Arts on Line Education Update November 7, 2016

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
Joan Platz
November 7, 2016

131st OHIO GENERAL ASSEMBLY

This Week at the Statehouse: The Ohio House is not meeting this week, and the Ohio Senate has canceled two “if needed” Senate session scheduled for Wednesday, November 9 and Thursday, November 10, 2016.

The Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission’s, Education, Public Institutions and Local Government Committee, will meet on November 10, 2016 at 9:30 AM in hearing room 017.

Coalition Pushing for Constitutional Amendment to Change Congressional Boundaries: A coalition called Fair Districts=Fair Elections announced on October 31, 2016 that it is seeking public input on a proposed constitutional amendment to change the way Ohio draws congressional boundaries. The coalition hopes to have the issue on the ballot in 2017.

The coalition includes Common Cause, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, AAUW of Ohio, America Votes, the Ohio Council of Churches, the Ohio Farmers Union, ProgessOhio, and about 10 other organizations.

Coalition members are frustrated with Ohio lawmakers who have not taken action on proposed HJR2 (Clyde-Curtain) or SJR2 (LaRose-Sawyer). These resolutions would revise the congressional redistricting process included in Article XIX of the Ohio Constitution to make congressional boundaries fairer.  Some of the current Congressional districts in Ohio are oddly shaped, referred to as “gerrymandered,” to benefit candidates from certain political parties.  While the popular vote in Ohio is split evenly between both political parties, Ohio’s Congressional delegation includes 12 Republicans and 4 Democrats.

In 2015 voters approved Issue 1 a bipartisan effort to change the apportionment process, which creates the districts for the Ohio House and Senate.

But voters have rejected issues on the ballot in 2005 and 2012 to reform congressional redistricting.

The coalition’s proposal would amend Article XI of the Ohio Constitution, which now refers to the state apportionment process.  The amendment would create a seven-member congressional redistricting commission, which would adopt a congressional district map by September 1st in each year ending with the numeral one.  At least four members of the commission would need to approve the map, including two members of the minority party.  The map would also have to meet certain criteria designed to curtail gerrymandering to benefit one political party.

The proposal also allows any U.S. citizen living in Ohio to submit a redistricting proposal to the commission for consideration.

 

NATIONAL NEWS

CCSSO Recommends an Alternative to a Controversial Proposed Regulation: The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) issued on November 1, 2016 an “alternative” for a proposed regulation published by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) in August 2016.

The regulation clarifies the “supplement, not supplant” provision of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

School officials have expressed concern about the proposed regulation and have testified against it in hearings held by the U.S. House and Senate education committees.

The proposed regulation would require local education agencies, (LEAs) to choose a methodology among four options to show that state and local funds are equitably distributed to Title I schools, which serve students from low income families.

LEAs could show compliance with “supplement not supplant” by equalizing spending between Title I and non Title I schools; adopt a weighted per-student formula; adopt a method that considers personnel and non-personnel spending; or a state could develop another methodology, with the approval of the USDOE.

In a letter to the USDOE, Chris Minnich, Executive Director of the CCSSO, writes, “ensuring an equitable education for every child” is a “serious concern and one that state chiefs are committed to addressing.”

The letter goes on to say that the proposed regulation goes beyond the law, which “does not prescribe a specific funding formula for state and local funds…”

The CCSSO letter then explains the problems with each option.  For example, the equalized spending option doesn’t define “high proportion” of disadvantaged students; the weighted per student formula doesn’t account for centralized district spending; the combined personnel and non personnel spending method is vague; and states do not have the capacity to develop a new spending formula for Title I, when ESSA requires new accountability and oversight responsibilities.

The CCSSO “alternative” would require local education agencies (LEAs) to implement a methodology to distribute state and local funds to schools without taking into account Title I status.  The LEAs would be required to publish the methodology, and demonstrate that the methodology was followed.  LEAs with Title I schools identified for comprehensive support and improvement (CSI) would be required to consider the effect of their methodology on the schools when developing support and improvement plans.

