Arts on Line Education Update October 11, 2016

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
Joan Platz
October 11, 2016


-The deadline to register to vote is Tuesday, October 11, 2016 and absentee voting begins on October 12, 2016.  Voter registration forms are available at

-The deadline to submit a nomination for the Governor’s Awards for the Arts is October 24, 2016.  Nominate an individual or an organization to celebrate and showcase artistic and philanthropic excellence in your community at


This Week at the Statehouse:  

The Joint Education Oversight Committee, chaired by Senator Hite, will meet on October 13, 2016 at 1:30 PM in the South Hearing Room.

The committee will approve research plans, and receive testimony on transportation issues from several school districts, private schools, and the Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee and the Senate Education Committee will hold a joint meeting at 10:00 AM in Cincinnati on October 17, 2016 at the National Conference for America’s Children being held at the Hilton Netherland Plaza.

The three-day conference focuses on early childhood education.  The committees will receive presentations from a panel of early childhood experts, including Jim Spurlino, vice chair of the Board of Trustees of Every Child Succeeds; Arthur J. Rolnick, a senior fellow and co-director of the Human Capital Research Collaborative; Sara Watson, global director of ReadyNation; Charles Bruner, former director of the Child and Family Policy Center; Susan Ackerman, executive director of the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee; and Lauren Monowar Jones, executive director of the Ohio Joint Education Oversight Committee (JEOC).


USDOE Funds Centers to Promote Equity:  The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) awarded on September 29, 2016 more than $6.5 million to operate four regional Equity Assistance Centers to promote student access to equitable educational opportunities.  The centers are authorized under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1984, and will provide technical assistance to states and schools about desegregation, discrimination, special education, hate crimes, bias, racial prejudice, and bullying.  The center for region three, located in Indianapolis, Indiana, will serve Ohio and the midwestern and central states.


Louisiana Releases Draft ESSA Accountability Plan:  According to ASCD, Louisiana is the first state to release a draft framework to meet the requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The purpose of the draft is to gather feedback from the public on the details of the Louisiana’s statewide ESSA plan as state education leaders make “critical shifts in the design of the accountability system that reports and evaluates results statewide.”

According to the proposed framework, Louisiana’s schools and systems would be rated “…based on the rate of annual progress all individual students make in their fundamental academic skills, no matter how high or low their ultimate progress.”

Schools would also be able to earn credit for demonstrating that they are implementing “…research-based practices likely to produce positive long-term results, as measured by nationally recognized instruments.”

The framework identifies five “Core Challenges” that Louisiana schools face, and identifies ways that schools and school systems could meet those challenges.  The five challenges are:

  • Fundamental expectations for students and graduates
  • Serving historically disadvantage students
  • Fair and equitable access to enriching experiences
  • Persistently struggling schools
  • Celebrating and strengthening the teaching profession.

There are also proposed changes in state testing.  End-of-year testing would be restricted to one week per student, and testing would be restricted to two percent of instructional minutes in a school year.

Measuring student access to arts, music, and foreign languages is one of the possible metrics that is being considered to show that Louisiana’s schools are providing “fair and equitable access to enriching experiences.”

The framework notes that the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and the Louisiana Legislature are increasing state support for schools and districts that are providing students with access to critical, non-traditional coursework and experiences, such as the arts, world languages, nutrition and physical activity, training and skill development, early college coursework, and increased STEM access.

BESE convened a task force to review student access to music coursework and found “vast differences in music education offerings across and within local school systems.”


House Committee Critical of ESSA Spending Rule:  Two weeks ago the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) was criticized by witnesses addressing a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) subcommittee.  Several witnesses representing school districts and states opposed the proposed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) spending rules, which would require school districts to show that they are using federal Title I funds to “supplement and not supplant” state and local funding through the following ways:

  • A weighted student formula that addresses disadvantaged students or those with special needs
  • A formula based on a district-wide average of personnel and non-personnel spending
  • A state-developed and federally peer-reviewed method
  • Another strategy that provides greater equity for per-pupil spending between rich and poor schools

At a September 21, 2016 hearing of the Education and the Workforce Committee’s, Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, witnesses again testified against the proposed rule.

In opening remarks, Representative Rokita, chairman of the subcommittee, said that the proposed rule would change another part of law, not affected by ESSA, which requires comparable spending between low- and high poverty schools.  When revising ESSA, lawmakers specifically did not change this provision, which also clarifies that teacher salaries do not have to be factored into the spending comparisons.

