Arts on Line Education Update November 16, 2015

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
November 16, 2015
Joan Platz


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

The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Brenner, will meet on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 at 9:30 AM in Hearing Room 313.  The committee will receive testimony on HB113 (Grossman-Manning) CPR Graduation Requirement and HB212 (Thompson) Academic Standards-Curricula.  This bill includes provisions that address state assessments, statewide academic content standards and model curricula, and teacher and administrator evaluations.

HB299 Reported: The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Brenner, reported out HB299 (Blessing-Rezabek) Custodian-Autism Scholarship on November 10, 2015.  The bill would permit the temporary, legal, or permanent custodian of a qualified child to apply for an Autism Scholarship.

Bills to Support a Complete Curriculum Introduced:

SB241 (LaRose) Educational Professionals-Employment:  Senator Frank LaRose (R-Copley) introduced on November 10, 2015 SB241 Education Professionals-Employment.  The bill addresses, to some extent, the elimination of the educational service personnel ratios (Rule 3301-35-05(A)(4)) from Operating Standards by the State Board of Education in April 2015. SB241 is co-sponsored by Senators Burke, Gardner, Uecker, Tavares, and Yuko, and would do the following:

  • Requires that school districts provide students in grades K-12 with an education that includes fine arts, music, and physical education, and the comprehensive services of counselors, librarians or library media specialists, school nurses, and school social workers.

This provision is aligned to ASCD’s Global Recommendations for 2015 initiative.  This national movement advocates that states implement a comprehensive education system that includes student access to a well-rounded education in all subject areas; social emotional learning; health, mental health, and counseling services; and necessary supports to ensure student success.  The initiative also advocates for a more comprehensive accountability system for schools based on multiple measures of performance, including student achievement in all subjects taught and nonacademic factors that affect the conditions of learning.

  • Allows school districts to employ education professionals to provide the aforementioned courses and services, including counselor, librarian or library media specialist, school nurse, school social worker, teacher of fine arts, music teacher, physical education teacher.
  • Requires that the teachers employed in these positions hold Ohio teaching licenses in the appropriate subject area and grade level in the areas in which the person is teaching, and requires that each person assigned to any other position hold the appropriate content area or specialty certification or license required by the state board for that purpose.

This provision would ensure that school districts employ qualified individuals in these positions.

  • Requires the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to report on the state report card for the 2015-16 school year the number of licensed teachers employed in fine arts, music, physical education, and as counselors, school nurses, school social workers, and librarians/media specialists for each one thousand students.

This provision would provide parents and other taxpayers with more information about the types of courses and services available in a school district, and the qualifications of the teachers and service providers.

Researchers, stakeholders, and policy makers will have new data to better evaluate educational programs and services in school districts, and can use this information to recommend ways for school districts to become more effective and efficient.

  • Requires the ODE to recognize school districts that employ a minimum of five professional educators out of the seven categories per 1,000 students.

The intent of this provision is to provide an incentive for school districts to continue to provide comprehensive services and a complete curriculum for students, but still provide school districts with some flexibility in meeting this requirement.

All school districts that were complying with former Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) Rule 3301-35-05(A)(4), as of April 2015, should receive a recognition for meeting these criteria, unless the school districts eliminated these positions.

Next Steps:  Arts education advocates will be asked to support SB241 (LaRose) in the coming months by seeking the support of lawmakers in both the Senate and House and members of the State Board of Education; urging local Boards of Education to adopt resolutions supporting the bill; identifying key leaders in local communities and within the arts community to support the bill; and working with stakeholders to implement a campaign to secure passage of the bill.

See more information about the bill at


HB372 (Phillips) Educational Service Personnel:  Representative Debbie Phillips (D-Albany) introduced on October 26, 2015 HB372 Educational Service Personnel.  The bill has eight co-sponsors:  Representatives Ashford, Fedor, Grossman, Lepore-Hagan, Patterson, Rogers, Smith, K., and Sykes.

