Arts on Line Education Update September 8, 2015

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
September 7, 2015
Joan Platz

Celebrate National Arts in Education Week — September 13-19, 2015!

Arts education advocates will celebrate the 5th anniversary of National Arts in Education Week on September 13-19, 2015.

Parents, students, educators, artists, and communities, are encouraged to take time to recognize the social, cultural, academic, and economic benefits of the arts, and how learning in the arts prepares students for academic and career success in the 21st Century.

National Arts Education Week was first designated by the 111th Congress in 2010 through House Resolution 275 as a way to encourage elected officials and policy makers across the nation to support equitable access to the arts as part of a complete curriculum for all students.

Since that time communities, schools, and arts centers have hosted celebrations, performances, exhibitions, open houses, and engaged in other strategies to bring attention to the arts education programs in schools and communities, and their positive impact on students.

How can you participate in this national event?

Americans for the Arts (AFA) has developed several tools and resources to promote National Arts in Education Week at

-Download the free National Arts in Education Week logo at

-Add your Arts in Education Week celebrations to the Arts Meet Calendar at

-Customize a resolution for your community or education leaders at

-Learn more about the benefits of arts education and how to make your case with the Arts Education Navigator E-books at

-Follow @Americans4Arts on Twitter and Instagram (and Facebook, too!) and upload your favorite arts education moments. Show us a picture of student artwork or a performance with #EncourageCreativity, or tell us about an arts educator who made a difference with #TeachTheArts.

-Check out AFA’s new video series at www.Americans EncourageCreativity.



Members of the 131st Ohio General Assembly will return to Columbus this month to resume this legislative session, which began in January 2015 and will end December 2016.  In addition to pending legislation, House members must also fill two vacancies as a result of the resignations of Representative Steve Kraus (R-89th House District) and Representative Ron Gerberry (D-59th House District).

So far over 500 bills have been introduced this legislative session in the Ohio House and Senate, including 89 bills related to primary and secondary education.  Of those bills, the following five have become law:

-HB7 (Buchy) Assessment Score Determinations

-HB28 (Anielski) Suicide Prevention-Higher Education

-HB64 (Smith) Making operating appropriations for the biennium beginning July 1, 2015, and ending June 30, 2017, and authorizing conditions for the operation of state programs.

-HB70 (Brenner/Driehaus) School Restructuring/Distress Commission

-SB121 (Hite) Meningococcal Disease Immunization

Two of the bills that have become law, Sub. HB64 (Smith) Biennial Budget and Sub. HB70 (Brenner/Driehaus) School Restructuring, have raised concerns across the state, initiating efforts over the summer to repeal HB70 and override Governor Kasich’s veto of a provision in HB64.

HB70 (School Restructuring – Community Learning Centers) enjoyed bipartisan support in the House and Senate, until the bill was amended at the last minute in the Senate to include a new plan to restructure school districts in academic distress, primarily aimed at revamping the Youngstown City Schools.

The bill lost the support of Democrats, in part because the new restructuring plan eliminates the elected board of education of a district in academic distress, creates a CEO position with authority to override union contracts, and supports more vouchers and charter schools.  Lawmakers from both parties also question the accelerated process used to amend and approve the bill in the Ohio Senate and House in one day (June 24, 2015), without an adequate public hearing on the new provisions. One of the co-sponsors of the bill, Representative Driehaus, voted against the Senate-amended bill in the House, after working years for community learning center legislation.

According to media reports, a self-selected “cabinet” from the Youngstown area approved the school restructuring plan inserted into HB70 without the input of local lawmakers, the Youngstown board of education, or the public.

Throughout the summer more information has been discovered implicating Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dick Ross, and the staff of the Ohio Department of Education in the secret development of the plan.  Some members of the State Board of Education are now questioning Superintendent Ross, who told the Board in July that he gave advice, but that the plan was not his.

In addition, the Ohio School Boards Association adopted in July 2015 a resolution condemning the school district restructuring plan included in HB70, and the Youngstown City School District, along with the Ohio Education Association, the Youngstown Education Association, and AFSCME Chapter 8 have filed a lawsuit opposing implementation of the law.

See “State Supt. Ross kept Youngstown plan under cover – even as state board took trip there” by Patrick O’Donnell, The Plain Dealer, July 20, 2015 at

See “Youngstown school district sues to block new CEO and state’s surprise takeover plan” by Patrick O’Donnell, The Plain Dealer, August 21, 2015 at

Boards of education are also reacting negatively to Governor Kasich’s veto of a provision in HB64 (biennial budget) that would have ensured that school districts affected by the phase-down of TPP/PUTPP supplemental payments would received no less funding than in FY15.  The veto means that 116 school districts will receive a cut in state funding in FY17 compared to FY15 (about $84 million).  Some school districts are calling for lawmakers to override the governor’s veto when they return to Columbus in September.

