Arts on Line Education Update June 27, 2016

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
June 27, 2016
Joan Platz


The Arts on Line Education Update will take a break over the summer.  The next issue will be published in September 2016.  Have a great summer!!



131st General Assembly:  The Ohio House and Senate are on break.


AG Rejects Proposed School Prayer CA: Attorney General (AG) Mike DeWine announced on June 22, 2016 that he had rejected a proposed constitutional amendment entitled “Amendment to Return Prayer to our Public Schools”, based on a technicality.

The amendment would allow Ohio school children the right to pray, and/or acknowledge, their religious beliefs in school.  The amendment was submitted to the AG’s office by the Coalition to Return Prayer to Our Public Schools on June 15, 2016.  The proposed amendment also requires all public schools to display the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution, and states that the right of Ohio citizens to express their religious beliefs shall not be infringed upon.

The AG explained in a statement that both the language of the proposed amendment and its proposed summary are required to be on the part-petitions circulated to electors, but these parts were not included on the petitions submitted.




Education Secretary Defends Proposed ESSA Rules: The House Education and Workforce Committee, chaired by Representative John Kline, held a hearing on June 23, 2016 about the rules drafted by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

U.S. Secretary of Education, John B. King, Jr., and others testified about the draft rules for spending and accountability.

According to a press release about the hearing, committee members, including Chairman Kline, are concerned that the USDOE is proposing rules that go beyond the intent of the law.

The chairman identified three concerns in his opening remarks:

  • The committee that the USDOE assembled to participate in the negotiated rulemaking process lacked diversity and representation from rural areas, and seemed to be stacked to achieve the preferred outcomes of the USDOE.
  • The draft spending rules (supplement, not supplant) do not align with the law.  According to Chairman Kline, “Last year, Congress decided the rule would be enforced equally across all schools. Now, school districts must simply show that funds are distributed fairly without prescribing a specific approach or outcome. The law explicitly prohibits the secretary from interfering, yet that is precisely what your proposal would do.”
  • The draft accountability rules would interfere with how states compare school performance and identify schools for intervention, leading to more schools being identified for intervention.

Cassie Harrelson, a secondary math teacher from Colorado, testified before the committee, and questioned the “extensive areas dictated under the proposed federal regulations.” She said that she was disappointed in the proposed rules, that continued to focus on standardized testing and student outcomes, rather than “…closing the critical opportunity gaps that exist in so many of our schools.”

Also testifying were Stephen Pruitt, the Education Commissioner of Kentucky and David Schuler, the Superintendent of Arlington Heights School District in Illinois and president of the AASA.  They both objected to the proposed requirement that state accountability systems award a single summative grade for schools, rather than allow a broader view of school performance.

Superintendent Pruitt told the committee that the draft regulations are too complex and “contain so many restrictions and requirements that state choices remain severely limited.”

In response to questions from the committee, Secretary of Education John B. King explained that the rules provide states with the flexibility to develop their own strategies to improve schools, and there is no intent to identify more schools for intervention.

On spending, Secretary King defended the department’s efforts to focus attention on intra-district disparities in funding, services, and programs.  He said that in some school districts students in wealthier schools have more course options, teachers, counselors, etc. than poorer schools, and this translates into “real differences in students’ experiences.”


See “Education Secretary Defends Draft ESSA Accountability, Spending Rules,” by Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week, June 23, 2016 at


More Feedback on ESSA Rules: The Congressional Tri-Caucus, composed of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, submitted letters to U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. on June 23, 2016 regarding the draft rules for accountability and spending under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Overall the Tri-Caucus believes that ESSA is a civil rights law, and the rules should support the right of all students to a high quality education.  Congress approved the original law ,which is known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), in 1965, and reauthorized the law in 2015 as the Every Student Succeeds Act.

The organizations say that they are pleased with the proposed rules for accountability, because they ensure that parents and local communities are involved in ESSA’s development and implementation; prohibit the use of super-subgroups, which will ensure that districts are accountable for meeting the needs of all students; require states to take action in low-performing schools; and require that states hold schools responsible for testing 95 percent of students.

The Tri-Caucus also requested that the USDOE take this opportunity through the rules “…to avail itself of every tool at its disposal to mitigate [these] inequities such that students living in poverty are not further short-changed by attending under-resourced schools.  These tools include providing clear regulations and guidance, coupled with robust oversight, to give meaning to ESSA’s supplement, not supplant provision.

