Arts on Line Education Update February 2, 2015

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education

Arts on Line Education Update

Joan Platz

February 2, 2015

1)  Ohio News

  • 131st Ohio General Assembly: The House and Senate have not scheduled sessions, but there will still be a lot of action at the Statehouse this week.

Governor Kasich will submit to the Ohio House on February 2, 2015 the FY16-17 budget requests for transportation, the Bureau of Workers Compensation/Ohio Industrial Commission, and the state’s biennial budget for general operations.

Under state law, the biennial operating budget is first introduced in the Ohio House, where it is assigned to the House Finance and Appropriations Committee, chaired by Representative Ryan Smith.   The Office of Budget and Management, Tim Keen director, and the Legislative Services Commission have been invited to testify on the budget proposal on February 3, 2015, and public hearings are expected to begin on February 9, 2015.  A tentative House schedule shows that the House plans to vote on the budget proposal by April 22 or 23, 2015. The measure will then move to the Ohio Senate for consideration. The biennial budget must be approved by July 1, 2015, which is the start of FY16.

The House and Senate education committees have also scheduled hearings this week.

The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner, will meet on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 4:00 PM in the Senate Finance Hearing Room.  The committee will receive testimony from school superintendents regarding State Superintendent Richard Ross’ report on testing.

The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Hayes, will meet on Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 8:00 AM, in hearing room 121, and receive testimony on HB7 (Buchy) Assessment Score Determinations, and HB2 (Dovilla/Roegner) Charter School Sponsorship.

The House Finance and Appropriations Committee, chaired by Representative Smith, will meet on February 3 and 4, 2015 in hearing room 313 at 9:00 AM.

On February 3, 2015 the committee will receive testimony on the biennial budget bill from Tim Keen, director of the Officer of Budget and Management, and the Legislative Services Commission.

On February 4, 2015 the committee will receive testimony on the transportation budget from Transportation Director Jerry Wray, Public Safety Director John Born and Turnpike Director Randy Cole.

  • SOS to be Delivered in Wilmington: Governor Kasich has selected Wilmington to be the site of the next State of the State (SOS) address.  The governor requested in a January 10, 2015 letter that the General Assembly hold a joint session in Wilmington, Ohio on February 24, 2015 at 7:00 PM to receive the SOS address.  Wilmington is in Clinton County, which is in House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger’s district. The General Assembly is expected to agree to the joint session in Wilmington, although in the past there have been some lawmakers who oppose moving the SOS away from the Statehouse.
  • Analysis of Tax Effort Released: Dr. Howard Fleeter, consultant for the Ohio Education Policy Institute (OEPI), formerly known as the Education Tax Policy Institute, recently published an analysis that found a large variation in fiscal capacity across Ohio’s 612 school districts.

The analysis examined the tax effort of school districts using the Tax Effort Index, a measure that is included on the Ohio Department of Education’s annual District Profile Report, and compares the amount of taxes paid by school district residents with their ability to pay taxes as measured by the Adjusted Gross Income (FAGI).

The analysis sets average tax effort at 1.0. Districts with an index greater than 1.0 are considered making “high effort” relative to the income of residents, and those with an index below 1.0 are considered making a “low effort” relative to the income of residents.

According to the analysis, the data show that 283 school districts are making a high Tax Effort (greater than 1.0), and 329 school districts are making a low Tax Effort (less than 1.0). The report notes the following:

“•Wealthy suburban districts – despite having relatively high millage rates – have by far the lowest tax effort.”

“•Suburban and small town districts – despite having noticeably different millage rates – exhibit about the same tax effort. These districts average tax effort slightly below 1.”

“•Rural, poor rural, and poor small town districts have tax effort of roughly 1.10. This indicates that despite their relatively low millage rates, their level of taxation is higher than average relative to their income (which is lower than average).”

“•Urban districts have the highest tax effort. This is the result of a combination of high millage rates and low income levels.”

The analysis concludes that if all school districts had a tax effort of 1.0, $1.2 billion more in local revenue would be generated.

