Arts on Line Education Update January 25, 2016

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
January 25, 2016
Joan Platz



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


The House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, chaired by Representative Brown, will meet on January 26, 2016 at 1:30 PM in hearing room 114.  The committee will receive testimony on SB63 (LaRose) Online Voter Registration.


The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Brenner, will meet on January 27, 2016 at 9:30 AM in hearing room 313.  The committee will receive testimony on the following bills:

-HR269 (Clyde) Designating Thomas Paine Day in Ohio, January 29, 2016.

-HB401 (Brinkman) Requirements for chartered nonpublic schools.

-HB410 (Rezabek) Habitual and chronic truancy and compulsory school attendance.

-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.

-HB113 (Grossman-Manning N.) CPR Graduation Requirement: Requires instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of an automated external defibrillator as a requirement for high school graduation.

-SB3 (Hite-Faber) High Performing School District Exemption:  Exempts high-performing school districts from certain laws.


Senator Widener to Resign: Last week Senate President Pro Tem Chris Widener (R-10th Ohio Senate District) announced that he would be retiring from the Ohio Senate effective January 31, 2016.  The Senator, who is term limited, has served over twenty years in the Ohio House and Senate.  A process will be announced soon to select Senator Widener’s replacement.


Hearings Begin on the Capital Reauthorization Bill: The Ohio Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Scott Oelslager, began hearings on the capital reauthorization bill (SB260-Coley) on January 20, 2016.

The bill would reauthorize and re-purpose an estimated $1.48 billion in appropriations for current capital expenditures, but does not include new capital projects, which will be introduced in a separate Capital Bill. The bill is expected to pass the Senate quickly, and move on to the House for consideration.


Committee Approves HB384: The House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, chaired by Representative Brown, reported out on January 19, 2016 HB384 (Schaffer-Duffey).  The bill would allow the State Auditor to conduct performance audits of institutions of higher education to identify potential efficiencies.  The state spends about $2 billion a year on higher education, and is looking for ways to maximize resources.  There are some concerns, however, about who would pay for the audits, with the suggestion that the auditor’s office assume the costs.


Bills Introduced

-HCR32 (McColley) Congress-Education Act:  Urges the United States Congress to pass the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2015.

-HR282 (Howse-Ramos) Higher Education Debt:  Supports efforts to ensure that students from Ohio have access to debt-free higher education at public colleges and universities.


Is there a Better Way to Evaluate Doctors and Teachers: The New York Times published an article on January 16, 2016 by Dr. Robert M. Wachter about recent efforts to hold doctors and educators accountable by measuring their performance.  Dr. Wachter is a professor and interim chairman of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.  He agrees that professionals, such as doctors and teachers, should be held accountable for their work, but writes that “… the focus on numbers has gone too far.  We’re hitting the targets, but missing the point.”

According to the article, the frenzy to measure and document success has led to hundreds of ratings systems for the health care field, with over 1,600 medical centers claiming to be the “top 100” and the “best”.  The result has led to burnout rates topping 50 percent for doctors, which is higher than any other profession.

In education, the author writes, the focus on student test scores has come at the expense of learning.  “Art, music and physical education have withered, because, really, why bother if they’re not on the test?”

According to Dr. Wachter, the real problem with the measurement craze is how it has redirected the professions and turned the professionals from the “essence of their work”.

Dr. Wachter doesn’t recommend eliminating accountability, but that, “… in creating a measurement and accountability system, we need to tone down the fervor and think harder about the unanticipated consequences.”  The measurement systems need to mature, and the useful measures need to be identified and validated. And, there needs to be more research to find the measures that will lead to higher performance, and the factors that contribute to the best outcomes.

Measurement systems of the “helping industries”, as he calls education and medicine, also need to recognize that people go into these professions, because they are motivated by altruism and love, which is being blocked by the “businesslike efforts to measure and improve quality”.  He writes,

“While we’re figuring out how to get better, we need to tread more lightly in assessing the work of the professionals who practice in our most human and sacred fields.”