This bill requires, rather than recommends, that school districts employ a minimum number of “educational service personnel” (ESP) per 1000 students in the regular student population in five of nine, rather than five out of seven, categories.  The two additional categories are instructors for limited English proficient students and instructors in technology.

Compared to SB241 the bill does not require that educational service personnel hold appropriate licenses or certification in the nine categories; does not require the ODE to report this data on the state report card; and does not require the ODE to recognize school districts that meet this standard.

And, increasing the number of ESP categories from seven to nine, means that school districts could comply with the law, but not provide services to students in four out of nine categories, rather than in two out of seven categories, which would be the case in SB241.

It should be noted, however, that the ODE recognition would probably not be needed as an incentive for school districts to employ educational professionals, because school districts would be required by law to employ five out of nine ESP categories per 1000 students.

And, the requirement that educational service personnel hold appropriate licenses and certification is already included in Ohio Administrative Code Rules 3301-35-01 (13a-c) and 3301-35-05(A)(3) Faculty and staff focus, although not for the same categories.

The State Board of Education also approved Resolution 17 in April 2015, directing the Accountability Committee to develop a method to report educational service personnel on the report card, including the total number of educational service personnel and the number per 1000 students or less by 2015-2016.

See more information about the bill at


Editorial Supports An Independent State Superintendent: The Editorial Board of the Cleveland Plain Dealer urged on November 14, 2015 that the State Board of Education find an “independent, transparent and unbiased leader” to replace retiring State Superintendent Richard Ross.

According to the editorial, Dr. Ross has been one of the most “political state superintendents in recent memory”, which “has not been in the best interests of Ohio students in either traditional public or charter schools.”

The recent appointment of an eight-member search committee for a new superintendent by SBE President Tom Gunlock, suggests that the political divisions on the State Board will continue, and there will be little chance for an independent superintendent to be selected.  The search committee includes four members who were appointed by Governor Kasich, plus three other Republican ex-officio members, and only one elected board member, Roslyn Painter-Goffi, who is a Democrat.

See “Wanted: An independent Ohio state school superintendent: editorial”, Cleveland Plain Dealer, November 14, 2015 at


Editorial Supports Inclusive Process to Develop Gifted Standards:  The Editorial Board of The Columbus Dispatch on November 14, 2015 urged the State Board of Education to engage in an “open and inclusive effort as the state rewrites standards that govern gifted education in the public schools.”

According to the editorial, advocates for gifted students believe that the recent draft of proposed Operating Standards for Identifying and Serving Gifted Students (Rule 3301-51-15), submitted to the State Board’s Achievement Committee in September 2015, is inadequate and doesn’t reflect what experts in the field of gifted education recommend.  In an effort to provide school districts with greater flexibility and local control, the proposed standards remove all staffing, service, and accountability provisions.

The editorial states that, “Ohio has shortchanged gifted students for years. The new standards are an opportunity to do better. But this requires listening to the experts and heeding public concerns.”

See “Careful with gifted policy:  Standards for brightest students need full and open discussion,” The Columbus Dispatch, November 14, 2015 at


Update On the Youngstown Distress Commission: State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Richard Ross, announced on November 13, 2015 the appointment of three members to the HB70 Academic Distress Commission (ADC) for Youngstown.  The appointees are Laura Meeks, former president of Eastern Gateway Community College; Jennifer Roller, president of the Raymond John Wean Foundation; and Brian Benyo, president of the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition and a member Governor Kasich’s Executive Workforce Board.

Youngstown Mayor John McNally appointed to the commission on November 12, 2015 Barbara Brothers, a retired dean of Youngstown State University and member of the League of Women Voters of Ohio.

President of the Youngstown Board of Education, Brenda Kimble, appointed to the commission Carol Staten, a part-time administrator and retired principal, on November 13, 2015.  The appointment is being criticized by the Youngstown Education Association, which recommended that a current teacher be appointed to the ADC as prescribed in HB70.

