Arts on Line Education Update March 14, 2016

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
March 14, 2016
Joan Platz



131st General Assembly: Another quiet week at the Statehouse with many Ohioans focused on the Tuesday, March 15, 2016 Primary Election.

The House and Senate are not holding sessions and the House and Senate education committees are not meeting this week.

The Grace Commission is scheduled to meet on March 17, 2016 at 1:00 PM in hearing room 116.  The commission is examining how to make Ohio government more efficient.



State Tax Policies Strain Local Governments: According to a new report by The Plain Dealer, Ohio’s cities, towns, and villages are cutting services and asking voters to increase local taxes to balance budgets as a result of state decisions to lower taxes.

The Plain Dealer published on March 11, 2016 a report that examined data from the Ohio Department of Taxation, and found that local governments have lost $360 million since 2011 as a result of policies enacted by the General Assembly and Governor Kasich.  In order to close a state budget deficit in 2011, for example, lawmakers reduced the state-supported Local Government Fund.  They also eliminated revenue sources for local governments, including Ohio’s estate tax, and are phasing-out tangible personal property tax reimbursements.

The Plain Dealer estimates that Cleveland annually loses at least $21 million, Columbus $27 million, and Cincinnati $28 million as a result of the tax and policy changes.

According to the report some 609 villages and cities have raised local taxes to balance budgets and maintain services, and more municipalities are considering levies in the future.

See “Ohio tax changes under Gov. John Kasich leave villages, cities scrambling to cope with less,” by Rich Exner, The Plain Dealer, March 11, 2016 at


Districts Debate Online v. Paper Tests: The Columbus Dispatch reported on March 8, 2016 that school district officials are comparing test score results of students who took online verses paper state assessments in 2015, and have found that students who took the paper tests appear to do better than students who took the tests online.

According to the article, Michael Molnar, director of educational services for the Amherst School District, created a database comparing paper verses online test results in over 428 Ohio school districts.  He reports that 85 percent of districts that tested using paper received an A for overall value-added, compared to 17 percent for districts using online testing.  He thinks that the problems that school districts experienced last year, when servers crashed and students couldn’t complete the assessments, contributed to the overall lower scores for online tests.

However, according to the article, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and the testing vendor PARCC disagree.  They also examined the results of the paper and online assessments, and don’t believe that the lower results for online exams are related to taking the tests online.

Education Week also reports that online glitches this year in Tennessee, Minnesota, Alaska, and Indiana are causing lawmakers and educators to rethink online testing, how online tests are scored, and how student scores are used to make consequential decisions.

See “Online state tests got worse scores than paper” by Shannon Gilchrist, The Columbus Dispatch, March 8, 2016 at

See “Online-Testing Stumbles Spark Legislation in Affected States” by Daarel Burnette II, Education Week, March 8, 2016 at



Senate Committee Confirms King for Secretary: The Senate’s Health Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP), chaired by Senator Lamar Alexander, confirmed on March 9, 2016 Dr. John B. King as U.S. Secretary of Education.

Dr. King received a cordial welcome from the HELP committee during a confirmation hearing in February, and is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate.


USDOE Will Focus on Improving Schools and Career Tech: Acting U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. John B. King will focus on helping struggling schools improve and revamping career and technical education during the remaining year of the Obama Administration.

According to Education Week, Dr. King told the National League of Cities education task force on March 7, 2016 that the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides states and local school districts opportunities to create locally based strategies to improve schools, rather than forcing districts to select a strategy from a set menu included in the No Child Left Behind Act. The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) will be identifying best practices and publishing more guides to help states and local districts improve schools using successful strategies that are supported by research.

Dr. King also wants Congress to reauthorize this year the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which was last reauthorized in 2006.  This is a major federal program that helps high school students train for careers in many fields.

See “School Improvement, Career Tech Education a Priority, King Tells Mayors”, by Alyson Klein, Education Week, March 7, 2016 at


Another Overview of ESSA:  The KnowledgeWorks Foundation released last week an analysis that identifies opportunities for stakeholders to “design new systems of teaching and learning” in the reauthorized Every Student Succeeds Act.

