Arts on Line Education Update February 13, 2017

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
February 13, 2017
Joan Platz

 

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).

Legislative Update:

-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.

See http://ohiosenate.gov/committee/transportation-commerce-and-workforce#

Bills Introduced

  • 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

http://ncee.org/2017/01/choice-vouchers-and-the-trump-education-agenda/

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

NATIONAL NEWS

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

See the final Accountability Rules at https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/education-department-releases-final-regulations-promote-high-quality-well-rounded-education-and-support-all-students

FYI ARTS

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.

See http://www.giarts.org/webinar/2017/implementing-every-student-succeeds-act


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).

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Arts on Line Education Update February 6, 2017

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
Joan Platz
February 6, 2017 

132nd GENERAL ASSEMBLY

This Week at the Statehouse:  The House and Senate will hold committee meetings this week, and the Senate has scheduled a session.

The House Finance Committee, chaired by Representative Smith, will meet on February 7, 8, and 9, 2017 to receive testimony about the education, Medicaid, and tax provisions in the proposed FY18-19 state operating budget, and the Transportation and Public Safety Budget (HB26 – McColley).  Governor Kasich introduced the executive biennial budget proposal on January 30, 2017 at a press conference in Columbus, but the budget bill, which is generally hundreds of pages long, has not been introduced yet.

Information about the House hearings, including testimony and video, is available at http://www.ohiohouse.gov/committee/finance.

Bills Introduced: House and Senate lawmakers were busy last week introducing the first bills of the 132nd Ohio General Assembly.

The bills cover topics such as drug trafficking and possession, environmental protections, workforce development, human trafficking, income tax deductions, school infrastructure and technology, elections, the death penalty, minimum wages and overtime, college and university requirements, the local government fund, the courts, banking law, casinos, and more.

Of note for education stakeholders are several education related bills, including SB3 (Beagle, Balderson) – Workforce Development, which would allow school districts to offer workforce development programs and offer certificates of qualification for employment.

SB5 (Hottinger, Eklund) – Increasing Income Tax Deduction, would increase the maximum income tax deduction for contributions to college savings accounts and disability expense savings accounts for each beneficiary, and creates the Joint Committee on Ohio College Affordability.

SB8 (Gardner, Terhar) – School Infrastructure and Technology, would 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.  Senator Gardner has introduced this bill before.

And in the Ohio House, HB21 (Hambley) – Community School Enrollment Verification, would revise the process used to verify charter school enrollment.  The bill would require the governing authority of community schools, rather than school district boards of education, to verify the home school districts of students attending charter schools, and notify the Ohio Department of Education and the residential school district about that verification.

House Committee Members Announced: Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger announced last week the members of the House standing committees for 2017.

The Education and Career Readiness Committee will meet on Tuesdays at 4:30 PM in Room 121. Representative Andy Brenner (R) will be chair, and Representative Marilyn Slaby (R) will serve as vice chair.

The Republican committee members include Representatives Jim Butler, Bob Cupp, Teresa Gavarone, Steve Hambley, Michael Henne, Ron Hood, Steve Huffman, Kyle Koehler, Nathan Manning, Ryan Smith, and Dick Stein

The Democratic members include Representatives Teresa Fedor, Catherine Ingram, Greta Johnson, John Patterson, Dan Ramos, and Kent Smith

The House Finance Committee will meet in Room 313. Representative Ryan Smith (R) will serve as chair and Representative Scott Ryan (R) as vice chair.

The Republican members of the committee include Representatives Marlene Anielski, Steven Arndt, Louis Blessing, Jim Butler, Bob Cupp, Mike Duffey, Keith Faber, Anne Gonzales, Doug Green, Sarah LaTourette, Scott Lipps, Rob McColley, Tom Patton, Rick Perales, Bill Reineke, Mark Romanchuk, Gary Scherer, Kirk Schuring, Robert Sprague, and Andy Thompson

The Democratic members of the committee include Representatives Jack Cera, Nickie Antonio, Brigid Kelly, Adam Miller, Michael O’Brien, John Patterson, Dan Ramos, Alicia Reece, John Rogers, and Emilia Sykes

The Higher Education Subcommittee will be chaired by Representative Rick Perales (R).  Other members include Representatives Marlene Anielski (R), Mike Duffey (R), Dan Ramos (D), and Nickie Antonio (D).

The Primary & Secondary Education Subcommittee will be chaired by Representative Bob Cupp (R), and also include Representatives Louis Blessing (R), Bill Reineke (R), Adam Miller (D), and John Patterson (D).

The Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee will be chaired by Representative Mike Duffey (R) and Representative Niraj Antani (R) will serve as vice chair.

The Republican members include Representatives Jay Edwards, Teresa Gavarone, Wes Goodman, Rick Perales, Craig Riedel, Mark Romanchuk, and Paul Zeltwanger.

The Democratic members include Representatives Martin Sweeney, Kathleen Clyde, Catherine Ingram, and Kent Smith.

The House Ways and Means Committee will meet on Tuesdays at 9:00 AM in Room 121.  Representative Tim Schaffer (R) will serve as chair, and Representative Gary Scherer (R) as vice chair.

The Republican members include Representatives John Becker, Louis Blessing, Wes Goodman, Doug Green, Steve Hambley, Michael Henne, Larry Householder, Derek Merrin, Bill Reineke, Wes Retherford, Craig Riedel, and Scott Ryan.

The Democratic members include Representatives John Rogers, John E. Barnes, Jr., Janine Boyd, Jack Cera, Teresa Fedor, Dan Ramos, and Emilia Sykes

Senate Announced Committees and Memberships: Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof released last week the Senate standing committees and membership lists:

The Senate Education Committee will continue to be chaired by Senator Peggy Lehner and Senator Matt Huffman will service as vice chair.

The Republican members of the committee include Senators Bill Coley, Randy Gardner, Cliff Hite, Gayle Manning, Louis Terhar, and Steve Wilson.

The Democratic members include Senators Vernon Sykes, Cecil Thomas, and Kenny Yuko.

The Senate Finance Committee will be chaired by Senator Scott Oelslager (R) and Senator Gayle Manning (R) will serve as vice chair.

The Republican members of the committee include Senators Kevin Bacon, Troy Balderson, Bill Beagle, Dave Burke, Bill Coley, Matt Dolan, John Eklund, and Peggy Lehner.

The Democratic members of the committee include Senators Mike Skindell, Vernon Sykes, and Charleta Tavares.

The Senate Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education will include Senators Randy Gardner (R) chair, Kevin Bacon (R), Matt Dolan (R), Stephanie Kunze (R), Steve Wilson (R), Sandra WilliamBis (D), and Cecil Thomas (D).

The Senate Finance Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education will include Senators Cliff Hite (R) chair, Troy Balderson (R), Matt Huffman (R), Peggy Lehner (R), Gayle Manning (R), Vern Sykes (D), and Kenny Yuko (D).

BIENNIAL BUDGET 

The state’s operating budget is introduced in the Ohio House every two years, and must be approved by the Ohio House and Senate and signed into law by the end of this fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2017.  The operating budget is the largest spending plan for the state, but lawmakers will also be considering for approval budgets for Ohio Department of Transportation – Public Safety (HB26 –  McColley) and the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

Governor Kasich’s final executive budget for FY18-19 includes some sales tax and severance tax provisions, which lawmakers excluded from previous executive budgets, and more cuts in the state income tax.

The governor held a news conference at the Riffe Center to introduce the budget on January 30, 2017, but an actual bill is not expected until this week.  The governor provided opening remarks, saying the budget is based on priorities that will make state government “leaner, more efficient and more responsive to the needs of Ohioans,” and supports the following:

-fiscal discipline

-a job-friendly business climate

-world-class preparation for careers and college

-technology for the 21st Century

-a leadership role in the transportation industry

-health care transformation

-the fight against drug abuse

-replacing the tax on managed care organizations (MCO)

-a tax system that supports job creators

All Funds Budget:  The proposed FY18 budget includes appropriations of $71.5 billion in All Funds, which is an increase of 4.4 percent over FY17 levels, and $72.8 billion in FY19, which is an increase of 1.8 percent over FY18 levels for the All Funds budget.

General Revenue Fund Budget:  The General Revenue Fund (GRF) budget for FY18 includes appropriations of $33.1 billion, which is a 5.6 percent decrease from FY17 estimates, and $33.8 billion in FY19, which is a 2.2 percent increase from FY18 levels.  For the biennium, the GRF totals $66.9 billion.

New Policies:  In terms of policies, the proposed biennial budget would provide a 17 percent cut in the state’s income tax ($3.1 billion over two years), and reduce the number of income tax brackets from 9 to 5.  The top income bracket would be under five percent.

The budget also expands tax exemptions for those earning less than $80,000 a year, and would eliminate state income tax payments for some 360,000 individuals.

Some taxes would increase to offset the income tax loss.  The state’s sales tax would increase to 6.25 percent and the tax would be applied to more items, including cable TV, elective cosmetic surgery, interior design and decorating, travel packages and tours, and lobbying.

Taxes would increase on cigarettes, vaping products, and alcoholic beverages, and the severance tax on oil and gas production from fracking would also increase.  Republican lawmakers have turned down Governor Kasich’s previous budget requests to increase the fracking severance tax or expand the sales tax base.

Ohio Department of Education: The budget proposal also includes some K-12 initiatives and increases education spending by $280 million over two years.

The General Revenue Fund for K-12 education would total $8.05 billion in FY18 and $8.19 billion in FY19, compared to $7.90 billion in FY17.

The per pupil amount would stay at $6000 in both years, and increases in state funding for school districts, referred to as the gain cap, would be capped at 5 percent each year, rather than the current level of 7.5 percent.

In an effort to eliminate the funding guarantee (transitional aid), the governor is proposing a new policy to reduce funding for school districts that have lost student enrollment between 2011-2016.

School districts that have experienced an over five percent decline in enrollment since FY2011 would lose one percent in funding for every percentage point drop in enrollment, capped at five percent. Statewide K-12 enrollment has dropped 2.9 percent between FY11-16.

The Office of Budget and Management published last Friday spreadsheets showing proposed funding levels for school districts under the new policies included in the governor’s budget proposal.

About 346 school districts (out of a total 610 school districts) would receive less state aid than in FY17, while 256 districts would receive increases in aid in FY18.  Eight districts would be flat funded in FY18.

In FY19, 309 districts would receive flat funding; 46 would receive decreases in state aid, and 255 would receive increases.

According to the OBM simulation document, “These reductions are due to the combination of the many factors that make up the calculation of the foundation funding formula such as changes in school districts’ student population, property valuation, income, as well as the new transitional aid proposal.”

However, the OBM also summarized the status of state aid distribution to school districts as a result of the new proposed policy to reduce funding for school districts with declining enrollment over five percent between 2011-16.  In FY18 about 322 school districts would lose state aid, while in FY19 233 school districts would lose state aid, based on declining enrollment.

Here are some of the other provisions that would affect K-12 education:

  • Removes some provisions from the school funding guarantee, referred to as transitional aid, including bonuses for third grade reading proficiency and graduation, but moves funding for capacity and transportation under the five percent funding cap.
  • Reduces the minimum state share for transportation funding to 37 percent in FY18 and 25 percent in FY19.  Currently the state minimum is 50 percent and directs state aid to school districts regardless of their transportation needs or capacity.  According to the OBM, by reducing the minimum state share, the state can direct additional transportation funds to school districts that need more assistance.  State school transportation funding will drop, however, to $529 million over the biennium.
  • Strengthens ties between teachers and the business community through business externships for teachers renewing licenses or continuing their education.
  • Requires superintendents to appoint three nonvoting business owners to boards of education.
  • Allocates $30 million for the Straight A Fund grant program, $15 million in both fiscal years.
  • Allocates $20 million for the Community Connectors mentoring grants program.
  • Recognizes Western Governor’s University in Utah as an Ohio institution of higher education to provide online instruction.
  • Allows community colleges the ability to award a four-year bachelor’s degree.
  • Designates libraries as continuing learning centers to provide workforce resources, but reduces state funding for libraries.
  • Provides credit flexibility for students for work experience.
  • Freezes university tuition and fees for the biennium.
  • Caps student costs for textbooks at institutions of higher education at $300 a year
  • Ohio Arts Council (ART): The governor’s biennial budget proposal includes no increases in the GRF for the ART budget.

Proposed GRF funding for FY18 is $14.8 million and $14.8 million in FY19.

There is a slight increase of 1.7 percent in the ART All Funds budget for FY18, up to $16.6 million, but no increase in FY19, again $16.6 million.

Department of Higher Education: The GRF includes $2.6 billion in FY18, or a 1.6 percent increase from FY17, for the Department of Higher Education. Funding for FY19 is $2.6 billion, or a 1.7 increase from FY18.

All Funds includes $2.7 billion, or a 1.0 percent increase from FY17, and in FY19 $2.7 billion, or a 1.8 percent increase, from FY18.

Budget Testimony:  Tim Keen, Director of the Office of Budget and Management, testified about the proposed biennial budget last week before the House Finance Committee, chaired by Representative Ryan Smith, and said that the budget is based on conservative revenue estimates and some budget uncertainties.  For example, the state must address the loss in tax revenue from Medicaid managed care (MCO) companies.

Even though tax revenues are down, Director Keen also assured the committee that the FY17 budget will be balanced by June 30, 2017, partly as a result of agency and department underspending.

More details about the budget provisions for K-12 education will be available after the bill is introduced.