See “Capacity and Effort:  Analysis of Tax Effort by Ohio School Districts” by Howard Fleeter, Ohio Education Policy Institute, January 26, 2015 at

http://www.oasbo-ohio.org/Advocacy/ealerts-oasbo-ohio-org/FY14-Tax-Effort-Index-Analysis-By-District.aspx

  • School Districts Take Steps to Merge: The News-Herald reported on January 27, 2015 that the Berkshire and Ledgemont boards of education in Geauga County voted on January 26, 2015 to move forward with a territory transfer and a merger of the two districts.  Together the school districts will serve about 1,299 students.  The merger will also help the Ledgemont District solve its fiscal deficit problem.  Two other school districts in the county, Cardinal and Newbury, are expected to join Ledgemont and Berkshire in a plan to build a joint high school on the Geauga campus of Kent State University in Burton Township.

See “Unanimous votes clear path for Berkshire, Ledgemont merger”, by Jean Bonchak, The News-Herald, January 27, 2015, at

http://www.news-herald.com/general-news/20150127/unanimous-votes-clear-path-for-berkshire-ledgemont-merger

  • ODE Seeks Outstanding Educators: The Ohio Department of Education is seeking recommendations for the state’s “talent pool”.  This is a group of distinguished teachers, who would be considered for membership on advisory boards and task forces, or as candidates for special recognition programs.

The ODE is looking specifically for educators who are relatively new to the profession and who demonstrate unusual instructional and leadership skills, and educators in grades K-5 educators.

Candidates should have a minimum of five years teaching experience, and work in a classroom, although principals are sometimes considered.

Recommendations must be submitted by May 16, 2015.

See http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/School-Improvement/Awards-and-Recognition/Talent-Pool-Recommendations-Sought

  • Resources for Assessment Literacy: Battelle for Kids recently announced four sets of online assessment literacy resources within the Battelle for Kids Ohio portal. The materials are appropriate for all educators, but are especially helpful for those developing measures of student growth through student learning objectives.

See http://portal.battelleforkids.org/Ohio/education_in_ohio/assessment-literacy

2)  Governor Announces Policy Changes for Biennial Budget:  In anticipation of the introduction of state’s biennial budget on February 2, 2015, Governor Kasich’s office announced last week proposed policy changes for welfare, higher education, and taxes.

The Governor’s Office released on January 29, 2015 a Blueprint for a New Ohio, A Comprehensive Plan for Helping All Ohioans Share in Our State’s Prosperity. 

 

The one-page outline describes changes in the state’s tax structure and human services division to help Ohioans transition from public assistance to living wage jobs. The governor’s proposed biennial budget will include the following provisions to do that:

-Eliminate the tax on income from all small businesses with annual gross receipts of $2 million or less, which includes sole proprietorships and pass-through entities (PTEs) such as partnerships, Subchapter S corporations (S-carps) and Limited Liability Companies (LLCs).

-Double the personal income tax exemption for low- and middle-income workers. Ohioans earning less than $40,000 a year will see the exemption increase from $2,200 to $4,000 in 2015 and those earning between $40,000 and $80,000 a year will see it increase from $1,950 to $2,850. In 2013, the exemption was $1,700 for all incomes.

-Integrate funding for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, to serve low-income individuals ages 16 to 24.  -Provide intensive support to low-income teens and young adults who require additional help to obtain and maintain employment through a new comprehensive case management and employment program.

-Raise the income limit for initial child care eligibility and allow families to keep subsidized child care longer as their incomes gradually increase to 300 percent of the federal poverty level (approximately $4,948 a month for a family of three).

See “Kasich plans tax cuts, more aid to poor in upcoming budget” by Randy Ludlow, Columbus Dispatch, January 30, 2014 at

See http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2015/01/29/gov-john-kasich-talks-budget.html

Higher Education:  The administration’s changes for higher education were announced in an address made by Lt. Governor Mary Taylor and John Carey, Chancellor of the Board of Regents, at Sinclair Community College in Dayton on January 30, 2015.

According to the Northeast Media Group, the proposed biennial budget will include recommendations to do the following:

-Allow community colleges to award bachelor’s degrees in certain disciplines.

-Increase options for high school students to earn college credit.

-Hold the line on tuition increases.

-Allow students to attend college in the summer using Ohio College Opportunity Grants.

