Arts on Line Education Update January 5, 2015

1)  131st Ohio General Assembly:  The 130th General Assembly ended on December 29, 2014. The 131st Ohio General Assembly will meet for opening day activities on January 5, 2015.  The Ohio House will be led by Speaker-elect Cliff Rosenberger. Senate President-elect Keith Faber will again lead the Ohio Senate.

Republicans have a 65 to 34 majority over Democrats in the Ohio House, and a 23 to 10 majority in the Ohio Senate.

Out of 99 districts in the Ohio House, voters returned 70 incumbents to office on November 4, 2014.  Of the 29 districts that will have new House representatives in 2015, there are five districts that switched from being Democrat to Republican.

The new faces in the Ohio Senate for the 131st General Assembly include Cecil Thomas, Sandra Williams, Jay Hottinger, and Kenny Yuko. Except for Cecil Thomas, all have served in the Ohio House.

The House and Senate leadership posted committee dates, session dates, holidays and breaks for the first half of the year.  Governor Kasich’s Inauguration will take place on January 12, 2015; committee hearings and sessions will resume for the 131st General Assembly on January 27, 2015; and Governor Kasich will submit his biennial budget (FY16-17) to the Ohio House on February 2, 2015.

2)  114th Congress:  Members of the 114th U.S. Congress will convene on January 6, 2015. Republicans control both chambers:  The House of Representatives will include 246 Republicans, 188 Democrats, and one vacancy.  The U.S. Senate will include 54 Republicans, 44 Democrats, and 2 independents. Ohio Representative John Boehner is expected to be re-elected House Speaker, and Nancy Pelosi Minority Leader. Senator Orin Hatch is expected to be elected Senate President Pro Tempore; Vice President Joe Biden will continue to be President of the Senate; Senator Mitch McConnell will be Majority Leader in the Senate; and Senator Harry Reid will serve as Minority Leader in the Senate.

Ohio voters re-elected on November 4, 2014 all members of Ohio’s delegation to the House of Representatives, which includes 12 Republicans and 4 Democrats. Ohio’s Senators, Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, did not participate in this year’s Senate election.  The terms of office for Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman will end on January 3, 2019 and January 3, 2017, respectively.

President Obama will preview his legislative and policy agenda for 2015 before the State of the Union Address on January 20, 2015.  The White House announced that the President will be on the road next week to promote his administration’s accomplishments and proposals for the economy, affordable housing, and education.

Republican leaders in the House and Senate intend to vote on legislation to complete construction of the Keystone Pipeline, make changes in the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, known as ObamaCare, and challenge recent presidential executive orders to begin this legislative session.

See “Obama to hit the road, selling economic progress” by Michael A. Memoli, Los Angles Times, January 3, 2015 at

3)  Ohio News

  • Governor John Kasich signs into law on December 19, 2015 the following bills:

-HB178 (Phillips) School Safety Drills.  The original bill updated the number and types of safety drills required for schools, and passed the House on March 19, 2014. The Senate Education Committee held its first hearing on the bill on November 11, 2014.  The bill was amended by the committee to include $209,000 for the Old Fort Local School District for costs related to the merger with the Bettsville Local School District. The House concurred with Senate changes on December 17, 2014.

The law also permits students participating in the Cleveland Scholarship Program to attend a private school in a school district adjacent to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, and includes provisions from SB266, which requires charter schools to comply with restraint and seclusion rules.

-Sub. HB 290 (Stebelton) School Premises Liability:  The law grants school districts immunity from civil liability when the public uses school district premises. This bill was approved by the Ohio House on May 14, 2014, and amended by the Senate and approved on December 11, 2014. The House concurred with amendments on December 17, 2014.

-HB367 (Driehaus/Sprague) Opioid Abuse Prevention Instruction-Schools:  The original bill required the health curriculum of each school district to include instruction in prescription opioid abuse prevention, but the bill was amended by the House and then the Senate to become the vehicle for several changes in education law. More details about the law are included below in a separate story.

-Am. Sub. SB 42 (Manning, Gardner) revises the law governing Ohio’s public retirement systems and requires school districts with a safety and security tax levy to report how the district is using funding from that levy to the Ohio Department of Education.

-Am. Sub. SB 84 (Kearney) creates the position of Ohio Poet Laureate and designates June as Ohio Community Theatre Month in Ohio.