See “Ohio legislature might reverse Gov. Kasich’s school-funding veto” by Jim Siegel, The Columbus Dispatch, August 9, 2015 at–kasichs-school-funding-veto.html

Lawmakers are also expected to take action later this month on HB2 (Dovilla/Roegner), a charter school reform bill that awaits a House response to Senate amendments.  Although the bill seemed to have the support of the Ohio House after Senate approval on June 25, 2015, House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger and Senate President Keith Faber decided that the bill needed to be reviewed by a conference committee.

See “Ohio lawmakers stall on charter-school reform after they hurried through school choice bill”, by Doug Livingston, The Beacon Journal, June 26, 2015 at



June 2015 – September 5, 2017

  • HB274 (Hagen) Apprenticeship Loan Program:  To create a subprogram of the College Credit Plus Program that permits students to participate in certified apprenticeship programs
  • HB287 (Barnes) Youth Summer Employment:  To require the Director of Development Services to establish a youth summer jobs pledging initiative to increase access to summer employment opportunities for high school and college youth
  • HB299 (Blessing/Rezabek) Custodian-Autism Scholarship:  To permit the temporary, legal, or permanent custodian of a qualified child to apply for an Autism Scholarship
  • HB308 (Duffey/Stinziano) Textbooks-Tax Exemption:  To exempt from sales and use tax textbooks purchased by post-secondary students
  • HB311 (Schuring) Pension Salary-Percentage:  To base the percentage of an employee’s salary that must be contributed to the State Teachers Retirement System to mitigate the effect of the employee’s participation in an alternative retirement program on the average percentage used to amortize the Retirement System’s unfunded actuarial accrued pension liabilities
  • HB319 (Anielski/Latourette) License Plate Designations:  To create to the “Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools” license plate.
  • HB320 (Anielski) License Plate Designations: To create the “Independence Local Schools” license plate.
  • HB321 (Anielski) License Plate Designations: To create the “North Royalton City Schools” license plate.
  • HB322 (Anielski/Barnes) License Plate Designations: To create the “Orange City Schools” license plate.
  • HB323 (Anielski/Patmon) License Plate Designations: To provide for the issuance of public school district license plates and private school license plates.



New Audit of Charter Schools Released: State Auditor David Yost released on September 3, 2015 a special audit initiated on January 14, 2014 for certain community schools sponsored by the St. Aloysius Orphanage, North Central Ohio Educational Service Center (NCOESC), and the Warren County Educational Service Center.  The special audit reviewed the schools’ organizational structure and operations, management companies, and other organizations that provide services.

According to the press release issued by the Auditor’s Office, the Ohio General Assembly should examine current statutes regarding the organization and operations of community schools, sponsors, and management companies, and do the following:

-Establish defined roles and responsibilities and minimum objective academic and financial standards for sponsors to evaluate proposed schools.

-Examine various methods of structuring relationships among community schools, sponsors, and management companies, and enact laws that would prevent arrangements that might be considered improper conflicts of interest.

Auditors also examined a total of $3,727,830 in expenditures by the schools, and identified $27,315 in unsupported disbursements and $4,802 in findings for recovery issued against two community school directors sponsored by the NCOESC.

See “Charter-school sponsor system is ‘broken,’ Yost says” by Bill Bush, The Columbus Dispatch, September 4, 2015 at


Court Hearing Scheduled in Youngstown Schools Lawsuit: An evidentiary hearing has been set in a lawsuit filed by the Youngstown Board of Education, the Ohio Education Association, and Ohio AFSCME Council 8 against the Ohio Department of Education and Superintendent Richard Ross.  The hearing will be held on September 29, 2015 at the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

The lawsuit seeks a preliminary injunction to block a plan to remove the local board of education in Youngstown as part of a new law, HB70 (Brenner/Driehaus), which revamps the structure of the Academic Distress Commission.


Pro-Public Education Summit Planned:  Bill Phillis, executive director of the Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding (E & A Coalition) reports that Public Education Partners (PEP) has scheduled a Pro-Public Education Summit on Saturday, October 17, 2015 in Columbus. The summit will focus on the national movement to privatize public education.  Details of the event will be announced soon.


School Districts Organize: Over the summer a coalition of 41 schools districts in southwest Ohio announced the formation of the Greater Cincinnati School Advocacy Network, to advocate for more local control and less state and federal involvement in K-12 education.  The school districts are located in Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, and Warren counties.  According to an article in The Cincinnati Enquirer, the network said that state edicts, data collection requirements, and the Ohio Teacher and Principal Evaluation Systems take time and resources away from student learning.

