Arts on Line Education Update January 17, 2017

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
January 16, 2017
Joan Platz


This Week at the Statehouse:  The House and Senate are not meeting this week.

Wilson to Fill Senate Seat: A Senate Republican screening committee selected last week Steven Wilson from Maineville to replace Senator Shannon Jones in the 7th Senate District.  Senator Jones resigned after being elected to the Warren County Commission on November 8, 2016.  The full Republican caucus will vote on the recommendation by the end of the month.

House and Senate Begin to Organize:  House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger announced last week the chairs and vice-chairs for 21 standing committees and seven subcommittees for the 132nd General Assembly.

Representative Ryan Smith will continue to chair the House Finance Committee and Representative Scott Ryan will be vice chair.

There will also be six House Finance Sub-Committees:

-Agriculture, Development and Natural Resources

Chair: Rep. Andy Thompson (R-Marietta)

-Health and Human Services

Chair: Rep. Mark Romanchuk (R-Mansfield)

-Higher Education

Chair: Rep. Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek)


Chair: Rep. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon)

-Primary and Secondary Education

Chair: Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Lima)

-State Government and Agency Review

Chair: Rep. Keith Faber (R-Celina)

Representative Andy Brenner will continue to chair the education committee, but the committee will be known as the House Education and Career Readiness Committee.  Representative Marilyn Slaby will serve as vice chair.

The House Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee will be chaired by Representative Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) and Representative Niraj Antani (R-Mianmisburg) will be vice chair.

The House Ways and Means Committee, which sometimes hears bills about school funding, will be chaired by Representative Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster).  Representative Gary Scherer (R-Circleville) will serve as vice chair.

Committee membership and minority leaders will be announced in the next few days.

On the Senate side, Senate President Larry Obhof announced last week that Senator Scott Oelslager will continue to chair the Senate Finance Committee.

The General Assembly’s first challenge this session will be to debate and approve Governor Kasich’s last biennial budget proposal for FY18-19, which is expected to be introduced on January 31, 2017.

The Office of Budget and Management reported recently that state tax revenues for December 2016 were still below estimates for this fiscal year.

Governor Kasich has said that his final budget will be balanced, but will be tighter compared to previous years.

The current state budget for FY17 is expected to be balanced by the end of the fiscal year even though revenues are down.  The state has about $2 billion in the Budget Stablization Fund, and some expenditures for this year are running below estimates.

As for education initiatives, the governor is expected to include in his budget proposal provisions to better prepare students for the jobs that are available in Ohio.  He will also recommend that every board of education include three businessmen as nonvoting members, and create an Ohio Institute of Technology to connect Ohio’s higher education institutions with the private sector to promote more technological innovations.

The proposal to require businessmen on boards of education could be redundant, because most boards of education already have elected members, who are also businessmen.

There is also some concern that the intent is for these nonvoting members to eventually become appointed voting members. This could create a hybrid partially elected, partially appointed board of education, similar to the State Board of Education, which has become politicized as a result.

See “Business leaders on school boards among ideas Governor John Kasich plans to put in the state budget,” by Jackie Borchardt, The Cleveland Plain Dealer , January 12, 2017 at


New Caucus to Support Public Schools: Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have created the House Public Education Caucus to support public education, and defend public schools from privatization under the Trump administration.  The announcement was made at a press conference on January 10, 2017 with the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association.

So far the caucus includes Representatives Mark Takano (CA); Mark Pocan (WI) Alma Adams (NC), Suzanne Bonamici (OR), Rosa DeLauro (CT), Mark DeSaulnier (CA), Raul Grijalva (AR), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX), Jared Polis (CO), Jamie Raskin (MD), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ).

See “Democrats form congressional caucus to support public education,” by Rebecca Klein, The Huffington Post, January 11, 2017 at

DeVos Hearing Postponed:  The much awaited Senate confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, nominated by President-elect Trump for U.S. Secretary of Education, was delayed until January 17, 2017.

The hearing was scheduled in the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, chaired by Senator Lamar Alexander, for January 11, 2017, but was changed by Senate leadership, because of other Senate business.

The New York Times Editorial Board on January 10, 2017 published an opinion piece examining the DeVos family businesses.

The Times urged the Senate to slow-down the confirmation process, which might take place before the Office of Government Ethics has had time to sort through the complicated financial dealings of her billionaire family.

Apparently the family has investments in over 250 companies, including a private company that refinances student loans.  The Times article says that these private student loan companies have been lobbying President-Elect Trump to allow them into the direct student loan market, from which they are currently banned.  Investment in these businesses sets-up a clear conflict of interest for the nominee.

The Times article also questioned DeVos’ involvement in the expansion of for-profit charter schools in Michigan and advocating for changes in law that have reduced charter school oversight in Michigan.

Here in Ohio the Ohio Education Association (OEA) announced on January 10, 2017 that it has collected nearly 8,500 signatures on petitions opposing the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education.