-Am. Sub. SB 243 (Bacon) addresses various tax issues and creates a three-day sales tax “holiday” in August 2015 during which sales of back-to-school clothing, school supplies, and school instructional materials are exempt from sales and use taxes.

  • Study for Consolidating High School Approved: The News-Herald, covering Northern Ohio, reports that four school districts in Geauga County are studying a proposal to create a single educational facility that will become an area high school.  The boards of education of four school districts, Newbury, Berkshire, Cardinal, and Ledgemont, approved resolutions to participate with Kent State University (KSU) Geauga to form a committee to study the concept.  The new high school facility would be built on the campus of KSU Geauga in Burton Township.

According to the article, the four small rural school districts have been exploring strategies to save money and maximize learning opportunities for students for several years as a result of reduced state funding, decreases in enrollment, and failed levies.  The Berkshire and Newbury boards of education recently suspended a process to consolidate when their communities raised concerns.  The article notes that all the school districts must agree to create the consolidated high school, and the communities will probably need to approve a bond issue to build the facility.

See “Consolidated Geauga County High School Study unanimously Approved” by Jean Bonchak, The News-Herald, December 29, 2014 at

  • Governor Reappoints State Board Members: Governor Kasich reappointed to the State Board of Education on January 2, 2015 Tess Elshoff of New Knoxville, Joe Farmer of Baltimore, Cathye Flory of Logan, and Tom Gunlock of Centerville. Their terms will end on December 31, 2018.

The State Board of Education includes 19 members:  11 members are elected and eight members are appointed.

There were seven contested races for the State Board of Education on the November 4, 2014 ballot, and four incumbents won re-election:

District 2: Kathleen McGervey

District 3:  A.J. Wagner

District 7:  Sarah Fowler

District 10:  Ron Rudduck

Newly elected members include:

District 4:  Pat Bruns

District 5:  Roslyn Painter-Goffi

District 8:  Robert Hagen

The following elected members will continue to serve their terms, which end on December 31, 2016:

District 1:  Ann E. Jacobs

District 6:  Michael L. Collins

District 9:  Stephanie Dodd

District 11:  Mary Rose Oakar

The following appointed members will continue to serve their terms, which end on December 31, 2016:

  1. Todd Jones

Mark A. Smith

Rebecca Vazquez-Skillings

Melanie P. Bolender

The State Board of Education will convene on January 12, 2015 and elect a president and vice president for the next two years. Current State Board Vice President Tom Gunlock will serve as chair of the first meeting of the board, until the new officers are elected.


  • Committee Formed to Promote Ballot Issue: reports that a committee has been formed to promote passage of a constitutional amendment to revamp the way House and Senate districts are drawn.  The Fair Districts for Ohio Committee will be led by former House Representatives Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and Vern Sykes (D-Akron).  The purpose of the committee is to encourage voters to approve HJR12, which was passed by the 130th Ohio General Assembly in December 2014, and establishes a new bipartisan process to create House and Senate legislative districts.  The issue will be on the November 2015 ballot.

See “Lawmakers to co-chair Ohio redistricting campaign”, by Julie Carr Smyth, Associated Press, December 30, 2014 at

3)  Analysis of HB367 (Driehaus/Sprague):  A routine bill to require schools to include information about opioid abuse in the health curriculum was amended by the Ohio House and Senate during the lame duck session of the 130th General Assembly in December 2014 to become the vehicle for several changes in education law.

Sub. HB367 was signed into law on December 19, 2014, and makes changes in graduation requirements, state assessments, attendance reporting, admission to school for children in foster homes or residential facilities, Teach for America, Montessori community schools, and more.

The following is a summary of the major provisions of the bill based on an analysis, compiled by the Legislative Service Commission, and the enrolled copy of the law.  These documents are available at

