welcomes you to view the photographs entered in the 2013 Discover Parenting
Exhibit on display at the Riffe Center for Government
and the Arts, in the Statehouse complex in Columbus, May 9 through early
for Discover Parenting winning entries/prizes soon.
week, the 2012 Discover Parenting Exhibit and selected entries from past years
were on display at the Early Childhood Education Conference (ECE) at the
Columbus Convention Center April 25 – 27.
Included in this E-Update:
This is a special edition focused on the Ohio
Education Budget and issues of education in Ohio and the U.S. and selected
notes on other topics.
Watch for our updated listing of events and resources to be emailed next
Ohio News; and which school districts are under
academic distress; This Week at the Ohio
Budget Bill Hearings; Transportation
Budget Signed by Governor Kasich in April;
HB59 Omnibus Amendment detail
ODE Regional Meetings: The Ohio Department of Education is hosting a series
of regional meetings on recent changes for K-12 education.
School Funding Formula Changes including Career
State Board of Education - Notes from April Meeting
including news that FCCLA (FCS) students presented;
Ohio Media Report School Funding Decreases vs. Charter
School Increases – Plain Dealer, Beacon Journal
National Scene – Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s testimony and notes
on President’s education budget including the reauthorization of Carl Perkins
funding; more information on closing the “opportunity to learn” gaps in
education; addressing education reforms that are not working; The debate on
Common core Standards; Bill Gates remarks regarding Teacher Evaluation.
You may use the links included in most articles to
reach the original articles, register for information, and more complete details
on each topic.
Cindy McKay Executive
Director, USEP-OHIO, Inc.
General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate will hold sessions and hearings
Passes FY14-15 Budget: The Ohio House approved on April 18, 2013 Sub. HB59, the
FY14-15 budget introduced by Governor Kasich in February 2013 (Executive
Budget). The vote was 61 to 35.
The House approved budget includes General Revenue Fund (GRF) totals of $61.45
billion for the biennium, which is $1.7 billion less than the Executive Budget.
The House approved All Funds budget is $120.2 billion for the biennium, which
is also less than the Executive Budget.
After weeks of hearings and debate, a majority of House members agreed on
changes to HB59 that removed or reduced funding for some of the Governor's
priorities, including Medicaid expansion, increases in the severance tax on oil
and gas drilling, a 20 percent reduction in the income tax, reductions in
income taxes for small businesses, increases in the state's sales tax, a new
school funding formula based on property valuation, and more.
But, House leaders also pledged to continue talks about Medicaid and tax reform
as the Senate worked on the budget and during the remainder of this session. The
substitute version of HB59 included a seven percent across the board reduction
in the state's income tax, and members unanimously accepted a floor amendment
that states the House's intent to take action on a Medicaid plan through
separate legislation in the future.
In another floor amendment the House removed a controversial provision
(inserted by the House Finance and Appropriations Committee) that further
restricted sex education course content and allowed schools to be subject to a
$5000 penalty if found guilty of straying from abstinence only pedagogy. The
amendment also eliminated a provision that called for the alignment of an Ohio
Department of Education expenditure plan to increase broadband capacity for
schools with the time line for implementing assessments aligned to the Common
Core State Standards.
The Ohio Senate has already started hearings on the HB59, receiving testimony
last week from representatives of the governor's office, the Office of Budget
and Management, and the Legislative Services Commission. The Senate Primary
& Secondary Subcommittee, chaired by Senator Randy Gardner, is receiving
testimony from state agencies this week, and will receive public testimony on
the education budget the week of April 29, 2013.
More details about HB59 are included below.
Primary on May 7, 2013: Not all Ohio
counties will have issues or candidates on the May 7, 2013 Primary/Special
Election this year. According to the Secretary of State's web site 33 counties
will hold special and primary elections; 38 counties will hold special
elections; and three counties will hold only primary elections. There are a
total of 351 local issues on the ballot in 71 counties, and 138 of those are
school issues. A list of the school issues on the ballot is available.
New Chancellor Appointed: Governor
Kasich appointed on April 24, 2013 former state legislator John Carey as
Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents. The position has been temporarily
filled by Interim Chancellor Stephanie Davidson after Jim Petro resigned as
chancellor in February 2013. The newly appointed chancellor is from Wellston,
OH, and is currently an assistant to the president of Shawnee State University.
He will take office on April 29, 2013. The appointment must be confirmed by the
Credit Transfers Made Easier: The
Ohio Board of Regents announced last week that it had created a web site to
provide information to students about transferring credits within the
University System of Ohio. The new web site will inform students about how to
transfer educational courses/programs credits within the University System of
Ohio earned at other institutes, such as high schools, career-tech centers,
two-year or four-year colleges or universities, and the military. This
initiative is part of an overall campaign called "Transfer to Degree
Guarantee" to help traditional and nontraditional students earn degrees
from Ohio's institutions of higher education. The web site is available.
More Ohio News
Representative Szollosi to Leave the House: Representative Matt Szollosi (D-Oregon) announced last week that he will resign
his 46th House District seat to become executive director of Affiliated
Construction Trades of Ohio. No time was set for his departure.
Two More Districts Under Academic Distress: The Department of Education this
week granted the Cleveland Metropolitan School District's request to waive the
formation of an Academic Distress Commission, but instituted a commission for
the Lorain City Schools. The Youngstown City School District has been under an
academic distress commission since January 2010.
Both school districts, Cleveland and Lorain, are subject to state intervention,
because they have received an "academic emergency" rating by the
state for three or more consecutive years, and have failed to meet the adequate
yearly progress measure for four or more consecutive years.
According to Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Richard Ross, Cleveland
was granted a waiver from forming an academic distress commission, because it
is implementing the "Cleveland Plan", which was developed by
stakeholders in Cleveland to improve student achievement, and was included in
law, 129-HB525. Forming another commission would be redundant. The Cleveland
school district must also report to the governor and the legislature by
November 15, 2017 the school district's progress in raising student
Superintendent Ross appointed last week three members of the Academic Distress
Commission for the Lorain City Schools. The commission will include William Zelei from the Ohio Schools Council, Cathy Dietlin, retired
educator and Executive Director of REACHigher Lorain,
and Rosa Rivera-Hainaj, Lorain County Community College
Dean of Science and Math. Timothy Williams, president of the Lorain board of
education, also appointed Raul Ramos and Henry Patterson Jr. to the commission.
This Week at the Ohio Statehouse
May 1, 2013
Finance Committee Education Subcommittee, chaired by Senator Randy Gardner,
will meet at 10:00 AM in the South Hearing Room. The committee will receive
testimony on HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget from the
Ohio Education Association, the Ohio Federation of Teachers, the Ohio Arts
Council, the Ohio Educational Service Center Association, and the Ohio
Association for Gifted Children. The committee will also receive testimony
about College Credit Plus and Dual Enrollment.
The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Gerald Stebelton, will meet at 4:00 PM in hearing room 121. The
committee will receive testimony on two bills:
HB14 (Pelanda) School Records-Abused, Neglected,
Dependent Child. This bill would change the way school districts withhold or
transfer to another district or school the records of a child who is alleged or
adjudicated an abused, neglected, or dependent child.
HB127 (Adams) Career-Technical Education and Skilled Workforce Development
Month. This bill would designate the month of March as "Career-Technical
Education and Skilled Workforce Development Month."
Thursday, May 2, 2013
The Senate Finance Committee Education Subcommittee, chaired by Senator Randy
Gardner, will meet at 10:00 AM in the South Hearing Room. The committee will
receive testimony on HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget
from Auditor of State Dave Yost regarding school performance audits; the State
Library Board; and testimony about unfunded mandates, career technical schools,
career and vocational education, community schools, and non-public schools
Hearings in the Ohio Senate
state agencies, departments, and statewide organizations presented testimony to
several committees and subcommittees in the Ohio Senate about Sub. HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget, which was approved by the Ohio
House on April 18, 2013. The Senate has scheduled hearings on Sub. HB59
throughout May, with the intent of passing the bill the first week of June.