The analysis compares the new provisions in ESSA with those in the No Child Left Behind Act in the following areas:

-Assessment: States can now design student-centered systems that measure mastery, integrate multiple points of learning evidence, and track student progress.  States have more flexibility about using grants for assessment, and an innovative assessment pilot program in seven states will provide an opportunity to build a competency-based assessment system.

-State Accountability Systems:  State accountability systems must include long-term goals and academic indicators; measure school quality and student success; meaningfully differentiate public schools annually based on school and subgroup performance on the indicators; and weigh academic indicators more substantially than quality indicators.

-School Improvement:   States must identify schools for “Comprehensive Support and Improvement” and “Targeted Support and Improvement”, and direct local education agencies (LEAs) to develop improvement plans using evidence-based interventions. “States have significant flexibility in how they differentiate schools for improvement and identify appropriate supports and interventions.”

-Direct Student Services:  States may reserve up to 3 percent of their Title I, Part A Grant and use the funds to distribute grants to LEAs serving the highest percentage of schools identified for Comprehensive Support and Improvement, and Targeted Support and Improvement to provide “Direct Services” through a number of options, such as advanced placement courses.

-State Set-Aside for School Improvement:  States are permitted to set-aside from 4-7 percent of the Title 1 Part A Grant to support a statewide system of technical assistance and support.

-Teacher Certification and Licensure:  States must ensure that teachers meet state certification and licensure requirements, rather than the “highly qualified” standard, but have an opportunity to develop other ways to determine educator quality.

-Principals or Other School Leaders:  States can reserve up to 3 percent of Title II Part A Funds to provide support for principals and other school leaders.

-Title IV-21st Century Schools Part A:  States may use the new state block grant to provide all students with access to a well-rounded education; improve learning conditions; and improve technology.

-Title IV-21st Century Schools Part B:  States may access grants to fund community learning centers that provide learning opportunities to students after school.

-Title IV -21st Century Schools Part F-1:  The U.S. Secretary of Education may award grants to entities for school improvement innovations.

-Title IV- 21st Century Schools Part F-2:  The U.S. Secretary of Education may award grants to support Promise Neighborhoods and Full Service Community Schools.

See “New Opportunities to Advance Personalized Learning in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)” by KnowledgeWorks, February 29, 2016 at



The State Board of Education, Tom Gunlock president, met on March 7 and 8, 2016 in Columbus, Ohio.

The Achievement Committee, chaired by Vice-chairman C. Todd Jones, approved Rule 3301-16-06 Retaking End of course exams, and received a presentation about funding for gifted education led by Sue Zake, ODE Director of the Office for Exceptional Children and Aaron Rausch, ODE Director of Budget and Finance.  The committee is reviewing proposed revisions to Rule 3301-51-15 Operating Standards for Identifying and Serving Gifted Students.  Advocates for gifted students are concerned that the draft revision does not require school districts to spend state allocations for gifted education programs on those programs. Currently school districts are only restricted in how they spend state funds for special education, career technical education, and economically disadvantaged students. School districts received about $72 million in FY15 and Educational Service Centers received $3.8 million for identifying and serving gifted students.  The committee will continue to discuss the rules in April.

The Capacity Committee, chaired by Dr. Frank Pettigrew, approved Rules 3301-103-01 to -07, Autism Scholarship Program and Standards-based Framework for the Evaluation of School Counselors.  The committee continued to discuss the Definition of ‘Consistently High Performing Teacher” and Career-Technical Educator Licenses for Workforce Development Teachers.

The Accountability Committee, chaired by Melanie Bolender, received a presentation from Dr. Chris Woolard, senior executive director for ODE’s Center for Accountability and Continuous Improvement, about reporting data about Education Service Personnel (ESP) on the report card.  The State Board of Education on April 13, 2015 approved a resolution to revise Operating Standards for Ohio’s Schools, and directed the Accountability Committee to develop a way to report on the state report card data about ESP.

At this meeting the committee reviewed some examples of how data about ESP could be reported on the state report cards.

