Arts on Line Education Update October 31, 2016

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
October 31, 2016


This Week at the Statehouse:  The 2020 Tax Policy Study Commission, chaired by Senator Peterson, will meet on October 31, 2016 at 10:00 AM in the South Hearing Room.  The seven-member commission will discuss state tax policies and receive a report about the Historic Preservation Tax Credit.

The Ohio 2020 Tax Policy Study Commission was created in HB64 (Biennial Budget Bill) and is reviewing Ohio’s tax structure and policies.  The purpose of the commission is to make recommendations to the General Assembly about increasing Ohio’s competitiveness by the year 2020 and reducing Ohio’s personal income tax to a 3.5 percent or 3.75 percent flat tax by tax year 2018.  The commission will also review the severance tax, state tax credits, and study the effectiveness of the Historic Preservation Tax Credit.


NAEP Scores in Science Released:  The latest assessment results in science from the 2015 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) show some improvement compared to the 2009 results, but most students are still achieving below proficient levels.

The NAEP assessment was administered to more than 237,000 students from 46 states, and U.S. Department of Defense schools in 2015.  The science assessment measures student knowledge in physical science, life science, Earth and space science in grades 4, 8, and 12th grade.

According to the report, the national average scores for students in 4th and 8th grades on the NAEP science exam improved by 4 points to 154, while the national average scores of high school seniors remained the same.

Average scores on the NAEP science exam for Black and Hispanic students also improved, narrowing the achievement gap between groups of students in 4th and 8th grades.

However, the report also notes that most students are achieving below the “NAEP proficient levels”.  Only 37 percent of 4th graders, 33 percent of 8th graders, and 22 percent of 12th graders scored at or above the NAEP proficient levels in science.

The percent of students in Ohio reaching the NAEP proficient levels on the science exams were higher than the nation.  Forty-one percent of Ohio students in the 4th grade and 38 percent of 8th grade students scored at or above the proficient level on the science exam.

According to the report, the average score on the NAEP science exam for students in Ohio for 4th grade (157) hasn’t changed since 2009, and the average score for 8th grade students (157) hasn’t changed much since 2011 (158) and 2009 (158).

It should be noted that the proficient level on the NAEP assessments is considered more challenging than other tests, and is defined as, “Solid academic performance for each grade assessed.  Students reaching this level have demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter, including subject-matter knowledge, application of such knowledge to real-world situations, and analytical skills appropriate to the subject matter.”


Arizona Releases Draft ESSA Plan:  The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) released on September 7, 2016 a first draft of its Consolidated State Plan for the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act.

The draft plan addresses five components required in the federal law:  consultation and coordination; challenging academic standards and assessments; accountability, support and improvement for schools; supporting excellent educators; and supporting all students.

The report is organized so that the federal requirements are highlighted in blue followed by Arizona’s recommendations.

According to the draft, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) will engage in a Comprehensive Strategic Plan process “…driven by a local Comprehensive Needs Assessment process to support the development of local school and Local Education Agency (LEA) strategic plans that also meet statutory and regulatory requirements.”

To meet the federal requirement that a state accountability system provide a way to “meaningfully differentiate all public schools in the State”, Arizona intends to include “explicitly required indicators as outlined in the ACT as well as a measure of well-rounded education and course access to indicate school quality.”

Beyond a summative rating through an A-F Letter Grade Accountability System, the ADE will include on its website searchable comprehensive information about academic and other programs and options offered by a school or district, including information about Career and Technical Education, health and wellness programs, advanced and accelerated learning options, gifted education options, arts and music programs, athletics and physical education programs, and educational technology options.

The ADE recognizes the need to support schools and LEAs in their efforts to provide a well-rounded eduction, including the arts and music, and will ensure that LEA curriculum and instruction is aligned to challenging academic standards in all areas.

Arizona’s draft plan also describes how subgrants will be awarded to LEAs under Title IV-A, Student Achievement and Enrichment Grants.  LEAs applying for Title IV-A grants will have to show that subgrant proposals are aligned with their Comprehensive Needs Assessment, are based on current successful programs and initiatives, and the proposed strategies will deepen, accelerate, enhance, or integrate current successful programs.

The Arizona State Board of Education is tasked in the draft with adopting certain policies to implement the federal requirements for an A-F Letter Grade Accountability System, including policies for the summative rating of schools and districts, requiring 95 percent student participation in assessments, calculating distinct levels of school performance, etc.

It is unclear when the Ohio Department of Education will release a draft ESSA consolidated plan.  The State Board of Education will receive a presentation at their November 14-15, 2016 board meeting highlighting stakeholder feedback about what should be included in Ohio’s plan. It is expected that a draft will be posted soon after.  States are expected to submit their draft plans to the USDOE in early March 2017, and adopt final plans by July 2017.  The plans go into effect for the 2017-18 school year.


