Arts on Line Education Update May 31, 2016

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
Joan Platz
May 31, 2016

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

131st Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate held marathon sessions last week to finish work on a number of bills, including several education related bills, and one bill renaming of the Columbus airport the John Glenn Columbus International Airport after former U.S. Senator John Glenn.

Lawmakers in the House are not expected to resume sessions until after the November 8, 2016 General Election, with session dates now scheduled for November and December.

The Senate hasn’t posted its sessions schedule yet, but Senate President Keith Faber announced last week some tentative session dates might be scheduled in September or October.

 

Legislative Wrap-up:  The Ohio House approved on May 24, 2016 SB63 (LaRose), which would allow voters to register online, but not until January 2017.  Democrats opposed the “unnecessary delay” in implementation, because the Secretary of State’s website already has up and running a way for registered voters to update their voting information online, so the infrastructure is already available to register voters online.

Democrats also opposed a provision in the bill that requires online registrants to give a driver’s license number or state ID number in order to register.

The Ohio Senate concurred with the House amendments, sending the bill to Governor Kasich to sign.

See https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-documents?id=GA131-SB-63

 

The House also approved HB65 (Hagan, Ramos), which would require schools to include age-appropriate materials on preventing child sexual abuse in the curriculum; HB383 (Hagan, McColley) which requires one-half unit of economic and financial literacy in high school social studies curricula, and guidance for college students about financing their education; and HB441 (McColley) which 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.

See http://www.lsc.ohio.gov/bills/default2.htm

 

The Ohio Senate approved SB247 (Brown, Lehner) School District Summer Meals, which would require school districts to allow alternative summer meal sponsors to use school facilities to provide food service for summer intervention services under certain conditions.

 

The Senate also approved HB113 (Grossman, Manning) High School Graduation Require CPR Training on May 25, 2016, after adding a number of amendments to the bill in the Senate Education Committee, turning the bill into a mini omnibus education bill.

The original bill requires high school students to be trained in CPR and in the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED). The amendments do the following:

  • Change the start date for the CPR and AED training requirements for students to July 1, 2017, and for all school employees to July 1, 2018
  • Direct the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to expand the types of national tests that students can take to earn a high school equivalency diploma in addition to the GED, which is now the property of the Pearson testing company.  The amendments replace the term “GED” with high school equivalency diploma, and also require the ODE to award a certificate of high school equivalency to individuals who achieve the equivalent of a high school education as measured by the ODE selected tests.
  • Increase funding for students in private schools to access the College Credit Plus program (CCP) by using excess Auxiliary Service Reimbursement Funds
  • Broaden the scope of the Joint Education Oversight Committee (JEOC) and the authority of the chairperson to request and receive information from any state agency; and clarify how the chairperson and ranking member will be chosen in odd and even-numbered years
  • Permit schools to spend state funding for economically disadvantaged students to recruit graduates of the Bright New Leaders for Ohio Schools program, which is an alternative training and licensing pathway for private sector leaders to become principals
  • Permit the ODE to waive the career-technical education spending requirement for charter schools in certain cases
  • Permit staggered terms for large joint vocational school boards of education
  • Prohibit a charter school teacher from terminating the teacher’s contract before the end of the school year, thereby making the consequences for breaking a contract the same for teachers in charter schools and traditional public schools.

The House concurred with the Senate amendments, sending the bill to Governor Kasich to sign.

See https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-documents?id=GA131-HB-113

 

The Senate transformed HB390 (Schaffer, Retherford) Municipal Gas Company, into a catchall bill.  The bill was amended to include provisions to reduce Ohio’s unemployment compensation debt, and to include HB547 OBM-MBR, which included a number of financially related amendments recommended by the Office of Budget and Management.  The bill also includes HB475 (Schuring) Ohio Film Production Tax Credit, but an amendment raises the cap on the tax credit for producing a film in Ohio from $20 million to $40 million, rather than the $75 million originally proposed in the bill.

