Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
February 13, 2017
132nd GENERAL ASSEMBLY
This Week at the Statehouse: The Ohio House and Senate will hold hearings and sessions this week.
-The House Finance Committee, chaired by Representative Smith, will receive invited testimony about HB49 (Smith) Operating Budget, on February 14, 2017 at 9:00 AM in hearing room 313. The language of the executive budget bill was released last week, and is available at http://www.lsc.ohio.gov/budget/mainbudget.htm
-The House Education and Career Readiness Committee, chaired by Representative Brenner, will meet on February 14, 2017 at 4:30 AM in hearing room 121, and receive testimony on HB21 (Hambley) Community School Enrollment Verification, and HB37 (Arndt) School Safety-Structures.
-The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehrer, will meet on February 15, 2017 at 3:15 PM in the South Hearing Room. The committee will confirm Governor Kasich’s recent appointments to the State Board of Education: Eric Poklar, Rebecca Vazquez-Skillings, Charlotte McGuire, and Martha Manchester. The committee will also receive testimony on SB8 (Gardner & Terhar) School Infrastructure, and SB34 (Manning) Require Schools to Open After Labor Day
-The Joint Education Oversight Committee, chaired by Representative Bob Cupp, will meet on February 16, 2017 at 9:30 AM in the South hearing room. The committee will receive a presentation from Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria about Ohio’s draft plan to implement the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
-Commission Adds New Members: The Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission met on February 9, 2017. The full commission appointed Representative Jonathan Dever as co-chair to serve with the other co-chair, Senator Charleta Tavares. Representative Dever replaces former Representative Ron Amstutz, who was term-limited. The commission also appointed Senator Vernon Sykes as a member. See http://www.ocmc.ohio.gov/ocmc/home
-The Senate Transportation, Commerce, and Workforce Committee, chaired by Senator Frank LaRose, met on February 8, 2017 to receive testimony on SB3 (Beagle & Balderson) Workforce Development. The bill would revise state laws pertaining to workforce development, and includes the recommendations from Governor Kasich’s Executive Workforce Board and the Office of Workforce Transformation. The bill aligns with several initiatives in the executive budget HB49 (R. Smith) to create a pre-K to 12 workforce system to prepare Ohioans for jobs and careers.
According to Senator Beagle’s testimony, the bill would “….make education more responsive to our students, parents and employers by providing students the skills our employers are demanding. This is done by either developing connections between our business community and our schools, or by strengthening and broadening existing relationships.”
The bill includes the following provisions:
- Establishes a pre-apprenticeship pathway for career tech students
- Recognizes STEM schools in which students also engage in the arts and design by creating a STEAM designation for those schools. This provision is also included in HB49 (R. Smith) Operating Budget.
- Develops an “OhioMeansJobs-Ready Certificate” for high school students who demonstrate work-readiness.
- Promotes an annual Ohio In-Demand Jobs Week
- Authorizes the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to establish criteria to expedite the issuing of “certificates of qualification for employment”
- Updates state law to comply with requirements in the federal Workforce and Innovation Opportunity Act
- Requires the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) to collaborate on initiatives, including developing a Regional Workforce Career Counseling Collaboration model, creating professional development programs with Ohio’s business organization, and creating a strategic plan to increase project-based learning.
- SB34 (Manning) School Years: To generally require public and chartered nonpublic schools to open for instruction after Labor Day.
- HB37 (Arndt) School Safety-Structures: To require the Ohio School Facilities Commission to establish a program assisting school districts in purchasing technology and making physical alterations to improve technology infrastructure and school safety and security.
- HB47 (Boccieri) Students in Military: To enact the “Students to Soldiers Support Act (S3A)” regarding the participation of students who are serving in the uniformed services in extracurricular activities at public and nonpublic schools and public and private colleges.
- HB49 (R. Smith) Operating Budget: Creates FY 2018-2019 main operating budget.
- SB39 (Schiavoni) Community School Operation: Regarding community school operator contracts, the operation of Internet- and computer-based community schools, and performance metrics for blended learning schools.
HB49 (Smith) OPERATING BUDGET for FY18-FY19
More Details Available About the Executive Budget for K-12 Education: The statutory language for Governor Kasich’s executive budget was introduced last week as HB49 (Smith) Operating Budget. The bill is over 3,000 pages and makes changes in many sections of the Ohio Revised Code relating to primary and secondary education. Several education provisions are also included in temporary law, including the funding formulas.