REACTION TO THE BUDGET

  • Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof (R) likes the provisions that reduce the income tax brackets and make the tax system less complicated in Governor Kasich’s proposed budget, but does not support “tax shifting”, or increasing and expanding the state’s other taxes to replace revenue lost from the cuts in the income tax.  See “Top Ohio GOP senator questions tax cut, increases in Kasich budget,” by Jackie Borchardt, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, January 31, 2017 at http://www.cleveland.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/01/gov_john_kasichs_tax_cut_plan.html
  • Democratic members of the Senate issued a statement on January 30, 2017 in response to Governor Kasich’s proposed budget.  The Democratic Minority Leader, Senator Joe Schiavoni, stated that, “The Governor’s budget does not contain many surprises because we’ve seen this before. Once again Governor Kasich has shortchanged our schools and local communities and shifted more of the tax burden onto working families. All Ohioans deserve a fair shot, not just a wealthy few.” See ohiosenate.gov/schiavoni/press/senate-democrats-react-to-governors-budget-plan
  • Damon Asbury, director of legislative services at the Ohio School Boards Association, told The Columbus Dispatch that, “It’s going to very, very difficult for more than half of our school districts.”  Most of the school districts that will receive cuts “…don’t have capacity to raise local revenues.”  He went on to say that increases in the budget for K-12 education will be tough, because of the lack of state revenues.  See “More than half of Ohio school districts would get cut or flat-funded under Kasich budget,” by Jim Siegel, The Columbus Dispatch, February 4, 2017 at http://www.dispatch.com/news/20170204/more-than-half-of-ohio-school-districts-would-get-cut-or-flat-funded-under-kasich-budget
  • The Akron Beacon Journal concludes that some of the governor’s budget requests will be IOA — “ignored on arrival,” because so many Republican leaders in the Ohio House and Senate oppose the “tax shifting” changes. The ABJ suggests that a portion of the $3 billion tax cut should be used to “rebalance” state priorities to support public works and services to meet the needs of communities. See “Out of balance, or how the governor’s budget plan misses the point,” by The Beacon Journal editorial board, The Akron Beacon Journal, January 31, 2017 at http://www.ohio.com/editorial/editorials/out-of-balance-or-how-the-governor-s-budget-plan-misses-the-point-1.744400.
  • Brent Larkin at The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote that the real reason for Governor Kasich’s “tight” biennial budget proposal, “…. is the $5 billion in tax cuts enacted under Kasich’s previous budgets.”

He goes on to write that “Kasich’s latest budget continues the administration’s six-year history of punishing local governments, which have seen state aid drop nearly 40 percent in 10 years.” See “Ohio’s children pay the price for Gov. Kasich’s tax cuts,” by Brent Larkin, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, February 5, 2017 at http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/02/ohios_children_pay_the_price_f.html

OHIO NEWS

Full ESSA Plan for Ohio Available: The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) released on February 2, 2017 the full draft of Ohio’s plan to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  The full plan provides more details than the overview document that was released in January 2017.  The full plan also includes the technical submission, entitled State Template for the Consolidated State Plan Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, and appendices.

The public can comment on Ohio’s ESSA plan through March 6, 2017. Ohio’s ESSA Plan will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education in April 2017.

See http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Every-Student-Succeeds-Act-ESSA

ODE Will Fund 21st Century Learning Center Grants: The ODE announced last month that it would delay awarding new grants from the federal 21st Century Learning Center Grant program due to the implementation of its ESSA plan.

But, as a result of stakeholder protests, the ODE has changed its policy, announcing last week that it would accept new grant applications starting in May 2017.

The 21st Century grants are awarded to schools by the state through a competitive grant process, and are used to support after school programs for economically disadvantaged students.  Currently 276 grants have been awarded to schools in Ohio, and 134 grants will expire in June 30, 2017.

NATIONAL NEWS

Senate Committee Approves DeVos: The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP) voted in favor of President Trump’s nominee Betsey DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education on January 31, 2017, but the vote was a close 12-11. All Democrats voted against the nominee.

Even though Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted for the nominee in the HELP committee, they have stated that they will not vote for her in the full Senate.  This would lead to a tie vote, 50 to 50, and Vice President Pence would need to vote to break the tie.

A Senate vote is expected this week.

See “Senate advanced DeVos’ nomination, setting her up for final vote,” by Jordain Carney, The Hill, February 3, 2017 at

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/317701-senate-advances-devoss-nomination-setting-her-up-for-final-vote

House Moves to Overturn ESSA Rules: Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have filed resolutions under the Congressional Review Act to overturn two rules developed by the Obama Administration to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  The rules pertain to accountability and teacher preparation.

The rules provide guidance and more detail about how to implement the law.  According to Education Week, states are currently finalizing their ESSA plans to submit to the U.S. DOE for approval based on these rules.  It is not certain what will happen if both rules are completely eliminated, but the U.S. DOE will have few ways to oversee implementation of the law without the rules.

See http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2017/02/house_scrap_essa_teacher_rules.html

REPORTS

Study Finds that Voucher Laws Discriminate: School Matters Indiana recently published an article entitled “Study confirms voucher programs discriminate” based on the results of a study conducted by Suzanne Eckes at Indiana University, and co-authors Julie Mead at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Jessica Ulm, a doctoral student at Indiana University.

The study, which is entitled “Dollars to Discriminate:  The (Un)intended Consequences of School Vouchers,” examined state voucher laws, and found that publicly funded school voucher programs “….discriminate on the basis of religion, disability status, sexual orientation and possibly other factors.”

The study examined state laws authorizing 25 voucher and education savings account programs in 15 states and Washington, D.C. In most cases researchers found that lawmakers neglected to guarantee in the voucher laws equal access for all students accepting a state voucher to attend private schools.

According to the researchers, states have an obligation to ensure that any public benefit created by the government must be available to all students equally, without discriminating against students based on religion, disability status, sexual orientation, etc.

However, the article states that the researchers found that voucher laws in Indiana prohibit discrimination based on race, color, or national origin, but not based on religion, disability, or sexual orientation.  Nearly all voucher schools in Indiana are Catholic, Lutheran, or Evangelical, and in some cases, families are expected to “embrace” the beliefs of the school, including requiring students to attend religious classes, even if the family has different beliefs.  Some of the voucher schools specify on their websites that students with disabilities might not be accepted, or accommodations for students with disabilities are limited.

The study concludes that discrimination should not be allowed if the schools are accepting public money.

See “Study confirms voucher programs discriminate,” by Steve Hinnefeld, School Matters K-12 Education in Indiana, January 30, 2017 at https://inschoolmatters.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/study-confirms-voucher-programs-discriminate/

The study is published in the Peabody Journal of Education, and is available for purchase.  This particular issue of the journal includes several other research studies about vouchers.

See “Dollars to Discriminate:  The (Un)intended Consequences of School Vouchers,” by Suzanne E. Eckes, Julie Mead, and Jessica Ulm, Peabody Journal of Education, originally posted June 29, 2016 at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0161956X.2016.1207446

FYI ARTS

Americans for the Arts Statement on Immigration Ban:  Americans for the Arts released on February 2, 2017 a statement “in opposition to policies that limit the free exchange of art, artists, and ideas based on nationality, faith, race, age, or ability…”

The AFA “Statement on Immigration and Refugee Ban” is in response to the executive order issued by President Trump on January 27, 2017.  The order denies entrance into the U.S. by immigrant and non-immigrant visitors from seven Muslin-majority countries for 90 days; suspends entry of all refugees for 120 days, and bars Syria refugees indefinitely.

According to the statement, the order means, “that those people lawfully here—such as artists from the seven countries who travel to perform, exhibit, and speak internationally—may be unable to return to the U.S. should they leave the country, even if they hold a visa that permits international travel. This will have a harmful effect on scheduled performing arts programming and will interrupt the creation and scholarship of work in progress, such as museum exhibitions.”

The President’s executive order was temporarily blocked on February 3, 2017 by U.S. District Judge James Robart, in response to a lawsuit filed by Washington State’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson.  The Trump administration intends to challenge the temporary restraining order.

See the AFA statement at http://www.americansforthearts.org/news-room/ceos-corner/statement-on-immigration-and-refugee-ban

Black History Month Celebrated Through the Arts: The Ohio Statehouse is celebrating Black History Month throughout February with an art exhibition and special performances on Tuesdays at noon.  The programs are free and open to the public.

The Rosa Park’s Children’s Art Exhibit, called “The Power of One,” is located in the Map Room on the lower level of the Statehouse.  The exhibition is sponsored by COTA and features the art work of students in grades kindergarten through three exploring the theme:  what would you do to change American and make it a better place for all people?

Performers from “We’ve Known Rivers,” a group comprised of artists from OAAE’s Artists in Schools program, will present live performances in the Statehouse Atrium featuring a prominent figure in African American history, including,

  • Remembering Miss Rosa, by Annette Jefferson on February 7, 2017
  • The Poet and His Song: Paul Laurence Dunbar, by Anthony Gibbs on February 14, 2017
  • Professor Henry “Box” Brown, by Rory Rennick on February 21, 2017, and
  • George Washington Williams, by Anthony Gibbs on February 28, 2017

**The programs will be streamed live by the Ohio Channel, and individuals and organizations can schedule a group visit to attend a performance by contacting Katie Montgomery at 614/728-3726 or kmontgomery@ohiostatehouse.org.

See http://www.ohiostatehouse.org/news/special-programming-during-black-history-month-at-the-ohio-statehouse


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).

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Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
January 30, 2017
Joan Platz

 

132nd GENERAL ASSEMBLY

This Week at the Statehouse:  The House and the Senate will hold sessions and committee meetings this week.

The House Finance Committee, chaired by Representative Ryan Smith, will begin hearings on Governor Kasich’s FY18-19 budget on February 1, 2017 at 1:00 PM in the House Finance Hearing Room 313 with testimony from Tim Keen, the director of the Office of Budget and Management, and the Legislative Service Commission.  The budget is expected to be introduced this week, and, according to The Columbus Dispatch, will include a 1 percent increase ($200 million) for K-12 education.

On February 2, 2017 the House Finance Committee will receive testimony from the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Department of Public Safety, and the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission on proposed budgets for those agencies.

See “Kasich: New budget has little to give education,” by Randy Ludlow, The Columbus Dispatch, January 25, 2017 at http://www.dispatch.com/news/20170124/kasich-budget-can-handle-only-1-school-funding-increases

Ohio Senate Adds New Member: Steve Wilson (R-Maineville) took the oath of office on January 25, 2017 to become the newest member of the Ohio Senate representing the 7th District.  He replaces former Senator Shannon Jones, who was elected to the Warren County Commission.

JEOC Meets: The Joint Education Oversight Committee (JEOC) met on January 25, 2017 and selected Representative Bob Cupp (R-Lima) as its chair and Senator Vern Sykes (D-Akron) as vice-chair.  Other committee members include Senators Cliff Hite (R-Findley), Matt Huffman (R-Lima), Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering), and Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland), and Representatives Andrew Brenner (R-Powell), Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), John Patterson (D-Jefferson), and Ryan Smith (R-Gallipolis.)

The JEOC was created by the 131st General Assembly (HB64 – Smith) to review education policies and make recommendations to the General Assembly.

During the 131st General Assembly the committee spent several meetings reviewing school transportation issues.

Hearings this session are expected to focus on the Ohio Department of Education’s (ODE) draft plan to implement the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESEA).

 

NATIONAL NEWS

ESSA Accountability Rule Will Be Delayed: The Trump administration is delaying an accountability rule under Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) developed by the U.S. Department of Education under the Obama administration.

The rule was to take effect on January 30, 2017, but has been delayed until March 21, 2017.

Stakeholders and members of Congress had expressed concerns about the original accountability rule and the short amount of time states had to develop their ESSA plans.  The new accountability rule was released in November 2016 addressing those concerns, and provided states with more flexibility.

The new rule clarified certain accountability requirements under ESSA, including the summative rating, school improvement models, the 95 percent testing requirement, etc.  The rule also extended the deadlines for states to submit their ESSA plans to the U.S. Department of Education for approval to April 2017 and September 2017.

It is unclear, now, how the delay in the implementation of the rule will affect state ESSA plans.   According to Education Week, many states are basing their ESSA plans on the law, rather than the rule, and so the delay might not have any effect.  Ohio and 16 other states have already announced that they will submit their plans by the first deadline, which is April 3, 2017.

See “Trump’s Pause on ESSA Regs Unlikely to Affect State Timelines, Officials Say,” by Daarel Burnette, Education Week, Janaury 24, 2017 at http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/state_edwatch/2017/01/trumps_pause_on_essa_accountability_regulations_to.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=stateedwatch

See “At least 17 States Plan to Turn in ESSA Plans in April,” by Daarel Burnette, Education Week, January 13, 2017 at http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/state_edwatch/2017/01/at_least_14_states_plans_to_turn_in_essa_plans_in_april.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=stateedwatch

 

OHIO NEWS

Policy Matters Ohio Offers Budget Recommendations: Policy Matters Ohio responded on January 27, 2017 to Governor Kasich’s recent comments about the upcoming FY18-19 budget being “tight” by recommending that the governor include “public investments” that will “position Ohio for a brighter future and ensure that all of our neighbors have the basics.”

The brief is entitled “Investment Budget for a Better Ohio,” and suggests that Ohio’s lower than expected revenue growth is the direct result of “billions of dollars” in tax cuts, wasteful tax breaks, and an inefficient tax system.  The brief recommends that Governor Kasich include in his FY18-19 state budget proposal the following to restore key programs and resources to help Ohio recover:

Education:  Expand public pre-K; raise eligibility in public childcare; and increase state reimbursements in both. “More kids need pre-school, more families need help with the high cost of childcare, and the rates paid for these services are too low – quality suffers as a result. We need to invest in our children.” Doubling the publicly funded preschool program to serve 36,880 children will cost $93 million.

”Provide fully-funded, tuition free full day kindergarten for all of Ohio’s kids – to help make sure they all learn to read by third grade.”  Not all Ohio students have access to publicly funded full day kindergarten.  Some school districts charge tuition for a full-day program.  Expanding full day kindergarten will ensure that all Ohio students have access to a rigorous standards-based curriculum in math and reading to achieve at higher levels.

