Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
November 30, 2015
131st Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House will hold a session and committee meetings this week. The Senate will hold a few committee meetings. The House and Senate education committees are not meeting.
Senators Introduce the Children’s Nutrition Bill: Senators Edna Brown and Peggy Lehner introduced SB247 the Children’s Nutrition Bill on November 23, 2015. The bill would increase access for children to nutritious meals during the summer months when free and reduced price meals through school programs are not available.
The bill would require school districts, in which one-half of the students are eligible for free lunches, to allow an alternative summer meal provider to use school facilities to provide summer meals if the district does not provide the meals. The school districts would enter into agreements with providers that have been approved by the State Board of Education (SBE) and meet quality and safety standards.
Report Card Update: The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) released last week information about the status of the 2014-15 state report cards, which will be available in January and February 2016. Data for the elementary reading, graduation rates, and prepared for college and the workforce components will be released on January 14, 2015, and data for the achievement, student progress, subsets of students, gifted, and the district expenditure components will be available on February 25, 2016. Reports cards will also be released for career tech schools and dropout-recovery charter schools.
The report cards are usually released in August or September, but the state changed assessment companies last year, which delayed the process. The new assessments in English language arts and math were developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), and because they are new, it took longer to release the results and set the performance level cut-off scores, which are the basis for the report card grades. The preliminary results from the assessments were released last week.
The ODE reported that the report cards for the 2015-16 school year will be released no later than September 15, 2016. The state has changed vendors and all state tests will be developed next year by American Institutes for Research (AIR).
The report card results this year will help school districts and schools determine their progress, but penalties for teachers and schools have been postponed due to the transition to the new standards and assessments.
The Akron Beacon Journal Opposes Senate Bill 85 (Coley): An editorial in The Akron Beacon Journal identifies reasons why the Ohio Senate should not approve SB85 (Coley) Property Tax Complaints. The bill would make it more difficult for school districts to challenge property valuations, which are used to determine property taxes for schools and other local government services. School districts often challenge property valuations that are lower than the market value of the property, but SB85 would limit the right to initiate most types of property tax complaints to the property owner and the county recorder of the county in which the property is located.
According to the editorial, all tax payers should pay their fair share of property taxes. Limiting who can file property tax complaints could mean that school districts and other taxing entities lose tax revenue owed to them, which could increase the tax burden unfairly on other property owners, or require new levies to make-up the lost revenue. Since 1991 the property tax burden for homeowners and farmers has shifted from 47.5 percent to 70 percent, while the tax burden for businesses has decreased due to the elimination of the tangible personal property tax and other changes in law. The proposed law could increase the burden on homeowners and farmers even more.
See “Value Proposition for Schools” Commentary, Akron Beacon Journal Editorial Board, November 25, 2015 at
SBE to Decide Interim Superintendent: The Columbus Dispatch reported on November 26, 2015 that State Board of Education President, Tom Gunlock, has outlined a process for the State Board to vote in December 2015 on an interim superintendent to replace Richard Ross, who is retiring. If the SBE follows a succession plan, Associate Superintendent Lonny Rivera would replace Superintendent Ross. The Board will also select a search firm to identify candidates for a permanent superintendent at the December meeting.
See “Board will vote on interim superintendent”, by Catherine Candisky, The Columbus Dispatch, November 26, 2015 at
Feedback Sought for Changes in the Honors Diploma: The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has posted a survey to seek public feedback about some proposed changes in the state’s honors diploma. The State Board of Education currently awards qualifying students an honors diplomas for Academic Honors, International Baccalaureate Honors, and Career Technical Honors. The State Board is considering adding three new honors diplomas: STEM Honors Diploma, requiring additional math and science credits; Arts Honors Diploma, requiring additional fine arts credits; and Social Science and Civic Engagement Honors Diploma, requiring additional credits in social studies and civics.
The criteria developed to earn the new diplomas also requires students to participate in field experiences, develop portfolios, and defend their projects before expert panels.
Ohio Teacher Education Plan Approved: The U.S. Department of Education notified the Ohio Department of Education on November 18, 2015 that it had approved Ohio’s “Excellent Educators for All Initiative”, a plan to support equity and ensure that all Ohio students have access to effective teachers. The Ohio initiative started in July 2014, and includes improving teacher preparation programs; addressing hiring and deployment barriers; improving teaching and learning conditions; and using incentives to reward high-performing teachers and encourage them to stay in high-need schools.
School Funding Case Moves to Supreme Court: The Ohio Supreme Court will hear arguments on December 2, 2015 in a school funding case that pits the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) against the Toledo, Cleveland, and Dayton boards of education: State Board of Education v Toledo City School District Board of Education et al.