 

The Senate also approved HB391 (Terhar) Finance Literacy Program, which would require the Chancellor of Higher Education to create the SmartOhio Financial Literacy Pilot Program at the University of Cincinnati to operate for the 2016-2017 school year.  The bill was amended in the Senate Finance Committee to include $318,000 in FY17 for the SmartOhio Financial Literacy Pilot Program at the University of Cincinnati; $500,000 in FY17 for the Ohio Youth Entrepreneur Program at Youngstown State University; and names the theatre in the Riffe Center after former House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson.

The House concurred with Senate amendments to HB390 and HB391, sending the bills to Governor Kasich to sign.

 

Status of Education Bills: Lawmakers “left on the table” several education-related bills that still could be approved before the 131st General Assembly adjourns sine die in December 2016.

  • SB3 (Hite, Faber) High Performing School District Exemptions: This bill includes a number of different provisions, some of which have been added to other bills that have become law, but basically exempts high-performing school districts from certain laws.

The bill was approved by the Ohio Senate on March 25, 2015, and received its fourth hearing in the House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Brenner, on January 27, 2016.

In February 2016 there was discussion about including in the bill some amendments sought by some charter school proponents.  These amendments include extending “safe harbor provisions,” to charter school sponsors, and replacing Ohio’s Eduction Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS) methodology for determining student progress with a “similar schools measure,” which is a method used in California.

So far these amendments haven’t been added to the bill, but debate about the “similar schools measure” continues.  131-HB2 (Dovilla, Roegner), which became law in February 2016, requires the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to study and make a recommendation by December 1, 2016 about using “a similar schools measure.” And, the House Education Committee, has received testimony on HB524 (Cupp, Ryan) about EVAAS, and how it differs from the “similar schools measure.”  (See below for more details about HB524.)

  • SB241 (LaRose) Educational Opportunities: The Senate Education Committee has held two hearings on this bill, which was introduced in response to the State Board of Education’s decision in April 2015 to eliminate the “5 of 8 Rule” in Operating Standards for Ohio Schools.  This rule provided flexible staffing ratios in support of a well-rounded education and student access to licensed and certified school counselors, school nurses, library media specialists, school social workers, and elementary art, music, and physical education teachers.

SB241 requires that school districts provide students in grades K-12 with an education that includes the fine arts, music, and physical education, and the comprehensive services of counselors, librarians or library media specialists, school nurses, and school social workers.

SB241 also requires the ODE to report on the state report card for the 2015-16 school year the number of licensed teachers employed in fine arts, music, physical education, and as counselors, school nurses, school social workers, and librarians/media specialists per one thousand students.

The bill also requires the ODE to report the number of these professionals per 1,000 students employed by school districts in five of the seven categories, and recognize school districts that are meeting this threshold.

  • SB297 (Hughes) Student Expulsion-Violent Threat: The Senate Education Committee has held three hearings on this bill, which would establish a process to address a situation in which a student threatened violence on school grounds.  HB498 (Kunze) Expulsion-Threat of Violence is a companion bill in the House.
  • SB298 (Schiavoni) Community School Contracts: The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Oelslager, has held three hearings on this bill which includes provisions to strengthen accountability requirements for charter schools.  During the last hearing on May 17, 2016, the bill’s sponsor said that amendments would be offered to eliminate a provision that requires blended learning charter 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.
  • HB410 (Hayes) Habitual and Chronic Truancy: This bill was approved by the House on May 4, 2016 after a lengthy debate over the changes proposed for defining and addressing students who are truant.  Among other provisions, the bill requires schools to create an intervention team to work with families and student to resolve issues causing truancy.

The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner, has held two hearings on the bill. The bill has also been mentioned as a vehicle to require e-schools to take action earlier when students fail to participate in learning activities and are identified as truant.  Now e-schools can wait until students miss 105 consecutive hours of instruction before identifying the student as truant.  The number of hours that students can miss instruction could be shortened so that students receive help staying on task earlier.

  • HB524 (Cupp, Ryan) Ohio’s Value Added Measure: The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Brenner, is conducting hearings to learn more about Ohio’s Eduction Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS), which is used to measure student academic progress and determine school district and school report card ratings, and is a component of Ohio’s Teacher Evaluation System.

