Arts on Line Education Update May 23, 2016

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update 
Joan Platz
May 23, 2016

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

131st Ohio General Assembly:  The Ohio House and Senate will hold committee hearings and sessions this week. It is likely that the Ohio House will complete its work on May 25, 2016 and break for the summer.  No word yet when the Senate expects to complete its agenda.

 

The House Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education, chaired by Representative Duffey, will meet on May 24, 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 would expand the types of degrees that community colleges can award students.  Governor Kasich has submitted a number of amendments to the bill, which the committee will also consider. (See below for details.)

 

The House Finance Committee, chaired by Representative Ryan Smith, will meet on May 24, 2016 at 3:00 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 addresses state finances, and includes budget corrections and programmatic changes.

 

The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Brenner, will meet on May 24, 2016 at 1:30 PM in hearing room 018.  The committee will receive testimony on the following bills:

  • HB148 (Patterson, LaTourette) Classroom Facilities:  Requires the Ohio School Facilities Commission to provide classroom facilities assistance to a school district resulting from the consolidation of two or more school districts or from the voluntary transfer of the entire territory of a school district if specified conditions are satisfied.
  • HB383 (Hagan, McColley) Informed Student Document:  Requires one-half unit of economic and financial literacy in the high school social studies curriculum; requires the Chancellor of Higher Education to prepare an informed student document for each state institution of higher education to inform students about scholarships, loans, and debt; requires the State Board of Education to include information about the informed student document in the standards and model curricula it creates for financial literacy and entrepreneurship.
  • 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.
  • HB487 (LaTourette, Roegner) State Seal-Biliteracy:  Requires the State Board of Education to establish the state Seal of Biliteracy to be attached or affixed to the high school transcripts of qualifying students.
  • HB459 (Schuring) Educational Service Center-Audit:  Authorizes the Auditor of State to conduct a performance audit of an educational service center and requires a comprehensive performance audit of all educational service centers.
  • HB498 (Kunze) Expulsion-Threat of Violence:  Establishes a process to address a situation in which a student threatens to commit a violent act on school grounds.
  • HB544 (Koehler, Landis) High School Civics Assessment: Permits high school students to take a civics assessment instead of the American government end of-course examination.

 

The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Oelslager, will meet on May 24, 2016 at 2:30 PM in the Senate Finance Hearing Room.  The committee will receive testimony on a number of bills, including HB384 (Schaffer, Duffey) Higher Education Audits; 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 24, 2016 at 4:00 PM in the Senate Finance Hearing Room. The committee will consider the appointment of Nancy Hollister to the State Board of Education, and 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.

 

Last Week at the Statehouse

Capital Budget Update:  Governor Kasich signed into law last week SB310 (Oelslager) Capital Budget.  The law includes $2.6 billion to support capital improvements and other initiatives in the following areas:

  • Institutions of higher education ($537 million)
  • K-12 buildings, through the Ohio School Facilities Commission ($650 million)
  • Local infrastructure through the Public Works Commission ($500 million), including $100 million for Clean Ohio projects
  • Improvements to dams, state parks and forests through the Department of Natural Resources allotment ($323 million)
  • Community projects ($160 million), including projects in the arts
  • The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction ($150.8 million)
  • Health and human services and Youth Services facilities ($100 million) -Transportation projects ($100 million)
  • The Department of Administrative Services ($68.5 million)

 

The House approved a number of bills last week, including HB438 (Patterson), which designates the week prior to the week of Thanksgiving Day as Ohio Public Education Appreciation Week.

 

The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Brenner, received on May 17, 2016 testimony on HB524 (Cupp, Ryan) regarding Ohio’s value added measure, which is used to measure student academic growth and determine school district and school report card ratings, and to evaluate some teachers.

 

John White and Nadja Young from the SAS Institute, the North Carolina company that calculates Ohio’s value added measure, explained that Ohio’s Eduction Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS) is based on statistical models and calculations that are used in a variety of businesses.

One of the issues that lawmakers are investigating is a recommendation from some charter school proponents to use a measure developed in California called the “Similar Students Measure” (SSM) instead of Ohio’s value added measure. When asked about the California method, the SAS experts explained that the California measure takes into account socioeconomic, demographic, and other characteristics of students to gauge relative growth, rather than individual student growth relative to all students and past growth.

