Arts on Line Education Update November 28, 2016

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
November 28, 2016
Joan Platz
131st OHIO GENERAL ASSEMBLY
This Week at the Statehouse: The Ohio House and Senate are holding hearings and sessions this week.
The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner, will meet twice.
On November 28, 2016 the committee will meet at 2:00 PM in the Senate Finance Hearing Room and receive testimony on the following bills:
  • SB136 (Tavares) School Seclusion Rooms:  Requires the State Board of Education to update its policies and standards for student behavioral interventions and the use of physical restraint and seclusion to prohibit the use of seclusion on students.
  • SB346 (Manning)  School Year-Start Date:  Generally requires public and chartered nonpublic schools to open for instruction after Labor Day.
  • HB89 (Devitis) Medicaid School Program:  Revises laws governing the Medicaid School Program, which provides federal Medicaid Aid to qualifying schools and other providers of Medicaid services.
  • HB383 (Hagan) Informed Student Document:  Requires one-half unit of economic and financial literacy in the high school social studies curriculum; requires the Chancellor of Higher Education to prepare an informed student document for each state institution of higher education; requires the State Board of Education to include information about the informed student document in the standards and model curricula it creates for financial literacy and entrepreneurship.
  • HB85 (Ramos) Child Sexual Abuse Prevention:  Revises laws pertaining to age-appropriate student instruction in child sexual abuse and sexual violence prevention and in-service staff training in child sexual abuse prevention.
The Senate Education Committee will also meet on November 29, 2016 at 4:00 PM in the Senate Finance Hearing Room to receive a presentation by Superintendent Paolo DeMaria about revisions to the English and math standards, and receive testimony on the following bills:
  • HB410 (Rezabek, Hayes) Revises the laws pertaining to habitual and chronic truancy and compulsory school attendance.
  • HB89 (Devitis) Medicaid School Program:  Revises laws governing the Medicaid School Program, which provides federal Medicaid Aid to qualifying schools and other providers of Medicaid services.
  • SB126 (Sawyer) Interdistrict Open Enrollment:  Repeals interdistrict open enrollment laws; requires the Ohio Department of Education to study and determine the effectiveness of interdistrict open enrollment; and allows a repeal of laws prohibiting interdistrict open enrollment based on the outcome of the study.
The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Andrew Brenner, will meet on November 29, 2016 at 9:00 AM in hearing room 017.  The committee will receive testimony on HB498 (Kunze) Expulsion-Threat of Violence, and HB372 (Phillips) Educational Service Personnel.
The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Oelslager, will meet on November 29, 2016 at 2:30 PM or after session in the Senate Finance Hearing Room.  The committee will receive testimony on SB230 (Schiavoni) Academic Distress Commission.
OHIO NEWS
ECOT Loses Appeal:  The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) won another round in its legal battle with the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), a statewide online charter school founded by William Lager.
ECOT had appealed a recent ruling by Judge Jenifer French of the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, that allowed the ODE to use the amount of time students attending online schools were working online to determine student participation rates to calculate attendance. The ODE uses attendance data to calculate the amount of public funding charter schools receive.
Using this method, the ODE had found that about 60 percent of ECOT students were not meeting the requirement that students participate in 920 hours of learning opportunities during a school year. ECOT is in jeopardy of losing a portion of the $106 million it received from the ODE last year as a result.
The10th District Court of Appeals dismissed ECOT’s appeal of the ruling based on its lack of jurisdiction, because Judge French’s decision was not a “final” decision that could be appealed.  The case now returns to the lower court where a decision will be made.
ECOT’s administrative hearing before the State Board of Education is scheduled for December 5, 2016.
See “ECOT Loses Initial Appeal,” by Catherine Candisky, The Columbus Dispatch, November 24, 2016 at http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2016/11/23/ECOT_loses_appeal_in_state_attendance_audit.html
Changes Proposed for College Credit Plus Program:  Statewide education organizations have been working on a plan to address certain issues that school administrators have raised about the College Credit Plus (CCP) program.  The organizations include the Ohio Association of School Business Officials, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, and the Ohio School Boards Association.