School Improvement Grants: The U.S. Department of Education released $427 million in the last round of School Improvement Grants (SIG) on October 25, 2016. The grants are awarded to states, which then award competitive subgrants to schools with the greatest needs.

School Improvement grants were first awarded in 2009 and now total over $7 billion, reaching 1,800 low achieving schools. Ohio will receive $16,304,274 this year.

The SIG program was not extended by the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  However, states are required through ESSA to identify and support the lowest-performing schools (five percent), and set aside seven percent of Title I funds for districts to implement evidence-based interventions to turn these schools around.


What do Conservatives Want ESSA Plans to Look Like?: A group of conservative Republican lawmakers, school board members, and others formed the Conservative Leaders for Education (CL4E) last July 2016.

The group is led by former U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett, and includes lawmakers from Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Utah, and Wisconsin, including Ohio State Senator Peggy Lehner.  Most members are chairs of the education committees in their respective state legislatures.

According to an article in Education Week, the CL4E is focusing on the state plans to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act.  The organization supports high academic standards, local control, accountability, and parent choice. Its purpose is to influence development of state ESSA plans, and how states approach transparency, accountability, and school improvement.

Last week CL4E released a video series outlining its policy priorities for ESSA state plans.  So far Arizona, Illinois, North Carolina, New York, and Louisiana have released ESSA draft plans or frameworks. According to the CL4E, the deadline for all states to release their draft plans is March 6, 2017.


See “Conservative Group Pushes ESSA Agenda Among State Leaders,” by Daarel Burnette II, Education Week, October 24, 2016 at


GCSAN Recommendations for Ohio’s ESSA Plan: The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has concluded its stakeholder outreach meetings to gather feedback about what should be included in Ohio’s plan for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The host of the 10 statewide stakeholder sessions, Philanthropy Ohio, is preparing a report, which will be presented to the State Board of Education at their November 14-15, 2016 meeting.

The Greater Cincinnati School Advocacy Network (GCSAN) recently developed its own recommendations for implementing ESSA, and sent a letter to Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction, Paolo DeMaria on October 12, 2016. The GCSAN, which includes school superintendents from 52 school districts in Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, and Warren counties, is recommending the following:

  • Testing
    • Students should be tested in grades 3-8 in reading/math, and in science in grades 5 and 8 only, pursuant to the law.
    • The ACT/SAT should be used as the high school assessment, and “end of course” tests should be eliminated.
    • The State of Ohio should set a “high school” graduation standard for passing the ACT/SAT, rather than use the college readiness standard, because not all students will pursue a career that needs post-secondary education.
    • The State of Ohio should clarify the use of career technical/industry credentialing as a pathway to graduation.
    • The results of state tests should be reported back to school districts in a “timelier manner.”
    • The results should not be used to rank and grade districts.
    • Educators should have access to an item analysis for each question to help individual teachers improve instruction.
  • Value Added
    • The student growth aspect of the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System should be removed.
  • Local Report Card
    • The A-F grading system for schools and districts on the Local Report Card should be eliminated.


PEP Rally Recognizes Lawmakers: The Public Education Partners Rally (PEP) in Dublin, Ohio on October 22, 2016 recognized Senator Peggy Lehner and Senator Joe Shiavoni for their advocacy for public education.

PEP also recognized Public Education Protectors, 75 Boards of Education that have passed resolutions to invoice the Ohio Department of Education for charter school deductions, and inform taxpayers about Ohio school funding inequities.

Bill Phillis, Executive Director of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy, presented opening remarks, which included an historical and philosophical analysis of the status of public education in Ohio in an era of privatization.

According to Mr. Phillis, the common school has unique characteristics that are aligned with democratic principles.  The common school is a state responsibility and a function of government.  The common school is governed by a democratically elected board of education and is a vital part of the community.  As a public entity the common school is open to all, tax supported, and regulated to ensure transparency and accountability.

Mr. Phillis describes school choice programs, such as voucher programs and charter schools, as part of a national movement to privatize public education and undo the common school system.  School choice programs do not meet the “thorough and efficient” standard in the Ohio Constitution, because they are not regulated, not governed by elected boards of education, not open to all, are not transparent or accountable, and contribute to segregation.

As the privatization of public schools spreads by organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), hedge-fund managers, and pro-privatization foundations, Mr. Phillis sees the need for pro-public education organizations, such as PEP, to mobilize Ohio citizens to challenge pro-privatization policies, laws, and lawmakers.

