Usep-ohio e-update October 25, 2011 Dear Friends of usep-ohio, Educators, Advocates, Parents and Professionals

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USEP-OHIO E-update October 25, 2011

Dear Friends of USEP-OHIO, Educators, Advocates, Parents and Professionals,
Fall is a vibrant time of the year in community and family life. USEP-OHIO encourages all citizens to pay attention to the important new trends and issues that affect our children, our lives and our schools. Be sure to be a prepared voter. Look to dependable sources for information about exercising your vote as an informed citizen.
Included in this E-Update:

Note the announcement from Governor Kasich that establishes an Early Education and Innovation Development Committee reporting directly to him. The executive order is effective immediately and also establishes the position of Early Education and Development Officer, who will work with the governor, the Governor’s Office of 21st Century Education to define and implement a kindergarten readiness assessment process as well as break down barriers between agencies and programs.

Reports on the October meeting of the Ohio Board of Education (note the discussions of Early Childhood program history and of gifted programs in Ohio), the General Assembly report on new primary dates and the end of secret ballots, Ohio schools of Promise announced, and the Washington Report on the (ESEA)Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization Act – formerly known as No Child Left Behind. Special Reports include a report on State Education Systems Rating for Fairness and Ohio’s Early Learning Challenge proposal submission.

Look for links to webinars, trainings and many events and resources at the end of this Update. See a link to an immigrant’s story about why the federal budget is so important to families, Read more at the USEP-OHIO website See recent reports on Preschool funding, Poverty in Ohio, School performance measures and Arts Education in past issues of the E-Update.

Halloween – a special reprintable Parent Tip to help educators and parents with the Halloween parties and treats is printed in the Events and Resources section at the end of this Update!. You may paste and print it!

Cindy McKay, Executive Director, USEP-OHIO, Inc.
Ohio Education News:

The 129th Ohio General Assembly:

The Ohio Senate has scheduled a tentative session this week. The House and Senate Education committees are not scheduled to meet.

New Primary Dates Set:  Governor Kasich signed HB318 (Blessing) into law on October 21, 2011. The law sets two primaries, one in March and one in June 2012, to provide additional time for lawmakers, or the courts, to settle the controversy about the newly drawn map of congressional districts included in HB319 (Huffman).  HB319 is being challenged through the referendum process. Last week Secretary of State Jon Husted's office certified that the referendum campaign, Ohioans for Fair Districts, had met the initial signature requirement to go forward with the next step and begin collecting 231,150 signatures to place a referendum on HB319 before the voters in November 2012.

HB318 provides for a primary for local, state, and U.S. Senate candidates in March 2012, and a primary for the U.S. President and U.S. House candidates in June 2012. It also eliminates the August special election, which is sometimes used by school districts to get voter approval of school funding issues.

State Board Cannot Use Secret Ballot:  Attorney General Mike DeWine notified State Board of Education President Debe Terhar on October 18, 2011 that the State Board of Education must conduct all of its votes in public, thus eliminating the use of a secret ballot to vote for Board president and vice-president. The State Board of Education has traditionally used a secret ballot to elect officers every two years in January.  This year that practice was challenged by newly appointed and elected members of the State Board of Education in January 2011 after the Board elected Rob Hovis president by secret ballot.  At issue also was the legitimacy of the vote, because one of the members of the State Board had not been confirmed by the Ohio Senate, even after being on the Board for over a year. The Board took another vote in March 2011 and elected Debe Terhar president and Tom Gunlock vice-president.

According to the opinion, R.C.121.22 Ohio's open meeting law, requires all meetings of any public body be "public meetings open to the public at all times" and decisions made publicly.

Read the Attorney General's opinion.

News from Washington:

Senate Committee Approves ESEA Bill: The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, chaired by Senator Tom Harkin, approved a revised Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization Act (ESEA) on October 20, 2011, formerly known as the No Child Left Behind Act. The committee added several amendments to the bill before approving it by a vote of 15-7.  The vote included support from Republican Senators Enzi (Wyoming-ranking member), Alexander (Tennessee) and Kirk (Illinois).

