Arts on Line Education Update January 19, 2016

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
January 19, 2016
Joan Platz

Take Action:  The State Board of Education has retained Ray and Associates, Inc., a firm specializing in educational executive leadership searches, to recruit potential candidates to be Ohio’s next State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

As part of this process, educators and the public are invited to complete a brief survey about what qualities are desired in the next superintendent.

Although the survey provides set responses, there is space to make additional recommendations.   Following the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education Advocacy Agenda the OAAE recommends that Ohio’s next superintendent support the following:

  • Student access to a complete curriculum that includes the arts in every public school
  • Well-supported teachers qualified in the subjects they are teaching
  • Adequate state funding for public schools
  • Equitable distribution of state resources for public schools
  • A fair and realistic accountability system for schools, teachers, and students.

To complete the survey go to: . The deadline to participate is January 27, 2016.



131st General Assembly: The House and Senate will hold committee meetings this week, and the Senate will hold a session on January 20, 2016.


The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Brenner, will meet on January 20, 2016 at 1:30 PM in Hearing Room 313.  The committee will consider the following bills:

  • HB137 (Grossman-Phillips) Organ Donation-Health Curriculum:  To require the health curriculum of each school district to include instruction on the positive effects of organ and tissue donation.
  • HB146 (Grossman-Brenner) Cursive Handwriting:  To require instruction in cursive handwriting.
  • SB3 (Hite-Faber) High Performing School District Exemption:  To exempt high-performing school districts from certain laws.

More on SB3:  Senate Bill 3 (Hite-Faber) was approved by the Ohio Senate on March 25, 2015, and received a hearing in the House Education Committee on May 19, 2016.

The bill includes the following provisions, some of which have been addressed in other recent legislation, including HB64 (Smith) Biennial Budget:

  • Exempts high-performing school districts from certain laws
  • Revises the law regarding the administration of state primary and secondary education assessments
  • Permits school districts to contract with hospitals, health care professionals, and educational service centers for school health services
  • Revises the competitive bidding threshold for school building and repair contracts
  • Requires the School Facilities Commission to develop a legislative proposal assisting high-performing school districts in purchasing technology, building expansion, and physical alterations to improve school safety or security.


The House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, chaired by Representative Brown, and will meet on January 19, 2016 at 1:30 PM in Hearing Room 114.  The committee will consider testimony on SB63 (LaRose) Online Voter Registration; HB384 (Schaffer-Duffey) Higher Education Audits; and HB183 (Antani-Stinziano) Student Trustee-Voting Authority.


The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Oleslager, will meet on January 20, 2016 at 2:30 PM.  The committee will receive testimony on SB71 (Tavares) TRIO – Program Appropriation and SB78 (Williams) GED Grant Program.


Secretary Husted Supports Online Voter Registration: Secretary of State Jon Husted testified on January 12, 2016 before the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, chaired by Representative Tim Brown, and gave his support for SB63 (LaRose) a bill that would allow Ohioans to register to vote online.  The bill was approved by the Ohio Senate in June, but needs to be signed into law soon if it is to be effective for the November 2016 election.


Bills Introduced:

  • HB425 (Hayes) Religious Expression-Students:  Regarding student religious expression.
  • HB426 (Antani) Career Colleges-Job Placement:  To require the State Board of Career Colleges and Schools to report and post job placement information.



State of the Union Address: President Obama focused on the progress the nation has made and urged Americans to continue to “reflect our better selves” in his last State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress and the American people on January 12, 2016.

He told the audience that, “The future we want — opportunity and security for our families, a rising standard of living and a sustainable, peaceful planet for our kids — all that is within our reach.”  But he went on to say that to achieve these goals, policy-makers must seek common ground on a number of issues, including reforming the criminal justice system, immigration, and income inequality.

The address also touched on a few education issues, with the President saying that “We agree that real opportunity requires every American to get the education and training they need to land a good-paying job.”

He urged lawmakers to support Pre-K for all, hands-on computer science and math classes for all students, and recruit and support “great teachers.”  He also said that college should be affordable for every American by cutting the cost of college, and urged Congress to provide “…two years of community college at no cost for every responsible student…”


Education Week reporter Alyson Klein analyzed President Obama’s previous State of the Union speeches to determine the status of some of the educational initiatives proposed by the president in the past.

According to the article, after years of urging Congress to take action, the President was able to sign into law the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, now the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December 2015.  The Obama administration has also made progress in efforts to increase the high school graduation rate, which increased to 82 percent, and decrease the educational learning gaps between some groups of students.

One of the unexpected setbacks, however, has been the slight drop in the scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) assessments for 4th and 8th grades in reading and math.  The scores declined for the first time in 20 years, although the scores are still higher than they were in the 1990s.

