Arts on Line Education Update May 16, 2016

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
May 16, 2016

Joan Platz


131st General Assembly: The House and Senate will hold voting sessions and committee meetings this week.


The House Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education, chaired by Representative Duffey, will meet on May 17, 2016 at 9:00 AM in hearing room 311 to receive testimony on HB474 (Brown) Higher Education Mid Biennium Review (MBR).  Among its provisions, the bill would change the College Credit Plus program and expands the types of degrees that community colleges can award students.


The House Finance Committee, chaired by Representative Ryan Smith, will meet on May 17, 2016 at 1:00 PM in hearing room 313.  The committee will receive testimony on HB475 (Schuring) Motion Picture-Tax Credit and HB547 (Smith) Office of Budget and Management MBR. The bill deals with state finances, and includes budget corrections and programmatic changes.


The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Brenner, will meet on May 17, 2016 at 9:30 AM in hearing room 313.  The committee will receive testimony on the following bills:

-HB556 (Duffey) School District Boundaries: Makes the boundaries of certain school districts that are parties to an annexation agreement permanent under state law.

-HB441 (McColley) Interscholastic Activities:  Permits a student enrolled in a nonpublic school to participate in interscholastic activities at a school district that is not the student’s resident district under certain circumstances, and prohibits a student who participates in the College Credit Plus program from being denied the opportunity to participate in interscholastic athletics solely due to participation in the program.

-HB264 (Barnes) Respect Your Date Act:  Enacts the “Respect Your Date Act” to designate the month of April as “Respect Your Date Month,” and requires each state institution of higher education to adopt a policy regarding dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and rape on campus and to declare an emergency.

-HB524 (Cupp, Smith) State Report Card Measure: This is a place-holder bill to review the value-added progress dimension measure used for the purposes of state report card ratings for school districts and schools, and teacher evaluations.


The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Oelslager, will meet on May 17, 2016 at 2:30 PM in the Senate Finance Hearing Room.  The committee will receive testimony on a number of bills, including SB298 (Schiavoni) Charter Schools-Contracts, which would change the requirements for operating internet- and computer-based community schools; SB247 (Brown-Lehner) School District-Summer Meals; and SB274 (Seitz) SmartOhio Financial Literacy Pilot Program.


The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner, will meet on May 17, 2016 at 4:00 PM in the Senate Finance Hearing Room. The committee will receive testimony on the following bills:

-HB113 (Grossman-Manning) CPR-Graduation Requirement:  Requires instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of an automated external defibrillator.

-HB410 (Rezabek, Hayes) Truancy:  Changes laws pertaining to habitual and chronic truancy and school attendance.

-SB234 (Cafaro) Student Enrollment-Children Services:  Requires specified public and nonpublic school officials to search the Uniform Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System.

-SB297 (Hughes) Student-Violent Threat: Creates a process to address a situation in which a student threatens violence on school grounds.


Last Week at the Statehouse

The Ohio House approved the following education-related bills last week:

-HB89 (DeVitis): Medicaid School Program. The bill passed 87-7.

-HB391 (Terhar): The SmartOhio Financial Literacy Pilot Program at the University of Cincinnati. The bill passed 93-0.3


The Ohio Senate approved the following bill:

-SB321 (Faber) Public Records:  Creates a procedure within the Court of Claims to hear complaints alleging a denial of access to public records and modifies the circumstances under which a person who files a mandamus action seeking the release of public records may be awarded court costs and attorney’s fees. The bill passed 32-0


The House Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education, chaired by Representative Duffey, met on May 10, 2016 and May 12, 2016 to receive testimony on HB474 (Brown) Higher Education Mid Biennium Review (MBR).  Among other provisions, the bill amends laws pertaining to the College Credit Plus program, creates a co-requisite remediation program for students who are not prepared for college, and proposes new programs that would expand the types of degrees that students can earn at community colleges and four-year universities.

Jack Hershey, president of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges, testified in support of the bill, but, along with other witnesses, recommended that language developed by the state’s public colleges and universities, and included in the House version of HB64 (R. Smith) Biennial Budget, should be included in the bill.  That language described how public colleges and universities would work together to avoid duplication of certain degree programs that were offered to students.

He also recommended a review of the College Credit Plus program by all stakeholders to address such issues as teacher qualifications, academic rigor, textbook costs, course weighting, and the way the program is funded.

