Arts on Line Education Update June 20, 2016

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
June 20, 2016
Joan Platz

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

131st General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate are on break, but some committees are meeting this week:

The 2020 Tax Policy Study Commission, cochaired by Representative Jeff McClain and Senator Bob Peterson, will meet on June 20, 2016 at 10:00 AM in the South Hearing Room.  The commission will receive testimony on tax policies and the Historic Preservation Tax Credit.

The commission was created in HB64 (Smith) Biennial Budget, and its members include Tim Keen, director of the Office of Budget and Management, and Representatives Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) and Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), and Senators Scott Oelslager (R-Canton) and Charleta Tavares (D-Columbus).

The commission is directed to develop recommendations regarding Ohio’s severance tax, historic rehabilitation tax credit program, personal income tax, and tax credit program.

-The Dropout Prevention and Recovery Study Committee will meet on June 22 at 3:00 PM at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), 25 South Front Street, Columbus.

The committee will develop a definition for “quality” drop-out recovery community schools, and discuss how these schools should be funded.  These schools primarily serve students who are between 16 and 22 years of age and have dropped out of high school, or are at risk of dropping out of high school, due to poor attendance, disciplinary problems, or suspensions.

For general questions about the meeting, contact Buddy Harris at the Ohio Department of Education at (614) 728-7731.

 

JEOC Selects Executive Director: The Joint Education Oversight Committee (JEOC), chaired by Senator Hite, met on June 15, 2016.  The committee announced the selection of Dr. Lauren Monowar-Jones as its executive director.  Dr. Monwar-Jones is currently the assistant director of curriculum and assessment in the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning and School Readiness.

 

Governor Kasich Vetoes Bill About Polling Hours: Governor John Kasich vetoed on June 17, 2016 Substitute SB296 (Seitz) Polling Place-Extended Hours.  The bill prescribes certain conditions for keeping polls open on election day after 7:30 PM, and includes the requirement that petitioners who are seeking an injunction in the courts to keep the polls open post a bond to cover the cost for extending the election.

The bill was introduced by Senator Bill Seitz in response to incidents in which judges extended voting hours in polling places in southwest Ohio against the advice of Secretary of State Jon Husted. According to Senator Seitz and others, ordering certain polling places to stay open, could provide an unfair advantage to candidates in races involving multiple jurisdictions, and is not warranted, because Ohio has some of the most liberal voting laws in the country.  Voters have the opportunity to vote absentee and before the election as well.

The governor agreed with the conditions included in the bill to determine whether or not polls should be kept open due to an extenuating circumstance, but disagreed with a section of the bill requiring that petitioners post a bond, saying that the bill impinges on the discretion of judges, who already have the authority to set or waive bond requirements.

According to the veto statement, “Prohibiting state court judges from exercising their discretion to waive the bond requirement in only these types of cases is inequitable and might deter persons from seeking an injunction to allow after-hours voting when there may be a valid reason for doing so.”

The bill was approved in the Ohio Senate by a vote of 23 to 9 and in the Ohio House by a vote of 64 to 32.  The bill was opposed by most Democrats, who equated the bond requirement with a poll tax, and believed that the bond would discourage petitioners from requesting that polls stay open for legitimate reasons.

See http://www.governor.ohio.gov/Portals/0/pdf/vetoes/!!!!SB296%20Veto%20Message.pdf

 

More Changes at the Statehouse: State Representative Tim Brown (R-Bowling Green), who is serving in his second term, announced last week that he will resign from the 3rd Ohio House District seat in July 2016.   He has accepted a position as president of Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments.

 

Signed into Law: Governor Kasich signed into law last week the following bills:

  • SB63 (LaRose) Online Voter Registration: Creates an online voter registration system; requires the secretary of state annually to review the Statewide Voter Registration Database to identify registrants who are not United States citizens; modifies the procedures for maintaining the Statewide Voter Registration Database; amends the requirements for the certification of voting equipment; and clarifies the circumstances under which a political party may appoint a person to fill a vacancy in certain elective offices.
  • -HB50 (Pelanda-Grossman) Foster Care:  Extends the age for which a person is eligible for federal foster care and adoption assistance payments under Title IV-E to age 21; requires that a guardian receive the Ohio Guardianship Guide; and aligns Ohio law to federal Title IV-E program requirements.
  •  HB113 (Grossman-Manning) CPR Training:  Requires public schools to provide students with instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of an automated external defibrillator; requires training for certain school employees in the use of an automated external defibrillator; revises the law regarding the Joint Education Oversight Committee; and increases the number of high school equivalency exams that students can take to qualify for a high school equivalency diploma.