A more detailed analysis of HB49 will be forthcoming, including a summary of the proposed policy changes in Chapter 33 of the Ohio Revised Code. In the meantime the following news articles, reports, and summary of hearings provide more details about the K-12 components included in the executive budget.
Some School Districts will Lose More State Aid: Following the hearings held last week, it became apparent that even more school districts would be losing state aid through the executive budget. Jim Siegel at The Columbus Dispatch reported on February 10, 2017 that the spreadsheets released two weeks ago from the Office of Budget and Management, which show how school districts would fare under the executive budget scenario, didn’t include the phase-out of the tangible personal property tax (TPP) reimbursements, which would affect about 158 school districts.
Lawmakers began the phase-out of Tangible Personal Property Tax in 2005. The unpopular tax was assessed on business equipment, inventory, and furniture.
The TPP tax raised $1.65 billion for school districts and local governments at that time, and so lawmakers agreed to phase-out the tax, and provide reimbursements to cushion the revenue loss. But a phaseout of the reimbursements began in 2012, and will end in FY19.
According to an analysis of the governor’s school funding plan by Howard Fleeter, an economist at the Ohio Educational Policy Institute, 390 school districts would receive less state aid over the biennium when the phase-out of the TPP reimbursements are factored into the state aid calculation. This is 44 more school districts losing state aid than first reported, and represents a reduction of $105.8 million in funds for school districts.
Even school districts that would receive more state aid through the formula, such as Columbus City Schools, will receive less of an increase, because of the TPP reimbursement phaseout. The original spreadsheets show that Columbus would have received $32.6 million in state aid, but after adjusting for the TPP payment phaseout, the district would receive an increase of $21.5 million.
See “New data show more districts losing” by Jim Siegel, The Columbus Dispatch, February 10, 2017 at http://www.dispatch.com/news/20170209/new-data-show-even-more-districts-would-lose-under-kasichs-school-funding-plan
See “Analysis of the Governor’s FY18-19 School Funding Formula” by Dr. Howard Fleeter from the Educational Policy Center, February 10, 2017, at http://www.oasbo-ohio.org/advocacy/state-budget-school-funding
IO Budget Analyses: Stephen Dyer at Innovation Ohio, has prepared two analyses of Governor Kasich’s K-12 school funding proposal in HB49 (R. Smith) Operating Budget.
The first analysis examines the reported $200 million increase for primary and secondary education in the executive budget.
According to the analysis, the $200 million increase in Foundation Funding (GRF-200-550) is offset by $227 million in cuts from other areas of the education budget and increases in state funding for private schools and charter schools.
The executive budget would reduce state funding for transportation by $73 million; tangible personal property tax reimbursements by $81 million; special education enhancements by $5 million; career technical enhancements by $2 million; commodity foods by $3 million; and the tangible personal property tax supplement by $44 million.
The executive budget would also increase state funding for EdChoice Expansion by $16 million. This program provides vouchers for students to attend private schools, causing traditional public schools to lose state per pupil funding for those students. The budget also increases public funds for charter school facilities by $800,000.
See “IO: On the Budget: About that $200 Million for Schools…” by Stephen Dyer, Innovation Ohio, February 2, 2017 at http://innovationohio.org/2017/02/02/io-on-the-budget-about-that-200-million-for-schools/
The second analysis examines how Governor Kasich’s budget plan will continue to erode the state’s share of education spending.
The analysis notes that, “Since Governor Kasich took office, the local-state funding disparity has grown after years of shrinking and was even wiped out the year before he took office.”
In 2015-16, for example, the local share was about 52 percent of education spending, while the state share was 48 percent.
The analysis reports that 337 school districts will have less state aid if the executive budget is approved. This includes 83 percent of poor and rural school districts in Ohio. These districts, on average, can raise less tax revenue per one mill of property tax than the 270 school districts that will receive flat funding or more state aid through the proposed school funding plan.
Please note that this IO analysis was published before the reduction in tangible personal property tax reimbursements and their impact on state aid was reported for school districts.