Bruce Johnson, president of the Inter-University Council of Ohio (IUC), expressed concern about some of the provisions in HB474 regarding the co-requisite remediation pilot program for students not yet eligible for the College Credit Plus program; a provision in the bill allowing community colleges to award bachelor degrees in some majors; and designating Western Governors’ University as a state institution of higher education.

According to the testimony, the IUC supports many of the concepts included in HB474, but members believe that lawmakers should move cautiously if they intend to expand the mission of community colleges, which already serve an important purpose to provide technical and applied degrees to support workforce development.

  1. Todd Jones, president and general counsel of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities Ohio, (AICUO) said that his organization opposes allowing community colleges to award bachelor’s degrees, creating 3 + 1 programs so that students can complete three years at a community college and one year at a four-year institution, and the current pricing structure of the College Credit Plus program.

See the testimony at


Bills Introduced

-HB556 (Duffey) School District Boundaries: Makes the boundaries of certain school districts that are parties to an annexation agreement permanent under state law. The bill would eliminate the “Win-Win Agreement” between the Columbus City Schools and suburban school districts that enroll certain students who live in the city of Columbus.

-HB564 (Ramos) Student Immunization:  Makes changes to the law governing immunizations for pupils.

-HB565 (Ramos) Tax Credit-Student Loans: Allows a credit against the income tax or commercial activity tax for graduates or employers who make payments on student loans obtained by the graduate to earn a degree from an Ohio college or university.



Paolo DeMaria Selected Superintendent: The State Board of Education, Tom Gunlock president, voted 16-0 on May 12, 2016 to select long-time budget and education policy analyst Paolo DeMaria superintendent of public instruction.  Mr. DeMaria has served in several state-government positions, including director of the Office of Budget and Management, associate superintendent at the Ohio Department of Education, executive vice chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, and currently serves as a principal consultant at Education First Consulting, LLC. He is expected to assume the superintendent’s position by July 2016.


OEA Recommends an End to “Test-Label-Punish” Policies: The Ohio Education Association (OEA) released on May 12, 2016 a report describing a new vision for education in Ohio.  The report was prepared by the OEA’s Commission on Student Success, and includes recommendations that could add to the statewide discussion about state and local plans to implement the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The report focuses on three systemic changes in state education policy:  keeping students engaged in learning and measuring their progress; creating a fair, supportive teacher evaluation system that facilitates continuous professional development; and establishing a school accountability system that is equitable and fair for students, educators, individual schools, and school districts.

According to the report, the purpose of public education is the continued improvement of society.  In order for that to happen, the report includes the following recommendations to improve Ohio’s education system:

-Mindful of purpose.  Education policies should focus on engaging students and cultivating life-long learners.  “Policies that detract from this purpose, such as overtesting that causes students to resent school, must be changed.”

-Building high quality systems.  High quality systems include highly qualified educators with effective principals; relevant and engaging curriculum; and early childhood and pre-kindergarten opportunities.  These systems prepare students for life after graduation.

-Providing a well-rounded curriculum that meets the needs of the whole child.  “Policies that have the effect of narrowing the curriculum to a small number of tested subjects must be changed, and resources must be provided to ensure that all students, regardless of where they live, have access to a wide range of subjects and experiences that set them up for success after graduation.”

-Assessing students to support their growth.  Assessments should provide immediate feedback to students, educators, and parents, and be used to adjust instruction.  “Reduced time on state-mandated standardized testing is necessary to allow for more meaningful and authentic methods of student assessment that allow students to demonstrate their thinking and learning, including student-led exhibitions, portfolios and performance-based assessments.”

-Investing in Community Learning Centers. Schools need adequate resources and the support from the community to meet the needs of students, especially in high poverty communities.

-Creating an evaluation system that supports growth for every educator.  Ohio’s teacher evaluation system should provide educators with coaching, support, and feedback. “Standardized test scores should not be linked to teacher evaluations, but part of how teachers are evaluated should be based on what they learn from student performance and growth to drive their instruction.”

-Rethinking school report cards.  The state’s accountability system should provide a balanced picture of how well districts and schools are meeting the needs of all students based on a variety of factors that measure student success.  “Assigning school/system grades must end.”