See “Education Secretary Defends Draft ESSA Accountability, Spending Rules,” by Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week, June 23, 2016 at


What is “Good Stakeholder Engagement”?  The Learning First Alliance (LFA), a partnership of organizations representing the education community, has published draft guidelines about what constitutes “good stakeholder engagement” to support the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

As Ohio’s process to implement ESSA continues, these guidelines could be used as a standard to assess how well the Ohio Department of Education engages stakeholders in developing ESSA plans.

According to the guidelines, ESSA requires that states involve stakeholders, such as political leaders, education leaders, parents, educators, and other constituencies, in the development of policies to implement ESSA.

But in reviewing state efforts at stakeholder engagement, the LFA has found “a critical missing element:  the understanding that the consultative process is not simply about sharing information.  Rather, it is about acknowledging that the education decision-making done at each level of government now needs to be performed as a collaborative process.”

Accordingly, the LFA recommends that stakeholders should be meaningfully engaged in all stages of the consultative process to ensure that state ESSA plans and policies “reflect a shared vision” for education, and also “…minimize the continuous chaos caused by changes in leadership at the federal, state, and local levels that result in many new initiatives to be rolled out with each new leader.”

ESSA specifically calls for stakeholder involvement in the development of State Title I Plans, Local Educational Agency Title I Plans, Local Flexibility Demonstration Agreement, Title II Local Applications, State and Specially Qualified Title III Plans, Title III Local Plans, Local Title IV Part A Applications, State Title IV Part B Applications.

The LFA principles to guide stakeholder engagement recommend that stakeholders include those named in the law and under-represented groups or unique populations that could bring a recognized expertise to the discussions.

Stakeholders should be convened initially to design the consultative process and identify the desired outcomes. In these discussion the focus should be to set goals “….to ensure that each child has access to an effective education.”

The consultative process should include stakeholder participation at all stages of the process, including development, implementation, evaluation, and revision of the plans and policies.

The stakeholder consultative process should be transparent and open to the public, which includes making sure that the public has access to materials, drafts, and how to provide feedback.

According to the guidelines, the bottom-line is that the stakeholder consultative process is not “…just an advisory process where interested parties are asked their views, with one party deciding what information will be used from the discussion.”

The Learning First Alliance is a partnership of leading education organizations “dedicated to improving student learning in America’s public schools.” Alliance members include: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education; AASA: The School Superintendents Association; American Federation of Teachers; American School Counselor Association; Consortium for School Networking; International Society for Technology in Education; Learning Forward; National Association of Elementary School Principals; National Association of Secondary School Principals; National Education Association; National PTA; National School Boards Association; National School Public Relations Association; and Phi Delta Kappa International.




Straight A Grants Announced: The Straight A Governing Board announced on June 20, 2016 the recipients of the latest round of Straight A Fund Grants.  A total of 23 grants, worth $14.8 million, will be awarded to 90 schools, out of a total of 141 grant applications.

The Straight A Fund was created in 2013 to support innovative education programs that improve student achievement, increase efficiency, and are sustainable.  The state budget included $30 million for the grant program this biennium.

The Beavercreek City Schools was awarded three separate grants, one for a project entitled, “The Museum School:  Where Students Examine, Experiment, and Exhibit.” This project will immerse students in innovative, museum pedagogy to foster imagination and help students develop 21st century skills.

The grant recommendations are not official until approved by the Ohio Controlling Board on August, 8, 2016.

A list of the grant recipients is available at


How Much and Where Are Ohio’s Schools Spending Money? Patrick O’Donnell at The Plain Dealer analyzed 2014-15 data on school spending from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) last week in a series of articles. The analysis examines how much schools pay school staff and the cost of educating students in special education classes, English language learners, and students who are poor.

He found that the statewide average spending per student is between $10,000-11,000, but 23 out of 30 school districts in Cuyahoga County spend more than $12,000 per student.  Five school districts in Cuyahoga County — Orange, Beachwood, Cleveland Heights-University Heights, Warrensville, and East Cleveland — spend over $19,000 per student, and are the top spending school districts in the state.