  • Phase-Out of the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) Section 3301.0711(B)(10): Changes the deadline for the phase-out of the Ohio Graduation Tests (OGT) and transition to the new College and Work Ready Assessments. Requires the State Board of Education to specify the date that the OGT and the practice assessments will end, rather than specifying July 1, 2015. This section also requires school districts with a three-year average graduation rate of less than 75 percent to administer the practice OGT to all ninth grade students who entered ninth grade prior to July 1, 2014, rather than beginning in school year July 1, 2005.
  • College and Career Readiness Assessment Section 3301.0712(B)(1): Requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Chancellor of the Board of Regents to select multiple assessments, rather than just one standardized national assessment, that school districts and schools may choose to administer to students to demonstrate college and career readiness. The selected assessment will be administered in the spring of the school year starting with 11th grade students who enter ninth grade after July 2014.
  • Substitute End-of-Course-Exams Section 3301.0712(B)(4)(i) and (ii): Amends the requirements regarding the use of substitute end-of-course exams. Beginning with the 2014-15 school year a student enrolled in an appropriate Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) program shall take the advanced placement or international baccalaureate exams in lieu of the science, American history, or American government end-of-course exams. A student enrolled in an appropriate course under any other advanced standing program shall not be required to take the science, American history, or American government end-of-course examination. Instead, a student’s final course grade shall be used in lieu of the applicable end-of-course exams. The state superintendent, in consultation with the chancellor, shall adopt guidelines for purposes of calculating the corresponding final course grades that demonstrate the level of academic achievement necessary to earn a high school diploma.
  • Exemptions from End-of-Course Exams Section 3301.0712(B)(6)(b). Extends to July 1, 2015, rather than July 1, 2014, the exemption for students who received high school credit for a course completed before an end-of-course exam is available for administration prior to July 1, 2015. Students exempted from the end-of-course exams can choose to either be considered to have attained a “proficient” score, or use the course grade in lieu of a score. The law requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction in consultation with the Chancellor, to adopt guidelines for calculating the corresponding final course grades and the minimum cumulative performance score that demonstrates the necessary level of academic achievement.

Section 3301.0712(B)(7)(b)(ii) also states that if the State Board of Education replaces the Algebra I exam with an Algebra II exam, a student enrolled in an AP, IB, or advanced standing course in that subject must take the corresponding subject’s exam in lieu of the Algebra II exam.

  • Integrated Math Exams 3301.0712(B)(7)(c): Permits school districts or schools using an integrated approach to mathematics instruction to replace the required Algebra I end-of-course exam for an integrated mathematics I end-of-course exam and/or replace the required geometry end-of-course exam with an integrated mathematics II end-of-course exam.
  • Science End-of-Course Exam Section 3301.0712(B)(8)(a): Changes the end-of-course exam in science. Previously the law required students to take an exam in physical science as a requirement for graduation. The law phases-in the “science” (rather than physical science) end-of-course exam, so that students entering the ninth grade for the first time on or after July 1, 2014, but prior to July 1, 2015, will take an exam in physical sciences or biology, and students entering the ninth grade on or after July 1, 2015, will take an end-of-course exam in biology.

Section 3301.0712(B)(8)(c) also requires the State Board to adopt rules by July 1, 2016 for students who do not meet the cumulative passing level on an end-of-course exam in science by July 1, 2019. Until July 1, 2019, the department of education shall make available the end-of-course exam in physical science for students who entered the ninth grade for the first time on or after July 1, 2014 and prior to July 1, 2015, and who wish to retake the exam.

  • Kindergarten-Third Grade Reading Assessment Sections 3301.0715(A)(2) and 3313.608(B)(1): Removes the September 30th deadline for public schools to administer the language and reading skills portion of the diagnostic assessments to students in kindergarten through third grade.
  • Prescribed Curriculum Section 3313.60(A)(f): Adds to the prescribed curriculum the study of prescription opioid abuse prevention, with an emphasis on the prescription drug epidemic and the connection between prescription opioid abuse and addiction to other drugs, such as heroin.
  • World History Requirement Sections 3313.603(B)(7) and (C)(7): Changes the requirements for graduation.  Most students who enter the ninth grade on or after July 1, 2017 must complete at least one half unit of instruction (60 hours) in the study of world history and civilizations.  The requirement is part of the two units of social studies currently required for graduation.

A different section of the law, Section 3301.0712(B)(8), also prohibits the State Board of Education from developing or administering a state end-of-course exam in world history.

