Arts on Line Education Update March 2, 2015

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
Joan Platz
March 2, 2015

1)  Ohio News

131st General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate will hold hearings and sessions this week.

Update on Five of Eight Rule: The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) met on February 26, 2015 to consider Rules 3301-35-01 through 10 Operating Standards for Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade.

One of the rules, 3301-35-05 Faculty and Staff Focus, was pulled from consideration, because of a concern raised by JCARR members, and will be re-filed.  This rule includes (A)(3) Educational Service Personnel, also known as the “five of eight rule”.  Educational service personnel in current rule mean school nurse, counselor, librarian, school social worker, visiting teacher, and elementary art, music, and physical education teachers. The definition of educational service personnel is broadened considerably in proposed Rule 3301-35-01 (B)(11) Definitions, but this rule was not pulled to be re-filed.

The proposed new rule eliminates the current requirement that school districts employ five out of eight educational service personnel per 1000 students and makes other changes in this section.  The amended rule 3301-35-05 states: “(A)(3) The local board of education shall be responsible for the scope and type of educational services in the district. The district shall employ educational service personnel to enhance the learning opportunities of all students. Educational service personnel assigned to elementary fine arts, music and physical education shall hold the special teaching certificate or multi-age license in the subject to which they are assigned.”

The ODE intends to re-file the rule in March.  The next JCARR meeting is set for Monday, March 16, 2015 at 1:30 PM. The State Board could take a final vote on the new operating standards in April 2015.

Hold Harmless Bill Reported: The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner, reported HB7 (Buchy) Assessment Score Determination on February 25, 2015.  The bill 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.  The bill was amended to clarify some definitions; ensure that schools would not lose funding if a student does not take an assessment; and changes “score” to “score report.”  The bill could be considered by the full Senate this week.

Charter School Reform: The Editorial Board of the Cleveland Plain Dealer urged lawmakers to find a better way to fund charter schools in a February 20, 2015 editorial.  According to the article, Governor Kasich’s budget proposal, HB64 (Smith) Biennial Budget, “…would continue the cannibalization of Ohio’s public schools”  by adding over a billion dollars into the “coffers” of the “private interests behind for-profit charters and the lobbyists who represent them.”

The editorial acknowledges the proposed charter school reforms in HB64, but recommends even more, such as requiring charter schools to pay for their own transportation.  The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) recently issued a directive requiring the Akron school district to transport charter school students, who live more than a half mile away from school. Students in public schools must live more than two miles away from school to be eligible for transportation. The ODE directive will cost Akron at least $1 million for students who don’t even attend its schools.

The editorial concludes:  “The state must stop a school-funding approach that, to benefit deficient charter schools, is hollowing out the ability of public schools to function.”

See “Ohio must stop increasing taxpayer subsidies for ill-regulated charters at expense of Ohio’s public schools,” by Editorial Board, Cleveland Plain Dealer, February 20, 2015.

State of the State Address: Governor John Kasich presented the “State of the State” Address in Wilmington, Ohio on February 24, 2015.  The 78 minute address highlighted the economic recovery of the state, but also stressed that the state must “…act decisively now to seize the greater opportunities that await all of us. We are better today than we were, and we are rising.”

The governor advocated in the speech for proposed initiatives included in HB64 (Smith) Biennial Budget, urging reluctant members of his own party to support his “integrated package” of tax cuts and increases to spur job creation and innovative businesses.  The governor also advocated for restraining the growth of government and lowering college and university costs through the higher education task force.  He also noted his administration’s initiatives to help individuals with disabilities get job training and help people get off of public assistance.

In his remarks about primary and secondary education, the governor asked for support for his plan to distribute state funding to schools in the “fairest” way possible through a new formula that considers the capacity of a district to raise revenue locally.  He told the audience that he is not thrilled about everything in the new formula, but hoped that if lawmakers change it, they keep the basic principle to distribute “….resources as best as we can to be in a position where kids can all have an equal chance.”

Regarding charter schools, the governor said that the state of Ohio needs charter schools, but hasn’t provided enough guidance or oversight.  There needs to be a crack-down on sponsors, but if charter schools have inherited a group of struggling students, they should get the help they need.