Public school leaders, for example, are holding meetings about advocating for more “local control” throughout Ohio, and on November 15, 2016 school superintendents will hold a Public Education Rally on the grounds of the Statehouse in Columbus.

Mr. Phillis outlines several actions that proponents of public schools can take to build support for public schools.  These include spreading information about privatizers and their agenda; sharing information about the poor performance of students attending charter schools and participating in voucher programs; challenging state officials who support privatization efforts and condone wasting tax dollars; encouraging school leaders to advocate for the traditional public school system; and urging boards of education to pass resolutions in support of local control.




Final Evaluation of RTT released: The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) released on October 26, 2016 a final evaluation of the federal Race to the Top (RTT) grant program conducted for the Institute of Education Science.

The report is entitled Race to the Top:  Implementation and Relationship to Student Outcomes, and examines the implementation of state policies and practices promoted by RTT; state efforts to meet the needs of English language learners (ELLs); and student outcomes. The report also compares the outcomes of RTT and non-RTT states.

The $4.35 billion Race to the Top Grant program was included in the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to implement education policies and practices to improve student outcomes for high-need students, especially English language learners (ELLs).  The grant coincided with a down turn in the economy and declining revenues during the Great Recession. Eleven states and the District of Columbia were awarded the grants.

This final report on RTT builds on previous RTT evaluations published in 2012, 2014, and 2015, and includes an additional year of data (spring 2013) and information about student achievement over time.

In general the evaluation found that most RTT states and non-RTT states reported implementing similar RTT policies and practices regarding building state capacity, data systems, and school turnaround strategies; and most RTT and non-RTT states reported using similar policies and practices for working with ELL students.

But the authors of the evaluation go on to say that the “relationship between RTT and student outcomes was not clear.”

According to the report, “In sum, it is not clear whether the RTT grants influenced the policies and practices used by states or whether they improved student outcomes. RTT states differed from other states prior to receiving the grants, and other changes taking place at the same time as RTT reforms may also have affected student outcomes. Therefore, differences between RTT states and other states may be due to these other factors and not to RTT. Furthermore, readers should use caution when interpreting the results because the findings are based on self-reported use of policies and practices.”

See “Race to the Top:  Implementation and Relationship to Student Outcomes,” by Lisa Dragoset, Jaime Thomas, Mariesa Herrmann, John Deke, Susanne James-Burdumy, Cheryl Graczewski, Andrea Boyle, Courtney Tanenbaum, Jessica Giffin, Rachel Upton and Thomas E. Wei Project Officer Institute of Education Sciences, The Institute of Education Science, The National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, October 26, 2016 at


AEP Publishes Guidelines to Support the Arts in ESSA Plans: The Arts Education Partnership (AEP) and the Education Commission of the States (ECS) published on October 4, 2016 a report entitled “ESSA:  Mapping Opportunities for the Arts.”

The report identifies several opportunities to include arts education in state and local ESSA plans in the areas of Title I Part A, Accountability, Assessment, and State Plans.

ESSA, which stands for the Every Student Succeeds Act, reauthorizes the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and provides state and local leaders with increased flexibility to meet the educational needs of students.  ESSA supports policy makers and educators, who want to explore non traditional methods to engage students, and provides more support for states, schools, and districts to strengthen or expand student access to a well-rounded education, including the arts and humanities.

According to the AEP report, there are many opportunities to include the arts in state plans, measures of equity, Schoolwide Programs, Targeted Assistance Schools, and Parent and Family Engagement under Title I, Part A of ESSA.

Student access to arts education programs could be used to measure School Quality and Student Success in state accountability systems in the areas of “student engagement, educator engagement, student access to and completion of advanced coursework, postsecondary readiness, school climate and safety, and any other indicator the state chooses…”

The report notes that Connecticut and New Jersey already include measures of student participation in the arts in their state accountability systems, and report the results on report cards for schools and districts.  In Kentucky the state Department of Education is required to conduct a review of every school’s arts and humanities programs every two years.  The reviews are then incorporated into the accountability reports for the schools and districts. (Kentucky Revised Statutes 158.6453).

There are also opportunities for states to use federal funding to develop and implement assessments to improve student learning in the arts.  (Title I, Part B, Section 1201.)  States can also pilot new assessment systems that include competency-based and performance-based assessments.

Title IV, Part A, Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, requires states to submit a plan to the U.S. Department of Education to receive funding under this grant program, which can be used to help districts and schools provide students with a well-rounded education, which includes the arts and music.  To receive the funds, districts must first complete a needs assessment to identify gaps in how they provide a well-rounded education, and develop a plan to address those gaps.


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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