The testimony is available at http://www.ohiohouse.gov/committee/education

 

Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Oelslager, continued to receive testimony on SB 298 (Schiavoni) Community School Contracts on May 17, 2016. The bill is expected to be amended to eliminate a provision that requires blended learning schools to be sponsored only by an exemplary sponsor; to restore career tech funding’s status in the funding formula for e-schools; and to exempt e-schools sponsored by school districts from the bill’s provisions.

The committee also received written proponent testimony from Jeff Langdon from the Greater Cincinnati School Advocacy Network, Ralph Roshong, Brittany Alexander, and Beverly Dorson from the Hudson League of Women Voters.

See the testimony at http://ohiosenate.gov/committee/finance#

 

The House Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education, chaired by Representative Duffey, held two meetings last week to receive testimony on HB474 (Brown) Higher Education MBR.

The Ohio School Boards Association, Buckeye Association of School Administrators, and Ohio Association of School Business Officials presented joint testimony along with about 20 other school district officials.

Although these organizations testified that they support the ability of high school students to earn college credits while in high school, they said that the current CCP program is flawed and should be fixed, and further oppose certain provisions in HB474.  These include eliminating the Chancellor’s ability to grant a waiver to school districts and Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) that negotiate a “CCP credit amount” lower than the “floor credit amount”.  They also oppose expanding CCP to include a pilot remediation program for students who are not ready for college-level courses.  According to the testimony, this provision is counter to the intent of the CCP program, which was created to provide college ready high school students with opportunities to earn college credit. If high school students are not ready for college, then they should complete high school first.

The testimony also identified a number of issues that school districts have encountered during this first year of implementing the CCP program, which replaced the former Post Secondary Enrollment Options Program and locally developed dual enrollment programs.

School districts have raised concerns about how the CCP program is funded as a deduction from school district state aid; the elimination of dual enrollment agreements between IHE and local school districts; the cost of college textbooks and the inability of school districts to predict those costs; the lack of eligibility standards for students to participate in CCP; and the lack of standards for course rigor.

The organizations have been working with school districts to develop the following recommendations to improve the CCP program:

  • Set a uniform standard for determining college readiness and qualify students to participate in CCP. School districts must play a role in determining a student’s readiness for college level courses.
  • Develop metrics for comparisons between college level courses that qualify for CCP and courses available at the high school level. College courses qualifying for CCP must be as rigorous or more rigorous than the courses students can take at the high school level. Otherwise, more should be done to assure that high school level courses can result in college credit.
  • Create a statewide textbook policy that reduces the burden for school districts if they are to be the sole provider of textbooks for CCP courses. A more structured state policy should be adopted to ensure a more uniform practice statewide for the purchase and use of textbooks for CCP courses.
  • Eliminate the “floor” for school districts, in which school district faculty are conducting the CCP courses on the school district campuses, and instead allow flexibility at the local level for financial agreements between school districts and IHEs.
  • Establish a level of financial responsibility for parents (based on a means-tested formula as with other state policies) in order to create accountability for the student and family rather than CCP being an entitlement regardless of student’s performance or outcome in the college course.
  • Create a commission or committee that includes all stakeholders for the decision making and rule setting for CCP, including representatives from IHE, ODE, local district personnel.
  • Increase the availability of high school teachers qualified to be adjunct instructors permitted to teach CCP courses. School districts currently do not have any authority for the approval of qualified instructors, and there is no statewide consistency about who is selected to teach. Qualified high school instructors might not be selected by IHEs, which might elect to use their own faculty members.

 

Governor Kasich Proposes Several Workforce Development Amendments to HB474: Also presenting testimony on May 17, 2016 to the House Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education on HB474 was Ryan Burgess, director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation.  He presented some amendments proposed by the Kasich administration to increase the number of Ohioans with high school equivalency diplomas, professional certificates, and licenses. According to the testimony, the amendments would do the following:

 

Ohio High School Equivalency Programs:  The amendments would improve Ohio’s High School Equivalency Program by directing the Ohio Department of Education to identify additional tests that students could pass to earn a high school equivalency diploma. Currently those who have not earned a regular high school diploma must pass the General Educational Development certificate (GED) to earn a high school equivalency diploma.  But the testing company Pearson now controls the copyright to the exam, and the cost of the test has increased, along with the passing grade.