See “Big Worries About Betsy DeVos,” by The Editorial Board, The New York Times, January 10, 2017 at

See “Senate postpones confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education pick,” by Emma Brown, The Washington Post, January 10, 2017 at


Funding for State Charter Schools Unconstitutional in Louisiana: The Louisiana Court of Appeals issued on January 9, 2017 a decision in the case Iberville Parish School Board v. Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.  The court found that funding for 31 Type 2 charter schools is unconstitutional.  Type 2 charter schools are authorized by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) rather than a local district or parish.

The lawsuit filed by the Iberville Parish School Board, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, and other local education associations alleges that these charter schools are not “within the term parish and city school systems,” and therefore funding them is unconstitutional.

The Louisiana 19th Judicial District Court ruled against the plaintiffs in 2015, leading to the appeal. This decision is expected to be appealed to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Arizona Submits ESSA Plan: Arizona is the first state to submit its application to the U.S. Department of Education to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

According to the Arizona Department of Education’s website, “The final draft of Arizona’s Consolidated State Plan Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) incorporates the wisdom and wishes gleaned from over 20,000 unique pieces of input from thousands of Arizonans, including policymakers, educators, tribal organizations, business leaders and parents. Each comment was individually reviewed and considered to help us develop this final draft, which was submitted to Governor Doug Ducey on January 9, 2017.”

The plan leaves some details out, including what will be used to measure school quality and student success.  The state is considering using an indicator that would show how many students are participating in accelerated learning opportunities, such as 8th grade students taking algebra, or the number of students who demonstrate college and career readiness.



The State Board of Education of Ohio met on January 9, 2017 to begin its new two-year term.

Newly elected and appointed members took the oath of office, and the board elected new leadership.  Tess Elshoff was elected president, and former governor Nancy Hollister was elected vice-president.

At their next meeting in February 2017, the Board will meet under a different committee structure, announced during the January meeting.

The Accountability Committee and Urban and Rural Renewal Committee are to be merged into an Accountability and Continuous Improvement Committee.

The Capacity Committee will be renamed the Educators and Student Options Committee, and will include some of the work of the Achievement Committee.

The Achievement Committee will merge with the Standards and Graduation Requirements Committee to become the Achievement and Graduation Requirements Committee.

The work of the Legislative and Budget Committee and the Appointments Committee will be directed to the full Board.

Following the organizational meeting the State Board received a report from Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria about a workgroup formed to examine the impact of Ohio’s new graduation requirements, and make recommendations for the State Board to consider.

According to the Ohio Department of Education data, 33 percent of students in the Class of 2018 are at risk of not earning enough points on end-of-course exams to earn a diploma in 2018.  However, the ODE also noted that this data is incomplete, because it does not reflect other ways that Ohio students can earn a diploma, such as earning an industrial credential or a remediation free score in English and math on the ACT or SAT exams.

The Board also discussed a plan to set a state goal for the percent of adults earning a post-secondary credential in partnership with the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE).  The plan calls for the ODE and the ODHE to approve a joint resolution to set as a goal that 65 percent of Ohio adults will earn a post-secondary degree by 2025.

See Grad requirements:  “Class of 2018 is in trouble,” by Hannah Sparling and Jessie Balmert,, January 10, 2017 at



Ohio to Share Career Tech Grant: Ohio is among 10 states that have been awarded $20 million in grants to improve career-focused education.

The grants are part of JP Morgan Chase’s $75 million New Skills for Youth Initiative, which is designed to increase the number of students who graduate from high schools prepared for careers.

Receiving the grants are Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

The states will receive $2 million each over three years to fully implement their plans to expand and improve career education.

See “Ohio’s among 10 states that will share $20 million in grants to improve career education for high school students,” by Crain’s Cleveland Business, January 11, 2017 at


Ohio Citizens for the Arts Hires a New Director: Ohio Citizens for the Arts (OCA) announced on January 3, 2017 the selection of William Behrendt as its new Executive Director.

Mr. Behrendt is an attorney and has worked as a lobbyist at the statehouse.

He will begin working at the OCA on January 17, 2017.

Arts Turnaround Struggling Schools: The PBS News Hour on January 10, 2017 featured a story about the Turnaround Arts project created by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities and managed by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

The project uses an arts integrated curriculum to improve student achievement and motivate students to attend and do well in school.

The project began in 2012 with 8 low performing schools and has now expanded to 68 schools in 15 states and the District of Columbia.

The project is supported by private funds and foundations, and relies on nationally known artists, musicians, actors, and celebrities to work with students and teachers.

The PBS program visited the ReNEW Cultural Arts Academy in New Orleans, a school that is using the arts to help students learn math and reading.  The school, one of the lowest performing schools in the city, is now showing increased student achievement.

An evaluation of the eight original Turnaround Arts schools showed that half of the schools improved attendance and discipline.  Math achievement improved on average 22 percent, and reading 13 percent.

See “Struggling schools benefit from adding arts to learning,” by Jeffrey Brown, PBS News Hour, January 10, 2017 at

Arts On Line keeps 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

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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