Arts on Line Education Update May 4, 2015

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
Joan Platz
May 4, 2015

1) Ohio News

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

The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Hayes, will meet on May 5, 2015 at

9:00 AM in hearing room 017.  The committee will receive testimony on HB70 (Driehaus/Brenner) School Restructuring; SB3 (Hite/Faber) High Performing School District Exemption; HB160 (Devitis) Textbooks-Higher Education.

The Senate Finance Education Subcommittee, chaired by Senator Hite, will meet on May 6, 2015, at 2:30 PM in the North Hearing Room or after session. The committee will receive testimony on SB148 (Lehner) Charter School Oversight; HB2 (Dovilla/Roegner) Charter School Sponsorship; and HB64 (Smith) Biennial Budget.

The Senate Finance Education Subcommittee, chaired by Senator Hite, will also meet on May 7, 2015, at 11:00 AM in the South Hearing Room, to receive testimony on HB64 (Smith) Biennial Budget.

The House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Representative McClain, will meet on May 7, 2015 at 1:30 PM in hearing room 121.  One of the bills the committee will consider is HB99 (Curtin) Income Tax-School Funding.  This bill would require that an amount equal to state income tax collections, less HB99 amounts contributed to the Ohio political party fund via the income tax checkoff, be distributed for the support of elementary, secondary, vocational, and special education programs.

  • School Issues and More on the May 5, 2015 Ballot:  A primary/ special election will be held on Tuesday, May 5, 2015. Voters will be asked to decide 336 local issues, including 102 school issues.  The school issues include 78 tax levies; 15 income tax issues for schools; two school bond issues; and 7 combined tax issues for schools.  Information about the issues is available at
  • ODE Releases Literacy Improvement Results: The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) released on April 30, 2015 K-3 Literacy Improvement results for the 2013-14 school year.  These results will be added to the state report cards for districts and schools.

The K-3 Literacy Improvement measure shows if a district or school is making progress in improving literacy in kindergarten through grade three, and the progress that “not on tract” students are making to become a proficient reader by the end of third grade.

The measure is based on the results from the fall reading diagnostic assessments, which students take in kindergarten through grade three, and the results from the third grade reading assessment.

Along with the report card data, the ODE also released the results of a longitudinal study that showed a connection between reading proficiently at the third grade and graduation rates for the class of 2013. The ODE examined the third grade assessment results of about 113,000 students in the class of 2013, and found that 95 percent of those scoring as “advanced” readers at the end of third grade graduated on time, while 57 percent of those scoring at the “limited” reading level graduated on time.

See “New Study Finds Strong Relationship Between Third Grade Reading Proficiency and On-time Graduation Rate for Ohio Students”, Ohio Department of Education, 4/30/15 at

2)  National News

  • States Reduce Testing: Catherine Gewertz reports for Education Week that the Miami-Dade school district in Florida dropped all but 10 end of course exams after Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a new law permitting districts to make decisions about testing.  The districts had been administering 300 exams a year.  The district will also give end of course exams to a randomly selected pool of students as a field test, rather than require all students to take the assessments.

The Miami-Dade school district is the largest in Florida, and fifth largest in the country.  The new law caps the number of hours students can spend on state tests, and eliminates the 11th grade English/language arts test.

The law responds to concerns expressed by parents and educators about the amount of time students are spending on testing.  The article notes that the Texas legislature is considering bills that also eliminate some of the testing state’s requirements.

See “Florida’s Biggest District Cuts Nearly All End-of-Course Exams”, by Catherine Gewertz, Education Week, April 27, 2015, at

  • Symposium Addresses Poverty in Schools: The ASCD will stream live a symposium on May 6, 2015 entitled ”Poverty and Education: Addressing Poverty as a Sector, as a School, and as a Classroom”.  This free event is part of ASCD’s Whole Child Symposium, and will examine poverty as it relates to school reform and education improvement efforts.  According to the advance information, the Southern Education Foundation reports that for the first time, a majority of public school children in the United States come from low socioeconomic households.  Unfortunately there is a strong correlation between poverty and student achievement.  For example, a 2014 study published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found that poverty could explain up to 46 percent of the scores on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
  • Update on Student Privacy Bills: A Policy Update from the National Association of State Board of Education describes some of the bills that Congress is considering to regulate online service providers to ensure student privacy, student data security, and family privacy.