The bill requires a review of the structure and impact of the value-added progress dimension measure on the state report card for school districts, schools, and students; an analysis of value-added’s potential success for districts, schools, and students; and an evaluation of its transparency for districts, schools, and students.  The last hearing on the bill was held on May 17, 2016.

Bills Introduced: The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, Representative Alicia Reece President, introduced HJR8 in the Ohio House on May 26, 2016, to remove all references to “slavery” in the Ohio Constitution.

The Ohio Constitution’s Bill of Rights in Article 1 Section 6 actually allows the use of slavery as a punishment for a crime:

“There shall be no slavery in this State; nor involuntary servitude, unless for the punishment of crime.”

The proposed resolution would need to be approved by three-fifths of both the House and Senate, before going before voters for statewide approval.  The Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission is also working to identify antiquated and offensive references in the Constitution.

 

NATIONAL NEWS

States Eliminate Students Test Results From Evaluations: The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) allows states to decide how to evaluate teachers and principals, and how much student test scores will factor in those evaluations.

Two states, Hawai’i and Oklahoma, have already announced changes in their teacher evaluation systems as a result of the new federal flexibility.

The State Board of Education in Hawai’i unanimously approved recommendations on May 17, 2016 to remove the requirement that student standardized test scores be a component of teacher evaluations.  The action is based on the recommendations of a joint committee of the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) and the Hawai’i Department of Education (HIDOE) about ways to improve teacher and principal evaluations.

Hawai’i implemented a new Hawai’i Educator Effectiveness Model based partially on student academic growth starting in SY 2014/15.  The joint committee, established in 2013, found that teachers were spending a lot of time on the evaluation process, which was interfering with classroom instruction.

The Hawai’i evaluation system for teachers will continue to include multiple measures of teacher practice and student learning and growth, and “provide additional flexibility in weighting of components of the evaluation.”

The policy change will enable educators to focus on mentoring teachers who need additional support, so that they can become effective teachers and remain in the profession.

See “Standardized testing to no longer require teacher assessment, Hawai’i Tribune Herald, May 19, 2016 at http://hawaiitribune-herald.com/news/local-news/standardized-testing-no-longer-require-teacher-assessment

In Oklahoma lawmakers approved on May 25, 2016 HB2957, a bill that eliminates the requirement to use student academic growth in Oklahoma’s teacher evaluation system and in decisions to terminate teachers.  School districts still have the option to use student growth, but the policy change might save Oklahoma school districts and the Oklahoma State Department of Education more than $500,000, as the state faces a tight budget.  The bill still needs to be signed by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.

See “Lawmakers pass teacher evaluation change,” Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, May 12, 2016 at http://m.examiner-enterprise.com/news/local-news/lawmakers-pass-teacher-evaluation-changes#sthash.xJo33ldE.dpuf

 

U.S. DOE Releases Accountability Rules: The U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE) released on May 26, 2016 a 192 page draft of accountability rules to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  The draft will be published in the Federal Register on May 31, 2016, and public comment on the rules will be open for 60 days.

According to the U.S. DOE press release, the draft rules clarify and add specificity to the law consistent with its purpose, “to provide all children significant opportunity to receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education, and to close educational achievement gaps.”

The draft rules address some key requirements in the bill, including the requirement that states develop a single statewide accountability system; differentiate among schools for intervention; and issue state report cards for districts and schools. The draft rules also include requirements for consolidated State plans.  The following is a sample of some of the proposed rules under each category:

  • Single Statewide Accountability System Section 1111(c):  According to ESSA statewide accountability systems are required by the 2017-18 school year to include student achievement in English language arts and mathematics; a second academic indicator, such as growth in ELA and mathematics, but states have the discretion about using student growth; English language acquisition; graduation rates, which take the place of a second academic indicator for high schools; and at least one measure of school quality or student success.

In addition, states are required to disaggregate all indicators, excluding English language acquisition, by the following subgroups of students: economically disadvantaged students; students from major racial and ethnic groups; students with disabilities; and English language learners.

States must give “substantial weight” to the first four indicators and “much greater weight” to the combination of those indicators compared with the measures of school quality or student success.