  • Children placed in foster homes or residential facilities Section 3313.672(A)(3): Prohibits public and nonpublic school officials from denying admission to a child placed in a foster home or residential facility, due to a lack of a birth certificate or other documentation of birth.  However, the law requires that appropriate document be submitted within 90 days.
  • Contract with ESC for School Nurse Section 3313.68: Allows a board of education of each city, exempted village, or local school district to contract with an educational service center for the services of a school nurse, licensed under section 3319.221 of the Revised Code, or of a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse, licensed under Chapter 4723. of the Revised Code, to provide services to students in the district pursuant to section 3313.7112 of the Revised Code.
  • Montessori Methods Section 3314.06: Adds the Montessori method endorsed by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education to the list of approved Montessori methods for community schools to use in schools for children younger than five years of age. This section also requires individuals younger than five years of age who are enrolled in a Montessori program to be offered at least four hundred fifty-five hours of learning opportunities per school year.
  • Student Attendance Reporting Section 3317.034(E): Changes the conditions for withdrawing a student from school. Eliminates the ability of a school district to withdraw a student for failure to participate in learning opportunities for one hundred and five continuous hours, and does not have an excused absence. The law also specifies that a student in grades nine through twelve is considered a full-time equivalent student if the student is enrolled in at least five units of instruction per school year.
  • Teach for America Section 3319.227(A): Requires that a participant in the Teach for America (TFA) Program must remain an active member in addition to meeting other specified conditions in order to be issued a resident educator license by the State Board of Education.  Section 3319.227(E) also requires the State Board to revoke a TFA participant’s resident educator license, if that participant resigns, or is dismissed from the program prior to completion of the support program.
  • Montessori Method Section 3319.261: Authorizes the State Board of Education to issue an alternative resident educator license to eligible applicants accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education, in addition to the American Montessori Society, and the Association Montessori Internationale.

Other changes in law included in HB367:

  • Section 3: Amends Section 263.20 of Am. Sub. H.B. 59 of the 130th General Assembly, as amended by Am. Sub. H.B. 487 of the 130th General Assembly, to authorize funding for community schools that use the method endorsed by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education.
  • Section 5: Amends Section 263.320 of Am. Sub. H.B. 59 of the 130th General Assembly, as amended by Am. Sub. H.B. 483 of the 130th General Assembly, regarding the Lottery Profits Education Fund, and re-appropriate funding for Career Advising and Mentoring Program.
  • Section 7: Amends Section 9 of Am. Sub. H.B. 487 of the 130th General Assembly, to require schools to administer to third grade students in the 2014-15 school year, the Ohio Achievement Assessment in English language arts, regardless of a student’s previous test score on the OAA.  Current law required students who had passed the OAA in the fall to take the new reading exam developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) in the spring.
  • Section 10: Requires for the 2014-2015 school year only, that the Department of Education, or an entity with which the Department contracts for the scoring of the annual state assessments, to send to each school district board a list of the individual scores for that school year not later than November 15, 2015, rather than within 60, which is in current law.
  • Section 11: Transition to College Credit Plus Program and Advanced Standing Programs:  Specifies for the 2014-2015 school year, which students participating in the Post Secondary Enrollment Options Program and dual enrollment programs, are required to take substitute exams, and which students can use final course grades in lieu of the science, American history, or American government end-of-course examinations.

This section also requires the State Board to specify the score levels for each substitute examination taken under a dual enrollment program during the 2014-2015 school year for purposes of calculating the minimum cumulative performance score that demonstrates the level of academic achievement necessary to earn a high school diploma. The State Superintendent, in consultation with the Chancellor, must adopt guidelines for the purpose of calculating the minimum final course grades for dual enrollment courses, taken during the 2014-2015 school year, that demonstrate the level of academic achievement necessary to earn a high school diploma.

  • Section 12: End-of-Course Exemption for Chartered Nonpublic Schools: Exempts, for the 2014-2015 school year only, chartered nonpublic schools from being required to administer state end-of-course examinations, and also exempts students enrolled in chartered nonpublic schools from being required to take those exams.

Instead of attaining a cumulative passing score on the end-of-course exam as one of the three graduation pathways, a student’s final course grade will be used in lieu of a score for students in chartered nonpublic schools.

However, students attending chartered nonpublic schools using a state scholarship are still required to complete one of the three graduation pathways in order to receive a high school diploma. The state scholarship programs include the Ed Choice Scholarship Program, the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program, the Cleveland Scholarship Program, and the Autism Scholarship Program.

The law requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction, in consultation with the Chancellor of the Board of Regents, to adopt guidelines for the purpose of calculating the corresponding final course grades, that demonstrate the level of academic achievement necessary to earn a high school diploma.

4)  National Education Trends for 2015:  Pundits and policy leaders spent the last few weeks of 2014 forecasting the major education trends for 2015 and beyond. Here are some of their forecasts:

  • U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan: The U.S. Department of Education in 2015 will continue to expand preschool experiences for young children through the Preschool Development Grant Program; increase the number of college graduates; increase the number of schools with high speed internet access; and increase the high school graduation rate.