See “How Measurement Fails Doctors and Teachers,” by Robert M. Wachter, The New York Times, January 16, 2016 at



Supreme Court to Hear Lawsuit About Access to Students’ Names and Addresses: The Ohio Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on January 26, 2016 in the case School Choice Ohio Inc. v. Cincinnati Public School District and Springfield City School District.  The lawsuit seeks to clarify whether charter school advocate School Choice Ohio is entitled to student directory information from school disTnt privacy policies in 2013 aligned with the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FEPRA), and are not required to give out the names and addresses of students.



Toledo Reaches Agreement with DOE:  The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced in a news release on January 21, 2016 that it had entered a resolution agreement with the Toledo Public Schools (TPS) to ensure compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to provide equitable resources for African American students in the district.

Concerns had been raised in 2010 about student access to experienced teachers, teachers with masters degrees, libraries, Advanced Placement courses, and distance learning classes for high school students.  An OCR investigation further identified potential Title VI compliance concerns, but also recognized the ongoing efforts and leadership of the Toledo Board of Education and Toledo Superintendent Romules Durant to provide all students with equal access to resources.

The resolution agreement requires the TPS to inform all members of the school community about their rights and the district’s responsibilities under Title VI; obtain OCR approval for revised policies and practices; ensure that students have access to effective teachers and libraries with the same frequency across the district; and deliver live instruction of distance learning courses in a racially equitable manner across the school district.

See “Toledo Public Schools, U.S. Education Department Reach Agreement to Address Issues of African American Student Access to Resources”, U.S. DOE, January 21, 2016.


ESSA Website: The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has created a website for information about the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  The web site includes information about Ohio’s ESSA plan, which must be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education for approval by July 2016, and how the new federal law will affect schools and districts.



More School Districts Billing ODE for Charter Schools: The Columbus Dispatch and Innovation Ohio report that 36 boards of education have adopted resolutions billing the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) for local funds that have been used to pay for students who attend charter schools.  Currently, per pupil funding for charter school students is added and then deducted from the home school district’s state allocations.  But most districts receive less in state funds per student than the total deduction, meaning that some locally collected tax revenue is diverted to support charter schools without tax payer approval. The amount diverted totals over $300 million.  School districts say that the local tax revenue should stay in the school district where it is needed to support local education programs in accordance with the wishes of voters who approved the taxes.

According to the article, some lawmakers are discussing ways to change charter schools funding, including Senator Peggy Lehner, chair of the Senate Education Committee.  Some advocates for public schools recommend that the state directly fund charter schools, or at least reimburse school districts for local tax revenue diverted to charter schools.

See “Ohio public schools bill state for money lost to charter,” by Jim Siegel, The Columbus Dispatch, January 20, 2016 at

See “School Officials Fed Up with Losing Local Dollars to Charter Schools Call for a Funding Fix” by Erin Ryan, Innovation Ohio, January 19, 2016 at


Superintendents Challenge Report Card Results: According to an article in The Chronicle Telegram (Lorain County), several superintendents in Lorain County believe that the ODE should not have released report cards for the 2014-15 school year, because of the controversies surrounding the PARCC assessments.  The superintendents sent a letter to the state saying that the newly released state report cards give parents an inaccurate picture of school district performance, because they are based on assessments that the state is now replacing, and some parents chose to opt their children out of the state exams, which then counted against school districts.  About 1000 students didn’t take the state assessments in Lorain County, including about a third of the students in Firelands Local Schools.

According to the article, the ODE is required by law to publish information about the performance of school districts, and has already released Part I of the state report cards, with Part II coming in February 2016.  School districts, students, and teachers are spared from most negative consequences this year through several “safe-harbor” provisions.