See “Recap:  What’s Obama’s State of the Union Edu-Record?  by Alyson Klein, Education Week, January 12, 2016 at


U.S. DOE Seeks Input on ESSA Regulations:  The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) held a public meeting on January 11, 2016 seeking advice about the regulations to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) signed into law in December 2015 to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

According to an Education Week article, stakeholders who attended the meeting disagreed mostly on how the U.S. DOE should enforce the requirement that 95 percent of students participate in state assessments in reading and math.  Some civil rights groups want the U.S. DOE to hold states accountable for making sure that all students are tested to so that students who are harder to teach are not ignored.  Others believe that schools and districts should not be punished for parents who choose to opt their children out of testing.

Those in attendance also recommended that the U.S. DOE clarify unclear language in the law about using Title 1 funds, the definitions of college and career readiness standards and “consistent underperformance”, and how to weigh academic factors verses other factors in school accountability systems.

Some advocates for the arts recommended that the U.S. DOE ensure that states understand that music can be an important component in efforts to improve school climate, and that states could hold schools accountable for ensuring that students have access to music and the arts.

There was also support for requiring states to ensure that all stakeholders are involved in the development of state accountability systems; weighting graduation rates higher in state accountability systems; and prohibiting states from using “super” subgroups of students in their accountability systems.

A second public meeting on ESSA rules will be held in Los Angeles this week.   The public can submit written comments to the U.S. DOE until January 21, 2016.


See “Advocates, Educators Offer Ed. Dept. Conflicting Advice on Regulating ESSA”, by Alyson Klein, Education Week, January 11, 2016 at


Wrap-Around Services Proposed for Failing Schools in New York: Governor Mario Cuomo announced in his January 13, 2016 State of State Address that he is proposing to spend $100 million to provide wrap-around social and health services as a turnaround strategy for failing schools in New York State. The “Community Schools” model, which has successfully been implemented in Cincinnati and other cities in Ohio, would provide students with comprehensive services to meet their educational, health, mental health, and social needs.  The Community Schools model is already the center of New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio’s Renewal program to assist 94 failing schools in New York City.

See “Cuomo, echoing deBlasio, bets on ‘community schools’” by Eliza Shapiro, Politico New York Playbook, January 14, 2016 at



Part I of Report Cards Released: The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) released on January 14, 2016 report card grades for schools and school districts in three categories:  K-3 Literacy, Prepared for Success, and Graduation Rates.

The report card results for the 2014-2015 school year have been delayed for months as the state was transitioning to the new PARCC assessments to determine student progress on the Common Core State Standards in reading and math and AIR assessments for social studies and science.  Next year AIR will provide all of the state assessments.

Schools and districts will not receive a composite grade until 2018, and are under a “safe harbor” provision in law that protects against consequences associated with failing grades, with the exception that schools must meet requirements for students who are not proficient under the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. The safe harbor provisions last through the 2016-2017 school year.

Hannah News reported some state results under the three categories:

  • Nine school districts received an A for K-12 Literacy; 64 received a B; 169 received a C; 175 received a D, and 34 received an F. There were also 157 school districts not rated.
  • Only data was reported this year for the Prepared for Success category, which includes student participation and results on college readiness assessments, dual enrollment programs, industry-recognized credentials, honors diplomas, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate programs.
  • The third category, Graduation Rate, includes results for students graduating in four and five years for the classes of 2013 and 2014. To earn an A, 329 school districts met the standard of 93 percent; 134 received a B; 92 received a C; 27 received a D; and 26 school districts received an F.

Grades for the other categories, Achievement, Gap Closing, and Progress, will be released on February 25, 2016, along with data about gifted education programs, and report cards for career-technical and dropout recovery schools.

In an interesting development, the Youngstown Vindicator reported that Youngstown City Schools earned a C on the K-12 Literacy component, which is 15 points higher than last year, but earned an F on the four and five year graduation rate.  Youngstown is currently under a state academic distress commission, because of poor performance.   The commission is chaired by Brian Benyo, but hasn’t met due to a lawsuit filed by the Youngstown Teachers Association, over an appointment to the commission.  A hearing in the matter is scheduled this week.

See “Youngstown schools get higher marks on new report cards”, by Denise Dick,, January 15, 2016 at

See “State’s school report card ratings draw questions, appeals,” by Shannon Gilchrist and Mary Mogan Edwards, Columbus Dispatch, January 15, 2016 at

See “First round of state report card results offer some insights, raise questions, spark appeals”, by Patrick O’Donnell,, January 15, 2016 at

See “First Batch of Report Card Measures Arrives”, Hannah News, January 14, 2016 at


Some Districts Say Report Cards Inaccurate:  According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Columbus Dispatch some school districts are reporting inaccuracies with the latest report card results released by the Ohio Department of Education on January 14, 2016, and about 78 school districts are appealing them.

