Arts on Line Education Update January 4, 2016

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
January 4, 2016
Joan Platz



131st General Assembly: Ohio House and Senate leaders released last week the tentative legislative schedule for January through June 2016.  Lawmakers will begin sessions on January 20, 2016, and expect to continue work on legislation regarding abortion, medical marijuana, alternative forms of energy, congressional redistricting, unemployment compensation, truancy, and a capital budget.

Update on Sub. HB340 (Amstutz): Governor Kasich signed HB340 (Amstutz) Local Government Innovation Council into law on December 22, 2015.  The bill originally extended the Local Government Fund, but was amended to include some corrections and changes in previously passed legislation.

The law includes $56.5 million in appropriations to provide some school districts with supplemental payments for lost tangible personal property taxes.  The authority to provide the supplement was previously approved in SB208 (Beagle).

HB340 also allows students who are eligible to attend the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to receive a voucher of up to $5,700 starting in the 2016-17 school year to attend eligible private schools that are within five miles of Cleveland and are located within a community with a population of at least 15,000 residents. The state allocated $28 million to support this voucher program, which is one of five different Ohio voucher programs that distribute public funds to eligible students to attend private schools.  Cleveland students have been able to attend private schools that are located in communities adjacent to Cleveland with at least 50,000 residents since 2014.

The law also revises the “third-grade reading proficiency percentage” used to calculate the third grade reading bonus, which is paid to qualifying school districts and community schools, and changes the pension provisions included in HB2 (Dovilla-Roegner) Charter School Reform.



Bill to Address Truancy a Priority in 2016: One of the education bills identified as a priority in 2016 is HB410 (Hayes-Rezabek) Habitual/Chronic Truancy and Compulsory School Attendance.

The bill would strengthen Ohio’s laws regarding truancy; improve data collection about students who are absent from school; and require individual intervention plans for students with excessive absences.  The bill also changes the definitions of chronic truant and habitual truant, and prohibits a school district or charter school from suspending or expelling a student for missing school without a legitimate excuse.  Some of the provisions were originally included in HB2 (Dovilla-Roegner) Charter School Reform, but were removed for further stakeholder review.



Bills Introduced

HB420 (Roegner) Opt-Outs-State-Assessments:  Prohibits the Department of Education from including students who “opt-out” of state assessments in calculations of certain grades in the state report card, and declares an emergency.



U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan Resigns: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced last October his resignation from the U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE) at the end of December 2015.  John B. King, Jr. is now Acting Secretary of Education.  He began working at the U.S. DOE in January 2015 after serving 4 years as commissioner of education for the state of New York.

According to an article in Education Week, Acting Secretary King expects to continue many of the programs and policies supported by Arne Duncan.  These include increasing access to preschool; expanding internet access through a revamp of the e-rate program; increasing the high school graduation rate; increasing the completion rate for postsecondary education; continue support for the College Scorecard, which provides the public information about colleges and universities; and providing guidance about implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act.

See “What Are John King’s Edu-Predictions for 2016?” by Alyson Klein, Education Week, January 3, 2016 at



FY16 Appropriations Approved: President Obama signed into law on December 18, 2015 the $1.1 trillion FY16 Consolidated Appropriations Act – H.R. 2029 and the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act.  The new laws averted a government shutdown, increased domestic and defense spending, and extended nearly $700 billion in popular tax credits.  The Consolidated Appropriations Act will keep the government in operation until September 30, 2016.

According to an analysis by Education Week, the The Consolidated Appropriations Act increases funding for education programs by 2 percent for a total of $68.3 billion. The U.S. Department of Education will receive an overall increase of $1.2 billion. Budget increases are also included for the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees early childhood programs.

Here are some details:

The law includes an additional $500 million for Title 1 ($14.9 billion) and an additional $415 million for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ($11.9 billion).  The funds will support education programs beginning in the 2016-17 school year.

Head Start will receive an increase of $540 million ($9.2 billion) through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), while the Child Care and Development Block Grant under HHS will receive an increase of $326 million ($2.8 billion).