According to the analysis, “Governor Kasich’s proposed budget continues to exacerbate the unconstitutional nature of our state’s funding system and we don’t know the full potential cost to kids in our local school districts.”
See “Innovation Ohio: On the Budget: “Five Questions About Kasich’s School Funding Proposal,” by Stephen Dyer, Innovation Ohio, February 6, 2017 at
Another Residual Budget for Education: The Akron Beacon Journal (ABJ) also weighed in last week on Governor Kasich’s proposed budget for education calling it “residual budgeting,” rather than based on “calculating the amount necessary to ensure that students receive an adequate education.”
The ABJ editorial board described how, “The detail of the plan shows small, rural districts with high and average rates of poverty facing sharp reductions. At the same time, wealthy suburban districts would enjoy increased state funding levels.”
The state is facing a revenue shortfall this fiscal year, which some trace to tax cuts of over $3 billion included in past operating budgets. The state revenue shortfall makes it unlikely that there will be additional revenue to increase state funding for schools to adjust for inflation, or to bring them back to 2010 funding levels.
The ABJ goes on to predict that eventually through the legislative process adjustments will be made to the formula to hold school districts harmless by applying a cap on spending increases for other districts to “ensure that budget ends meet.”
And, after two decades since the Ohio Supreme Court first ruled in the DeRolph case, “…this budget process reveals, once more, how much work remains to repair the inequities and inadequacies of the system.”
See “OUR OPINION: Same school funding or the triumph of residual budgeting again,” Akron Beacon Journal, February 12, 2017 http://www.ohio.com/editorial/editorials/same-school-funding-or-the-triumph-of-residual-budgeting-again-1.746832
More Testimony and Questions About HB49: Both Tim Keen, director of the Office of Budget and Management, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria, testified last week before the House Finance Committee, chaired by Representative Ryan Smith, about the education policy changes included in the executive budget.
Some lawmakers are questioning the efficacy of the school funding formula, which seems to be reducing state aid for small school districts with limited capacity and lower than average per pupil spending. Chairman Ryan Smith echoed these concerns in his questions to Director Keen, when he noted that many of the small school districts that will lose state aid in the executive budget do not have huge surplus budgets and are already “under-resourced.”
According to Director Keen, the formula is doing what it should do — directing more state aid to school districts in which ADM (average daily membership) is steady or increasing, and the capacity of the school district to raise local revenue is low, as determined by the state share index, which is based on property valuation and the income level of the school districts residents.
The proposed school funding formula generally guarantees that school districts will receive the same amount of state aid in FY18 and FY19 as they did in FY17, except for those districts that have a 5 percent or more reduction in student ADM between 2011-2016. State aid for those districts will be reduced up to a maximum of 5 percent.
Director Keen referred to an analysis of the distribution of formula funds to school districts organized by quintiles based on school district capacity. The districts in the two lowest quintiles with the lowest capacity received a greater percent of state aid increases than districts with the highest capacity based on the formula.
But during the hearing, lawmakers questioned the reasoning behind adding declining student enrollment to the formula components, when it is so difficult to significantly cut school costs when a few students leave each year.
They also questioned the impact of the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) formula on school district valuation. Even though agricultural property has increased based on CAUV, Representative John Patterson told Director Keen that the school districts in his legislative district were not benefitting financially from higher farm property values, which now make these school districts look wealthier in the formula. He would like to see the state rewrite the CAUV formula in the budget, and use different factors to determine the value of farm property.
In addition to declining enrollment and CAUV, lawmakers identified some other policy decisions included in the proposed school funding plan that lower state aid to schools. The amount that school districts receive in state aid could be offset by their gain cap, which will be reduced from 7.5 percent to 5 percent in the executive budget. There is also a reduction in the minimum state share for pupil transportation from 50 percent in FY17 to 37 percent in FY18, and 25 percent in FY19. And, there is no increase in the per pupil amount in either fiscal year.
Representative Nickie Antonio asked Director Keen what she should say to her constituents, who work hard to pass levies for their schools, while the state income tax continues to be cut, transferring more responsibility for funding to the local districts.
Representative John Patterson asked about funding for charter schools that have not been able to document student participation in required learning activities.
