1) Ohio News
- 130th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate will hold hearings and sessions this week.
Lawmakers in the Ohio House are expected to consider Sub. HB343 (Stebelton), a “catch-all” education bill that allows students to take an end-of-course exam in either physical science or biology; clarifies which tests will be used to assess reading for third graders; requires a review of zero tolerance policies, and more. A controversial provision to eliminate the state’s minimum teacher salary schedule might be withdrawn to ensure passage of the bill.
HB228 (Brennan/Gonzales) Limits on Student Testing, was approved overwhelmingly by the Ohio House on November 20, 2014, but is not scheduled to be heard by the Senate Education Committee this week. The Senate is expected to complete its work by December 11, 2014, which means that time might be running out for consideration of this bill in its current form.
The end of the 130th General Assembly is just a few weeks away. Bills that have not been approved by both chambers by the end of the session will die, but can be introduced in the next session (131st General Assembly), which begins on January 5, 2015!!
- This Week at the Statehouse: The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton, will meet on December 1, 2014 at 3:30 PM in Hearing Room 121 and receive testimony on the following bills:
-HB303 (Hayes) Student Religious Expression. A vote is possible.
-HB304 (Hayes) Public School Facilities Access. A vote is possible.
-HB370 (Phillips) Boards of Education-Public Improvement Contracts: Requires a board of education of a school district or the governing board of an educational service center to be subject to the Prevailing Wage Law for public improvement contracts. First Hearing, Sponsor Testimony.
-HB411 (Patmon) Public Records-Campus Police-Nonprofit Police Departments: Defines as “public records” any records kept by a police department established by a qualified nonprofit corporation, or a campus police department established by a private college or university. First Hearing, Sponsor Testimony
-HB428 (Anielski) JVS Boards of Education-Terms of Office: Revises the law regarding terms of office of members of certain joint vocational school district boards of education. First Hearing, Sponsor Testimony
-HB441 (Winburn/Fedor) School District Policies-Violent Behavior: Amends the law regarding school district policies and reports on violent, disruptive, or inappropriate behavior. First Hearing, Sponsor Testimony
-HB443 (Strahorn) School District Policies-Violent Behavior: Amends the law regarding school district policies for violent, disruptive, or inappropriate behavior. First Hearing, Sponsor Testimony
The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner, will meet on December 2, 2014 at 5:00 PM in Senate Finance Hearing Room and receive testimony on the following bills:
-HB113 (Antonio) High School Physical Education Requirements: Specifies that school districts and chartered nonpublic schools may excuse from high school physical education students who participate in a school-sponsored athletic club. A vote is possible.
-HB178 (Phillips) School Safety Drills: Amends the law regarding school safety drills. A vote is possible.
-HB367 (Driehaus/Sprague) Opioid Abuse Prevention Instruction-Schools: Requires the health curriculum of each school district to include instruction in prescription opioid abuse prevention.
-SB266 (Skindell/Lehner) Public Schools-Behavior Intervention: Amends the law regarding the use of seclusion and physical restraint on students and positive behavior intervention supports in public schools. A vote is possible.
-HB334 (Hayes/Hottinger) Student Expulsion: Amends the law regarding the expulsion of a student from a school district, community school, or STEM school for actions that endanger the health and safety of other students or school employees, and declares an emergency. First Hearing, Sponsor/Proponent Testimony
2) National News
- PARCC to Reduce the Number of Assessments: Stephanie Simon reports for Politico Morning Education that states in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) consortium have renegotiate their contract with the Pearson testing company regarding the production of assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards to be administered to students next spring.
The original PARCC contract with Pearson required the company to produce multiple online assessments and forms for grades 3-8 and high school based on a cost per student and a minimum of 5.5 million students. Over the past year several PARCC states have dropped out of the consortium or are delaying the assessments, which has reduced the minimum number of students participating, which means that Pearson would be paid less, although the basic amount of work would not change.
The renegotiated contract reduces the number of assessments and forms Pearson must produce per grade levels, and postpones vertically linking the assessments, which means including different grade level questions on the exams to validate the degree of difficulty of them.