The new ADC model was amended into HB70 (Brenner-Driehaus), after little debate in the Senate and House in June 2015.  Opponents of the ADC model have called for the law to be repealed and have filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law.  The ADC has the authority to appoint a CEO to take full operational control of a poor performing school district under state oversight.


Pay to Play Hearings: Senator Cliff Hite is holding hearings across the state to hear from parents, school officials, and the public about “pay to play fees”, charged to students to participate in sports and in other extra-curricular activities, including the arts.

Some lawmakers and policy makers, including Secretary of State Jon Husted, are supporting legislation to ban the fees, or place limits on them.

The Columbus Dispatch reported last week that a hearing on pay to play held at the Statehouse in Columbus on November 12, 2015 drew representatives from several school districts and parents, who testified about the high cost of some fees charged in some schools districts, and the impact on family income and student participation.

Some participants voiced support for sports and other extracurricular activities, which provide students with opportunities to build new skills and character.  But when levies fail, school districts are forced to make choices, and pay to play policies support after school activities when budgets are tight.  As a result, some participants at the forum reported that increased fees have led to decreases in the student participation in some after-school programs.  But, without the fees, many school districts can’t afford to offer the activity.  In some cases school districts do not charge fees to students who qualify for free and reduced price lunch, but that exemption often means that parents of some students pay more than others.

Additional forums on “pay to play” will be held at the University of Findlay on Monday, November 16, 2015; Lorain County Community College in Elyria on Thursday, November 19, 2015; and at the Salvation Army Kroc Community Center in Dayton on Monday, November 23, 2015.  The hearings will be held from 5:00 to 7:00 PM.

To submit comments please contact Senator Hite at or by phone at 614-466-8150.

See “Lawmakers, school administrators discuss ending pay-to-play fees” by Jim Siegel, The Columbus Dispatch, November 13, 2015 at


Auditor Takes Another Look at School Attendance: State Auditor David Yost reported on November 9, 2015 that his office had completed unannounced visits at 10 traditional public schools and 45 charter schools to count students.  The results will be compared to school enrollment reports submitted to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) this year, and released to the public after a report is completed.

The school audits follow-up on a report, which the auditor’s office released last year, that showed a huge discrepancy between reported student attendance and enrollment at some charter schools.



Adult Diploma Pilot Program: The ODE announced on November 9, 2015 the recipients of $250,000 in grants through the Adult Diploma Pilot Programs (130-HB484).  The program links high schools, career- tech centers, and institutions of higher education to support Ohioans who are 22 and older earn a high school diploma and industry credentials for high demand jobs.  Receiving grants are Columbus State Community College, North Central State College, and Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.  Previous grant recipients include Stark State Community College, Pickaway-Ross Joint Vocational School, Miami Valley Career Technical Center, Cuyahoga Community College, and Penta Career Center.


School Funding Update: Hannah News reported on November 12, 2015 that economist Howard Fleeter presented a status report about the state’s school funding formula for attendees at the Ohio School Boards Association’s annual Capital Conference held November 8-11, 2015 in Columbus.

According to the article, Dr. Fleeter believes that Governor Kasich will continue to propose legislation to eliminate caps, guarantees, and reimbursements for tangible personal property taxes, so that all school districts are eventually funded based on the state formula calculations.  But, he also noted that there is little chance that all school districts will be funded through the formula alone, because of the diversity and different economic conditions affecting Ohio’s school districts.

According to the article, Dr. Fleeter said that he supported the House-passed version of the school funding formula in HB64, which was a better formula, and could have provided more state aid to some school districts in the future.  He explained, however, that the promise of additional state aid in the future was not attractive enough to school districts struggling to make ends meet now, and so a different and less functional formula was included in the final version of HB64 (Smith) Biennial Budget.

When asked about the low number of levies on the November 2015 ballot, Dr. Fleeter opined that school districts might be waiting for a higher voter turn-out during the presidential primary and election in 2016.  According to the article, members of the audience also suggested that boards of education were wary of new levies, because of the elimination of the property tax rollbacks.  And, an increase in retirements has reduced payroll and expenses for some school districts, that now have a younger and less-expensive staff to support.