Sample of the proposed rules:

-§200.13 Long-term goals:  Require States to “Set long-term goals and measurements of interim progress for academic achievement and graduation rates for all students and separately for each subgroup of students that expect greater rates of improvement for subgroups that need to make more rapid progress to close proficiency and graduation rate gaps in the State;”

-§200.14(b)(1) Academic Achievement Indicator:  Reiterate that the indicator must include the performance of at least 95 percent of all students and 95 percent of all students in each subgroup consistent with proposed §200.15;”

-§200.14(b)(4) Achieving English Language Proficiency Indicator: “Require, for all schools, the Progress in Achieving English Language Proficiency indicator to be based on English learner performance on the English language proficiency assessment required under section 1111(b)(2)(G) in each of grades 3 through 8 and in the grades for which English learners are assessed in high school to meet the requirements of section 1111(b)(2)(B)(v)(I);”

-§200.14(b)5 School Quality of Student Success Indicators: Require a State to ensure that each measure it selects to include within an indicator:

(1) Is valid, reliable, and comparable across all LEAs in the State;

(2) Is calculated the same for all schools across the State, except that the measure or measures selected within the indicator of Academic Progress or any indicator of School Quality or Student Success may vary by grade span;

(3) Can be disaggregated for each subgroup of students; and

(4) Includes a different measure than the State uses for any other indicator.

-§200.15 Participation in assessments and annual measurement of achievement:  Requires States “…to take one of the following actions for a school that misses the 95 percent participation requirement for all students or one or more student subgroups:

(1) assign a lower summative rating to the school, described in proposed §200.18;

(2) assign the lowest performance level on the State’s Academic Achievement indicator, described in proposed §§200.14 and 200.18;

(3) identify the school for targeted support and improvement under proposed §200.19(b)(1); or

(4) another equally rigorous State-determined action, as described in its State plan, that will result in a similar outcome for the school in the system of annual meaningful differentiation under proposed §200.18, and will lead to improvements in the school’s assessment participation rate so that it meets the 95 percent participation requirement.

The rule also requires “….schools that miss the 95 percent participation rate for all students or for one or more subgroups of students to develop and implement improvement plans that address the reason or reasons for low participation in the school and include interventions to improve participation rates in subsequent years, except that schools identified for targeted support and improvement due to low participation rates would not be required to develop a separate plan than the one required under proposed §200.22. The improvement plans would be developed in partnership with stakeholders, including parents, include one or more strategies to address the reason or reasons for low participation rates in the school and improve participation rates in subsequent years, and be approved and monitored by the LEA. In addition, proposed §200.15(c)(2) would require each LEA with a significant number of schools missing the 95 percent participation rate for all students or for one or more subgroups of students to develop and implement an improvement plan that includes additional actions to support the effective implementation of school-level plans to improve low assessment participation rates, which would be reviewed and approved by the State.”

  • Annual Meaningful Differentiation Among All Schools Section 1111(c)(4)(C):  States have more flexibility in differentiating schools for further comprehensive or targeted support and improvement, and are no longer required to implement a particular sequence of escalating interventions in Title I schools.  Instead, state and local education agencies have discretion to determine the evidence-based interventions.

Sample of the proposed rules:

-Section 200.18 Annual meaningful differentiation of school performance:  Requires “…a single rating from among at least three distinct rating categories for each school, based on a school’s level of performance on each indicator, to describe a school’s summative performance and include such a rating as part of the description of the State’s system for annual meaningful differentiation on LEA report cards consistent with proposed §§200.31 and 200.32;”

Requires States to demonstrate “…that school performance on the School Quality or Student Success indicator (s) may not be used to change the identity of schools that would otherwise be identified for targeted support and improvement, unless each consistently underperforming or low-performing subgroup is making significant progress on at least one of the indicators that is afforded substantial weight.

  • Report Cards Section 1111(h)(l)(A) and (C):  States and local education agencies are required to issue report cards that are concise, presented in an understandable and uniform format, and, to the extent practicable, in a language that parents can understand.  The report cards should be developed in consultation with parents and be widely accessible to the public.