Senate President Keith Faber also announced last week that alternatives for
expanding Medicaid would not be included in the biennial budget. According to
Senator Faber, the Senate will work with the House to find an acceptable plan
that reforms Medicaid in a way that addresses the needs of Ohioans and achieves
the goals set by the General Assembly. Senate President Faber also announced
that the Senate will work to reform Ohio's tax structure, focusing on small
businesses, and will probably revise the House-passed formula for funding
The Senate Finance Committee Education Subcommittee, chaired by Senator Randy
Gardner, received testimony last week from State Superintendent Dick Ross and
Assistant Policy Director Barbara Mattei-Smith of the
Governor's Office of 21st Century Education. They answered questions about
Governor Kasich's proposed budget and policy changes for K-12 education
included in the Executive version of HB59 (Amstutz)
Biennial Budget, and noted concerns about House changes for the "Straight
A Fund"; requiring school districts to report average daily membership
each month; and providing parents with state per pupil transportation funds in
lieu of transportation provided by school districts.
Education Organizations Testify:
Representatives from the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA), the Buckeye
Association of School Administrators (BASA), and the Ohio Association of School
Business Officials (OASBO) also presented combined testimony regarding the
policy changes for K-12 education and the school funding formula in the
Executive version of HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget compared
to the House version of the budget.
According to the testimony, which was presented by Barbara Shaner from OASBO, the education organizations agree with the Kasich administration
that more resources above the basic level should be provided to school
districts to support Targeted Resources, students in poverty, early childhood
education, gifted education, special education, and students with Limited
English Proficiency. The education organizations also support the proposal in
the Executive Budget to provide state aid for transportation, supplemental
transportation, and career tech education outside of the state school funding
formula, so that school districts on the guarantee or subject to a
"cap" on increases in state funding, still receive increases in state
funds to support these vital components.
The organizations also support some of the changes made by the Ohio House to
the "Opportunity Aid" formula. These include implementing a per-pupil
base-aid funding component, even though the House per pupil levels in HB59 are
$5732 in FY14 and $5839 in FY15, which "date back to FY2009". The
education organizations also urged lawmakers to establish a mechanism to
determine the appropriate per pupil amount for the future. The organizations
also raised the following concerns about the House version of the bill:
Expansion of vouchers. The proposed
expansion of the EdChoice Scholarship Program based
on family income for students in Kindergarten and first grade, would provide
state funds for eligible students to attend eligible private schools, even
though the public school of residence could be an excellent school. The program
has the potential to expand to 12th grade and could cost the state millions of
additional dollars. Although the program will not be funded through transfers
from the public school district of residence, the program will still divert
millions of public dollars in excess lottery profit funds away from public
schools, with no accountability for how the money will be spent.
Expansion of vouchers. Another
voucher program created in the bill would allow students in grades K-3 in
schools not meeting the standards under the Third Grade Reading Guarantee/K-3
Literacy Component on the local report card to be eligible for a voucher to
attend a private school. Concerns were raised about students moving from public
schools, which are required to provide instruction to support the Third Grade
Reading Guarantee, to private schools, which are not required to conform to the
requirements of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.
ADM counts. This change would increase administration costs and could
destabilize funding for school districts and undermine their ability to plan
programs and services for students.
percent cap on state funding increases: The cap will not allow school districts
to benefit fully from the formula or compensate school districts for increases
in costs for fuel, supplies, utilities, and staff.
Charter school deductions: Increases
in state funding for school districts are capped in the new House formula, but
funding for charter schools, which is deducted from the state aid that school
districts receive, is not capped. This means that charter schools will receive
the full increase in state aid, and students who remain in the district will
receive less state aid per pupil than students attending charter schools.
Education Catastrophic Aid: Although the House version of HB59 reinstates the
current program for catastrophic special education aid, which reimburses
districts for some special education costs in excess of the categorical
amounts, only $40 million in each fiscal year is allocated for the program,
while the Ohio Department of Education estimates the costs to be in excess of
Districts Need State Aid: "With funding reductions to school districts
over the past two biennia, including reduction of TPP replacement funds and the
loss of federal stimulus funds that had replaced state funding dollars,
districts have found their budgets stretched dramatically. We are hopeful that
your interest in the development of a new school-funding plan will result in a
formula that will be stable and reliable in the future."
Analyses of School Funding Formula Presented: Dr. Howard Fleeter of the
Education Tax Policy Institute (ETPI) also testified, explaining the history of
school funding models used in Ohio over the past 25 years and the specific
components of the Executive and House versions of the education budget included
He also provided data to show why more lower wealth school districts are on the
"guarantee" for a greater amount of state funds under Governor
Kasich's budget proposal, called Opportunity Grants, when compared to the
Building Blocks formula under Governor Taft's administration. According to Dr.
Fleeter, "Because poorer districts receive a greater share of state aid,
they are most adversely affected by the switch to a funding formula that is
mathematically equivalent to a $732 reduction in the base cost. Similarly, the
LSC example also shows that wealthier districts benefit the most from the
effective reduction in the chargeoff from 23 to 20
During his report about the House changes to the school funding formula, Dr.
Fleeter states that many of the following features of the Executive Budget
proposal in HB59 for education were retained in the House version of the
budget, but were amended:
Core Opportunity Aid. This provision
is now based on $5,732 in FY14 and $5839 in FY15 per pupil with a modified
state share index based on both district property wealth and median income
determining the amount of state aid.
Targeted Assistance. This provision uses the same formula as proposed in
the Executive Budget, with the only modification being that the target millage
rate remains at 6 mills in FY15 (rather than increasing to 7 mills as
originally proposed). A second tier of targeted assistance funding based on the
percentage of agricultural property in the school district is also added.
Economically Disadvantaged Student Aid. This provision is modified. The per pupil amount is
lowered from $500 to $340 in FY14 and $343 in FY15.
Special Education Funding. This provision is based on the disability category
weights in current law, applied to the per pupil amount, but is funded at 90
percent. The State Share Index is the same as that for Core Opportunity Aid.
The 15 percent deduction in the Executive Budget for funding the catastrophic
cost fund is eliminated.
Limited English Proficient Funding. The House version is the same as the provision proposed
by the governor, except that funding for category 4 students is no longer
Early Childhood Access Funding. This program is replaced with a new program called
K-3 literacy funding. Rather than basing funding on $600 per pupil times the
early childhood access index, funding is $300 per pupil in FY14 (increasing to
$303 in FY15) for all pupils in grades K-3.
Gifted Program Funding. This program is changed to unit funding and $5 per
pupil is allocated for the identification of gifted students.
Career Technical Education Funding. State funding for career tech is now included as part
of the formula through a weighted pupil approach with the state share index
used to determine the level of state support for each district.
Transportation Funding. State support for transportation is now included as
part of the formula. House modifications to the transportation funding formula
simplify the calculation and base funding on the greater of per mile or per
rider costs for each district. A Transportation supplement for low wealth and
low population density districts has been added and is included in the
application of the guarantee and cap calculations.
Guarantees. Some districts will receive state aid based on FY13
funding, including Transportation and Career Tech funds. The number of
districts on the guarantee is cut by more than half and the cost is reduced by
75 percent as compared to the Administration proposal.
Gain Cap. Increases in state aid is limited to 6 percent from
FY13 funding levels compared to the 25 percent cap in Governor's budget. The
exemption of Core Opportunity Aid from the cap is eliminated. The provision
that the Gain cap is also based on 10 percent of district total state and local
resources is also eliminated.
According to the testimony, an analysis of the Executive school funding formula
compared to the House plan shows that the House funding formula provides $1.071
billion more for school districts than the Executive Budget in FY14, prior to
the application of the guarantee and the gain cap, and after being adjusted for
transportation and career tech education. However, after adjusting for the
guarantee and the gain cap, school districts lose overall $48.2 million in FY14
in the House version. In other words, what the House adds to school district
state aid through the House formula, is eliminated through the gain cap, also
included in the formula.
The new State Share Index, which
replaces the charge-off, is also discussed in the testimony. According to Dr.