School officials in Beachwood and Mentor say that data is missing or misrepresented for students under the Prepared for Success and Graduation Rate categories, and Parma officials are raising concerns about the state releasing incomplete data about the school districts to the public, creating confusion and “damaging” the reputation of the school district and its officials.

Bexley officials say the report cards are coming out too late to be used to improve schools, while Dublin officials say that there is a lack of standardization for assessing student progress under the K-12 Literacy component that could penalize school districts that set high proficiency levels for students in reading to ensure that borderline students receive the help they need.

According to The Plain Dealer, the Ohio 8 Coalition of urban school districts released a statement saying that the state is treating all school districts the same ‘as though they have the same type of students, needs, and programmatic offerings and that approach does a great disservice to all of our communities.’

See “Beachwood, Parma school officials:  state report card damaging, widely off base,” by Chanda Neely,, January 14, 2016 at

See “Some appeal grades, others dismiss them” by Shannon Gilchrist and Mary Mogan Edwards, Columbus Dispatch, January 15, 2016 at


SBE President Recommends Elimination of Current SBE Structure: State Board of Education (SBE) President, Tom Gunlock, presented testimony to the Education, Public Institutions, and Local Government Committee of the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission (OCMC) on January 14, 2016, and recommended that two boards be created to handle education policy in the state.  He told the committee that the number of members on the current SBE should be reduced, and their responsibilities should be limited to teacher licensure and territory transfers.  Another panel should be appointed by the governor, with the approval of the Senate, to vet educational policies proposed by the governor and General Assembly.

The OCMC committee, chaired by Chad Readler, is currently reviewing Article VI, Section 4 of the Ohio Constitution which states:

“There shall be a state board of education which shall be selected in such manner and for such terms as shall be provided by law. There shall be a superintendent of public instruction, who shall be appointed by the state board of education. The respective powers and duties of the board and of the superintendent shall be prescribed by law. (Amended November 3, 1953.)”

In his testimony SBE President Gunlock said that Ohio’s education policy-making structure is unique among the states, because the SBE includes elected and some members appointed by the governor, and selects the superintendent, but the General Assembly makes the laws.  There are just too many groups making education policy, which has lead to partisanship, and undermined the SBE, which is supposed to be nonpartisan.

According to a report about the meeting in the Columbus Dispatch, members of the OCMC committee opined that the General Assembly could change the structure of the State Board, such as requiring all the members to be appointed by the governor, rather than changing the Ohio Constitution.

See “State board’s role should be diminished, board president says,” by Catherine Candisky, Columbus Dispatch, January 15, 2016 at



YI Grades State Support for Higher Education: The Young Invincibles (YI) Student Impact Project released on January 7, 2016 their third annual report on state support for higher education entitled, 2016 State Report Cards.

The report indexes over 40 indicators and grades state higher education systems on a scale from A to F in six categories:  Tuition; Spending Per Student; Burden on Families; State Aid to Students; Education as a State Priority; and Attainment Equity.

Overall Wyoming was the only state to earn an “A”; seven states, including Alaska, Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Washington, Kentucky, and New York earned a “B”; 11 states earned a “C”; 10 states earned a “D”; and 20 states, including Ohio, earned an “F”.

According to the report, 75 percent of all college students attend public institutions supported by state funds, tuition, and fees, while the federal government provides financial aid and loan programs.

States cut per student spending on higher education by 21 percent and raised tuition rates by 28 percent between 2008-2014 as a result of the Great Recession.  Only two states, Alaska and North Dakota, have restored their investment in public higher education to pre recession levels. “In 2008, students and families paid approximately 36 percent of the cost of public college; in 2014 that percentage increased to half.” Families and students in Vermont and New Hampshire pay over 80 percent of the costs for public higher education, compared to 15 percent of the costs in Wyoming.

Report for Ohio:  Ohio earned an overall F grade, and Fs in four categories: Spending Per Student, Burden on Families, State Aid to Students, and Education as a State Priority.  Ohio earned a D+ for Tuition Increases and a D- for Attainment Equity.

Although Ohio was recognized in the report for keeping tuition increases at ten percent, Ohio families and students pay 63 percent of the cost of higher education at public colleges and universities.

Ohio is also one of the states with a high attainment gap, which compares the percentage of African American, Latino, and white students earning a degree in higher education.  Ohio’s attainment gap between white and African American students is 18 percent, but was 24 percent last year.

The report notes that in 2013 educational expenditures were 4 percent of Ohio’s total expenditures compared to the national average of 12 percent, and Ohio spent $4,314 per student, which is $2000 less than the national average.