-Use the Ohio College Opportunity Grant to fill in gaps in the federal Pell Grant.

-Convene Ohio college and university presidents to develop a model for students to earn competency-based credit in certain courses, rather than earning credit hours.

-Allocate $500,000 to work with Ohio businesses to develop a competency-based training program for workers who wish to learn the skills necessary to gain employment for certain in-demand jobs.

-Allocate $18.5 million to expand advanced placement courses and reward schools with strong student participation, especially schools with disadvantaged students, and high schools that increase the number of students in the college credit plus program.

See “Bachelor’s degrees at community colleges and credit for competency among education budget proposals” by Karen Farkas, Northeast Ohio Media Group, January 30, 2015 at

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2015/01/bachelors_degrees_at_community.html

Other Tax Changes:  Darrel Rowland reports in the Columbus Dispatch that Governor Kasich is expected to recommend a $500 million income tax cut in the FY16 biennial budget, and will propose raising other state taxes to offset the revenue lost.  Some of the state taxes that could be raised include the state sales tax, cigarette tax, commercial activities tax, and severance tax on oil and gas drilling.

The budget recommendations could also expand the current sales tax to items not currently taxed.  In 2013 the governor recommended adding the sales tax to movie and concert tickets and services like hair cuts to raise $1.8 billion, but the governor’s package of tax changes were not fully adopted.

See “Kasich’s tax cut depends on raising others” by Darrel Rowland, Columbus Dispatch, February 1, 2015 at http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2015/02/01/tax-cut-depends-on-raising-others.html

3)  Ohio House Republicans Outline Priority Legislation:  House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger and the Republican House caucus provided more details about the “Ohio 2020 Initiative”, in a press conference on January 28, 2015.

The Ohio 2020 Initiative is a long-term plan to improve outcomes in the areas of energy, education, competitiveness, health care, tax reform, transportation, infrastructure, water quality, and more.

According to the press release, “Ohio 2020 provides a framework for members of the caucus to work together and to introduce ideas that will make Ohio stronger.”

House Republicans introduced last week two bills that support the education goals of the initiative:

HB1 (Schuring-Manning) would create the Ohio Workforce Grant Program, which would match higher education students with in demand jobs, and provide the students with up to $5000 and three months of training in the work place.  Students who graduate with a certificate or degree would be eligible for up to 25 percent tax credit on student loans.

HB2 (Dovilla-Roegner) would change charter school law to increase accountability, transparency, and better define the roles and responsibilities of sponsors, management companies, and charter school boards.   The law would do the following:

-Prohibits the charter school sponsor from selling services to client schools.

-Requires sponsors to report how they spend the 3 percent fee charged to charter schools.

-Ends the practice of low performing schools switching sponsors to avoid consequences.  Low performing schools would need to have permission from the ODE to switch sponsors.

-Requires sponsors to report expenditures.

-Requires schools to report family members who have business interests in the schools.

-Requires the ODE to report the scores of students in dropout recovery schools sponsored by the school district on the school district report card.

-Requires more detailed contracts, including information about facilities, rent agreements, and loans.

-Requires that the performance of management companies and organizations be reported.

-Prohibits employees of school districts or vendors serving a school district from serving on a governing board of a charter school sponsored by the district.

-Requires that charter school board hire treasurers.

-Requires clear agreements with sponsor and operating companies about ownership of facilities, equipment, supplies, computers, etc.

See http://www.ohiohouse.gov/republicans/press/ohio-house-republicans-lay-out-priorities-for-131st-general-assembly-long-term-visions-for-ohio

4)  Senate Republicans Outline Legislative Priorities:  Senate President Keith Faber and members of the Senate Republican caucus held a news conference on January 28, 2015 and identified ten top legislative priorities for this session of the 131st General Assembly.

The areas include Jobs and Opportunity, Strengthening Ohio’s Schools, College Affordability, Protecting Ohioans, Investing in a Healthy Ohio, Protecting Natural Resources, Reducing the Tax Burden, Corrections and Rehabilitation, Supporting the Military, and Streamlining Government.