Fleeter the State Share Index is based on a districts' relative property
valuation per pupil and its relative median income level. This produces a
variable millage charge-off for districts ranging from about 7 mills to about
23 mills. The charge-off in the past has ranged from 20 mills to 23 mills under
the Taft administration.
Testimony from all witnesses is available.
Budget Signed: Governor
Kasich signed on April 1, 2013 HB51 (McGregor/Patmon)
the Transportation and Public Safety Budget for FY14-15. The $7.6 billion
budget includes a plan to fund statewide highway projects using $1.5 billion in
Ohio Turnpike bonds. Governor Kasich vetoed a $7.5 million per year
reimbursement to railroads for grade crossing maintenance. In the veto message
the governor explained that this provision was already addressed in another
section of the budget.
Finance and Appropriations Committee, chaired by Representative Amstutz, made a number of substantive changes in Sub. HB59
(Amstutz) Biennial Budget before approving it on
April 16, 2013 and sending it to the full House for consideration. The omnibus
amendment increased All Funds Budget totals in FY14 by $61 million and in FY15
by $52.7 million. The General Revenue Fund budget is $61.45 billion for the
biennium, which is $1.7 billion less than the Executive Budget. The House
approved All Funds budget is $120.2 billion for the biennium, which is also
less than the Executive Budget.
The following is a summary of the education related amendments that became part
of HB59 as approved by the House on April 18, 2013.
Sec. 3314.29 Permits an e-school that serves at least grades one through eight
to divide into two schools as long as the sponsor agrees and the division is
accomplished in either the 2013 - 2014 or 2014 - 2015 school years.
Sec. 3314.017 Dropout Recovery Schools: Requires the State Board of Education,
not later than December 31, 2014, to review the performance levels and 13
benchmarks for report cards issued for dropout recovery 14 community schools.
Sec. 3314.06 Community School Tuition: Permits a community school to charge
tuition to a student who is not an Ohio resident.
Sec. 3333.31 Residency Status for State Subsidy and Tuition Purposes: Requires
that, if a state institution of higher education issues a student a letter or
utility bill to use as proof for voting purposes in Ohio, the student must be
granted residency status by rule of the Chancellor of the Board of Regents for
the purpose of state subsidy and tuition surcharges.
Sections 263.10 and 263.220 Vocational Agriculture Program: Increases GRF
appropriation item 200545, Career-Technical Education Enhancements, by $5,000
in each fiscal year by the same amount, and increases the earmark for the
Vocational Agriculture Programs at an at-risk vocational school in the
Cincinnati City School District.
Sec. 263 Academic Distress Commission: Allows the Superintendent of Public
Instruction to create an academic distress commission for any district found by
the State Auditor to have knowingly manipulated student data with the intent to
Sec. 3314.029 Community School Sponsor Termination: Authorizes the Department
of Education to deny an application submitted under the Ohio School Sponsorship
Program by an existing community school, if the school's contract with its
sponsor was terminated.
Sec. 3313.848 Un-expended Funds Paid to an Educational Service Center: Permits
the board of education of a school district, governing authority of a community
school, governing body of a STEM school, or governing body of a municipal or
other political subdivision (client) to elect, at the end of a fiscal year, to
have unexpended funds that were paid to an education service center (ESC)
during that fiscal year applied toward any payment owed to the ESC in the next
Sec. 3301.07 Operating Standards - Use of Phonics Operating Standards:
Reinserts removed language that requires phonics to be used as a technique for
reading teaching standards adopted by the State Board of Education.
Sec. 3301.07 Financial Reporting Standards: Restores current law requiring that
the State Board of Education develop financial reporting standards for
specified categories to be used by public schools when annually reporting
Sec. 3314.08 E-Schools Career Tech: Provides that an e-school is eligible to
receive career technical education funding in addition to the core opportunity
grant and special education funding.0
Section 263 Special Education Funding Community Schools: Provides an amount
from GRF appropriation item 200550, Foundation Funding, to certain community
schools for students who receive special education services for severe behavior
disabilities (SBH). The amount is equal to the difference between the aggregate
amount paid in the current fiscal year for special education services for SBH
students and the amount that would have been calculated for those students in
Sec. 3321.01 All Day Kindergarten Tuition: Provides that a school district may
charge tuition for a student enrolled in all-day kindergarten as long as the
student is counted as less than one full time equivalent student.
Sec. 3365.07 Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Reimbursement - Transfer
Modules: Clarifies that the Department of Education may not reimburse a college
through the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) Program for courses that
are not included in, or equivalent to a course included in, either a transfer
module or the transfer assurance guide developed by the Chancellor of the Board
Sec. 3317.022 and 3317.051 Gifted Unit Funding: Includes gifted unit funding in
the list of core funding components. Requires a school district to use the
funding it receives for gifted coordinator services or gifted intervention
specialist services only for that purpose. Permits a school district to assign
its gifted funding units to another education entity as part of an arrangement
to provide gifted services.
Sections 363.10 and 363. Under the Board of Regents creates GRF appropriation
235523, Youth STEM Commercialization and Entrepreneurship Program: Allocates
$2.0 million in FY14 and $3.0 million in FY15 for the Youth STEM
Commercialization and Entrepreneurship Program. Requires the Program to include
regional STEM forums, online high school and collegiate content and courses,
and a statewide mentoring network available to Ohio high school students.
Requires the Program to conduct a statewide competition, open to all Ohio high
school students, which includes awards for students, professional development
and participation incentives for teachers, and initiatives to engage minority,
rural, and economically disadvantaged students. Requires the Program to
collaborate with institutions of higher education, existing STEM and
entrepreneurship programs, and STEM professional and trade associations to
implement these provisions.
Sec. 263.460 Operating Standards: Removes the requirement for the State Board
of Education to revise minimum operating standards.
Sections 263.10 and 263.230 Public Funds for Home-schooled Students: Increases
Foundation Funding 200-550 by $250,000 each year and earmarks that amount for
home-schooled students to take Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Program
Sec. 3317.013 Category Two Special Education Students: Specifies that students
who are preschool children identified as developmentally delayed are category
two special education students for purposes of special education funding.
Sec. 5705.192, 5705.217, 5705.218, and 5705.25 656 School District Levies for
Permanent Improvements and Current Expenses: Allows a school district that
levies an existing combined levy for current expenses and permanent
improvements to replace or renew that levy solely for the purpose of funding
general permanent improvements. The amendment also allows the district to
replace the levy for a term of years different than the term for which the
original tax was levied. Under current law, a district may renew or replace
such a levy only for the same purposes and the same term for which it was
Specifies that new combined current expense and permanent improvement levies
may be levied for current expenses and general (not specific) permanent
improvements. Current law allows such levies to be used for either general or
Section 263 Study on Funding for Gifted Students: Requires the Department of
Education to conduct a study to determine the amounts of funding, method of
funding, and the costs of statewide support for gifted students. The study must
include costs for effective and appropriate identification, staffing, professional
development, technology, materials and supplies at the district level. Requires
the Department to issue a report of its findings to the General Assembly not
later than March 31, 2014.
Section 263.10 and 263 Ready to Learn: Appropriates $5.0 million in each fiscal
year in GRF appropriation item 200468, Ready to Learn. Requires ODE to use this
funding to contract with public and private early childhood education providers
to fund early childhood education services for 2,200 preschool-aged children whose
family income is no more than 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
Requires that funding be provided for at least 3 children in each county.
Requires that private providers have at least a three star rating in the
Department of Job and Family Services "Step Up to Quality" program.
Requires programs receiving funding to meet certain teacher qualification and
professional development criteria, aligned to ODE's early learning content
standards, assess and report on child progress as required by ODE, and
participate in the Step Up to Quality program.
Sec. 3313.843 Total Student Count Educational Service Centers: Revises the
bill's definition of "total student count" for purposes of
calculating any state subsidy to be paid to an educational service center (ESC)
to mean the sum of the average daily student enrollments reported on the most
recent report cards issued by the Department of Education for all of the school
districts with agreements with the ESC.