Hire back the thousands of art, music, and gym teachers and school counselors and librarians. Ohio’s schools have eliminated 3,200 librarians, art, music and gym teachers and school counselors since 2005.  The cost to restore these positions is $187 million a year, and would align with the goals of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act for all students to have access to a well-rounded education and services that support a positive school environment.

Fund charter schools directly rather than as a deduction from local school district accounts.  Policy Matters estimates that this would cost the state $270 million a year, but would eliminate a possibly unconstitutional policy that directs some local revenue to charter schools without voter approval.

”Restore the Ohio College Opportunity Grant to $250 million a year, the level recommended by a task force convened during the Taft’s administration.”  State support for higher education is $500 million a year lower than 10 years ago.  “About $90 million a year in additional funding is needed for the State Share of Instruction just to support current services and help curtail tuition increases.”

Public Transportation:  Address the demand for public transportation. A $75 million “Transportation Innovation” fund, made up of primarily of federal funds, could help meet the demand for public transit.

Health:  Expand treatment facilities to address the drug epidemic and the mental health needs across the state.

Food Security:  Fully fund the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, which supports hunger relief in parts of the state where plants have closed, people have low paying jobs, or there are few jobs.

Housing:  ”Restore Ohio’s Housing Trust Fund, the primary source of state aid for affordable housing and homeless shelters, to pre-recession level of funding, with an increase of at least $15 million a year.”

Local Government:  Restore the local government fund to 3.68 percent of the general revenue fund, and ensure that counties and transit agencies do not lose revenues as the Managed Care Organization (MCO) tax is made compliant with federal law.

Childrens Services:  ”Restore funding to Ohio’s children’s services agencies, which have lost local levy funding through loss of tax reimbursements, and funding in the state budget as well.” According to Policy Matters, Ohio provides less support to children’s services than any other state, and with the phase-out of tax reimbursements for the tangible personal property tax, children’s services agencies are $12 million poorer in 2018 than in 2014, when adjusted for inflation.

See “Investment Budget for A Better Ohio,” by Wendy Patton, Policy Matters Ohio, January 24, 2017 at http://www.policymattersohio.org/investment-budget-jan17

ODE Announces Informational Meetings About Gifted Standards:  The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) will host the following four regional meetings in March 2017 to review the new operating standards for gifted education, which were adopted by the State Board of Education in December 2016.

– Wednesday, March 8, 2017 – South Region, Ross-Pike ESC, contact Barb Anderson at bbanderson@rpesd.org.

– Friday, March 10, 2017 – North Region, Mid-Ohio ESC, contact Lindsay Lantz at lantz.lindsay@moesc.net.

– Friday, March 17, 2017 – West Region, Lima Holiday Inn & Suites, contact Brian Billings at bbillings@anthonywayneschools.org.

– Friday, March 24, 2017 – East Region, Guernsey County Library-Crossroads Branch, contact Penny Boggs at penny.boggs@omeresa.net.

ODE Announces SIGs: The ODE announced on January 26, 2017 the 51 recipients of $16.3 million in School Improvement Grants (SIGs) made possible by a federal grant awarded to Ohio by the U.S. Department of Education in October 2016.

These competitive grants for schools will be used to help increase the achievement of students in persistently low performing schools through implementation of federally approved school improvement models.

Grants are awarded for either four-and-a-half-years beginning in January of 2017, or a three-years beginning in July 2018.

The ODE awarded the grants to schools in Cleveland, Dayton, and Columbus, and several charter schools.  To see the list of schools receiving grants visit http://education.ohio.gov/Media/Media-Releases/School-Improvement-Grants-Awarded-to-Ohio-Schools#.WIz_nBiZPOY

 

REPORTS

Report Reviews State School Funding Changes Over Time: Dr. Howard Fleeter from the Ohio Education Policy Institute issued last week a report entitled “Changes in Ohio School Funding and TPP Replacement Since the FY10-11 Biennium.”

The report summarizes changes in Ohio’s K-12 public school foundation formula payments and Tangible Personal Property (TPP) replacement payments from FY10 through January 2017. These payments are the two primary sources of general purpose state funding provided to Ohio’s 610 K-12 school districts.

According to the report, while state school foundation formula funding has increased each year since 2013, the reduction in TPP replacement payments reduced the impact of the formula increases until FY16, when the formula increases finally offset the loss in TPP replacement payments.

The total of foundation formula payments plus TPP payments is higher than it was in FY11, but the net increase (5.8 percent) is only slightly more than half of the inflation rate (10.7 percent) between 2010 – 2016.  Furthermore, not every school district has more total state aid than they did in FY11.

According to the report, Total Foundation Aid and TPP Replacement Payments were -$7.919 billion in FY10

-decreased to $7.90 billion in FY11

-decreased again to $7.28 billion in FY12

-decreased to $7.09 billion in FY13

-increased to $7.3 billion in FY14

-increased to $7.8 billion in FY15 and close to FY11 levels

-increased to $8.15 billion in FY16

-increased to $8.37 billion in FY17.

The report provides clear and accurate information about the status and trends in state funding for K-12 schools as state lawmakers begin the FY18-19 budget process, which, by the end of June, will establish new funding levels for K-12 education along with a host of new education policies.

See https://oasbo-ohio.org/advocacy/state-budget-school-funding

National Report Card on School Funding Released: Researchers at the Education Law Center and Rutgers University released on January 25, 2017 the 6th edition of the National Report Card (NRC) on state finance systems for K-12 education.

While the NRC evaluates and compares four interrelated state school finance measures for each state, the report does not evaluate the adequacy and equity of state school funding systems.  Therefore, “…high grades or rankings are not indicative of having met some obligation or having outperformed expectations.  They simply demonstrate that some states are doing better than others; it does not mean there is no room for improvement.”

The following are the four interrelated state school finance measures analyzed in the report:

  • Funding Level:  The average predicted state and local funding level is based on a model that controls certain variables, such as student poverty, regional wage variation, school district size and density. This measure is based on data from 2014.
  • Funding Distribution:  This measure distinguishes between state school funding systems that recognize that students in high poverty school districts need more resources than students in low poverty school districts.
  • Effort or Capacity Index:  The Effort Index is defined as the ratio of state spending to gross state product (GSP).
  • Coverage:  This measure includes the proportion of school-aged children attending the state’s public schools as compared to private schools, and the nonpublic/public income ratio, which measures the degree of economic disparity between households in the public and nonpublic systems.

The following are some of the major findings of the report this year:

  • There are still wide disparities among states in per pupil funding levels, ranging from a high of $18,165 per pupil in New York to a low of $5,838 per pupil in Idaho, when adjusted for regional differences.
  • The lowest funded states, including Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, North Carolina, and Texas, allocate a very low percentage of their state’s economic capacity (Effort Index) to fund public education.
  • There has been an increase in the number of states (14 to 21) that have regressive school funding systems, which provide less funding to school districts with higher concentrations of low-income students.
  • The states of Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Massachusetts provide schools with high levels of funding per student, and also provide more funding to districts with high poverty levels.
  • States with low rankings on the school funding fairness measures also provide less access to early childhood education, provide non-competitive wages for teachers, and have higher pupil to teacher ratios.
  • Most states “…..are still providing less funding for K-12 education, despite the economic recovery from the Great Recession. While total GSP has rebounded to 2008 levels or higher in most states, 18 states actually spent less on K-12 education, and the Effort Index remains below 2008 in all but four states.”

Findings for Ohio:  Ohio’s grades and rankings on three of the measures were higher compared to most other states, but Ohio is losing ground on the important Effort Index, and has a high percent of students attending nonpublic schools.  This could mean that in the future there will be less political will to support K-12 education at the state and local levels.

  • Funding Level: The predicted average state funding level for Ohio for 2014 was $10,935 per pupil, giving Ohio a rank of 16 among the states.  New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut had the highest predicted funding levels per pupil, while Arizona, Utah, and Idaho had the lowest predicted average state funding level.
  • Distribution: In terms of the distribution of state funding per pupil in 2014 to compensate for the effects of poverty, Ohio earned an “A” and ranked 4th.  Delaware, Utah, and Minnesota ranked higher.  Ohio is considered a progressive state in terms of this measure, and provides more state funding to school districts with higher levels of poverty.
  • Effort Index: Ohio earned a “B” (3.8 percent) on the Effort Index, which provides information about combined state and local spending priorities for K-12 education compared to the economic capacity of the state or gross state product.  This measure is based on 2013 data. Vermont earned the highest score of 5.3 percent, while Hawaii earned the lowest score of 2.5 percent.

However, between 2008 – 2013 Ohio’s Effort Index dropped by 12 percent, and dropped 9 percent between 2012-2013, meaning that state and local spending in Ohio is not keeping pace with the state’s economic productivity.

  • Coverage:  Ohio has a lower public school participation rate of 85 percent compared to other states, and a nonpublic/public income ratio of 132 percent, which shows a high degree of economic disparity between households with children in the public and nonpublic systems.

According to the report, this measure is important because the “…proportion of students enrolled in public schools affects the level of financial support necessary for public education.”  Poverty becomes concentrated and more resources are needed when fewer students from wealthy households attend public schools, and public schools lose political power when a large percent of families opt out of public education.

The states with the lowest participation rates in public schools are Hawai’i and Louisiana at 81 percent.  Utah has the highest participation rate of 93 percent.

See “Is School Funding Fair?  A National Report Card by Bruce Baker, Danielle Farrie, Monete Johnson, Theresa Luhm, and David G. Sciarra, Education Law Center and Rutgers Graduate School of Education, January 25, 2017 at http://www.schoolfundingfairness.org

FYI ARTS

Governor’s Awards for the Arts Winners Announced: The Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation announced on January 24, 2017 the following recipients of the 2017 Governor’s Awards for the Arts.

Arts Administration – Raymond Bobgan, Cleveland

Arts Education – Jim McCutcheon, Dayton

Arts Education – Students Motivated by the Arts (SMARTS), Youngstown

Arts Patron – Puffin Foundation West, LTD, Columbus

Business Support of the Arts (Large) – Promedica, Toledo

Business Support of the Arts (Small) – Peoples Bank, Marietta

Community Development and Participation – Linda Stone, MD, Columbus

Individual Artist – C.F. Payne, Lebanon

Irma Lazarus Award – Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati

The recipients will be honored at the annual Award Ceremony and Luncheon on May 17, 2017 at the Columbus Athenaeum, which is held in conjunction with other arts advocacy events as part of Arts Day.  The winners will receive an original work of art by textile artist and 2016 Governor’s Award winner Janice Lessman-Moss.

See http://www.oac.ohio.gov/News-Events/OAC-News/ArticleId/44/2017-governors-awards-for-the-arts-recipients

Sign the Petition: The  Americans for the Arts Action Fund is asking arts advocates to sign a petition asking President Trump to preserve federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NIH), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The Hill newspaper reported last week that the Trump administration will eliminate federal funding for the NEA and NIH, and seek to privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in its FY2018 federal budget proposal.  The budget proposal is expected to be introduced at the end of February 2017.

Americans for the Arts has created a Rapid Response Team to coordinate the petition drive and grassroots advocacy, social media, and advertising campaign.

Advocates will also have an opportunity to advocate for the arts during the 30th Annual Arts Advocacy Day, which will be held on March 20–21, 2017 in Washington, D.C. As one of the scheduled events, Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, will give the 30th Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy on March 20, 2017 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Sign the petition at http://artsactionfund.org/page/s/join-the-movement-to-save-the-nea

Register for Arts Advocacy Day at http://www.americansforthearts.org/events/arts-advocacy-day/register


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).

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Arts on Line Education Update January 23, 2017

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
January 23, 2017
Joan Platz

132nd OHIO GENERAL ASSEMBLY

This Week at the Statehouse:  Both the Ohio House and Senate will meet on January 25, 2017 at 1:30 PM.

The first meeting of the Controlling Board for this legislative session will take place on January 23, 2017 at 1:30 PM in the South Hearing Room.

Members include Senators Bill Coley (R-West Chester), Scott Oelslager (R- Canton), and Charleta Tavares (D-Columbus); and Representatives Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell), Scott Ryan (R-Newark), and Jack Cera (D- Bellaire).

The Controlling Board is established in law to provide legislative oversight over certain capital and operating expenditures by state agencies, and has authority over other state fiscal activities.

At this meeting the board will consider 78 items, including funding requests from the Attorney General’s Office, state universities and community colleges, the Department of Higher Education, the Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio Facilities Commission, and more.

NATIONAL NEWS

New President Takes Office: President Trump was sworn into office on January 20, 2017 becoming the 45th President of the United States.

In his inaugural address the President presented a rather bleak picture of the United States, describing mothers and children trapped in poverty, rusted out factories, “an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge,” and crime, gangs, and drugs.

He pledged to “…rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people,” and decreed a new vision to govern the land… “America first”!

The speech is available at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/01/20/donald-trumps-full-inauguration-speech-transcript-annotated/?hpid=hp_rhp-bignews4_fix-annotated-1242pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&tid=a_inl&utm_term=.47736635ac70

ESSA’s SNS Rules Withdrawn: The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) withdrew its draft rule for “supplement, not supplant” (SNS) under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) on January 17, 2017 to the cheers of many Republican lawmakers, national education organizations, and local school leaders.  Civil rights advocates were less happy, because they supported the rule, which they believe better ensures that schools that serve poor students receive their fair share of federal, state, and local funds.

The controversial draft rule was released back in August in 2016, but time ran out for the Obama Administration to issue a final rule, which will be tasked to the new Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.

The proposed rule provided school districts with options for showing that federal Title I funds for poor schools were not supplanting local and state funding for schools.

Even though the rule would have allowed states to develop their own formula, opponents found the rule too prescriptive, and thought that it would lead to unintended consequences.  One of the possible consequences could have mandated that school districts consider the salary levels of teachers in their SNS formulas.  This could have led to transferring teachers throughout school districts to balance funding among schools.