The data will be reported under “District Details” or “School Details”, and include information about the total number of teachers in each ESP category, and the ratio of teachers per 1000 students for each ESP.

The ESP categories include the original seven areas: fine arts teacher, music teacher, physical education teacher, librarian, school counselor, school nurse, and school social worker.  An eighth category, visiting teacher, has been dropped.

The SBE also added other ESP categories, including media specialist, reading intervention specialist, gifted intervention specialist, adapted physical education teacher, audiologist, interpreter, speech-language pathologist, physical and occupational therapist, English as a second language specialist, school psychologist, and school resource officer.

The committee also received additional data about the indicator targets that will be used on the 2015-16 report card, and approved a resolution of intent to raise the targets.  Due to the increased difficulty of the state assessments last year, the SBE had lowered the Indicator — the percentage of students needing to score proficient on state assessments — from 80 percent to between 60-70 percent for SY14-15.  The indicators will gradually be raised back to 80 percent by 2016-17.

The Urban and Renewal Committee, chaired by Mary Rose Oakar, received a presentation on the work of the ODE Office of Innovation and Improvement, which provides support low performing schools.

On March 8, 2016 the Standards & Graduation Requirements Committee, chaired by C. Todd Jones, discussed the proposed changes to the Honors Diploma and the rules to support them.  The rules will be posted for public comment, and the committee expects to take action on the rules in June.

The committee also received a status report about revising the academic content standards in English language arts and math.


Update on Gifted Standards:  Hannah News reported that the State Board of Education received on March 8, 2016 a presentation from several superintendents and school district officials regarding a draft of the Operating Standards for Identifying and Serving Gifted Students Rule 3301-51-15.

Presenting to the Board were Karen Hall, director of educational services for Springfield City Schools; Dan Horstman, superintendent of Ottawa-Glandorf Local Schools; Carrie Knoch, director of student achievement in Wapakoneta City Schools; Susan Lang, superintendent of Wyoming City Schools; Dale Lewellen, superintendent of Bath Local Schools; Cara Riddel, superintendent of Westfall Local Schools; Doug Ute, superintendent of Newark City Schools; and Danielle Prohaska, superintendent of Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools.

The State Board of Education’s Achievement Committee is currently reviewing a draft of the standards, and has been receiving feedback on the proposed standards from advocates for gifted education, including the Ohio Association for Gifted Children.  But this is the first time that the full board had received a presentation from a group of stakeholders.

The superintendents told the State Board that they need flexible standards to design gifted programs to meet the unique needs of the students in their school districts.  Several reported that they spend more on gifted programs than state allocations for gifted education, and oppose restricting the use of state funding for identifying and serving gifted students.  Some also reported that they have used state funding for gifted education to train teachers to differentiate instruction, so that gifted students are not “pulled” out of class. They also told the SBE that  Written Education Plans (WEPs) for gifted students are very time consuming to develop, and, as a result, teachers don’t submit them to the ODE to document that students have received services.  Schools that can’t document providing gifted services to students do not receive recognition for serving gifted students on the state report card.  Some of the district officials also said that they would employ intervention specialists for their gifted education programs, but don’t have the funds.

See “Local Officials Urge Flexibility in Overhaul of Gifted Education Rules”, Hannah News Service, March 8, 2016 at



Few Teachers Evaluated As Unsatisfactory Even With New Evaluations: Researchers examining teacher performance ratings in 19 states that have adopted major reforms in their teacher evaluation systems since 2009, found that the median percentage of teachers rated below proficient is 2.7 percent.

The study also found “substantial differences” among the states in the percentage of teachers rated below proficient and highly effective.  Five states identified approximately 5 percent or more of teachers as below proficient; 10 states rated between 2-4 percent of teachers as below proficient; and 4 states rated less than 2 percent of teachers below proficient.  Only three states, Louisiana, Maryland, and New Mexico, rated more than 1 percent of teachers as ineffective/unstatisfactory.