According to a press release from the committee, the bill will do the following:

  • maintains required student testing in grades 3-8 and once in high school

  • eliminates "adequate yearly progress" targets and mandated federal sanctions for all schools

  • supports state-designed accountability systems consistent with principles supported by the Council of Chief State School Officers

  • requires districts and schools to report disaggregated information about school effectiveness  

  • promotes college and career-ready standards  

  • addresses 12 percent of schools that produce 50 percent of dropouts

  • fosters collaboration between early childhood programs and school systems to ensure that children start school ready to succeed  

  • promotes improved support and evaluation systems for teachers and principals  

  • promotes the recruitment and preparation of teachers for high-need subjects like math and science  

  • supports a well-rounded education with time for the arts and physical activity  

  • promotes safe and healthy schools  
  • prepares more teachers to teach the diverse learners in America's schools including students with disabilities and English learners  

  • directs federal resources to turn around chronically struggling schools and those with significant achievement gaps and allow states to take student progress into consideration while rating schools promotes smooth transition and alignment from early learning to K-12 to higher education, and across federal education programs  

  • consolidates and streamlines 82 programs in the current law into 40 broader funded programs, and eliminates those that are duplicative or unnecessary?? 

The committee accepted an amendment from Senator Robert Casey (Pennsylvania) entitled the "Well-Rounded Education Fund Amendment" that creates a grant program at the U.S. Department of Education to provide states "well-rounded education grants". The States in turn would allocate the grants to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) through a competitive sub grant process. The amendment encourages partnerships with non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, or other state education agencies to support the arts, history, civics and social studies, economics, environmental education, financial literacy, foreign languages, geography, health education, and physical education.

The new well rounded education grant program is targeted at low-income, high-need districts, which include students with disabilities and English learners. The LEAs must identify in their application the academic subject areas for which they are seeking funds. Programs in the arts would be competing for funding with the other subject areas, and so there would be no guaranteed of a federal funding stream.

An additional hearing on the bill is scheduled for November 8, 2011. The hearing is the result of an agreement reached between Chairman Harkin and Senator Ron Paul, who challenged the committee process and threatened to hold-up the bill.  Chairman Harkin has stated that he intends to bring the ESEA bill to the Senate floor before Thanksgiving, with the intent that a final bill could be worked out with the U.S. House by the end of the year. The House has been working on a number of separate bills to reauthorize ESEA rather than a complete bill.

More information about the Senate bill is available.

Legislation To Keep Teachers Working on Hold:  Senators filibustered S.1723 on October 21, 2011 preventing consideration of a pared-back version of S.1660, The American Jobs Act.

S.1723, entitled "The Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act of 2011" (Menendez), would provide States with $30 billion in relief to support almost 400,000 educator jobs nationwide next year and also provide $5 billion to support the hiring and retention of public safety and first responder personnel.  S. 1723 is paid for through a surtax on those Americans making over $1 million per year.

More information is available.

Schools of Promised Announced

The Ohio Department of Education announced on October 19, 2011 the 122 schools designated this year as "Schools of Promise" based on the results of the 2010-11 Local Report Card.  This is the 10th year of this program, which recognizes schools that meet high standards for student achievement (for all subgroups of students), attendance, and graduation, yet enroll 40 percent or more of students from low income families that qualify for free and reduced-price lunches.

Several school districts, including the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Columbus City Schools, Steubenville City Schools, Claymont City Schools, Piqua City Schools, and Gallia County Local Schools, had three schools that met the standards to be named Schools of Promise.

More information about the Schools of Promise is available.

Governor signs executive order to establish the Early Education and Development Innovation Committee

On October 14th, Gov. John R. Kasich signed an Executive Order establishing the Early Education and Development Innovation Committee to advise the governor on methods to improve statewide kindergarten readiness. The Committee will consist of five members appointed by the governor, two from the business community, one from the philanthropic community, one from the research community and one from the children’s health care community.

The executive order is effective immediately and also establishes the position of Early Education and Development Officer, who will work with the governor, the Governor’s Office of 21st Century Education to define and implement a kindergarten readiness assessment process as well as break down barriers between agencies and programs relating to early childhood education.

Executive Order 2011-11K can be viewed HERE and highlights include:

  • Commitment to aligning and coordinating efforts across the continuum, from birth to graduation, through the Governor's Office of 21st Century Education

  • Creation of the position of Early Education and Development Officer to elevate the importance of the education of young children in the state and seek to improve kindergarten readiness in Ohio.

  • The Officer, through the Governor's Office of 21st Century Education, shall;
    1) define and measure kindergarten readiness,
    2)break down silos that exist between agencies and programs, and
    3) improve system performance. 

  • Establishment of the Early Education and Development Innovation Committee to advise the Governor's Officer, the Officer, and the Office of 21st Century Education. 