-Working with the community to transform struggling schools into thriving schools. Schools identified as needing improvement must have the resources and time to improve.  “Takeover and restructuring models that cause instability and silence the voice of a school community simply don’t work.”

The report concludes with a reminder that schools depend on stakeholders to be successful, including well-prepared educators, support from the parents, the community, and elected officials who must share the responsibility to deliver the best schools to improve our society.




Judge Finds Teacher VAM Score “Arbitrary and Capricious”: Acting Supreme Court Justice Roger McDonough of the New York State Supreme Court issued on May 10, 2016 a ruling in the case Lederman v. King.

The lawsuit was filed by Sheri Lederman against John B. King, the New York State Commissioner of Education.  Dr. Lederman is an 18-year veteran fourth grade teacher in Great Neck, New York.  She filed the lawsuit after she received an “ineffective growth rating” and a score of 1 out of 20 during the 2013-14 school year on New York State’s Annual Professional Performance Review.  Her growth rating score the year before was 14 out of 20, giving her an effective rating that year, with a similar group of students.

The ruling vacates Dr. Lederman’s growth score and ineffective rating, declaring them to be “arbitrary and capricious.”

According to the ruling, “The Court’s conclusion is founded upon: (1) the convincing and detailed evidence of VAM bias against teachers at both ends of the spectrum (e.g. those with high-performing students or those with low-performing students); (2) the disproportionate effect of petitioner’s small class size and relatively large percentage of high-performing students; (3) the functional inability of high-performing students to demonstrate growth akin to lower-performing students; (4) the wholly unexplained swing in petitioner’s growth score from 14 to 1, despite the presence of statistically similar scoring students in her respective classes; and, most tellingly, (5) the strict imposition of rating constraints in the form of a “bell curve” that places teachers in four categories via pre-determined percentages regardless of whether the performance of students dramatically rose or dramatically fell from the previous year.”

The ruling is limited in scope, because the New York State Board of Regents has suspended using test scores in teacher evaluations, and is investigating the validity of the state’s testing system and evaluations.

An interesting commentary by Dr. Daniel Katz, chair of the Department of Education Studies at Seton Hall University, about the Lederman decision and research about VAM is available at  The article includes an amusing graphic explaining the VAM formula.




Choice Policies Alone Not Enough to Improve Graduation Rate: Measure of America released on May 11, 2016 a report entitled High School Graduation in New York City:  Is Neighborhood Still Destiny?.  The report examines disparities in on-time high school graduation rates in New York City neighborhoods, and finds the following:

-Disparities in New York City high school graduation rates by neighborhood dwarf those by race, ethnicity, and gender.

-Neighborhood disadvantage and the likelihood of not graduating high school in four years are strongly linked. The higher the child poverty rate in a community district, the less likely a young person living in that district will graduate high school on time.

-The higher the median household income in a district, the higher the graduation rate of students who live there.

The report was prepared by DATA2GO.NYC to help analyze the success of a policy in the New York City School District that allows students to attend high schools of their choice, and to find ways to improve the outcomes of the program.

The report recommends that policy makers should re-examine strategies to increase the graduation rate in New York City, and recognize that school choice programs alone will not “overcome disadvantages years in the making.”  For example, the report recommends that the city schools provide more guidance counselors in middle school to help more students make better choices for high school.

The city should also recognize that “Real educational equality requires investments in children, families, and communities far earlier.”  The city needs to better address factors like economic insecurity; safe, affordable housing; and health challenges that affect high school students no matter where they attend school.

See High School Graduation in New York City:  Is Neighborhood Still Destiny?, Measure of America, May 11, 2016 at


States Must Improve In Order to Meet Graduation Goal: America’s Promise Alliance released on May 9, 2016 its annual 2016 Building a Grad Nation report.  The report examines “….the progress and challenges the nation faces in reaching the GradNation goal of a national on-time graduation rate of 90 percent by the class of 2020,” and includes a state by state analysis of low graduation-rate high schools; the number of additional students it will take for the county and each state to reach a 90 percent graduation rate; the validity of graduation rates; and recommends some policy changes.

The report was written by Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University in partnership with America’s Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education.

According to the report, the nation’s on-time graduation rate reached a high of 82.3 percent in 2014, and the graduation rate increased for all student subgroups.  Iowa became the first state in 2014 to graduate 90.5 percent of students.  Other states on pace to reach 90 percent are Nebraska, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Texas, and Wisconsin.