See “Superintendent: State making it ‘nearly impossible’ to teach” by Hannah Sparling, The Enquirer, August 3, 2015 at


Ohio Receives ESEA Waiver Extension: The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) notified the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) on August 21, 2015 that Ohio’s waiver of provisions included in the No Child Left Behind Act, also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), would be extended for one year through the 2015-16 school year.  The ODE had requested a three-year extension, but the USDOE made that contingent on Ohio’s plans to include student growth for all teachers and principals as a significant factor in its teacher and principal evaluations; how Ohio revamps state assessments; and Ohio’s plans to help struggling schools. Interestingly, some of these issues will be moot if Congress reauthorizes ESEA through the Student Success Act (House version) or the Every Child Achieves Act (Senate version.)

See “NCLB Waivers Renewed for Four States” by Lauren Camera, Education Week, August 21, 2015 at


Another Education Advocacy Group Formed: The Columbus Dispatch reported on August 28, 2015 the formation of a new educational nonprofit called FutureReady Columbus.  The new advocacy group combines three local education organizations, KidsOhio, Learn4Life Columbus, and Learning Circle.  The new organization will be led by a board headed by Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman and Cardinal Health Chairman and CEO George Barrett.  The board recently appointed Lillian M. Lowery, the former Maryland State Superintendent of Schools, as president and CEO.  FutureReady Columbus will advocate for early childhood education.

See:  “Former Maryland superintendent to lead local education group”, by Bill Bush, The Columbus Dispatch, August 28, 2015 at


Straight A Fund Limits Projects: The governing authority of the Straight A Fund met on August 28, 2015 and recommended that the program give preference to projects seeking $1 million or less during this biennium.  The fund was reauthorized in HB64 (Smith) Biennial Budget, but includes only $30 million for FY16-17, compared to $250 million for FY14-15.

See “Straight A Board Sets Preference for New Grants of $1 Million or Less” Hannah News, August 28, 2015 at



General Election November 2015: Secretary of State Jon Husted recently released the official ballot titles for the following statewide initiatives appearing on the November 3, 2015 ballot:

-Issue 1:  Creates a bipartisan, public process for drawing legislative districts.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment

Proposed by Joint Resolution of the General Assembly

Proposes to amend several sections of the Constitution of the State of Ohio

-Issue 2:   Anti-monopoly amendment; protects the initiative process from being used for personal economic benefit.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment

Proposed by Joint Resolution of the General Assembly

Proposing to amend Section 1e of Article II of the Constitution of the State of Ohio.

-Issue 3:  Grants a monopoly for the commercial production and sale of marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment

Proposed by Initiative Petition

To add Section 12 of Article XV of the Constitution of the State of Ohio

ResponsibleOhio, the organization that is spear-heading Issue 3, filed a lawsuit with the Ohio Supreme Court on August 27, 2015, challenging the official ballot language approved by the Ballot Board, saying that the language is misleading and inaccurate, and is prejudicial against the issue.

The November 3, 2015 election will also provide voters the opportunity to elect candidates to a number of local offices, including mayors; members of city and village councils; members of boards of trustees; other city and village officers; judges of municipal courts; clerks of courts; township trustees and fiscal officers; and members of city and local boards of education.

Ohio voters might also see local issues on the ballot.

For more information please see “About this Election” at


Judicial Website Launched: The Judicial Voter Education Tool was officially opened on September 1, 2015.  The new website will provide access to information about judicial candidates, videos discussing how the Ohio court system works, and the roles and responsibilities of judges in the various courts.  The website is housed at the University of Akron’s Bliss Institute of Applied Politics.

The website is at



Charter School Law in Washington State Found Unconstitutional: The Washington State Supreme Court ruled on September 4, 2015 that charter schools are unconstitutional in the case League of Women Voters of Washington et al v. State of Washington.

According to The Seattle Times, the ruling is believed to be one of the first of its kind in the country, and overturns a state law narrowly approved in 2012 that allows public money to fund privately operated charter schools.

The 6-3 decision, written by Chief Justice Barbara Madsen, found that charter schools are not “common schools” because they are governed by appointed rather than elected boards of education.  The state’s diversion of money to support charter schools is unconstitutional, because state funds are dedicated to common schools.

According to the decision, “We also disagree with the State’s view that the Act’s remaining provisions are saved because funding “follows the student” and in any event charter schools could be funded out of the state general fund. … The fact that public school money distributions are generally based on per capita student attendance does not mean that common school funds are available for students who do not attend common schools. Where a child is not attending a common school, there can be no entitlement to “an apportionment of the current state school fund, to a credit predicated on attendance of children at such … school.” ….