Some of the issues were raised last May in testimony on HB474, the Higher Education Mid Biennial Review Bill.  The bill, which the organizations believe would expand a “government” entitlement program that is paid for by the taxpayers in their school districts, is not expected to pass this session, but the statewide organizations wanted to be on record about several of the proposed changes in law that they oppose.
Overall the organizations would like more flexibility to negotiate dual enrollment agreements with institutions of higher education (IHEs) as was done in the past.
They also would like to see more data collected about CCP to determine what barriers students face when trying to participate in college level courses.  Right now the only data available is about the former Post Secondary Enrollment Program (PSEO) and not dual enrollment programs initiated by school districts and IHEs.
The organizations also believe that there should be a way to keep the cost of textbooks and tuition down.  School districts should be allowed to charge some tuition and textbook costs to parents,  perhaps through means-testing, to determine if parents have the ability to pay.  In the past the cost of textbooks and tuition was part of the negotiated dual enrollment agreements between school districts and IHEs, and there were several ways used to reduce costs for school districts, IHEs, and parents.
School districts should also have the discretion to determine which students are eligible to participate in the CCP program.
The statewide organizations also reported widespread opposition to a HB474 proposal, which would allow students to take remediation courses at IHEs.
The following are some other recommendations that the education organizations support to improve CCP:
Negotiated Dual Enrollment Agreements
  • Require all school districts to enter into a minimum of one locally negotiated dual enrollment agreement with an institution of higher education, and eliminate the requirement that school districts participate with every IHEs in a district.  The education organizations believe that his provision would increase competition among IHEs to offer college courses to high school students, and find the best value for all parties, including students, parents, school districts, IHEs, and taxpayers, while still ensuring that qualified students have access to college credit programs.  A partnering secondary school could still enter into multiple agreements with IHEs, but they would not be required to do so.
  • Eliminate the funding floor requirement.  The education organizations believe that this provision would not be necessary if school districts could negotiate dual enrollment agreements with IHEs, as they did in the past.  The floor per credit hour rate is $41.50 for the 2016-17 school year, while the ceiling per credit hour rate is $166.  If the funding floor provision is not eliminated, the organizations oppose eliminating a provision in HB474 that allows the Chancellor of Higher Education to waive the funding floor requirement.
Textbooks
  • Develop standards for how to pay for textbooks.  These standards could require, for example, that textbooks be used for at least two years, and specify that the cost for one textbook should not exceed 25 percent of the “ceiling” amount for the course.  The standards should also require that textbooks have an ISBN#.  School districts should be allowed to charge parents for the cost of textbooks based on a sliding scale.  The state could also create a statewide textbook depository or a resource list for purchasing textbooks.  Restrictions about where or how the textbooks are purchased should also be eliminated, and IHE bookstores should not profit from textbooks purchased for high school students.
Student College Readiness
  • Convene stakeholders to develop uniform standards for college readiness to eliminate the inconsistencies in student participation in CCP.
  • Eliminate the requirement that permits students below the 9th grade to participate in college courses, but allow exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
  • Allow school districts to limit student participation in college courses to those deemed to be college ready.
College Courses
  • Require courses taught on the college campus to be at least equal in rigor to those available at the high school level.
  • Require school districts to agree with the IHEs determination of comparability, before students participate in the course.
  • Limit courses qualifying for college credit to core subject areas.
  • Require the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Providers (NACEP) to approve IHE courses, and assure the rigor of the courses.
  • Require school district policies about weighting grades to ensure that the college level courses are weighted the same as high school courses when they are comparable courses, and not simply courses in the same subject area (i.e., an algebra I course should not be equal to AP Calculus).
Teachers
  • Allow school districts more authority to determine the qualifications of teachers under local dual enrollment agreements, and require IHEs to allow qualified district teachers to provide instruction in college courses.
Equity
  • Ensure that CCP does not adversely affect the quality of the overall education program provided by the school district to the vast majority of students.  Allow the majority of dual enrollment courses to be offered at high schools, and permit schools to blend traditional and dual enrollment students in the same classes.  According to the education organizations, “Because some districts have such limited resources, the funds deducted for CCP has the effect of eating into the funds (resources for programs) meant for the students that are left in the district – those not wishing to take CCP courses. Therefore, the education opportunities for those students are affected.”