Representative Mike Duffey asked about using another indicator for poverty in the formula. Last year the Columbus City Schools lost $7.1 million more to charter schools, after the district made all students eligible for the federal free and reduced price lunch program. The student participation rate in the federal program is used by the state as the poverty indicator in the school funding formula, and so more poverty funding was directed to students in the district, including those Columbus students who attended charter schools. Columbus City Schools, however, did not receive the total amount of increase in state aid as determined by the formula, because of the 7.5 percent gain cap. Nevertheless the total amount of state aid plus poverty aid was transferred to charter schools, which were not subject to the gain cap.
Director Keen told Representative Duffey that there wasn’t time to include a new poverty indicator in this budget, but that he agreed that student participation in the federal free and reduced price lunch program is not the “optimal” measure for poverty.
See The Ohio Channel, House Finance Committee meeting on February 7, 2017 archive at https://www.ohiochannel.org/?0
See Director Keen’s testimony at www.ohiohouse.gov/committee
Superintendent Provides More Budget Details: Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria provided more details about certain education provisions included in HB49 (R. Smith) Operating Budget during testimony before the House Finance Committee on February 7, 2017.
He also described the ODE’s intent to ‘’streamline’’ standardized testing in an answer to a question from Representative Keith Faber. The number of required tests, that are sometimes used to rate teachers as well as students, was a concern expressed by stakeholders at statewide meetings held last fall to gather input about what should be included in Ohio’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan. The Superintendent told the committee that he hopes to make “meaningful modifications” to the state assessment system, which would probably require a change in state law. While ESSA requires tests at certain grade levels in English, math, and science, Ohio law requires students to take tests in social studies, American history and government, and more English and math tests than are required by the federal law.
The following education provisions were also highlighted in his testimony:
Early Childhood Education: Ohio has increased funding for Early Childhood Education over the past two budgets, providing more than 18,000 seats for disadvantaged children. The executive budget allocates $70.2 million in each fiscal year to expand available seats.
The executive budget includes $195 million each year for early learning and developmental programs. This includes $70 million each year for children in poverty, and $110 million each year to fund pre-school special education services. Funding is also included in the budget of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to support early learning opportunities.
Temporary law also authorizes the ODE to establish the Early Childhood Education Parent Choice Demonstration Pilot Program to deliver early childhood education to eligible children, based on one or more parent choice models.
Every Student Succeeds Act Draft: According to the testimony, Ohio’s ESSA plan is based on the results of “15 months of consultation and collaboration” with more than 15,000 Ohioans. The goals include “…raise proficiency in core subjects, increase graduation rates, and reduce chronic absenteeism”. The key components include strengthening and clarifying Ohio’s academic content standards; bringing stability to assessments and reducing the number of tests; improving the report card; and defining the meaning of the A-F grade levels.
The draft ESSA plan provides flexibility for schools to participate in the Ohio Improvement Process (OIP) to improve the academic achievement of students with the support of Educational Service Center personnel and State Support Teams. In addition, the ODE will create the Evidence-Based Clearinghouse (GRF 200424 Policy Analysis) and the Peer to Peer Improvement Network.
To support these initiatives, $12 million in each year will be available under Foundation Funding (GRF 200550).
Connecting Students to Careers: The executive budget reduces funding for GRF 200545 Career-Technical Education Enhancements by about $1.05 million over the biennium. The FY18 appropriation is $10.6 million, and the FY19 appropriation is $9.7 million.
The budget continues funding for the Career Connections Program (GRF 200545 Career Technical Education) at $1 million in each fiscal year. According to the testimony the ODE has been working with other state agencies to identify new career pathways for students to prepare for “in demand” jobs; create resources that support career exploration in the classroom; create articulation agreements with higher education institutions to ensure that students in career programs can also earn college credit; and find ways for the business community to be directly involved in work-based learning opportunities, including internships and apprenticeships.
The budget also includes $10 million in each fiscal year for the Community Connectors Program (7017 200629), which provides mentors to students in grades 5-12 in low-performing high-poverty schools, and is funded through the State Lottery Fund Group.
College Credit Plus (CCP): The budget includes a number of changes in law to better support Ohio students who are earning college and high school credits at the same time through the College Credit Plus Program.