See http://www.governor.ohio.gov/Portals/0/2015%20Kasich%20SOTS%20Transcript.pdf

Update on the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission (OCMC): The Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission released on February 23, 2015 its quarterly newsletter.

The OCMC was created by the 129th Ohio General Assembly and is charged under R.C. 103.61 with: “studying the Constitution of Ohio; promoting an exchange of experiences and suggestions respecting desired changes in the Constitution; considering the problems pertaining to the amendment of the Constitution; and making recommendations from time to time to the general assembly for the amendment of the Constitution.”

According to the newsletter, OCMC welcomed in February three new legislative members: Representatives Robert R. Cupp, Nathan H. Manning, and Emilia Sykes. The new members replace Representatives William G. Batchelder, Matt Huffman, and Vernon Sykes, who completed their terms in the General Assembly at the end of 2014.

The newsletter also provided a recap about some of the proposed amendments to the Ohio Constitution that the OCMC is considering.

According to the Commission’s Rules of Procedure and Conduct, to make a recommendation to amend the constitution the Commission must do the following:

-A committee must receive two readings of any proposed action to amend, repeal, or take no action on a constitutional provision.

-A committee must adopt any action by a majority of the committee.

-The full Commission must adopt an action by a vote of at least 22 out of the 32 members of the Commission.

The Judicial Branch and Administration of Justice Committee agreed in November 2014 to recommend the repeal of Article I Section 19 regarding courts of conciliation and Article I, Section 22 regarding Supreme Court commissions.

In December 2014 the Bill of Rights and Voting Committee received reports about three recommendations regarding the Ohio Bill of Rights in Article I:  Section 2 the Right to Alter, Reform or Abolish Government; Article I, Section 3, the Right to Assemble; and Article I, Section 4 the Bearing Arms; Standing Armies; Military Power. The reports recommend no changes in these sections.

See http://www.ocmc.ohio.gov/ocmc/uploads/Uploaded%20Files/OCMC%20Quarterly%20-%20February%202015.pdf

2)  This Week at the Statehouse

  • The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Hayes, will meet on March 4, 2015 at 8:00 AM in hearing room 116.  The committee will receive testimony from State Auditor Dave Yost and testimony on HB2 (Dovilla/Roegner) Charter Schools Sponsorship.
  • The House Finance Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education, chaired by Representative Cupp, will meet on March 4, 2015 at 4:00 PM in hearing room 116.  The committee will receive invited testimony on HB64 (Smith) Biennial Budget, from the following organizations: StudentsFirst Ohio, KnowledgeWorks, College Board, and ACT.
  • The House Finance Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education, chaired by Representative Cupp, will meet on March 5, 2015 at 9:00 AM in hearing room 116.  The committee will receive invited testimony on HB64 (Smith) Biennial Budget, from the following organizations:  the Education Tax Policy Institute, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, the Ohio School Boards Association, the Ohio Association of School Business Officials, the Ohio Alliance for High Quality Education, the Ohio Education Association, the Ohio Federation of Teachers, the Ohio 8, the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding, and the Ohio PTA.

3)  National News

Update on the Student Success Act: The U.S. House was expected to vote on H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, on Friday, February 27, 2015, but the House recessed without taking a vote.  The bill would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).  Tweets from Republican Representative Justin Amash from Michigan during the House session implied that there were not enough Republican votes to pass the bill, but the House was also grappling with the debate over extending funding for the Department of Homeland Security.

Some conservative Republicans oppose the bill, because they believe that it doesn’t go far enough to curb federal involvement in primary and secondary education, and it doesn’t include a voucher provision that they wanted to add to the bill.

Education Week reported last week that President Obama threatened to veto the Student Success Act if it reached his desk. The administration opposed a similar measure in 2013.  According to the article, the administration opposes provisions that relax the requirements to close achievement gaps among groups of students and reform persistently low-performing schools; eliminate maintenance of effort; and allow Title 1 funding for disadvantaged students to follow students who transfer to another school.  The administration also wants the bill to include a provision that would identify and remedy inequities in access to the resources and supports that students need to succeed, such as challenging academic courses, excellent teachers and principals, and after school enrichment programs. The administration also believes that there is too much testing, but still supports testing in grades 3-8 and once in high school for math and English language arts. These provisions are still in the bill.