See “School Finance Expert Talks Budget, TPP, Levy Drop-Off at OSBA Conference”, Hannah News, November 11, 2015 at


SBE Seeks New Superintendent: State Board of Education President Tom Gunlock announced on November 12, 2015 the membership of a search committee to assist the Department of Administrative Services in a process to hire a new Superintendent of Public Instruction to replace Dr. Richard Ross, who expects to retire on December 31, 2015.

The search committee includes four appointed members to the State Board: President Tom Gunlock, Vice President Tess Elshoff, Melanie Bolender, C. Todd Jones; one elected member:  Roslyn Painter-Goffi; and ex-officio members Senator Peggy Lehner (R), Representative Andrew Brenner (R), and a representative from Governor Kasich’s office.

The search committee will begin work immediately to develop a “request for proposals” to hire a search firm, which the full State Board of Education will select in December 2015.  The search firm will assist the State Board in recruiting candidates.  The full State Board could vote on the candidates for superintendent by late winter or early spring.

The State Board will also need to select an interim superintendent.  Associate Superintendent Lonny Rivera would replace Superintendent Ross according to a succession policy.


State Board of Education To Meet:  The State Board of Education (SBE), Tom Gunlock President, will meet on November 16 and 17, 2015 at the Ohio Department of Education, 25 South Front Street, Columbus, OH.

SBE Meeting on November 16, 2015

The State Board will conduct a Chapter 119 Hearing on several proposed rules starting at 8:15 AM in the first floor conference room.  The proposed rules are

-3301-16-05, Additional Assessment Options

-3301-24-12, Alternative Superintendent License & Alternative Administrative Specialist License

-3301-24-13, Relinquishment of License or Teaching Field

-3301-28-04, Performance Indicators

-3301-35-01, Credit Flex

-3301-102-12, Report Card Indicators

The Achievement and Graduation Committee and Capacity Committee will meet at 9:00 AM.  The Accountability and Urban and Rural Committees will begin following the first set of committees.

The Achievement Committee, chaired by C. Todd Jones, will consider approval of proposed revisions to Rule 3301-41-01 Standard for Issuing an Ohio High School Equivalence Diploma; the Financial Literacy Model Curriculum; and the International Baccalaureate Substitute Test for American Government.  The Committee will also discuss the public comments to Rules 3301-51-15 Operating Standards for Identifying and Serving Gifted Students. 

The Capacity Committee, chaired by Dr. Frank Pettigrew, will consider approval of Rule 3301-27-01 Qualifications to Direct, Supervise, or Coach a Pupil Activity Program; a Standards-Based Framework for the Evaluation of Principals; a Standards-Based Framework for the Evaluation of Teachers; and Educator Licensing Process.

The Accountability Committee, chaired by Melanie Bolender, will consider approval of ESCs High Performing Rules and vote to refile Report Card Rules 3301-28-08, -09, -10.  The committee will review the Prepared for Success Grading Scale and CTE Report Card.

The Urban and Rural Committee, chaired by Mary Rose Oakar, will discuss the visit to the Lima City Schools, review the website and criteria for best practices, and receive a report about the Rural Education.

Following the committee meetings, the State Board will begin its business meeting and receive public participation on agenda and non-agenda items.

The State Board will reconvene at 1:00 PM following lunch; conduct a recognition of former State Board member Dr. Mark Smith; receive a presentation on a new assessment tool from the Central Ohio ESC; and review written reports and items for vote.

The State Board will then hold an Executive Session, which will be followed by a meeting of the Academic Distress Commission Work Group, chaired by Rebecca Vazquez-Skillings.  Following the meeting the State Board will recess for the evening.

SBE Meeting on November 17, 2015

The State Board meeting will continue on November 17, 2015.  The Legislative and Budget Committee, chaired by Kathleen McGervey, will meet at 8:30 AM and receive an update about state legislation.