Under Strengthening Ohio’s Schools, the Senate Republicans will introduce legislation to eliminate unnecessary and costly requirements, and give school districts more flexibility; reform testing; reform charter school laws; increase early childhood education opportunities; and make college affordable.

See http://www.ohiosenate.gov/republicans

5)  National News

  • President to Introduce FY16 Budget: President Obama is scheduled to send his FY16 $4 trillion budget to Congress on February 2, 2015.  The proposed budget includes $530 billion in non-defense discretionary spending, which is an increase of $37 billion, and $561 billion for the military, with an increase of $38 billion.  The amounts are higher than the sequestration limits set into law in 2011.

The President announced in the State of the Union address that one of the new education initiatives, America’s College Promise, would make two years of community college free for eligible students.  The cost of the program is estimated to be over $60 billion, and would be paid for by tax changes.  There has also been talk about increases for Title I, migrant children, and early childhood programs. The FY16 budget goes into effect on October 1, 2015.

See  “Budget Preview: What Will the President’s Spending Request Look Like?”,

by Lauren Camera, Education Week, January 30, 2015 at

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2015/01/budget_preview_what_will_the_p.html

See “Obama budget proposes $74 billion increase in spending” by Jennifer Epstein, Politico, January 29, 2015 at

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/01/obama-2015-budget-proposal-114725.html#ixzz3QLbMc8UZ

  • HELP Committee Approves Education Research Act: Senator Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, reported on January 28, 2015 that the committee had approved the Strengthening Education through Research Act (SETRA) (S.227). The bill would reauthorize the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 through 2021(ESRA).  This act authorizes funding for the research activities of the U.S. Department of Education, including the Institute for Education Sciences.

According to a press release, the bill would improve the quality of education research and require that research be relevant and accessible; and strengthens the independence of the National Assessment Governing Board and the Institute for Education Sciences.

See http://www.help.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/?id=94233a83-27c9-47e1-91b5-53fa81322975

  • PRE-K Act Reintroduced: House and Senate Democrats reintroduced the Providing Resources Early for Kids Act or PRE-K Act on January 29, 2015.  

The bill is sponsored in the U.S. Senate by Senators Mazie Hirono (HI), Brian Schatz (HI), Dick Durbin (IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Tim Kaine (VA), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Sherrod Brown (OH), and Ron Wyden (OR).

In the U.S. House the bill is sponsored by Representatives Mark Pocan (WI) and Mike Honda (CA).

According to a press release, “The PRE-K Act creates a new federal-state partnership to improve state preschool programs and expands current programs to serve more children in need. States with small or newer programs could apply for startup funds if they submit a plan to establish a high-quality preschool program within two years. PRE-K Act funds could help states hire and train early educators, expand preschool days and hours, or provide comprehensive services such as health screenings and meals.”

See http://www.kaine.senate.gov/press-releases/kaine-introduces-pre-k-act-to-expand-access-to-early-childhood-education

6)  HELP Committee Holds Second Hearing on ESEA Reauthorization:  U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, held a second hearing on January 27, 2015 about reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2002.

The committee held its first hearing on a Senate draft entitled Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015 on January 21, 2015.  That hearing focused on testing and accountability requirements.

This time the committee discussed how to better support teachers and school leaders, and received testimony from Dr. Dan Goldhaber, Director, National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research at the American Institutes for Research; Dr. Terry Holliday, Commissioner of Education, Commonwealth of Kentucky, Frankfort, KY; Mr. Saul Hinojosa, Superintendent of Schools, Somerset Independent School District, Somerset, TX; Ms. Rachelle Moore, 1st Grade Teacher, Madrona K-8 School, Seattle, WA; and Dr. Christine Handy-Collins, Principal, Gaithersburg High School, Gaithersburg, MD.

According to the written testimony, Dr. Goldhaber stressed to the committee that new state evaluation systems for teachers are just starting to show results, and the pressure from the federal government has been a major incentive for states to focus on the effectiveness of individual educators and student growth. He recommended that annual testing in grades 3-8 and once in high school in language arts and math continue.

