ACTION ALERT Regarding Ohio’s Draft Consolidated Plan to Implement the Every Student Succeeds Act

The Ohio Alliance for Arts Education has submitted a detailed memo to the Superintendent, the members of the State Board of Education, and the Joint Education Oversight Committee with feedback and recommendations in response to the Ohio Department of Education’s draft Consolidated State Plan for ESSA. We would like your help with additional messaging.


FOR YOUR IMMEDIATE ACTION:

Request that the following recommendations proposed by the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education be included in Ohio’s Consolidated Plan to implement the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

This Action Alert should be addressed to Paolo DeMaria, Superintendent of Public Instruction.  Please see this sample letter, which can be mailed or emailed.


CONTACT:

Paolo DeMaria
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Ohio Department of Education
25 South Front Street
Columbus, OH 43215
877-644-6338

superintendent@education.ohio.gov


MESSAGE:

Request that the following recommendations be included in Ohio’s Plan to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act. (You can use this sample letter, or draft your own.)

1) ODE Leadership and Support for a Well-Rounded Education

The Ohio Department of Education (Department) should indicate throughout Ohio’s Consolidated ESSA Plan that it is taking a leadership role to encourage local education agencies (LEAs) to use federal funds to support student access to and achievement of a well-rounded education.  This includes encouraging LEAs through guidance, technical assistance, and professional development.

2) Use Data to Verify a Well-Rounded Education

To document that all students have access to a well-rounded education, Ohio’s Consolidated ESSA plan should state that the Department will annually publish data about student enrollment in all courses, including integrated courses, aligned to Ohio’s Learning Standards at each grade level for each school, each school district, and for the State.

3) A New Measure of School Quality and Student Success

Ohio’s consolidated ESSA plan should include a measure based on “The Educators in Your District” data as an indicator of School Quality and Student Success on the Report Card and in Ohio’s accountability system for schools, rather than chronic absenteeism and discipline, which is another measure of poverty.

“The Educators in Your District” measure would recognize school districts and schools that are supporting a well-rounded education and are meeting the diverse needs of students through engagement with arts and music teachers, physical education teachers, school librarians, school nurses, school social workers, school counselors, and teachers of gifted students.


BACKGROUND:

The Ohio Department of Education released in early February 2017 a draft of Ohio’s consolidated plan for implementing the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

ESSA was signed into law in December 2015, and reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

ESSA includes major sources of federal funding for State Education Agencies (SEAs) and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and policy changes that affect preK-12 education programs under Titles I-VIII.

Ohio’s Consolidated ESSA Plan includes long term goals, objectives, and strategies to implement the federal law, and requires the State and LEAs to say how the State will manage Title funds; assess academic achievement; ensure accountability; provide support for low performing schools; support excellent educators, and provide a well-rounded education for all students.

Ohio’s draft Consolidated ESSA Plan is available for public comment on the ODE web site until March 6, 2017.

 

THE FOLLOWING IS A SUMMARY – FYI – TO EXPLAIN EACH OF THE ACTION ITEMS:

1) Leadership and Support for a Well-Rounded Education

The OAAE believes that there are many opportunities for Ohio’s ESSA Plan to directly support arts education programs, and overall, we had hoped that there would be more emphasis in the consolidated plan about ESSA’s support for a well-rounded education, including the arts.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) approved in 1965 was part of President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” and above all, represented a commitment to equal access to quality education programs and the complete curriculum for all children.

ESSA supports efforts to achieve this goal by providing States and LEAs with the financial resources and policy support to make it possible for students to achieve more than standards in reading, math, and science.

Under Title VIII 8002 Definitions (52) a well-rounded education means “…courses, activities, and programming in subjects such as English, reading, or language arts, writing, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, geography, computer science, music, career and technical education, health, physical education, and any other subject, as determined by the State or local educational agency.”

Ohio’s ESSA plan first addresses support for a well-rounded education in Section 6: Well-Rounded and Supportive Education for Students, on page 93.

The OAAE recommends that the Ohio Department of Education (Department) take a leadership role throughout the consolidated plan to encourage school districts that are struggling, due to lack of adequate resources and other factors, to provide all students with an ambitious, engaging, and well-rounded curriculum as defined in the law.

Ohio’s consolidated plan should state that the Department will provide guidance, technical assistance, and professional development to support LEAs increase student access to a well-rounded education that meets students needs, and prepares them for continuing education, careers, and citizenship in the 21st Century.

As an example, the Department could provide guidance and encouragement to LEAs to do the following under ESSA:

  • Engage arts education programs to prepare students to achieve course of study objectives in the arts and improve student achievement in low performing schools (Title 1 Part A Subpart 1, Sections 1008 and 1009)
  • Engage arts education programs to improve student achievement in schools under comprehensive and targeted support (Title 1 Part A Subpart 1, Sections 1008 and 1009)
  • Engage arts-based instructional strategies to close achievement gaps among demographic subgroups of students (Title 1 Part A Subpart 1, Sections 1008 and 1009)
  • Use federal funds to support arts education programs (Title 1 Part A Subpart 1, Section 1006)
  • Create or revise district-level assessments in the arts; expand assessments to include multiple measures of learning in the arts; and ensure that learning in the arts is assessed throughout the year with formative, interim, and summative assessments. (Title I, Part B, Section 1201)

An education in and through the arts is becoming a significant factor in preparing students to be successful in the 21st Century.  That’s because courses in the arts or integrated arts experiences prepare students to use innovative and imaginative ways to solve problems, and help students hone skills in communication, critical thinking, creativity, team work, and persistence. The arts prepare students with the skills that give them an added edge in a global and competitive economy.  (See American Institutes of Research, College and Career Readiness Center, Impact of Arts Education on College and Career Readiness:  Briefing Overview.)

