Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
May 18, 2015
1) Ohio News
- 131st Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate will hold hearings this week. The Ohio House will also hold sessions, but the Ohio Senate has canceled its sessions this week.
The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Hayes, will meet on May 19, 2015 at 9:00 AM in hearing room 017. The committee will receive testimony on SB3 (Hite/Faber) High Performing School District Exemptions.
The Senate Finance-Higher Education Subcommittee, chaired by Senator Gardner, will meet on May 19, 2015 at 9:00 AM in the South Hearing Room. The committee will receive testimony on Sub. HB64 (Smith) Biennial Budget from several organizations, including the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) and Ohio Citizens for the Arts (OCA). The OAC and OCA are requesting that the budget include $30 million over the biennium in general revenue funds to support the work of the OAC. The House version of HB64 increases the OAC general revenue budget to $26.4 million, which is an increase in funding compared to the amount proposed by Governor Kasich in the bill as introduced.
The Senate Finance Education Subcommittee, chaired by Senator Hite, will also meet on May 20, 2015, at 2:30 PM or after session in the North Hearing Room. The committee will continue to receive testimony on HB64 (Smith) Biennial Budget. The committee will also receive testimony on HB2 (Dovilla/Roegner) Charter School Sponsorship, and HB148 (Lehner/Sawyer) Charter School Oversight.
- Senate Budget Schedule: The Ohio Senate committees reviewing Sub. HB64 (Smith) Biennial Budget are expected to report their findings to the Senate Finance Committee by May 26, 2015. The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Oelslager, could introduce its version of HB64 around June 8, 2015 and accept amendments on June 16, 2015. The full Senate would then vote on the budget proposal on June 17, 2015. Conference committee work between the House and the Senate would follow, setting-up passage of HB64 by the June 30, 2015 deadline.
- House Approves Testing Bill: The Ohio House approved on May 13, 2015 HB74 (Brenner) Primary and Secondary Education. The bill responds to concerns expressed by parents, educators, and students about the amount of statewide testing and the consequences for students, schools, and teachers. It includes provisions that address testing limits, statewide assessments, Ohio’s report card, and Ohio’s teacher evaluation framework. For example, the bill leaves it up to local boards of education to establish a method for determining student academic growth for teachers who teach in a subject area other than English language arts, mathematics, science, or social studies in any of grades four through twelve for which the value-added progress dimension or alternative student academic progress measure is not applicable.
HB74 also requires that the ODE send out a request for proposals (RFPs) to develop new state assessments, but prohibits the ODE from accepting proposals from any testing consortia that received funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This provision would therefore exclude the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and Smarter Balance consortia from responding to the RFP.
- Advocates for Public Schools Release Videos: For Ohio Public Schools is a grass roots movement in Lorain County to bring together community members and educators who are concerned about the future of public education. The group has put together three community engagement videos based on the results of a public survey and conversations with the public about education policies. The videos are entitled:
-“Who’s Responsible? Decisions regarding the education of our students are best made in their communities — local control!
-“Testing: It’s time to revamp the assessment system in Ohio.”
-“Charter Schools: Helping or hurting our students and local school districts?”
2) National News
- Congress Approves FY16 Budget: The U.S. House and Senate approved on May 12, 2015 Senate Concurrent Resolution 11, a budget plan for FY16. The plan retains the across-the-board spending cuts for education called “sequestration”, which were set by Congress in 2011; includes no new money for federal education programs; reduces non-defence discretionary funding by $496 billion over nine years; and reduces $162 billion from mandatory spending for education, training, employment and social service. These programs include student loan subsidies and Pell Grants.
Advocates for K-12 education are not pleased with the federal budget. According to the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), “This budget will cause irreparable harm to children, students, schools, libraries, museums and colleges, and will undermine job creation, economic growth and global competitiveness….”
The good news is that the budget is non-binding. Congress must still approve appropriations for FY16, which starts on October 1, 2015. The House and Senate appropriations committees are working on those appropriations measures now.