U.S. House Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO) and Luke Messer (R-IN) introduced a privacy bill on April 29, 2015 to regulate how online service providers that serve state and local education agencies, handle student data.  Lawmakers shared a draft of the Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act of 2015 in March 2015, but student privacy advocates soon identified a number of problems with the bill, and so the sponsors worked with parent groups, students privacy experts, and the Obama administration to tighten the language.

The bill prohibits vendors from selling student data or marketing to students; requires vendors to meet new standards about data security; provide information about data breaches and contracts with third parties; includes metadata (data about data); and directs the Federal Trade Commission to take charge of enforcement and regulation of the education-technology industry.  Vendors would be required to publicly list the kind of personal information being collected or generated, how the information is being used, with whom is it shared, and how long the data will be held.

Also in the U.S. House, Representatives John Kline (R-MN) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) are working on a bipartisan update of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), first signed into law in 1974.  The law helps parents access the education records of students, but has been amended over the years to regulate online service providers as well.

The proposed bill would regulate state education agencies, local education agencies, and contractors that serve state agencies and schools.  Among its provisions, the bill would require that parents be notified when a state or local education agency shares data with a third party, and how the third party is protecting the student’s data.

In the U.S. Senate, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) is expected to introduce a privacy law, while Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ed Markey (D-MA) are updating FERPA.

See “A Tale of Two Federal Student Data Privacy Bills,” by  Amelia Vance, National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), May 2015.

  • Pell Grants to Support Earning College Credits in High School: Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced on April 28, 2015 the Go to High School, Go to College Act.  The bill would allow Pell Grants to be used by high school students from low-income families to pay for college-level courses.  High schools would be reimbursed with Pell funds for the student’s tuition and fees after the student earns the credit. Representatives Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Chris Gibson (R-NY) will introduce similar legislation in the U.S. House.  There is some discussion about including this provision in the Higher Education Act.


3) OBM Critical of House School Funding Plan:  Tim Keen, director of the Office of Budget and Management, told the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Finance Education Subcommittee last week that he and Governor Kasich have concerns about the House changes in the biennial budget bill, HB64 (Smith).

After presenting to the Senate Finance Education Committee on April 29, 2015 an overview of the education provisions supported by Governor Kasich, Director Keen summarized the changes made by the House to the school funding formula, and the concerns that he has with those changes.

Director Keen explained that Governor Kasich’s proposed school funding formula builds on the current formula; targets resources to districts with the least capacity to fund an appropriate educational program; and establishes a way in the future for state aid to be distributed to schools through the state formula, rather than using guarantees and the gain cap.

According to Director Keen, the House school funding provisions, which ensure that school districts receive at least FY15 funding levels, could undermine the stability of the state’s school funding system in the future. The House school funding plan directs limited resources to some school districts with high capacity to raise local revenue; perpetuates reliance on the guarantee; increases the number of school districts that are affected by the funding cap; and creates new state funding obligations, which will be difficult to support in the future.  For example, about 28 high capacity school districts are guaranteed at least $1,200 per student in state aid in the new House formula, and the new capacity aid provision will cost the state $260 million.  This provision distributes additional state aid based on how much a district can raise with one mill of local property tax effort.

According to an OBM chart comparing the number of districts affected by the gain cap and the guarantee in the Executive and House budgets, 204 school districts would be on the gain cap under the Executive Budget in FY16, while under the House Budget the number of school districts capped would increase to 408 school districts.

In FY17 under the Executive Budget, 130 school districts would be capped and under the House version 328 school districts would be capped.

While in the Executive Budget school districts fail to receive over the biennium about $943 million through a 10 percent gain cap on the maximum annual rate of increase in state aid, in the House version school districts fail to receive $1.75 billion, because the maximum rate increase in state aid is dropped to 7.5 percent per fiscal year.  The total amount of funds being withheld from school districts as a result of the gain cap would make fully implementing the House formula a major obstacle in the future.

See Director Keen testify before the Senate Finance Committee on April 21, 2015 at

See Director Keen’s testimony before the Senate Finance Education Subcommittee on April 29, 2015 at

  • Editorial Supports House Plan:  An editorial by Michael Douglas in the Akron Beacon Journal on May 3, 2015 weighs in on the House vs. Executive Budget funding plan for public schools.  Noting the number of changes in the state’s school funding formula over the past years, the editorial concludes that the House plan finally “applies real money to the challenges of equity, adequacy, and an overreliance on local property taxes.”  The editorial recognizes the House for “taking a mess of a formula to a much better place”, and keeping in sight the big picture, and how it would look if lawmakers cut taxes by a billion dollars and cut funding for schools at the same time.