He also compared the amount of money Ohio’s schools spend per student and average salary levels for teachers to national averages compiled by the National Education Association (NEA) in its annual Rankings of the States and Estimates of School Statistics. According to that report, Ohio ranks 8th in average daily attendance with more than 1.6 million students, and has a student to teacher ratio of 17.2 students for every teacher, ranking it 9th lowest in the nation.

In comparing teacher pay, Ohio ranks 21st among the states, paying on average $56,172 compared to New York at $77,628, and South Dakota, at $40,934.

But Ohio ranks 35th in the average amount of revenue available per student at $11,436.  Vermont, Rhode Island, Wyoming, Alaska, Delaware, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania have over $20,000 in revenue available per student, compared to the lowest level of $7,320 per student in Nevada.

See “What school districts spend the most money?  See rankings here,” by Patrick O’Donnell, The Plain Dealer, June 20, 2016 at

See “Which schools pay the most to handle student disabilities, poverty and English Language Learners? Rankings here,” by Patrick O’Donnell, The Plain Dealer, June 23, 2016 at

See “What do schools pay bus drivers, lunch workers and others that work with your kids? Details here,” by Patrick O’Donnell, The Plain Dealer, June 22, 2016, at

See “What schools pay teachers the most? See rankings here,” by Patrick O’Donnell, The Plain Dealer, June 21, 2016 at

See “How does Ohio’s school spending compare to other states? See enrollment, teacher pay and revenue rankings here,” by Patrick O’Donnell, The Plain Dealer, June 24, 2016 at


DOPR Committee Meets: The Dropout Prevention and Recovery Study Committee met on June 22, 2016 and received presentations from Buddy Harris, director of the Office of Innovation at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), and John Gailer, assistant director of the National Dropout Recovery Center at Clemson University.

The committee was created in 131-House Bill 2 (Dovilla-Roegner Charter School Accountability), to develop a definition for “quality” drop-out prevention and recovery community schools (DOPR), and determine how these schools should be funded.  The recommendations are due to the legislature by August 1, 2016.

There were 93 DOPR charter schools in Ohio in 2014-15 school year.  DOPR 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.

Committee members include Stephen Lyons of the Columbus Partnership; Monique Hamilton, Superintendent of Cruiser Academy, a dropout prevention and recovery school; Alex Johnson, President of Cuyahoga Community College; Senator Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering); Michael Drake, President of The Ohio State University; Representative Andrew Brenner; Eric Gordon, CEO of the Cleveland Municipal School District, and Buddy Harris, head of the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Innovation.

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



2016 Kids Count Report Released:  The Annie E. Casey Foundation released its annual Kids Count Data Book on June 21, 2016.   The report ranks states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. according to the well-being of children.  With this information advocates and policy makers can make informed decisions about strategies to improve the lives of children.

Overall this Kids Count reports found that “today’s youth — Generation Z– are healthier and completing high school on time despite mounting economic inequity and increasingly unaffordable college tuition.”

The Data Book shows how children are doing in four key domains — economic well-being, education, health, and family and community — based on 16 indicators.

States with the highest overall rankings are Minnesota, Massachusetts, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.  The lowest ranking states are Mississippi, New Mexico, Louisiana, Nevada, and Alabama.

The nation as a whole improved on 10 indicators, worsened on 5 indicators, and there was no change in one of the indicators.

Ohio’s overall rank is 26th.  Ohio ranked 25th in the economic well being of children; 17th in education; 19th in health; and 30th in family and community.

In examining how Ohio performed on the indicators, Ohio improved on 11 indicators, worsened performance on 4 indicators, and there was no change on one indicator.  Here is a breakdown of how Ohio performed on the indicators:

Economic-well being:

  • Children in poverty – 24 percent – worsened
  • Children whose parents lack secure employment – 32 percent – worsened
  • Children living in households with a high housing cost burden – 31 percent – improved
  • Teens not in school and not working – 7 percent – unchanged.


  • Children not attending preschool 2010-12 – 56 percent – improved
  • Fourth graders not proficient in reading 2013 – 63 percent – improved
  • Eighth graders not proficient in math 2013 – 60 percent – improved
  • High school students not graduating on time -16 percent – improved


  • Low birth weight babies – 8.6 percent – improved
  • Children without health insurance – 5 percent – improved
  • Children and teen deaths per 100,000 – 25 – improved
  • Teens who abuse alcohol or drugs – 6 percent – improved

Family and Community:

  • Children in single-parent families – 37 percent – worsened
  • Children in families where the household head lacks a high school diploma -10 percent – improved
  • Children living in high poverty areas -14 percent – worsened
  • Teen births per 1,000 – 30 – improved



Study Shows that Expectations Have Changed for Kindergarten:  Researchers from The University of Virginia found that the kindergarten curriculum has become increasingly like first grade by comparing results from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study in 1998 and 2010.