The article also notes that PARCC members, which include Ohio, are still discussing how the exams will be scored and reported by the PARCC member states; what data will be available to the public; and how states will grade open response questions.
See “Prepping for PARCC” by Stephanie Simon, with help from Allie Grasgreen, Politico, November 24, 2014 at
- Few Educators Appear on TV Talk Shows about Education? An analysis of weeknight cable news programs by Media Matters from January – October 2014 shows that out of 185 guests invited to discuss education policies, 16 (9 percent) were educators. Media Matters defines an “educator” as “someone who either is or has been employed as a K-12 teacher, a school administrator such as a principal, a professor of education at the college or university level, or someone with an advanced degree (master’s or Ph.D.) in education.”
The cable networks that were included in this analysis are MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN, and programs such as, The Situation Room, Erin Burnett OutFront, Crossfire, Anderson Cooper 360, CNN Tonight, The Ed Show, PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton, Hardball with Chris Matthews, All In with Chris Hayes, The Rachel Maddow Show, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, The Five, Special Report with Bret Baier, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, The O’Reilly Factor, The Kelly File, and Hannity.
The analysis found that MSNBC hosted 77 education policy segments, and 11 guests (14 percent) were educators; Fox News hosted 81 education policy segments, and 4 guests (5 percent) were educators; and CNN hosted 27 education policy segments, and 1 guest (4 percent) was an educator.
See “REPORT: Only 9 Percent Of Guests Discussing Education On Evening Cable News Were Educators” by Lis Power, Hilary Tone, and Jessica Torres, Media Matters, November 20, 2014 at http://mediamatters.org/research/2014/11/20/report-only-9-percent-of-guests-discussing-educ/201659
- Nominations Being Accepted for Family Teacher Award: The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) is accepting nominations for the 2015 Toyota Family Teacher of the Year Award. This award recognizes an exemplary teacher who engages families in education. Educators working with families through schools, libraries, and other community-based organizations are eligible for nomination, which are due Wednesday, December 31, 2014.
The award includes $20,000 for the selected teacher’s school or program to further efforts to engage families in learning together, and a second prize of $2,500 to the runner-up. The awards will be announced in March at the 2015 Families Learning Summit, in Houston, TX.
3) Unintended Consequences of Performance-Based Funding: Researchers examined the types of unintended consequences of state performance-based funding models on institutions of higher education in Ohio, Indiana, and Tennessee in a new reported published by the Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University.
Many states are implementing a “performance-based funding model” to determine state aid for institutions of higher education based on student outcomes, such as graduation, student retention, credit completion, and job placement, rather than allocating state funds based on student enrollment.
In this study researchers contacted over 200 college personnel at nine community colleges and nine public universities in Ohio, Indiana, and Tennessee, where state performance-based funding policies have been enacted. The researchers interviewed senior and middle-level administrators, deans, and department chairs, and identified the following “unintended consequences” of performance-based funding:
-New restrictions on student admission policies at community colleges and universities. (68 respondents) Respondents reported an increase in restricting the admission of less prepared students through raising admission requirements, selective student recruitment, and targeting financial aid. According to the report, this “unintended consequence” is particularly “…problematic for the many urban and rural public universities that have been committed historically to expanding college access and that enroll low-income and minority students.” (There were 39 respondents from Ohio who identified this concern.)
-Weakening academic standards. (59 respondents) Respondents said that to ensure that more students graduate on time, some institutions of higher education are inflating grades, reducing degree requirements, reducing the time students spend in noncredit developmental education courses, and advising students to take easier courses. (There were 28 respondents from Ohio who identified this concern.)
-Unfunded mandates. (20 respondents) Respondents noted that institutions of higher education have increased their research capacity and workload to track students for the performance-based funding model, and are providing struggling students with more learning supports, which have increased their costs. (There were 7 respondents from Ohio who identified this concern.)
-Weakening institutional cooperation and the free flow of practices and ideas across institutional boundaries. (14 respondents) Respondents said that institutions are now competing for the best students, and are hesitant to undermine their successes by sharing strategies that are working with their competition.