The U.S. DOE is also working on frameworks to evaluate teacher preparation programs and to rate colleges and universities.

See “Arne Duncan’s Edu-Predictions for 2015” by Alyson Klein, Education Week, December 24, 2014 at

  • Administrators Identify Trends for 2015: Superintendents and education experts identified the following 2015 trends in the January 2015 issue of District Administration:

-College and Career Readiness:  Educators, parents, and the business community must collaborate more to identify and support student learning and opportunities that lead to successful careers.  Some educators believe that competency based education programs will provide a better way to help students achieve college and career readiness.

-Common Core Testing and Assessments:  A shift from high-stakes assessments to multiple assessments and measures will increase as the federal government relaxes regulations, due to the Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate, and more states create their own academic standards.

On the other hand, proponents of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) say that opposition to the standards will decrease as the CCSS are implemented successfully, and student learning increases.

-Blended Learning:  Several administrators identified blended learning and online learning as having the potential to address a number of education challenges, such as increasing access to educational opportunities for more students, controlling costs, connecting in-school and out of school learning opportunities, closing achievement gaps among students, personalize learning, and changing the focus from seat time to student learning. Improved software and systems will also make blended learning more attractive and easier to use in all classrooms.

-Safety and Security:  Policy makers also see privacy issues interwoven with safety and security of student data and campus security.

-Design Thinking and STEAM:  Efforts to incorporate design thinking and STEAM into the curriculum will increase as students explore creative thinking and problem solving strategies, and find that learning in the arts contributes greatly to overall achievement in all areas of study.

See “Education thought leaders forecast 2015 trends”, District Administrator, January 2015 at

  • Senate and House Education Committees: Allie Bidwell, writing for U.S. News and World Report, and Maggie Severns, writing for Politico, report that both Senator Lamar Alexander (TN) and Representative John Kline (MN) will focus this year on reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as the No Child Left Behind Act. Senator Alexander is the in-coming chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP), and Representative Kline will continue as chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee. The federal law, which went into effect in 2002 as a bipartisan education reform act, has become unpopular as policy makers, parents, and educators question its goal and the strategies used to ensure that all students are proficient in reading and math by 2014.

According to the authors, the Republicans in the House and Senate are more likely to pass a bill that dismantles many of the federal provisions supported by President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan around testing, equity, and accountability.  These include the federal mandates that require states to adopt rigorous standards, using the Common Core State Standards as the standard; require annual state testing at each grade level in grades 3-8 in reading and math; require consequences for under-performing schools; and require that teacher evaluations reflect student growth in learning. Proponents of annual testing and the data reporting components of the act believe that they are needed to ensure that the learning gaps close for non-white, low income, special needs, and English language learners.

See “Education Trends to Watch in 2015” by Allie Bidwell, U.S. News and World Report, December 31, 2014 at

See “The Plot to Overhaul No Child Left Behind” by Maggie Severns, Politico, January 2, 2015 at

  • Privatization to Expand: Matthew Lynch writes in an Education Week blog that more private funding from individuals, such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, will increase resources for public schools, and more states could drop the Common Core State Standards.  He opines that support for the Common Core will increase in the future, however, as state leaders see positive benefits. He also sees national efforts to support classroom technology paying off as internet access improves due to $1.5 billion boost in federal funding.

See “What’s in Store for Education in 2015” by Matthew Lynch, Education Week’s Education Futures Blog, December 30, 2014 at

  • More on the Common Core: According to an article by Vox Media (a media outlet based in D.C. and New York), more state lawmakers are expected to challenge implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in 2015.  That’s because students in 39 states will be evaluated this year for the first time on the new academic standards, and many experts believe that overall test scores in the states will drop.  That’s what happened in New York and Kentucky, two states that tested students on the new standards last year. The Smarter Balanced Consortia, which is developing assessments for the CCSS with some states, also predicted last November 2014 that scores on the standardized tests are likely to drop as the new assessments are implemented. The article notes that anti-testing movements led by parents and educators are increasing across the nation in response to the amount of time schools are spending on testing, and the fact that states are using student test scores to evaluate teachers and implement consequences for local public schools.

The CCSS were originally adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia in 2010, but some state legislatures have recently dropped them, (Indiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and South Carolina) and in most other states lawmakers are debating the future of the standards and/or other initiatives connected to the standards, such as standardized testing, collecting data about students, and using student scores to evaluate teachers and rate schools.