Several states have selected other tests to determine if students should earn a high school equivalency diploma, such as High School Equivalency Test or the Test Assessing Secondary Completion.  With more testing options and increased competition, it is hoped that the cost of the exams will decrease.

 

High School Equivalency Certificate:  To help potential employers understand the merits of high school equivalency diplomas, the administration is recommending that the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) create one uniform high school equivalency certificate.  Students earning a high school equivalency diploma by taking different national exams, would then obtain a uniform state certificate, verifying that the student has met high school requirements.

 

Capping State Subsidy and Consolidating Adult Education Line Items:  The state now allocates in its biennial budget funds to subsidize students for the cost of the GED for first time test takers.  But, under Pearson, the GED has increased from $40 per test to $120 per test.

The administration is proposing a cap on the cost of the test for first-time takers at $80.  This cap would apply to equivalency exams selected by the ODE.  In addition, the state would consolidate into one line item in the state’s budget, allocations for high school equivalency exams, Adult Diplomas, and the 22+ Program, to provide more flexibility for funding these program options.

 

High School Equivalency Eligibility:  In current law, there are restrictions and barriers for students age 16 and 17 to take an equivalency exam if they are enrolled in school. The administration is proposing to eliminate these restrictions, but would require a 16- or 17-year-old applying to the ODE to take an equivalency exam, to submit written approval from his or her parent or guardian, or a court official.

 

Recognized Pre-Apprenticeship Programs-Standard Alignment: The amendment would promote that school districts adopt the criteria and standards developed by the Small Business Development Center for recognized pre-apprenticeship programs.  Students in high school who participate in “recognized pre-apprenticeship programs” can oftentimes earn advanced credit; gain direct entry in registered apprenticeship programs; and receive a portable completion certificate upon graduation.

 

Small Business Development Centers – Connecting Clients with OhioMeansJobs Resources:  The amendment requires Small Business Development Centers to provide customers with information about OhioMeansJobs.com and the OhioMeansJobs Centers and links to employer resources, such as posting a job, finding employees, and customized employee training.

 

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act – Conformity: The amendment will update sections of ORC language to comply with the new standards of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

 

Workforce Grant Program – Operational Change:  The amendment would revise HB340 which passed in December 2015, regarding the Workforce Grant Program at the Department of Higher Education. Current law directs the Chancellor and Department of Higher Education to disburse grants from this program directly to students. The purpose of the revisions in this amendment is to clarify that the grant funding for this program will be disbursed to the educational institutions, and the institutions will then award grants to students.

 

Certificate of Qualification for Employment (CQE) Reform:  The amendment changes the current section of ORC to grant the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections with rule-making authority to establish criteria permitting certain offenders to apply for Certificates of Qualification for Employment (CQE) immediately upon release from prison.  Ex-offenders must have completed rehabilitative programs and maintained a low security status. These CQEs are issued by judges in common pleas courts, but currently ex-offenders must wait up to six months to apply for them, delaying opportunities to become re-employed.

 

Establishing the Military Students Workgroup: The amendment would direct the Superintendent of Public Instruction to create a workgroup to identify barriers that prevent children of military families and veterans from achieving. The workgroup, which will include stakeholders, comprised of military families and active duty and veterans’ organizations, will make recommendations to the General Assembly by December 31, 2016. The superintendent is directed to consult with Ohio’s commissioner for Ohio’s participation in the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.

 

STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics: The amendment creates a STEAM designation for new or existing STEM schools that want to integrate art and design into the STEM curriculum, and expands the grades that STEM and STEAM schools can offer from 6-12 to K-12. The testimony states that, “According to research, the study of art and design can deepen STEM learning by encouraging critical analysis, problem solving, adaptive thinking and creativity. These skills are essential to higher achievement and success in the 21st century workplace.” The ODE’s existing STEM committee will evaluate proposals for the new STEAM designation.”

 

Simultaneous Credit: The amendment requires the ODE, Ohio Department of Higher Education, and the Office of Workforce Transformation to provide K-12 schools with guidance to implement cross-disciplinary integrated programs in which students can simultaneously earn credits toward graduation. For example, students would be able to earn separate credits in English language arts, math, science, and social studies for completing a curriculum delivered through integrated academic and career-technical instruction.