See Highlights of the SCR 11 is at
- ESEA Update: Education Week reports that the U.S. Senate might vote on the Senate’s version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in early June 2015. The bipartisan bill, which is entitled the Every Child Achieves Act (S1177), is sponsored by U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA), and was approved by the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee on April 16, 2015.
The House delayed a vote in February 2015 on its own ESEA reauthorization bill, the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), sponsored by Representative John Kline. According to the media, House leadership was not sure if the bill had enough votes to pass.
See “The Long Haul: ESEA Reauthorization Timeline” by Lauren Camera, Education Week Blog, May 12, 2015 at http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2015/05/long_haul_esea_reauthorization_timelineme.html
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
- Testing Opt-Out Bill Introduced: Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced on May 15, 2015 H.R.2382, to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to authorize a parent to opt their child out of participation in certain assessments required by the act. The bill has been referred to the House Education and Workforce Committee, chaired by Representative John Kline.
- Update on Privacy Laws: Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ed Markey (D-MA) reintroduced legislation to update the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) on May 13, 2015. The act was first signed into law in 1974 and helps parents access the education records of students and regulate online service providers.
The reintroduced bill, entitled Protecting Student Privacy Act, would “…ensure that students are better protected in an interconnected world.” The bill prohibits tech companies from mining student data to target ads; allows parents to access the student records collected by private companies; requires school districts to make available to the public the names of the vendors it uses; and requires the companies to delete personally identifiable information when the information is no longer used for its specified purpose.
Several privacy bills are being debated in Congress as lawmakers consider ways to regulate online service providers to ensure student privacy, student data security, and family privacy.
In the U.S. House, Representatives John Kline (R-MN) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) are also working on an update of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Representatives Luke Messer (R-IN) and Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced the Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act of 2015 on April 29, 2015 to regulate how online service providers that serve state and local education agencies, handle student data.
In the U.S. Senate, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) is also expected to introduce a privacy law.
See “Sens. Hatch, Markey Reintroduce Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Student Privacy,” May 13, 2015 at http://www.hatch.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/releases?ID=539a02ca-3a73-4ffb-8e41-5ae1dc5137a6
See “A Tale of Two Federal Student Data Privacy Bills,” by Amelia Vance, National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), May 2015.
- Tennessee Examining Common Core: Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed into law on May 11, 2015 a law requiring the state board of education to review the Common Core standards and develop new standards in math and English language arts. The standards would be implemented in the 2017-18 school year.
According to an article in U.S. News and World Report, school district superintendents in Tennessee still support the Common Core, but most Tennessee teachers now oppose it. The standards have been repealed in Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina, and are being reviewed in Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, Utah, and here in Ohio.
See “Tennessee Governor Signs Bill Stripping Common Core” by Allie Bidwell, U.S. News and World Report, May 12, 2015 at
3) Update on HB64 Hearings: The Ohio Senate Finance Education Subcommittee, chaired by Senator Hite, received on May 13, 2015 more testimony on Sub. HB64 (Smith) Biennial Budget. This week representatives of several education organizations expressed their support for the Straight A Fund; increases for voucher programs; increases in funding for charter schools; Teach for America; standards for counselors; independent schools, and more. There was also support to eliminate the “safe harbor” provisions in the bill, because they could limit student eligibility to receive vouchers. The “safe harbor” provisions generally hold harmless students, teachers, and schools/districts for consequences associated with Ohio’s accountability system for schools/districts, as Ohio transitions to implementing new state education standards and tests based on the new standards.
Several witnesses described to the committee the problems that their school districts face because of the loss of Tangible Personal Property Tax (TPPT) revenue reimbursements, which are being phased-out as a result of changes in tax laws approved in 2005. At that time the TPPT raised $1.2 billion, and represented as much as 20 percent of the tax base for 139 school districts.
School districts expected that the lost TPPT revenue would be replaced by revenue from the commercial activity tax (CAT), and were partially reimbursed for the lost revenue through 2011. But in 2012-13 Governor Kasich reduced the reimbursements in his first budget, and HB64 as introduced continues the phase-out. To address the concerns of the school districts affected by the TPPT phase-out, the House version of HB64 adds $102 million to ensure that 93 school districts receive the same amount of state support as in FY15.