See “County superintendents wary of state evaluation” by Lisa Roberson, Elyria , January 14, 2016 at



Report Shows Correlation Between Report Card Results and Poverty: The Ohio Education Policy Institute (OEPI) released on January 20, 2016 a report by Dr. Howard Fleeter that once again shows a correlation between high poverty rates and lower academic achievement in Ohio’s schools based on the results of the Part I of the 2014-15 state report card.  (Part II is scheduled to be released on February 25, 2016.)

The report, sponsored by the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA), the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA), and the Ohio Association of School Business Officials (OASBO), shows substantial disparities between low-income students and their peers on 11 report card measures, when 608 school districts are sorted into 10 tiers based on the percent of economically disadvantaged students in the school districts.  For example, there are 30 school districts in the first decile with 0-10 percent economically disadvantaged students, and 23 school districts in the tenth decile with over 90 percent of students economically disadvantaged.

The report includes the following results:

  • Four year graduation rate:  There is a 23.5 percent gap in the four year graduation rates between the school districts with the highest and lowest poverty rates.
  • Five year graduation rate:  There is a 17.4 percent gap in the five year graduation rates between the school districts with the highest and lowest poverty rates.
  • Percent of the Class of 2012 enrolled in college: In the lowest poverty decile, 82.5 percent of students enrolled in college within two years of graduation, while 44.4 percent of students in the highest poverty decile enrolled in college within two years of graduation.
  • Percent of the Class of 2014 participating in ACT and SAT:  Generally, the percent of students who take national exams is higher in school districts with lower poverty rates.  However, the report shows that 55 percent of students in school districts with the highest poverty rates (90 percent or more economically disadvantaged students) participated in the ACT, which was a higher participation rate when compared to school districts with 39-80 percent of economically disadvantaged students.
  • Percent of test takers scoring remediation free on the ACT:  The percent of students scoring remediation free on the ACT was higher in school districts with the lowest rates of poverty.  The state average was 44.80 percent.  The average mean score for the state was 21.  The mean school gap between the school districts with the highest and lowest poverty rates is 7 points.  School districts in the decile with the highest poverty rate (90 percent or more) scored an average of 18 on the ACT, while the average ACT score for students in the lowest decile for poverty was 25.
  • Class of 2014 Scoring Remediation Free on the SAT:  Only 8.7 percent of the Class of 2014 participated in the SAT exam.  The report shows that in general the percent of students scoring remediation free was higher in school districts with lower rates of poverty.  However, there were some exceptions.
  • Percent of the Class of 2014 participating in one or more AP courses:  Overall 20.6 percent of the Class of 2014 took one or more AP courses.  Generally speaking, the percent of the Class of 2014 participating in one or more AP Courses is higher for school districts with less poverty.
  • Percent of the Class of 2014 graduating with an Honors Diploma:  The report shows that on average 16.9 percent of the Class of 2014 graduated with an Honors Diploma.  Generally, the percent of the Class of 2014 graduating with an Honors Diploma from lower poverty school districts was higher than the percent from higher poverty districts.

The report concludes that, “In Ohio, as in other states, the persistence of the negative correlation between socioeconomics and student achievement has proven all too persistent over time.  However, for the future of the state and its workforce, along with the well-being of our 11 million residents, it is imperative that policymakers find some way to move the needle in a meaningful fashion and weaken this relationship.”



Analysis Compares What is Happening in the Charter School Industry with the Subprime Mortgage Crisis: Researchers suggest that “….charter schools may be developing conditions that are reminiscent of the subprime mortgage crisis.”

Professor Mark Naison, African American Studies and History at Fordam University, has studied the similarities between the subprime mortgage crisis and what is occurring in the charter school industry in a paper entitled, “Why Charter School Scandals Resemble the Subprime Mortgage Crisis”, July 8, 2014 at

He notes, for example, that state and federal governments encouraged the charter school sector to expand with little oversight or planning, and several studies have found that some charter schools participate in questionable educational and financial practices, real estate fraud, and predatory practices to enroll students that could cause an eventual collapse in the industry.