Kentucky Commissioner of Education, Terry Holliday, recommended a “systemic approach” to provide all classrooms with quality teachers and principals.  The systemic approach would address teacher preparation programs, recruitment, professional development, evaluation, and retention and working conditions. He described the initiatives that Kentucky has been implementing to support teachers, and also said that these initiatives came without the approval or assistance of the U.S. Department of Education.  He offered that the role of the federal government should be to give states the ability to use ESEA funds, such as Title IIA funds, more effectively to develop and support state initiatives regarding teachers.

Saul Hinojosa, Superintendent, Somerset School District in Texas, spoke in favor of the Teacher Incentive Fund grant (TIF), which is included in the Senate draft of Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015. Using TIF the Somerset School District piloted TAP:  The System for Teacher and Student Advancement in middle and high schools, which helped to increase state ratings for district schools.

Rachelle Moore, a National Board Certified first grade teacher from Seattle, told the committee that student growth over the course of an academic year is just part of the story about student success.  Policy-makers also need to “consider the unique challenges and circumstances of each student’s life.” To ensure that teachers have the knowledge and skills to work with all students, teachers need to have the right preparation and supports.  Investments in a “continuum that includes teacher induction, professional growth, and teacher leadership” will better prepare and retain high quality teachers.

Gaithersberg, Maryland High School Principal Christine Handy-Collins spoke on behalf of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).  She requested that, “Congress work to refocus the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to help put in place state and local education systems that will provide robust, meaningful accountability together with sufficient supports for educators and schools.”

ESEA is in “dire” need to be redirected to ensure that students are provided “high quality educational opportunities and improved outcomes for all students.”

The draft bill, Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015, leaves teacher evaluations, compensation based on student growth, and how students are assessed up to the states.  The draft also eliminates language about highly qualified teachers, but does keep the Teacher Incentive Fund, and allows fund transfers between Title II teacher quality funds and Title IV safe and healthy schools.

The HELP committee will meet on February 3, 2015 and hold a round-table discussion on innovative education programs at the state and local levels.

See http://www.help.senate.gov

7) Report Released about Spending on Education:  The Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics released on January 29, 2015 a report about per pupil revenues and expenditures for K-12 public schools based on FY 2012 data, the most recent data available.

The report is entitled Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Education: School Year 2011–12 (Fiscal Year 2012).  The report contains national and state totals of revenues and expenditures, including revenues by source and current expenditures per pupil, and instructional expenditures per pupil, reported by State education agencies in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

According to the report, 50 states and the District of Columbia reported $600.5 billion in revenues collected for public elementary and secondary education in FY12.  State and local governments provided $539.4 billion (89.8 percent), and the federal government contributed $61 billion (10.2 percent).

Total revenues for public elementary and secondary education decreased by 3.5 percent in FY12 compared to FY11.  “Local revenues decreased by 0.6 percent (from $269.6 to $268.0 billion), state revenues decreased by 1.2 percent (from $274.6 to $271.5 billion), and federal revenues decreased by 21.5 percent (from $77.8 to $61.0 billion).”

Current expenditures for public elementary and secondary education across the nation decreased 2.9 percent (from $542.7 to $527.1 billion) for FY 12 compared to FY 11 after adjusting for inflation. Current expenditures include instruction, support services, but exclude expenditures on capital outlays and interest on long-term debt.

Schools spent on average $10,667 per student in FY2012. The states with the highest per pupil spending are the District of Columbia ($19,847); New York ($19,396); and New Jersey ($17,982).  The states with the lowest per pupil spending are Utah ($6,441); Idaho ($6,626); and Arizona ($7,382).

The report shows that per pupil spending on K-12 education was increasing until 2008, which was the beginning of the recession.  Spending flattened out between 2008-2010 when the federal government’s stimulus funds were available, but spending started to decline in 2011 when the stimulus funds ended.  The recession also affected property wealth, which also declined, and the local tax base for schools.  States also chose to reduce state funding for many programs to balance budgets.  In Ohio, for example, policy makers reduced funding for the Local Government Fund and higher education to balance the state’s budget.

The report shows that per pupil spending declined between 8.7 and 7.3 percent in Wisconsin, Florida, Texas, Arizona, and the District of Columbia, but increased in Vermont, Delaware, New Jersey, and Alaska.