Some education programs that have been eliminated through the recently approved Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), including the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program, are still funded for FY16.  SIG will receive a total of $450 million, which is a decrease from the FY15 level of $506 million.  Investing in Innovation will be funded at the same level of $120 million in FY16, but will be replaced by a new program under ESSA.

The law also includes funding for the following programs:

-Charter school grants: $80 million increase to $333 million.

-The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP): $20 million increase to $149 million.

-The Striving Readers program: $30 million increase to $190 million.

-21st Century Community Learning Centers: $15 million increase to $1.16 billion.

-Impact Aid:  $17 million increase to $1.3 billion.

-Promise Neighborhoods:  $16.5 million increase to $73 million.

-Safe and Drug-Free Schools and National Programs: $5 million increase to $75 million.

-Rural education: $6 million increase to $176 million.

-Fund for the Improvement of Education:  $7 million increase to $81 million.

-Javits Gifted and Talented: $2 million increase to $12 million.

-Arts in Education:  $2 million increase to $27 million.

-Museum Services Act:  $1.1 million increase to $29.8 million.

-Institute of Museum and Library Services:  $2.1 million increase to $230 million.

See “Department of Education Fiscal Year 2016 Congressional Action,” December 22, 2015 at

See “Education Spending slated for $1.2 Billion Boost in Congressional Budget Deal” by Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week, December 16, 2015 at


U.S. DOE Puts the Heat on States for Parents Opting-Out Students of Testing:  Education Week reports that the U.S. Department of Education has directed 12 states to address participation rates on state exams that were lower than the federally required 95 percent during the 2014-15 school year.  The December 22, 2015 directive comes from Ann Whalen, who has been delegated the authority to perform the functions and duties of Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education. The states affected include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin.

According to Education Week, the directive states that under the former federal law entitled the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states are required to administer assessments in English language arts (ELA), math, and science at certain grade levels, and provide for the participation of all students in the assessments. Under ESSA states are required to adopt plans to address testing participation rates that are lower than 95 percent. According to the U.S. DOE the state plans to address opt-outs could include withholding state aid, lowering school and district ratings, or declaring the school or district as “high risk”.  The U.S. DOE could withhold Title 1 and other federal funds from states that do not hold schools and districts accountable for the testing participation rate.

However, the article also identifies some possible conflicts in federal testing policies, because ESSA also gives states the authority to decide how testing participation is included in school and district ratings, and also gives states the authority to affirm parents’ rights to opt their child out of tests. Oregon, for example, has passed a law affirming a parent’s right to opt their child out of testing.  And, the article notes that the U.S. Secretary of Education also has the authority to “waive” ESSA requirements, including the testing participation rate.

See “Education Department Asks 12 States to Address Low Test-Participation Rates” by Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week, December 23, 2015 at

See “Ed. Dept. to States: Even Under ESSA, You Need a Plan for High Opt-Out Rates” by Alyson Klein, Education Week, December 22, 2015 at



Graduation Rates Increase: The U.S. Department of Education released on December 15, 2015 a report showing that the average high school graduation rate for the 2013-14 school year increased one percentage point to 82 percent nationally.  The report also shows that high school graduation rates vary widely by geographic area.  The three-year average high school graduation rates for Black, Hispanic, and English-language learners have also increased, and achievement gaps among groups of students have narrowed.

Iowa posted the highest rate of 91 percent; Washington D.C. the lowest rate of 61 percent; and Ohio posted a rate of 81.8 percent.

See The U.S. Department of Education



New Leadership at the ODE: Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction Lonny Rivera took over the reigns at the Ohio Department of Education on January 1, 2016.  He replaces Dr. Richard Ross who retired on December 31, 2015.  Dr. Rivera will serve as superintendent until the State Board of Education selects a new superintendent, which is expected some time this spring.


ODE Announces New Charter Sponsor Evaluation Rules: The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) issued new rules to evaluate charter school sponsors on December 23, 2015.

The rules for the new Sponsor Performance Review System are based on the recommendations of an advisory panel, appointed by Superintendent of Public Instruction Richard Ross, and submitted to the ODE in November 2015.

According to the ODE, the new charter school sponsor evaluations will be aligned to the state report card and include all charter schools except those specifically exempted in law, such as schools that serve special education students and those that have recently opened.

