Arts on Line Education Update October 26, 2015

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
Joan Platz
October 26, 2015
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

131st Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate have scheduled committee meetings and hearings this week.  The House and Senate education committees are not meeting.

Senate Approves Additional Funds for Some School Districts: The Ohio Senate approved on October 21, 2015 SB208 (Beagle) State Income Tax.

The original bill corrects a provision included in the state’s budget bill, HB64 (Smith), that inadvertently increased income taxes for some small business owners.  In addition, the Senate amended the bill to override one of Governor Kasich’s line-item vetoes in the biennial budget, HB64 (Smith).  The veto eliminated a provision that provided additional state funds to some school districts in FY17 to compensate them for the phase-out of reimbursements for the loss of Tangible Personal Property Taxes (TPP) and Public Utility Tangible Personal Property Taxes (PUTPP).  The amendment restores about 96 percent of the HB64 promised TPP/PUTPP payments plus state aid in FY17 for effected school districts.  The payments total $43 million.

The amendment also changes, beginning in FY18, the remaining TPP/PUTTP reimbursement phase-out payments, limiting school district losses to no more than five-eights of one mill’s worth of local property taxes, rather than two percent of total state and local support for a school district.

The House Ways & Means Committee, chaired by Representative McClain, is considering companion legislation (HB 326 Amstutz/McClain) with similar changes in the TPP reimbursements.  The committee will meet on October 26, 2015 at 1:00 PM in hearing room 116.

Committee Change:  House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger announced last week that Representative Andrew Brenner will become chairman of the House Education Committee.  Representative Brenner, who is currently the vice-chair of the committee, will trade places with the current chair, Representative Hayes, who will become vice-chair.

Tax Policies Reviewed:  The Ohio 2020 Tax Policy Study Commission, co-chaired by Senator Peterson and Representative McClain, met for the first time on October 22, 2015.

The commission was established in the state budget bill, HB64 (Smith), and is charged with reviewing the state’s tax structure and policies, and issuing a report by October 1, 2017.  The charge includes eliminating the personal income tax and adopting a flat tax by 2018; revising the Historical Preservation Tax Credit; and evaluating tax credits and Ohio’s severance tax.

The commission includes Tim Keen, director of the Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM); Senators Bob Peterson (R-Sabina), Scott Oelslager (R-Canton), and Charleta Tavares (D-Columbus); and Representatives Jeff McClain (R-Upper Sandusky), Kirk Schuring (R- Canton), and Jack Cera (D-Bellaire),

Bills Introduced: 

  • HB372 (Phillips) Educational Service Personnel:  Requires city, exempted village, and local school districts to employ, for each 1,000 students, at least five full-time equivalent educational service personnel in specified areas.
  • HB379 (LePore-Hagan) Academic Distress Commission:  To amend sections 3302.10 and 3314.102; to enact sections 3302.037, 3302.101, and 3302.103; and to repeal section 3302.11 of the Revised Code and to amend Section 263.220 of Am. Sub. H.B. 64 of the 131st General Assembly with regard to the operation of academic distress commissions, and to modify the earmarked funding for the establishment of academic distress commissions.
  • SB230 (Schiavoni) Academic Distress Commission:  To amend sections 3302.10 and 3314.102; to enact sections 3302.037, 3302.101, and 3302.103; and to repeal section 3302.11 of the Revised Code and to amend Section 263.220 of Am. Sub. H.B. 64 of the 131st General Assembly with regard to the operation of academic distress commissions and to modify the earmarked funding for the establishment of academic distress commissions.

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Congress Works on the Debt Ceiling: Lawmakers in Washington continue to work on legislation to raise the current limit on borrowing in order to avoid a government default on November 3, 2015.  The current limit on government borrowing is $18.1 trillion dollars. Increasing the borrowing limit will enable the government to meet its obligations to veterans, Social Security recipients, government workers, etc.