Key Republicans in the House and Senate, including Senator Lamar Alexander, chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee, opposed the rule.

HELP Committee Hears from DeVos: The Senate Heath, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP), chaired by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), held a confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s candidate for Secretary for Education on January 17, 2017.

The hearing was conducted before the Office of Government Ethics had released its report about how Mrs. DeVos will handle any conflicts of interest with her vast financial holdings.  That happened on January 19, 2017, when Mrs. DeVos signed an ethics letter describing the steps that she would take to avoid “any actual or apparent conflicts of interest.”

But some Senators are still concerned about missing information and the fact that they cannot ask the nominee any additional questions in a public hearing.

The committee was to take a final vote on the nominee on January 24, 2017, but that date has been changed to January 31, 2017.

In her opening statement, Mrs. DeVos said that she looked forward to “bringing educational opportunity to every family in this great nation.”  She went on to say that she believes that every child in America “deserves to be in a safe environment that is free from discrimination”; every student in America “dreams of developing his or her unique talents and gifts”; every parent in America “dreams of a future when their children have access to schools with the rigor, challenges, and safe environments that successfully prepare them for a brighter, more hopeful tomorrow”; and every teacher in America “dreams of breaking free from standardization, so that they can deploy their unique creativity and innovate with their students”.

Most of the goals that she outlined for her term at the U.S. DOE centered around school choice, such as enabling parents to make decisions about their children’s education regardless of their “zip code” and income levels; shifting the debate from “what the system thinks is best for kids to what moms and dads want, expect and deserve;” doing away with “a one-size-fits-all model of learning;” and expanding school options, including magnet, virtual, charter, home, religious, or any combination.

Aside from advocating for school choice as an goal in and of itself, she said that she would advocate for “great public schools” for the vast majority of students who will continue to attend public schools, but would also support the “right of parents to enroll their child in a high quality alternative for a school that is “troubled, or unsafe, or not a good fit for a child.”

She also pledged to address the rising cost of tuition at institutions of higher education and work to reauthorize the Higher Education Act.

Following opening statements, HELP committee members had only five minutes each to ask Mrs. DeVos questions.

While she stuck to the parent choice theme in response to some questions, her answers to other questions were not so clear.

For example, Mrs. DeVos denied that she was on the board of directors of her mother’s foundation, the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation, but did not explain why tax documents from 2001-2014 showed that she was the board’s vice-president.  The foundation regularly contributes to religious-oriented groups that are opposed to same-sex marriage and LGBTQ rights.  Mrs. DeVos also said that she would not discriminate against these children.

She also did not specifically answer a question from Senator Hassan (D-NH) about protecting the rights of students with disabilities who accept a publicly funded school voucher to attend private schools.  In some cases private schools receiving voucher students require these students to give-up their rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).

Her answers to other questions about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) were also not clear.  In response to a question from Senator Tim Kaine, D-VA, she said that states should be able to decide how to enforce IDEA, and later said that she was confused when told that IDEA was a federal, not a state, law.

When asked by Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) whether all schools, including traditional, charter, and private schools, should follow the same ESSA accountability standards, she repeatedly said that she supported accountability, but was noncommittal about all schools following the same accountability standards.

Senator Whitehouse (D-RI) also failed to get her to commit to resolving the problem that occurs when students leave their local school district to attend charter schools, and state funding is diverted to the charter school. Local school districts often have a hard time balancing their budgets when this happens, because they do not know how many students are going to leave in time to make staff and other operational adjustments to compensate for the lost revenue. If, under the Trump Administration, the federal government supports the expansion of more charter schools, the financial stability of school districts, and their bond ratings, could be compromised.

In answering a question from Senator Collins (R-ME) about the need to increase funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Act, Mrs. DeVos said that she would like to take a different approach and allow federal IDEA money to follow individual students, rather than going to the states.

Before the hearing several national organizations including AASA, The School Superintendents Association, the American Association of University Women, the National PTA, and the Center for American Progress, sent a letter to the HELP Committee to express their “strong concerns” regarding the confirmation of Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education.

Most of the concerns were about her campaign contributions and activities as a lobbyist who used her vast wealth to influence legislation and elections.

The letter alleges that her activities “undermined public education and proved harmful to many of our most vulnerable students.”

On the other hand, several Ohio officials said that they support Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, including House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, Representative Keith Faber, and Representative Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg).  Treasurer Josh Mandel also issued a statement in support of DeVos last week.

See “Betsy DeVos’ Education Hearing Erupts Into Partisan Debate,” by

Kate Zernike and Yamiche Alcindor, The New York Times, January 17, 2017 at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/17/us/politics/betsy-devos-education-senate-hearing.html?_r=0

See “Split Responses to Betsy DeVos’ Testimony After Testy Confirmation Hearing,” by Andrew Ujifusa and Alyson Klein, Education Week, January 18, 2017 at http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2017/01/reactions_vary_besty_devos_confirmation_hearing.html

See “DeVos Files Financial Disclosure, Ethics Letter Vowing to Divest Education Assets,” by Mark Walsh, Education Week, January 20, 2017 at http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2017/01/devos_files_financial_disclosu.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=campaignk-12

See Betsy DeVos’ Statement at http://www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/DeVos.pdf

See the hearing at http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/trailguide/la-na-trailguide-updates-watch-live-confirmation-hearing-for-1484688475-htmlstory.html

Educators Support DACA Program:  Hundreds of education leaders have signed a petition asking President Trump to protect undocumented youth brought into this country from being deported.

President Trump has vowed to repeal former President Obama’s executive orders on immigration, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects undocumented youth from deportation.

The education leaders signing the petition include the superintendents of the Houston, Philadelphia, Denver, Baltimore, Newark, Oakland, Dallas, and Indianapolis public school districts, and leaders of ASCD, the teachers unions, and other nonprofit education organizations.

See http://action.stand.org/page/s/dreamers

OHIO’S ESSA PLAN AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) released on January 19, 2017 a draft summary of Ohio’s State Plan to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

According to the ODE news release, the draft plan is based on the responses of more than “15,000 Ohio educators, parents, and community members,” and provides a “framework for completing the final plan,” which Ohio will submit to the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) on April 3, 2017.  The full draft plan will be available for review in early February 2017.

The ODE is requesting that the public submit comments about the proposed plan through March 6, 2017 by going to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ESSAOhioOverview

A draft summary of the plan is available at http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Every-Student-Succeeds-Act-ESSA

Highlights of Ohio’s Draft ESSA Plan  

Ohio’s draft ESSA plan, entitled “Driving Education Excellence:  Securing the Future for All Ohio Students” addresses changes in federal law as a result of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) on December 10, 2015 as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and the replacement of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

ESSA provides states and districts with more decision-making authority and offers more flexibility for meeting the needs of students.

Ohio’s ESSA plan also establishes new goals and deadlines for meeting goals.  The new goals state that by 2027,

-80 percent of students will be proficient in mathematics, English Language Arts, and science

-the State Performance Index will reach 100.00

-the 4-year graduation rate for all students will be 93 percent

-the 5-year graduation rate for all students will be 95 percent;

-chronic absenteeism will drop to 5 percent or less for all students; and

-baseline achievement and graduation rate gaps among subgroups of students will be reduced by 50 percent.

The goal for English Learners (ELs) has not been determined as yet.

Other parts of Ohio’s proposed ESSA plan address academic standards and assessments; Ohio’s accountability system; schools and districts identified for support; an aligned evidence-based improvement system; supporting all students: well-rounded and supportive education for all students; and federal grant programs.

Academic Content Standards and Assessments

According to Ohio’s proposed ESSA plan, Ohio’s academic content standards will be revised to ensure that they are challenging and aligned to credit-bearing remediation free coursework in the state’s university system.  The math and English Language Arts (ELA) standards will be revised by February 2017; the social studies, financial literacy, and science standards by early 2018; and the world languages, the fine arts, technology, and physical education standards will be revised by 2019.

To bring stability to Ohio’s K-12 assessment system following several recent changes in state tests, the proposed plan maintains the state’s current grade level and subject testing requirements.  These requirements, however, will be reviewed, because Ohio currently administers more state tests than are required by ESSA, including four tests at the high school level, two tests in social studies, and an additional ELA in the third grade.

Ohio’s plan also calls for investigating the costs and benefits associated with computer adaptive testing; offering more competency-based science assessments; and requesting a waiver to prevent double testing for grade 8 algebra I.  The ODE will also urge USDOE to maintain its extended waiver for all relevant end-of-course exams.

Ohio’s plan will not include a process for using the ACT and/or SAT as substitute exams in high school.

Ohio’s Accountability System

The number of years the state will have to achieve state-level goals will be ten. The selected metrics include the percent of students proficient in math, ELA, and science; the performance index; graduation rates; chronic absenteeism; and English language proficiency.

The threshold number of students, referred to as the N-size, for which a subgroup must be separately reported for accountability purposes will be reduced from 30 to 15 students.  According to the ESSA plan, this change will ensure that more student subgroups are identified for targeted interventions.

-Summative Rating:  The overall A-F Report Card grade will be used to meet the school and district summative rating, which ESSA requires.

-Report Card Measures:  Ohio’s School Report Card includes 11 measures that are organized into six components: Achievement, Progress, Graduation, K-3 Literacy, Gap Closing and Prepared for Success.

Ohio will use the Performance Index and Indicators Met measures as achievement measures in its ESSA plan.

The test participation rate will continue to be a factor in the Performance Index. Schools that miss the 95 percent participation rate for all students, or for one or more subgroups of students, must develop an improvement plan that addresses the reason(s) for low participation in the school, and include interventions to improve participation rates in subsequent years. The improvement plans will be developed in partnership with stakeholders and parents.

Ohio’s goal is to achieve a state-level Performance Index of 100 or greater by 2027.

A separate “re-take” indicator will also be developed for high school level end-of-course examinations.  Only first-time test takers will be included in the end-of-course indicators.

-Additional Indicator of Quality:  Chronic absenteeism and discipline incidents will be initially used as indicators of school quality.  Progress toward reducing chronic absenteeism will also be measured.

“The Department will also investigate the use of school climate surveys as both a school improvement tool and a potential measure to include as part of Ohio’s accountability system in the future. Our goal: By 2027, Ohio’s statewide rate for chronic absenteeism will be 5 percent or less.”

-Graduation Rate:  Ohio will continue to include both the four- and five-year cohort graduation rates on the report card. Ohio’s goal will be that 93 percent or more of students will graduate in four years by 2027.

-Progress:  Ohio’s plan will include a growth measure based on value-added progress as the additional academic measure. The progress of student subgroups will be also reported on school and district report cards, but will not be graded.

Recommendations to simplify and improve the progress component will also be considered.

-Gap Closing: Ohio’s plan proposes to revise the current Gap Closing component and examine progress in closing student subgroup achievement gaps in mathematics, English language arts, and graduation based on income, race, ethnicity, or disability.

The English Learner (EL) proficiency measure will be incorporated into the Gap Closing component and will include improvement.

-K-3 Literacy:  The K-3 Literacy component measures the success of schools in keeping struggling readers on track to proficiency in third grade and beyond.

Stakeholders expressed confusion about this measure during discussions about formulating Ohio’s ESSA plan, so the ODE will examine the alignment between the Third Grade Reading Guarantee and K-3 Literacy component.

-Prepared for Success:  The Prepared for Success component measures student readiness for work or college.

Ohio’s ESSA plan proposes to clarify that the calculation of the Prepared for Success component is based on the four-year graduation cohort rather than the combined four and five-year graduation cohorts.  The ODE will also examine the feasibility of using “access to advanced coursework” as an additional report card indicator.

Schools and Districts Identified for Support 

Ohio’s plan will include criteria to identify Priority, Focus, and Watch schools for support based on the School Report Card measures.

-Priority Schools: These schools will receive comprehensive support, and will be identified every three years based on the following criteria:

  • Schools with an overall report card grade of ‘F’, and the next lowest performing schools, as determined by overall report card grade (A-F), to meet the ESSA requirement that the state identify and support the lowest 5 percent of schools; or
  • Schools with a 4-year cohort graduation rate of less than 67 percent; or
  • Schools with one or more student subgroups performing at levels similar to the lowest 5 percent of schools (based on the individual subgroup performance).

The current Priority school list will be maintained through the 2017-2018 school year.  A new Priority list will be prepared at the end of the 2017-2018 school year, and updated every three years. Schools meeting the exit criteria will be removed from lists annually.

-Focus Schools:  These schools will receive targeted support, and will be identified based on the following criteria:

  • Schools that earn a grade of a ‘D’ or ‘F’ for the Gap Closing report card component for two consecutive years;
  • Schools that have one or more student subgroups that fail to meet specific locally determined improvement goals for three consecutive years; and
  • Schools that do not meet multiple student subgroup performance benchmarks.

The current Focus school list will be maintained through the 2017-2018 school year.  A new list will be prepared at the end of the 2017-2018 school year, and will be updated every three years.  Schools meeting the exit criteria will be removed from lists annually.

-Watch Schools: These are schools that struggle to meet the needs of one or more student subgroups.

-Exit Criteria

According to Ohio’s proposed ESSA plan, the maximum time frame for the improvement requirements is four years. The following exit criteria for Priority schools will be based on revised Report Card measures, including the revised Gap Closing measure, which includes achievement, progress, and graduation rate data of all required subgroups:

-School performance is higher than the lowest 5 percent of schools as determined by the overall report card grade for two consecutive years;

-School earns a four-year graduation rate of better than 67 percent for two consecutive school years, and;

-No student subgroups are performing at a level similar to the lowest 5 percent of schools (based on individual subgroup performance).

The following exit criteria for the Focus schools will be based on the revised Report Card measures including the revised Gap Closing measure which includes achievement, progress and graduation rate data of all required subgroups:

-School or district earns an overall grade of ‘C’ or better as determined by report card grade, and earns a ‘C’ or better for Gap Closing, and meets subgroup performance goals per state requirements.