Sec. 105.41, 125.05, 3313.603, 3314.074, 3317.06, 3317.50, 3317.51, 3319.22,
3319.235, 3353.01, 3353.02, 3353.04, 3353.06, 3353.07, and 3353.09; Sections
263.470, 363.570, and Section 4 of Sub. S.B. 171 of the 129th General Assembly,
amended in Sections 610.20 and 610.21 Broadcast Educational Media Commission.
Removes the bill's provisions abolishing the eTech Ohio Commission and, instead, renames and reconstitutes the eTech Ohio Commission as the Broadcast Educational Media Commission (BEMC). Transfers
all of the state's educational broadcasting services, including educational
television, radio, and radio reading services, and the rules associated with
these services, from eTech to the BEMC.
The House Finance and Appropriations Committee also considered amendments
proposed by House Democrats, but all but one were tabled by the committee. Some
of the same amendments were presented during the floor debate on HB59 in the
House on April 18, 2013, but again, all but one of the amendments was tabled.
The Democrat amendments related to education would have addressed the
the "Finish Fund" to promote incentives for college juniors and
seniors to finish their degrees
provisions permitting the superintendent of public instruction to create an
academic distress commission in any school district found to have manipulated
provisions expanding the EdChoice voucher program for
certain students based on income
provisions adding career technical education funding for e-schools
accountability for for-profit charter schools by requiring that they be subject
to the same public records/audit requirements as public schools
enact a 10
percent targeted middle class tax cut, and appropriate an additional $118
million for schools ($54 million in FY14 and $64 million in FY15) using funds
that supported the seven percent income tax cut included in the substitute
ODE Regional Meetings:
The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) is hosting a series of regional meetings
on recent changes for K-12 education. The ODE Division of Learning will lead
sessions for teacher leaders and school district leaders around the state
through April and May focusing on the following topics:
Principal Evaluation System
Teacher Evaluation System
Grade Reading Guarantee
generation of assessments
teacher licensing program
Resident Educator Program
unit development and evaluation using content-specific rubrics aligned to the
for Columbus was held on April 2, 2013. Meetings in other areas were scheduled
for, Wednesday, April 10 in Dayton, Friday, April 12 in Cincinnati, Tuesday,
April 16 in Cleveland, Friday, April 19 in Youngstown. Those
scheduled for May are:
Wednesday, May 8 in Toledo
Friday, May 10 in Zanesville
Thursday, May 16 in Findlay
for school districts will run from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM. Sessions for teacher
leaders will run from 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM.
Register by visiting the STARS website by searching the key words "Division of Learning
Regional Meetings" and "Division of Learning Teacher Work
substitute bill changes the formula used to determine state aid from an equal
yield formula, proposed in the Executive Budget, to a foundation formula. The
substitute bill includes a per pupil "formula amount" of $5732 in
FY14 and $5789 in FY15. The formula amount is multiplied by an "annualized
average monthly", average daily membership (ADM), and a "state share
index" to adjust for wealth. Adjustments to that product are made to
address student educational needs, including special education, limited English
proficiency, poverty, career technical education, etc.
School districts that receive increases in state aid are capped at 6 percent
over the previous year. According to information provided by the Ohio School
Boards Association, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, and the
Ohio Association of State Business Officials, 364 districts are projected to be
capped in FY14, and 312 districts in FY15.
Whereas the governor's proposed formula in HB59 led to 396 school districts on
the guarantee, the formula proposed in the substitute bill decreases the number
of school districts on the guarantee to 175 in FY14 and 161 in FY15. And,
according to OSBA, BASA, and OASBA, the amount of the guarantee that districts
receive is less, so that districts are less dependent on the guarantee.
The substitute bill also retains the Targeted Assistance provision included in
the Executive Budget. This provision distributes additional state aid to
schools with low property and income wealth. A new provision is added to
Targeted Assistance in the substitute bill to take into account districts with
a high percentage of current agricultural use value (CAUV) property.
The substitute bill also includes adjustments in the formula to address the
educational needs of students. The following is an overview of some of the
changes in the substitute bill related to student subgroups. This is not a
comprehensive analysis, because some of these provisions might be changed on
Tuesday, when the House Finance and Appropriations Committee amends the bill again.
Accountability/Consistent Progress: School districts/schools are still required
to account for the expenditure of state education funds provided for services
to subgroups of students, including students who are gifted, students with
special needs, students who are disadvantaged, and students with limited
The provision in the Executive Budget regarding "consistent progress"
is changed, however. The State Board of Education is required to determine
measures of "satisfactory achievement and progress" for subgroups of
students not later than December 31, 2014. The ODE is required to use the
measures established by the State Board to determine if a district or school
has made satisfactory achievement and progress for the subgroups by September
1, 2015, and annually thereafter.
Districts and schools not meeting satisfactory progress for subgroups of
students are required to submit an improvement plan to the ODE. The ODE is
permitted to require that the plan include a partnership with another entity
for services to that subgroup.
Gifted Students: The substitute bill
makes significant changes in the funding for gifted education, returning to a
unit-funded model. First, the substitute bill provides $5.00 in FY14 and $5.05
in FY15 for the identification of gifted students, rather than $50 per ADM in
the Executive Budget. Next, the bill defines "district gifted unit
ADM" as a district's average daily membership minus community school and
STEM school ADM. One gifted coordinator unit is provided per 3,300 students in
a district's gifted unit ADM with a minimum of 0.5 units and a maximum of 8
units. One gifted intervention specialist unit is provided for every 1,100
students in a district's gifted unit ADM, with a minimum of .3 units. Funding for
the units is $37,000 in FY14 and $37,370 for FY15. $3.8 million is also
provided for educational service centers to support gifted units.
Special Education: The substitute
bill provides additional aid for students in addition to the formula amount
based on the six special education categories that are unchanged from the
governor's version of HB59. However, the substitute bill uses a weight for each
special education category rather than a specific additional amount, and funds
the special education weighted amounts at 90 percent.
Economically Disadvantaged Students:
The substitute bill funds economically disadvantaged students through a formula
that provides $340 in FY14 and $343 in FY15 times an "economically
disadvantaged ADM" times an economically disadvantage index.
Limited English Proficiency (LEP):
The substitute bill provides funds equal to the sum of (ADM for each LEP
category x an amount for each LEP category) x state share index. The substitute
bill reduces the number of LEP categories to three, and increases the amounts
by one percent in FY15.
Career Technical Education: The substitute bill
provides funds to traditional and joint vocational districts for
career-technical education through the funding formula, based on the formula
amount x the district's total career-technical education weight x state share
index. Sub. HB59 also retains the five categories of weights included in the
Executive Budget, and requires the payment of these funds to be reviewed and
approved by the lead district of the career-technical planning district (CTPD)
to which the district is affiliated.
Joint Vocational School District: Sub. HB59 replaces the Executive Budget
provision with the following formula: (Formula amount x formula ADM) - (0.0005
x three year average property valuation), where formula amount equals $5,732 in
FY14 and $5,789 in FY15. If the result is negative, then the amount is
Educational Service Centers: The substitute bill establishes in temporary law
the per pupil state payment for educational service centers at $37.00 per pupil
in FY14 and $35 per pupil in FY15. The bill increases funding for ESCs to $43.5
million in FY14 and $40 million in FY15.
State Board of
Education – Selected Notes from April Meeting
Board of Education, Debe Terhar president, met on April 8 and 9, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio. Board members
expressed condolences to the family of District 10 representative Jeff Hardin,
who passed away on March 13, 2013, and to other members of the State Board and
the Ohio Department of Education who have recently lost loved ones.
The Board welcomed Dr. Richard Ross to his first meeting of the State Board of
Education as newly appointed Superintendent of Public Instruction. A formal
swearing-in ceremony for Dr. Ross was held on April 8th conducted by Justice
Sharon Kennedy of the Ohio Supreme Court. Dr. Ross told the Board that he is
reaching out to superintendents through regional meetings of the Buckeye
Association of School Administrators and through weekly calls to groups of
superintendents. He is also holding "open door" weekly meetings with
the staff of the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to learn more about
department initiatives. He will soon present to the State Board a revised
mission, strategic plan, and goals to clarify a common purpose and direction
for the ODE. There will also be a search to fill recent vacancies due to the
resignations of Deputy Superintendent Michael Sawyers and Associate
Superintendent Jim Herrholz
The State Board also received reports from the following committees:
The Achievement Committee, chaired by C. Todd Jones, discussed Career
Connections and the definition of college and career ready.