“In sum, the Charter School Act violates article IX, section 2 [of the Washington State Constitution] because charter schools are not common schools despite the Act’s attempt to so designate them. The Act’s designated funding mechanisms fail, and these provisions are not severable from the remainder of the Charter School Act.” …

The lawsuit was filed in July 2013 by a coalition of organizations, including the Washington Education Association, the League of Women Voters of Washington, El Centro de la Raza, the Washington Association of School Administrators, and individual plaintiffs.

See “Supreme Court:  Charter schools are unconstitutional by John Higgins, The Seattle Times, September 4, 2015 at Washington State’s Supreme Court ruled that charter schools are unconstitutional.

The decision is available at


Will Congress Reauthorize ESEA this Year? Both the U.S. House and Senate approved in July 2015 bills reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) (Elementary and Secondary Education Act – ESEA).  The two competing bills are the Student Success Act H.R. 5 (SSA) approved by the U.S. House, and the Every Child Achieves Act S. 1177 (ECAA), approved by the U.S. Senate.

A conference committee has been proposed to work-out the details of a compromise between the House and Senate versions, but no action has been taken so far.  Contributing to the delay is a hefty agenda facing Congress this fall, including the annual threat of a government shutdown over federal appropriations for the next fiscal year, which begins October 1, 2015; work on an important highway bill; and Senate efforts to block President Obama’s negotiated nuclear treaty with Iran.

Some of the key “sticking points” between the House and Senate versions are expansion of vouchers and charter schools, the federal role in K-12 education, closing the achievement gap among students, national tests, and parental opt-out provisions.

See “About the Upcoming House-Senate ESEA Conference Committee… And One from the Past” by Mercedes Schneider, Huffington Post Blog, July 27, 2015 at


Court Rules that Parents Don’t Have A Fundamental Right to School Choice: The Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis rejected on August 31, 2015 claims by parents in Arkansas that they have a constitutional right to transfer their students to better performing school districts. (Stevenson v. Blytheville School District)

A lower court had dismissed the parents’ complaint last year saying the U.S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee public school choice.

On appeal the Court ruled 2 to 1 that there was no precedent that supported school choice as a fundamental right.

See the decision at



Article Critiques Ohio’s VAM Model: The journal Educational Researcher published a special issue in March 2015 examining value added measures (VAMs) entitled Special Issue of Educational Researcher Examines Value-Added Measures.  See

One of the nine articles in this special issue is of interest to teachers in Ohio, because it focuses on the Education Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS) used statewide in North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee and in many districts.  The authors are Dale Ballou, an Associate Professor of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations at Vanderbilt University and Matthew Springer, Assistant Professor of Public Policy also at Vanderbilt. They draw attention to “some under-appreciated problems” in the design and implementation of EVAAS.  These include taking into account measurement error in teacher assessments, revising teachers’ scores as more information becomes available about their students, and minimizing opportunistic behavior by teachers during roster verification and the supervision of exams.

The authors critique, for example, the EVAAS practice in which teachers’ EVAAS scores change retroactively, as more data become available.  This means that past teacher scores, already used to make high-stakes decisions about teachers, can change over time.

According to the article, “This has confused teachers, who wonder why their value-added score keeps changing for students they had in the past. Whether or not there are sound statistical reasons for undertaking these revisions…revising value-added estimates poses problems when the evaluation system is used for high-stakes decisions. What will be done about the teacher whose performance during the 2013–2014 school year, as calculated in the summer of 2014, was so low that the teacher loses his or her job or license but whose revised estimate for the same year, released in the summer of 2015, places the teacher’s performance above the threshold at which these sanctions would apply? (p. 79).

The authors go on to say, “…a state that [makes] a practice of issuing revised ‘improved’ estimates would appear to be in a poor position to argue that high-stakes decisions ought to be based on initial, unrevised estimates, though in fact the grounds for regarding the revised estimates as an improvement are sometimes highly dubious. There is no obvious fix for this problem, which we expect will be fought out in the courts” (p. 83).

See Ballou, D., & Springer, M. G. (2015). “Using student test scores to measure teacher performance: Some problems in the design and implementation of evaluation systems.” Educational Researcher, 44(2), 77-86. doi:10.3102/0013189X15574904 at


SAT Scores Lowest Level Since 2006: The Washington Post reported on September 3, 2015 about the latest SAT results from the College Board for the Class of 2015.  The report shows that the average SAT score for the Class of 2015 was 1490 out of 2400, down seven points from previous years.  Average scores for all sections of the exam, including critical thinking, reading, math, and writing, have also declined.  Out of 800 points, the average math score declined from 514 in 2011 to 511 in 2015; the average reading score decline from 497 in 2014 to 495 in 2015; and the average writing score declined from 489 in 2011 to 484 in 2015.

