Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
April 6, 2015
1) Ohio News
- 131st General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate are on spring break until April 10, 2015.
- Governor Vetoes Controversial Provision in the Transportation Budget: Governor Kasich vetoed three provisions before he signed into law HB53 (Grossman) Transportation Budget on April 1, 2015. One of the vetoes removes a controversial provision that would have required out-of-state college students, who registered to vote in Ohio, to obtain an Ohio license and vehicle registration within 30 days, and language that would have suspended nonresident driving privileges for individuals who failed to obtain an Ohio license and vehicle registration within 30 days. Voting rights advocates opposed the provision, because they said that it could discourage college students from registering to vote in Ohio, and would be difficult to enforce. The law now requires new residents to obtain an Ohio license and register their vehicles within 30 days, similar to 44 other states.
- OCMC to Meet this Week: The Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission (OCMC) and some of its committees will meet on April 9, 2015. Meeting this month are the Legislative Branch and Executive Branch Committee, the Bill of Rights and Voting Committee, the Coordinating Committee, and the Constitutional Revisions and Updating Committee. The commission will meet at 1:30 PM at the Riffe Center Meeting Room, 31st floor, B&C conference rooms. For information about the committee meeting schedule see http://www.ocmc.ohio.gov/ocmc/home.
- State Board to Meet on Sunday, April 12, 2015: The State Board of Education is scheduled to meet on April 12,13, & 14, 2015. The Board is expected to take a controversial final vote on Operating Standards for Ohio Schools in Grades Kindergarten through Twelve, Rules 3301-35-01 through 10, and has scheduled more time for public participation on Monday, April 13, 2015 at 1:00 PM.
On Sunday the Legislative and Budget Committee will meet, and the Board will receive its monthly update from State Superintendent Richard Ross.
On Monday the Achievement/Graduation, Capacity, the Urban/Rural, and the Accountability committees will meet in the morning, followed by the Board’s business meeting.
On Tuesday the Board will receive presentations about College Credit Plus, early childhood education, and Ohio’s Teacher Evaluation System (OTES).
- Issues on the May 5th Ballot: The Office of the Secretary of State has posted on its website the numbers and types of ballot issues that voters will consider on the May 5, 2015 ballot. A total of 336 local issues in 74 counties will appear on the May 5th ballot, including 102 school issues: 78 school tax levies, 15 school income tax issues, and two school bond issues. Other ballot issues include levies for children’s services, senior citizens, residents with developmental disabilities, safety services, libraries, parks, infrastructure, cemeteries; local liquor options; and charter and zoning amendments.
- ODE Accepting Comments on IDEA Application: The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) announced last week that it is accepting public comment on Ohio’s Part B Federal Application for Federal Fiscal Year 2015 (FFY15) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
The U.S. Department of Education requires a state to provide assurances that it has in effect policies and procedures to meet all eligibility requirements of Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and applicable regulations (IDEA).
The ODE will accept public comments from April 1, 2015, through May 1, 2015. Comments may be submitted by email or by mail.
- CCS Updates County Profiles: The Center for Community Solutions, John Corlett executive director, has updated its Human Services County Profiles, which highlight demographic projections, educational attainment, labor force participation, employment, income, poverty, and human services participation in each of Ohio’s 88 counties.
According to the statewide profile, Ohio’s total population is 11,570,808, an increase of 1.9 percent since 2000. About 1.8 million (15.8 percent) of Ohioans are living in poverty, including about 193,723 children under age 5. There has also been an increase in food pantry usage and enrollment in the federal food program SNAP, which stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Total employment in Ohio, based on 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics data, is 5.3 million, which is a decrease of 2.3 percent since 2007. Ohio’s median income of $48,138 is also below the national average of $52,250.
The county profiles are available at
2) National News
- Analysis of House and Senate Education Budgets: The Committee for Education Funding and the White House have released additional information about the Senate and House proposed education budgets for FY16.
Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate adopted 2016 budgets in late March 2015 mainly along party lines, setting the stage for the Republican majority in both houses to negotiate a final spending plan by an April 15, 2015 deadline.
The House passed H. Con. Res. 27 on March 25, 2015, and the Senate approved S. Con. Res. 11 on March 27, 2015.
The Congressional budget is a non-binding resolution and is not sent to the president to sign into law. The final Congressional budget will be used by the House and Senate appropriations committees to develop appropriations for FY16, which starts on October 1, 2015, including allocations for the Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Unlike the FY16 budget submitted to Congress by President Obama in February 2015, the House and Senate budget plans set overall spending caps for federal programs, but do not specify program amounts, and retain sequestration targets, which means that there is no increased funding in any education program—including Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
According to the Committee for Education Funding, the House budget would reduce education spending by $135 billion between 2016 to 2025. This would mean a 20 percent decrease in current funding levels.