He went on to say that ESSA only requires school districts to show that Title I funding does not replace state and local funding. But, if school districts have to comply with the rule as drafted, school districts might need to factor in teacher salaries, which could cause school districts to make significant changes in staffing to equalize funding among schools in a district.

Also opposing the “supplement not supplant rule” were Dr. Steve Canavero, Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Nevada, Ryan Owens, Executive Director of the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, and Dr. Nora E. Gordon, Associate Professor McCourt School of Public Policy Georgetown University Washington, DC.

Supporters of the rule, including Ohio Representative Marcia Fudge (D), said that the intent of the rule is to ensure equitable funding among schools, so that schools with poorer students receive their “fair share” of state and local funds.  The rule also provides school districts some flexibility, because there are several options to show compliance.

Also speaking in support of the proposed rule were Scott Sargrad, Managing Director of K-12 Education Policy at the Center for American Progress.

See the hearing at

See “Lawmakers Spar Over Federal Overreach, Equity in House ESSA Funding Hearing” by Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week, September 21, 2016 at

Legal Questions Raised about 95 Percent Testing Requirement: The ASCD reported last week that ESSA doesn’t actually require 95 percent participation on state assessments.  That is because congressional editors made a mistake and linked the ESSA requirement that states assess 95 percent of students to a statutory section that doesn’t exist. It might take court action, or an amendment to the law, to sort out how this provision will be implemented.

Source:  ASCD Educator Advocates, Capitol Connection, October 6, 2016 at


Rally For Public Schools Planned: Public Education Partners (PEP) is sponsoring a pro-public education summit on Saturday, October 22, 2016 from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM at John Sells Middle School, 150 W. Bridge Street, Dublin, Ohio.

The summit will provide an opportunity to network with other advocates for public schools, and learn about the film Education, Inc. by Brian and Cindy Malone, who live in Douglas County, Colorado.  The self-funded documentary exposes how corporations, hedge fund investors, and foundations are working in communities to privatize public schools, including schools in Douglas County, Colorado, where the Malone’s two children attend school.

Public Education Partners is a statewide coalition of parents, citizen organizations, school board members, educators, and school administrators. PEP is working to connect individuals and organizations that are advocating for public schools across Ohio.

PEP advocates for,

  • Publicly accountable Ohio schools for all students
  • Equitably funded public schools that offer a full and rich curriculum to all children
  • An end to high-stakes testing for the evaluation of students, teachers, and schools
  • Connecting public education advocacy groups throughout the state
  • Improving ways effectively advocate for public education


Governor Pushes Work Study Programs:  Governor Kasich came out strongly last week in support of work study programs to better prepare high school students for 21st century jobs.

In an address to the economic development conference in Cleveland, the governor said that Ohio’s school system is “broken” and that his administration would like to expand the Cristo Rey model to train students for jobs.

Ohio has three Cristo Rey Schools, which are Catholic private schools that serve economically disadvantaged students.  Students attend school for three weeks a month, and work in the community to learn a trade on the fourth week.  The money that they earn is used to pay their school tuition.

See “Governor Kasich Wants High School Work-Study Programs” by Mark Urycki, StateImpact Ohio, September 28, 2016, at

ODE Launches New Teacher Blog: The Ohio Department of Education launched a new blog called Extra Credit over the summer.  The blog features commentary and insight on education issues from ODE staff and guest bloggers at Ohio’s schools and support organizations.



Audit of CMOs Raises Concerns: The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) released in September 2016 a final audit report of charter school management companies (CMOs) entitled Nationwide Assessment of Charter and Education Management Organization, Final Audit Report.

The report examines 33 charter schools in six states between July 1, 2011 and March 31, 2013, and includes for-profit and non-profit charter management companies.  The states included in the report are California, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Florida.

The OIG found examples of conflicts of interest, related-party transactions, and insufficient segregation of duties and controls, which could lead to fraud, waste, and abuse of public funds.

According to the report, “We determined that charter school relationships with CMOs posed a significant risk to Department program objectives. Specifically, we found that 22 of the 33 charter schools in our review had 36 examples of internal control weaknesses related to the charter schools’ relationships with their CMOs (concerning conflicts of interest, related-party transactions, and insufficient segregation of duties).5”

The audit also found that the USDOE lacked internal controls to evaluate and mitigate risk, or procedures for monitoring the transactions between charter schools and management companies, and failed to instruct state agencies to do so.