The committee also received testimony from Ann Sheldon, Ohio Association for Gifted Children and Craig Burford, Ohio Educational Service Center Association. Summaries of their testimonies are included below:
- Gifted Education
Ann Sheldon, Executive Director of the Ohio Association for Gifted Children (OAGC), described in testimony the inadequate funding system for gifted education; the lack of accountability for gifted spending, identification, and services for gifted students; concerns about testing limits; the use of the PARCC test to identify gifted students; and concerns about the de-regulation of high performing school districts.
According to her testimony, “In Substitute HB64, the gifted education funding formula from the last biennium is retained. This should result in the current funding level of about $72 million to districts. However, as a result of changes made to the overall funding formula in the House, gifted funding actually decreases by $4 million in FY2016 and by $1 million in FY2017.”
Only about $3.8 million in Educational Service Center (ESC) funding is “undisputedly” dedicated for gifted coordinators and intervention specialist units. In FY10-11 ESCs received $8.1 million for gifted education. The decrease in ESC funding has led to a decrease in gifted services in some of the poorest school districts in the state.
Ms. Sheldon then explained the amount of gifted funding that would be allocated based on the typology of the school district through Sub. HB64. The typologies include rural high poverty; rural average poverty; small town low poverty; small town high poverty; suburban low poverty; suburban very low poverty; urban high poverty; and urban very high poverty.
She states, “Surprisingly, while wealthier, suburban districts actually receive an increase in gifted funding, the districts hit the hardest are poorer, rural districts. These districts are the least likely to identify and serve gifted students. In fact, the plight of Ohio’s economically-disadvantaged high-ability students was highlighted in a recent national report, where Ohio received a score of 1.0 on 4.0 grading scale.”
Ms. Sheldon requested the following be added to the Sub. HB64 (Smith):
- Restore gifted ESC funding back to the 2011/2012 level of $8.1 million. “ESCs supporting smaller, low-wealth districts should be given priority in funding. We also ask that the cap on gifted funding in the education funding formula be removed and that gifted funding be moved outside of the transitional aid guarantee to allow more funding to flow to smaller districts.”
- Increase the level of accountability for gifted funding by requiring all districts to spend gifted funding in the foundation formula on identification and appropriately licensed gifted personnel. “Districts showing great promise in the area of gifted performance could be waived from this requirement.”
- Require ODE to collect and post data on gifted services offered by each district by grade band and the number of licensed gifted personnel employed or contracted by the district.
- Revise the sub-group accountability language in law to allow ODE to use the full gifted performance indicator to gauge the success of the gifted sub-group. •Require districts to provide gifted services that are either accelerated or supported at minimum levels by qualified gifted intervention specialists.
- Although the House removed the testing provisions from HB64, the OAGC notes that the testing provisions should exempt from any testing limits assessments that are used to identify gifted students, and discontinue the use of the PARCC assessments for identifying gifted students until the assessments are validated for this purpose.
- Remove the provisions that allow the state superintendent to waive any law, rule, or standards at his discretion
- Require all sub-group value-added grades be at least a “B” or higher in
the definition of high-performing districts
- Allow districts to keep the high performing designation for two years if their overall and sub-group value-added measures are maintained
- Develop alternative service models for gifted students, such as regional gifted schools, expanded community schools for gifted children in areas of high need, open enrollment, and vouchers
- Allow the Straight A Fund to be used to support gifted education initiatives.
- Revise or remove the provision in current law that allows principals and others to serve as gifted coordinators.
- Revise or remove the limitations on the College and Credit Plus program; •Allow the highest district weight be applied to any CC+ course a student takes
- Increase funding to ensure that all students can access CC+, including public students who wish to access private CC+ courses and target additional funds and awards to the neediest districts
- Retain provisions that allow students to take CC+ courses with no charge.
Educational Service Centers (ESC)
Craig Burford, Executive Director of the Ohio Educational Service Center Association (OESC), described the roles and responsibilities of ESCs to implement federal, state, and regional education initiatives and school improvement efforts “assigned to the service centers by the general assembly or the department of education”.
He told the committee that the House version of HB64 reduces funding for ESCs by 5.8 percent in FY16, and restores FY17 funding to FY15 levels.
