Arts on Line Education Update October 5, 2015

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
Joan Platz 
October 5, 2015



This October marks the 30th anniversary of National Arts & Humanities Month, a time to celebrate the impact of the arts on our lives and nation.  President Obama commemorated the occasion with a Presidential Proclamation, stating that “…this month, we recognize the ways the arts and humanities have forever changed our country, and we recommit to ensuring every American has the opportunity and the freedom to question, discover, and create.”

To celebrate National Arts & Humanities Month, Americans for the Arts recommends the following to promote the arts in our communities:

  • Organize and Promote a Local Arts Event: Two resources available through Americans for the Arts, the New Community Visions Workbook and the Creative Conversations Resources, provide everything needed to engage a large or small group of friends, neighbors, or colleagues in conversations about how the arts can strengthen communities.
  • Help Spread the Word: Urge state and local officials to issue proclamations celebrating National Arts and Humanities Month in local communities.  Sample proclamations are available from Americans for the Arts.
  • Sign the Petition: Americans for the Arts is sponsoring a national petition to urge members of Congress to retain arts-friendly provisions in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  A House/Senate conference committee is expected to reconcile two bills, the Senate’s Every Child Achieves Act (S.1177) and the House’s Student Success Act (H.R. 5), to reauthorize ESEA.  Combined, the two bills contain 13 arts-friendly provisions, including one that would retain the arts as a core academic subject.  The petition is available at

For more ideas about ways to celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month see



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

The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Hayes, will meet on October 6, 2015 at 9:00 AM in Hearing Room 017.  The committee will receive testimony on the following bills:

-HB192 (Rogers-Perales) Safety Enhancement Standards:  Requires the State Board of Education to adopt rules prescribing standards for safety enhancements for new public and non public school facilities, and requires the Ohio School Facilities Commission to revise its construction and design standards to comply with the State Board’s standards.

-HB160 (Devitis) Textbooks-Higher Education:  With regard to the selection, availability, and purchase of textbooks that are required for a course offered by any state institution of higher education.

-HB299 (Blessing-Rezabek) Custodian-Autism Scholarship:  Permits the temporary, legal, or permanent custodian of a qualified child to apply for an Autism Scholarship.

-HB148 (Patterson-LaTourette) Classroom Facilities Assistance:  Requires the Ohio School Facilities Commission to provide classroom facilities assistance to a school district resulting from the consolidation of two or more school districts, or from the voluntary transfer of the entire territory of a school district, if specified conditions are satisfied.

The Conference Committee on Sub. HB2 (Dovilla-Roegner) Charter School Reform, will meet on October 6, 2015 at 2:00 PM in Hearing Room 313.  A vote is expected.


House Welcomes Two New Members: The Ohio House welcomed two new members on September 30, 2015.  Taking the oath of office were former Ottawa County Commissioner Steven Arndt (R), to fill the vacant 89th House District seat formerly held by Representative Steve Kraus (R-Sandusky), and John Boccieri (D), who takes over the 59th Ohio District, replacing Representative Ron Gerberry.

Representative Arndt has served as an Ottawa County commissioner for 27 years, and has experience with the Area Office on Aging, the Port Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce, and other local government entities.

Representative Boccieri is a former member of the Ohio House, Senate, and U.S. Congress.

  • Senate Action: The Ohio Senate passed on September 30, 2015 HB39 (Duffey) School-Camp Inhaler Permit.  The bill allows schools and camps to procure and use a metered dose inhaler or dry powdered inhaler to alleviate asthmatic symptoms.
  • House Action: The Ohio House approved on September 30, 2015 HB92 (Hagan) Schools Employees-Sexual Conduct.  The bill prohibits an employee of a public or non public school or institution of higher education from engaging in sexual conduct with a minor at least four years younger than the employee.
  • Update on HB2 (Dovilla-Roegner): Last week House Democrats urged House Republicans to concur on Sub. HB2 (Dovilla-Roegner) Charter School Reforms.  The bill was approved by the Ohio Senate unanimously on June 25, 2015.

But House leaders continued to say that a conference committee was necessary to clarify several provisions in the bill, including the following:

-proposed changes in the sponsor evaluation

-changes in the process that the ODE uses to approve its own charter school sponsors

-the time line for ineffective and poorly-rated sponsors to improve

-compensation for governing authority members; the definition of sponsor “monitoring, oversight, and technical assistance”

-reporting sponsor expenditures

-changes for the position of fiscal officer

-benchmarks for dropout recovery schools

-accountability provisions for blended learning schools.