See “Eighteen years after DeRolph, a real plan” by Michael Douglas, Akron Beacon Journal, May 3, 2015 at

4) Testing Panel Releases Recommendations:  The Senate Advisory Committee on Testing released on April 30, 2015 its recommendations for revising Ohio’s state assessment system.  The 30 member panel, created by Ohio Senate President Keith Faber and chaired by Senator Peggy Lehner, was formed to respond to concerns by parents, educators, and lawmakers, about the amount of time students are spending on testing, and the efficacy of the new assessments based on the new academic content standards.  The state has contracted with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College & Careers (PARCC) for math and reading assessments, and with the American Institute for Research (AIR) for the social studies and science assessments at various grade levels.

The committee recommends the following changes for Ohio’s state assessment system:

  • Administer state assessments once a year and shorten the tests.  Move the testing window closer to the end of the school year to provide more time for classroom instruction and less disruption in learning.
  • Improve accommodations for children with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and improve communication with parents and schools. Training must be provided for intervention specialists and paraprofessionals who assist students with IEPs.
  • Return test results in a timely manner to benefit student instruction – although the committee recognized that results from a writing test may not be able to be returned as quickly as the rest of the results.
  • Make available within a reasonable amount of time test questions and answers to ensure the tests are aligned to Ohio’s learning standards and the questions are developmentally appropriate for grade levels.
  • Improve online testing, but continue to provide the option that schools administer paper/pencil tests for at least the next two school years. State funding for technology based on need should be considered.
  • Provide a single technology platform for next year’s tests. Improvements in technology are needed to ensure smooth administration of the tests.
  • Enact a “safe harbor” provision that allows results from this year’s tests to be reported, but holds students, teachers or schools safe from consequences this year due to the transition to a new test, and the concern that results may not accurately reflect a student’s achievement level.
  • Develop a comprehensive communications plan to provide parents, teachers, school leaders, and the general public with clearer information about the tests.
  • Find a vendor that will make changes for the test next year. If the current vendors for state tests – PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College & Careers) for the math and English language arts assessments and AIR (American Institute for Research) for the science and social studies assessments, will not make changes to the test for next year to accommodate these issues, the Ohio Department of Education should find another vendor.

See “Senate Advisory Committee on Testing Recommends Improvements to State Tests”, April 29, 2015 at

5)  NEPC Reviews One of the CREDO Studies:  The Think Twice Think Tank at the National Education Policy Center in Boulder, CO released on April 27, 2015 a review of the study Urban Charter School Study Report on 41 Regions, published by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute.

According to the review, since 2009 CREDO has published several reports comparing student achievement in charter and traditional public schools. This CREDO study examined the differences in student performance at charter schools and traditional public schools in 41 urban areas in 22 states.

CREDO found a positive effect on student achievement overall in both math and reading scores for students who attend a charter school in an urban environment when compared to peers in traditional public schools (TPS) in urban areas. The study concludes that ‘…urban charter schools on average achieve substantially greater levels of growth in math and reading relative to local TPS (p. 43).’

The review of the study was conducted by Andrew Maul at the University of California-Santa Barbara. He found that the actual effect sizes on student achievement are very small, under a tenth of one percent of the variance in test scores, questioning how the study could report that the effect was “substantial”.

He also found that although the “propensity-based method” is a more acceptable technique among researchers, CREDO used its own “virtual control record (VCR)” technique, to match charter school and traditional public school students for the study.  According to Professor Maul, this technique is “insufficiently documented” and might not account for all relevant differences among students, because it matches fewer characteristics.  Using the VCR technique the researchers only found matches for 80 percent of charter school students, while a match closer to 100 percent could have been achieved by using the propensity-based method.

The review also notes that previous reviews of the CREDO techniques by other researchers have raised technical and conceptual concerns about the “days of learning metric” that CREDO uses to report year to year changes in test scores.  Apparently the report doesn’t explain the process used to translate “growth,” estimated via average year-to-year gains on state standardized tests expressed in standard deviation units, into “days of learning”. Professor Maul finds that this metric “cannot be regarded as credible.”