The report recommends that the USDOE convene an oversight group to develop guidance for states to monitor federal funds allocated to charter schools and CMOs; develop modifications for monitoring Title I, IDEA, and other federal grants to charter schools and CMOs; develop guidelines for states to assess CMOs for “level of risk” when awarding grants to charter schools; and develop procedures to evaluate state and local internal controls to mitigate financial risk and provide accountability for federal funds.

The report also recommends that the USDOE propose legislative changes that would clearly identify the governance responsibilities, expectations, and oversight over charter school grants.  The legislative changes should also “…identify the governance responsibility of authorizing entities with respect to the roles, responsibilities and expectations of the approval, renewal, and revocation of charters at a nationwide level and ensure that either SEAs or the Department adequately oversee authorizing entities.”

The report is troubling, because on September 29, 2016 the USDOE announced that it would release $245 million in federal grants to expand charter schools in several states.  Several charter management organizations also received grants, including KIPP Foundation in Consortium with KIPP Regions, California; Uncommon Schools, Inc, NY; Collegiate Academies, Louisiana; and more.

Earlier in September, the USDOE released $35 million as part of a larger $71 million charter school grant to the Ohio Department of Education.  The grant comes with restrictions as a result of concerns raised about Ohio’s initial grant application, which left out data about poor performing charter schools.

The USDOE is requiring Ohio to hire an independent monitor; create a database that includes academic, operational, and financial transactions of charter schools; and file more detailed financial reports about charter schools.

See the audit at

See “Feds release, but restrict, Ohio’s $71M charter school grant,” Education Week, September 14, 2016 at

See “U.S. Department of Education Awards $245 Million to Expand Charter Schools,” by Arianna Prothero, Education Week, September 29, 2016 at

See “Audit: Cronyism Between Charters, Management Groups Imperils Federal Aid,” by Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week, October 5, 2016 at


Adolescents Benefit from Music Study: Researchers at Northwestern University’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, Nina Kraus director, have been studying for decades how the brain changes and is affected by sound, including music, bilingualism, noise, technology, etc.

According to an article in Education Week by Jackie Zubrzycki, Dr. Kraus recently shared the results of her research about the effects of studying music on teen brains with policymakers, teachers, and staff at the USDOE.

Building on the results from a previous study called the Harmony Project (2014), Dr. Kraus studied the brain responses of high school students after studying music for two years.  The students from schools in Chicago had never studied music in school before participating in this study.

After participating in a music class three to six times each week, and learning to create musical compositions, the students showed improved brain responses to speech, and improved reading skills. A control group of students participated in a JROTC program.  The responses of these students also improved, but not as much as the students studying music.

The research shows that even the brains of older high school students can change with instruction in music education.

According to the article, Dr. Kraus believes that this research should convince policy makers about the importance of providing music instruction to students who are growing up in poverty.  Research shows that these students already have a harder time processing language, and could benefit from activities, such as studying music, which strengthen auditory processing.

See “Music training alters the course of adolescent auditory development,” (2015) by Adam T. Tierney, Jennifer Krizman, and Nina Kraus, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(32): 10062-10067 at

See “Studying Music in High School Can Help Students Process Sound, Language,” by Jackie Zubrzycki, Education Week, September 28, 2016 at

High School Senior Participates in Dance Apprenticeship: The Columbus Dispatch on October 9, 2016 featured an article about Bexley high school student Leah Hiller, who is an apprentice with the Columbus Dance Theatre as she completes her senior year at Bexley High School.

According to the article, the company has accepted only three apprentices still attending high school in its 19 year history, and at 17 Ms. Hiller is the second youngest.

The apprenticeship program provides a bridge between being a student studying dance and becoming a professional dancer, and is required for those who aspire to become principal dancers in a ballet company.

Ms. Hiller is completing three courses in order to graduate from Bexley High School.  She attends classes at the high school in the morning, and then on Tuesday-Saturday spends the afternoon at the dance company.  The schedule was made possible with the help of a counselor at Bexley High School.

The Columbus Dance Theatre has three apprentices this year.  They will be performing when the company’s season begins this month.

See “She’s really good,” by Allison Ward, The Columbus Dispatch, October 9, 2016 at


Arts On Line serves to keep arts education advocates informed about issues dealing with the arts, education, policy, research, and opportunities.

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


About OAAE

It is the mission of the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education to ensure that the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. We believe that: * All children in school must have quality arts education provided by licensed arts educators * All Ohioans have the right to expect quality arts education * All arts programs must have adequate resources * All arts and cultural organizations and artists have a critical role in arts education Learn more at
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