 

2) Use Data to Verify a Well-Rounded Education

Title IV, Part A, Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants are designed to, in part, support districts and schools to “provide all students with access to a well-rounded education” (Title IV, Part A, Section 4101).

According to the ESSA template, Ohio’s state plan should describe strategies and uses of funds, “…to ensure that all children have a significant opportunity to meet challenging State academic standards and career and technical standards, as applicable, and attain, at a minimum, a regular high school diploma.”

As one of the requirements to receive funding under this new program, districts must conduct a needs assessment to identify how they currently support a well-rounded education and the areas for improvement.

According to the draft consolidated plan, the State will support LEAs to provide equitable access to a well-rounded education and rigorous coursework in subjects identified in Title VIII Section 8002 through implementation and revision of Ohio’s Learning Standards and model curricula in nine subject areas:  English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, world languages, fine arts, technology, financial literacy and physical education.

Currently there is no published data in Ohio to document student engagement in Ohio’s Learning Standards in all subjects and at each grade level, although the data is collected through Ohio’s Education Management Information System, and has, in the past, been available upon request.  Therefore, there is no publicly accessible data to prove that all students have access to a well-rounded education based on the existence of Ohio’s Learning Standards and model curricula.

For example, when the OAAE conducted an analysis of student participation in arts courses in 2014, we found that 49 school districts (8 percent) did not report student enrollment in arts courses at all grade levels 1-12 in 2010-2013, and the number of school districts reporting grade levels without enrollment in the arts courses was increasing. (Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, draft report, Comparison of Arts Data for Traditional Public Schools

for School Years 2010-2013, by Mary Hamann, Tyler Hirokawa, and Joan Platz, April 24, 2014.)

To receive a grant under this section (Title IV, Part A, Subpart 1), LEAs must conduct a needs assessment to identify gaps within well-rounded education opportunities, safe and healthy students, and the effective use of technology, and submit a plan to the state outlining the programs and initiatives that the district will use to address these gaps.

The OAAE therefore recommends that this section be amended on page 93 (before the links to Ohio’s Learning Standards) to include the following:

To document that all students have access to a well-rounded education, Ohio’s Consolidated ESSA plan should state that the Department will annually publish data about student enrollment in all courses, including integrated courses, aligned to Ohio’s Learning Standards at each grade level for each school, each school district, and for the State.

 

3) A New Measure of School Quality and Student Success

Chronic Absenteeism and Discipline

Pages 13 and 39

The State proposes in the draft consolidated plan to determine student engagement by measuring chronic absenteeism and discipline as one of the new indicators of School Quality and Student Success in Ohio’s accountability system.  The chronic absenteeism and school discipline measure would be incorporated into the Indicators Met measure in the Achievement Component on the Report Card.

According to the draft consolidated plan, the statewide average for chronic absenteeism is 15.8 percent, and is “…most severe in Ohio’s urban districts and those that are rural with a high percentage of students in poverty.”

The chronic absenteeism rate of economically disadvantaged students is “more that two and a half times the rate of their non-disadvantaged peers,” and “disabled students have a rate that is 1.6 times the rate for non-disabled students.”

Being so highly correlated with poverty, it would seem that LEAs are already implementing strategies to increase student attendance and reduce chronic absenteeism and discipline in their efforts to improve report card ratings in academic achievement, graduation rate, and closing the achievement gap among students who are disadvantaged and students with disabilities.

The OAAE recommends that a measure of School Quality and Student Success recognize school districts and schools that are supporting a well-rounded education and are meeting the diverse needs of students, rather than including another measure of poverty in Ohio’s accountability system for schools.

For example, the “Educators in Your District” data included on the most recent Ohio report card show that school districts employ a number of educators who work to meet the academic, social, cultural, and health needs of students.  These educators include fine arts and music teachers, physical education teachers, library media specialists, school nurses, school counselors, school social workers, gifted specialists, and more.  They all contribute to increased student, educator, parent, and community engagement in the schools, and support a positive school environment and student success.

Other states are including student access to a well-rounded education as a measure of School Quality or Student Success.  Massachusetts will include as an accountability measure the percentage of students in a school district and in high school that enroll in each of the four core course areas (English, math, science and social science), at least one foreign language, and at least one arts course in a school year.  (See page 17 of the Massachusetts Consolidated Plan.)


Thank you for participating in this Action Alert. 

Please notify OAAE if you receive a response from the Superintendent’s Office.

For more information about Ohio’s draft Consolidated ESSA Plan, visit: www.education.ohio.gov.

Advertisements

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.
This entry was posted in Action Alerts and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to ACTION ALERT Regarding Ohio’s Draft Consolidated Plan to Implement the Every Student Succeeds Act

  1. Pingback: A Message from Tim Katz, Executive Director of the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education – The Official Blog of the Ohio Music Education Association

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s