Professor Maul also found that many lower-scoring students were excluded from the analysis; that the study doesn’t clearly communicate that the comparison is not with traditional public schools in general, but with a subset of TPS schools that students have left to attend charters; and the decisions made in reporting the results are “insufficiently described and justified.”

See “Review of Urban Charter School Study 2015” by Andrew Maul, University of California-Santa Barbara, April 27, 2015 at

See “Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) (2015, March). “Urban Charter School Study”. Palo Alto: CREDO, Stanford University. March, 2015, from

6)  Voucher Study Released:  The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability released on April 16, 2015 an analysis study of the Indiana Choice Legislation, and concludes that aside from supporting parental choice ideology, “there is no compelling policy reason to subsidize it with public taxpayer dollars meant to educate children.”

The Indiana Choice Legislation uses public tax dollars to subsidize school choice in the form of vouchers, state income-tax deductions, and state income-tax credits. It is one of the most comprehensive school choice programs in the nation, and in 2014-15 provided $115 million for vouchers.

To answer the question, “can Indiana expect its school choice program to enhance student performance or help build a better public education system statewide?” researchers examined objective peer reviewed studies of voucher programs in a number of states.

What they found is voucher programs do not enhance student achievement, and furthermore, voucher programs are not among the education reforms used to improve student achievement among the highest ranking nations on the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) “Programme for International Student Assessment” (PISA) exam.

The researchers state,

“In fact, it appears that core aspects of Indiana’s voucher program are directly contrary to best practice education reforms implemented by the five global leaders in education: Korea, Finland, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Canada.5”

“Indeed, based on the available evidence, rather than improve student performance and the overall public education system in Indiana, the Indiana Choice Legislation may actually impede student achievement specifically and harm the education system generally. At a time when public resources are scarce, it is not advisable for state decision makers to divert public education funding to programs that cannot be expected to help children learn or improve the education system.”

See “Analysis of Indiana School Choice Scholarship Program” by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability (CTBA), April 16, 2015 at

7)  Bills Introduced

  • HB181 (Clyde) Online Voter Registration-Automatic Update:  Requires that eligible persons in certain government and school databases be automatically registered to vote or have their registrations updated automatically unless those persons decline to do so, and creates an online voter registration system.
  • HB179 (Stinziano) Automatic Voter Registration:  Amends the versions of sections 4507.05 and 4507.06 of the Revised Code that are scheduled to take effect January 1, 2017, to continue the provisions of this act on and after the effective date, to require that eligible persons in the database of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles be automatically registered to vote, or have their registrations updated automatically, as applicable, unless those persons decline to be registered or to update their registrations.
  • HB174 (Barnes) Graduation Degree Entrepreneurial Skills:  With regard to entrepreneurial skills education requirements for professional graduate degree programs at state institutions of higher education.


  • Poetry Out Loud Finals:  Congratulations to Bexley High School senior Sarah Binau, who received a $1000 award and $500 for her school in the national Poetry Out Loud competition on April 29, 2015.  Ms. Binau presented the poems After Apple Picking by Robert Frost, Onions by William Mathews, and Anne Bradstreet’s The Author to Her Book.

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation partner with U.S. state arts agencies to support Poetry Out Loud.  The program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

Ms. Binau was Ohio’s representative in the national competition and finished among the top nine contenders out of a field of 53. This year’s national champion is Maeva Ordaz from Alaska, who will receive a $20,000 prize.

  • OAC Announces Grant Recipients:  The Ohio Arts Council (OAC) announced on April 29, 2015 that it will award nearly $383,390 to 88 recipients in its latest round of approvals. The OAC board met on April 15, 2015 to approve recommendations for Individual Excellence grants, and ratify grants for Artists with Disabilities Access and Building Cultural Diversity.

The OAC has received for FY15 to data a total of 1,222 grant requests totaling over $14 million, and has funded 589 of those requests for $9.76 million this fiscal year. In most cases these grants will be matched dollar for dollar by private or other public funds.  The grant programs support artists, arts organizations, and arts programs across Ohio.

For a list of grant recipients please see


This update is written weekly by Joan Platz, Research and Knowledge Director for the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education.  The purpose of the update is to keep arts education advocates informed about issues dealing with the arts, education, policy, research, and opportunities.  The distribution of this information is made possible through the generous support of the Ohio Music Education Association (,Ohio Art Education Association (, Ohio Educational Theatre Association (; OhioDance (, and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (


About OAAE

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