Charter school sponsors will be rated on “quality practices”, compliance with laws and regulations, and the academic performance of students in the schools that they sponsor.  The ratings for each school will also be weighted by enrollment, so that schools with higher enrollments will count more in the sponsor evaluation than schools that enroll fewer students.

All three components will be weighed equally and graded on a scale from 0-4, and sponsors will receive a cumulative final score which will determine a rating of exemplary, effective, ineffective, or poor.

Charter school sponsors rated exemplary will qualify for certain incentives, while those rated ineffective will be restricted from sponsoring new schools.  Sponsors with a “poor” rating will lose their sponsoring authority.

A newly appointed ODE Data Governance Committee will also review the data used to rate the charter school sponsors and ensure the integrity and accuracy of the process.

A new framework to evaluate charter school sponsors was needed after the press reported in June 2015 and the State Board of Education learned in July 2015 that David Hansen, head of the ODE’s Office of School Choice and Quality Charter Schools, had omitted the scores of online and drop-out recovery charter schools in charter school sponsor evaluations.  The omissions gave charter school sponsors higher ratings than they deserved.  That evaluation system was subsequently dropped, and David Hansen later resigned from the ODE.



More on Charter Schools: The Akron Beacon Journal reported on December 30, 2015 that a report submitted to the U.S. Department of Education by Superintendent Richard Ross about charter schools misspending differs from accounts posted by State Auditor David Yost.  According to the article, the Ohio Department of Education did not include in the federally requested report instances in which state auditors could not audit charter school records, because they were so poorly kept. The report also did not include the fact that charter schools “were far more likely to misspend public dollars than any other government agency.”  The article notes that the Auditor of State has determined that about $27.3 million has been misspent by charter schools since 2000, and nearly $25 million has not been repaid.  However, the ODE reported to the U.S. DOE that only $6 million in unpaid findings for recovery over the past seven years remain, and other instances of misspent funds have been “resolved.”

See “Ohio tells federal investigators that charter schools are getting better, but evidence isn’t convincing,” by Doug Livingston, Beacon Journal, December 29, 2015 at


ODE Update on State Report Cards: The Department of Education announced in November 2015 that the 2014-15 state report cards will be released in two parts beginning in January 2016 and also in February 2016.

According to the ODE, Ohio’s K-12 accountability system is in transition this year as new academic standards and assessments are implemented, and new components on the report card are introduced.  As a result, the report cards will be considered “transitional” and safe harbor provisions in law will hold some students, schools, school districts, and teachers harmless from the results.  The exceptions include students under the Third Grade Reading Guarantee and teachers whose unions have reached a memorandum of understanding with their boards of education to use value added results in teacher evaluations.  Also, the ODE must review report cards in the fall of 2016 under HB70 and the new provisions for establishing an Academic Distress Commission.  School districts that receive three consecutive years of failing grades could be subject to the stiffer consequences of HB70.  A new Academic Distress Commission has been formed for the Youngstown City School District under HB70 provisions, but a lawsuit has been filed to block its implementation.

See Guidance on Safe Harbor at

See Report Card Changes at

See “What to Expect for the 2015 Report Cards at



Research Shows that School Funding Matters: Professor Bruce D. Baker at Rutgers University summarizes on his School Finance 101 Blog, “a substantial body of empirical research” that connects school funding reforms with changes in the level and distribution of “…educational attainment, high school completion, adult wages, adult family income, and the incidence of adult poverty.”

According to the author, researchers are identifying the effects of school finance reforms on long term outcomes for students, contrary to a decade of claims by politicians, philanthropists, think tanks, and select scholars that more money will not help improve America’s schools.

For example, researchers Kirabo Jackson (Northwestern University), Rucker Johnson (University of California at Berkeley), and Claudia Persico (Northwestern University) released in 2015 a series of articles about their analyses of the long term effects of additional funds for local public school districts during 1970s and 1980s on high school graduate rates and eventual adult income.  The researchers found that, “…a 22 percent increase in per-pupil spending throughout all 12 school-age years for low-income children is large enough to eliminate the education gap between children from low-income and non-poor families. In relation to current spending levels (the average for 2012 was $12,600 per pupil), this would correspond to increasing per-pupil spending permanently by roughly $2,863 per student.”