Report cards must also include information regarding per-pupil expenditures of Federal, State, and local funds; the number and percentage of students enrolled in preschool programs; where available, the rate at which high school graduates enroll in postsecondary education programs; and information regarding the number and percentage of English learners achieving English language proficiency.

ESSA also requires that report cards include certain information for subgroups of students, including homeless students, students in foster care, and students with a parent who is a member of the Armed Forces.

Sample of a proposed rule:

-§Section 200.33(a):  Require States and LEA report cards to include the percentages of students performing at each level of achievement on the State’s academic achievement standards, by grade, for all students and disaggregated for each subgroup of students, on the reading/language arts, mathematics, and science assessments, using the following two calculation methods:

(1) the method used in the State accountability system, as described in proposed §200.15(b)(1), in which the denominator includes the greater of 95 percent of all students and 95 percent of each subgroup of students who are enrolled in the school, LEA, or State, respectively; or the number of such students participating in these assessments; and

(2) a method in which the denominator includes all students with a valid test score.

  • Consolidated State Plans Subpart G:  States are permitted to submit a consolidated State plan or consolidated State application for covered programs.  The Secretary of Education is authorized to establish, for each covered program, the descriptions, information, assurances, and other material required to be included in a consolidated State plan or consolidated State application.

Sample of a proposed rule:

-§299.19 Supporting all Students, (a) Well-rounded and supportive education for students:  Requires States to describe in their consolidated State plan, their strategies, and rationale for the selected strategies, timelines, and how they will use funds under the programs included in its consolidated State plan and support LEA use of funds to ensure that all children have a significant opportunity to meet challenging State academic standards and career and technical standards, as applicable, and attain, at a minimum, a regular high school diploma consistent with §200.34, for, at a minimum, the following:

(i) The continuum of a student’s education from preschool through grade 12, including transitions from early childhood education to elementary school, elementary school to middle school, middle school to high school, and high school to post-secondary education and careers, in order to support appropriate promotion practices and decrease the risk of students dropping out;

(ii) Equitable access to a well-rounded education and rigorous coursework in subjects such as English, reading/language arts, writing, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, history, geography, computer science, music, career and technical education, health, physical education, and any other subjects in which female students, minority students, English learners, children with disabilities, and low-income students are underrepresented;”

See http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/nprmaccountabilitystateplans52016.pdf

See http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/proposed-essa-regulation-supports-well-rounded-education-protects-all-students

 

OHIO NEWS

Judge Rules in Favor of Restoring Golden Week for Voting: A decision by the U.S. District Court (Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division) issued on May 24, 2016 will require Ohio’s election officials to restore some early in person voting days and the so called “Golden Week,” which is a time before an election when voters can register to vote and cast a ballot at the same time.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson made the decision in the case The Ohio Democratic Party, the Democratic Party of Cuyahoga County, and the Montgomery County Democratic Party v. Husted, et al.

The lawsuit was filed in opposition to 130-SB238, which was signed into law in February 2014 in response to the concerns of some elections officials that the amount of time allowed for early voting (35 days), interfered with their preparation for the general election, and that permitting voters to register to vote and cast a ballot at the same time, could increase voter fraud.

The judge found that the law violated the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by disproportionately affecting African American voters, who used early voting 3.5 times more than white voters in 2008, and 5 times more in 2012, according to the decision.

The original lawsuit was filed in May 2014 by a coalition including the ACLU, Ohio Chapter of the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, and several churches.  Secretary of State Jon Husted negotiated a settlement agreement with some of the coalition partners in April 2015, and so the Ohio Democratic Party and Montgomery and Cuyahoga County Democratic Parties became the plaintiffs.

Secretary of State Jon Husted announced on May 26, 2016 that he has appealed the ruling to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

See http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/electionlaw/litigation/documents/OOC-FactsConclusions052416.pdf

See “Judge rules Ohio voter rights violated”, by Darrel Rowland, The Columbus Dispatch, May 25, 2016 at

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2016/05/24/ohio-golden-week-ruling.html

 

State Auditor Releases Report on Charter School Attendance:  State Auditor David Yost held a press conference and released on May 23, 2016 a report about charter school and school district attendance based on the results of surprise audits of selected schools in November 2015.