Career Connections is a joint initiative of the Governor's Office of Workforce
Transformation, the Board of Regents, and the Ohio Department of Education.
Senate Bill 316 requires that career connections learning strategies be
embedded in model curricula so that students have more opportunities to
identify and develop career interests and make academic and career plans.
Regional working groups of teachers, curriculum experts, and school counselors
are drafting the learning strategies, which will be presented to the State
Board in May, and adopted in June 2013.
The committee also discussed college and career ready, and agreed that there is
no desire to develop separate definitions for college ready and career ready.
The Capacity Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, discussed the following four
with Inadequate Licensing Standards: The committee identified five states in
which teachers would not qualify for a reciprocal Ohio license. The states are
Alaska, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wyoming. This recommendation will
be considered by the full Board in July 2012.
Evaluation Framework for State Agencies: The committee recommended that
teachers in state agencies be evaluated using the same framework as other
teachers in Ohio. The full Board will consider this recommendation before June
Technical Education report card: The committee tabled a proposed report card
for Career Technical Education. The committee requested that the report card
for Career Technical programs be similar to the new state local report card.
Incomplete data is a barrier for developing a report card for career technical
programs. The committee discussed how the issue of incomplete data could be
the SEED School: A new proposal has been developed for the SEED School, which
is a boarding school which will open in Cincinnati for certain eligible
students. The ODE and the SEED management company are discussing the new
proposal. The committee is concerned about who would own the property and
assets of the school, if it closed.
Next month the committee will discuss career
technical education, cut
scores for the new teacher certification assessments developed by Pearson,
which will be used starting in August 2013, and the SEED school.
also received a presentation from two students, Makayla Grover and Breanna Jutte,
representing the Fort Recovery School District, Family Career and Community
Leaders of America (FCCLA). The students were invited to the April 2013 State
Board meeting by Board member Tess Elshoff, who had
heard their presentation at a Fort Recovery School District board of education
The students were advocating for family and consumer science classes at their
school. The students had prepared the presentation as a Family Career and
Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) competition event, and had earned a "gold
rating" in a regional FCCLA competition in March 2013. During their
presentation they expressed concern about the elimination of family and
consumer science courses in schools due to budget cuts. According to the presentation, family and consumer
science classes are middle and high school electives that support students as
they transition to college, careers, and life, by helping students identify
careers and develop skills, including financial literacy and resource
management skills, interpersonal skills, and leadership skills.
about the State Board of Education meeting is available.
Report School Funding Decreases vs. Charter School Increases
newspapers and analysts reported that the House approved version of HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget decreases state funding for
traditional public schools while increasing funding for charter schools. The
reports resulted from analyses of Legislative Service Commission simulations of
the amount of state funding that would be allocated for each school districts
through the new House school funding formula, which was developed by House
Republicans and included in Sub. HB59 (Amstutz)
Biennial Budget as passed by the House.
When compared to the Executive Budget, the House version of HB59 (Amstutz) changes funding levels for the following K-12
education line items:
$7.9 billion in General Revenue Funds in FY14 and $8.25 billion in FY15. The
House version is $349 million more than FY13 estimated levels, and a $272
million increase between FY14 and FY15 levels. Compared to the Executive Budget
the House Budget reduces General Revenue Funds for the Ohio Department of
Education by $49.5 million in FY14 and by $21 million in FY15, for a total
reduction of $70 million.
$11.467 billion in All Fund Groups in FY14 and $11.81 billion in FY15. The
House version is $487 million more than FY13 estimated levels, and a $350
million increase between FY14 and FY15 levels. Compared to the Executive Budget
the House Budget reduces All Fund Groups for the Ohio Department of Education
by $161 million in FY14 and $140 million in FY15, for a total reduction of $301
following are some of the reports about how the House school funding formula
Akron Beacon Journal April 13, 2013: On April 13, 2013 Doug Livingston at the
Akron Beacon Journal reported that simulations showing how each school district
would be affected by changes in the House proposed school funding formula were
not comparable with simulations showing funding levels for school districts
under the Executive Budget. The simulations were released when the House
Finance and Appropriations Committee accepted a substitute bill for HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget on April 9, 2013.
At first it seemed that more school districts would receive increases in state
aid. But further analyses, by newspapers and researchers, showed that Sub. HB59
provided between $82 and $191 million less for schools compared to the
Executive Budget. According to the article, 133 districts could receive less
funding in 2014 under the House proposal than they are estimated to receive
this year, but it is difficult to tell, because there are so many significant
changes in the funding formula and pass-throughs for
charter and private schools.
The article goes on to explain that an additional $1.3 billion is needed to
account for the increases in the per pupil amount from $5000 per pupil in the
Executive Budget, to $5,732 in FY14 and $5789 in FY15 in the House version of
the budget. However, the new formula is not fully funded, because the six
percent "cap" on increases in state aid for school districts under
the House version, reduces state aid for 364 school districts by $901 million
in FY14. (Not included in the article is additional information prepared by
Howard Fleeter, an economist from the Education Tax Policy Institute, who
determined that school districts lose another $718 million in FY15 from the
The author writes, "The Beacon Journal's analysis shows that those not
getting full funding tend to be among the most needy districts - those with
more students living in poverty, lower average property valuations per pupil
and slightly larger class sizes. They also tend to have higher percentages of
The article is "Ohio House school funding plan looked good at first,
but the numbers show they're cutting education aid" by Doug Livingston, Beacon Journal, April 13,
Innovation Ohio April 16, 2013: When the House Finance and Appropriations
Committee introduced on April 9, 2013 a substitute bill for HB59, it was
reported that the school funding formula developed to replace Governor Kasich's
school funding formula would ensure that no school district received less state
aid than current levels. However, on April 16, 2013, Innovation Ohio (IO)
reported that an analysis of the House Committee's school funding plan,
compared to Governor Kasich's Executive budget, found that 127 school districts
would receive less state money in FY14-15. Overall the analysis found that
state funding would decrease by $191 million compared to state funding levels
proposed by Governor Kasich in the Executive Budget.
The IO analysis determined that the House Committee's school funding plan,
which included funds for transportation and career technical education in the
core opportunity grant, made it look as if more state funds were being
provided, but when those line items were separated-out, the House plan
decreased overall funding by $191 million.
"House Budget Would Cut 127 School Districts" by Dale Butland, April
The Plain Dealer April 17, 2013: On April 17, 2013 Patrick O'Donnell at The
Plain Dealer reported that school officials, analysts, and legislators were
still struggling to understand the school funding provisions included in HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget, even as lawmakers prepared for a
vote on the bill. School funding experts and school officials were trying to
determine the "bottom line" for state aid for school districts, but
found it difficult, because the House version of HB59 included funding for
transportation and career technical education in the formula, while those funds
were reported separately in the Executive Budget; the House budget caps
increases in state aid for school districts at 6 percent, meaning that many school
districts are prevented from receiving the full benefit of the formula; and
there was confusing information about the amount of deductions/transfers from
school districts to charter schools and private schools participating in the
According to the article some lawmakers were frustrated that the House and
Executive budget simulations of state funding levels for school districts were
not comparable, and that estimates provided by the Legislative Service
Commission showed that charter schools would receive $816.5 million under the
House version, which is an increase of five percent over FY13 levels, while
state aid for some traditional public schools was reduced.
"School funding plan from Ohio House headed to a vote
with many details still unclear" by Patrick O'Donnell, The Plain Dealer, April
Reactions to Sub HB59
Finance and Appropriations Committee received testimony on Sub. HB59 last week
from several education organizations and individuals, including representatives
from the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy, the Ohio 8, the Ohio
Federation of Teachers, the Ohio School Boards Association, the Ohio
Association of School Business Officials, the Buckeye Association of School
Administrators, KnowledgeWorks, students, and superintendents.