According to the data for Ohio, student membership in Ohio in FY2012 was 1,740,030. The average expenditure per pupil in Ohio in FY12 was $11,323, which is a -3.5 percent decrease from the average expenditures per pupil in FY11 of $11,729.   The average student per pupil expenditure for instruction was $6,444 and for support services was $4,493.

See http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2014/2014301.pdf

8) NEPC Evaluation Gives “A-F” Report Cards an “F”: The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado Boulder, released on January 26, 2015 an analysis of statewide school accountability systems that measure school performance on an A-F scale.

According to the analysis, sixteen states, including Ohio, have instituted a state school accountability system which rates schools and districts on a “A” to “F” scale.  Ohio is currently implementing its new A-F accountability grading system, and has not issued a single composite grade for schools or districts yet.

The analysis found that the A-F report cards are “invalid, inaccurate, and undemocratic” because, “The report card systems don’t validly measure school quality; they don’t fulfill their stated policy objective; and they don’t contribute to two fundamental goals of public education. These two goals are to educate students for democratic citizenship, and to incorporate parents and community members in the democratic deliberation about their public schools’ policies.”

The authors found that state A-F report cards are not based on research; are imprecise because schools with the same grade could be substantially different; could produce “invalid representations of school quality”; could alienate parents and citizens from participating in decision-making about education; “…ignore the central factors in school performance – resources available to schools, families and communities; and ignore the central goal of public schools to prepare students for citizenship in a democracy.”

According to the analysis, “Credible empirical research continues to show that school effects typically account for less than 30% of student academic performance. 29 Using only student academic performance and other isolated outcome measures to assign A-F school grades is, then, confusing—or even deceptive—because it ignores and obscures many important factors that contribute to school performance. Letter grades ignore, for example, the well-documented correlation between socioeconomic status and attendance and graduation rates,30 and they attribute academic proficiency changes directly to schools that students attended only most recently.31 The ‘primary assumption of the A-F accountability system, that student test scores can be dissected and manipulated into valid indicators of school performance, is simply false.’32”

The analysis includes the following recommendations:

-Eliminate the single grade, which includes “unlike elements” and promotes confusion and misunderstanding.

-Develop “a report card format that uses multiple school indicators that more adequately reflect a school performance profile.”

-Enlist the services of assessment and evaluation experts in designing school accountability systems.

-”Enable democratic deliberation over the many possible purposes of schooling in a democratic society before determining assessment criteria.”

-”Ensure that accountability systems promote, rather than neglect or inhibit, the formation of democratic character—which must be consciously cultivated. While democratic outcomes may not be the only legitimate goal for public schools, they surely should be counted among the most essential.”

The authors of the report are Kenneth R. Howe, who is a professor of education at the University of Colorado Boulder, where the National Education Policy Center is housed, and Kevin Murray, who is a Ph.D. candidate at CU Boulder.

See “Why School Report Cards Merit a Failing Grade” by Kevin Murray and Kenneth R. Howe, National Education Policy Center, January 26, 2015 at http://nepc.colorado.edu/files/pb-statereportcards.pdf

9)   U.S. Education System More Competitive than Thought:  The Horace Mann League (HML), Gary Marx president, and the National Superintendents Roundtable, James Harvey executive director, released on January 20, 2015 a study entitled “School Performance in Context:  The Iceberg Effect”.

The study examined six factors and 24 indicators of student performance in the G-7 nations, and found that the U.S. education system is very competitive in spite of high levels of poverty, inequity, and violence. G-7 nations include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Finland and China,

The results of the study run counter to other international reports (PISA and TIMSS) that show the U.S. trailing other countries in student achievement in K-12 education.

Compared to the other G-7 nations, the study found that the United States has the most educated workforce, based on the number of years of school completed, and the highest proportion of adults with high school diplomas and bachelor’s degrees.