After holding discussions with stakeholders about some challenging aspects of the program, the following changes are included in the executive budget:
- The cost to high schools for textbooks will be limited to $10 per credit hour, or an negotiated cost with the college
- CCP participation will be limited to students who demonstrate college readiness, such as scoring remediation-free on a college entrance exam
- Standards will be set for courses funded through CCP
- Students who under-perform will need to meet certain requirements to remain in the program
- Institutions of higher education will no longer be able to negotiate per credit hour funding below the established floor.
Adult Education Programs: Superintendent DeMaria explained that the executive budget continues efforts to “close the diploma gap” by consolidating funding for three adult education programs into GRF 200572 Adult Education Programs. This line item include $7.6 million in FY18 and $8.8 million in FY19 for an increase of $2.6 million in FY18 and $1.2 million in FY19.
These funds support agencies participating in the Adult Diploma Pilot Program and payments to career-technical planning districts to reimbursed the application fee for students taking a high school equivalency examination for the first time.
Support for Educators: According to the testimony, the Educator Standards Board is preparing recommendations to revise the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) “…to focus more on driving professional growth and improvement rather than judging teacher performance.” Working with the governor and lawmakers, these recommendations, and those for supporting principals, would be added to the budget bill.
The budget also includes $2 million in each fiscal year for Teach for America (GRF 200597 Education Program Support) and $2 million in each fiscal year for the BRIGHT New Leaders (GRF 550), which is a principal training program.
Language in the budget bill would also create two new career-technical educator licenses, placing greater emphasis on work experience.
School Choice: The executive budget would expand the EdChoice Scholarship program, the Cleveland Scholarship program, the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship, and the Autism Scholarship program.
GRF 200573 EdChoice Expansion allocates $38.4 million in FY18 and $47.7 million in FY19, and increases the EdChoice program by $6.9 in FY18 and $9.3 million in FY19. This program provides scholarships to eligible students to attend private schools pursuant to Section 3310.032 of the Revised Code. Eligibility for the EdChoice expansion program will be extended to 4th grade in FY18 and 5th grade in FY19.
GRF 200455 Community Schools and Choice Programs allocates $4.6 million in FY18 and $4.68 million in FY19, and increases this program by $791,681 in FY18 (20.76 percent) and $80,109 in FY19 (1.74 percent). The appropriation supports training for community schools, current sponsors, and prospective sponsors, and implementation of 131-HB2, which increased accountability requirements for charter schools.
GRF 200550 Foundation Funding provides support for several school choice initiatives:
- $28.6 million in FY18 and up to $26.4 million in FY19 would be used to support school choice programs.
- The Cleveland Municipal School District would receive up to $15.4 million in FY18 and $17.6 million in FY19 to operate the school choice program in the Cleveland Municipal School District under sections 3313.974 to 3313.979 of the Revised Code. The district would also receive up to $1 million in each fiscal year to provide tutorial assistance.
- Up to $1.5 million in each fiscal year may be used for payment of the College Credit Plus Program for students instructed at home pursuant to section 3321.04 of the Revised Code.
- A portion of Foundation Funding is allocated to pay college-preparatory boarding schools the per pupil boarding amount pursuant to section 3328.34 of the Revised Code.
- A portion of Foundation Funding in each fiscal year is allocated to pay community schools and STEM schools the amounts calculated for the graduation and third-grade reading bonuses under sections 3314.085 and 3326.41 of the Revised Code.
State Lottery Fund Group: 7017 200684 Community School Facilities allocates $18 million in each fiscal year for charter school and STEM school facilities. This is an increase of $800,000 from FY17 levels. The schools will receive an amount equal to $25 in each fiscal year for each full-time equivalent pupil attending an internet- or computer-based community school, and $200 in each fiscal year for each for full-time equivalent pupil in all other community or STEM schools.
The budget also creates a special designation for STEAM schools, which are STEM schools that also emphasize student achievement in art and design.
Updating Data and Services: To support improvements and increase staff, the executive budget increases funding for GRF 200446 Education Management Information System to $8.09 million in FY18 and $8.1 million in FY19, and increase of $1 million in FY18 and $46,748 in FY19.