-District Continuum of Support

ESSA requires the state to approve district improvement plans and plans for Priority schools.  Districts are required to approve of plans for Focus schools.

Ohio’s ESSA plan will continue to include the following continuum of supports for districts and schools:

-Academic Distress Commission for districts under the supervision of an appointed commission

-Intensive Supports for districts that earn an overall “F” on the district report card, or have at least two Priority Schools, or earn a four year graduation rate of less than 67 percent, or earn an “F” on the Gap Closing measure for two consecutive years.

-Moderate Support for districts that earn an overall “D” on the Report Card, or a “D” or “F” on the Gap Closing measure for the two most recent years, or have at least one Priority, Focus, or Watch school.

-Independent Support.  School districts in this category have no specific state mandated improvement requirements.

-Rewards and Recognitions

The ODE will continue to recognize schools that are meeting the needs of students through the following programs:

  • Schools of Promise – Recognizes and highlights schools that are making substantial progress in ensuring high achievement for all students.
  • Schools of Honor – Recognizes schools that have sustained high achievement and substantial progress while serving a significant number of economically disadvantaged students.
  • All ‘A’ Award – Recognizes districts and schools that earned straight A’s on all of their applicable report card measures.
  • Overall A – Recognizes districts and schools that earned an Overall A on the summative report card grade.
  • The Momentum Award – Recognizes districts and schools for exceeding expectations in student growth for the year.
  • Blue Ribbon Schools
  • National Title 1 Distinguished Schools

An Aligned, Evidence-Based Improvement System

ESSA requires evidence-based school improvement plans rather than the four models included in the former No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

Ohio’s ESSA plan will include a regional system of school improvement supports from Educational Service Centers, State Support Teams, Instruction Technology Centers, and direct support from the ODE and partners.

Ohio will continue to utilize the Ohio Improvement Process (OIP), and an updated and expanded Decision Framework will continue to be used as a primary data-based needs assessment.  The Decision Framework will be expanded to focus on non-academic student supports, including mental health services and chronic absenteeism.

Ohio will create an online evidence-based clearinghouse in partnerships with the Ohio Education Research Center (OERC) and selected regional and local education agencies to help schools and districts identify improvement strategies.

The ODE will also build its research capacity to emphasize performance monitoring to support local action research through a variety of partnerships, including Proving Ground.

Ohio will also create the Peer-to-Peer Improvement Network, which will facilitate educators collaborating across districts.

In addition, the following tools and resources will be developed to assist schools:

  • Redesigned online planning tool/consolidated grants application, known as the Comprehensive Continuous Improvement Plan (CCIP)
  • Local stakeholder engagement toolkit
  • District and school reviews, including training for peer reviewers
  • Data analysis tools
  • Resource allocation tool
  • Equity Index (state Equity Plan)
  • Performance database to support peer-to-peer improvement network

In addition, “Schools that do not make significant progress may be subject to more rigorous interventions such as required “onsite review,” in-depth resource allocation reviews, more rigorous requirements on tiers of approved evidence-based strategies, and required direct student services.”

-School Turnaround Funding

ESSA requires states to set aside up to 7 percent of Title I funding to support efforts to turn around struggling schools.  This money replaces the separate competitive School Improvement Grant (SIG) program, but some schools will continue to receive SIG grant support for a few additional years while the program is completely phased out.

The Title I set-aside funds will be awarded to schools through a competitive process, that might include incentives for schools to participate in research trials, or support for a resource coordinator to coordinate student and family services (health, mental health, integrated student supports, etc.).

-Direct Student Services

Ohio’s ESSA plan will utilize an additional 3 percent of Title I funding to support direct student services to districts with the highest percentage of schools identified for improvement to:

  • Improve access to rigorous coursework at all grade levels including, but not limited, to Advanced Placement courses.
  • Expand the number of students accessing accelerated coursework, particularly students in traditionally underrepresented student groups.
  • Support development and delivery of transitional coursework to reduce college remediation rates and better prepare students for postsecondary education.
  • Support early literacy initiatives.

-Title I Schoolwide Waivers

Ohio’s ESSA plan calls for the development of a process with stakeholders to grant schoolwide waivers to schools that can demonstrate that economically disadvantaged students have previously made sufficient improvement under a schoolwide program.

Under ESSA states may permit school buildings receiving Title I Part A funds to operate schoolwide programs where 40 percent or more of students are economically disadvantaged.  States can also issue a waiver to permit school buildings below the 40 percent threshold to operate schoolwide programs under certain conditions.

-Supporting Rural School

Ohio’s plan will support rural education through the following strategies:

  • Developing partnerships in the Appalachian region of the state
  • Designating a Rural Education Liaison in the Office of Improvement to coordinate school improvement initiatives
  • Leveraging the Title I Direct Student Services set aside to target resources for advanced coursework for high need, rural students
  • Leveraging the Title II set aside for professional development to support the needs of educators in rural schools
  • Targeting 21st Century Learning Center grants to rural schools
  • Providing technical assistance in selecting evidence-based improvement strategies

-Dropout Prevention and Recovery

To improve Ohio’s graduation rate, Ohio’s ESSA plan includes the following strategies:

  • Expand of the number of districts participating in the Student Success Dashboard pilot, which uses data to target students that are at-risk for dropping out.
  • Leverage existing Alternative Education Challenge grants to improve outcomes for at-risk students including more aligned coordination with required school improvement plans.
  • Use recommendations from the State Superintendent’s Dropout Prevention and Recovery Advisory Committee to develop a specifically-designed evidence-based improvement protocol for Ohio dropout recovery charter schools identified for comprehensive or targeted support.

-English Learners (ELs)

ESSA requires states to increase focus on English Learners (ELs) compared to the former NCLB and ESEA.

Ohio’s ESSA plan includes several strategies and new initiatives to strengthen services for English language learners:

  • Adds an “EL Progress to English Proficiency” measure to the Gap Closing component of the Report Card to measure improvement towards proficient use of the English language. ELs’ academic achievement will continue to be measured.
  • Adjusts the N-Size so that more ELs will be included in their respective schools’ Gap Closing measure.
  • Utilizes the option to continue the previous ESEA waiver flexibility which includes test scores of ELs in accountability only after they have been in the U.S. for two years, while requiring ELs to take all assessments from year 1 and include those results in growth measures.
  • Includes former ELs in the EL subgroup for accountability for four years after exiting the program.
  • Updates Ohio’s Entrance and Exit Procedures for English Learners

-Nonpublic School Ombudsman

ESSA requires Ohio to create a Nonpublic School Ombudsman position within the ODE to monitor and enforce compliance with equitable services provisions.  The Ombudsman will do the following:

  • Ensure expenditures for educational services and other benefits provided for eligible private school children, their teachers, and other educational personnel serving those children shall be equal, taking into account the number and educational needs of the children to be served, to the expenditures for participating public school children.
  • Ensure funds allocated to a local education agency for educational services and other benefits to eligible private school children are obligated in the fiscal year for which the funds are received.
  • Ensure the timely notices of allocated funds to the private schools.
  • Ensure the school districts and private schools engage in timely and meaningful consultation.
  • Ensure the school districts maintain records and documentation of consultation and that the consultation is documented by a written affirmation.
  • Resolve written complaints by private school officials.

-Supporting Excellent Educators

ESSA provides states with flexibility to define effective educators and eliminates the Highly Qualified Teacher requirement and linking teacher evaluation systems with student growth.

Ohio’s ESSA plan will continue to use current law and its equity plan to ensure that students have access to quality teachers and leaders.

Ohio will also take advantage of the new flexibility to work with stakeholders to consider other ways to define teacher effectiveness:

-The Educator Standards Board (ESB) will review the efficiency and effectiveness of the existing Ohio Teacher Evaluation System.

-Support will be provided for review of local equitable access plans.

-Ohio will implement the 3 percent Title II set-aside to support principal and teacher leadership development.

-One or more programs may be designed and piloted in upcoming years focused on training, induction, mentoring, coaching and professional development of principals, teachers and teacher leaders.

Supporting All Students:  Well-Rounded and Supportive Education for Students 

ESSA emphasizes ensuring that all students have access to a well-rounded education.  Some 50 separate grant programs to support students have been consolidated in Title IV, and use of these funds has been expanded to support a well-rounded education, health and safety, and technology.  The ODE also has more flexibility to use Title IV funds.

As a result, Ohio’s ESSA plan proposes to “…use Ohio’s state share of Title IV to support access to rigorous coursework by helping to subsidize fees paid by economically disadvantaged students choosing to participate in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate examinations, STEM/Technology initiatives and school climate and safety resources.”

A pilot project for schools and districts will also be created to examine using the results of climate surveys as an additional indicator of school quality.

Ohio will also continue to support the Ohio Center for P-20 Safety and Security, and continue implementation of the system of Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports through direct training and facilitation to districts and schools.

-Vulnerable Students

ESSA highlights support for five specific groups of students that face unique challenges and need additional help and support, including student transiency, instability, and family crisis.  These groups include students of military families, students in foster care, migrant students, students in the juvenile justice system and students who are homeless.

Ohio’s ESSA plan includes additional strategies and requirements to support these vulnerable students.

Federal Grant Programs 

-21st Century Community Learning Grants

Although ESSA maintains the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant program, which provides enrichment opportunities and academic support during non-school hours for students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools, the ODE will not hold a new competition for FY18. All continuing grantees will be renewed per their regular schedule, but current grantees who are in their final award years (years 3 and 5) will close-out the grant in October 2017. The allocation for FY18 has yet to be finalized, but approximately $23 million will be set-aside for FY18 for 140 grantees.

-Consolidated Comprehensive Competitive Grant System

ESSA continues to allow districts to consolidate federal funds and state and local funds to support low-income and disadvantaged students, and schoolwide Title I programs in schools with not less than 40 percent of children are from low-income families.

Ohio will design and begin building in the 2017-18 school year a comprehensive consolidated competitive grant system to align all competitive grant programs to the priorities of the state’s ESSA plan and streamline the process.

The comprehensive consolidated competitive grant system will provide in the 2018-19 school year eligible grantees with a single application containing potential federal and state competitive education grant opportunities aligned to the school and/or district’s needs assessment and improvement plans.

OHIO NEWS

Charter School Enrollment Dropping: Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria submitted on December 31, 2017 the 14th annual report on community schools operating in Ohio to Governor Kasich and members of the Ohio House and Senate.

The mandated annual report for 2015-16 shows that 117,126 students, seven percent of total public school enrollment, attended 373 charter schools in Ohio.  This is a decrease from last year, when there were 381 charter schools enrolling 120,495 students, and a decrease from 2013-14, when there were 395 charter schools serving 120,893 students.

The report also shows that 20 charter schools closed last year, and eleven closed because they lost their sponsors.

REPORTS

Charter School Reforms in New Orleans Increase Spending: A study published by researchers at Tulane University examined the operating expenditures of publicly funded schools in New Orleans’ between 2000-2014, after Hurricane Katrina caused the city to adopt a charter school system, and compared those expenditures to similar schools districts in Louisiana.

The study found that the New Orleans district spent 13 percent ($1,358 per student) more per student on operating expenditures than the comparison group of districts, even though the comparison group had nearly identical spending before Katrina.

Spending on administration in New Orleans district increased by 66 percent ($699 per student) relative to the comparison group.  Of this amount 52 percent ($363 per student) was due to a rise in total administrative salaries.  One-third of the increase in administrative salaries is due to hiring more administrators, and higher average salaries per administrator.

Instructional expenditures in the New Orleans district declined 10 percent ($706 per student) relative to the comparison group of districts.  The decrease is due to a decrease in total instructional salaries per instructor.

Transportation spending and other expenditures also increased by 33 percent in the New Orleans district.  These services are often contracted to outside firms.

According to the study, “The fact that instructional expenditures have decreased despite a large increase in operating expenditure is striking. The increase

in administrative spending also suggests either that the lack of economies of scale has posed a real challenge in this decentralized system or that the educational models of charter schools involve higher management costs and perhaps a more top-heavy approach.”

See “Does School Reform = Spending Reform?  The Effect of the New Orleans School Reforms on the Use and Level of School Expenditures,” by Christian Buerger and Douglas N. Harris, Education Research Alliance, Tulane University, January 17, 2017 at http://educationresearchalliancenola.org/publications/does-school-reform-spending-reform-the-effect-of-the-new-orleans-school-reforms-on-the-use-and-level-of-school-expenditures.

FYI ARTS

Funding for the NEA and NEH in Question: According to The Hill, President Trump is preparing to make deep cuts in the federal budget, including eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and privatizing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Other federal agencies, such as the departments of Commerce, Energy, Justice, State, and Transportation, could see large reductions and programs eliminated or transferred.

Overall the budget plan being developed by the Trump administration would reduce the federal budget by $10.5 trillion over 10 years.  The budget is expected to be introduced in Congress by mid to late April 2017.

According to Americans for the Arts, last spring President Trump said that, ”…supporting and advocating for appreciation of the arts is important to an informed and aware society. As President, I would take on that role.”

Although he didn’t commit to funding the NEA and the NEH, Americans for the Arts believes that through the legislative process, the President and Congress will recognize “that the arts are a great investment in our national economy.”

Americans for the Arts pledges to “…work with the incoming Administration in making America the best that it can be and we feel certain the arts are a proven strategy for building better lives and communities across the country.”

See “Trump Team Prepares Dramatic Cuts,” by http://thehill.com/policy/finance/314991-trump-team-prepares-dramatic-cuts

See http://www.americansforthearts.org/news-room/americans-for-the-arts-news/arts-advocates-make-your-voice-heard


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).