The Auditor of State (AOS) conducted a similar audit of charter school attendance in 2014, and found many discrepancies between student attendance and reported student enrollment at several charter schools.  The report included recommendations to strengthen charter school accountability, and some of those recommendations were included in 131-HB2, which went into effect in February 2016.

This time surprise audits were conducted at 44 charter schools and 10 traditional public schools.  According to the AOS report, 7 percent of charter schools had student attendance levels below what the schools reported to the state, which is an improvement over the 23 percent of charter schools found in 2014 with discrepancies in student attendance. The attendance rates in 2015 ranged from 29.3 to 99.9 percent.

The audits of 14 dropout recovery schools, however, found attendance rates below 50 percent compared to reported enrollment.

Traditional public schools had attendance rates between 75.2 and 99.9 percent.

Three schools, the Urbana Community School, the London Academy, and the Shale Academy of Ohio, were referred to the Ohio Department of Education for further review, because they were operating as e-schools, rather than as site-based schools.

In addition to the attendance reports, Auditor Yost included in the report several recommendations that address a wide-range of issues, including his belief that the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) is incapable of fulfilling its multiple and conflicting duties.  During the press conference Auditor Yost said, “I’m in a position having been in all the departments to be able to tell you frankly that ODE is among the worst if not the worst run state agency in state government.”

The report includes the following recommendations:

  • Update manuals and training. “ODE must prioritize the timely update and dissemination of its EMIS and related manuals and provide more EMIS stakeholder training over student enrollment reporting requirements to schools. Also, the General Assembly should consider whether ODE has an appropriate level of human and capital resources to maintain EMIS, make required updates in a timely fashion, and provide robust training on substantive EMIS changes to schools.”
  • Segregate duties.  “ODE has struggled to effectively manage and balance its major responsibilities and resources, including most recently a critical redesign of EMIS and the implementation of a community school sponsor evaluation system that failed to comply with statutory requirements and deadlines.”

“The General Assembly should separate the authorization and oversight duties within Education and assign them to different State agencies.”

  • Develop standards for blended learning.  “The lack of regulatory guidance and unclear contractual language made it difficult for AOS to evaluate the community schools’ compliance with the minimum number of learning opportunities a community school must provide to students in a blended learning environment. Additionally, it was unclear in some cases how a community school should document student participation in a blended learning venue outside of the classroom. ODE should develop minimum standards for documentation and provide best practice policies and tools to sponsors that can be used as a guide in developing their curriculum, oversight policies, and documentation requirements.”
  • Develop procedures to monitor dropout recovery schools (DORP).  “….AOS believes there is an increased risk of DORP schools reporting higher than actual FTE estimates. To help mitigate this risk, ODE and DORP school sponsors should develop procedures to monitor student attendance on a periodic basis to ensure actual FTE amounts are reported to ODE.
  • Define minimum standards for credit flexibility.  “…..ODE has not established clearly defined minimum standards for credit flexibility which makes it difficult for sponsors and others, including auditors, to evaluate compliance with the 920-hour rule for community school learning opportunities.”
  • Monitor compliance with charter school contracts with sponsors. “During our head count, we identified questions about whether certain community school contracts were wholly in compliance with the structure and requirements of Ohio’s community school contract laws. As a result, as described more fully in the Head Count Results section of this report, AOS is referring these matters to ODE for further review.”
  • Provide additional training for conversion school sponsors.  “During our head count analysis, we noted conversion community schools and their sponsors had ambiguity in their contracts. As a result, these schools were referred to ODE for further investigation. AOS believes conversion schools and their sponsors would benefit greatly from additional ODE training opportunities regarding community school laws and regulations as they pertain to the conversion schools.”
  • Revamp the 105 hour rule. “Despite significant periods of non-attendance, community schools are funded for students until they are withdrawn for truancy upon 105 consecutive hours of absences.”