Researchers conducting the study identified several factors in the analysis in addition to student achievement to present a clearer picture of a country’s education status.  The factors include equity, social stress, support for families, support for schools, student outcomes, and system outcomes.  The following are some of the findings based on these factors:

  • Economic Equity: The United States and China demonstrate the greatest gaps between rich and poor. The U.S. also has high rates of income inequality and childhood poverty. The rate of childhood poverty is five times greater in the U.S. than it is in Finland.
  • Social Stress: The U.S. reported the highest rates of violent death and teen pregnancy, and came in second for death rates from drug abuse. The rate of violent death is13 times greater in the U.S. than the average for the other nations. The U.S. is also one of the most diverse nations with many immigrant students, who don’t speak English.
  • Support for Families: The U.S. performed in the lowest third on public spending for services that benefit children and families, including preschool.
  • Support for Schools: The U.S. leads the nine-nation group in spending per student, but the report noted that national estimates may not be truly comparable, because U.S. teachers also spend about 40 percent more time in the classroom than their peers in the comparison countries.
  • Student Outcomes: Performance in American elementary schools is better than in middle school. U.S. students excel in 4th grade reading and high school graduation rates, but perform less well in reading at age 15. All nations demonstrate an achievement gap based on students’ family income and socio-economic status.
  • System Outcomes: The U.S. leads these the G7 in educational levels of its adult workforce, such as years of schooling completed and the proportion of adults with high-school diplomas and bachelor’s degrees. American students also make up 25 percent of the world’s top students in science at age 15, followed by Japan at 13 percent.

The Horace Mann League (hmleague.org) is an association of educators committed to the principles of public education. Its members believe the U.S. public school system is an indispensable agency for strengthening our democracy and a vital, dynamic influence in American life.

The National Superintendents Roundtable (superintendentsforum.org) is a learning community of school superintendents who learn, discuss and meet regularly with worldwide experts, sharing best practices and leading for the future.

See “School Performance in Context: The Iceberg Effect”, The Horace Mann League (HML) and the National Superintendents Roundtable, January 20, 2015 at

http://www.superintendentsforumtest.org/?page_id=1262

10)  Bills Introduced:

  • HB2 (Dovilla/Roegner) Community School Sponsorship:  With regard to sponsorship and management of community schools.
  • HB7 (Buchy) Assessment Score Determination:  Prohibits individual student scores from certain elementary and secondary achievement assessments administered for the 2014-2015 school year from being used to determine promotion or retention or to grant course credit.
  • HB9 (Boose) Tax Expenditure Review Committee:  Creates a Tax Expenditure Review Committee for the purpose of periodically reviewing existing and proposed tax expenditures.
  • HB15 (Gerberry) State Board of Education Membership:  Changes the voting membership of the State Board of Education to consist of a member from each of several electoral districts with boundaries coinciding with the state’s Congressional districts and a president to be appointed by the Governor if there is an even number of such electoral districts.
  • HB20 (Gonzales/Koehler) Concealed Carry-School Safety Zone:  Expands and clarifies the authority of a concealed handgun licensee to possess a handgun in a school safety zone.
  • HB25 (Kunze) Food-Drink School Sales:  Requires the State Board of Education to adopt rules regarding the sale of beverages and food during the regular school day in connection with a school- sponsored fund raiser.

FYI ARTS

  • Turnaround Arts Final Evaluation Released: The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), co-chaired by George Stevens Jr. and Margo Lion, released on January 22, 2015 a two-year evaluation of Turnaround Arts, a public-private partnership formed to implement high-quality and integrated arts education in high-poverty and chronically under-performing schools.

According to the evaluation, Turnaround Arts is “the first federal program to bring arts education to bear on efforts to turnaround schools.”

Overall the evaluation found that “…after two years of implementation in Turnaround Arts schools, there were many promising indicators about the potential of this work to positively influence student engagement, school culture, instructional practice, and school outcomes in the country’s lowest-performing schools.”

The evaluation is based upon data from school surveys, interviews, and focus groups; classroom observations; and analysis of attendance, discipline, and student achievement data.  The evaluation was conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton under the direction of the Turnaround Arts National Evaluation Advisory Group. The principal investigator, Sara Ray Stoelinga, is from the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute.

The evaluation summarizes the theory of action and programmatic approach to Turnaround Arts; identifies components of arts eduction that affect school improvement; and evaluates the hypothesis, “…that strategically implementing high-quality and integrated arts education programming in these schools adds significant value to school-wide reform.”