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Arts on Line Education Update January 17, 2017

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

132nd GENERAL ASSEMBLY

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)

-Transportation

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 http://www.cleveland.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/01/business_leaders_on_school_boa.html

NATIONAL NEWS

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 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/public-education-caucus_us_5875183ee4b099cdb0ffb0c2

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 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/10/opinion/big-worries-about-betsy-devos.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share

See “Senate postpones confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education pick,” by Emma Brown, The Washington Post, January 10, 2017 at https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/senate-postpones-confirmation-hearing-for-betsy-devos-trumps-education-pick/2017/01/09/be0ea7cc-d6e6-11e6-9a36-1d296534b31e_story.html?utm_term=.f14ce060aeb1

See https://www.ohea.org

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.

See http://www.azed.gov/essa/draftplan/

STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION

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, Cincinnati.com, January 10, 2017 at http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/education/2017/01/10/higher-bar-could-mean-fewer-ohio-grads/96167134/

See http://education.ohio.gov/State-Board/State-Board-Meetings/State-Board-Meetings-for-2017

OHIO NEWS

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

http://www.crainscleveland.com/article/20170111/NEWS/170119932/ohios-among-10-states-that-will-share-20-million-in-grants-to

FYI ARTS

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 http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/struggling-schools-benefit-adding-art-learning/


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).

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Arts on Line Education Update January 9, 2017

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
January 9, 2017
Joan Platz

132nd OHIO GENERAL ASSEMBLY

This Week at the Statehouse: The Ohio House and Senate have cancelled sessions this week.

The Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission and its committees will meet on January 12, 2017 beginning at 9:30 AM at the Statehouse.  To see a schedule of the meetings visit http://www.ocmc.ohio.gov/ocmc/home

New General Assembly Convenes: The 132nd Ohio General Assembly convened on January 3, 2017 in Columbus. The Ohio House includes 66 Republicans and 33 Democrats, while the Ohio Senate includes 23 Republicans and 9 Democrats.  The Senate Republican caucus still needs to fill the 7th Senate District seat formerly held by Senator Shannon Jones, who resigned after being elected to the Warren County Commission in November 2016.

Leading the House Republican caucus are House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, Speaker Pro Tempore Kirk Schuring, Majority Floor Leader Dorothy Pelanda, Asst. Majority Floor Leader Sarah LaTourette, Majority Whip Thomas F. Patton, and Asst. Majority Whip Robert McColley.

Leading the House Democratic caucus are Minority Leader Fred Strahorn, Asst. Minority Leader Nick J. Celebrezze, Minority Whip Nickie J. Antonio, and Asst. Minority Whip Emilia Sykes.

Leading the Senate Republican caucus are Senate President Larry Obhof, President Pro Tempore Bob Peterson, Majority Floor Leader Randy Gardner, and Majority Whip Gayle Manning.

Leading the Senate Democratic caucus are Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni, Asst. Minority Leader Charleta Tavares, Minority Whip Edna Brown, and Asst. Minority Whip Cecil Thomas.

131st General Assembly Legislative Update: The 131st Ohio General Assembly adjourned sine die on December 28, 2016.  Before adjourning House and Senate Republicans considered returning after Christmas in order to override Governor Kasich’s vetoes of some bills and provisions in bills approved during the lame duck session.  But in the end lawmakers decided to take action on the vetoes in the new legislative session.

Governor Kasich vetoed HB493 (Sears-Ryan), which would have prohibited abortions after the heartbeat of the fetus is detected, and provisions in SB235 (Beagle-Coley) that would give energy companies $264 million in tax credits; give a tax exemption to the digital jukebox industry; and carryover appropriations for sporting events.

The governor also vetoed two bills:

  • HB554 (Amstutz) would have delayed for two years Ohio’s renewable energy standards.
  • SB329 (Faber) would have established a process to automatically sunset executive branch state agencies after four years, unless the agencies were reapproved by the legislature.  Currently the legislature reviews state agencies every two years when they consider their budgets.

The governor also signed into law the following education-related bills:

  • SB235 (Beagle, Coley)  Industrial/Commercial Development Tax Exemption – Unemployment Compensation:  Although Governor Kasich vetoed some provisions of SB235 (see above), he signed into law on December 27, 2016 a controversial provision relating to tax exemptions for property being developed, and changes to Ohio’s unemployment compensation system.
  • HB384 (Schaffer, Duffey) Higher Education Audits:  Governor Kasich signed this bill into law on January 4, 2017.  The law allows higher education institutions to undergo performance audits by the state auditor’s office. The law also includes a series of tax law changes that were included in an “omnibus amendment.”  Some of the amendments were similar to those added to SB235, and were also vetoed by the governor.
  • HB410 (Rezabek, Hayes) Habitual and Chronic Truancy-National Guard Scholarship:  Governor Kasich signed this bill into law on January 4, 2017.  The law mandates new reporting requirements for school districts when students are truant, and requires some schools to create absence intervention teams and plans for truant students to increase school attendance.
  • HB438 (Patterson) Public Education Week-Organ Donation Curriculum:  Governor Kasich signed this bill into law on January 4, 2017.  The law designates the week prior to week of Thanksgiving Day as “Ohio Public Education Appreciation Week.”  The law also requires the health curricula to include information about organ donation; changes the formula used by the Ohio School Facilities Commission to calculate state contributions for school construction projects to benefit school districts that have merged; provides an evaluation process for school counselors; and streamlines the bidding period for the sale of district school buildings.
  • SB3 (Hite, Faber) High Performing School Districts:  Governor Kasich signed the bill into law on December 15, 2016.

The law exempts about 18 “qualified” high-performing school districts from certain laws; reduces standardized testing time to no more than 2 percent of the school year with no more than 1 percent of the year spent on practice tests; permits school districts to contract with hospitals, health care professionals, and educational service centers for school health services; revises the competitive bidding threshold for school building and repair contracts; and requires the School Facilities Commission to develop a legislative proposal assisting high-performing school districts in purchasing technology, building expansion, and physical alterations to improve school safety or security.

Additional amendments require an unlicensed teacher to “register” with the Ohio Department of Education and pass a criminal background check; prohibit school districts from hiring unlicensed teachers that have committed felonies and sex crimes; change the effective date of the law to the 2017-18 school year; and specify that the duration of exemptions earned by qualified school districts is three years.

The following are just some of the unrelated amendments also included in the law:

  • Incorporates three other bills:  HB487 (Roegner) Seal of Biliteracy, HB441 (McColley) Allow Private School Students to Play Sports in School Districts, and HB416 (Schuring) Joint Self-Insurance Pools for Colleges and Universities
  • Exempts the Nationwide Arena from property taxes.  The Columbus City Schools had already agreed to this provision, and will receive about $500,000 a year in lieu of the property taxes.
  • Provides the auditor with permissive authority for conducting performance audits of educational service centers
  • Gives priority to students to enroll in a charter school in which a parent also works, but limits enrollment to five percent of the total enrollment
  • Addresses errors in 2012-2014 affecting the Granville and Clearfork local schools
  • Allows career-tech students to take an ODE approved career-based math course in lieu of Algebra II
  • Specifies the proficiency scores on the Advanced Placement as a score of two and International Baccalaureate exams as a score of two or three, which can be substituted for end of course exams
  • Extends eligibility status for students currently receiving EdChoice scholarships through the 2018-2019 school year
  • Identifies the conditions for exemption from the statewide administration of the SAT or ACT
  • Requires school districts to notify students of advanced educational programs beginning in sixth grade rather than in eighth grade
  • Expands the grade levels in STEM schools to K-12
  • Requires the ODE to accept an industry-recognized credential as an acceptable measure of technical skill attainment
  • Specifies that exemptions from teacher license requirements do not apply to special education teachers
  • Changes the requirements of a school district superintendent regarding the high school diploma of students who are homeschooled
  • Modifies the law regarding the Bright New Leaders of Ohio nonprofit corporation
  • Modifies the definition of “immediate relatives” for membership on community school governing boards to include in-laws residing in the same household as the person serving on the governing authority.  Current law prohibits members of community school governing boards from being an owner, employee, or consultant of the community school’s sponsor or operator within the last year.
  • Allows boards of education to elect not to conduct an evaluation of a teacher who is participating in the teacher residency program
  • Prescribes components of a teacher residency program for career-technical teachers in the third and forth year of the program
  • Allows superintendents to permit a student enrolled in a nonpublic school to participate in an extracurricular activity under certain conditions
  • Changes membership requirements for Joint Vocational School Districts
  • Exempts certain students from college and career readiness assessments

 

NATIONAL NEWS

New Congress Takes Office:  The 115th Congress of the United States convened on January 3, 2017 in Washington, D.C.  The U.S. Senate membership includes 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats, while the U.S. House of Representatives includes 241 Republicans and 194 Democrats.

House and Senate Republican leaders have proposed an active agenda to start 2017, including the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), revising the U.S. tax code, and repealing many regulations enacted by the Obama administration associated with the environment and the banking industry.

The U.S. Senate will also be busy with confirmation hearings for President Elect Trump’s choices for cabinet positions and whoever is appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016.

President Obama will give his farewell address on January 10, 2017 in McCormick Place in Chicago.  President-Elect Trump will take the oath of office on January 20, 2017.

House Republicans Tackle Rule-Making: House Republicans approved last week two bills to overhaul the rule making process.

Republican lawmakers have long opposed certain regulations enacted by the Obama administration, including regulations about overtime, ESSA accountability requirements, changes in retirement account commissions, and blacklisting those who violate federal contracts. The two bills would take some rule-making authority away from the executive branch and make it easier to repeal regulations.

The Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2017 (H.R. 26) would require Congress to approved all new major regulations proposed by the executive branch of government.

The House also approved the Midnight Rules Relief Act, which would allow Congress to repeal any rules finalized in the last 60 days of a president’s term of office with a single vote.  Currently the Congressional Review Act allows Congress to overturn regulations one by one.

Both bills must be approved by the Senate and signed into law before they go into effect.

President Obama has said that he will veto the bills, but he probably won’t get a chance before President-Elect Trump takes office.  The President Elect supports the bills.

Republican leaders in the House and Senate have been especially outspoken in their opposition to the U.S. Department of Education’s efforts to formulate rules to implement “supplement, not supplant” (SNS) rules under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The “SNS” provision ensures that federal Title I funds are not used to replace state and local funds for education in schools serving low-income students.

The rules proposed by the U.S. Department of Education outline several formulas that school districts could use to show that they are not replacing state and local funds with federal funds.

But opponents of the rule, which include some national education organizations and Republican lawmakers, contend that the law prohibits the U.S. DOE from requiring local schools to demonstrate compliance beyond what the law already dictates.

The changes in the rule making process would address what Republic lawmakers consider to be “overreach” by the U.S. Department of Education under the Obama administration.

See http://edworkforce.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=401136

Hearings on Betsy DeVos Set for January 11, 2017: Senate confirmation hearings on President-Elect Donald Trump’s controversial candidate for U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, are scheduled to begin on January 11, 2017 in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, chaired by Senator Lamar Alexander. This is in spite of the fact that financial disclosure information and other background information for the candidate is incomplete.

Betsy DeVos is a billionaire Republican from Michigan, and until recently, was the chair of the American Federation for Children, a school choice advocacy group that worked to promote charter schools and vouchers in several states, including Ohio.

Several Democratic Senators, including Senators Tom Udall (NM), Ed Markey (MA), Bernie Sanders (VT), and Sherrod Brown (OH), have signed a letter asking DeVos to pay $5.3 million in fines that an organization that she formerly led, All Children Matter, Inc., owes Ohio, after the Ohio Elections Commission found it in violation of campaign finance laws in 2008.

See “Senate schedules confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, Turmp’s pick for education secretary,” by Emma Brown, The Washington Post, January 4, 2017 at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2017/01/04/senate-schedules-confirmation-hearing-for-betsy-devos-trumps-pick-for-education-secretary/?tid=hybrid_collaborative_2_na&utm_term=.b5d8f2d872d4#comments

 

STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION

The State Board of Education will meet on January 9, 2017 at the Ohio Department of Education, 25 S. Front Street in Columbus.

The first order of business of the 19-member board will be the swearing in of newly elected and appointed members.

The State Board includes 11 elected members and 8 members appointed by the governor.  The four year terms of both elected and appointed members are staggered.

The newly elected members include Linda Haycock from District 1; Lisa Woods from District 5; Antoinette Miranda from District 6; Nick Owens from District 10; and Meryl Johnson from District 11.

Members appointed by the governor include Charlotte McGuire of Centerville to replace A.J. Wagner, who resigned the District 3 seat in November 2016; Eric Poklar from Worthington to replace Melanie Bolender; and Martha Manchester of Lakeview to replace Frank Pettigrew. Both Bolender and Petigrew were eligible for reappointment.  The governor also reappointed Rebecca Vazquez-Skillings of Westerville to the board.

See http://www.governor.ohio.gov/MediaRoom/PressReleases/TabId/200/ArticleId/594/language/en-US/kasich-announces-appointments-to-state-boards-and-committee.aspx

The governor also is expected to replace C. Todd Jones, an appointed member whose term expired on December 31, 2016.  According to The Columbus Dispatch, Jones can continue to serve on the Board until his replacement is named.  (See “Kasich names incumbent, 3 new members to state education board,” by Catherine Candisky, The Columbus Dispatch, January 7, 2017 at https://www.pressreader.com/usa/the-columbus-dispatch/20170107/281784218774298)

The Board will also elect new leadership.  Tim Gunlock, who has served as president for the past two years, said recently that he will not run for the position this year.  The current vice president is Tess Elshoff.

The Board will also receive updates from Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria about the Ohio Leadership Advisory Council (OLAC), the revised math and English language arts standards, graduation requirements, and establishing an Ohio Post-secondary Credential Attainment Goal.

During its business meeting, the State Board will take action on the following resolutions:

#4 Approve a Resolution to Adopt Updated Rule 3301-102-07 of the Administrative Code Regarding Revocation of Sponsorship Authority.

