Network for Public Education executive director Robin Hiller will host a discussion that will include New York teacher Brian Jones and Greg Anrig from Cincinnati, Ohio.
-Diane Ravitch and Jitu Brown will discuss building a movement to improve public schools.
This event will be held at the Brooklyn New School in New York and streamed-live on Saturday, October 11, 2014 starting at noon Eastern time, 3:00 PM Pacific time at http://www.schoolhouselive.org.
3) State Board of Education to Meet
The Ohio State Board of Education, Debe Terhar president, will meet on September 15 and 16, 2014 at the Ohio Department of Education, 25 South Front Street, Columbus, Ohio.
This month the State Board will take action on high school graduation requirements; admission, transfer, suspension, and expulsion standards for the Ohio State School for the Blind and the Ohio State School for the Deaf; revisions to the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES); rules for programs for adults seeking to achieve a high school diploma; and the State Board of Education’s budget recommendations for the next biennium (FY2016-17).
On Monday, September 15, 2014, the full Board will participate in a 119 Hearing on two rules, Rule 3301-24-03, Educator Preparation Programs and Rule 3301-24-18, Resident Educator License.
The Accountability, Achievement, Capacity, Urban and Rural, Operating Standards, and Graduation committees will also meet this week.
-The Accountability Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, will receive an update on “Other Report Card Measures” and discuss Industry Credentials and the future work of the committee.
-The Achievement Committee, chaired by C. Todd Jones, will discuss proposed amendments to Rules 3301-61-02 through 3301-61-05, 3301-61-16 and 3301-68-01, Career Technical Education; a Resolution of Intent to Adopt Rule 3301-51-20 Regarding Admission, Transfer, Suspension, and Expulsion Standards for the Ohio State School for the Blind and the Ohio State School for the Deaf; and discuss High School Certificates of Accomplishment.
-The Graduation Requirements Committee, chaired by C. Todd Jones, will review the proposed rule for graduation requirements and discuss the types of exams that would be used as a substitute for end of course exams, as outlined in HB487.
-The Capacity Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, will discuss proposed new Rules 3301-45-01 to -06, Adult (22+) High School Diploma Programs; Rules 3301-91-02,-03, and -05, Standards for School Lunch and Breakfast Programs; Rule 3301-27-01, Qualifications to Direct, Supervise or Coach a Pupil Activity Program; Rules 3301-19-01,-02, -03, School District Expenditure Flow Reports; and Rule 3301-56-01, School District and Building Improvement Planning, Parent Notification, and Intervention.
-The Urban and Rural Renewal Committee, chaired by Dr. Mark Smith, will review and approve a new web page design.
-The Operating Standards Committee, chaired by Ron Rudduck, will continue to revise Ohio Administrative Code rules known as Operating Standards for Ohio’s Schools and Districts. The committee will review a timeline for approving the revised Operating Standards, and continue discussion of the following rules:
Rule 3301-35-02 Governance, Leadership, Organization, Administration, and Supervision
Rule 3301-35-12 Chartered Non Public Schools
Rule 3301-35-13 Special Purpose Schools
Rule 3301-35-14 Procedures for Beginning a New School and for Changing Location or Ownership of a School.
The full Board will receive presentations on September 16, 2014 at 9:00 AM about the proposed FY16-17 State Board of Education budget recommendations and graduation requirements.
The Board’s business meeting will convene at 10:30 AM, with public participation on agenda and non-agenda items scheduled for 11:00 AM.
The State Board will consider the following resolutions on Tuesday, September 16, 2014:
-#10 Resolution of Intent to Adopt Rule 3301-5-01 of the Ohio Administrative Code entitled School Emergency Management Plan (VOLUME 2, PAGE 29 Board Book)
-#11 Resolution of Intent to Adopt Rule 3301-16-04 of the Ohio Administrative Code entitled Graduation Requirements Transition (VOLUME 2, PAGE 31 Board Book)
-#12 Resolution of Intent to Adopt Rule 3301-25-10 of the Ohio Administrative Code entitled One-Year Instructional Assistant Permit and to Adopt Rule 3301-25-11 of the Ohio Administrative Code entitled Renewal of One-Year Instructional Assistant Permit (VOLUME 2, PAGE 32 Board Book)
-#13 Resolution of Intent to Amend Rule 3301-27-01 of the Ohio Administrative Code entitled Qualifications to Direct, Supervise, or Coach a Pupil Activity Program (VOLUME 2, PAGE 38 Board Book)
-#14 Resolution of Intent to Adopt Rules 3301-45-01 TO 3301-45-06 of the Ohio Administrative Code Regarding the Administration of Programs for Adults Seeking to Achieve a High School Diploma (VOLUME 2, PAGE 43 Board Book)
-#15 Resolution of Intent to Amend Rule 3301-51-20, of the Ohio Administrative Code entitled Admission, Transfer, Suspension, and Expulsion Standards for the Ohio Schools for the Blind and the Deaf (VOLUME 2, PAGE 45 Board Book).