See “Congress Dances with the Default Again” by Russell Berman, The Atlantic, October 23, 2015 at

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/10/congress-dances-with-defaultagain/412024/

 

Are Graduation Rates Increasing?: The U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE) reported on October 19, 2015 that the National Center for Education Statistics’ preliminary results for the 2013-14 school year show that high school graduation rates continue to increase, including the graduation rates of students with disabilities, students from low-income families, students learning English, and minority students.

The most recent national graduation rate will be available in the coming months, but the preliminary report shows that the high school graduation rate increased in 36 states; decreased in six states; and stayed the same in 8 states since 2012-13.  Most states also narrowed achievement gaps among students.  Graduation rates in Delaware, Alabama, Oregon, West Virginia, and Illinois increased the most.

Reports about increases in high school graduation rates were met with some skepticism last week after publication of a new report from Achieve LLC.

The Achieve report analyzed 93 diploma options available in 50 states and the District of Columbia for the class of 2014, and determined how many different types of diplomas states offered, and how many of those diplomas met college and career ready requirements (CCR), based on the types of courses students were required to complete to earn a diploma.

The study found that many states do not report the different types of diplomas students can earn, or course requirements for each diploma. Students in Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia must meet CCR, but students in 26 other states have multiple diploma options, and at least one of those options falls short of meeting CCR.  And, only 9 states publicly report the percentage of students earning a CCR level diploma.

According to the report, “For students, and their parents, this variety of diploma offerings can lead to misunderstanding and misinformation about the difference between diploma options and how different diplomas support different postsecondary plans.”

The Achieve report identifies four diplomas that Ohio students can earn:

-The Ohio High School Diploma:  Ohio requires all students to be automatically enrolled into a “default” CCR diploma.  Students must also achieve a passing score on certain assessments (or alternative pathways) to graduate.

However,  students can opt out of the CCR diploma if their parents sign a waiver.  Those students can earn a separate diploma that does not require a CCR course of study.

Ohio students can also earn the following opt-in diplomas:

-Ohio Academic Diploma with Honors:  A college-preparatory curriculum or course sequence aligned with postsecondary admissions requirements that are at the CCR level, but students must individually choose to opt into them.

-Ohio Career-Technical Diploma with Honors:  A college-preparatory curriculum or course sequence aligned with postsecondary admissions requirements that are at the CCR level, but students must individually choose to opt into them.

-Ohio International Baccalaureate Diploma with Honors:  A college-preparatory curriculum or course sequence aligned with postsecondary admissions requirements that are at the CCR level, but students must individually choose to opt into them.

See “States Continue to Improve Graduation Rates, Particularly for Underserved Students”, U.S. Department of Education, October 19, 2015 at

http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/states-continue-improve-graduation-rates-particularly-underserved-students.

See “How the States Got Their Rates” by Achieve, October 19, 2015 at

http://www.achieve.org/how-the-states-got-their-rates

Federal Bill Would Increase Charter School Accountability: The Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Niles) introduced on October 21, 2015 a bill entitled the Charter School Accountability Act to increase transparency and accountability of charter schools.  The bill is a companion of one introduced in the U.S. Senate by Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, also called the Charter School Accountability Act.

The proposed laws respond to questions raised nationally about the accountability of federal charter school grants after the U.S. Department of Education awarded a $71 million five-year grant to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).  The ODE has been involved for the past months in a controversy about charter school accountability, after David Hansen resigned from his position as director of the Office of Quality School Choice and Community Schools at the ODE. The State Board of Education uncovered in July that he had manipulated data to improve charter school sponsor evaluations.

The proposed laws would increase federal oversight of charter schools to prevent fraud through the following:

-Requires charter schools to disclose more financial information and undergo two types of audits.

-Requires charter schools to report data about disciplinary actions, student recruitment, admissions, and retentions.

-Requires that states have performance standards for charter school authorizers, publish data about charter school closures, denials of renewals, and cancelled/closed charters.

-Requires that states have the authority to suspend or revoke a charter school’s authorization based on poor performance or violating policies.

-Requires that states have clear conflict of interest laws for school employees, and establish fiduciary duties for officers, directors, managers, and employees of charter schools.

-Requires charter schools solicit and consider input from parents and community members on how to implement and operate charter schools.