-Lower faculty morale. (11 respondents) Faculty are frequently being reminded about poor student outcomes, and how these outcomes will result in less state funding, leading to low faculty morale.
-Less emphasis on the mission of the institution. (8 respondents) Respondents reported that many goals set by institutions of higher education are not rewarded by the performance-based funding model. For example, strengthening local communities or proving outreach services are goals that institutions of higher education often publicize, but are not performance indicators for the model.
-Decrease in the influence of faculty in decision making. (7 respondents) Administrators at some institutions reported that they are working to increase performance indicators outside of the traditional decision-making processes that include the faculty.
The report also includes the following recommendations:
-Policy makers should not dismiss reports about the unintended consequences of the performance based funding models.
-States should counter attempts to restrict admission by rewarding institutions graduating students who are considered risky. Incentives for enrolling “at risk” students are included in the performance-based funding models for Ohio, Indiana, and Tennessee, but the researchers suggest that the incentives provided by these states might not be enough to “obviate the temptation” to restrict admissions. One way to publicize an increase in selective admissions policies is to compare institutions with similar student demographics or compare current and past student demographics from the same institution.
-Policy makers should do more to protect academic standards, including reviewing changes in curricular requirements over time.
-Policy makers should provide dedicated funding to underwrite the increased cost for implementing the performance-based funding models.
-Policy makers should reward practices that increase cooperation, collaboration, and sharing successful programs among higher education institutions.
The researchers note that Ohio’s respondents (88) reported more unintended consequences than respondents in Indiana (57) and Tennessee (50). This could be due to the fact that Tennessee and Indiana have had more experience with performance-based funding models than Ohio, and the percent of state funding affected by the models differs in each state and for community colleges verses four year colleges.
Ohio policy makers initiated in the 1990s some elements of performance-based funding for institutions of higher education, but the current model was approved in 2013 through HB59 (Amstutz) for the FY14-15 Biennial Budget, and has been phased-in for four-year institutions and community colleges.
The current law appropriates 80 percent of the State Share of Instruction based on performance indicators, including course completion (30 percent) and degree completion (50 percent). The course and degree completion performance indicators for main and regional campuses are weighted by the cost of programs, and whether or not students meet the definition of “at risk”.
The percent of the state funds appropriated to community colleges based on the performance indicators was phased in from five percent in 2011 to 50 percent in 2014, and 100 percent in fiscal year 2015. The performance indicators for community colleges include course completion (25 percent), success points (25 percent), and enrollment (50 percent). Success points include indicators, such as the number of students completing developmental English and math and subsequently enrolling in a college-level course; the number of students attaining certain credit thresholds in a given year; the number of students who earn at least an associate degree; and the number of students who transfer to a four-year university with a minimum number of credits.
See “Unintended Impacts of Performance Funding on Community Colleges and Universities in Three States” by Hana Lahr, Lara Pheatt, Kevin J. Dougherty, Sosanya Jones, Rebecca S. Natow, and Vikash Reddy, Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University, November 2014 at
4) Controversial Rules Proposed to Evaluate Teacher Preparation Programs: The U.S. Department of Education released on November 25, 2014 proposed federal regulations that would require states to identify “effective” teacher preparation programs, link graduates of teacher preparation programs to growth in student achievement, and limit Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education grants (TEACH grants) to teacher candidates enrolled in effective teacher preparation programs.
The proposed regulations have been expected for some time, and build on rules approved in 1998 in the federal Higher Education Act to improve teacher preparation programs. According to an article in Education Week there are approximately 2,200 traditional and alternative teacher preparation providers and 25,000teacher preparation programs in the U.S.
In addition to the current rules, the new rules require the following:
- States would categorize teacher preparation programs in at least four levels of quality: “low performing”, “at risk”, “effective” and “exceptional”.
- States would develop outcome measures for teacher preparation programs
- The distribution of TEACH grants would be limited to students in teacher preparation programs identified as “effective” or above. TEACH grants are federal grants available to students who are planning to become teachers in a high-need field and in a low-income school for a certain amount of time.