There is also an increase in the budget for GRF 200439 Accountability Report Cards. The budget allocates $6.98 million in FY8 and $7.0 million in FY19, which is an increase of $2 million in FY18 and $43,179 in FY19, to support the preparation and distribution of school report cards, funding and expenditure accountability reports, the development and maintenance of teacher value-added reports, the teacher student linkage/roster verification process, and the performance management section of the Department’s web site.
New Office of Innovation: The budget includes $750,000 in each fiscal year for a new Office of Innovation (GRF 200471). This office would support innovative programs such as STEM, personalized learning initiatives, and the Competency-Based Education pilot project, which was included in the last biennial budget. Five locations are working on plans to support student advancement by demonstrating competency rather than completing seat time.
Section 265.340 Straight A Fund: The executive budget recommends in temporary law $15 million in each fiscal year for the Straight A Fund, which will be supported by the State Lottery Fund Group 7017 200648. This fund was created in the FY14-15 biennial budget to support schools with creative ideas to improve education. Through the fund $280 million has been distributed over the past four years to more than 500 schools and ESCs around Ohio.
The executive budget also includes changes to the program to allow the Straight A Governing Board to award a new replication grant in addition to the original innovation grants. This new grant would be used to replicate previous projects considered worthy of imitation.
See The Ohio Channel, House Finance Committee meeting on February 7, 2017 archive at https://www.ohiochannel.org/?0
See Superintendent DeMaria’s testimony at www.ohiohouse.gov/committee
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
The State Board of Education, Tess Elshoff president, will meet on February 13 and 14, 2017 at the Ohio Department of Education, 25 S. Front Street, Columbus.
The State Board will welcome a new member, Lauren Kohler, appointed by Governor Kasich on February 10, 2017 to replace C. Todd Jones. Ms. Kohler is a real estate agent and the former president of the New Albany-Plain Local Board of Education. Her term ends on December 31, 2020.
On February 13, 2017 at 8:00 AM the State Board will hold a Chapter 119 Hearing on two rules:
- OAC 3301-40-01 to -03, -05, -06: Rules on Nonpublic Schools Administrative Cost Reimbursement
- OAC 3301-51-15: Operating Standards for Identifying and Serving Gifted Students
Following the hearing, the Executive Committee, Educator and Student Options Committee, and Accountability and Continuous Improvement Committee will meet.
The State Board’s business meeting will follow. The State Board will review Ohio’s draft plan to implement the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, and following lunch, receive a report from Superintendent Paolo DeMaria and staff on HB49 (R. Smith) Operating Budget.
On February 14, 2017, the State Board’s Achievement and Graduation Requirements Committee will meet at 8:30 AM and receive updates about assessments and the status of the social studies, science, and financial literacy academic standards revision process.
The committee will also vote on a recommendation that the full board endorse a statewide post-secondary attainment goal, which states that 65 percent of Ohio’s working age adults will hold a post-secondary degree or credential by 2025. In 2014 about 43 percent of Ohioans had earned a post-secondary degree or credential. This goal will also be endorsed by the Board of Regents and the Governor’s Executive Workforce Board.
The State Board will then reconvene its business meeting; receive committee reports; receive public participation on the voting agenda; take action on the Report and Recommendations of the Superintendent of Public Instruction; receive public participation on non-agenda items; and adjourn.
In addition to personnel items, the following resolutions will be considered by the State Board at the February 2017 meeting:
#5 A Resolution to Confirm and Approve the Recommendation of the Hearing Officer and to Approve the Transfer of School District Territory from the East Homes Local School District, Holmes County, to the Garaway Local School District Tuscarawas County, Pursuant to Section 3311.24 of the Ohio Revised Code.
#17 A Resolution to Appoint a Member of the State Library Board.
#18 A Resolution to Adopt Academic Content Standards in Math and English Language Arts.
#19 A Resolution to Grant or Deny a Student’s Right to Participate in the College Credit Plus Program Pursuant to R.C.3365.03(A)(1)(A).
See the February 2017 Meeting Materials at http://education.ohio.gov/State-Board/State-Board-Meetings/State-Board-Meetings-for-2017
Betsy DeVos Confirmed: The U.S. Senate approved President Trump’s nominee Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education on February 7, 2017. The vote was 51 to 50, after Vice President Mike Pence cast an historic vote to break a 50-50 tie.