The PCAH launched Turnaround Arts as a pilot program in April of 2012 to determine if implementing high-quality arts education programs would help chronically low performing schools overcome challenges, such as low academic achievement, low student engagement, negative perceptions about the school and students, and low trust.

The project team identified certain “core assets” or “pillars” that could be used as “levers for broader school improvement” to improve school climate and culture, deepen instruction, and increase student and parent engagement to improve academic achievement. The pillars include principal leadership; the strategic use of arts specialists; non-arts classroom teachers integrating arts into core content; the use of teaching artists and community organizations; the engagement of the district, parents, and community; strategic arts planning; professional development; and improvements to the school environment.

The eight schools selected for the pilot program were competitively selected from nominations from state and municipal authorities, and serve diverse populations in urban and rural settings across the country. The schools were  also recipients of School Improvement Grants (SIGs) from the U.S. Department of Education. The eights schools are ReNEW Cultural Arts Academy, New Orleans, LA; Findley Elementary School, Des Moines, IA; Lame Deer Middle School, Lame Deer, MT; Martin Luther King, Jr. School, Portland, OR; Noel Community Arts School, Denver, CO; Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School, Boston, MA; Roosevelt Elementary School, Bridgeport, CT; and Savory Elementary School, Washington, D.C.

As part of the Turnaround Arts model, all schools received intensive arts education resources and expertise, including professional development, school-wide strategic planning, principal coaching, partnerships with local arts education and cultural organizations, community engagement events, arts supplies, musical instruments, and the involvement of high-profile artists.

The evaluation found that under “Program Operations and Implementation”, all schools had a high prevalence of arts resources; integrated the arts in non arts classrooms; intentionally applied the pillars as a lever for school improvement; and showed evidence of strategic mobilization of the arts toward larger school improvement goals.

The analysis of the “Program Impact” from 2011-2014 is based upon quantitative data, such as standardized test data, attendance, disciplinary action, and teacher perceptions.  The following are the findings:

  • Math and reading proficiency increased. Seven out of the eight observed schools improved their overall reading proficiency rates; 6 out of the 8 schools improved their math proficiency rates; and every school improved in either reading or math. Three of the schools had double-digit point-gains in math proficiency rates, and two of the schools had similar gains in reading proficiency rates.
  • Average academic achievement improved overall. On average Turnaround Arts schools demonstrated a 22.55 percent improvement in math proficiency rates and a 12.62 percent improvement in reading proficiency rates.
  • ”Higher rates of average improvement than comparable SIG schools. Turnaround Arts schools had significantly higher rates of average improvement in both math and reading than the cohort of analogous SIG schools in their districts and states, improving 6.35% more in math and 7.04% more in reading from 2011 to 2014.”
  • ”Higher rates of average improvement than school district comparisons. As a group, Turnaround Arts schools also improved proficiency at a faster rate than their school districts’ average.”
  • Attendance rate increased. Four out of eight Turnaround Arts schools improved their attendance rates significantly between 2011 and 2014. The average attendance rate at Turnaround Arts Schools was 91.77% in 2014.
  • Discipline reductions. Five of the eight Turnaround Arts schools demonstrated dramatic improvements in disciplinary actions, in out-of-school suspensions, in-school suspensions, and/or overall disciplinary actions.

The evaluation also notes that schools rated highly on arts implementation also tended to have “positive trends on broader school improvement indicators, with several exceptions.” Further work is needed to refine the implementation continuum and understand these ratings relative to school improvement indicators.

See “Final Evaluation Report Turnaround Arts Initiative”, by Sara Ray Stoelinga, Urban Education Institute, University of Chicago; Yael Silk, Silk Strategic Arts; Prateek Reddy, Booz Allen Hamilton; and Nadiv Rahman, Booz Allen Hamilton; President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, January 22, 2015 at

http://www.pcah.gov/sites/default/files/Turnaround%20Arts%20Phase%201%20Final%20Evaluation_Full%20Report.pdf

Press release at http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/presidents-committee-on-the-arts-and-humanities-turnaround-schools-demonstrate-student-improvement-through-the-arts-300024151.html


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).

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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, The John F. Kennedy Center, 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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