Communication Between Schools and IHEs
  • Require IHEs to inform secondary schools, school counselors, school districts, and parents, in a prescribed manner, about the students that have been admitted to their institutions and the courses that they are taking, and allow a means to enforce this provision.  Require the Chancellor to publish a list of IHEs suspended from participating in CCP due to noncompliance with this provision.
Joint Oversight of CCP
  • Establish a college credit plus advisory committee to assist in the development of performance metrics and monitor the CCP.  The committee shall include an equal number of representatives of partnering secondary schools and partnering colleges.
  • Drug Prevention Committee Examines SEL Standards:  Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Joint Study Committee on Drug Use Prevention Education met last week to review programs that support social and emotional learning in the Chicago Public Schools and the Illinois Social and Emotional Learning Standards (SEL).
Ohio lawmakers and policy makers are working on legislation and other strategies to eliminate Ohio’s drug abuse and addiction epidemic.  According to the Ohio Health Department 3,050 people died in 2015 of unintentional overdoses, the highest number on record for our state.
The 22 member joint study committee was appointed in August 2016, and is meeting with communities across the state to examine the status of drug use prevention education in Ohio schools in grades K-12.  According to the research, education programs that help students make positive choices and develop responsible behaviors are the most effective ways to combat drug abuse and addiction among young adults.
The Illinois Social and Emotional Learning Standards (SEL) support a process that helps children develop self-awareness and self-management skills to achieve school and life success; use social-awareness and interpersonal skills to establish and maintain positive relationships; and demonstrate decision making skills and responsible behaviors in personal, school, and community context.  The standards are supported by research that shows that SEL competencies “… improve students’ social/emotional development, readiness to learn, classroom behavior, and academic performance.”
Illinois’ SEL Standards are correlated with the Illinois Learning Standards, and especially align with the Illinois standards in health and social sciences, and can be integrated throughout all curricula.
The joint study committee expects to issue a report in January 2017 with recommendations to implement “…an effective drug abuse prevention curriculum for each grade level, from kindergarten to twelfth grade.”
NATIONAL NEWS
President Elect Nominates Secretary of Education:  President-Elect Donald Trump nominated on November 23, 2016 Betsy DeVos to serve as U.S. Secretary of Education.
Ms. DeVos is a billionaire from Michigan and the chairwomen of the American Federation for Children, an advocacy organization for school choice, charter schools, voucher programs, and tax-credit scholarships for students.
She also served as chair of the Michigan Republican Party for several years.
She and her husband Dick DeVos, the son of the founder of Amway, supported the passage of Michigan’s charter school law in 1993.  She has also headed a PAC that has directed funds to charter school and voucher advocates running for office.  According to an article by Stephen Dyer at Innovation Ohio, in 2008 Betsy DeVos’ Virginia-based All Children Matter PAC was fined $5.2 million by the Ohio Elections Commission for illegally funneling $870,000 into Ohio campaigns.  David Brennan, president of White Hat Management, a charter school operator, also donated $200,000 to the same Virginia PAC between 2004-2007.
The fine was the largest ever filed against a PAC by the Ohio Elections Commission, but, according to The Columbus Dispatch, was never paid.  Ms. DeVos is no longer the director of All Children Matter.
Her brother, Erik Prince, is the founder of Blackwater, a security firm that worked in Iraq during the war.  In 2007 Blackwater employees were involved in the shooting deaths of Iraqi civilians, and four of the employees were later found guilty in the deaths.  Erik Prince is currently the chairman of Frontier Services Group, and is reported to be under investigation by several federal agencies for alleged unlawful dealings with foreign governments.
The Washington Post also reports that from 2004-2010 Ms. DeVos served on the board of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  She donated $22.5 million to support arts leaders, and created the DeVos Institute of Arts Management based at the University of Maryland.