Most individuals and organizations thanked lawmakers for making changes that
they believe set a "positive direction" for funding school districts
in Ohio. Some of the provisions approved by witnesses include using a base cost
amount in a formula and increasing the base cost amount for FY15; reducing the
number of school districts on the guarantee; including transportation funds in
the formula; providing supplemental transportation funds to districts;
eliminating the parent trigger; changing the catastrophic reimbursement for
special education; restoring funding for educational service centers;
clarifying the Straight A fund; removing the changes proposed for the
governance of educational service centers; and more.
Witnesses also noted that more time is needed to thoroughly analyze the
proposed school funding formula included in the substitute bill. The following
are some of the issues and concerns identified by those who testified on the
substitute bill last week:
less money for K-12 education in the substitute bill compared to the Executive
"formula amount" is still not determined based on the cost of the
components of a quality education: The substitute bill returns to a base cost
amount of $5732 for FY14, which is the base cost amount used in FY09 under
Governor Taft and the Building Blocks model, rather than a base cost amount
based on research about the cost of a quality education for 2014-15 and the
are not comparable: The simulations of the amount of state aid projected for
school districts and schools through the proposed school funding formula in
Sub. HB59 are not comparable with previous simulations, because funding for
transportation and career tech are now included, but were not in the Executive
ADM count: The way that school districts count students for funding purposes
would change under the substitute bill. The student count currently happens in
October, with adjustments made at the end of the fiscal year. The substitute
bill requires students to be counted monthly, which could increase the
administrative costs for school districts. Constantly changing attendance
numbers could also destabilize funding for school districts and therefore
affect services for students, and destabilize planning for programs and
services for future school years.
percent cap: The proposed cap of 6 percent for school districts on increases in
state aid could be hard on poorer districts that need more than a six percent
increase in state aid to restore education programs like art, music, and AP
courses, that have been cut due to budget constraints.
schools: Charter schools should not be expanded, because they have not lived-up
to their promise of improving student achievement at a lower cost, and have,
instead, diverted tax payer funds (including state and local funds) to some
nonprofit entities that are not accountable to the public.
There is no evidence that voucher programs improve student achievement, and no
accountability for the public funds transferred to privately operated schools.
The expansion of the EdChoice voucher program in the
Executive Budget and in the substitute bill undermines public education, by
diverting limited public funds away from traditional public schools.
progress" provision: Although this accountability provision was changed in
the substitute bill, it is still not practical to implement. According to the
witnesses, federal, local, and state funds are mingled when services are
provided to subgroups of students. A variety of differently funded services are
provided to students based on their needs, making it difficult to determine
which services could be responsible for not making "satisfactory
progress". In many communities there are no organizations to partner with
to provide students with services. Also, there are no provisions for holding
the partnership organizations equally accountable for state funds to achieve
Special education: The cost of special education programs, including
catastrophic costs, are much higher than the state reimbursements. Although the
substituted bill changed the catastrophic reimbursement program, $80 million
for the biennium is too low. Also, the reimbursements rates for catastrophic
costs are different for school districts and community schools.
Transportation: State aid for transportation has not kept pace with the cost of
buses or gasoline, or the added complexity of transporting more and more
students to charter schools and private schools. The motor fuel/excise tax,
which supports mass transit and school bus transportation, has not increased
for several years.
More funding for preschool is needed: The Ohio 8 recommended that $50 million
in additional dollars be used to provide full-day preschool for Ohio's three
and four year old children. Preschool providers should be required to meet at
least a two-star standards in the Step Up to Quality rating system. Priority
should be given to districts with children who score low on the Kindergarten
English language learners: Students learning English need more than three years
from the time that they enter the United States to learn English. In many cases
these students not only have to learn English, but also must learn about going
to school. Funding for these students is also subject to the "consistent
progress" accountability provisions, which is not practical, because
Ohio's schools are going to be held responsible for the progress of students who
might have attended schools in other states before moving to Ohio.
The testimony on Sub. HB59 is available.
Secretary Testifies About President's Education Budget: Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified on April
17, 2013 before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health
and Human Services, Education, and Other Related Agencies, chaired by Senator
Tom Harkin, about President Obama's FY14 budget recommendations for education.
According to the testimony the President is seeking a funding increase for the
U.S. Department of Education (DOE), from $68.1 billion in FY12, before
sequestration, to $71.2 billion in FY14. The plan retains allocations of $14.5
billion for Title 1 Grants to Local Educational Agencies and $11.6 billion for
the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Grants to States. It also
includes a five percent increase in education funding to compensate for the
cuts due to sequestration. The FY14 funding plan would also support the
following education initiatives:
Preschool for All: One of the major initiatives of the president's budget is
"Preschool for All", a new federal-state partnership to provide
universal high-quality preschool for 4 year old children from low-and moderate
income families up to 200 percent of the poverty level. The program, which will
cost $75 billion over the next ten years, would be funded by increases in taxes
on cigarettes and tobacco products. States would be required to
"match" federal funds, and meet quality benchmarks, such as standards
for early learning, qualified staff, and comprehensive assessment and data
STEM Innovative Networks: Another major initiative in the president's budget
proposal is a government-wide realignment of 114 science, technology,
engineering, and math (STEM) programs across 13 agencies, and the development
of a cohesive national STEM education strategy. To improve K-12 STEM education
the budget includes $150 million for STEM Innovative Networks, which would
support creating partnerships among school districts, institutions of higher
education, research institutions, museums, community partners, and business and
industry. These networks would develop comprehensive plans for identifying,
developing, testing, and scaling up evidence-based practices to provide STEM
learning opportunities in participating local educational agencies (LEAs) and
schools. They also would work to leverage better and more effective use of the
wide range of STEM education resources available from federal, state, local,
and private entities, including federally supported science mission agencies.
STEM Teacher Pathways: The budget includes $80 million for STEM Teacher
Pathways to recruit, train, and place recent college graduates and mid-career
professionals in the STEM fields in high-need schools; and $35 million to
establish a new STEM Master Teacher Corps, which would identify STEM teacher
leaders, who would take on leadership and mentorship roles in their schools and
communities aimed at improving STEM instruction and helping students excel in
math and science.
Effective Teachers and Leaders: The budget proposal includes $2.5 billion for
the Effective Teachers and Leaders State Grants to improve teacher and
principal evaluation systems, and $617 million for the DOE to build evidence
about how to recruit, prepare, and support effective teachers and school leaders.
$400 million is also included for the Teacher and Leader Innovation Fund to
improve the effectiveness of teachers in high need LEAs and schools, and
another $98 million is requested to support training for principals.
School Turnarounds and Data-Based Innovation: The budget plan requests the
reauthorization of the School Turnaround Grants (STG) program and $659 million
to support the program. The request includes $125 million for competitive
awards to improve persistently low-achieving schools, and $25 million to expand
the School Turnaround AmeriCorps Initiative.
Investing in Innovation: To support research and new education reforms $215
million is being requested to support the Investing in Innovation (i3) program.
Up to $64 million would be available for the Advanced Research Projects Agency
for Education to improve teaching and learning. $85 million is requested to
support statewide longitudinal data systems, including support to develop P-20
reports and tools to inform policy-making.
Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program: Included in the
president's budget is a $1.1 billion request to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins
Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center to strengthen alignment among
secondary and postsecondary CTE programs with business and industry, and create
a better accountability system for career tech. The request includes $300
million for a new High School Redesign program to ensure that students graduate
with college credit, earned through dual enrollment, Advanced Placement
courses, or other postsecondary learning opportunities; and career-related
experiences or competencies, obtained through organized internships and
mentorships, structured work-based learning, and other related experiences. $42
million is included to fund dual enrollment programs.