President Hears Concerns About ESSA Rules: The Washington Post reports that a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators has written a letter asking the Obama administration to ensure that the U.S. Department of Education’s regulations, under the Every Student Succeeds Act, stay within the statutory intent of the law.

The five Republican and four Democratic Senators, who signed the letter, object to two provisions in the proposed regulations.  One provision outlines how Title I funds are distributed to “supplement and not supplant,” local and state funding.  The other provision addresses how states determine which schools are failing, and how to improve them.

The Senators write, “Unfortunately, the Department has proposed two regulations that do not comply with the plain language of the statute and Congressional intent.  One regulation, concerning fiscal requirements known as “supplement, not supplant,” would order states to spend their own state and local school funds in a way that is expressly prohibited by the new law.  The other regulation, concerning state accountability systems, would take away flexibility that Congress clearly gave state, undermining what Congress intended in moving away form the test-based systems of accountability that No Child Left Behind required and violating explicit prohibitions written into the statute.”

Bipartisan group of senators asks Obama to rein in Education Department proposals,” by Emma Brown, The Washington Post, November 3, 2016.

OHIO NEWS

State Revenues Down:  According to an article in the Columbus Dispatch the Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM), Tim Keen director, reported last week that state revenues are $160 million below estimates for FY17 so far this year, with a shortfall of $88.1 million occurring in October.

Total state revenues so far this year are $7.1 billion, which is $108.5 million less than total state revenues for this time last year.

Shortfalls in the state’s sales tax, personal income tax, and Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) contributed to the lower than estimated October report.  The OBM also had to pay more than expected to banks for tax credits under the Financial Institutions Tax. The OBM had estimated that the tax credit would be much lower at $1.6 million, but the credits actually totaled $10.7 million.

According to the article, Director Keen reported that he expects the FY17 budget to be balanced at the end of the fiscal year in June 2017, but doesn’t advise further tax cuts this legislative session, which ends December 31, 2016. The  FY18-19 biennial budget will likely be tight, because of the drop in state revenue.

Governor Kasich is currently working on FY18-19 budget recommendations, which will be introduced in the Ohio House early next year.

In addition to the tight budget outlook, lawmakers will need to address a number of issues as they prepare the next state budget.  These include replacing an estimated $1.5 billion loss in revenue from the Medicaid managed care sales tax, which affects revenues for state and local governments; fully funding the state’s school funding formula, which was underfunded in the last budget; and adjusting for increases in prison costs, due to the growing number of inmates, and medicaid spending.

Today’s Ohio revenue shortfall is tomorrow’s tight budget,” by Jim Siegel, The Columbus Dispatch, November 4, 2016.

State Might Soften Graduation Requirements: Jeremy P. Kelley of The Dayton Daily News reports that the State Board of Education might “revisit” at their November 14-15, 2016 meeting graduation requirements that go into effect for the Class of 2018.

Tom Gunlock, President of the State Board of Education, said in an interview with the newspaper, that the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) is looking at data about how many end of course exams and points toward graduation juniors in high schools are currently earning, to see if there is a way to “soften” the new graduation requirements.

According to the article, the State Board must weigh the desire to prepare students to meet higher standards, verses the prospect that some students might fail to graduate, because of the higher standards.

Over the past few months the State Board has received feedback from a number of school district superintendents with concerns about number of students who are currently not on track to graduate.

Starting with the Class of 2018, students will no longer have to pass the Ohio Graduation Test, but will have three ways to earn an Ohio diploma:  earn 18 out of a possible 35 points on seven end-of-course exams; earn a “remediation-free” score on a college entrance exam, such as the ACT or SAT; or earn an industry credential to show job readiness.

The State Board could recommend lowering the number of points that students need to earn on the end-of-course exams; phase-in the new requirements, which will give school districts more time to adjust to the new requirements; reduce the remediation-free scores required on the ACT and SAT; or make another changes.

The Columbus Dispatch published a similar article last week, and also reported that school superintendents, school board members and other school administrators will meet in Columbus on November 15, 2016, to speak with lawmakers about testing, local control, and other education policies, including the graduation requirements.

State may soften graduation requirements,” by Jeremy Kelly, The Dayton Daily News, November 1, 2016.