As a result, the House failed to concur with the Senate amendments.  The vote was 58-34, with all Democrats and Republicans Kristina Roegner (one of the co-sponsor of the bill), John Becker, and Jim Butler voting for concurrence.

The bill now moves to a conference committee for consideration. Conferees from the House are Representatives Bill Hayes (R), Ron Amstutz (R), and Teressa Fedor (D).  Senate members are Senators Peggy Lehner (R), Cliff Hite (R), and Tom Sawyer (D).  The HB2 Conference Committee is meeting on October 6, 2015, and a final vote on Sub. HB2 is expected next week.

Bills Introduced:

-HB346 (Brenner) Per pupil State Funding:  To require that each city, local, and exempted village school district receive a per-pupil amount of state funding that is at least as much as the statewide per pupil amount paid for chartered nonpublic schools in Auxiliary Services funds and for administrative cost reimbursement.

-HB350 (Grossman-Terhar) Autism Treatment-Coverage:  Mandates coverage of autism treatment.



Another Government Shutdown Avoided:  The pattern is familiar after so many years of last minute budget negotiations and temporary fixes.  Once again the U.S. government averted a shutdown on September 30, 2015.  The U.S. Senate and House approved a continuing resolution on September 30, 2015 to keep the government operating based on the current federal budget plan until December 11, 2015.  President Obama signed the bill into law immediately.  Congress and the president now have about 10 weeks to approve a federal budget for FY16.  However, with the resignation of House Speaker Boehner to take effect on October 30, 2015, a new Republican-led leadership team in the U.S. House will take over the negotiations, complicating an already difficult situation.


Arne Duncan Announces Resignation: U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan submitted his letter of resignation to President Obama on October 2, 2015. He will be leaving the position in December 2015.   President Obama has appointed as “acting secretary” John King, Jr., the former State Superintendent in New York, and currently the deputy secretary of education at the U.S. DOE.



House Approves Perkins: The U.S. House approved on September 28, 2015 a bill to extent the federal Perkins Loan Program by one year, H.R. 3594, the Higher Education Extension Act of 2015.The bill failed to get unanimous consent in the Senate on September 30, 2015, but could be considered again, or folded into the federal budget bill, which must be approved by December 11, 2015.

The Perkins Loan Program provides federal loans averaging about $2000 to more than half a million students each year. Some lawmakers believe that the program needs to be restructured as part of an overhaul of the federal student loan/grant programs.



Public Education Matters Summit on October 17th: Public Education Partners will host a summit entitled “Public Education Matters” on October 17, 2015 from 9:30-2:30 PM at John Sells Middle School, 150 W. Bridge Street in Dublin, Ohio. Registration costs $15.00 and includes lunch.

The summit will feature a key note address from Stephen Dyer from Innovation Ohio; closing remarks from Tom Dunn, Superintendent of Miami County ESC; and break-out sessions about parents’ rights about testing, charter schools in Ohio, and the Youngstown restructuring plan included in HB70.

Registration is available at image 1


Update November 3, 2015 Election: According to the Ohio Secretary of State’s web site, this November 3, 2015 Ohio voters will be selecting mayors, members of city councils, members of boards of education, judges and clerks of municipal courts, township trustees, and making decisions about three statewide ballot issues and a total of 1,734 local issues, including school issues.

The deadline to register to vote for the November 3, 2015 General Election is Monday, October 5, 2015.  Ohio voters may begin casting absentee ballots on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 (first day after the close of registration) in-person and by mail.



Ohio Awarded Charter School Grant In Spite of Data Irregularities: The U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE) announced on September 28, 2015 that seven states and the District of Columbia will receive $334 million over the next five years in federal grants for expanding charter schools through the federal Charter Schools Program.  The states include Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Oregon, Nevada, South Carolina, the District of Columbia, and Ohio, which will receive the top award of $71 million, with $32 million awarded the first year of the five-year grant.

According to the Akron Beacon Journal (ABJ), the U.S. DOE gave Ohio a perfect score on the grant application for “High Quality Authorizing and Monitoring Processes”.  This came in spite of the fact that in July 2015 David Hansen, the former ODE head of the Office of School Choice Quality Assurances, resigned after the State Board of Education learned that he had left out the results of e-schools on the state evaluations of charter school sponsors, thereby raising their ratings, and qualifying them for additional state funding.