#14 Approve a Resolution to Allow the Indian Hill Exempted Village School District Board of Education’s Payment in Lieu of Transportation of Certain Students Attending Miami Valley Christian Academy, The Seven Hills School, The Springer School and Center, St. Ursula Villa School, and Summit Country Day School in Hamilton, County, Ohio.

#15 Approve a Resolution of Intent to Approve Changes to Sections (F) and (G) of the Board’s Policies and Procedure Manual.

#16 Approve a Resolution to Adopt a Framework for the Overall Grade for the Career-Technical Education Report Card.

#17 Approve a Resolution of Intent to Refer the Jonathon Alder Local School District’s Determination of Impractical Transportation of Certain Students attending St. Brigid of Kildare School in Franklin County, Ohio to a Hearing Officer.

OHIO NEWS

Ohio’s ESSA Plan: The Ohio Department of Education is expected to release soon a summary of a proposed plan to implement the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.  The summary will be followed by a more detailed draft plan to be released in February 2017, which will be open for public comment.  The deadline to submit Ohio’s ESSA plan to the U.S. Department of Education has been extended to April 3, 2017.  The plan is still expected to go into effect for the 2017-18 school year.

See http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Every-Student-Succeeds-Act-ESSA

Survey Deadline January 9, 2017: The Ohio Department of Education’s survey regarding the update of Ohio’s Learning Standards in science, social studies, and financial literacy closes on Monday, January 9, 2017 at midnight.  The survey is the first step in a process to gather initial feedback about the current standards.  The comments will be used by advisory groups and work groups of teachers and other educators to revise the standards over the next year.  The survey is available at http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Ohios-Learning-Standards/Standard-Revision-Overview/Standards-Revision-in-Science-Social-Studies-and-F

Local Governments Lose $1 Billion: Policy Matters Ohio released on January 3, 2017 a new study about state funding cuts to local governments over the past seven years.

According to the report entitled State Cuts Sting Ohio Localities by Wendy Patton, compared to 2010, local governments in Ohio have lost $1.176 billion in revenue adjusted for inflation.

Local governments include counties, municipalities, and townships.

The loss in revenue is due to state policy decisions, including the elimination of the estate tax, ending reimbursements for the loss of tangible personal property tax revenue, and a 50 percent cut in the state-funded Local Government Fund.

As a result, local governments have had to cut programs and services in their communities.  According to the report, “The cuts have slowed recovery in communities hit by the foreclosure crisis, shuttered recreation centers in others, eroded human services like Meals on Wheels and children’s services, caused hikes in fees for services from trash pickup to swimming pools, driven privatization of critical services and left local officials with diminished ability to maintain streets and roads.”

The report also notes that other funding sources, such as casinos and the Medicaid provider tax, have not produced enough revenue to replace the lost revenue for some local governments.

Policy Matters recommends restoring the Local Government Fund, because local governments are facing new challenges, including a statewide drug epidemic; changes in the Medicaid provider tax, which will reduce sales tax revenue; increased costs for maintaining infrastructure; and municipal tax revisions.

The report also recommends the following:

  • Retain the Managed Care Organization (MCO) tax or replace lost revenues to counties and transit.
  • Increase spending for public transit.
  • Restore the estate tax on estates worth over a million dollars.
  • Increase the state share of health and human services costs, children’s services, community mental health and addiction treatments.

See http://www.policymattersohio.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Local-Gov-1-3-2017-2.pdf

 

REPORTS

Education Week Releases Annual State Education Report: The annual Education Week report which rates state education systems was released on January 4, 2017.

This year the report is entitled, Quality Counts 2017:  Under Construction–Building, and includes overall summative grades for state education systems using a 100 point scale based on scores in three categories:  Chance for Success Index, School Finance, and K-12 Achievement Index.

This year’s report also features articles on how states plan to implement the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in the 2017-18 school year. The report examines some of the decisions that some states have already made about their ESSA plans, including how states will determine school quality or student success beyond test scores, and the capacity of states to implement the new law.

According to the report, the nation’s state education systems earned this year an average score of 74.2 points (C) out of a total of 100 points.  This score is similar to the national average last year of 74.4 points.

The state systems earning the highest scores are Massachusetts (86.5 – B), followed by New Jersey (85.6 – B), Vermont (83.8 – B), New Hampshire (83.4 – B), Maryland (82.8 – B), and Connecticut (82.7 – B).

The state systems earning the lowest scores are New Mexico (66.3 – D), Mississippi (65.8 – D), and Nevada (65 – D).

Most states (34) earned a C ranking, including Ohio.

The report also grades states in the three categories, and provides updated information in two of the categories, the Chance for Success Index and School Finance:

Chance for Success Index:  Massachusetts and New Hampshire earned an A- on the Chance for Success Index, which is based on 13 indicators that measure role of education in promoting positive outcomes for students throughout their lives.  The nation earned an average C- in this category.

School Finance:  Scores for state School Finance systems were updated based on 2014 data.  This category examines state spending on education and equity in funding across districts based on 8 indicators.  Overall the nation earned a C, which has not changed in over 7 years.  Wyoming earned the highest score of A-, while New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Maryland all earned a B+.  The state with the lowest average score was Idaho, with an F, but 24 other states also earned an “F” in the spending category.  The nation’s average per pupil spending is $12,156 after adjusting for regional differences.  Vermont spends the most at $19,654 per student.

K-12 Achievement Index:  The K-12 Achievement Index was last updated in 2016 based on scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).  It includes 18 indicators about student academic achievement, improvement, and poverty-based gaps.  The national average was a C-. Massachusetts earned a B and New Jersey earned a B-,  Most other states earned less than a C+ in this category.

Status of Ohio’s School System:  Ohio’s state school system earned 74.2 points for an overall “C” rating, and placed 22nd among the states and the District of Columbia.

Ohio’s school system was ranked 23rd last year, but had scored 5th in the nation in 2010.

Ohio earned a C+ (78.1) on the Chance for Success Index; a C (73.8) on the School Finance analysis; and a C- (70.7) for K-12 Achievement.

See http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2017/01/04/nations-schools-get-middling-grade-on-quality.html?intc=EW-QC17-AP

 

FYI ARTS

Symposium on ESSA:  The Arts Education Partnership, Americans for the Arts, the Education Commission of the States, and the Kennedy Center will host a State Policy Symposium on March 18, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

The symposium will provide an opportunity for arts education advocates to discuss implementation strategies for the Every Student Succeeds Act to maximize the law’s intent to ensure that students have access to a quality, well-rounded education, that includes the arts!

Registration for the symposium opens on January 11, 2017.  For more information see http://www.aep-arts.org/events/aepsps17/.


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).

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Arts on Line Education Update December 12, 2016

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
Joan Platz
December 12, 2016

 

 

131st GENERAL ASSEMBLY

The Ohio House and Senate have not officially adjourned “sine die” the 131st General Assembly, but have not scheduled sessions this week. There might be a chance that Governor Kasich vetoes one or more bills passed last week by the House and Senate, and lawmakers want to make sure that they can re-convene to over-ride any veto.

A few committees are meeting, including the Joint Education Oversight Committee, which will meet on December 15, 2016, at 9:00 AM in the South Hearing Room.  The committee will receive presentations about school transportation and teacher preparation programs in Southeast Ohio.

Legislative Update:  The Ohio House and Senate completed work on a number of bills that run the gamut from abortion restrictions to unemployment compensation, and sent them off to Governor Kasich to sign. In fact Christmas arrived early for some lobbyists, as lawmakers added controversial provisions to bills already passed by one chamber, speeding-up the legislative process.

The number of significant changes in education law, relating to teacher licensing, suspensions, truancy, graduation requirement, and assessments, will take time to register, and will require school districts and schools to make significant changes in how they operate.

The following is a summary of some of the education-related bills that were approved and have been sent to the governor to sign into law.

-Sub. HB493 (Sears, Ryan) Child Abuse Legislation:  The original bill would clarify the role of a health-care professional in reporting child abuse or neglect.

With little warning this bill was amended on the floor of the Senate to include the controversial “heartbeat” bill, HB69 (Hagen, Hood), which would prohibit abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which occurs around the 6th week of pregnancy.

After heated procedural challenges were found out of order by Senate President Keith Faber, the Senate approved the bill with all Democrats and three Republican Senators, Gayle Manning, Bill Seitz, and Bill Coley, voting against it.

Later the Ohio House concurred with the Senate amendments, and the bill was sent to Governor Kasich to sign.

House and Senate lawmakers have been debating bills that include this provision for years, but Democratic lawmakers were surprised when a heartbeat bill was amended into a bill with a completely different subject. Similar laws restricting abortion have been struck down in other states as unconstitutional.   But Ohio Republicans were emboldened by the election of Donald Trump, who as president will appoint the next member of the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Republicans hope that a more conservative court will overturn Roe v. Wade, and make abortion a state by state decision.

Opponents of the heartbeat provision are urging Governor Kasich to veto it, saying that it will cost the state millions to defend it in the courts.  The bill includes an appropriation, so the governor could use a “line-item” veto to eliminate this provision.

-Sub. SB235 (Beagle, Coley) Industrial/Commercial development-tax exemption:  The House Finance Committee decorated this bill like a Christmas tree, including a variety of amendments “associated” with “tax policy.”

The bill was already controversial, and was opposed by most statewide education organizations, because of its potential impact on the ability of local school districts to raise local revenue.

The original bill would allow local government authorities to grant a temporary tax exemption for land planned for industrial or commercial development, thus freezing the value of the property, and preventing taxing authorities, such as school districts, from receiving increased revenue as the property value increased.

The House Finance Committee amended the bill to clarify that the development property has to be part of an existing tax increment financing district (TIF), and that authorities considering taking advantage of this provision must notify boards of education and other local government agencies of their intent.

The committee also adopted an “omnibus amendment” that included a variety of unrelated provisions dealing with pawnbrokers; wandering chickens; oversight of rock wall climbing facilities; tax exemptions on digital jukebox downloads, TV series productions, oil and gas production, and small business investment companies; hospital board meetings using telecommunications; water and sewer development in Stark County, and more.

The committee also amended the bill to include changes in the unemployment compensation fund (UCF).  The changes were negotiated among lawmakers after opponents halted action on HB620 (Schuring) Unemployment Compensation Fund Reform.

The compromise amendment provides a temporary solution to improve the solvency of the UCF until April 1, 2016, when lawmakers and labor and business leaders agreed to work out a permanent solvency plan.

The UCF amendment would freeze unemployment benefits for two years starting in 2018, and increase from $9000 to $9500 the employer taxable wage base.  Also repealed is an automatic tax increase on businesses that would go into effect if the state has to borrow from the federal government to cover unemployment benefits in the state, which happened during the last recession.

The Senate approved the House amendments on December 8, 2016, sending the bill to Governor Kasich to sign.

-Sub. HB410 (Rezabek, Hayes) Habitual and Chronic Truancy and Compulsory School Attendance. The bill mandates new reporting requirements for school districts when students are truant, and requires some schools to create absence intervention teams and plans for truant students to increase school attendance.

The bill was approved by the Ohio Senate after the Senate Education Committee added the following amendments:

-Exempts school districts and schools with rates of chronically absent students 5 percent or less;

-Prohibits student suspensions from being carried over the summer;

-Permits districts to allow students to make-up courses as a result of suspensions;

-Changes the effective date of the law;

-Creates a pilot project for intervention teams;

-Requires schools to create tiered discipline models; and

-Changes a deadline for an attendance officer to file truancy complaints with the courts.

The House concurred with the amendments, sending the bill to the governor to sign into law.

-Am. HB438 (Patterson) Public Education Appreciation Week: The original bill would designate the week prior to week of Thanksgiving Day as “Ohio Public Education Appreciation Week.”

The Senate Education Committee added two unrelated bills, HB137 (Grossman, Phillips) and HB148 (Patterson, LaTourette).

HB137 would require health curricula to include information on organ donation.

HB148 would change the formula used by the Ohio School Facilities Commission to calculate state contributions for school construction projects to benefit school districts that have merged.

The committee also accepted two other amendments. One would provide an evaluation process for school counselors, and the other amendment would streamline the bidding period for the sale of district school buildings.

The House concurred with the amendments, sending the bill to Governor Kasich to sign.

-Am. SB3 (Hite, Faber) High Performing School Districts:  The House Education Committee added several amendments to this bill before it was approved by the full House and Senate, and sent on to Governor Kasich to sign.

The original bill would exempt about 18 “qualified” high-performing school districts from certain laws.

“Qualified” school districts are defined as those that meet the following criteria:

-Earn at least 85 percent of total possible points on the performance index score;

-Earn a grade of “A” for performance indicators met;

-Demonstrate a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate of at least 93 percent; and -Demonstrate a five-year adjusted cohort graduation rate of at least 95 percent.

The bill exempts these school districts from meeting the state’s maximum class-size ratio of 25 students-per-teacher across a district; exempts them from meeting teacher requirements under the third-grade reading guarantee; and exempts them from laws that affect teacher licenses:

-Section 3302.16 (A)(4) exempts high performing school districts from requiring teachers to be licensed specifically in the subject area or grade level in which they are teaching.

-Section §3302.16 (B) (1) allows the superintendent of a high performing school district, with board approval, to employ an individual “who is not licensed as required by sections 3319.22 to 3319.30 of the Revised Code, but who is otherwise qualified based on experience, to teach classes in the district.”

The original bill also reduces standardized testing time to no more than 2 percent of the school year with no more than 1 percent of the year spent on practice tests; permits school districts to contract with hospitals, health care professionals, and educational service centers for school health services; revises the competitive bidding threshold for school building and repair contracts; and requires the School Facilities Commission to develop a legislative proposal assisting high-performing school districts in purchasing technology, building expansion, and physical alterations to improve school safety or security.

Additional amendments to the bill require an unlicensed teacher to “register” with the Ohio Department of Education and pass a criminal background check; prohibit school districts from hiring unlicensed teachers that have committed felonies and sex crimes; change the effective date of the law to the 2017-18 school year; and specify that the duration of exemptions earned by qualified school districts is three years.