- States would be required to report annually to the U.S. DOE the following indicators:
-teacher placement and three year retention rates, including in high need schools
-feedback from surveys of teachers and employers regarding teacher preparation effectiveness
-teacher effectiveness during the first three years of teaching based on the growth in student achievement on state or local measures
-evidence that teachers have met rigorous entry and exit requirements, including pedagogical knowledge and quality clinical preparation
If approved the rules will be phased in from 2015-16 through 2021. The proposed regulations are available for public comment for 60 days. The final rule will be published in mid-2015.
See “U.S. Department of Education Proposes Plan to Strengthen Teacher Preparation” U.S. DOE, November 25, 2014 at
See “U.S. Rules Aim to Heighten Tracking of Ed. Schools’ Performance” by Stephen Sawchuk, Education Week, November 25, 2014 at
5) Arizona Court Releases Charter School Decision: Wendy Lecker, Esq. writes for the Education Law Center, Education Justice that an Arizona Appellate Court affirmed on November 18, 2014 a lower court’s ruling that the differential funding systems for public and charter schools do not violate Arizona’s constitution.
The decision was made in the lawsuit Craven v. Huppenthal, which was filed by parents of children enrolled in charter schools in Arizona. The lawsuit alleges that Arizona’s school funding system is unconstitutional, because it causes “gross disparities between charter public schools and other public schools.” The plaintiffs said that the school funding system for schools violated the state constitution’s general and uniform education clause and the equal protection clause.
The case was originally filed in the Maricop County, AZ, Superior Court, which ruled in favor of the defendants, Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal, the State of Arizona, the Arizona State Board of Education, and intervenors, the Arizona School Boards Association and Creighton Elementary School District No. 14.
The plaintiffs then appealed the decision to the Arizona Court of Appeals.
According to the article, the Appeals Court found in favor of the defendants based on the following evidence:
-Charter schools in Arizona are free from many regulations governing public schools, including statutes about hiring and firing teachers; admitting all students, providing all grade levels; and providing a prescribed curriculum.
-Charter schools receive additional state aid and may accept grants and donations and support from nonprofit entities.
-The parents of the students enrolled in the charter schools acknowledged that their students were receiving an adequate education, which is one of the tests that the courts use to determine a violation of the general and uniform education clause.
-The children enrolled in the charter schools are free to leave the charter schools at any time, and attend a public school, which means that there is no violation of the equal protection clause.
The author concludes, “This ruling makes clear that the very nature of charters, as voluntary alternatives to public schools and free from some of the regulations constraining public schools, permits the state to treat charters differently than public schools in matters of funding. The reasoning of the Arizona court can and may very well be applied in future cases as we see charter school advocates across the country appealing to courts to force states to fund them on par with public schools.”
See “AZ Court rules State Can Fund Charter Schools Lower Than Public Schools” by Wendy Lecker, Esq. Education Law Center, November 24, 2014 at http://www.educationjustice.org/news/november-24-2014-az-court-rules-state-can-fund-charter-schools-lower-than-public-schools.html
6) Teacher Evaluation Pilot in CPS Offers Mixed Results: Education Next reports on the results of an evaluation of The Excellence in Teaching Project (EITP), a teacher evaluation system based on the Danielson framework piloted in Chicago Public Schools beginning in 2008 under then Superintendent Arne Duncan.
Researchers Matthew P. Steinberg, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, and Laurne Sartain research analyst at the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago, analyzed the results of the project and found mixed results, because EITP positively affected low-poverty and high achieving schools, but had little or no impact on less-advantaged schools.
According to the report, between 2006-2008 the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) developed the EITP pilot in partnership with the Chicago Teachers Union, to provide structured feedback to teachers about their instructional practices. The project was implemented starting in 2008 without the full backing of the union, because of a disagreement with the administration about using the results for teacher employment decisions. The pilot was implemented in 44 Cohort 1 schools the first year, and 48 Cohort 2 schools the second year.