The full Board will then reconvene, and receive a presentation on autism and early childhood education, an update on charter school reform and the Youngstown Academic Distress Commission, and an update on implementation of charter school reforms enacted in HB2 (Dovilla-Roegner).

The State Board will then vote on the Report and Recommendations of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, which are included below.

Following the business meeting, a search committee appointed by President Gunlock is scheduled to meet with the Department of Administrative Services to discuss a request for proposals for executive search firms to help identify candidates to replace Superintendent Ross.

Report and Recommendations of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

#3 Approve a Resolution of Intent to Amend Rule 3301-24-03, entitled Educator Preparation Programs Leading to Ohio Licensure Issued by the State Board of Education.

#4 Approve a Resolution of Intent to Rescind Rule 3301-24-07 entitled Provisional License Renewal.

#5 Approve a Resolution to Refile Rules 3301-28-08, 3301-28-09, and 3301-28-10 of the Administrative Code Regarding the Calculation of Report Card Components and Overall Report Card Grades.

#6 Approve a Resolution to Rescind Rule 3301-56-01 of the Administrative Code entitled School District and Building Improvement Planning, Parent Notification, and Intervention and to Adopt New Rule 3301-56-01 entitled School District and Building Improvement, Support, and Intervention.

#7 Approve a Resolution to Approve the Recommendation of the Hearing Officer and to Deny the Transfer of School District Territory From the Tecumseh Local School District, Clark County, to the Bethel Local School District, Miami County Pursuant to Section 3311.24 of the Ohio Revised Code.

#14 Approve a Resolution to Confirm the Woodridge Local School District Board of Education’s Determination of Impractical Transportation of Certain Students Attending Lower Lawrence School, Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

#15 Approve a Resolution to Adopt the Revised Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) Framework and Ohio Principal Evaluation Framework (OPES) to Align with Amended Substitute House Bill 64.


ESEA Reauthorization Moving Forward: The U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee, Representative John Kline (R-MN) chair and Ranking Member Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), along with Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), issued a joint statement on November 13, 2015 about efforts to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as the No Child Left Behind Act.

Conferees are expected to be appointed and meet this week to finalize details for ESEA.  It is possible that the law could be reauthorized before the end of this year.

House and Senate staff members have been working for several weeks on a compromise between two bills.  Sticking points have been the level of accountability the federal government will require of states; the level of testing; teacher evaluations; vouchers and Title 1 portability; and the role and power of the U.S. Department of Education and Secretary of Education.

The House narrowly approved the Student Success Act (SSA) – H.R. 5 on July 8, 2015 without any support from Democrats.

The Senate approved the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (ECAA) – S. 1177 on July 16, 2015 with bipartisan support. Overall the bill seems to have support of the major national education organizations and arts education advocates, because it includes the following provisions that support the arts:

-Restores the definition of the core curriculum, which includes the arts, and adds music to the definition (Title IX – Definitions)

-Allows school districts to use Title I funds to support arts education

-Establishes a program that promotes arts education for disadvantaged students and students with disabilities attending charter schools

-Restores the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented program

-Restores the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which provide over $1 billion to support after-school programs, including programs in the arts

-Restores grants for education innovation and research at the U.S. DOE

-Allows state education agencies to describe how they will “encourage” a well-rounded education for all students

See the Statement at

See “Sources: House and Senate Negotiators Have Reached Preliminary ESEA Deal”

By Alyson Klein on November 12, 2015


AERA Issues Statement About VAM: The Council of the American Education Research Association (AERA) issued on November 11, 2015 a Statement on Use of Value-Added Models (VAM) for the Evaluation of Educators and Educator Preparation Programs.

The American Educational Research Association, Felice J. Levine executive director, was founded in 1916, and is the largest national professional organization devoted to the scientific study of education.

The AERA “…advises those using or considering use of value-added models (VAM) about the scientific and technical limitations of these measures for evaluating educators and programs that prepare teachers. The statement, approved by AERA Council, cautions against the use of VAM for high-stakes decisions regarding educators.”