The lawsuit questions whether or not the General Assembly has the constitutional authority to enact a law adjusting local school funding for earlier years.
The ODE is asking the court to overrule the trial and appellate court decisions that require the recalculation of foundation payments made to the three school districts between 2005-2007. These districts had lost state funding as a result of changes in the way the ODE calculates Average Daily Membership and adjusts for students attending charter schools.
The trial and appellate found a provision of the FY10-11 biennial budget,128-HB 1 (Sykes), unconstitutional, because it violates the Ohio Constitution’s retroactivity clause, which prohibits the state from passing laws that are retroactive. The outcome of the case could mean that the ODE must repay the three school districts up to $8 million.
School Districts Bill ODE for Charter School Deductions: The Parma Board of Education is the latest school district to bill the ODE for charter school deductions that are more than what the school district receives for students attending charter schools through the state foundation program. The Parma Board of Education adopted two resolutions in November requesting the ODE to reimburse the district for $46 million for “unfair and excess” funding for charter schools, and change the “unfair and inequitable” state school funding formula for funding charter schools. According to the article, the Parma City Schools District receives about $2,350 per student from the state foundation program, but loses about $7000 per student for charter school deductions. School districts in other parts of the state, such as Logan Hocking and Woodridge in Summit County, have also billed the state to recover excess funds deducted for charter schools.
PEP Seeks Support to Stop the Charter School Grant: Public Education Partners (PEP), a public education advocacy organization in Ohio, is circulating a resolution that requests the U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, to withhold Ohio’s $71 million U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE) Charter Schools Program grant until an independent investigation clears the Ohio Department of Education of any wrongdoing. PEP is urging local boards of education, advocacy organizations, and individuals to adopt or sign the resolution and forward it to the USDOE.
The Charter Schools Program grant was awarded to the ODE in September 2015, but since that time elected officials and others across Ohio have raised questions about the accuracy of the grant application and the capacity of the ODE to administer the grant. The grant was submitted by David Hansen, the former director of the ODE’s Office of Quality School Choice and Community Schools. He resigned from the ODE in July 2015 after the State Board of Education uncovered that he had omitted important data from the evaluations of certain charter school sponsors in order to raise their scores.
Arts In Education Included in ESEA: The U.S. House and Senate are expected to vote on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as early as this week. The bill is known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) S.1177. The draft bill was approved on November 19, 2015 by a House and Senate Conference Committee led by Representatives John Kline, Chair, and Bobby Scott (D-VA) Ranking Member of the House Education and Workforce Development Committee, and Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray, (D-Washington), Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.
The bill will be released to the public on November 30, 2015. So far only notes and draft language have been available, making it difficult to analyze the details of the bill.
What we do know is that the bill includes support for Well-Founded Educational Opportunities, Safe and Healthy Students, and Effective Use of Technology under Title IV 21st Century Schools, Part A: Student Support and Academic Enhancement Grants. LEAs must spend at least 20 percent of their funds on at least one activity under Well Rounded Education Opportunities; 20 percent of their funds on at least one activity under Safe and Healthy Students; and a portion of their funds on at least one activity under Effective Use of Technology.
Under Part F: National Activities, the bill includes support for Arts Education (Section 4651), but the amount of the support is not included in the draft language.
•NY Considering Changes in Teacher Evaluations: The New York Times reports that Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York might be backing away from his tough stance on using student test scores as part of the state’s teacher evaluation system.
New York’s teacher evaluation system requires that student test score results account for between 25-50 percent of evaluations for teachers of English and math in grades 4-8. According to the article, this could change as pressure grows for Governor Cuomo to change the system. Thousands of parents in New York opted their children out of testing last year to show their opposition to the amount of testing and using student test score results to evaluate teachers.
The article suggests that Governor Cuomo might recommend, “decoupling test scores from [teacher] evaluations or putting in place some kind of moratorium on teacher evaluations.” Governor Cuomo also appointed a task force to review the use of the Common Core standards, assessments, and teacher evaluations. The task force is expected to make recommendations, which could be included in Governor Cuomo’s 2016 State of the State address in January 2016.
Report Analyzes Education Data Worldwide: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released on November 24, 2015 a new report entitled Education at a Glance 2015. The report provides comparable national statistics measuring the state of education in the 34 OECD member countries, as well as Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa.
According to the report, governments are still finding it a challenge to reduce persistent inequities in education and improve efficiencies in their education systems in order to ensure that every child can realize their full potential. These inequalities and inefficiencies have a significant impact on labor markets and economies, including life-time earnings. The following are some of the findings of the report:
-Around 85 percent of today’s young people will complete upper secondary education over their lifetimes. In all countries, young women are now more likely to do so than men.