See “Pac backed by Education pick owes Ohio millions,” by Randy Ludlow, The Columbus Dispatch, November 24, 2016 at http://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODN/ColumbusDispatch/AfterLogin.ashx?id=platz.1%40osu.edu&d=2016-11-24&r=none&c=20df55f625e35deacbf606bf92b594fa
See “All Children Matter Hit with $5.2 Million Fine for Illegally Funneling Campaign Money,” One Wisconsin Now, April 8, 2008, at http://onewisconsinnow.org/press/all-children-matter-hit-with-5-2-million-fine-for-illegally-funneling-campaign-money/
See “Betsy DeVos:  Five Things to Know About Trump’s Pick for Education Secretary,” by Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week, November 23, 2016 at http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2016/11/betsy_devos_education_secretary_five_things_to_know.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=campaignk-12
See “Trump picks billionaire Betsy DeVos, school voucher advocate, as education secretary,” by Emma Brown, The Washington Post, November 23, 2016 at
See “Is PAC skirting election limits? Charter-school operator used Virginia group to funnel cash to Ohio GOP races, state says,” by Jim Siegel and Mark Niquette, The Columbus Dispatch, August 12, 2017 at
See “Erik Prince in the hot seat,” by Matthew Cole and Jeremy Scahill, The Intercept, March 24, 2016 at https://theintercept.com/2016/03/24/blackwater-founder-erik-prince-under-federal-investigation/
REPORTS
Report Examines the School Privatization Movement:  A new report examines how billionaires and private school advocates have promoted the privatization of public schools by understating the performance of traditional public schools and undermining the value of locally elected boards of education.
The report traces the charter school movement and the legal and policy framework that supports parallel K-12 education systems, one of which is less regulated and transparent than traditional public schools. The report found that charter schools have become a multibillion-dollar industry dominated by large chains and franchises, prone to fraud, fiscal abuses, and overall poor student performance.
The report includes the following recommendations:
  • States should adopt a moratorium on charter school expansion.
  • State and federal authorities should conduct an audit and account for all public grants awarded to charter schools.  A recent investigation conducted by the Center for Media and Democracy identified unaccountable federal and state grants totaling millions of dollars.
  • Charter school governing boards should be subject to public meetings and open records laws, and should be required to post contracts and all financial information.
  • Charter operators and governing boards should comply with conflict of interest and ethical standards that prohibit self-enriching schemes and employment of family members.
  • Federal charter school grant programs should award grants based on research, best practices, and peer review.
  • Charter schools should adopt national standards for competitive bidding and contracting.
  • Local boards of education should oversee the charter schools in their districts.
  • Charter school enrollment policies should be open and inclusive, and prohibit discipline policies that exclude certain students.
  • Charter school trade associations and lobbyists should disclose political donors and activities.
  • Online charter schools should be banned, except for programs that are carefully overseen by local school districts and meet certain standards.
See “Who Controls Our Schools? The Privatization of American Public Education,” by Don Hazen, Elizabeth Hines, Steven Rosenfeld, and Stan Salett, The Independent Media Institute, at https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.alternet.org/images/Who_Controls_Our_Schools_PDF_Ebook_1_1.pdf
What Can the Expansion of English Academies Tell Us About US Charter Schools?:  A report by Professor Helen Ladd and Edward Fiske raises several questions about the expansion of charter schools in the United States.
Helen Ladd is the Susan B. King Professor of Public Policy Studies and economics at the Stanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, and Edward Fiske is the former education editor of The New York Times.
They have been studying the plan in England to replace schools governed by locally elected officials with charter schools, known in England as “academies,” and have identified some insights and lessons learned that can be applied to the charter school industry in the United States.
They found, for example, that managing a system in which two sets of schools operate under different rules created inefficiencies and challenges.
As more and more government funds were directed to the academies, the local schools in England lost revenue and were forced to reduce teachers and learning opportunities for students.  The public schools were left with the most needy students to educate, because the academies were not required to accept these students.
The expansion of the academies led to the proliferation of “relatively small primary schools operating in isolation.”  These small schools operated independently, which increased their costs.  The government encouraged these schools to form school networks, known as Multi Academy Trusts (MATs), to provide services more  efficiently, such as professional development.  Some of these MATs took over the role of the local school authorities, which had lost funding to provide these services, because the money was being directed to the academies instead.  While some of these networks were successful, others were not, and the authors are “….not optimistic about the success of this strategy.”
The role of the school in the social, economic, and cultural life of a community has also been threatened by the expansion of the academies, which, on the other hand, have no bond with communities or incentives to serve the best interests of the public.