See “White House Issues Veto Threat Against House GOP NCLB Rewrite”, by

Alyson Klein, Education Week, February 25, 2015. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2015/02/white_house_issues_veto_threat_1.html

According to Politico it’s not clear when the House will consider a vote on H.R. 5.  In the mean time, the U.S. Senate seems to be making progress on a bipartisan rewrite of NCLB led by Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and Democratic Senator Patty Murray. Politico reports that Senator Alexander hopes to send a bill to the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee by mid-March.

See “House Republicans put off No Child Left Behind vote” by Maggie Severns, Politico Pro, February 27, 2015 at http://www.politico.com/story/2015/02/no-child-left-behind-vote-house-republicans-115594.html#ixzz3T5EFkQCS

4) Opt-Out Movement Growing:  Politico reports that more parents are choosing to “opt out” their children from testing as states begin to administer standardized tests aligned to the common core state standards.  The Portland Association of Teachers recently passed a resolution opposing the Smarter Balanced test and encouraging members to hold parent information sessions on how to opt children out of testing.  In Louisiana, Colorado, and Long Island, N.Y. opt-out proponents are erecting bill boards explaining to parents how to opt-out their children from state tests.

The Education Commission of the States recently published a policy brief about state assessment opt-out laws and policies.  According to the brief California and Utah have clear state laws that allow parents to opt their children out of testing; Arkansas and Texas prohibit opt-outs, and even require students to take the assessments; Pennsylvania and Oregon have parent opt-out policies to accommodate religious beliefs; in Minnesota and Michigan opt-out requests are granted by the department of education; many states exempt students from participating in state assessments in cases of a physical disability, medical reasons, or emergencies; and some states leave decisions about how to handle opt-out requests to the school district.

For some states the issue is not specifically addressed in law.  States are often required in law to administer standardized assessments, but there is nothing in law that requires students to take the assessment, or to do their best on it.

Making the situation even more complicated are the consequences for students, teachers, and schools when students opt-out of testing.  The consequences for students include retention, withholding a diploma, withholding course grades, etc.  Teacher evaluations and school/district ratings could also be affected depending on how student participation in testing is factored into a state’s accountability system.

In Colorado, for example, the policy brief reports that the state board of education adopted a resolution that “…relieves districts of any penalty if fewer than 95 percent of students participate in testing because of opt-outs this spring.”

See “Assessment Opt-Out Policies: State responses to parent pushback” by Stephanie Aragon, Julie Rowland and Micah Ann Wixom, Education Commission of the States, at

http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/01/17/68/11768.pdf

Opting-Out in Ohio:  There were several articles in the newspapers last week about the growing number of Ohio students whose parents are opting them out of taking the new state assessments developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) consortia (math and English language arts) and AIR (science and social studies).

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that parents are not the only ones questioning “over-testing”, which is driving the opt-out movement.  Some school superintendents in the Greater Cincinnati area are speaking with parents and policy makers about state testing policies and raising concerns.  According to the article, Adriene James, Superintendent of the Sycamore City Schools, sent State Superintendent Richard Ross a letter outlining the problems that she has encountered with the new assessments in her district of 5,244 students.  She wrote that the public school system is being over-burdened with the number of state mandated tests and the “continued interference with what should be a local decision regarding diagnostic tests”.

Other superintendents who are recommending changes in state testing policies include Greg Power from Little Miami Schools and Gail Kist-Kline from Mason City Schools.  The article also notes that the superintendents also believe that the new tests do not provide adequate data for teacher evaluations.

See “New school tests spur anger, absences”, by Michael D. Clark, Cincinnati Enquirer, February 26, 2015

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2015/02/25/new-school-tests-spur-anger-absences-common-core-parcc-ogt/24016539/

See “Opting Out of State Test Has Costs for Ohio Students,” by Charlie Boss, Columbus Dispatch, February 25, 2015 at http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2015/02/24/state-testing-funding-losses.html

See “Some Parents Boycott PARCC State Testing” by Andy Chow, State Impact Ohio, February 20, 2015 at

http://stateimpact.npr.org/ohio/2015/02/20/some-parents-boycott-parcc-state-testing/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+npr%2Fstateimpactoh+%28StateImpact+Ohio%29

See “As Common Core Testing Is Ushered In, Parents and Students Opt Out” by Elizabeth Harris, New York Times, March 1, 2014 at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/02/nyregion/as-common-core-testing-is-ushered-in-parents-and-students-opt-out.html?_r=0

5)  Hearing on SB3 Continues: Representatives of the Alliance for High Quality Education, the Ohio 8, and the Ohio Association for Gifted Children testified on SB3 (Hite/Faber) High Performing School Districts/Exemptions before the Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner, on February 25, 2015.