According to the statement, the AERA Council recommends the following eight technical requirements that must be met prior to using VAM in evaluation systems:

-Vam scores must be derived from students’ scores on assessments that meet professional standards of reliability and validity for the purpose to be served

-Vam scores must be accompanied by separate lines of evidence of reliability and validity that support each claim and interpretative argument

-Vam scores must be based on multiple years of data from sufficient numbers of students

-Vam scores must be calculated from scores on tests that are comparable over time

-VAM scores must not be calculated in grades or for subjects where there are not standardized assessments that are accompanied by evidence of their reliability and validity.

-Vam scores must never be used alone or in isolation in educator or program evaluation systems

-Evaluation systems using VAM scores must include ongoing monitoring for technical quality and validity of use.

-Evaluation reports and determinations based on VAM scores must include statistical estimates of error associated with student growth measures and any ratings or measures derived from them.

See the Press Release and the Statement at


The State of Gifted Education: The National Association for Gifted Children and the Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted released last week the 2014-15 State of the States in Gifted Education Policy and Practice Data.  An estimated 3 million students are academically gifted and talented in the U.S. The report shows that while some progress has been made, “…our nation has yet to comprehensively address the educational needs of top learners in PK-12 schools.”

The report is based on data collected through a survey of 41 states and the District of Columbia.  Ohio was one of eight states that did not participate in the survey.

The report is organized into policy and practice areas that could be used as indicators to evaluate and compare gifted and talented programs across states.  The following are some of the findings in the report:

-State Education Agency:  Seventeen states reported having one or more full-time staff members at the state level dedicated to gifted education. Gifted education staff in 24 states also had responsibilities for one or more other programs. Three states had no staff for gifted education.

-Gifted Mandate:  Thirty-two of the 40 states had some form of legal mandate related to gifted and talented education.  Eight states had no mandate, and 8 states that had mandates did not provide funding for them.

-Definition of Giftedness:  Thirty-seven states defined giftedness in statute or regulations; 30 states required LEAs to follow the definition.

Thirty-four states included intellectually gifted in their definition; 24 states defined academically gifted; 21 states defined gifted in the performing and visual arts; 21 states defined creatively gifted; and 20 states defined specific academic areas.

-Identifying Students:  Schools in 33 states were required to use specific criteria and/or methods to identify gifted and talented students, and the criteria/methods were completely or partially determined at the state level in 12 states. Thirty-four states provided guidance on identification. Eleven states required a particular identification process, while the others left some or all of the specifics to the LEAs.

-Accountability:  Twenty-one of 40 responding states monitored and/or audited LEA programs through a system of reporting, submission and approval of local gifted education plans, and on-site interviews.

Eleven states of 39 reporting states, include gifted education indicators – usually the number of identified students- as part of district report cards or other state accountability reporting forms.

Eleven states reported that they either did not collect data on identified gifted learners or did not have it available. Of the 26 that had data, the availability of demographic data varied greatly for subgroups of students by gender, race/ethnicity, dual exceptionalities, language and socio-economic status. Additionally, 24 had data that reflected the percentage of identified students who received services.

-Services:  Seventeen states required gifted education services in grades K-12, with another three also requiring them in Pre-K.  Three states required services in fewer grades.

Regular classroom delivery was the highest ranking service delivery model for PreK and Kindergarten services out of the top five ranked, but ranked second for early elementary (grades 1-3), and fourth for upper elementary, before moving back up in rank to second for middle school. This represents a change from the prior report when regular classroom delivery ranked second at all levels. For this report, cluster classrooms ranked first for early and upper elementary service models.

For middle school honors/advanced coursework ranked first, with Advanced Placement (College Board) ranking first in high school out of the top five ranked, followed by dual enrollment (in college), honors/advanced coursework, and International Baccalaureate.

-Qualifications of Providers:  Nineteen states required professionals working in programs for gifted and talented students to have certification or an endorsement, while Nevada required all pre-service teacher candidates to take separate coursework in gifted education.