-#16 Resolution of Refusal to Consider the Proposed Transfer of School District territory from the Springboro Community City School District, Warren County to the Lebanon City School District, Warren County, Pursuant to Section 3311.24 of the Ohio Revised Code (VOLUME 2, PAGE 53 Board Book)
-#32 Resolution of Appointment to the Educator Standards Board
-#33 Resolution to Adopt the Revised Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) Framework to Align with Substitute House Bill 362
-#34 Resolution of Appointment to the State Library Board
4) Update on the Proceedings of the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission (OCMC)
The Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission, co-chaired by Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder and Senator Charleta Tavares, and its committees met on September 11, 2014. The Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission was established in July 2011 with the passage of 129-HB188. The OCMC is charged under Section 103.61 of the Ohio Revised Code with studying the Constitution of Ohio; promoting an exchange of experiences and suggestions respecting desired changes in the Constitution; considering the problems pertaining to the amendment of the Constitution; and making recommendations to the General Assembly for amendments to the Constitution. The 32-member commission is comprised of lawmakers and members of the public, and has been meeting since 2012.
In March 2014 the Commission appointed its first executive director, Steven Hollon, and has hired more staff to facilitate the work of the commission since then. Last week several media outlets reported on the meeting of the commission and its committees. The following is a summary of those meetings, prepared from available testimony at http://www.ocmc.ohio.gov/ocmc/committees and reports from Gongwer News Service Ohio at http://www.gongwer-oh.com/programming/news.cfm?article_ID=831770206#sthash.gtwCrrPW.dpbs
•Organization & Administration Committee: According to the Gongwer News Service, the Organization and Administration Committee, chaired by Mark Wagoner, approved procedural rules for the OCMC and its committees to use to vet and approve proposed changes to the Ohio Constitution. The new rules require that committees hold two hearings on proposed amendments to the constitution before a committee vote can be taken. If approved by the committee, the proposed amendment would then be reviewed by the Coordinating Committee for proper formatting. If approved by the Coordinating Committee, the proposed amendment would be sent to the commission’s co-chairs, who would set the Commission’s meeting agenda to take action on the proposal. The full Commission would then be required to hold two hearings before a vote of the full Commission is taken. If approved by the Commission by a two-thirds vote, the proposed amendment would then be sent to the Ohio General Assembly for consideration.
Gongwer also reported that the committee agreed to allow committees to broadcast hearings live through the Ohio Government Television (OGT) and allowed the hearings to be photographed by the Ohio Legislative Correspondents Association.
•Education, Public Institutions, Miscellaneous & Local Government Committee: As reported by the Gongwer News Service, the Education, Public Institutions, Miscellaneous & Local Government Committee, chaired by Chad Readler, received testimony from Robert Alt, President and CEO of the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, regarding the K-12 provisions included in Article 6 Section 2 of the Ohio Constitutions. According to the testimony, some of the proposed constitutional amendments that have been presented to the committee over the past months to better define “high quality education” or require early childhood education programs to ensure that students are “ready for school” could lead to more litigation because of their ambiguity. Mr. Alt was responding to proposed amendments submitted over the past months by several individuals, including Charlie Wilson, professor emeritas of constitutional law at the Ohio State University; Bill Phillis, executive director of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding, Stephen Dyer from Innovation Ohio; and others. The committee in April 2014 received a recommendation from the chairman of the committee, Chad Readler, to eliminate the constitutional requirement that Ohio’s system of common schools be “thorough and efficient”.
•Judicial Branch and the Administration of Justice Committee: The Judicial Branch and Administration of Justice Committee, chaired by Janet Gilligan Abaray, discussed merit selection of judges verses the election of judges.
•Finance, Taxation and Economic Development Committee: The Finance, Taxation and Economic Development Committee, chaired by Douglas Cole, received testimony from Jon Honeck, director of public policy and advocacy at the Center for Community Solutions. According to Gongwer News Service, Mr. Honeck asked that the committee consider a constitutional amendment to require certain refundable or carryforward tax credits be accounted for in the general revenue fund, rather than in line items in the budgets of the Department of Taxation and the Treasure of State. According to the testimony, there are over 100 credits, exemptions, and deductions in the tax code, known as “tax expenditures”, and cost the state billions of dollars each year.
5) Bills Introduced
•SB262 (Kearney/Turner) Absent Voting Period Revision: Extends the period for in-person absent voting and specifies the days and hours for in-person absent voting.
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 .