The Senate budget would reduce education spending by $63 billion between 2016 and 2025, which would be an 8 percent decrease from current funding levels.
According to a White House analysis, spending levels for education have already been reduced by $80 billion since 2010. The proposed budgets by the House and Senate would result in real preK–12 per pupil education funding dropping to the lowest levels since 2000. The White House analysis assumes across the board spending cuts, because the House and Senate budget resolutions do not provide specific funding levels for either base defense and non-defense discretionary programs in 2016, and maintain sequestration.
According to the White House analysis, compared to President Obama’s proposed budget, the House and Senate budget proposals could result in the following:
- Early Childhood Education: The House and Senate budgets’ funding levels could reduce access to Head Start Services to more than 35,000 children. The number of children in Ohio that could lose access to Head Start services under sequestration is estimated to be 1340 in 2016.
- K-12 Education: The House and Senate budgets could reduce Title 1 by $1.2 billion. Ohio could lose an estimated $44.5 million due to sequestration in 2016.
- IDEA: The House and Senate budgets could reduce funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by $347 million. “Because states are required by law to ensure that a free and appropriate public education is made available to all students with disabilities, these cuts in effect shift the burden for meeting the needs of children with disabilities to states and local communities.” Ohio could lose about $12.5 million due to sequestration in this category.
The House and Senate budgets also eliminate mandatory funding for Pell Grants. “The House budget specifies that it would freeze the maximum grant at its current level, instead of allowing it to increase to keep pace with inflation. Over time, this would reduce financial aid for almost all of the more than 8 million students who rely on Pell Grants to afford college.”
See “Republican Budget Resolutions: Same Failed Top-Down Economics”, Executive Office of the President, March 2015 at
See Committee on Education Funding at http://cef.org/chairman-price-fy-2016-budget-hurts-students-and-education/
3) The Effects of Poverty on Brain Development: Researchers continue to find negative effects of poverty on brain development in children. In one of the latest studies published in Journal Nature Neuroscience, researchers, led by Kim Noble (Teachers College Columbia University) and Elizabeth Sowell, (Professor of Pediatrics at The Saban Research Institute at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles), examined the brain structures of 1,099 individuals between 3 and 20 years of age. They found that, “Among children from lower income families, small differences in income were associated with relatively large differences in surface area, whereas, among children from higher income families, similar income increments were associated with smaller differences in surface area.” These relationships were most prominent in regions of the brain supporting language, reading, executive functions, and spatial skills. The researchers conclude that, “These data imply that income relates most strongly to brain structure among the most disadvantaged children.”
The researchers suggest that policies to reduce poverty could have meaningful effects on children’s brain functioning and cognitive development, and are already working on another study to determine how an increase in family income could affect brain development in young children.
See “Family income, parental education and brain structure in children and adolescents” by Kimberly G. Noble, Suzanne M. Houston, Natalie H. Brito, Hauke Bartsch, Eric Kan, Joshua M. Kuperman, Natacha Akshoomoff, David G. Amaral, Cinnamon S. Bloss, Ondrej Libiger, Nicholas J. Schork, Sarah S. Murray, B. J. Casey, Linda Chang, Thomas M. Ernst, Jean A. Frazier, Jeffrey R. Gruen, David N. Kennedy, Peter Van Zijl, Stewart Mostofsky, Walter E. Kaufmann, Tal Kenet, Anders M. Dale, Terry L. Jernigan & Elizabeth R. Sowell. Nature Neuroscience (2015) doi:10.1038/nn.3983 Published online 30 March 2015, at http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nn.3983.html
See also “How Poverty Shapes the Brain: A study co-authored by TC’s Kimberly Noble offers powerful new evidence”, 3/30/2015 at http://www.tc.columbia.edu/news.htm?articleID=9922
See “Critical regions of the brain are smaller in children from poor families”, News from the University of Hawai’i, March 30, 2015 at https://www.hawaii.edu/news/2015/03/30/critical-regions-of-the-brain-are-smaller-in-children-from-poor-families/
4) Equal Talents, Unequal Opportunities: A recent examination of state policies that support opportunities for talented students from low income familes found that, “Few states have comprehensive policies in place to address the education of talented students, let alone the education of high-performing students from low-income families.”
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. They worked with a panel of experts to identify 18 state indicators that support academic talent (inputs) and student achievement (outcomes), and examined state-level data around these indicators. States were then graded on both their policy interventions and their student outcomes.