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Federal Appropriations Measures Advance: The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Thad Cochran chair, approved on June 16, 2016 the FY2017 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, S.3068.

The bill slightly increases funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Humanities (NEH) to $148 million, an increase of $500,000, and increases funding for the Smithsonian Institutions to $860.2 million, an increase of $20 million.

The proposed funding levels for the NEA and NEH are less than President Obama’s request, and less than a proposal approved by the House Committee on Appropriations on June 15, 2016.  The House bill increases funding by almost $2 million for the NEA and NEH to $149.8 million; provides $863 million for the Smithsonian Institutions; and $36.4 million for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The House proposal also includes support for integrating arts education with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEAM), and “….encourages the NEA to continue engaging cultural institutions and arts organizations in supporting arts education as a valued educational component necessary to nurture the next generation of leaders and prepare young Americans for the 21st century economy.”

 

Houston District Fails to Renew EVAAS: The cash strapped Houston Independent School District (HISD) board of education failed on June 9, 2016 to secure enough votes to renew a contract with the SAS Institute, which provides value added model scores (VAM) to the school district using the Education Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS).  The 3-3 tie vote blocks payment of $680,000 to the SAS Institute.

The HISD has used the VAM scores to make high stakes decisions about teachers, including bonuses and termination, contrary to the April 2014 recommendations of the American Statistical Association.

Seven Houston teachers filed a lawsuit in 2014 in federal court opposing the district’s use of EVAAS in teacher evaluations. The lawsuit is Houston Federation of Teachers, et al. v. Houston ISD.

See “How should we grade teachers?” by Sarah Becker, Houston Chronicle, Letter to the Editor, May 12, 2016 at http://www.houstonchronicle.com/local/gray-matters/article/How-should-we-rate-teachers-7462948.php

See https://www.facebook.com/hft2415/?fref=photo

See http://www.amstat.org/policy/pdfs/asa_vam_statement.pdf

 

More on VAMs: Professor Steven J. Klees from the University of Maryland writes in the May 2016 issue of the Educational Researcher that VAMs are “Never ‘Accurate, Reliable, and Valid.’”

He responds to the conclusion of a statement about the use of value-added models (VAMs) by the American Statistical Association in 2014.  The Statement warns about using VAMs to make high stakes decisions about students, schools, and teachers, because it is very difficult to “isolate the contributions of teachers and leaders to student learning.”

Professor Klees believes that it is more than “difficult” to isolate the contributions of teachers to student learning, writing that “it is impossible –even if all the technical requirements in the Statement are met.”

He writes, “For proper specification of any form of regression analysis, three conditions must hold: All confounding variables must be in the equation, all must be measured correctly, and the correct functional form must be used.”

He then describes why researchers “never even come close” to meeting the conditions, because, “Literally, dozens, perhaps hundreds, of variables may be relevant to explaining student gain score variations; we have multiple, competing measures for most; and we have no idea of the proper functional interrelationships.”

Adding relevant variables or changing how variables are measured in a VAM model will “always lead to significant differences in the rank ordering of teachers’ and principals’ contributions.”

He concludes, “The bottom line is that regardless of technical sophistication, the use of VAM is never “accurate, reliable, and valid” and will never yield “rigorously supported inferences.”

See “VAMs Are Never “Accurate, Reliable, and Valid” by Steven J. Klees, Educational Researcher, May, 2016 http://edr.sagepub.com/content/45/4/267.full?ijkey=Ozv0.uo.t/JQM&keytype=ref&siteid=spedr

See the AERA Statement about VAM at http://edr.sagepub.com/content/44/8/448.full?ijkey=2a3e7aed37965b4a784f0c22c1acb25b8060ddd1&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

 

Who Speaks for ESSA? Alyson Klein writes for Education Week that U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. John B. King, Jr., Senator Lamar Alexander, and Representative John Kline offer different perspectives about the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in recent interviews.  Senator Alexander and Representative John Kline are the major Republican architects of the bi-partisan law that replaced the No Child Left Behind Act, and Dr. King, as head of the U.S. Department of Education, is developing rules to implement the law.