See http://www.ohiohouse.gov/committee/finance-subcommittee-on-higher-education

 

Bills Introduced

  • HB570 (Hill) Interdistrict Open Enrollment:  Regarding funding for students enrolled in community schools, STEM schools, and other districts through interdistrict open enrollment.
  • HB571 (Duffey, Boggs) Career Information-Students:  Regarding the presentation of career information to students.
  • HB560 (Hambley) Community School Enrollment:  Regarding the verification of community school enrollment.
  • SB326 (Gardner) School District Technology Improvements:  Requires the Ohio School Facilities Commission to establish a program assisting school districts in purchasing technology and making physical alterations to improve technology infrastructure and school safety and security.

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Reports Warn About the Lack of Progress to Integrate: On May 17, 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court issued the landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision.  The decision declared state laws establishing separate, but equal, public schools to be unconstitutional.  The decision overturned the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision, which allowed state-sponsored segregation of public education.

Last week to mark the anniversary of the Brown v. Board decision several reports were released about the status of efforts to establish integrated schools and society in the United States.

However two of the reports warn that our public schools and neighborhoods are becoming more segregated; stratification of schools and society by race and economic status is increasing; and there is a lack of will to make integration a national priority.

The UCLA Civil Rights Project published a research brief entitled Brown at 62:  School Segregation by Race, Poverty, and State on May 16, 2016.  The brief is based on a more comprehensive study about school segregation to be published in September 2016.

According to the brief, over the past 25 years, the percent of intensely segregated nonwhite schools, with zero to 10 percent white enrollment, has more than tripled, and the percent of all-white schools, with 0-10 percent nonwhite students has declined as the percent of white students has decreased.

The brief also shows an increase in double segregation by race and poverty for African American and Latino students, who are also concentrated in poorer performing schools.

The research studies conducted by the Civil Rights Project over the past few years show that segregation creates unequal opportunities for students and perpetuates stratification in society, while diverse schools better prepare students to live and work successfully in a complex society.  And, our society is becoming more diverse.  Between 1990 to 2013 the racial composition of the schools changed from 69 percent to 50 percent white.  The percent of Latino students increased from 11 percent to 25 percent, while the percent of African-American students remained at 15 percent.

In Ohio the average percentage of African-American students in schools is 16.1 percent. Ohio ranks 15th among states with 37.8 percent of African-American students who attend schools that are 90-100 percent non-white.  The most intensely segregated states are New York, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Michigan, and California.  In these states the percentage of African-American students who attend schools that are 90-100 percent non-white is between 47-65 percent.

According to the brief, instead of developing a national vision and strategies to further integration, “…we have spent decades trying another approach: policies that have focused on attempting to equalize schools and opportunity though accountability and high-stakes testing policies, not to mention the federal subsidization of entirely new systems of school choice, like charter schools, without any civil rights provisions. These policies have not succeeded in reducing racial segregation or inequality. In our last national examination of charter schools, for example, we found that the percentage of black students in 90-100% minority schools was twice as high as that of black students in traditional public schools.”

The brief recommends that national leaders establish a priority to “create schools that build a society where the talent of all is developed and students of all races/ ethnicities are prepared to understand and live successfully in a society that moves beyond separation toward mutual respect and integration.”

To accomplish this goal, the report urges Congress and the Obama administration to offer guidance to school districts to encourage voluntary integration; provide technical assistance to help states understand how to design district and state policies to further diversity; and provide more resources to support integration, like the Emergency School Aid Act, which distributed federal support to desegregate schools 45 years ago.

See “Brown at 62: School Segregation by Race, Poverty and State”, by Authors Gary Orfield, Jongyeon Ee, Erica Frankenberg, and Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, The Civil Rights Project, May 16, 2016 at https://www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/news/press-releases/featured-research-2016/brown-at-62

 

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) also released on May 17, 2016 a report entitled “K-12 Education: Better Use of Information Could Help Agencies Identify Disparities and Address Racial Discrimination.”

The report examines the changes in student racial isolation or integration in schools from 2000 to 2014, and found that “…the percentage of all K-12 public schools that had high percentages of poor and Black or Hispanic students grew from 9 to 16 percent.”