Affordability and Quality in Postsecondary Education: The President is
recommending $1 billion for a new Race to the Top-College Affordability and
Completion competition to improve college access, affordability, completion,
and quality. To make college more affordable the budget links student load
interest rates to market rates; expands repayment options to ensure that loan
repayments for all student borrowers do not exceed 10 percent of a borrower's
discretionary income; and increases aid available under the Campus-Based Aid
programs, including $150 million for Work-Study, and reforms to the Perkins
Promise Zones Initiative: To address the challenges of concentrated poverty in
neighborhood schools, the president's budget proposal includes $300 million for
Promise Neighborhoods, a $400 million request for the Department of Housing and
Urban Development's Choice Neighborhoods program, and $35 million for the
Department of Justice's Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Grants program, in
addition to tax incentives to promote investment and economic growth. According
to the testimony, these funds will be used to revitalize high-poverty
communities by attracting private investment, increasing affordable housing, improving
educational opportunities, and providing tax incentives for hiring workers and
investing in the Zones. "This interagency effort will explore
opportunities to make better use of all available resources-Federal, State, and
local-to address the negative effects of concentrated poverty."
Making Schools Safer: The 2014 budget supports new investments to improve
school emergency plans, create positive school climates, and counter the
effects of pervasive violence on students, including $30 million in one-time
emergency management planning grants to States to help their LEAs develop,
implement, and improve emergency management plans; $50 million for School
Climate Transformation Grants, to create positive school climates; and $25
million for Project Prevent grants to break the cycle of violence in some
communities through the provision of mental health services to students
suffering from trauma or anxiety (including PTSD), conflict resolution
programs, and other school-based strategies to prevent future violence.
Secretary Duncan's testimony is available.
President Obama's FY14 Budget is available.
Increases for Addressing the Opportunity to Learn Gap
past months education stakeholders, policy makers, researchers, and pundits
have raised more and more questions about the efficacy of the current education
reform movement, which is focused on the Common Core State Standards,
standardized testing, the privatization of K-12 education, teacher evaluations
based on student test score results, etc.
Will these market-based education reforms really increase student achievement
and close the achievement gaps among groups of children who are poor, don't
speak English, have special education needs, are gifted, and come from diverse
family and racial backgrounds? Or, have the results of these reforms reached a
Emerging from discussions about the current status of education reform
initiatives is more support for addressing the "opportunity gaps" in
our schools. "Opportunity gaps" are the differences in the quality
and rigor of the learning experiences available for students of different
races, family economic status, and educational needs, compared to the learning
experiences available for students in more wealthy communities and schools.
Even though opportunity to learn standards were formulated in the early 1990s
in several areas, including the arts, they were passed over by many policy
makers, who became focused on student and teacher outputs, and state
accountability systems based on student test scores in math and language arts.
Last week, on the 30th anniversary of the release of A Nation at Risk (April
1983), David C. Berliner, Regents' Professor Emeritus at the Mary Lou Fulton
Teachers College of Arizona State University, and co-author with Bruce J.
Biddle of The Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Fraud, and the Attack on America's
Public Schools, wrote that the public has endured thirty years of lies, half-truths,
and myths about the failure of our nation's public education system. He goes on
to say that, "It really is not an achievement gap between the United
States and other nations that is our problem. We actually do quite well for a
large and a diverse nation. It's really the opportunity gap, not the
achievement gap that could destroy us. If only the wealthy have the opportunity
to acquire the knowledge and skills needed for a post-industrial economy we
are, indeed, a nation at risk."
Three Decades of Lies by David C. Berliner, Education Week Op Ed on April
David Berliner is not the only education policy expert talking about
"opportunity gaps". Last week several prominent education scholars
released a new book entitled Closing the Opportunity Gap, What America Must Do
to Give Every Child an Even Chance, co-edited by Kevin G. Welner and Prudence Carter.
Twenty-two education experts contributed to the book, including Hank Levin,
Linda Darling-Hammond, Gary Orfield, Richard
Rothstein, Amy Stuart Wells, Yong Zhao, and more. The book argues that federal
and state education reform efforts to close the achievement gap among groups of
students have not worked and won't work until the opportunity gap among
students is closed.
According to a press release the authors offer research based policies to
address the opportunity gap that exists across the nation. They point out that
supporters of the standards-based reform movement, which includes measuring
outcomes through standardized testing and rating and ranking schools and
districts, have focused on closing the achievement gap between groups of
students based on race, family income level, and educational needs on
standardized tests. However, in doing so these supporters have
"...neglected the basic truth that achievement follows from opportunities
According to a statement by the book's co-editor Prudence Carter from Stanford
University, "Quite simply, children learn when they are supported with
high expectations, quality teaching and deep engagement, and made to feel that
they are entitled to good schooling; the richer those opportunities, the
greater the learning. When those opportunities are denied or diminished, lower
achievement is the dire and foreseeable result".
The authors describe several policy recommendations to narrow the opportunity
high quality early childhood education.
segregation in housing, schools, and classrooms.
crucial funding and resources so that high-need students can achieve outcomes.
more and better learning time, including summer and after school.
teacher experience and support.
access to libraries and the Internet.
safe and well-maintained school environments.
policies on student discipline.
student cultures and schooling.
focus of testing and accountability. "Instead of continuous batteries of
high-stakes tests, the focus should be on low-stakes, informative testing that
enables teachers to understand how well their students are learning. The focus
should also be on a portfolio of work that expects students to use the full
range of critical thinking skills expected of more advantaged children."
the needs of language minorities
The book is available.
Education Stakeholders Launch the Closing the Opportunity Gap Campaign: Along
with the release of the book Closing the Opportunity Gap on the 30th anniversary
of the publication of A Nation At Risk, the authors of the book also announced
the launch of the Closing the Opportunity Gap Campaign, to build the capacity
of stakeholders, communities, and schools to provide all children with rich
According to the book's co-editor Kevin Welner, any
gains in student achievement through current education reform initiatives,
including high-stakes, test-centric teaching, have already been made, and now a
different approach is needed. He states, "When we start creating more
equitable opportunities and gauging how well states and districts are doing to
create those opportunities, we will join our best international competitors in
showing strong academic progress."
In addition to a press conference held in Washington, D.C. on April 25, 2013,
to publicize the Closing the Opportunity Gap Campaign, leaders of the campaign
will address the annual meeting of the American Educational Research
Association and a meeting of the Education Writers Association next week. The
campaign will also release in September a state by state "Opportunity to
Learn" comparison. Model legislation will be available by this fall for
advocates at the state level to use to address and remedy the causes of
Information about the campaign is available.
More Support for Closing Opportunity Gaps:
The Closing the Opportunity Gap Campaign is focusing on issues recently
identified by The Equity and Excellence Commission and the Leadership
Conference Education Fund, which released a report on April 15, 2013.
("Reversing the Rising Tide of Inequality: Achieving Educational Equity
for Each and Every Child", by Robert Rothman, principal author. An article
about this initiative was included in the April 22, 2013 issue of Arts on Line,
The purpose of the report is to bolster efforts to achieve both quality and
fairness in our nation's public education system, and implement the
recommendations developed by the Equity and Excellence Commission, chaired by
Christopher Edley, Jr. The 27-member commission was
chartered by Congress to provide advice about "....the disparities in
meaningful educational opportunities that give rise to the achievement gap,
with a focus on systems of finance, and to recommend ways in which federal
policies could address such disparities." The commission, which met for
over two years, submitted a report to the U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne
Duncan in February 2013. The report summarizes ".... how America's K-12
education system, taken as a whole, fails our nation and too many of our
According to the report, the education reform initiatives of the past sixty
years, based on standards and test-based accountability, have made some
progress, but not enough. The report urges members of Congress to conduct
hearings on the impact of fiscal inequity on under-served populations and on
the nation's well being, and target federal resources to students and
communities most in need. Congress should reauthorized the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act and hold local educational agencies accountable for
student outcomes and closing the achievement gaps among groups of students. The
report urges the Obama administration to enforce compliance with federal civil
rights laws barring discrimination and inequality, and enforce provisions in
the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
The report is available.