But, the rate of progress made nationally is not enough to reach 90 percent by 2020.  There are about 21 states that are off-pace to meet 90 percent by the Class of 2020, including Ohio.

Researchers also report that the national graduation rate would increase 3 and 4 percent respectively if states were required to report five and six-year graduation rates.

The report also examines the number and type of low-graduation-rate high schools.  These are schools enrolling 100 or more students and graduating 67 percent or less.  Although the number of these high schools has declined to 2,397, they are prominent in some states and enroll 1.23 million students nationally.  And, nationwide 33 percent of all non-graduates in 2014 were enrolled in low-graduation rate high schools.

According to the report, alternative schools (dropout recovery), charter schools, and virtual (online) schools account for 50 percent of low-graduation-rate high schools nationwide, although these schools make-up only 14 percent of high schools, and enroll only 8 percent of high school students.

While only 8 percent of high schools are charter schools, about 26 percent of low-graduation-rate high schools were charter schools and 12 percent of non-graduates came from charter schools.  Thirty percent of charter schools were low-graduation rate high schools, compared to 44 percent that were considered high-graduation-rate schools.

“Charter schools had an average graduation rate of 70 percent, meaning the depth of low performance in the low-graduation-rate high schools is drastically pulling down the overall performance of these schools.”

Hawaii, Arizona, Indiana, Ohio, and California have the highest percentages of low-graduation-rate charter high schools. In Ohio, 59 percent of low-grad-rate high schools are charter schools, and 43 percent of non-graduates are enrolled in charter schools.

And, while only 1 percent of high schools fall into the category of online schools (virtual schools), 87 percent of virtual schools are rated low-grad-rate schools, graduating on average 40 percent of students.  Ohio, Idaho, Pennsylvania, and Colorado have the highest percent of non-graduates attending virtual schools. About 26 percent of non-graduates in Ohio are enrolled in a virtual school.

The report includes several recommendations in order to achieve a nationwide 90 percent graduation rate by 2020:

-Weight graduation rates more heavily in ESSA plans, and hold schools and districts accountable for graduating underserved students.

-Clear up issues of clarity and variability in graduation rate collection and reporting regulations.

-Create evidence-based plans to improve low-graduation-rate high schools.

-Report extended year graduation rates.

-Ensure that alternative and virtual schools are included in state accountability and improvement systems.

-Provide real pathways to engage students who have fallen off track.

See “Building a Grad Nation:  Progress and Challenge in Raising High School Graduation Rates,” by Jennifer L. De Paoli, Robert Balfanz, and John Bridgeland, May 11, 2016 at



Professional Development Model Adapted for Early Learning Math: An article in U.S. News highlights the work of the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts in Virginia to adapt its professional development model to integrate the arts and math.  The director of the institute is Jennifer Cooper.

Wolf Trap teaching artists work with classroom teachers in residencies and workshops to show them how to use performing arts techniques to enhance instructional practice and achieve the curriculum goals set for young children.

Residencies provide classroom teachers with strategies to bring lessons to life in innovative ways by engaging students in music, dance, and drama.

Recently the program adapted its model for arts-integrated professional development to build math skills in young children, including number and number sense, measurement, geometry, algebra, data analysis, statistics, and probability.

A recent independent study of the math initiative conducted by American Institute of Research (AIR) showed that children who participated in the Wolf Trap Institute’s study of its math/arts integration program gained, in the first year, the equivalent of 1.3 additional months of math learning compared to children in a control group.  In year two of the study participating children gained 1.7 months of additional learning in math. The children also demonstrated skills such as problem-solving, collaboration, and persistence.  The study was conducted in Fairfax County, VA and was funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

According to the study, teachers trained in Wolf Trap Institute techniques offered more opportunities for arts integration, and demonstrated higher levels of arts integration, particularly with respect to linking arts and math.

See “Findings from the Evaluation of the Wolf Trap Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Grant,” by M. Ludwig, and M. Song, American Institutes for Research, February 2016 at

See “Engineering 101, With Acting Lessons and a Touch of Drama.  The Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts helps teach science, engineering, technology and math to area children,” by Alan Neuhauser, U.S. News, May 10, 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 the Ohio 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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