The median percentage of teachers rated above proficient is 39 percent, and varies by state.  Georgia posted the lowest median percentage of teachers rated above proficient at 3 percent, while in Tennessee 73 percent of teachers are rated above proficient.

In Florida 97.6 percent of teachers are rated as either effective or highly effective, and so Florida data was not included in the study.

The study also reported the following:

-Having more rating categories to differentiate teacher performance does not appear to translate into greater differentiation at the lower end of the rating scale.

-Often the evaluators’ perception of teacher effectiveness does not align with the actual performance ratings assigned.

-”[E]valuation ratings reflect more than just teacher performance; they are a product of a complex evaluation process with multiple purposes.”

The researchers also conducted in-depth interviews with principals to better understand the results.

According to the principals, a lack of time to adequately evaluate a poor performing teacher, and not having the capacity to help a teacher improve contributed to the low percentage of teachers rated below proficient.

Principals also considered teacher potential and motivation when assigning an evaluation, especially for new teachers.

Some principals reported that they didn’t think that giving a teacher an “unsatisfactory” rating is constructive, if the goal is to help the teacher improve.  A low rating often leads to difficult emotional conversations.

See “Revisiting the Widget Effect:  Teacher Evaluation Reforms and the Distribution of Teacher Effectiveness” by Matthew A. Kraft, Allison F. Gilmour, Scholar.Harvard – Brown University Working Paper, February 2016 at


Achievement Decreases for Students in Voucher Program:   Researchers Johnathan Mills (Tulane University) and Patrick Wolf (University of Arkansas), who also studied voucher programs in Washington D. C. and Milwaukee, recently published new technical reports about the Louisiana Scholarship Program (LSP).

The researchers found that, “… the use of an LSP scholarship has negatively impacted both ELA and math achievement, although only the latter estimates are statistically significant.”  They also estimated less negative effects in the second year of the program.

The Louisiana program was initially established in 2008 as a pilot program, and provides vouchers to low-income students, who attend low performing public schools, to attend eligible private schools.

The report shows that the voucher students’ test scores fell further behind their peers in public schools after attending the participating private schools, and after two years at the private school, the students’ scores were below the scores they had when they first entered the LSP.

The researchers say that the results are “unprecedented” among voucher studies, and suggest that the negative impact could be a result of the size of the LSP program, the misalignment of the curriculum and the tests, and the quality of the private schools that are participating in the program.  The researchers found, for example, that some of the private schools had lost students the previous year, and might have closed without the enrollment of the voucher students.

See “The Effects of the Louisiana Scholarship Program on Student Achievement After Two Years”, by Johnathan Mills and Patrick J. Wolf, Education Research Alliance for New Orleans and the School Choice Demonstration Project, February 22, 2016, at

See “Louisiana voucher students did worse at new schools, study says,” by Danielle Dreilinger,, The Times-Picayune, February 22, 2016 at



Public Support for the Arts: Americans for the Arts released on March 7, 2016 the first results of its latest public opinion survey about public support for the arts.

The survey showed strong public support for the arts, arts education, and funding for the arts.

The purpose of the survey was to gauge the public’s personal engagement in the arts, support for arts education, government funding for the arts, the personal benefits of engaging in the arts, and how that engagement benefits the community.

The survey of 3,020 adults was conducted in December 2015 by Ipsos Public Affairs, and has a credibility interval of plus/minus 2 percentage points.

According to the survey results Americans overwhelmingly support arts education.  Eighty-nine percent agree that the arts are part of a well-rounded K-12 education.  Only 7 percent disagreed.

Between 88-90 percent of those surveyed believe that arts education is important at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

Beyond the classroom, experiences in the arts are also important to 82 percent of those surveyed, but only 61 percent agree that students have adequate access to the arts, and 27 percent believe that student access to the arts is inadequate.

The survey also found that 65 percent of parents say that they have taken some action to support arts education during the past year, but 27 percent also reported that they were too busy to take any action.

When it comes to funding the arts, 55 percent believe that state government and 57 percent say that local government should fund grants to artists and arts organizations.

Those surveyed also support, by 54 percent, the federal government increasing grants to arts organizations.


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 (

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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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