The ABJ also reported that Hansen was involved in the preparation of the documents for the U.S. DOE Charter School Program grants.  These documents portray charter schools in Ohio in a positive light, even though Ohio State Auditor Dave Yost found irregularities regarding attendance at some charter schools, and two independent reports described the dismal academic performance of charter schools in Ohio.  The reports were published by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes, (CREDO) at Stanford University, and Bellwether Education Partners.

According to the ABJ the charter school grant will be used to “facilitate the takeover of the Youngstown city schools and other targeted urban districts.”  That statement was confirmed by Elaine Quesinberry, the U.S. DOE press secretary, who said that the intent of the grant is to support startup charter schools in areas of academic distress. “Only two, Youngstown and Lorain, currently fit that description” reports the ABJ.

-See “U.S. Department of Education Contributes to an Improving Charter Schools Sector”, U.S. Department of Education, September 28, 2015 at

-See “Ohio official who manipulated charter-school data helped win federal grant to take over public schools,” by Doug Livingston, The Akron Beacon Journal, September 29, 2015 at

-See “From ‘Wild West to $71 million, or what federal officials missed about charter schools in Ohio,” Editorial Board, The Akron Beacon Journal, October 3, 2015 at

In related articles, Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan requested in a letter last week to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan that the U.S. Department of Education put “stringent restrictions” on the distribution of the $71 million federal grant to expand charter schools in Ohio.

-See the Statement by Congressman Tim Ryan at

Gongwer News Service reported on October 2, 2015 that Ohio Senate Democrats requested that the ODE withhold Charter School Program grant funding from e-schools, because of their consistent poor academic results.

-See “Education Notes: Senate Democrats Ask ODE To Withhold Grant Money” Gongwer News Service at Gongwer

Similar requests have been made by the Ohio Education Association, Innovation Ohio, and ProgressOhio, according to Hannah News, because there is concern about the ability of the ODE to fairly monitor and oversee charter schools.

-See “Ohio among Winners in Latest Round of Federal Charter School Grants”, Hannah News, September 29, 2015 at

Patrick O’Donnell of The Plain Dealer also wrote last week, “Though the grant is designed to expand high quality charter schools across the state over the next five years, critics are howling that the department will be allowed to choose who receives the money when it couldn’t follow the law in charter school oversight evaluations.”

-See “Ohio wins $71 million charter school expansion grant, drawing pride and distrust,” by Patrick O’Donnell, The Plain Dealer, October 1, 2015 at

According to The Columbus Dispatch, State Auditor David Yost also expressed his dismay over the selection of Ohio to receive the Charter Schools Program grant.  He pledged that his office would be involved in “active observation” to be sure that the federal funds are not misspent.

-See “Auditor ‘shocked’ by $71 million grant for charter schools, by Bill Bush, The Columbus Dispatch, October 3, 2015 at


U.S. DOE Recognizes Ohio’s Blue Ribbon Schools: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced on September 29, 2015 the selection of 335 schools (285 public and 50 private) across the country as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2015.  The schools were selected based on overall academic excellence, or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. The following fourteen schools in Ohio were selected for this honor:

-Amherst Junior High School, Amherst Exempted Village School District, Exemplary High Performing Public

-Fairview Middle School, Central Local Schools, Exemplary Gap Closing, Public

-Goshen High School, Goshen Local Schools, Exemplary Gap Closing, Public

-Hamilton Township High School, Hamilton Local Schools, Exemplary High Performing, Public

-Hilltop Elementary School, Beachwood City School District, Exemplary High Performing, Public

-Lynchburg-Clay Elementary School, Lynchburg-Clay, Local School District, Exemplary Gap Closing, Public – Title I School

-Maplewood Middle School, Maplewood Local School District, Exemplary High Performing, Public – Title I School

-R. F. McMullen Elementary School, Loudonville-Perrysville Exempted Village School District, Exemplary High Performing, Public – Title I School

-Ross High School, Ross Local School District, Exemplary High Performing, Public

-Saint Agatha Catholic School, Columbus Catholic School, Exemplary High Performing, Private

-Shawnee Maplewood Elementary School, Shawnee Local School District, Exemplary High Performing, Public – Title I School

-South Side Middle School, Columbiana Exempted Village School District, Exemplary High Performing, Public

-Westerly Elementary School, Bay Village City Schools, Exemplary High Performing, Public – Title I School

-Wyoming Middle School, Wyoming City Schools, Exemplary High Performing, Public


Straight A Fund Sets Timeline: The Straight A Fund Governing Board, Alex Fischer chair, met on September 28, 2015 and agreed to a timeline for reviewing and awarding applications for FY16.  The fund has $15 million to distribute in FY16 and $15 million FY17.  Applications will be available starting in November 19, 2015 – December 1, 2015, and awards will be distributed January or February.