-Requires that entities receiving federal funds submit plans and descriptions detailing community and parent involvement in the planning, opening, and operation of charter schools.

-Requires traditional public schools applying to convert to charter school status, to demonstrate support of the conversion by two-thirds of the families attending the school and two-thirds of the school staff.

-Requires that charter school authorizers provide impact statements and reports on the role charter schools have on the overall schools system, and provide information on student enrollment trends.

See ”Brown, Ryan push federal charter school accountability bills” by Darrel Rowland and Catherine Candisky, The Columbus Dispatch, October 21, 2015 at

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2015/10/21/Brown-ryan-push-federal-charter-school-accountability-bill.html

See http://www.brown.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/brown-introduces-bill-to-strengthen-charter-schools-by-improving-accountability-and-transparency

 

OHIO NEWS

Urban Districts Release Annual Report: The Ohio 8 Coalition, Adrian E. Allison and David Romick co-chairs, released on October 21, 2015 a report that includes annual statistics and highlights of the accomplishments of the major urban school districts in Ohio.

The Ohio 8 Coalition is an alliance of the superintendents and teacher union presidents from the school districts in Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown.

According to the report, Ohio’s urban school districts provide a comprehensive education program for a diverse population of students, representing 108 countries and speaking 95 different languages.  The coalition school districts enroll more than 11 percent of Ohio students statewide (188,335), including 15 percent of the state’s students with disabilities, and 30 percent of the state’s English language learners.

In 2014 90 percent of third grade students in coalition school districts met the reading guarantee to be promoted to fourth grade, and 72 percent of seniors graduated from high school.

The coalition school districts also invested $33 million in preschool opportunities for children.

See “The Ohio 8 Coalition Highlights Recent Accomplishments for Their Unique Community of Students,” The Ohio 8 Coalition, October 21, 2015 at

http://ohio8coalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Ohio-8-Year-at-Glance-Infographic-10-20-15.pdf

 

Columbus to the Classroom: The Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus launched at Eastmoor Academy in Columbus a statewide education tour on October 19, 2015 called “Columbus to the Classroom: Doing our homework on Ohio schools.”

The Senate Democrats, led by Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni and Assistant Minority Leader Charleta Tavares, will use the tour to gather information from students, parents, and community members around the state to develop recommendations to improve K-12 education.  The tour is already scheduled to meet community members in Akron, Cincinnati, and Washington Township.  Some of the issues that the Democrats hope to gather feedback about include the academic distress commission to be implemented in Youngstown, adequate and equitable funding for school districts, testing, open enrollment, charter schools, etc.

See http://www.doingourhomeworkoh.org/ .

 

Guidelines for Charter School and STEM Facilities Grants Move Forward: Hannah News reported last week that the Ohio School Facilities Commission approved guidelines for new grant programs to help charter schools and STEM schools finance school buildings.  Both programs were included in the state’s budget bill, Sub. HB64 (Smith).

The Community School Classroom Facilities grants would provide up to $25 million for “high quality” charter schools to finance up to half of the total project costs for school facilities.  The grant application will be available in 2016, and awards will be granted by June 2016.

The STEM School Facilities Assistance Program would provide qualifying STEM partnerships up to 50 percent of state funds to construct facilities for a STEM program.

See “Facilities Panels Outline Process for Charter School Grants, Review Master Prisons Plan”, Hannah News, October 22, 2015 at

http://www.hannah.com/ShowDocument.aspx?HRID=6636

 

SBE Defeats Resolution to Release Documents: The State Board of Education (SBE), Tom Gunlock president, voted 10-3 with four abstentions on October 20, 2015 to withhold documents requested by Auditor Dave Yost in his investigation of the Ohio Department of Education’s evaluation of charter school sponsors.  Board member Stephanie Dodd introduced the resolution to provide Auditor Yost with the requested documents, but several board members objected, citing attorney-client privilege.  The requested documents include redacted information that Auditor Yost believes is necessary to conclude a state audit of the Ohio Department of Education.