These schools were the most racially and economically concentrated, with 75 to 100 percent of students either African-American or Hispanic and eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

The report also notes that “…these schools offered disproportionately fewer math, science, and college preparatory courses, and had disproportionately higher rates of students who were held back in 9th grade, suspended, or expelled.”

The GAO report recommends that the USDOE analyze data about traditional public schools, charter schools, and magnet schools by race and poverty status to identify disparities, including access to academic courses, in order to better target technical assistance to the schools.

The GAO also found that the Department of Justice doesn’t adequately track open federal desegregation cases, which prolongs a satisfactory resolution of these cases.

See “K-12 Education:  Better Use of Information Could Help Agencies Identify Disparities and Address Racial Discrimination” by the Government Accountability Office, released on May 17, 2016 at http://www.gao.gov/assets/680/676745.pdf

 

OHIO NEWS

High Performing Schools Earn Awards: The State Board of Education recognized on May 17, 2016 two districts and 46 schools with the All A Award for earning straight A’s on their 2014-2015 Ohio School Report Cards.

Another 53 districts and 165 schools received the Momentum Award for exceeding expectations in student growth for the year for at least two value-added subgroups of students, which includes gifted students, students in the lowest 20 percent in achievement, and students with disabilities.

This is the first year the State Board of Education has recognized school districts and schools for earning straight As and exceeding student growth for the year.

Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, the State Board of Education will recognize any school or district that earns an A on its report card overall component score.

For a complete list of school districts and schools receiving this recognition please see https://education.ohio.gov/Media/Media-Releases/State-Board-of-Education-of-Ohio-Awards-High-Perfo#.V0IMTFdzsw0

 

Survey on Proposed Rule Changes for Honors Diplomas:  The State Board of Education is considering new rules for the Honors Diploma, and has posted a survey on its website to gather feedback about the proposed changes.

The changes include adding three new Honors Diplomas for students in the areas of STEM, the Arts, and Social Science & Civic Engagement.

The STEM Honors Diploma would require additional credits in mathematics and science. Students must take STEM focused coursework.

The Arts Honors Diploma would require additional credits in the fine arts.

The Social Science & Civic Engagement Honors Diploma would require additional credits in social studies and civics.

The State Board is also considering additional requirements for the Honors Diplomas:

  • The three new proposed Honors Diplomas will also include a world language requirement. Students would need to meet the requirement by earning three credits in one world language or two credits in two world languages.
  • All Honors Diplomas, including existing International Baccalaureate and Career Technical Honors Diplomas as well as the three new proposed STEM, Arts, and Social Science & Civic Engagement Honors Diplomas, will include a requirement for students to complete a field experience, such as an internship or apprenticeship, and develop a comprehensive portfolio based on the field experience.  The portfolio must be reviewed and validated by external experts.
  • To qualify for an Honors Diploma, students must meet all but one of the requirements.

This survey about proposed changes for the Honor Diploma will close on Wednesday, June 1, 2016.

For more information and to access the survey see

http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Ohio-Graduation-Requirements/Graduation-Requirements-2014-2017/Criteria-for-Diploma-with-Honors/Ohios-Proposed-Honors-Diplomas

 

ECOT in the News:  Ohio’s largest online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), was in state and national headlines again last week.

The articles describe a complicated story about ECOT’s founder William Lager and the businesses that he has set-up, using public funds, to provide services to ECOT; his $220,000 campaign contributions to Republicans in the Ohio House and Senate last year; lobbying efforts to convince lawmakers to change the law about report card measures; and lobbying efforts to change the law requiring e-schools to verify that students are engaged in 920 hours of learning activities a year.

Patrick O’Donnell for The Plain Dealer, Jim Siegel for The Columbus Dispatch, and editorial board of the Akron Beacon Journal reported last week that ECOT, with about 15,000 students statewide, recently received preliminary audit results from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and the State Auditor’s Office.  The audit raised questions about how many ECOT students are actually meeting the required 920 hours in learning activities per year. Auditors are asking ECOT to provide more documentation about student engagement in online learning activities, and will review the attendance and log-in data for the school again in June.  Auditors and ODE staff are also meeting with e-school leaders to discuss how e-schools document “offline learning”, such as when a student reads a book, or goes on a field trip.