According to Nick Anderson of The Washington Post, “The steady decline in SAT scores and generally stagnant results from high schools on federal tests and other measures reflect a troubling shortcoming of education-reform efforts.  The test results show that gains in reading and math in elementary grades haven’t led to broad improvement in high schools, experts say. That means several hundred thousand teenagers, especially those who grew up poor, are leaving school every year unready for college.”

For Ohio, the average SAT score was 1657 out of 2400 with about 11-20 percent of the Class of 2015 taking the test.

See “SAT scores at lowest level in 10 years, fueling worries about high schools” by Nick Anderson, The Washington Post, September 3, 2015 at


ACT Scores Also Flat: ACT Inc., an Iowa-based nonprofit education organization, released on August 24, 2015 its annual report entitled The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2015.  The report examines the progress high school graduates are making toward college readiness based on their scores on the ACT.

This year 59 percent of high school graduates (1.9 million students) took the ACT test, including 91,607 students in Ohio. According to the report, overall high school students have not shown much improvement preparing for college over the past four years.  About 40 percent of graduating high school students who took the ACT exam show a “strong readiness” for college in most subject areas, while 31 percent of students did not meet readiness in any subject area.  White and Asian-American students also outperform other ethnic groups of students.

The ACT Profile Report for Ohio shows that 33 percent of students in Ohio who took the ACT in 2015 met all four ACT College Readiness Benchmark scores:  18 in English; 22 in Math; 22 in Reading; and 23 in Science.  The national average is 28 percent.

The average composite ACT score for Ohio students in 2015 is 22, which is unchanged from 2014, but an increase over 2013.  The national average composite score is 21, which hasn’t changed since 2013.

See: The ACT Profile for Ohio at



National Medal of Arts to be Awarded: OSU art professor Ann Hamilton will be among several recipients of the National Medal of Arts, presented at the White House by President Obama on September 10, 2015. The event will be live streamed at

Professor Hamilton is a native of Lima, Ohio, and studied textile design at the University of Kansas and sculpture at the Yale School of Art, where she earned a master’s degree.

She will be recognized for her contributions as a visual artist, and her multimedia installations, which incorporate unlikely materials and sensory experiences in response to the architecture, social, and historical context of the space or site.  She has also received a Heinz Award, a MacArthur Genius grant, a United States Artist Fellowship, the NEA Visual Arts Fellowship, and the Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship.

See “Ohio State art professor Ann Hamilton to get national medal” by Nancy Gilson & Jack Torry, The Columbus Dispatch, September 4, 2015 at

Other recipients of the National Medal of Arts include John Baldessari, Ping Chong, Miriam Colon, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Sally Field, Stephen King, Meredith Monk, George Shirley, the University Musical Society, and Tobias Wolff.

President Obama will also present the National Humanities Medal to Alice Waters, Larry McMurtry, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, Jhumpa Lahiri. Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Annie Dillard, Clemente Course in the Humanities, Everett L. Fly, Fedwa Malti-Douglas, and Vicki Lynn Ruiz.

Information about this event is available from the National Endowment for the Arts at


New Riffe Exhibition: The Ohio Arts Council (OAC) announced recently that the Riffe Gallery will feature 59 Ohio artists in OAC’s The Inaugural Juried Exhibition, November 5, 2015 through January 9, 2016.

The OAC received over 400 applications for this exhibition, representing a wide range of media, including drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, ceramics, mixed media, and video.   The submissions were juried by Tyler Cann, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus; Petra Kralickova, formerly of Ohio University, Athens; and Marilyn Simmons, SPACES, Cleveland.

An opening reception for the exhibition will be held on November 5, 2015 between 5-7:00 PM at the Riffe Center, 77 South High Street, Columbus. A $1000 Best of Show Award and three Jurors Choice Awards will be presented at that time.

See “Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery Presents The Inaugural Juried Exhibition” by Molly Rutledge McLarty, Ohio Arts Council, September 3, 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 (,Ohio Art Education Association (, Ohio Educational Theatre Association (; OhioDance (, and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (


About OAAE

It is the mission of the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education to ensure that the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. We believe that: * All children in school must have quality arts education provided by licensed arts educators * All Ohioans have the right to expect quality arts education * All arts programs must have adequate resources * All arts and cultural organizations and artists have a critical role in arts education Learn more at
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