The following state level input indicators, that support academic talent, were identified:
-Requires the identification of advanced learners
-Requires services for identified advanced learners
-Provides state acceleration policy
-Provides early entrance to kindergarten
-Provides middle/high school concurrent enrollment with credit received for high school
-Provides a high school honors diploma
-Requires gifted coursework in teacher and administrator training
-Includes in state accountability systems growth measures for high-achieving students or other indicators for high achieving students
-Requires participation in international assessments
-Requires monitoring or an annual report for gifted education
The following student outcome indicators were identified:
-Percent of students scoring advanced on NAEP, grade 4 (math & reading)
-Percent of students scoring advanced on NAEP, grade 8 (math & reading)
-Percent of students scoring 3 or higher on advanced placement exams
-Percent of low income students scoring advanced on NAEP, grade 4 (math & reading)
-Percent of low income students scoring advanced on NAEP, grade 8 (math & reading)
What the researchers found is, “Not surprisingly, large excellence gaps (differences in performance between low-income and other students) exist in nearly all states.” States with higher levels of poverty also tended to have lower student outcomes.
The states achieving the highest input grade, B-, are Minnesota, Colorado, Texas, Ohio, North Carolina, and Mississippi. Most states earned a D+, D, D- for inputs.
The states achieving the highest student outcome grades (B and B-) are Utah, Minnesota, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Ohio earned a “C” for student outcomes. Most states earned a C+, C, C- .
Minnesota earned a B- for both inputs and outcomes indicators. According to the report, Minnesota met most of the input indicators, but earned a B-, because “…it could do more to recognize its advanced students and hold its educators accountable for serving them. In addition, it does not offer a state-level honors high school diploma, and it does not require educators to receive training about high-ability students.”
The report also examined the gifted and talented program in Ohio. The report notes that, “Ohio gives concrete attention to advanced education in its accountability system, attention which may address excellence gaps. Ohio has a defined Gifted Indicator (see box, page 19) that holds schools accountable for identifying gifted students, serving them, and monitoring their growth. There is not an explicit focus on the excellence gap in this Gifted Indicator. However, all schools are required to complete an annual self-report in their identification and services for students who are gifted, which does include a section titled “Efforts to Promote Equity in Gifted Identification and Services.”10 Yet there is no focus on the excellence gap in this scoring, and this lack shows in their outcomes—14 percent of Ohio’s wealthier students score advanced in fourth grade reading, but only 3 percent of their low-income students.”
To ensure that talent is developed equally in all communities, the report includes the following recommendations:
- Make high-performing students highly visible by requiring local education agencies (LEAs) to identify and report the achievement of high-ability students, including low income students.
- Remove barriers that prevent high-ability students from moving through coursework at a pace that matches their achievement level. Support policies for early entrance to kindergarten, acceleration between grades, dual enrollment in middle school and high school (with middle school students able to earn high school credit), and early graduation from high school.
- Ensure that all high-ability students have access to advanced educational services. Require teacher preparation programs to include coursework about instruction of gifted and talented students. Require states to monitor the quality of gifted and talented programs. Increase opportunities for dual enrollment and AP courses.
- Hold LEAs accountable for the performance of high-ability students from all economic backgrounds by including measures of growth for high-ability students, including low income students, on the state report card.
See “Equal Talents, Unequal Opportunities: A Report Card on State Support for Academically Talented Low-Income Students”, by Jonathan Plucker, Jennifer Giancola, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, Grace Healey, Daniel Arndt, and Chen Wang. March 31, 2015, at
5) Teacher Experience Matters: Stephen Sawchuk, reports for Education Week that recent studies about the effect of teacher experience on student achievement and other student outcomes are raising questions about the so-called “teacher plateau”, the belief that teachers improve their teaching abilities early in their careers and do not improve more with experience.
Previous studies have reported few performance differences between early- and later career teachers. But, a new study by John P. Papay and Matthew A. Kraft, at Brown University in Providence, R.I. examined some 200,000 student test scores linked to 3,500 different teachers to identify the growth of teacher effectiveness as teachers gain experience.
According to the article, using three different statistical methods “…the researchers found teachers’ ability to improve student achievement persisted well beyond the three- to five-year mark. While the teachers did make the most progress during their first few years in the classroom, teachers improved their ability to boost student test scores on average by 40 percent between their 10th and their 30th year on the job, the study shows.”
In addition to student achievement, teachers with more experience had a positive effect on other student outcomes, such as absenteeism, motivation, classroom management, discipline, homework, and reading habits. These outcomes were identified by researchers Helen F. Ladd and Lucy C. Sorenson at Duke University. Their research found that on average teachers were effective in boosting student academic outcomes for at least 12 years.
According to the Education Week article, “Both sets of researchers stressed that their findings concern the average teacher’s rate of improvement over his or her career. They shouldn’t be interpreted to mean that experienced teachers are always better than novices.”