The House version also charges the State Board of Education to define “high performing ESC” based on cost savings and consolidation of services, and creates a funding model in which higher performing ESCs would receive $35 per students, and lower-performing ESCs would receive $20 per student. The OESC opposes this two-tierred accountability system, and asked that it be removed.
According to the testimony, HB64 should be amended to include the following:
- Retain current ESC funding levels as recommended by the state board of education, and provide funding for additional students from Cincinnati, Columbus, and Southwestern City School Districts
- Eliminate the provision of charging the state board of education with defining a “high performing ESC” and the two-tiered funding system
- Support the House-adopted language using ESCs and consortia of ESCs to administer early literacy improvement activities
- Support the House-adopted language to make ESCs eligible to lead consortia applications for the community connectors grant program
- Utilize ESCs in the statewide deployment of education initiatives, and do not create new regional structures
He concluded by saying that ESCs are “uniquely positioned to support” education reform initiatives and the Ohio Department of Education. The Senate should “build upon the progress made in the Ohio House” to better support ESCs.
4) The Educational Opportunity Gap: The May issue of The State Education Standard published by the National Association of State Boards of Education focuses on how differences in educational opportunities contribute to student achievement gaps in America.
According to an overview by Peter Cookson, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights identified in 2014 the “persistent unequal access to educational resources” as a civil rights issue in this country.
The 2013 report of the Equity and Excellence Commission declared that even though our nation’s schools are legally desegregated, they are now segregated by wealth and income. There is “systematic discrimination in academic rigor and quality of courses offered, the quality of curricula, the number of extracurricular activities available to students, the quality of teaching and leadership, the adequacy and condition of school facilities, and the availability of sophisticated technology and instructional materials.”
The journal includes articles that address these unequal opportunities, which the authors believe policy-makers have some control over through the distribution of high quality teachers; adequate funding; access to early education, and more.
See “Unfinished Business: Addressing Unequal Opportunities in Education,” National Association of State Boards of Education, May 2015 at
5) Bills Introduced
- SB163 (Jordan) Common Core Standards: With respect to the Common Core State Standards academic standards, powers of the State Board of Education, and the distribution of student information.
- ABT Celebrating 75th Anniversary: Lots of reports this week congratulating American Ballet Theatre (ABT) for opening its 75th season on May 11, 2015 at the Met.
According to an article in Newsweek, ABT was founded by Lucia Chase, who also served as artistic director from 1945 to 1980. The company “gave American audiences and American dancers the opportunity to dance and to see classical dance.”
The article goes on to say that ABT breathes “…life into the classics with new interpreters, sweeping audiences into the past” and also explores new works to find the “classics of our time”.
See “Celebrating American Ballet Theatre’s Past, Present and Future at 75,” by Stav Ziv, May 13, 2015, Newsweek at http://www.newsweek.com/celebrating-past-present-and-future-american-ballet-theatre-its-75th-birthday-331609
- Efforts to Include the Arts in ESEA Pay Off: Robert Lynch, CEO of Americans for the Arts (AFA), provides a history of the status of arts education in the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in an article in the Huffpost.
According to the article, the research is clear that “the arts are proven to make a positive difference toward graduation and a better learning experience”, but Americans for the Arts and other arts advocacy organizations have had to work hard over the years to include the arts in the definition of “core academic subjects” so that arts programs would be eligible for federal support.
Recently AFA requested that the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, chaired by Senator Lamar Alexander, amend the Every Child Achieves Act to include the arts in the definition of core academic subjects. The proposed bipartisan bill, sponsored by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA), would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
The bill was eventually amended to include “arts” and “music” in the definition of core academic subjects. This means that if the bill is signed into law, arts programs will continue to qualify for federal Title 1 funding and could be included in other federal initiatives, such as 21st Century Community Learning Centers. The federal definition also establishes a national standard for state and local policy-makers to include the arts in local policies and budgetary decisions.
The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the bill in June 2015.
See “The Arts and Arts Education are Part of the Solution” by Robert L. Lynch, Huffpost Arts and Culture, May 5, 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).