In an address to the National School Boards Association, Dr. King said that furthering equity for all students is a mainstay of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act now and in the past.  Equity includes ensuring that all students have access to quality education programs and courses, and ensuring that states and schools are held accountable for the progress of all groups of students, including students with special needs, English language learners, poor students, and minority students.

The draft spending rules developed by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) include controversial provisions that would require teacher salaries to be included in the formulas to determine equal spending between schools that receive federal funds for disadvantaged students.

The draft accountability rules are also controversial, because they include consequences for schools that fail to test 95 percent of students, even though the federal law does not prohibit states from allowing parents to opt students out of testing, and require states to produce a summative score to rate and rank schools and districts, which is not part of the law.

At the same meeting Senator Lamar Alexander told the NSBA audience that he is disappointed in the response by the USDOE, and believes that the draft rules for spending and accountability overreach the agency’s authority.

In a separate interview with Education Week, Representative John Kline also expressed his concern that the USDOE was overreaching its authority.  Under the accountability rules, Representative Kline questions the draft regulations that require state accountability systems to produce a summative score to rate and rank schools.  He also opposes the draft spending rules saying that the law is not being correctly interpreted through the rules.

See “Dueling Remarks on ESSA by Education Secretary, Key Republican Senator,” by Alyson Klein, Education Week, June 13, 2016

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2016/06/education_secretary_john_b_kin.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=campaignk-12

See “ESSA Architect Q&A: Rep. John Kline, R-Minn,”by Alyson Klein, Education Week, June 13, 2016 at http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2016/06/essa_architect_q_a_rep_john_kl.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=campaignk-12

 

OHIO NEWS

More Charter Schools Closing this Year: According to Patrick O’Donnell at The Plain Dealer, the new evaluation system for charter school sponsors and a law passed to increase charter school accountability (HB2-Dovilla) might be making charter school sponsors more selective about the charter schools that they choose to sponsor.

The Ohio Department of Education reported that eight charter schools voluntarily closed this year and 11 charter schools are searching for new sponsors after being dropped by their current sponsor.  The schools were informed in January 2016 that their contracts with their current sponsors would not be renewed. Charter schools in Ohio need to have a sponsor, so it is expected that these schools will close after June 30, 2016.

HB2 included several changes in charter school law to strengthen accountability, including blocking poor performing charter schools from “sponsor hopping,” and allowing the ODE to refuse to sponsor a poor performing charter school.

See “Charters with poor records lack sponsors,” by Patrick O’Donnell, The Plain Dealer, June 18, 2016 at http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2016/06/poor_performing_charter_school.html.

 

Surveys Show Support for Ohio Public Schools: Surveys conducted by the Ohio Public School Advocacy Network (OPSAN) over the past months provide new insight about how Ohio citizens view student testing, teacher evaluation, charter school funding, local control, and state mandates.

The Ohio Public School Advocacy Network is a “….grass roots initiative to return local control to public schools in Ohio by providing their citizens with a stronger voice in shaping statewide education policy.” Superintendents from schools districts in southwest, central, northwest and northeast Ohio make-up the network.

The surveys were conducted in 18 Ohio counties, and over 6000 people responded.  The survey results were released on May 18, 2016, and show the following:

  • How are Ohio public schools doing?  The survey results show that the 65 percent of citizens believe their public schools are doing an excellent or good job preparing children for their future. While 37 percent believe that public education is getting worse, 54 percent believe that it is better or the same. When asked what letter grade they would give their local school district, 63 percent say an A or B.  Most respondents (65 percent compared to 32 percent) say that they feel connected to their public school.
  • Who should control the public schools?  Most respondents (61 percent) believe that locally elected boards of education should control public schools.  Eighty-eight percent believe that state regulations and mandates for public schools have increased over the past five years, and 67 percent oppose more government control of their schools.  Most of the respondents (64 percent) think that policy decisions made at the state level are not in the best interest of students, and 81 percent feel that the Ohio legislature should reduce education mandates and demands.
  • How should schools be evaluated?  Respondents selected high quality teachers (48 percent) and preparing students for college and the workplace (25 percent) as the top two indicators of school quality.  Only 12 percent rated state report cards as an indicator of quality.
  • What about testing? More than half of respondents (55 percent) believe that state testing has not helped students, and 73 percent believe that scores from standardized tests should not be used to evaluate teachers.
  • What about charter schools? Two out of three citizens (66 percent) do not want their locally approved tax dollars used to support for-profit charter schools, and 71 percent are opposed to using their tax dollars to pay for vouchers to support private schools.