The controversial nominee and hearing process has sharply divided the public, with advocates for school privatization and charter schools supporting the appointment, and advocates for traditional community-based public schools and students’ rights groups, including students with disabilities, opposing the appointment. There are also opponents who see the new secretary as completely unqualified to head a federal agency, and those that have raised ethical issues about her personal finances and past campaign contributions.
The next few weeks will tell us more about how Secretary DeVos will make her mark on the U.S. Department of Education. During the campaign President Trump supported eliminating the Common Core State Standards, but the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) authorizes states to make decisions about standards, and prohibits the U.S. Secretary of Education from mandating any particular type of standard. The Common Core Standards are currently being implemented in 37 states.
President Trump also advocated for a $20 billion voucher program. According to Education Week, two Republican Senators, Deb Fischer from Nebraska and Jerry Moran from Kansas, have already objected to the proposed voucher program. Assuming that all Democrats voted against the proposal, their votes would be needed in the Senate, which requires 60 votes to pass legislation.
See “The DeVos confirmation vote suggests Trump will have a tough time passing a school voucher law,” by Mona Vakilifathi, The Washington Post, February 8, 2017 at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/02/08/the-devos-confirmation-vote-suggests-trump-will-have-a-tough-time-passing-a-school-voucher-law/?utm_term=.c991d431e524
See “U.S. Senate Continues Marathon Debate on Betsy DeVos’ Nomination,” by Alyson Klein, Education Week, February 6, 2017 at http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2017/02/us_senate_kicks_off_24_hour_de.html
See “Trump Will Repeal Common Core, Says Kellyanne Conway (He Can’t),” by Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week, February 8, 2017 at http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2017/02/trump_will_repeal_common_core_kellyanne_conway.html
House Votes to Overturn ESSA Rules: The U.S. House of Representatives approved on February 7, 2017 resolutions to overturn rules developed by the U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE) under President Obama’s administration to implement accountability and teacher preparation provisions under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Similar resolutions in the U.S. Senate are pending.
The House used the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to overturn executive regulations, but stipulates that Congress cannot turn around and issue “substantially similar” regulations.
The accountability rules address provisions in the law about school ratings, struggling schools, test participation, and indicators of school quality beyond test scores.
The accountability rules were finalized in November 2016, after stakeholders had complained about them when they were first released in May 2016. The revised rules provided states with more flexibility, and extended the timeline for states to submit their ESSA plans to the U.S. DOE for approval.
The teacher preparation plans were finalized in October and require more transparency so that prospective teachers have access to information to select the right teaching program; school districts have access to the best trained professionals; and preparation programs receive feedback about their graduates’ experiences in schools to refine their programs.
Many Republican lawmakers opposed the rules, which they believe empower the U.S. DOE in ways not authorized by the law.
According to Education Week, on February 10, 2017 U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos notified state chief academic officers that the U.S.DOE intends to follow the current timeline for states to submit their ESSA plans for approval. Those dates are April 3, 2017 and September 18, 2017.
The letter also states that the U.S.DOE is reviewing the template that states will use to submit their state ESSA plans to make sure that states are not being asked to submit information that is not necessary. A new template might be issued in mid March, or states might be able to create their own template.
See “House Votes to Overturn ESSA Accountability, Teacher-Prep Rules,” by Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week, February 7, 2017 at http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2017/02/house_votes_overturn_essa_accountability_teacher_rules.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=campaignk-12.
See “Betsy DeVos to State Chiefs: Full Speed Ahead on the Every Student Succeeds Act,” by Alyson Klein, Education Week, February 10, 2017 at http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2017/02/betsy_devos_to_state_chiefs_ESSA_full_speed_ahead.html
See the final Teacher Preparation Rules at https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/education-department-releases-final-teacher-preparation-regulations
Webinar to Discuss the Arts and ESSA Plans: Grantmakers in the Arts is hosting a webinar on February 28, 2017 at 1:00 PM EST entitled Implementing ESSA in Your State and Local Community.
The webinar will explore questions about the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act and arts education policy under the Trump administration, and how organizations can advocate for the arts at the local level.
The webinar will be led by Alex Nock from Penn Hill Group. Mr. Nock has 25 years of experience in federal education, and previously served as Democratic deputy staff director for the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor.
The webinar is free for GIA member organizations, and $35 for nonmembers.
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 (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).