The following are just some of the unrelated amendments added to the bill:

-Incorporates three other bills into SB3:  HB487 (Roegner) Seal of Biliteracy, HB441 (McColley) Allow Private School Students to Play Sports in School Districts, and HB416 (Schuring) Joint Self-Insurance Pools for Colleges and Universities

-Exempts the Nationwide Arena from property taxes.  The Columbus City Schools had already agreed to this provision, and will receive about $500,000 a year in lieu of the property taxes.

-Provides the auditor with permissive authority for conducting performance audits of educational service centers

-Gives priority to students to enroll in a charter school in which a parent also works, but limits enrollment to five percent of the total enrollment

-Addresses errors in 2012-2014 affecting the Granville and Clearfork local schools

-Allows career-tech students to take an ODE approved career-based math course in lieu of Algebra II

-Specifies the proficiency scores on the Advanced Placement as a score of two and International Baccalaureate exams as a score of two or three, which can be substituted for end of course exams

-Extends eligibility status for students currently receiving EdChoice scholarships through the 2018-2019 school year

-Identifies the conditions for exemption from the statewide administration of the SAT or ACT

-Requires school districts to notify students of advanced educational programs beginning in sixth grade rather than in eighth grade

-Expands the grade levels in STEM schools to K-12

-Requires the ODE to accept an industry-recognized credential as an acceptable measure of technical skill attainment

-Specifies that exemptions from teacher license requirements do not apply to special education teachers

-Changes the requirements of a school district superintendent regarding the high school diploma of students who are homeschooled

-Modifies the law regarding the Bright New Leaders of Ohio nonprofit corporation

-Modifies the definition of “immediate relatives” for membership on community school governing boards to include in-laws residing in the same household as the person serving on the governing authority.  Current law prohibits members of community school governing boards from being an owner, employee, or consultant of the community school’s sponsor or operator within the last year.

-Allows boards of education to elect not to conduct an evaluation of a teacher who is participating in the teacher residency program

-Prescribes components of a teacher residency program for career-technical teachers in the third and forth year of the program

-Allows superintendents to permit a student enrolled in a nonpublic school to participate in an extracurricular activity under certain conditions

-Changes membership requirements for Joint Vocational School Districts

-Exempts certain students from college and career readiness assessments

-HB384 (Schaffer, Duffey) Performance Audits Higher Education Institutions:  The Senate Finance Committee on December 6, 2016 approved several amendments to HB384, which would allow higher education institutions to undergo performance audits by the state auditor’s office. The bill also includes a series of tax law changes that were included in an “omnibus amendment.”  Some of the amendments were similar to those added to SB235.

The House concurred with the Senate amendments, sending the bill to the governor to sign.

See the text and status of the bills at the Ohio Legislative Service Commissions’ website at http://www.lsc.ohio.gov

See “Chickens, climbing walls loaded into Ohio legislators’ lame-duck “Christmas tree’ bill,”by Jim Siegel, The Columbus Dispatch, December 7, 2016 at http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2016/12/07/chickens-climbing-walls-loaded-into-christmas-tree-bill.html

See “Temporary fix for jobless fund rolled out, many questions remain,” by Catherine Candisky, The Columbus Dispatch, December 6, 2016 at http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2016/12/05/jobless-fund-bill-on-shaky-ground.html

 

 

STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION

The State Board of Education, Tom Gunlock president, will meet on December 12 & 13, 2016 at the Ohio Department of Education, 25 South Front Street, Columbus, OH.

This will be the final meeting for seven board members, whose terms end on December 31, 2016.  They include elected board members A.J. Wagner, who recently resigned; Ann Jacobs, Mary Rose Oakar, and Mike Collins, who are term-limited; Ron Rudduck, who did not seek a second term; and Roslyn Painter-Goffi, who lost her bid for re-election.  The term of C. Todd Jones, an appointed member to the board, will also end on December 31, 2016.

The terms of Rebecca Vazquez-Skillings, Melanie Bolender, and Frank Pettigrew expire on December 31, 2016, but they are eligible for reappointment by Governor Kasich.

On Monday, December 12, 2016 the committee meetings will start at 8:00 AM and run consecutively, breaking for lunch and resuming at 1:00 PM.

There will be a Chapter 119 hearing on Ohio Administrative Code Rule 3301-16-02:  Criteria for Awarding the Diploma with Honors, followed by an Executive Committee meeting to discuss the professional development recommendations.

The Urban & Rural Renewal Committee and the Accountability Committee will meet at the same time, followed by the Achievement Committee and the Capacity Committee.

The Urban and Rural Renewal Committee, chaired by Mary Rose Oakar, will discuss the ESSA stakeholder summary, which was presented to the board last month.

The Accountability Committee, chaired by Melanie Bolender, will discuss and approve the overall grade calculation for the Career-Technical Report Card.

The Achievement Committee, chaired by Rebecca Vazquez-Skilling, will discuss exemptions for students with limited English proficiency.

The Capacity Committee, chaired by Frank Pettigrew, will discuss OAC Rule 3301-102-07, Revocation of Community School Sponsorship Authority, and receive a presentation about Teach for America.

The State Board will convene its business meeting at 1:00 PM and receive three presentations. Dr. Joseph Keferi, Dean, College of Education and Human Services, Wright State University, will discuss the Pax Good Behavior Game; Montgomery County ESC officials will discuss data; and the committee will receive an overview of the Gifted Education rules, OAC 3301-51-15.

The board will then move into Executive Session and adjourn when finished.

On Tuesday, December 13, 2016 the Standards & Graduation Requirements Committee, chaired by C. Todd Jones, will meet at 8:00 AM and review an update of the English language arts and math standards.

The committee will also discuss a proposal to temporarily ease Ohio’s new high school graduation requirements, offered last month by SBE Vice President Tess Elshoff.  The proposal would require students in the Class of 2018 to earn 15 points on end of course exams.  The number of end of course test points required to graduate would increase by one point each year until it reached 18 in 2022. The requirement that the points be earned in different subjects would be waived until 2022.

The proposal was developed in response to reports from superintendents and educators about the number of high school students who are not on track to graduate, because of the stricter requirements.  According to the ODE’s own preliminary analysis, 29 percent of 11th grade students are not on track to graduate in 2018.

The graduation standards for the Class of 2018 and beyond were approved by the legislature in 2014.  In addition to meeting certain course requirements in law, Ohio students in the Class of 2018 can earn a high school diploma in the following three ways:

1) Earn 18 points on 7 end of course exams in English I and English II; algebra I and geometry or integrated math I and II; biology; and American history and American government. Students must earn a minimum of four points in math, four points in English, and six points across science and social studies.

Students studying Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses in biology, American history, or American government can substitute test scores in these subjects for end of course state exams.  Students also may substitute grades from College Credit Plus courses in science and social studies subjects for end of course state exams.

2) Earn a “remediation-free” score on a college entrance exam, such as the ACT or the SAT, in English language arts and mathematics.

3) Earn an industry credential and workforce readiness certificate.  Students are required to earn 12 points through a State Board of Education approved industry-recognized credential or group of credentials in a single career field, and achieve a workforce readiness score on the WorkKeys assessment.

Following the Standards and Graduation Requirements Committee meeting the board will reconvene its business meeting, which includes public participation on voting items; voting on the report and recommendations of the Superintendent of Public Instruction; public participation on non-agenda items; old business; and new business.  The board will then adjourn.

Report and Recommendations of the Superintendent of Public Instruction:

1)  Approve a Resolution to Rescind Rule 3301-40-01 through 3301-40-02 and 3301-40-06 of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC); to Amend Rules 3301-40-03 and 3301-40-05; and to Make No Change to Rules 3301-40-04 and 3301-40-07, Entitled Nonpublic Schools Administrative Cost Reimbursement.

2)  Approve a Resolution to Rescind Existing Rule and Adopt New OAC Rule 3301-51-15, Entitled Operating Standards for Identifying and Serving Students Who Are Gifted.

3)  Approve a Resolution to Adopt Updated Rules 3301-102-02 through 3301-102-05 of the OAC Regarding Community Schools.

4)  Approve a Resolution to Rescind OAC Rule 3301-102-08 and File New OAC Rule  3301-102-08, Entitled Standards for Measuring Sponsor Compliance with Applicable Laws and Rules.

12) Approve a Resolution to Confirm the Recommendations of the Hearing Officer and to Approve the Transfer of School District Territory from the Benjamin Local School District, Logan County to the Triad Local School District, Champaign County, Pursuant to Section 3311.24 of the Ohio Revised Code, but not until such time as the Territory Boundaries are Re-configured to Conform with Existing Property/Parcel Boundaries and that a Map of the Territory is Resubmitted Clearly Delineating the Property/Parcels Encompassed within the Territory.

See http://education.ohio.gov/State-Board/State-Board-Meetings

 

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Government Shutdown Averted: The U.S. House and Senate agreed on December 9, 2016 to a continuing resolution to keep the government running until April 28, 2017.  The measure also authorizes water projects, and includes provisions to extend health insurance to retired coal miners for four months.

Senate Democrats led by West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, and Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, hoped to find a permanent solution for more than 23,000 retired and active coal miners, who could lose health benefits in the next few months.  The coal miners had worked for mining companies that have since gone bankrupt, or are out of coal-mining business, and their health care plans are running out of money. Coal miners were guaranteed lifetime health and retirement benefits under President Harry S. Truman in 1946.

The continuing resolution also includes a provision that exempts retired General James Mattis, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for secretary of defense, from a law that requires that former members of the military wait seven years after they leave the military before being hired to work in another government post.

See “Senate approves spending bill minutes before deadline, averting government shutdown, by Kelsey Snell, The Washington Post, December 9, 2016 at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/12/09/red-state-democrats-flirt-with-a-brief-government-shutdown-over-coal-miners-healthcare/?utm_term=.150d0c129df4

SSAE Webinars Offered: The U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE) is offering the following series of webinars for school and district leaders who want to take advantage of the Every Student Succeeds Act’s (ESSA) Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) Grant program under Title IV:

-January 12, 2017: Overview of the Department of Education Non-Regulatory Guidance: Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) Grants

-January 26, 2017: The role of state educational agencies, local application requirements, and implementing effective SSAE program activities

-February 9, 2017: Allowable activities to support well-rounded educational opportunities, safe and healthy students, and the effective use of technology.

The purpose of the Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) program, which is authorized under subpart 1 of Title IV, Part A of ESSA, is to increase the capacity of State educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), schools, and local communities to: provide all students with access to a well-rounded education; improve school conditions for student learning, and improve the use of technology in order to improve the academic achievement and digital literacy of all students.

In October 2016, the U.S. DOE released non-regulatory guidance for SSAE, which provides key information about the provisions of the new SSAE program, including a discussion on the allowable use of funds, role of the SEA, fiscal responsibilities, and the local application requirements.

The Webinar series will share information from the Non-Regulatory Guidance.

All webinars will be held from 2:00 to 3:30 PM eastern time.

Recordings and slides of each Webinar will be posted within a week of the event, and the responses to questions will be posted as soon as possible.

See https://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/resources/essa-title-iv-part-A-SSAE-non-regulatory-guidance-webinar-series

 

 

OHIO NEWS

State Revenue Down in Ohio: Governor John Kasich addressed the Ohio House on December 6, 2016 and reported that the state was “on the verge of a recession.”

A combination of lower than estimated tax revenue and the loss of $1.5 billion in sales tax revenue from Medicaid managed care organizations, could lead to an austere FY2018-19 state budget.

The General Revenue Fund has been running below estimates by 2.8 percent or $259 million so far this year.

The downward trend is a concern for state leaders in the long term, although the state has resources to balance the budget this fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2016.

The Akron Beacon Journal responded to the governor’s projection in an editorial on December 11, 2016.  In it the newspaper cites that the National Association for Business Economics predicts growth in the national economy at least until 2018.  Ohio’s recent economic growth has been steady, but slower than the national average.

The newspaper offers another reason why tax revenue is below estimates.  The General Assembly under Republican control and the Kasich administration have reduced tax rates by “roughly one-third” over the past six years.  The amount of revenue foregone by tax cuts is about $3 billion per year.

According to the article, “A fraction of that sum would cover the current shortfall in revenue. Reduce the tax reductions by half, and the state would have more resources available to invest in the foundation of a strong economy–in early education, in more affordable college tuition rates, in local services and learning in poor rural and urban classrooms.”

The article asks “What is the governor admitting?” and suggests that perhaps lawmakers and the governor have “cut taxes too much.”

See “They cut taxes and now a recession?  The governor projects a recession for the state,” by the Beacon Journal Editorial Board, The Akron Beacon Journal, December 11, 2016 at http://www.ohio.com/editorial/editorials/they-cut-taxes-and-now-a-recession-1.732897

The Ohio Department of Education App: The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) announced on December 6, 2016 a new app to navigate the ODE’s web site.

The app provides access to ODE resources including report card information, updates and notifications, and can contact schools directly.

The app is available free of charge from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store by searching for “Ohio Department of Education.”

 

 

FYI ART

Plan to Participate in the Vans Custom Culture Contest: The Vans Custom Culture shoe design contest was created to “inspire and empower high school students to embrace their creativity through art and design and to bring attention to diminishing arts education budgets.”

Students in participating schools create a customized design on a pair of blank Vans Shoes based on a specific theme, and submit their designs between March 1 and April 10, 2017.

Fifty designs are selected to compete for the top five school designs, which are selected by the voting public, and go on to compete in the final event.

The schools with the top five designs are invited to a judging in Los Angeles on June 5-8, 2017, when the school selected with the top design will win $50,000 for its art program.

Registration for the 2017 Vans Custom Culture Contest begins on January 3, 2017 and runs through February 10, 2017. Designs must be submitted between April 26 – May 10, 2017.

See http://sites.vans.com/customculture/


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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