See “Why 2015 is a Crucial Year for Common Core” by Libby Nelson, Vox, January 1, 2015 at

See “50-State Look At How Common Core is Playing Out in US”, Associated Press, Huffington Post, September 2, 2014 at

5)  Article Highlights Major Issues Facing Education and the Teaching Profession: Ross Brenneman summarizes the findings of a variety of reports published in 2014 about education and the teaching profession in a series of charts.  The charts cover the following topics:

-Sources of Dissatisfaction for Outgoing Teachers:  A study by Richard Ingersoll at the University of Pennsylvania found that 64 percent of teachers leaving the profession left because they had too little prep time. Other factors contributing to teacher dissatisfaction include a heavy teaching load (reported by 57 percent of teachers), and poor salary and benefits (54 percent).

-School Funding:  The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that per pupil funding in a majority of states is still below 2008 levels.  Per pupil funding in Oklahoma, for example, is 23.6 percent less than 2008 levels.  On the other hand, per pupil funding in North Dakota is 31.6 percent more than 2008 levels.  Ohio shows a .3 percent increase in per pupil state funding since 2008.

-Teacher Autonomy:  The Center for American Progress reported in a survey that teachers in North Dakota have the most autonomy regarding classroom control, textbooks and materials, and content selection.  Teachers in Virginia, Rhode Island, and Delaware report the least autonomy.

-Slow Growth in Teacher Salaries:  The Center for American Progress reports that elementary teacher salaries have increased about 22 percent based on data compiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).  The OECD data shows an average gain of 31 percent in teacher salaries over the past 15 years. The rate of growth in salaries for U.S. teachers is 9th from the bottom of the countries included in the data.  Teachers in Japan and Korea have the highest rates of growth in salaries.

-Working Hard or Working Really Hard:  U.S. teachers work longer hours per year than any other country except Argentina and Chile according to the OECD data. Teachers in the U.S. work about 1,100 hours per year compared to the OECD average of 700 hours, based on data from 2012.

-Retaining Minority Teachers:  The percent of Asian, Hispanic, and African American people who were education majors in 2009 is about 18 percent, compared to 82 percent for Caucasians.  Reports also show that it is hard to retain minority teachers.

See:  The Teaching Profession in 2014 in Charts) by Ross Brenneman, Education Week, Teaching Now Blog, December 29, 2015 at


  • More on Music and Brain Development: A team of researchers at the University of Vermont College of Medicine recently published in the Journal of American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry the results of a study about the association between playing a musical instrument and the development of the brain. The research team, led by James Hudziak, M.D, and Matthew Albaugh, Ph.D., examined the brain scans of 232 children ages 6 to 18 using a database from the National Institutes of Health Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Study of Normal Brain Development.

The researchers found that learning to play a musical instrument could help children to reduce feelings of anxiety, gain a greater control of their emotions, and strengthen their attentional control. Previous MRI research shows that anxiety and depression affect the cortex or outer layer of the brain as children grow. This study shows that music training altered the motor and behavior regulating areas of the brain, including executive functioning, memory, attentional control, organization, emotional processing, and planning for the future.

See “Could Playing Tshaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” and other Music Improve Kids’ Brains? News release from the University of Vermont College of Medicine by Carolyn Shapiro, December 22, 2014 at

See “Learning a Musical Instrument Boosts Kid’s Brains” by James Mcintosh, Medical News Today, December 9, 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 (, Ohio Art Education Association (, Ohio Educational Theatre Association (; OhioDance (, and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (


About OAAE

Since our founding in 1974, by Dr. Dick Shoup and Jerry Tollifson, our mission has always been to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Working at the local, state, and federal levels through the efforts of a highly qualified and elected Board of Directors, our members, and a professional staff we have four primary areas of focus: building collaborations, professional development, advocacy, and capacity building. The OAAE is funded in part for its day-to-day operation by the Ohio Arts Council. This support makes it possible for the OAAE to operate its office in Columbus and to work statewide to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Support for arts education projects comes from the Ohio Arts Council, Ohio Music Education Association, Ohio Art Education Association, Ohio Educational Theatre Association, VSA Ohio, and OhioDance. The Community Arts Education programs of Central Ohio are financially assisted by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners and the Greater Columbus Arts Council. We gratefully acknowledge and appreciate the financial support received from each of these outstanding agencies and organizations.
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