See the survey results at http://corkyocallaghan.com/survey-report-shared/

 

REPORTS

Charter School Supporters Offer E-School Recommendations: The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NASCA), and the 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now released last week recommendations to improve the quality of online charter schools, sometimes referred to as e-schools or virtual schools.

The report is entitled “A Call to Action to Improve the Quality of Full-Time Virtual Charter Public Schools,” and targets Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California, which have the highest number of students attending virtual schools.  As of August 2014 there were 135 full-time virtual charter schools serving about 180,000 students in 23 states and the District of Columbia.

According to the report, the organizations support online learning options for parents, but find disturbing the poor performance of virtual schools.

“Unfortunately, the results clearly show that significant problems exist within this part of the charter school movement. Left unchecked, these problems have the potential to overshadow the positive impacts this model currently has on some students. We urge state leaders and authorizers to address these problems head on instead of turning a blind eye to them.”

The following are some of the recommendations to improve virtual schools in six policy areas: authorizing structure, enrollment criteria, enrollment levels, accountability for performance, funding levels based on costs, and performance-based funding.

  • Authorizers:  Authorizers (also known as sponsors) should close chronically low-performing full-time virtual charter schools using the current state laws.  “Authorizers have a legal and moral responsibility to close chronically low-performing charter schools of any kind, including full-time virtual charter schools.”
  • Authorizing Structure:  States should place some limits on authorizers of virtual schools based on appropriate criteria, and cap the amount of authorizing fees that an authorizer can withhold from a full-time virtual charter school.
  • Enrollment Criteria: States should consider establishing eligibility requirements for students who want to enroll in full-time virtual charter schools based on factors proven necessary for student success.
  • Enrollment Levels: States should require authorizers and schools to create desired enrollment levels for full-time virtual charter schools for each year of a charter contract; limit the number of students per school in any given year; and allow schools to grow – or not – based on performance.
  • Accountability for Performance: States should require authorizers and schools to jointly include additional, virtual-specific goals in the schools’ charter contracts, and make renewal and closure decisions based upon schools’ achievement of the goals in their contracts.
  • Funding Levels Based on Costs: States should determine appropriate levels of funding for full-time virtual charter schools, and charter school operators should propose and justify a price per student in their charter school applications.
  • Performance-Based Funding. States should also consider funding virtual charter school students via a performance-based funding system.

See “A Call to Action to Improve the Quality of Full-Time Virtual Charter Public,” The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NASCA), and the 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now, June 2016 at Schools,”http://www.publiccharters.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/VirtualReport_Web614.pdf

 

Money Really Does Matter: The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) released on June 16, 2016 a policy brief entitled “Does Money Matter?” by William J. Mathis, University of Colorado Boulder.  The policy brief is part of NEPC’s series entitled Research-Based Options for Education Policymaking, a collection of mini-briefs focused on a wide-range of education topics with research-based recommendations.

In this policy brief Dr. Mathis considers the evidence used to support the claim that there is “no systemic relation between spending and school quality.”

A movement supporting this claim started in the 1980s and was supported by the work of Professor Eric Hanushek of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.  He published an influential study in 1986 that counted the number of research studies that concluded that “‘Variations in school expenditures are not systematically related to variations in student performance.’”

The results of this study were later challenged by researchers Hedges, Laine, and Greenwald, who redid Hanushek’s work, and, by eliminating studies that were poorly conducted, found “‘systematic positive relations between resource inputs and school outcomes.’”  Other researchers found that while specific results vary from place to place, such as gains in test scores, later earnings, and graduation rates, in general additional funds for K-12 education does matter, especially for economically deprived children.

But the popular claim that providing additional resources to schools would not increase student achievement provided policy makers with a convenient excuse to underfund K-12 education programs, which also happen to be one of the largest items in state budgets.

According to Dr. Mathis, “Underinvestment in schools has characterized Western countries since the beginning of public education and is the result of political decision-making, not a lack of resources or citizen support.”