See “State board of education votes to keep records from Yost,” by Catherine Candisky, The Columbus Dispatch, October 21, 2015 at http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2015/10/20/state-school-board-yost-records.html

 

REPORTS

Report Examines Charter School Federal Grants: The Wisconsin-based Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), Lisa Graves executive director, released on October 21, 2015 a report that examines federal grants awarded to charter schools in 12 states through the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter Schools Program State Education Agency Grants (CSP).

The report is entitled Charter School Black Hole:  CMD Special Investigation Reveals Huge Info Gap on Charter Spending.  The report includes information about federal charter school grants in the states of California, Texas, Florida, Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, Colorado, New York, Utah, Wisconsin, Indiana, and the District of Columbia.

According to the report, CMD researchers found that the federal government has spent $3.7 billion on charter schools since 1995.

Obtaining this information was not easy.  Researchers had to make multiple open records requests to state and federal government agencies, and for-profit and non profit private entities that operate charter schools.  Some states, organizations, and agencies, including Governor Kasich’s office in Ohio, did not respond to the records request by the publication date of the report.

Researchers also found it difficult to sort through grants that had been awarded to charter schools that later closed, and grants awarded to “ghost” schools that had never opened.

As a result, researchers have concluded that, “…neither the federal government nor the states have created a place taxpayers can go to see how much in taxes are going to each charter…”  There is no list of charter schools that received the federal grants; no list of how federal grant money was used to support “high quality charter schools”; and no list of charter school authorizers that received the grants.

The report also notes that little is known about how charter schools spent federal and state tax dollars, because of the lax laws governing charter school accountability, and the lack of a democratically elected school board to oversee charter school operations.

The report provides information about the CSP grants in the 12 states and District of Columbia, including charter school closures, ghost schools, and how much grant support charter schools received.

The report for Ohio shows that researchers found that, “Between 2007-2012, $32.6 million was paid to subgrantees, and more than $4.6 million went to schools that later closed or never opened. Out of the 88 schools funded with the CSP grant money, at least 15 closed within a few years and four of them never opened, although more than $150k was approved for them.”

Of those schools that remained open after receiving the grant, 51 percent received Ds and Fs for the performance index on the 2014 state report card.  The report also notes that Ohio charters spend more than twice as much money on administration as public schools, and allocate $1000 less per student each year on classroom instruction, when compared to traditional public schools.

Overall Ohio has been awarded $195 million in CSP grants between 2004-2015, including a $32 million grant awarded to the DOE in September 2015, with additional funding ($71 million) possible over five years.

According to the CMD report, the grant application for this latest Ohio grant was prepared and submitted in July 2015 to the U.S. DOE by David Hansen, former director of the Office of Quality School Choice and Community Schools at the Ohio Department of Education, and a former employee of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA).

The grant application states that Ohio will partner with the NACSA to provide training to charter school authorizers at a cost of $40,000 per year.  The report notes that emails show that NACSA assisted in the preparation of Ohio’s grant application, and submitted a letter in support of Ohio’s application to the US DOE, knowing that it would benefit financially if Ohio received the award.

David Hansen left the ODE in July 2015 after admitting to the State Board of Education that he had omitted certain data from the evaluations of charter school sponsors in order to make the evaluations look better.

The CMD report also includes the following recommendations to increase transparency and information about federal grants to support charter schools:

-Require the U.S. DOE to publish annually a list of all charter schools that were awarded federal CSP SEA or other program grants, and the amount of the grant.

-Require states that participate in the CSP to annually publish on their website information about how charter schools spend federal grant money.

-Require the U.S. DOE to collect and disseminate information about the status of charter schools that receive grants.

-Require the U.S. DOE to diversify the qualifications of grant reviewers to include educators or administrators from traditional public schools and school boards in the pool of evaluators.

-Require the U.S. ODE to provide public notice when a state education agency has applied for a CSP grant, and allow sufficient time for the public to comment.

See “Charter School Black Hole” – CMD Special Investigation Reveals Huge Info Gap on Charter Spending” by The Center for Media and Democracy, October 2015 at

http://www.prwatch.org/files/new_charter_school_black_hole_report_oct_21_2015.pdf

 

Report Finds Too Much Testing: The Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS), Michael Casserly executive director, released on October 24, 2015 a two-year study that examines testing in 66 urban school districts in America.