The Alliance for High Quality Education (Alliance) is a consortium of 64 high performing school districts.  Its director is Anthony Podojil, who testified along with other representatives of Alliance school districts.

The Ohio 8 is an alliance composed of the superintendents and teacher union presidents from Ohio’s eight urban school districts:  Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown. Co-chairs of the Ohio 8, Lori Ward and Julie Sellers, also testified on SB3. Julie Sellers is president of the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers and Lori Ward is the superintendent of Dayton Public Schools.

The Ohio Association for Gifted Children (OAGC) has been working with families and educators to promote the best interests of gifted children since 1952, and is an affiliate organization of the National Association for Gifted Children. Ann Sheldon, who is the executive director, also provided testimony on SB3.

The witnesses touched-on the range of provisions included in the SB3, but most of the comments were about the limits placed on testing in the bill.  The following is a summary of the testimony arranged by topic:

Definition of High Performing Schools: Some witnesses testified in support of the criteria for high performing schools, but also asked for some changes, and noted that the timing and duration of a “high-performing” designation should be clarified in law.

Anthony Podojil from the Alliance asked the committee to use the broadest definition possible to determine which districts would qualify for high performing status.

Gail Kist-Kline, Superintendent of Mason City Schools, said that she supports the criteria for high performing districts, but suggested that national measures, like student performance on the ACT, SAT, and Advanced Placement exams are other important indicators.

Ann Sheldon recommended a more rigorous criteria that includes measures for value-added, value-added for sub-groups, 3rd grade reading proficiency scores, and college remediation-free rates.  Based on the criteria in SB3, 125 districts would be considered high-performing, including 37 districts that have grades of “D” or “F” either for overall or a sub-group value-added measure, and 93 of these districts have ACT college-readiness rates of less than 50 percent.

Relaxing Licensing Qualifications for Teachers: Anthony Podojil told the committee that the Alliance supports provisions in SB3 that relax teacher qualifications and licensing requirements.

On the other hand, Ann Sheldon told the committee that “…the gifted community is very concerned about the proposal to allow high-performing districts to allow any licensed teacher to teach any subject or grade level.”  She asked the committee if elementary art teachers would be allowed to teach high-school Calculus? Recent decisions by superintendents to serve as gifted coordinators have led to inappropriate testing of students and inadequate gifted services.  “To expand this practice in other areas without any parameters is deeply troubling.”

Teacher Residency Mentoring Program: There was general support for relaxing requirements for the Residency Mentoring Program.  Brian Poe, Superintendent of the Copley-Fairlawn City School District, said that requiring mentoring teachers in high performing districts to hold a professional educator license is “an unnecessary regulatory requirement”.

Minimum and Maximum Class Size:  The current required ratio of teachers to students is one full time equivalent teacher for each twenty-five students district-wide.  The ratio of teachers to students in kindergarten through fourth grade on a school district-wide basis is at least one full-time equivalent classroom teacher per twenty-five students. This requirement is in Ohio Administrative Code Rule 3301-35-05 (A)(3), but is not in law.

Few witnesses testified about the provision in SB3 to relax this requirement.  Brian Poe said that many school district contracts have class size parameters that have been negotiated between the school board and the union, but still thought it was a good idea to allow high performing school districts the flexibility to establish class size.

Testing Limits: Most witnesses were dissatisfied with the proposed limits on testing in the bill, especially limits on diagnostic exams.

Gail Kist-Kline, Superintendent of Mason City Schools, warned the committee that monitoring and tracking the time spent on testing during the school year to comply with state law would create an additional burden on school districts.  She suggested that the number of tests should be reduced, but that districts should have flexibility regarding diagnostic assessments.  According to her testimony school personnel in her school district spent over 2,000 hours in preparation for state assessments this year.