“We recommend the general assembly address this vulnerability. One consideration in addressing this issue would be to revamp the 105-hour rule for truant community school students to be more in line with the State’s truancy statute used for traditional schools.”

See https://ohioauditor.gov/news/pressreleases/Details/3015

 

Report Reviews the Federal Charter School Grant Program in Ohio: The Ohio Charter Accountability Project (OCAP), released on May 26, 2016 a new report that identifies charter schools that have received grants from the U.S. Department of Education. The report is entitled “Belly Up:  A Review of Federal Charter School Program Grants,” May 26, 2016.

The U.S. Department of Education awards grants to State Education Agencies, such as the Ohio Department of Education, through the Charter School Program (CSP) to “…increase the national understanding of the charter school model by (1) expanding the number of high- quality charter schools available to students across the nation by providing financial assistance for the planning, program design, and initial implementation of charter schools, and (2) by evaluating the effects of charter schools, including their effects on students, student academic achievement, staff and parents.”

The CSP has been awarding grants since 1995, but according to the report, only started keeping track of which schools received the grants since 2006-2007.  Since that time CSP has awarded 292 charter schools in Ohio $99.6 million in federal grants, but the results have been disappointing.

  • At least 108 of the 292 charter schools (37 percent) that received grants of $29.4 million have closed or never opened.
  • At least 26 charter schools that received $3.9 million never opened, and there are no records available to indicate what happened to the public grant funds.

The OCAP report also examines an audit conducted for the U.S. Department of Education by WestEd in 2009 of CSP grants awarded in Ohio, and the recommendations made in that report.

According to the WestEd report, the ODE should ensure that the charters schools receiving grants qualify as nonprofits under 501(c)3.  Apparently WestEd was concerned that for-profit charter school management companies had too much control over charter school funds, which would make them ineligible to receive the federal grants.

WestEd also reported that the state peer review panel that determined which charter school would receive the federal grants included charter school representatives who also applied for the grants.

The OCAP report also includes an update about the $71 million CSP grant awarded to the ODE last fall, but now suspended.  The ODE submitted the grant application in July 2015, but failed to tell the CSP that the application didn’t include information about lower performing charter schools, and subsequently updated the application.  The CSP requested additional information from ODE in February 2016, which was submitted.

The Ohio Charter School Accountability Project is a partnership of Progress Ohio, the Ohio Education Association and Innovation Ohio.  According to the website, “All data comes from public sources, principally the Ohio Department of Education.”

See http://knowyourcharter.com/files/2016/05/Belly-Up.pdf

 

REPORTS

State Accountability Systems will Need to Change to Align to ESSA: The Center for American Progress (CAP) released on May 19, 2016 an analysis about the status of state accountability systems as stakeholders and education leaders debate how to implement new federal requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The analysis is entitled, “Making the Grade, A 50 State Analysis of School Accountability Systems,” and is one of a series of CAP guides developed to help states implement ESSA.

According to the analysis, state accountability systems vary in complexity, but most use between 4 and 26 different measures, some of which are weighted, to assess school performance, and most state measures are based on student test scores and graduation rates.

The measures fall into one of seven categories: achievement; student growth; English language acquisition; early warning; persistence; college- and career-ready; and other indicators, such as access to curriculum, such as the arts.

The following is a summary of some of the accountability measures found in state accountability systems:

Achievement:  All states include student achievement in English language arts and math in their accountability systems.  But there are several states that also include achievement in other subjects including writing – 5 states; science – 26 states; and social studies – 13 states.

Student progress or growth:  All but 5 states include student academic growth indicators in English language arts and math in their state accountability systems.  The states that do not include student growth in their accountability systems are Virginia, South Carolina, Vermont, Montana, and North Dakota. Only a few states include growth indicators in social studies and science.

English language acquisition:  Six states currently include an indicator for English language acquisition in their accountability systems.  One of the new ESSA requirements will mandate that all states include a measure of progress in achieving English language proficiency as a specific indicator.

Early warning:  Several states include indicators that track students who might be falling behind, such as attendance rate (18 states), chronic absenteeism (4 states), and on track to graduate (5 states).