The study is entitled Student Testing in America’s Great City Schools:  An Inventory and Preliminary Analysis.  The study is based on the findings of a survey of CGCS members and assessment practices conducted in the spring of 2014.  The report focuses on an analysis and review of the data, including the types of assessments being administered, who mandated those assessments, the results of the assessments, and how the results are being used.

The study found that “…the average amount of time devoted to taking mandated tests during the 2014-15 school year (i.e., tests that were required for every child in a designated grade) was 4.21 days or 2.34 percent of school time for the average 8th grader—the grade with the most mandated testing time.”

In addition to mandated tests, students also spent time on sample tests, optional tests, program tests, test preparation, and classroom tests.

Many of the required exams are administered during a two- to three-month period in the second semester, and overlap with tests associated with a program and end-of-course exams, contributing to the redundancy in testing.

Four out of 10 districts reported having to wait between two and four months before receiving their state test results, meaning the results had limited utility to inform instructional practices.

The study also found that the amount of money that school districts spend on testing is considerable, but constitutes less than one percent of their overall budgets.

One of the most startling findings is that there is “…no correlation between mandated testing time and reading and math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). In other words, there’s no evidence that adding test time improves academic performance.”

The following are some of the preliminary recommendations on testing offered by the CGCS:

  • Retain Congressional requirements for states to test all students in reading and math annually in grades 3-8 and once in high school, but require that test results be returned faster.
  • Revisit or clarify the U.S. Department of Education’s policy on having student test scores for every teacher’s evaluation, and the requirement for Student Learning Objectives in untested grades and subjects.
  • Revisit U.S. DOE testing policies regarding students who are learning English and students with disabilities.
  • Review the amount and type of tests at the local level, and curtail tests that yield similar results.
  • Assess the technical quality, usage, and alignment of tests with state standards.
  • Implement assessments that can serve multiple purposes.

The study concludes, “In short, there are many reasons educators have found themselves saddled with the unwieldy, at times illogical, testing system that we have today. And it will take considerable effort to recreate something more intelligent.”

See “Student Testing in America’s Great City Schools:  An Inventory and Preliminary Analysis,” The Council of the Great City Schools, October 24, 2015 at

http://www.cgcs.org/cms/lib/DC00001581/Centricity/Domain/87/Testing%20Report.pdf

See “Testing in schools is “beyond reason” urban educators find, and should be cut back”, by Patrick O’Donnell, The Plain Dealer, October 24, 2015 at

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2015/10/testing_in_schools_is_beyond_r.html#incart_story_package

 

FYI ARTS

“Spotlight” Program Highlights Ohio Artists: The work of Ohio artists is featured four times a year in a program created by First Lady Karen Kasich in partnership with the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) called “Spotlight: Featured Artists at the Ohio Governor’s Residence”.

This quarter, through December, the work of mixed media artist Beverly Whiteside will be on display at the Governor’s Residence.  Her work focuses on the daily life of contemporary and historical African Americans.

Free tours of the Governor’s Residence and Gardens (including artwork) can be arranged by calling 614/644-7644.

Ohio artists interested in submitting work for consideration should contact OAC Individual Artist Program Director Ken Emerick for further details.

See http://www.oac.state.oh.us/events/spotlight/default.asp

First Lady Karen Kasich also announced on October 22, 2015 the Ohio State Fair youth artists selected for the “Spotlight” exhibit at the Governor’s Residence.

The winners include,

-Heidi Gui, Eli Pinney Elementary School, Delaware County for her painting “Nap”

  • Henry Hess, St. Timothy’s School, Franklin County, for his oil slick, “Birds Quiet Monsters”
  • Jacqueline Tu, Dublin Coffman High School, Dublin, OH, for her watercolor, “Sibling Love.”

See http://www.ohiostatefair.com/osf/downloadbooks/results/2015/youth_arts.pdf


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 theOhio Alliance for Arts Education (www.oaae.net).

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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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