-Around 41 percent of 25-34 year olds in OECD countries now have a university-level education.
-The number of students enrolled outside their country of citizenship has risen dramatically, from 1.7 million worldwide in 1995 to more than 4.5 million.
-Between 2010 and 2012, GDP began to rise again in most countries, but public spending on primary to tertiary educational institutions fell in more than one in three OECD countries, including Australia, Canada, Estonia, France, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, and the United States.
-To address budget cuts in primary and secondary education, most governments have chosen to reduce teacher salaries rather than increase class size.
-High-performing countries, such as Finland, Japan, or Korea, prioritize teaching and teachers over infrastructure and class sizes.
-OECD countries spend on average $10,220 per student per year from primary through tertiary education: $8,247 per primary student, $9,518 per secondary student, and $5,028 per tertiary student.
Switzerland spends the most per student at $17,485, and the United States comes in second at $15,494.
-Tuition fees are higher than $2000 in more than half of the countries with available data; exceed $4000 in Australia, Canada, Korea and New Zealand; exceed $5000 in Japan; and $8000 in the United Kingdom and United States.
-OECD countries spent an average of 5.3 percent of GDP on primary to tertiary education in 2012 (including undistributed programmes by level of education).
-Public funding accounts for 83.5 percent of all spending on primary to tertiary educational institutions.
-Public spending on education fell in more than one out of three OECD countries between 2010 and 2012, including Australia, Canada, Estonia, France, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and the United States.
Early Childhood Education
-In most OECD countries, education now begins for most children well before they are 5 years old. Some 74 percent of 3-year-olds are enrolled in education across the OECD and 80 percent of European Union member OECD countries.
-More than half of children enrolled in early childhood development programs attend private institutions. This can result in heavy financial burdens for parents, even when government subsidies are provided.
In the Classroom
-Students receive an average of 7570 hours of compulsory education at primary and lower secondary level. Students in Denmark have the most, at over 10,000 hours, and in Hungary the least, at less than 6,000 hours.
-The average primary class in OECD countries has 21 students and 24 at lower secondary level. The larger the class size, the less time teachers spend teaching and the more time they spend on keeping order in the classroom: one additional student added to an average-size class is associated with 0.5 percentage point decrease in time spent on teaching and learning. Indicator D2)
-The statutory salaries of teachers with 15 years’ experience average $41,245 at primary level, $42,825 at lower secondary and $44,600 at upper secondary level. (Indicator D3)
Understanding the Creative Process: The National Science Foundation recently reported on the work of biomedical engineer and researcher Jose “Pepe” Luis Contreras Vidal and his team at the University of Houston in the area of Integrative Strategies for Understanding Neural and Cognitive Systems.
The researchers are collecting neural activity data from hundreds of individuals as they paint, draw, dance, visit museums, play games, etc. to gain insights into fundamental neural activity and how it differs among individuals.
According to the report, this research, which examines “the intersection of neuroscience and creativity,” is combining science, art, and engineering. The neurons are collected from EEG caps fitted with special sensors to record electrical activity in the brain. The wireless caps allow participants to move freely and interact with their environments.
About 700 volunteers participated in the first year of the research. In one of the experiments volunteers wore the EEG caps as they visited an exhibit by conceptual artist Dario Robleto. The research team collected data as the volunteers moved through the exhibit, and correlated the changes in the EEG readings with particular pieces of art and basic data on the participants themselves, such as age, gender, and which piece they found most beautiful, and most emotionally evocative.
In another experiment participants wore the EEG caps as they visited the Houston Children’s Museum and other museums in Houston. Participants were able to watch the EEG recordings in real time and see their electrical brain activity. Some compared their results with others as they toured the museum.
The EEG caps have also been used to collect EEG data from a dancer during a performance. The cap was altered so that the dancer could control the lighting on stage, allowing the researchers to collect data about how the brain shapes the creative process.
The findings will be used to understand what brain activity drives creativity to improve art therapy; how complex cognitive and neural systems operate in natural environments; how neural activity varies across populations and even between individuals; how to tailor the burgeoning biomedical devices industry to meet individual needs; what parts of the brain respond to different aspects of the aesthetic experiences; how different areas of the brain talk to each other; and how people perceive, think and feel about art while they are experiencing it. The results will help develop more effective, personalized treatments for a variety of ailments.
The research also provides museums with data about the likes and dislikes of patrons, and how the brain responds to aesthetic stimuli.