The articles also reported that e-school lobbyists are urging Republican leaders in the House to change the law and require that e-schools “offer”, rather than require students to “spend” 920 hours in learning activities a year.

And, the House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Brenner is hearing testimony on HB524 (Cupp, Ryan) about Ohio’s value added model, which is used to measure student academic growth and determine school district and school report card ratings.

ECOT has earned a consistent “F” on its state report card for student growth, and is urging lawmakers to adopt a less rigorous student growth measure, which is used in California called “Similar Students Measure.” According to expert testimony on HB524 last week, this methodology takes into account socioeconomic, demographic, and other characteristics of students to gauge relative growth, rather than individual student growth relative to all students and past growth.

If ECOT and other charter schools are not able to change the law, they could eventually close due to poor performance, and their sponsors, which are evaluated based on their schools’ state report card grades, could be declared ineffective, and be prohibited from sponsoring new charter schools.

The articles also report that Mr. Lager has contributed $220,000 to Republicans in the House and Senate over the past year as several education-related bills, which could be amended to include the changes in law supported by some charter schools, move through the legislature.  For example SB3 (Hite,Faber) High Performing School District Exemption, has already been approved by the Ohio Senate; HB474 (Brown) Higher Education MBR is in the House Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education; and HB524 (Cupp, Ryan) Value-Added Measure, is in the House Education Committee.

But the Plain Dealer and Dispatch articles report that Republican lawmakers are continuing discussions about the e-school amendments, and it is more likely that any changes in charter school law will be postponed until the fall or during the lame-duck session of the General Assembly in November or December after the election.

 

At the national level, The New York Times published an investigative report on May 18, 2016 by Motoko Rich about why students choose ECOT; ECOT’s low graduation rate; and William Lager’s for-profit companies that provide services to ECOT.

According to the article, virtual schools like ECOT are expanding across the nation, but America’s Promise Alliance has found that these schools have low graduation rates, an average of 40 percent, compared to the national rate of 82 percent.  ECOT’s graduation rate in 2014 was not even 39 percent, and “For every 100 students who graduate on time, 80 do not,” the article says.

But the poor performance of the school hasn’t stopped William Lager, the founder of ECOT, from making a profit.  The article notes, “For example, in the 2014 fiscal year, the last year for which federal tax filings were available, the school paid the companies associated with Mr. Lager nearly $23 million, or about one-fifth of the nearly $115 million in government funds it took in.”

The article goes on to say that two companies, IQ Innovations and Altair Learning Management, have been providing services to ECOT since 2000.  The companies were selected without going through a competitive bidding process to hire companies with the lowest and responsible bids for services.  Traditional public schools are required to follow a competitive bidding process for most purchases over $25,000 in order to provide transparency and accountability for public funds.

In response, the article quotes ECOT Superintendent Rick Teeters as he explains that the students who attend ECOT are generally more mobile, have more disabilities, and are poorer, and that is why the school should not be judged based on academic factors alone.

See “State Questions Attendance at ECOT Charter Schools,” by Patrick O’Donnell, The Plain Dealer, May 20, 2016 at http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2016/05/state_questions_attendance_at_ecot_online_charter_school.html

See “Online School Enriches Affiliated Companies if Not Its Students,” by Motoko Rich, New York Times, May 18, 2016 at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/19/us/online-charter-schools-electronic-classroom-of-tomorrow.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

See “State questions attendance at ECOT, state’s largest online school,” by Jim Siegel, The Columbus Dispatch, May 19, 2016 at http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2016/05/19/state-questions-attendance-at-ecot-states-largest-online-school.html

See also an editorial in the Akron Beacon Journal on May 21, 2016 entitled, “What ECOT wants:  The power of political money at the Statehouse” at

http://www.ohio.com/editorial/editorials/what-ecot-wants-1.684683

 

REPORTS

Study Examines Effects of Charter Schools on School District Budgets:  A new report by Jason B. Cook for Columbia University’s National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education examines the effects of charter schools on traditional public school district (TPSD) budgets in Ohio from 1982 to 2013.

According to the report, charter school competition “…directly decreases TPSD revenues in excess of the mechanical loss of state resources due to lower enrollment.  As vulnerable student populations transfer to charters, TPSDs lose the federal funding designated to help educate these students.”