See “New Studies Find That, for Teachers, Experience Really Does Matter Studies Cite Gains by Veterans by Stephen Sawchuk, Education Week, March 25, 2015 at
See “Returns to Teacher Experience: Student Achievement and Motivation in Middle School” by Helen F. Ladd and Lucy C. Sorensen, National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER), A program of research by the American Institutes for Research with Duke University, Northwestern University, Stanford University, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Texas at Dallas, and University of Washington, Working Paper 112, March 2014 at
See “Productivity Returns to Experience in the Teacher Labor Market: Methodological Challenges and New Evidence on Long-Term Career Improvement” by John P. Papay, Matthew A. Kraft, Brown University, December 2014 at
6) Bills Introduced
- HB137 (Grossman/Phillips) Organ Donation-Health Curriculum: To require the health curriculum of each school district to include instruction on the positive effects of organ and tissue donation.
- HB138 (Zeltwanger/Koehler) State Testing Waiver: To revise the requirements regarding the administration of the state achievement assessments, to require the Department of Education to request a waiver from federal testing requirements, and to declare an emergency.
OhioDance Spring Festival and Conference
A statewide celebration of dance through classes, workshops, discussions, and performances.
The 2015 OhioDance Spring Festival and Conference featuring guest artist Liz Lerman will take place in Columbus April 24-26, 2015. The OhioDance Festival and Conference is inherently creative as the brightest talents in dance converge on Columbus to share new ideas and innovations in the field of dance. Guest artist Liz Lerman is a renowned choreographer, performer, writer, educator and speaker. She is the recipient of numerous honors, including a 2002 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship and a 2011 United States Artists Ford Fellowship in Dance. The Festival is co-sponsored by BalletMet.
In Support of a Liberal Arts Education: Fareed Zakaria, a columnist for The Washington Post and host of “Fareed Zakaria GPS” on CNN, warns that the de-emphasis of a liberal arts education by policy-makers, including President Obama, “…comes from a fundamental misreading of the facts — and puts America on a dangerously narrow path for the future.”
In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Mr. Zakaria examines recent efforts to expand STEM education and technical training, so that students in the U.S. can become more competitive with the countries in the world with the highest international test scores.
But he identifies several reasons for questioning suggestions by policy-makers to de-fund liberal arts majors, like art history and anthropology, and shift the country’s education system toward teaching specific technical skills.
He notes, for example, that a “broad general education helps foster critical thinking and creativity. Exposure to a variety of fields produces synergy and cross fertilization.” These are the characteristics of innovative thinkers, the type of employees that Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and the late Steve Jobs hire.
He mentions management consultant Andrew Benett, who found through a survey of 100 business leaders that more than half said that they would “rather hire smart, passionate people, even if they didn’t have the exact skills their companies needed.”
According to Mr. Zakaria, “Innovation is not simply a technical matter but rather one of understanding how people and societies work, what they need and want. America will not dominate the 21st century by making cheaper computer chips but instead by constantly reimagining how computers and other new technologies interact with human beings.”
Unlike Europe, which during the 19th century, educated people for a few narrow professions set for generations, the mass general education in America produced a more flexible workforce, which could shift from one job to the next as the American economy grew and changed.
And, unlike the Asian education model, with a focus on memorization and test taking, the liberal arts education provides American students with more opportunities to experiment and create. Mr. Zakaria writes, “That’s why most Asian countries, from Singapore to South Korea to India, are trying to add features of a liberal education to their systems. Jack Ma, the founder of China’s Internet behemoth Alibaba, recently hypothesized in a speech that the Chinese are not as innovative as Westerners because China’s educational system, which teaches the basics very well, does not nourish a student’s complete intelligence, allowing her to range freely, experiment and enjoy herself while learning: ‘Many painters learn by having fun, many works [of art and literature] are the products of having fun. So, our entrepreneurs need to learn how to have fun, too.’”
Mr. Zakaria also identifies an interesting connection between a liberal arts education and the type of education citizens need to participate in a democracy. According to the article, “For most of human history, all education was skills-based. Hunters, farmers and warriors taught their young to hunt, farm and fight. But about 2,500 years ago, that changed in Greece, which began to experiment with a new form of government: democracy. This innovation in government required an innovation in education. Basic skills for sustenance were no longer sufficient. Citizens also had to learn how to manage their own societies and practice self-government. They still do.”
See “Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous” by Fareed Zakaria, The Washington Post, March 26, 2015 at
This update is written weekly by Joan Platz, Research and Knowledge Director for the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education. The purpose of the update is to keep arts education advocates informed about issues dealing with the arts, education, policy, research, and opportunities. The distribution of this information is made possible through the generous support of the Ohio Music Education Association (www.omea-ohio.org), Ohio Art Education Association (www.oaea.org), Ohio Educational Theatre Association (www.ohedta.org); OhioDance (www.ohiodance.org), and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (www.oaae.net).