The ODE posted on its web site grant guidance and other information about the grant. The ODE plans to offer webinars and regional trainings and seminars for interested applicants.




Higher Education Report Released: The Ohio Task Force on Affordability and Efficiency in Higher Education, chaired by Geoff Chatas, released on October 1, 2015 its report to Governor Kasich and members of the Ohio General Assembly.  Governor Kasich appointed the 8-member task force in February 2015 to identify savings and efficiencies to make higher education more affordable in Ohio.

The report found that the average cost of tuition and fees for students to attend a four-year college in Ohio is 14 percent higher than the national average, and 17 percent higher than the national average for students who attend a two-year institution of higher education.  The amount of debt students in Ohio incur is also higher than the national average.

The report recommends that colleges and universities implement five-year efficiency plans and report how they are reducing costs for students.  Some of the strategies to save money include privatization of services, joint equipment purchases, making better deals on textbooks and other purchases, and ensuring that students graduate on time.  When colleges and universities save money, they should pass the savings on to students.

See “Action Steps to Reduce College Costs”, the Ohio Task Force on Affordability and Efficiency, October 1, 2015 at


Report Finds Association Between Education Spending and Outcomes: An article in EducationNext reports that increased school spending is linked to improved student outcomes, especially for low-income students.  The article is written by researchers C. Kirabo Jackson, associate professor of human development and social policy at Northwestern University; Rucker C. Johnson, associate professor of public policy at University of California, Berkeley; and Claudia Persico, a doctoral candidate at Northwestern University.

Previous national studies have reported little association between school resources and student outcomes.  The researchers in this study, however, identified the limitations in the previous studies, and adjusted for them.  For example, the researchers examined the effects of school spending on long-term outcomes, such as educational attainment, wages, and family income, rather than focusing on test scores. They also made adjustments in the study for compensatory policies that bias analyses of the effects of school spending.

According to the authors, “Our findings provide compelling evidence that money does matter, and that additional school resources can meaningfully improve long-run outcomes for students.”

See “Boosting Education Attainment and Adult Earnings:  Does school spending matter after all?” by C. Kirabo Jackson, Rucker C. Johnson, and Claudia Persico, EducationNext, Fall 2015 at


More Schools Focus on Design: Mark Urycki writes for StateImpact Ohio that Ohio students who are studying the arts are learning more about the design process and applying its principles to solve real world problems.  More and more arts teachers are introducing students to web design, game design, industrial design, fashion design, etc. as part of the arts curriculum, based on Ohio’s standards for arts education.

According to the article, schools in Europe have been emphasizing the design process in their arts curriculum for years.  In Scandinavian countries, for example, courses in the arts and crafts are part of the traditional public school education, because employment in textiles and wood is a bedrock of Nordic culture and economy.

More schools in China are teaching students design according to Richard Buchanan, a professor of design at Case Western Reserve University.  He has been working with schools in Wuxi, China to implement a curriculum in which students are engaged and exploring ways to be more creative.

At the STEAMM Academy @ Hartford Middle School in Canton, 8th grade teacher Kathy Pugh incorporates the arts in all subject areas.  She engages students in design projects that have real world applications, such as creating a new sign for a local business.

Unfortunately, the author writes, “This kind of multi-disciplinary art class is practiced in several Ohio schools but is not common.”

More superintendents need to recognize that an education in the arts is not a “frill”, but an essential part of a complete curriculum, in which students learn the skills that they need to be competitive and creative in the world economy.

See “Art Teachers Include Design to Connect Pupils to Their World” by Mark Urycki, StateImpact Ohio, October 2, 2015 at


Warren Selected for Kennedy Center Arts Program: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced on September 30, 2015 the selection of Warren, Ohio as the 20th site and the first school district in Ohio to participate in Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child program.  The program includes a long-range arts education plan for students in grades K-8, incorporating existing resources of the Warren City Schools, local arts organizations, and the Kennedy Center. Students Motivated by the Arts (SMARTS) will serve as the lead arts organization for Any Given Child Warren, and executive director Becky Keck will serve as the coordinator.

See “Warren school district first in Ohio chosen for Kennedy Center Program,” by Denise Dick,, October 1, 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 theOhio 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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