Scot Prebles, Superintendent of Brecksville-Broadview Heights School District, asked the committee to let decisions regarding the type, frequency of administration, the interventions and accelerations chosen, be made “by those working at the local level directly with students and parents.”  He went on to explain that school districts use multiple diagnostic assessments to monitor student progress, and said that, “One assessment does not provide a year’s worth of data to inform teaching…”

He concluded by saying, “Today’s excessive state-mandated assessments that require too much seat time, and incur too much stress (student, parents and educators) discourage the type of lifelong learning that we want to promote.”

Tom Hosler, Superintendent of Perrysburg Schools, explained that school districts use local assessments and diagnostics to get immediate feedback about student progress.  He said that school districts should be able to report to the state their scores on local assessments, approved by the ODE, to meet accountability requirements, instead of administering separate state tests that measure the same standards.

Lori Ward and Julie Sellers, from the Ohio 8, wanted to know the research-based rationale behind the proposed time limits on testing in SB3.  They suggested that the percentages are arbitrary and loosely tied to the average amount of testing currently administered across the state, because the length of the school year varies across districts.  They recommended, on behalf of the Ohio 8, that the testing limits apply only to state-mandated tests, and that districts be allowed to exceed caps based on student needs.  Any limits on local testing should be in the form of guidelines and not mandated by the state.

Ann Sheldon from the OAGC Ohio Association, told the committee that few districts are screening for the identification of gifted students, and placing limits on testing could “negatively affect the already inadequate identification of gifted students.”  She asked the committee to amend SB3 “to exclude any assessments used to determine individual student learning needs, including the identification of gifted students, from any testing limitation.”

Purpose of Testing: Some of the witnesses asked the committee to consider the purposes of testing.

Tom Holser of Perrysburg said that assessments should be used to measure student growth to improve learning and hold the district accountable.

Lori Ward and Julie Sellers recommended that a commission or task force be created to develop a statewide policy framework that defines the purpose of testing.  They would like to see the state move away from high stakes testing, allow districts to monitor and measure student growth through local assessments, establish consistent testing requirements across the state, and consider the total testing burden.

Backlash Against Testing: Ann Sheldon from OAGC explained that “…the backlash against excessive testing from both the educator and parent perspective is mostly aimed toward high-stakes state performance assessments – not assessments that give diagnostic information about individual students”.

Gail Kist-Kline from Mason City Schools told the committee that, “Our families are growing increasingly frustrated with state testing, and are expressing their grave concerns by refusing to allow their children to participate in PARCC and AIR.  In spite of our efforts to communicate about the implications and consequences of refusing to have their child tested, parents are continuing to opt out.  Families, communities, educators and legislators must work together to develop a system that balances the need for accountability with the need to alleviate the pressure on Ohio’s educational system.”

Student Learning Objectives (SLOs): Julie Sellers, asked the committee to permit school districts to continue to use “student learning objectives” until an alternative policy is developed with input from educators, vetted by practitioners, and implemented over time. They believe that using SLOs should be a local decision.

The testimony is available at http://www.ohiosenate.gov/committee/education# under February 25, 2015.

6) More on HB74:  The House Education Committee received sponsor testimony on HB74 Primary and Secondary Assessments from Representative Andy Brenner on February 25, 2015.  The bill is based on HB228, which was introduced in the 130th General Assembly, and was approved by the House during the lame duck session last year.  The Senate Education Committee did not take action on the bill, however, because Senator Lehner, chair of the committee, wanted to wait for a report on statewide assessments that was being prepared by Superintendent of Public Instruction Richard Ross.  That report was submitted to the General Assembly in January 2015.