Researchers Preston C. Green III, Bruce D. Baker, Joseph O. Oluwole, and Julie F. Mead, examined Professor Naison’s work in a paper entitled “Are We Heading Toward a Charter School ‘Bubble’?: Lessons from the Subprime Mortgage Crisis.”

They agree with Professor Naison’s assertion that  “….charter schools are developing conditions that are reminiscent of the subprime mortgage crisis.” The researchers explain that similar to the subprime mortgage scandal, charter schools have been allowed to expand while standards and checks have been relaxed.

The paper also describes how a burst in the charter school “bubble” in poor African-American neighborhoods could leave these mostly urban communities in disarray.

The report recommends steps that federal and state governments should take to avoid the creation of policy bubbles in these neighborhoods.

See “Are We Heading Toward a Charter School ‘Bubble’?: Lessons from the Subprime Mortgage Crisis” by Preston C. Green III (University of Connecticut), Bruce D. Baker (Rutgers University), Joseph Oluwole (Montclair State University), and Julie F. Mead (University of Wisconsin – Madison), University of Richmond Law Review, December 16, 2015, at


Study Examines the Governance of Urban Schools: The Pew Charitable Trust released last week a study that was commissioned to recommend a future governance structure for the Philadelphia school district.  The Philadelphia school district has been under state control for 15 years, but recently there have been calls for the district to return to local control, which is supported by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf.

Researchers examined the Philadelphia City Schools and 15 other urban school districts based on a number of factors. The school districts included in the study are Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami-Dade, Milwaukee, Newark (NJ), New York, and St. Paul (MN).

The study found that 10 of the 16 urban school districts studied are overseen by elected school boards; most have the authority to raise their own revenue; and all have experienced state intervention.

Accordingly, the study found no evidence that “….any particular form of school governance is superior to another in improving long-term academic performance.” This includes state takeovers, mayoral control, or elected local boards. The report notes that there are just too many other factors, including funding, demographics, and quality leadership, that affect student achievement and fiscal accountability.

See “Governing Urban Schools in the Future:  What’s Facing Philadelphia and Pennsylvania,” Pew Charitable Trust, January 2016 at



AFTA New Resource: Americans for the Arts (AFTA) has created ArtsU, a new resource for arts leaders and professionals.

ArtsU features new learning formats including digital lessons, digital classrooms, and virtual conversations; streamlined navigation by topic of all Americans for the Arts’ learning resources and professional development opportunities; and easier access to content, including over 100+ webinars.



Access to Arts Education in CPS Increases: A progress report released by Ingenuity, Inc. shows that more students in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) have access to arts classes than in 2013-14.

Ingenuity, Inc., Paul Sznewajs executive director, is a nonprofit that advocates for arts education in Chicago, and coordinates implementation of CPS’s Arts Education Plan developed in 2012, including arts partnerships; professional development; and data collection and reporting.

This is the second survey to show an increase in student access to the arts since the implementation of the CPS Arts Education Plan.  The plan recommended a increase in the number of arts teachers and increased funding for the arts.  The school district also increased the number of minutes in the school day in 2012-13, which made it possible to expand the arts in some cases.

According to the progress report, 30,000 students had greater access to the arts in 2014-15 compared to 2013-14; the ratio of arts teacher to students increased; the number of arts instructors increased by 3 percent; 58 percent of elementary schools offered at least the recommended 120 minutes of arts per week, which was an increase of 47 percent; and more than 500 community organizations partnered to offer the arts in Chicago schools.

Ingenuity also created a Creative Schools Certification to recognize schools that are implementing the Arts Education Plan.  A map showing the location of arts programs in the Chicago schools is posted on the Ingenuity website at

See “More Chicago Public Schools Have Arts, Survey Finds” by Jackie Zubrzycki, Education Week, January 20, 2016 at

This update is written weekly by Joan Platz, Research and Information 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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