The EITP included a pre-observation conference between teachers and the evaluator, usually the principal; observation of a lesson in which the principal rated the teacher’s performance in 10 areas of instructional practice using the Danielson framework rubric; and a post observation conference, in which the teacher and principal discussed the results and ways to improve instructional practices.
In the first year of implementation the Chicago Public Schools provided principals with additional support to improve observational skills using the Danielson framework, and opportunities to discuss observations with colleagues. The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research also provided principals with feedback about how their teacher evaluations compared to external observers, and helped principals adjust their observations and ratings processes.
According to the report, the pilot was significantly changed the second year and Cohort 2 principals received significantly less support than Cohort 1. The program ended by the third year.
The researchers found, however, that the pilot showed “considerable promise”, because an evaluation of the Cohort 1 schools showed increased student achievement by 5.4 percent of a standard deviation in math and 9.9 percent of a standard deviation in reading compared to Cohort 2 schools not participating in year one.
In the second year of the pilot project, as Cohort 2 schools also implemented EITP, but the differences between student achievement in Cohort 1 and Cohort 2 schools increased rather than decreased. Researchers found that the “math effect of 5.4 percent increased to 8 percent in year two and was 6.6 percent in year three. For reading, the first-year effect of 9.9 percent grew to 11.5 and 12 percent in the second and third years.”
The researchers also found that schools with fewer students eligible for free or reduced price lunch and those with higher achievement benefited most from EITP with increased reading scores and to some extent math scores. According to the report, “The effect of EITP at lower-poverty schools—those with just 60 percent of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch—was double the effect for the full sample, at more than 20 percent of a standard deviation (see Figure 2). On the other end of the distribution, there was no detectable EITP effect at higher-poverty schools. This differential effect persisted into the second and third years of the intervention, after Cohort 2 schools implemented the program.”
The researchers conclude with the following observations:
- EITP had a large effect on school reading performance in low-poverty and high-achieving schools, but little or no impact in less-advantaged schools
- EITP, which the researchers found to have “considerable promise”, was inconsistently supported in year 2, and ended after year three
- Teacher evaluation practices now being implemented in many states emphasize the same classroom observation tool implemented in the pilot project
- The pilot project raises questions that should be researched furthered, including what factors contributed to the increase in student achievement in the Cohort 1 schools? did the pilot project increase teacher mobility? did the pilot project change the school climate?
See “Does Better Observation Make Better Teachers: New Evidence from a Teacher Evaluation Pilot in Chicago”, by Matthew P. Steinberg and Laurne Sartain, Education Next, Winter 2015 at http://educationnext.org/better-observation-make-better-teachers/
1) Empowering More Arts Advocates: Stephanie Milling posted on a November 21, 2014 ARTSblog an article that debunks some misconceptions about advocating for the arts and arts education in order to empower more individuals who value the arts to become more active advocates for the arts.
For example, some teachers have told the author that as state employees they cannot participate in advocacy efforts. In response Ms. Milling writes that as private citizens, teachers have the right to participate in arts advocacy efforts, and, as classroom teachers, have the unique advantage of providing policy-makers with real-world examples of the value of the arts and arts education.
For those advocates who are not sure about where to find information to support their arts advocacy message, the author suggests using the tool kits developed by Americans for the Arts and available at
Some reluctant advocates believe that arts advocacy is too political, but Ms. Milling responds that supporting the arts is nonpartisan and there is no need to align with a particular political party, because the arts have strong support from both sides of the aisle.
Other arts advocates say that they are just frustrated with the years of inaction. In response the author urges arts advocates to stay the course, because building relationships with decision makers, such as legislators or members of boards of education, takes time, but is the best way to build trust which “can lead to long-lasting alliances in support of the arts/arts education.”
See “Developing Arts Advocates: The Future of the Arts” posted by Stephanie Milling, ARTSblog, November 21, 2014 at
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 (www.omea-ohio.org), Ohio Art Education Association (www.oaea.org), Ohio Educational Theatre Association (www.ohedta.org); OhioDance (www.ohiodance.org), and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (www.oaae.net).