According to sponsor testimony, the bill makes the following revisions to the state’s assessment system for students and teachers:

General Changes:

  • Reduces the administration time for state assessments
  • Allows greater local control over decision making regarding assessments used to inform instruction
  • Delays online testing and the requirement that the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) evaluate districts’ technology needs for test administration
  • Prohibits any unenforceable limitations on local testing
  • Requires ODE to identify assessments that can be used for multiple purposes allowing local schools to reduce testing time
  • Provides more local control over teach evaluations
  • Requires teacher and administrative input in the selection of state assessments
  • Requires that the selection of new state assessments for the 2015-16 school year be based on ease of administration and overall quality, as well as performance benchmarks and cost.
  • Requires ODE to study the impact of online administration of state assessments and report to the General Assembly and the governor no later than June 30, 2016

Changes that Affect K-8 Assessments:

  • Eliminates the writing assessment in grades 1-3.
  • Limits the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment to one hour.
  • Permits districts to administer the KRA prior to the start of the school year but not prior to August 1, 2015.
  • Repeals the requirement that the mathematics diagnostic assessment be administered in first and third grades, and retains only the second grade mathematics diagnostic examination.
  • Requires ODE to identify at least two mathematics assessments that can be used for multiple purposes. It also requires ODE to identify at least two reading diagnostic examinations for the third grade that will allow students to meet performance benchmarks to enter fourth grade.
  • Reinstates the September 30th deadline to complete the reading diagnostic tests of grades 1-3 as well as the November 1st deadline for kindergartners.
  • Reduces by approximately 38 percent the time necessary to administer state assessments for third grade through eighth grades and limits test administration to no more than three hours per assessment per year.

Changes that Affect High School Assessments

  • Reduces the number of examinations from the current requirement of seven, as established in House Bill 487 from the prior general assembly, to five end-of-course examinations.
  • Limits test administration time for end of course examinations to three hours per exam.
  • Adds requirements that ODE identify and benchmark equivalent scores on assessments that are equivalent to current examinations
  • Sets proficient scores of Advanced Placement end of course exams as 2 and International Baccalaureate end of course exams as 3.
  • Excuses students obtaining industry recognized credentials or state vocational licenses from additional career technical assessments

Changes that Affect Teacher Evaluations

  • Allows school districts to determine student progress measures for non-core academic subjects in grades 4-12
  • Permits districts to determine student progress measures for kindergarten, as well as allowing districts to determine student progress measures for grades 1-3 except in reading and mathematics
  • Clarifies that if a memorandum of understanding is entered into with regard to the use of the value-added progress results from the 2014-15 school year, districts may use a student progress measure other than value-added as part of teacher evaluation
  • Requires the State Board of Education to revise the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System in order to reduce the estimated time necessary to complete evaluations
  • Sets a deadline of June 30, 2016 for review and revision of academic content standards

Information about the bill is available at https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-documents?id=GA131-HB-74

7)  Bills Introduced

  • SB92 (Schiavoni) School Safety Funds:  Requires the State Board of Education to establish criteria and procedures for the awarding of school safety funds to school districts and makes an appropriation.
  • SB93 (Schiavoni) Bullying Prevention Funds:  Requires the State Board of Education to establish criteria and procedures for the awarding of bullying prevention and education funds to school districts and makes an appropriation.
  • SB94 (Bacon/Lehner) Medicaid School Program:  Regarding the Medicaid School Program.
  • HB89 (Devitis) Medicaid School Program:  Regarding the Medicaid School Program.
  • SB71 (Tavares) Trio Program Appropriation:  Makes an appropriation for the provision of state matching funds for federal TRIO programs at Ohio institutions of higher education for FY16 and FY17.
  • SB78 (Williams) GED Grant Program:  Creates the GED Grant Program for undergraduate students who have earned high school equivalence diplomas and are enrolled in two-year state institutions of higher education and  makes an appropriation.
  • SB82 (Williams) GED Test Cost:  With regard to the administration and cost of the tests of general educational development required to earn a high school equivalence diploma.

FYI ARTS

Using Title I Funds to Support Arts Education: KPCC in Los Angeles, California reported last week that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) took action on February 19, 2015 to change its policy and allow principals to use Title I funds to support the arts as an integrated strategy to improve academic achievement.

Although the federal No Child Left Behind Act identified the arts as a core subject, few school districts use Title I funds for disadvantaged students to support arts education programs. According to the report, school districts are careful about how they use Title I funds, because of the federal oversight of the program, and most of the funds are used to support instruction in reading and math. San Diego Unified, Sacramento City Unified and Chula Vista Elementary School District are other California school districts that include the arts in their Title I-funded programs. California law requires schools to provide for the study of all the arts disciplines including dance, drama, music, and visual art in the 2014-15 school year, but only 70 out of 500 schools in Los Angeles have complied.  The policy change for Title I funding could increase the availability of the arts for LAUSD students.