Four states out of 39 required administrators to have coursework on the nature and needs of gifted students.

-Funding:  Twenty-seven states provide funding to LEAs for gifted education services and 12 did not.  Texas provided $157.2 million in funds for gifted education in 2014-15.  Between 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years, 14 states increased funding for gifted and talented education.

Sixteen states did not set requirements or limits on the funds to LEAs as long as the money was spent supporting gifted students, but others specified it must be spent in specific areas (9), on student materials and instruction (5), or on limited equipment and technology (3).

-Federal Policy:  Thirty-four states indicated that a federal policy for gifted education could increase accountability for student learning

See “2014-2015 State of the States in Gifted Education Policy and Practice Data” by the National Association for Gifted Children and the Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted, November 2015, at


Two Report Show Mixed Results for School Reforms: The U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE), Arne Duncan Secretary of Education, released on November 12, 2015 two reports that focus on the Obama Administration’s school reform efforts to improve student achievement, graduation rate, and college enrollment.

-Fundamental Change: Innovation in America’s Schools under Race to the Top: This report reviews the progress of 11 states awarded a Race to the Top grant.  The states highlighted are Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee and the District of Columbia.  The $4.3 billion program included two rounds of awards starting in 2009, and reached more than 10 million students and 700,000 teachers.

According to the report, “Race to the Top’s success ultimately must be measured by its long-term impact on student learning. Because simultaneous change in multiple systems takes time, it is too early to make that determination of success now. However, many outcomes are trending in a positive direction, including higher graduation rates and Advanced Placement (AP) course taking (see pages ix and xiii). This report focuses on implementation — the successes and challenges to institutionalize broad and deep improvements throughout states. It also seeks to highlight the key practices and lessons learned during the first five years of implementing Race to the Top.”

The report includes examples from different states of promising practices and collaborations in the areas of instructional resources; teacher evaluations; principal evaluations; data collection; building the capacity of the state and school districts to effect change; college and career readiness; and turning around low performing schools.

The report doesn’t include much data on student achievement in math or English language arts on state assessments, but does report that the graduation rate increased in participating states from 76.5 percent to 79.9 percent.  The national graduation rate is 81 percent for the class of 2013.

The report for Ohio shows the following:

-College enrollment rates:  The college enrollment rate in Ohio is the lowest among the Race to the Top participants, and actually dropped 2.0 percent — 45.1 percent in 2012-13 and 43.1 percent in 2013-14.  Only four states showed an increase in the rate of college enrollment.  The college enrollment rate in Delaware increased 10.7 percent, from 55.8 percent to 66.4 percent.

-Increased Participation and Success in Advanced Placement Courses (AP):  All participating states reported increases in participation and success rates for AP exams.  The participation rate in AP courses increased in Ohio by 10.2 percent, and the percent of AP exams scores of three and above increased by 26.5 percent between 2011 and 2014.

According to an article in Education Week about the report, Secretary Duncan is quoted as saying,  ‘My administration, recognizing the urgency of change for today’s students, pushed a lot, fast. We haven’t gotten everything right, and we’ve seen unintended consequences that have posed challenges for educators and students.’

Unintended consequences include the huge push-back from parents, policy-makers, and teachers about the Common Core standards; standardized assessments; and teacher evaluations based on student test score results and growth.

See “Fact Sheet:  Empowering States to Transform the Education Landscape”, U.S. DOE, November 12, 2015 at

See “What the Ed. Dept.’s New Race to the Top Report Reveals, and What It Avoids” by Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week, November 12, 2015 at

-School Improvement Grants National Summary: School Year 2012-13: This report provides an overview of the progress schools and districts have made through the $7 billion School Improve Grants (SIG) program since 2010.  This program has supported more than 1,800 low performing schools.  The report focuses on 1,399 schools serving more than 800,000 students in the first three cohorts of students in the program (2010-2013), and includes the following results:

-The percent of SIG schools making double digit gains in math and reading proficiency rates is higher when compared to all schools for 2012-13.