The role of the elected school authorities has also been weakened, even though these authorities are still expected to provide certain services to students.  These include  “…assuring a place for every child, protecting the interests of vulnerable children, and championing the interests of children and families.”  The authors write that, “Weakened as they are by funding and personnel reductions, however, local authorities will struggle to carry out such responsibilities.”
The authors also found that the underlining reason for replacing the schools operated by local authorities with academies, the failure of the locally governed schools to educate children, was not justified by the evidence.  They write, “The academization plan seems to have been inspired less by reasoned policymaking than by an ideological belief in the weakness of bureaucratic systems and unshakeable faith in decentralization and autonomy as guiding principles for organizing the state education system.”
They authors report that a study about the academic performance of students attending the academies concluded that there is “no reason to believe that a fully academized system will be any better than the current one.”
The authors conclude that policymakers in the U.S. should consider the lessons learned from the English academy system, and select a different path to improve schools.
According to the report, “England’s experiences with academies, however, serves as a warning that promoting the development of large concentrations of charter schools operating independently of local school districts is a strategy fraught with risk for students and local communities.”
Instead the authors recommend that policymakers “devise democratic governance structures and systems of support that assure that both traditional public schools and charters promote broad public interests.”
See “Lessons for US charter schools from the growth of academies in England,” by Helen F. Ladd and Edward B. Fiske, Brookings Policy Brief, November 3, 2016 at
This brief is based on the authors’ study, England Confronts the Limits of School Autonomy, National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, Working Paper 232, October 2016. http://ncspe.tc.columbia.edu/working-papers/OP232.pdf
NEPC Recommends Better School Quality Indicators for State Accountability Systems:  A policy brief published by the National Education Policy Center provides “…guidance to states for selecting more inclusive school quality and student success indicators for accountability systems.”
Under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), in addition to three indicators specified in the law, states are required to include at least one “indicator of school quality or student success” in their accountability systems for schools.
The law also requires that this indicator be “valid, reliable, comparable, and statewide,” and can be used to distinguish performance among schools.
The policy brief suggests that when selecting this indicator states should consider the following criteria:
  • Identify indicators that signal the importance of equity, including opportunity to learn indicators, and/or indicators that measure safe and inclusive learning environments.
  • Adopt multiple non-academic indicators that states and schools can report on their annual report cards.
  • Carefully combine indicators to signal what is important and avoid perverse incentives for manipulating any one indicator.
  • Create reciprocal accountability in which district and state leaders have responsibility to provide resources and create conditions needed to improve quality and improve performance on the student success indicators.
  • Help schools make sense of data about quality and student success indicators by coupling them with opportunity and resource indicators.
  • Identify potential evidence-based resources ahead of time that can support schools to improve performance on the indicators.
  • Develop an accountability plan that funds and supports school improvement for schools that need it, such as professional development and resources for identifying, adopting, and studying evidence-based programs.
  • Plan for a multi-stage rollout that can make new measurement approaches more successful and manageable over time.
The policy brief recommends that states adopt an indicator that focuses on equity and improving school environments.
See “Making the Most of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) — Helping states Focus on School Equity, Quality and Climate, by William Penuel, Elizabeth Meyer, and Micchelle Renee Valladares, National Education Policy Center, University of Colorado Boulder, November 15, 2016 at
FYI ARTS
Museum Opens in Akron:  The Akron Children’s Museum held its grand opening on November 25, 2016.  The museum is located in city-owned space at Lock 3 Park in Akron, and includes interactive exhibits for children up to age 12.
The museum was designed to stimulate the imagination of children, and includes different stations featuring toys, car racing, scientific and environmental displays, and arts and crafts.
Ryan and Betsey Hartschuh envisioned the non-profit museum, which is based on the Greensboro Children’s Museum in North Carolina.   The museum is supported by 150 members and corporate sponsors, including Akron Children’s Hospital, the National Carpet Mill Outlet, Ernst & Young, the Acme Fresh Market, and GOJO Industries.
See “New Akron Children’s Museum filled with smiles and laughter,” by Rick Armon, The Akron Beacon Journal, November 25, 2016 at http://www.ohio.com/news/local/new-akron-children-s-museum-filled-with-smiles-and-laughter-1.729614

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, The John F. Kennedy Center, 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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