See “LAUSD decision ushers in new source of funding for arts education” by Mary Plummer, KPCC, February 20, 2015 at

http://www.scpr.org/blogs/education/2015/02/20/17609/lausd-decision-ushers-in-new-source-of-funding-for/

A copy of the LAUSD memorandum clarifying the use of Title I funds to support arts education programs is included below:

INTEROFFICE CORRESPONDENCE

Los Angeles Unified School District

Division of Instruction

TO:  Principals

DATE:

February 19, 2015

FROM:  Dr. Ruth Perez, Deputy Superintendent Rory Pullens, Executive Director of the Arts Karen Ryback, Executive Director, Federal & State Education Programs

SUBJECT: SUPPORTING TITLE I SCHOOLWIDE PROGRAM (SWP) GOALS THROUGH ARTS INTEGRATION

Title I schools operating a Schoolwide Program (SWP) are encouraged to consider how arts integration might support one or more of their school’s goals as described in the Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA). A growing body of research demonstrates that integrating the arts with instruction in other academic subjects increases student learning and achievement.

A SWP is a comprehensive reform strategy designed to upgrade the educational program in a Title I school. The primary purpose is to ensure that all students, particularly those who are low-achieving, demonstrate proficient and advanced levels of achievement on state academic achievement standards in English Language Arts, mathematics and science. SWP schools must conduct a comprehensive needs assessment, establish measurable goals, commit to scientifically-based research strategies that address the identified needs and annually evaluate the effectiveness of the SWP.

It is important to note that the California Education Code includes, as a required course of study in grades 1-12, the visual and performing arts, including instruction in the subjects of dance, music, theatre and visual arts, aimed at the development of aesthetic appreciation and the skills of creative expression. Thus, as part of the core program, schools must continue to provide a comprehensive arts program and may not use Title I funds to take the place of (or supplant) this state requirement. While Title I, Part A funds may not be used to fund programs whose primary objective is arts education (as per CDE letter dated January 12, 2012), SWP schools may utilize arts as an integration strategy to improve student academic achievement.

The following are a few examples of arts integration activities a SWP school might consider:

  • Provide professional development to teachers on addressing student needs via differentiated instruction that includes arts integration (in this instance, the cost of a professional development contract and/or teacher ‘X’ time would be an appropriate Title I expenditure).
  • Invite community members to demonstrate or share their talents with students as a prompt for a writing assignment.
  • Have students create models that display mathematical data pertaining to each planet of the solar system: distance from the sun, length of day and night, length of year, and day and night surface temperatures.
  • Ask students to create a small piece of dance/movement that models their understanding of geometric concepts.
  • Encourage students to explore the science of sound by utilizing rubber bands, oatmeal containers, coffee cans, balloons, etc. to construct one or more of the four families of musical instruments: strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion.
  • Have students write and perform a short skit to illustrate a literary character’s point of view.
  • Provide a lesson on utilizing a software program to create an animated film that highlights key historical events that occurred during the Civil War (In this instance, the cost of the software program would be an appropriate Title I expenditure).

As SWP schools explore the various ways in which the arts can play an important role when integrated into the instruction program, it is important to remember the following guidelines for the use of Federal Title I funds:

  • Be necessary to achieve an established goal in the school plan
  • Be reasonable as to the cost; great consideration should be given to the fact that funding is limited and should be used in a manner designed to achieve the purposes of Title I
  • Funded activities must be based on research and designed to directly address identified needs  based on an analysis of data around student academic achievement and instructional practices
  • Not be prohibited under State or Federal law or regulations
  • Not supplant services that are required by State law.

Schools are encouraged to contact the following individuals for further information regarding arts integration and the Title I programs:

Rory Pullens, Executive Director of the Arts rory.pullens@lausd.net 213-241-7502

Karen Ryback, Executive Director, Federal & State Education Programs karen.ryback@lausd.net 213-241-6990 c:

Ramon Cortines, Michelle King, Gerardo Loera, ESC Superintendents


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, 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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