Current Education Reforms Not Working: The
Broader, Bolder Approach to Education released on April 22, 2013 a report by
Elaine Weiss and Don Long that examines the impact of current education reform
policies, included in Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind, in Washington,
D.C., New York, and Chicago. (Market-Oriented Education Reforms' Rhetoric
Trumps Reality: The impacts of test-based teacher evaluations, school closures,
and increased charter school access on student outcomes in Chicago, New York
City, and Washington, D.C. by Elaine Weiss and Don Long, The Broader, Bolder
Approach to Education, April 22, 2013.)
The report finds that the market-based reforms used to improve the education
systems in these cities, including test-based teacher evaluation, increased
school choice, closing failing under-enrolled schools, "...delivered few
benefits and in some cases harmed the students they purport to help. It also
identifies a set of largely neglected policies with real promise to weaken the
poverty-education link, if they receive some of the attention and resources now
targeted to the touted reforms."
The researchers found the following:
scores increased less, and achievement gaps grew more, in "reform"
cities than in other urban districts.
successes for targeted students evaporated upon closer examination.
accountability prompted churn that thinned the ranks of experienced teachers,
but not necessarily bad teachers.
closures did not send students to better schools or save school districts
schools further disrupted the districts while providing mixed benefits,
particularly for the highest-needs students.
on the widely touted market-oriented reforms drew attention and resources from
initiatives with greater promise.
sustained change requires strategies that are more realistic, patient, and multi-pronged.
also found that in all three cities, "...a narrow focus on market-oriented
policies diverted attention from the need to address socio-economic factors
that impede learning."
"Achievement gaps have their root in opportunity gaps. Only by closing the
latter can we begin to shrink the former. Effective reform must recognize the
huge impact of community factors, leverage the community's resources, and
establish supports to compensate for gaps. Without such supports, gaps in
kindergarten readiness, physical and mental health, nutrition, and
extracurricular enrichment opportunities will continue to thwart even the most
effective reforms that stop at the classroom and school walls."
As a comparison the report describes the successful reform efforts used in
Montgomery County, Maryland to increase student achievement among an ethnically
diverse student body. According to the report, Montgomery County has been able
to produce some of the highest test scores among minority and low income students,
decrease the achievement gaps, and increase high school graduation and college
attendance rates, without using student test scores to evaluate teachers or
charter schools. Instead the district supports teachers, professional
development, and collaboration; small class size; intensive literacy
instruction; art, music and physical education teachers in every school; high
quality prekindergarten; health clinics; after school enrichment; and other
opportunities to ensure that all students have high quality learning
The report states, "Every school district has unique needs and resources.
But providing all students with the enriching experiences that already help
high-income students thrive would represent a big step forward, and away from narrow
reforms that miss the mark."
The report is available.
Debate on Common
in the Washington Post on April 19, 2013 describes how the Republican National
Committee and lawmakers from both parties are questioning the efficacy of the
Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and how one lawmaker, Senator Charles Grassley,
is working to eliminate $360 million from the U.S. Department of Education's
budget to develop standardized tests to assess the Common Core.
The Common Core standards were developed by the National Governor's Association
and the Council of Chief State School Officers with funding from the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation. According to the article supporters and opponents of
the Common Core are from both the left and right. Critics on the right believe
that the federal government has overstepped its authority and is interfering
with state and local control of education policy when it promotes the Common
Core. Critics the left cite the lack of research and involvement of educators
in the development of the standards as reasons to oppose them. Resistance is
also growing at the state level. At least 10 state legislatures/education
leaders are reconsidering their support for CCSS.
Senator Grassley has noted that while federal law states that the U.S.
Department of Education may not be involved in setting specific content
standards or assessments for states, the criteria for the federal Race to the
Top Program require that states adopt "a common set of K-12
standards" and college and career readiness standards. The U.S. DOE is
currently using federal funds to support the development of assessments for the
Common Core by two consortia, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for
College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.
This could be interpreted as an over-reach by the U.S. DOE of its authority.
The article is "Common Core Standards Attacked by Republicans" by Valerie Strauss, Washington Post Answer Sheet
blog, April 19, 2013.
Evaluation in the News – Bill
Gates and Anthony Cody Remarks
several articles were published about the new evaluations for teachers based on
student achievement and other criteria, and stirred- up more national debate
about this latest education reform.
New York Times Article: On March 30, 2013 the New York Times published an
article entitled "Curious Grade for Teachers: Nearly All Pass" by
Jenny Anderson. The article explains that nearly half of the states now require
new teacher evaluation systems to provide meaningful and critical information
to administrators to "weed-out" poor teachers. However, when the
teacher evaluations were completed this year using the more rigorous evaluation
systems, Florida still rated 97 percent of teachers as effective; Tennessee found
that 98 percent of teachers were "at expectations"; and in Michigan
98 percent of teachers were rated effective or better.
The article notes that the "rosy" results are "worrisome"
considering the millions of dollars that have been spent developing the new
systems, and the thousands of hours that have been used to train principals and
others to evaluate teachers using the new criteria, including student academic
Some experts opine that the high stakes consequences of the evaluations - in some
states teachers with ineffective ratings over time can lose their jobs - and
the amount of flux that has been occurring in assessments and standards, have
made principals more cautious about giving teachers low marks.
Others believe that some states have set the academic growth bar too low, so
that it raises the ratings of teachers rather than helps to identify weaker
Some teachers and principals are also raising questions about the consistency
and fairness of using student test score results to evaluate teachers, because
they believe that there is no scientific evidence for rating teacher
effectiveness based on student academic growth.
The article is entitled "Curious Grade for Teachers: Nearly All Pass" by Jenny Anderson, New York Times, March 30,
Bill Gates on Teacher Evaluations: Then on April 3, 2013 Bill Gates added to
the national discussion about teacher evaluations by publishing an opinion piece
in the Washington Post. ("Bill Gates: A Fairer Way to Evaluate
Teachers", by Bill Gates, Washington Post Opinions, April 3, 2013.)
According to the column, "Efforts are being made to define effective
teaching and give teachers the support they need to be as effective as
possible. But as states and districts rush to implement new teacher development
and evaluation systems, there is a risk they'll use hastily contrived, unproven
measures. One glaring example is the rush to develop new assessments in grades
and subjects not currently covered by state tests. Some states and districts
are talking about developing tests for all subjects, including choir and gym,
just so they have something to measure."
Mr. Gates then refers to Ohio's 165 page PE assessment as an example of an
excessive use of testing, and states that he "understands" teachers'
"concerns and frustrations", when student test scores are used as the
primary basis for making decisions about "firing, promoting and compensating
Mr. Gates recommends that teacher evaluation systems provide feedback that
teachers can trust, and "...include multiple measures of performance, such
as student surveys, classroom observations by experienced colleagues and
student test results."
Anthony Cody's Responds: In response to Mr. Gates' Washington Post column,
Anthony Cody writes in Education Week's "Living in the Dialogue" blog
that, "No one in America has done more to promote the raising of stakes
for test scores in education than Bill Gates". His influence (billions of
dollars) on the U.S. Department of Education, the Data Quality Council, the
National Council on Teacher Quality, and groups such as Teach Plus has led to
labeling schools as failures; closing neighborhood public schools; narrowing
the curriculum; using test scores as a significant component for evaluating
teachers; and promoting charter schools and voucher programs.
Mr. Cody then states that Mr. Gates' Washington Post column "...amounts to
an attempt to distance the Gates Foundation from the asinine consequences of
the policies they have sponsored, while accepting no responsibility for them
The blog is entitled "Bill Gates Dances Around the Teacher Evaluation
Disaster He Sponsored" by Anthony Cody, Education Week Living in the
Dialogue Blog, on April 4, 2013 3:32 PM and is available.
For more comments about teacher evaluations please read the following posts:
Valerie Strauss "Wrecking physical ed: Ohioâ?Ts P.E. assessment for kids" by Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, posted on
April 5, 2013 at 10:06 AM.
Diane Ravitch "Cody: Time to Hold Bill Gates Accountable" by Diane Ravitch,
posted on April 6, 2013.
USEP-OHIO thanks to Director Donna Collins firstname.lastname@example.org, Ohio
Alliance for Arts Education (www.OAAE.net), and Joan
Platz for content re advocacy. Contact us at email@example.com . Visit our
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