-SIG schools with available data are making gains in mathematics and reading proficiency. Cohort 1 schools, which have implemented SIG reforms for three years (2010-11 to 2012-13), on average increased the percentage of students who are proficient by 8 points in mathematics and by 6 points in reading. But, schools in cohort 2 and 3 increased proficiency rates by smaller percentages.

Still, the average percentage of students in cohorts 1-3 scoring proficient in math and reading is less than the percent proficient in all schools, which is 69 percent in math, and 71 percent in reading.

-Graduation rates are improving in many SIG high schools. Nearly half of cohort 1 high schools and 38 percent of cohort 2 high schools increased their graduation rates by 6 or more percentage points from 2010-11 to 2012-13, compared to a quarter of all public high schools.

-SIG schools are providing students with multiple opportunities for increased learning time. Fifty percent of cohort 1 schools, 54 percent of cohort 2 schools, and 43 percent of cohort 3 schools offered more than one type of increased learning time for students in 2012-13.

-The average percentage of students participating in advanced courses or dual enrollment courses increased in 2012-13 in cohorts 2 and 3.

An analysis of student achievement data is included, but the report notes that a substantial number of schools were excluded, because of changes in state assessments and other structural changes to the school (e.g., grades served).

According to an article in Education Week the report “…continues to paint an uneven picture of the program’s impact, just as Congress is about to decide its fate.”

For each cohort, a percentage of schools made no gains or decreased proficiency rates in math and reading even with the additional resources. However, when compared to “All Schools” SIG schools were more likely to see double-digit gains in reading and math.  Still, the missing data make it more difficult to assess the success of the program.

The future of SIG is uncertain as the U.S. House appropriations bill for the Department of Education and the House version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) eliminate the program.  In the Senate’s version of ESEA the program is revamped.

See “Fact Sheet:  Empowering States to Transform the Education Landscape”, U.S. DOE, November 12, 2015 at

See “New SIG Data Serve Up Same Old Conclusion: Mixed Results” by Alyson Klein, Education Week, November 12, 2015 at


Ohio Student Wins Scholarship for Film: Congratulations to Ryan Chester, a student at North Royalton High School, for winning a $250,000 Breakthrough Junior Challenge Prize for a film that he created to explain Einstein’s theory of relativity.

The Breakthrough Prize recognizes individuals who make fundamental discoveries in the fields of math, biology, and physics.  The prizes were founded by Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, Yuri and Julia Milner, and Jack Ma and Cathy Zhang. Committees of previous laureates choose the winners from candidates nominated through an open process.

The Breakthrough Junior Challenge recognizes individuals between 13 and 18 who create short videos that communicate a big idea in science.  The award included a $250,000 scholarship for Ryan Chester; $100,000 for a new science lab for his high school; and $50,000 for his physics teacher Rick Nestoff.  The award was presented on November 8, 2015, and was broadcast on the National Geographic Channel.

According to an article in U.S. Today, the winning film explains Einstein’s theory of relativity using props from everyday life, including a bowl of popcorn in a moving minivan, and allowed the budding film maker to combine two of his interests — science and film-making.


See “$400K Breakthrough Prize goes to teen, school, for 7-minute film on relativity,”  by Marco della Cava, U.S.A. Today, November 8, 2015 at

The film is available at


Brian Dodd Named All-Ohio State Fair Band Director: The Ohio State Fair announced on November 12, 2015 the selection of Brian W. Dodd of Bladensburg in Knox County as director of the All-Ohio State Fair Band.

Mr. Dodd is director of bands at West Homes High School and a graduate of Ohio State University.  He has been an All-Ohio State Fair Band staff member for 10 years, and replaces Donald F. Santa-Emma, who served on the band’s staff for 42 years and served as director for the past 17 years.

As director Mr. Dodd will be responsible for recruiting and preparing 200 high school musicians to perform throughout the Ohio State Fair, which runs from July 27-August 7, 2016.


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

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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