State may ease graduation standards,” by Catherine Candisky and Shannon Gilchrist, The Columbus Dispatch, November 4, 2016.

REPORTS

Number of Students who are Home-Schooled Increases:  American Institutes for Research prepared for the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) a new report on home schooling entitled, “Homeschooling in the United States:  2012.”

The report is based on the results of the Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey in 2012, which is part of the National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES), conducted by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) housed in the Institute of Education Sciences.

Estimates of the number, percentage, and characteristics of students, between the ages of 5-17, who are home-schooled in the United States have been published in 1999, 2003, and 2007.

This new report provides a historical perspective about home-schooling; reports parental reasons for home-schooling; and reports where parents find curriculum and support for home-schooling, including information about online courses.

According to the report, there are an estimated 1.8 million students who are home-schooled in the United States.  This is an increase from 850,000 students in 1999, and represents about 3.4 percent of the U.S. student population.

Most students who are home-schooled are white (83 percent); nonpoor (89 percent); and live in cities (28 percent), suburbs (34 percent), and rural areas (31 percent).

Parents reported that their most important reason for home-schooling was concern about the school environment (25 percent); dissatisfaction with the academic instruction (19 percent); and religious instruction (17 percent).

Homeschooling in the United States:  2012,” by Jeremy Redford, Danielle Battle, Stacey Bielick, and Sarah Grady, (NCES 2016-096). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC. October 2016.

Comparison of Charters and Traditional Schools in Chicago: An analysis of charter schools in Chicago for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years shows that, “… after controlling for the mix of students and challenges faced by individual schools, Chicago’s charter schools underperform their traditional counterparts in most measurable ways.”

The analysis was conducted by Myron Orfield, Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, and Thomas Luce, Research Director of the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity, University of Minnesota Law School.

The report compares the performance of 140 charter schools that have opened in Chicago between 2000 – 2014 with the performance of traditional public schools in Chicago.

According to the report, “Reading and math pass rates, reading and math growth rates, graduation rates, and average ACT scores (in one of the two years) are lower in charters all else equal, than in traditional neighborhood schools. The results for the two years also imply that the gap between charters and traditionals widened in the second year for most of the measures. The findings are strengthened by the fact that self-selection by parents and students into the charter system biases the results in favor of charter schools.”

The report recommends that Chicago’s leaders enact a “moratorium” on new charter schools, and complete an impact study on how charter school policies affect traditional public schools in Chicago.

An Analysis of Student Performance in Chicago’s Charter Schools,” by Myron Orfield and Thomas Luce, Education Policy Analysis Archives, October 31, 2016.

Does Positive School Climate Affect Student Academic Achievement?:  Researchers at the University of Southern California, University of Haifa, and Bar Ilan University recently published a review of studies that examined the success of positive climate programs in schools.

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act provides states and school districts with more flexibility to pursue innovative strategies to improve student achievement.  Creating a supportive and positive school environment has been proposed to reduce academic achievement gaps among students with different socioeconomic status (SES).

Researchers for this study reviewed school climate studies dating back to the year 2000, and found that these programs do mitigate the negative effects of low socioeconomic status on student academic achievement, but the relationship is not direct or causal.

The researchers recommend additional research to determine which aspect of a positive school climate is impacting student academic achievement.

A Research Synthesis of the Associations Between Socioeconomic Background, Inequity, School climate, and Academic Achievement,” by Ruth Berkowitz, Hadass Moore, Ron Avi Astor, and Rami Benbenishty, Educational Research Month, October 21, 2016.

FYI ARTS

AEP Resources for Student Success: About 200 arts and arts education experts attended the “2016 Arts Education Partnership National Forum:  The arts leading the way to student success,” on October 5-7, 2016 in Denver.

The topics included engaging youth in identifying, developing, and animating civic spaces through both visual and performing arts; expanding arts education opportunities through ESSA; and the role of the arts in shaping education in America.

Videos about the forum topics are available on the Arts Education Partnership website at http://www.aep-arts.org/events/2016nationalforum-2/


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 (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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