They also report that “increasing per-pupil spending by 10 percent in all 12 school-age years increases the probability of high school graduation by 7 percentage points for all students, by roughly 10 percentage points for low-income children, and by 2.5 percentage points for nonpoor children.” They also report a boost in adult hourly wages by 13 percent.

While there is a claim that spending on K-12 education has increased dramatically, increasing staff and lowering pupil teacher ratios, the author reports in this blog that “over the 21 year period explored herein, spending is up about $400, or about 6.1% over the entire period, and up only $200, or about 2.6% from 2003 to 2013.”  Spending on elementary and secondary education “as a share of personal income is lower than any time in the past decade and lower than 1993”, and “staffing ratios in 2013 had returned to levels similar to what they had been in 2000.”

The author notes, “So, put bluntly, we have not continued to pour more and more resources into schools over the past decade (and then some). We have not put more and more effort into our spending on k12 public education systems – depleting our national or state economies.”

The author closes with the following observations:

-Achieving higher outcome goals will cost more, not less, than past school spending, especially for needy students, which are increasing rather than decreasing.

-The current approach in public policy is to expect more while providing less, “…and to malign and punish those lacking sufficient resources to get the job done”.

-The dominant reform strategies, such as restructuring teacher compensation or chartering, may not be sustainable and may exacerbate inequities.

-Inequities of education resources across settings matter greatly.

See “School Finance Reality vs. the Money Doesn’t Matter Echo Chamber” by Bruce D. Baker, December 28, 2015 at

See “The Effects of School Spending on Educational and Economic Outcomes: Evidence from School Finance Reforms” by C. Kirabo Jackson, Rucker C. Johnson, Claudia Persico

NBER Working Paper No. 20847, Issued in January 2015 at



Ohio’s Poet Laureate Announced:  Governor John R. Kasich announced on December 17, 2015 the selection of Dr. Amit Majmudar, a diagnostic nuclear radiologist from Dublin, OH, as Ohio’s first poet laureate.  The two-year honorary position will provide Dr. Majmudar an opportunity to promote an interdisciplinary approach to poetry and work with Ohio students and citizens to encourage the future of poetry in Ohio.

Dr. Majmudar grew-up in Greater Cleveland with his family which immigrated from India.  He earned a BS at the University of Akron, and an MD at Northeast Ohio Medical University.  According to a biography published on the Poetry Foundation website, his poetry explores the “themes of identity, history, spiritual faith, and morality.”

Dr. Majmudar’s poetry has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry Magazine, The Antioch Review, and The Best of the Best American Poetry 1988-2012.

In addition to poetry, Dr. Majmudar has published two novels, Partitions in 2009 and The Abundance in 2011.



Advocates for the Arts and Arts Education Make Head-Way this Year! American’s for the Arts’ Artsblog provides a summary of federal arts-related policies enacted in 2015.

The news is great!  Over the past year significant changes in law to support arts education have been enacted at the federal level.  These include the following federal policies:

-Adoption of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  This act, which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, “….holds great promise for restoring arts education as central to the school day and ending the current patchwork waiver system.”

The law restores to the states more decision-making authority about state standards and assessments, and broadens measures of accountability, which could open-up opportunities for students to participate in the arts, as school districts and schools reassess testing; accountability measures; and the learning opportunities available to students.

The law also includes the new “Assistance for Arts Education” program, which will continue authorization of a federal arts education grant program at the U.S. Department of Education after years of threats to consolidate Arts in Education program grants with other grant programs.

ESSA also includes authorization to integrate the arts into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs under the provisions in the law to support a well-rounded education opportunities.

Arts education programs will continue to be eligible for Title 1 funding, and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program is retained.  This program has been used by arts organizations to partner with local schools to provide after-school learning opportunities for students.

-Adoption of the federal FY16 Consolidated Appropriations Act.  This act includes an increase of $2 million to $27 million for Arts in Education at the U.S. Department of Education and an increase of $2 million to $147.949 million for the National Endowment for the Arts.

See “2015: What a Year for the Arts!!” by Ms. Kate O. McClanahan and Ms. Ellie Shingleton, Americans for the Arts, December 23, 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

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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