The study reports that charter school competition affects local property taxes by decreasing appraised values and decreasing levied millage rates.  A percentage point increase in the fraction of school district students transferring to charter schools decreases real appraised property values by 2.5 percent.

Charter schools also affect teacher contracts in traditional school districts.  The study reports that “…a percentage point increase in charter competition decreases teacher salary contracts at the top of the pay scale by around 1.0 percent.”  Charter competition has no effect on mid-career salary contracts, but also causes a decrease in salary for entry-level teachers.

See ”The Effect of Charter Competition on Unionized District Revenues and Resource Allocation” by Jason B. Cook, National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, May 14, 2016 at http://ncspe.tc.columbia.edu/working-papers/OP229.pdf

 

FYI ARTS

Governor Recognizes May 18th Arts Day in Ohio: Ohio Citizens for the Arts reports that Governor John Kasich and Lt. Governor Mary Taylor issued a resolution last week naming May 18th “Arts Day” throughout Ohio.

According to the resolution, the arts, which include dance, drama/theater, music, and visual art, play a unique role in our lives by enhancing and enriching the human experience.

The resolution also acknowledges the importance of arts education, and the major role that the creative industries play in Ohio’s economy.

A copy of the resolution is available at https://d3dkdvqff0zqx.cloudfront.net/groups/oharts/attachments/2016%20arts%20day.pdf

 

Great News for the Ohio Arts Council and Ohio’s Arts Organizations: The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced on May 10, 2016 that it will award $82.3 million in grants to fund 1,148 projects nationally in the areas of Art Works, Research; Art Works, Our Town; and State and Regional Partnerships this spring cycle.

According to the press release, “All of these recommended grants represent a federal investment in the quality and quantity of and public access to art works and activities, furthering learning, creativity, and engagement for people nationwide.”

The Ohio Arts Council (OAC) will receive a major State Partnership grant of $983,200, the second highest NEA grant awarded to states.

California received the highest grant award, but Ohio’s grant bested states such as Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.  The award is also 3.3 percent higher than Ohio’s prior NEA grant award.

This is the seventh year in a row that the OAC has been awarded an NEA grant, which will enable the OAC to support Partnership Agreement activities for the arts throughout Ohio.

The NEA also awarded $425,000 in grants to arts-related organizations in Ohio, bringing the total NEA award for Ohio to $1.4 million for the spring funding cycle. Congratulations to the following Ohio based arts organizations are receiving NEA grants this spring cycle:

Cincinnati

  • Catacoustic Consort, Inc.: $10,000 – Opera
  • Cincinnati Museum Association (aka Cincinnati Art Museum): $25,000 – Museum

 

Cleveland

  • Cleveland Museum of Art: $15,000 – Museum
  • Cuyahoga Arts and Culture: $50,000 – Museum
  • GroundWorks Dancetheatre: $20,000 – Dance
  • Musical Arts Association (aka The Cleveland Orchestra): $25,000 – Media Arts
  • Neighborhood Progress, Inc. (aka Cleveland Neighborhood Progress): $25,000 – Design
  • Professional Flair, Inc. (aka Dancing Wheels Company and School): $10,000 – Dance

 

Columbus

  • Greater Columbus Arts Council: $40,000 – Local Arts Agencies
  • OhioDance: $10,000 – Dance
  • Wexner Center Foundation (aka Wexner Center for the Arts): $25,000 – Media Arts

 

Dayton

  • University of Dayton: $10,000 – Research

 

New Albany

  • Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts Corporation (aka McCoy Center for the Arts): $50,000 – Our Town Award

 

Youngstown

  • Youngstown State University: $100,000 – Our Town Award

 

Zanesfield

  • Mad River Theatre Works: $10,000 – Theater and Musical Theater

 

See “$82.3 Million in Grants Will Support Art Projects Nationwide”, National Endowment for the Arts, May 10, 2016 at

https://www.arts.gov/news/2016/823-million-grants-will-support-art-projects-nationwide#sthash.q572ScBz.dpuf



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 (www.omea-ohio.org), Ohio Art Education Association(www.oaea.org), Ohio Educational Theatre Association(www.ohedta.org); OhioDance (www.ohiodance.org), and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (www.oaae.net).

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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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