According to the report, the average student debt load in Ohio is $29,090.




2016 Governor’s Awards for the Arts Announced: The Ohio Arts Council announced on January 7, 2016 the recipients of the annual Governor’s Awards for the Arts.  The nine winners were selected by the Governor’s Awards Selection Committee from among 88 nominations.  Receiving awards this year are the following individuals and organizations:

  • Arts Administration: Gary Hanson, executive director, The Cleveland Orchestra Cleveland (Cuyahoga)
  • Arts Education: Joe Deer, professor, Wright State University Dayton (Montgomery)
  • Arts Patron: George Barrett, chairman/CEO, Cardinal Health Dublin (Franklin)
  • Business Support of the Arts (small): First-Knox National Bank Mount Vernon (Knox)
  • Business Support of the Arts (large): Premier Health Dayton (Montgomery)
  • Community Development & Participation: Harmony Project Columbus (Franklin)
  • Individual Artist (two winners):
  • Janice Lessman-Moss, professor of textile arts, Kent State University Kent (Portage) and John Scalzi, author Bradford (Darke)
  • Irma Lazarus Award: James Conlon, music director, Cincinnati May Festival Cincinnati (Hamilton)

The recipients will be honored at the annual Arts Day Luncheon on May 18, 2016 at the Atheneum in Columbus, and receive an original work of art by photographer and visual artist Paula Kraus of Dayton, Ohio. The Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation host the luncheon to honor the winners and acknowledge continued support of the arts by Ohio’s elected officials. The Governors Awards luncheon is held in conjunction with Arts Day, a daylong arts advocacy event sponsored by Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation.

The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically.

Ohio Citizens for the Arts advocates on behalf of arts and culture, and funding for the same, through the Ohio Arts Council. The Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation, formed in 1990 as a companion organization, leverages additional support for the arts and arts education.


Applications for the Student Advocates Program Available:  Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation is seeking high school students to participate in the Student Advocates Program on Arts Day 2016 on May 18, 2016.  The deadline to apply is January 22, 2016.

The Student Advocates Program provides students a unique opportunity to advocate for the arts and arts education while also learning about state government and the democratic process.

Students will attend the Arts Day legislative briefing session, visit with lawmakers at their Statehouse offices in Columbus, and attend the annual Arts Day Luncheon, which honors recipients of the annual Governor’s Awards for the Arts.

Ohio educators can apply to participate in the 2016 Student Advocates Program by contacting


Using the Arts to Improve Schools: An initiative in the Hartford City School District in Hartford, Connecticut is using the arts to teach academic subjects, train teachers to integrate the arts into academic lessons, and fund student visits to museums and arts events.  The initiative is led by Hartford Performs, a nonprofit partnership that began in 2010 in a few of the Hartford City schools.  The program expanded, however, after a 2014 report by Public Consulting Group found that students in the program scored better in reading and writing than students not in the program.

The program, which now serves 13,600 students in prekindergarten through 8th grade, coordinates about 140 visiting artists who lead arts lessons in the schools.  The lessons are vetted to ensure that they align with content standards, and teachers are trained to teach a diverse classroom of students, most of whom are eligible for free or reduced price lunches.

The program allows classroom teachers to select arts lessons that support the curriculum, and also encourages them to incorporate the arts into their own lesson plans.

Work is underway to expand the program to high school students in the future.  The program is financed by the school district and through foundation grants.

See “In Hartford Schools, Granting Artistic License to Learn”, by Theresa Sullivan Barger, The New York Times, January 9, 2016 at


This update is written weekly by Joan Platz, Research and Knowledge Director for the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education.  The purpose of the update is to keep arts education advocates informed about issues dealing with the arts, education, policy, research, and opportunities.  The distribution of this information is made possible through the generous support of the Ohio Music Education Association (,Ohio Art Education Association (, Ohio Educational Theatre Association (; OhioDance (, and theOhio Alliance for Arts Education (


About OAAE

Since our founding in 1974, by Dr. Dick Shoup and Jerry Tollifson, our mission has always been to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Working at the local, state, and federal levels through the efforts of a highly qualified and elected Board of Directors, our members, and a professional staff we have four primary areas of focus: building collaborations, professional development, advocacy, and capacity building. The OAAE is funded in part for its day-to-day operation by the Ohio Arts Council. This support makes it possible for the OAAE to operate its office in Columbus and to work statewide to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Support for arts education projects comes from the Ohio Arts Council, Ohio Music Education Association, Ohio Art Education Association, Ohio Educational Theatre Association, VSA Ohio, and OhioDance. The Community Arts Education programs of Central Ohio are financially assisted by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners and the Greater Columbus Arts Council. We gratefully acknowledge and appreciate the financial support received from each of these outstanding agencies and organizations.
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