The Longitudinal Study showed that teachers in 2010 had higher expectations for kindergarten students compared to teachers in 1998.  Teachers in 2010 reported that they expected that children know the alphabet and how to use a pencil before beginning kindergarten, and that children should know how to read when they leave kindergarten.  Thirty-one percent of teachers in 1998 believed that their students should learn to read in kindergarten, compared to eighty percent in 2010.

Instructional time for reading and math also increased in kindergarten between 1998 and 2010.  As a result the researchers found that time spent teaching the arts substantially decreased by 18 percent in music and 16 percent for visual art.

The researchers also found that more teachers reported using standardized tests to evaluate students, and testing was more pronounced at schools that serve predominantly low-income and minority students.

According to the study, the researchers were surprised to see “…how drastic the changes have been over a short period of time.”

See “Is Kindergarten the New First Grade?” by Daphna Bassok (University of Virginia), Scott Latham (University of Virginia), Anna Rorem (University of Virginia), AERA Study Snapshot, January 6, 2016.



The Challenges of Being a Teaching Artist: Paulette Beete examines the challenges and benefits of being a teaching artist in the latest issue of the NEA Arts, (National Endowment for the Arts).

According to the article, being a “teaching artist” is a creatively fulfilling profession, which touches the lives of children and adults, and makes significant contributions to communities.

Teaching artists fulfill a number of important positions, such as teaching at local arts organizations, schools, prisons, and corporations; teaching as adjunct professors in fine arts departments; and providing professional development workshops for other artists and arts educators.

Sometimes teaching artists are lucky enough to have full-time steady positions, but most of the time teaching is just part of, or complementary to, their own art practice, meaning that many teaching artists are juggling several part-time jobs to keep financially solvent, and have no health insurance, paid vacations, and no guarantee that they will have a job each year.

The article focuses in on the careers of two teaching artists, Deb Norton, a dance instructor in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Dan Crane, a theater instructor and actor in Washington, D.C.  Both have experienced job insecurity, because they have pieced-together part-time jobs supported by grants and community resources that are not permanent. And, both describe hectic schedules that change from day to day, and often stretch into over 40 hours a week.

Because of the uncertainties of the profession, the long hours, and poor working conditions, many talented teaching artists ultimately leave the profession, which is a loss for both students, arts educators, and communities.

The executive director of the Association of Teaching Artists, Dale Davis, identifies in the article some of the professional issues that should be addressed to support teaching artists as a profession.  These include an infrastructure to publicly acknowledge the contributions of teaching artists to education and communities; a set of credentials or standards for teaching artist; and a pay scale based on training and experience.

See “The Challenges of Being a Teaching Artist” by Paulette Beete, NEA, Arts Number 2, 2016 at


This update is written weekly by Joan Platz, Research and Knowledge Director for the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education.

The purpose of the update is to keep arts education advocates informed about issues dealing with the arts, education, policy, research, and opportunities.

The distribution of this information is made possible through the generous support of the Ohio Music Education Association , Ohio Art Education Association, Ohio Educational Theatre AssociationOhioDance, and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education.


About OAAE

Since our founding in 1974, by Dr. Dick Shoup and Jerry Tollifson, our mission has always been to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Working at the local, state, and federal levels through the efforts of a highly qualified and elected Board of Directors, our members, and a professional staff we have four primary areas of focus: building collaborations, professional development, advocacy, and capacity building. The OAAE is funded in part for its day-to-day operation by the Ohio Arts Council. This support makes it possible for the OAAE to operate its office in Columbus and to work statewide to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Support for arts education projects comes from the Ohio Arts Council, Ohio Music Education Association, Ohio Art Education Association, Ohio Educational Theatre Association, VSA Ohio, and OhioDance. The Community Arts Education programs of Central Ohio are financially assisted by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners and the Greater Columbus Arts Council. We gratefully acknowledge and appreciate the financial support received from each of these outstanding agencies and organizations.
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