Persistence:  Most states include in their accountability systems a four-year graduation rate and an additional graduation rate, such as five or more years graduation rate.  Other indicators that fall into this category include dropout rate (11 states); re-engagement of dropouts (2 states); and other (4 states).

College and career readiness:  Indicators that states include in their accountability systems to show college and career readiness include participation in or performance on advanced course work or exams (22 states); participation in or performance on college entry exams (25 states); career preparedness participation or performance (26 states); postsecondary enrollment (7 states); other advanced coursework (11 states); other college and career-ready indicators (3 states).

The ODE is scheduled to include a letter grade for schools and districts for the Prepared for Success Component on the 2016 Ohio School Report Cards.  The component will measure how well schools and districts prepare students for college and careers.

Other indicators:  This is a catchall category of indicators and includes indicators for the arts and physical education (Virginia, New Jersey, and Connecticut); culture and climate (4 states); education measures (3 states); participation or achievement in other courses (2 states); and other measures (22 states).  For example, Ohio includes an indicator for improving K-3 literacy, which would fall under this category.

The CAP analysis shows, however, that most states will need to make some adjustments in their accountability systems to comply fully with ESSA by the 2017-18 school year.

Under ESSA states are required to include in their accountability systems student achievement in English language arts and mathematics; a second academic indicator, such as growth in ELA and mathematics; English language acquisition; graduation rates, which take the place of a second academic indicator for high schools; and at least one measure of school quality or student success.

In addition, states are required to disaggregate all indicators, excluding English language acquisition, by the following subgroups of students: economically disadvantaged students; students from major racial and ethnic groups; students with disabilities; and English language learners.

States must also give “substantial weight” to the first four indicators above and “much greater weight” to the combination of those indicators compared with the measures of school quality or student success.

According to the CAP analysis, most states will need to incorporate into their state accountability systems a measure of English language acquisition to comply with ESSA.

And, although 42 states include at least one early warning or persistence indicator that might meet the school quality or student success indicator, not all states apply the indicators at each grade level, or weight the component in the same way that ESSA requires.

The analysis also found that states might have to re-evaluate indicators to ensure that they can be disaggregated by subgroups.

Making the Grade recommends that states consider the following as they develop new accountability systems:

  • “States should set a vision for their accountability systems and be purposeful about the incentives they create when selecting system indicators.”
  • ”States must weigh the trade-offs between simplicity and complexity to create a tailored yet comprehensive system of accountability,” and avoid diluting accountability systems with unnecessary measures.
  • ”States, districts, and schools should increase transparency and clarity of school accountability and rating methodology for communities and families.”

See “Making the Grade, A 50-State Analysis of School Accountability Systems,” by Carmel Martin, Scott Sargrad, and Samantha Batel, Center for American Progress, May 19, 2016 at https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education/report/2016/05/19/137444/making-the-grade/

 

FYI ARTS

Update on FY17 Budget: The House Appropriations Committee, Interior, Environment  Subcommittee released on May 24, 2016 its budget recommendations for National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Smithsonian Institution.

The news is good.  The subcommittee is recommending an increase of nearly $2 million in funding to $150 million in FY 2017 for the NEA and the NEH, and an increase of $23 million to $863 million for the Smithsonian Institute.

The House Appropriations Committee is expected to consider the bill when Congress returns after the Memorial Day break.  The Senate will also take-up action on their own recommendations in the coming weeks.

See http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=394564

 

Update on Turnaround Arts Initiative: First Lady Michelle Obama announced on May 25, 2016 that the President’s Committee on the Arts and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will partner to continue support for the Turnaround Arts Initiative when President Obama leaves office.  The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities will help the Kennedy Center raise $3 million a year to operate the program.

The initiative has expanded from 8 schools in 2012 to 68 schools next year with the support of School Improvement Grants (SIG).

An evaluation of the program’s pilot schools showed improvement in student achievement, student engagement, and in the conditions for learning in some participating schools.

See http://www.pcah.gov/news/first-lady-announces-new-partnership-kennedy-center-support-turnaround-arts-student-talent-show


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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