In response to inadequate state support, and the growing imbalance between state and local support of schools, plaintiffs for public schools filed 44 school funding lawsuits in state and federal courts starting in the 1990s. One of the many pro-plaintiff decisions at the time was written by North Carolina Superior Court Justice Howard Manning in Hoke County Board of Education v. State of North Carolina.  He wrote in the 2000 decision that “Only a fool would find that money does not matter in education.”

As a result of many court decisions in favor of adequately supporting schools, the debate about the role of money in education shifted to questions about how much money is needed (adequacy) and where it should be spent (efficacy).

According to Dr. Mathis, research suggests that, “…money should be directed toward: achieving lower student-teacher ratios; increasing teacher salaries; and longer school years. These reforms promoted the largest gains for children living in poverty and were strong enough to eliminate most of the adult outcome gaps between those raised in poor and non-poor families.”

The brief further recommends that adequate and equitable distributions of school financial resources are a necessary underlying condition for maintaining democracy, improving school quality, and equality of outcomes.

See “Does Money Matter,” by William J. Mathis, NEPC, June 16, 2016 at http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/research-based-options

 

FYI ARTS

Field Trips Benefit Students: A survey by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) shows that 30 percent of school administrators eliminated field trips between 2010-12 to help balance school district budgets.

But there is some good news, because this trend has ended, and in 2015-16 only 10 percent report eliminating field trips.

Information about the survey results is included in a Brookings.com article about how field trips expand student experiences and contribute to the true purpose of “education,” which comes from the Latin e ducere, which means “to draw out.”

The article refers to a 2015 research study, by Emilyn Ruble Whitesell, that found that middle school children who participated in field trips scored higher on science tests.

The article also cites a study of the Crystal Bridges Museum’s education program in northwest Arkansas. An analysis of students visiting the museum showed an increase in critical thinking ability and open-mindedness when compared to students who didn’t visit the museum.  The effects were greater for students from rural and high poverty schools.

See “Fewer field trips mean some students miss more than a day at the museum,” by Richard V. Reeves and Edward Rodrigue, Brookings.com, June 8, 2016, at http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/social-mobility-memos/posts/2016/06/08-value-of-field-trips-for-poorer-kids-reeves.

See “The Educational Value of Field Trips,” by Jay P. Greene, Brian Kisida, and Daniel H. Bowen, EducationNext, Winter 2014 at

http://educationnext.org/the-educational-value-of-field-trips/

See “A Day at the Museum: The Impact of Field Trips to Informal Science Education Institutions on Middle School Science Achievement,” by Emilyn Ruble Whitesell, Working Paper #03-15 July 2015 at http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/scmsAdmin/media/users/js5333/Working_paper_03-15.pdf

 

NJ Releases Interactive School Performance Dashboards for Arts Education: The New Jersey Arts Education Partnership, Bob Morrison chair, released on June 8, 2016 the New Jersey Arts Report Card for the 2014-15 school year.  The report card provides parents, students, teachers, and community members with information about the status of arts education programs in New Jersey’s public schools through interactive school performance dashboards for arts education. The data was collected by the New Jersey Department of Education and analyzed by the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership, and can be viewed by school, district, county, or state totals.  Findings are also compared to averages for the entire state.

According to the 2014-15 NJ report card, 1.3 million students (98 percent) in New Jersey participated in public school arts education programs during the most recent school year; 96 percent of schools in New Jersey reported offering arts education programs; arts participation in high school increased for the third straight year to 50 percent; 81 percent of New Jersey students participated in more than one arts program; participation increased significantly in dance and theater; and  “For the first time, middle school data reveals 89% of all students participating in one or more art form while 94% of elementary students engage in arts learning.”

The report cards also show that 83 percent of schools offer courses in music and visual art, but few schools offer courses in dance (2.6 percent) and theatre (4.5 percent).

According to the report, “The information does not address the quality of the programs, elementary school participation or the impact of scheduling changes created by recent educational reform initiatives or new statewide assessments. All of these areas require further research.”

The New Jersey Arts Education Partnership (NJAEP), founded in 2007, is an independent 501c3 non-profit organization “…with a mission to provide a unified voice for a diverse group of constituents who agree on the educational benefits and impact of the arts, specifically the contribution they make to student achievement and a civilized, sustainable society.”

See http://artsednj.org/reports-and-data/interactive-school-performance-dashboard/

See http://artsednj.org/state-of-the-arts-one-million-public-school-students-participate-in-arts-education/

 


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 AssociationOhioDance, and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education.

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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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