Contact the Ohio Association for the Education of Young Children for more information: Ohio AEYC

Ohio Submits Early Learning Challenge Proposal Governor Kasich and Superintendent Stan Heffner submitted on October 19, 2011 a proposal to the U.S. Department of Education for a "Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge" grant (RTT-ELC). The proposal was developed in partnership with the Governor's Office, the Ohio Department of Education, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Mental Health, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, the Head Start State Collaboration Office, the Early Childhood Advisory Committee, and The Ohio Business Roundtable.

According to the proposal, "Nearly 75 percent of high-needs children in Ohio enter school without the skills they need to succeed in kindergarten."  By fourth grade only 22 percent of economically disadvantaged students were proficient in math, and only 15 percent were proficient in reading. (2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress.)

The request is for $70 million to do the following by 2015: *Increase access to high-quality experiences for more than 37,000 high-needs children

  • License family child care providers who receive public funding

  • Require participation in the State's TQRIS (Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System) called "Step Up to Quality", for all licensed, publicly funded programs

  • Test incentives for high quality programs to serve more high-needs children

  • Test incentives for parents of high-needs children to choose high-quality programs

Increase the number of highly rated programs available to high-needs children by nearly 1,300

  • Continue the tiered reimbursement system that pays for performance

  • Create and deliver training on new comprehensive content and program quality standards

  • Provide scholarships to early childhood professionals to support course work that will lead to the attainment of a degree

Improve results on Ohio's current kindergarten readiness assessment (literacy) for high needs children by 5 percent; Include kindergarten entry assessment results on the local school report cards; include information on child outcomes in TQRIS consumer information.

  • Join forces with the State of Maryland to develop comprehensive Pre-K and K entry assessments.

  • Use a common, comprehensive Pre-K assessment in all rated programs

  • Track outcomes of all children in publicly funded early education and development programs through the use of SSID

Ohio's Early Education and Development Officer will oversee the plan and provide comprehensive reporting. Governor Kasich issued an executive order on October 14, 2011 establishing the Early Education and Development Innovation Committee to offer advice on ways to improve kindergarten readiness and creating the position of Early Education and Development Officer, who will work with the governor and his Office of 21st Century Education on a kindergarten readiness assessment process.

The Early Childhood Development Officer will work with state agencies to

  • define and measure kindergarten readiness, and develop and implement a comprehensive kindergarten readiness assessment process that determines the extent to which children entering school are ready for kindergarten.  The results will be reported publicly and used as the basis for early childhood system improvements.

  • break-down silos that exist between agencies and programs to ensure that all government support to high-need children is coordinated, streamlined, and effective.

  • improve system performance

The executive order is available.

In addition to Ohio, 34 states and the District of Columbia are submitting applications to compete for the $500 million Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge program.  Applicants will be eligible for early-learning awards worth between $50 million and $100 million.

Ohio's application is available. The application is an excellent resource for those interested in understanding the current status of early education programs, funding for programs, number of children enrolled, etc.

Important Notes from the October Meeting of the Ohio Board of Education

The State Board of Education (SBE), Debbie Cain President, met on October 11-12, 2010 at the Ohio

School for the Deaf, 500 Morse Road, Columbus, OH.

The SBE opened their October meeting by welcoming new Board member Roger McCauley. Board Vice-President Ann Women Benjamin administered the oath of office.  Mr. McCauley was appointed by Governor Strickland to replace Tracey Smith, who resigned from the Board in July 2010. He resides in Glouster, and has worked as an advocate for low-income families and children in Ohio.

The Executive Committee, chaired by President Cain, met and discussed new Board member orientation, which will be conducted in January 2011.  The nineteen member SBE might have as many as eight new Board members as a result of the November 2010 election and new appointments by Governor Strickland. The terms of the following Board members end December 31, 2010:

Elected Board Members:  Debbie Cain, Sam Schloemer, John Bender, Susan Haverkos, and Tammy O'Brien

Appointed Board Members:  Ann Womer Benjamin, Stephen Millett, and Juanita Sanchez.

The terms of the following SBE members will continue through December 31, 2012:  Rob Hovis, Ann Jacobs, Danny Greene, Jeff Hardin, Kristen McKinley, Dennis Reardon, Mike Collins, Mary Rose Oakar, Martha Harris, Kathy Leavenworth, and Roger McCauley.

The Executive Committee also discussed their plans to attend the Ohio School Boards Association Capital Conference on November 8 and 9, 2010.  The SBE will hold their monthly meeting at the conference, which is held at the Columbus Convention Center. According to the schedule (which might change) the Board's meetings will be held in the morning on both days.


Achievement Committee:  The Achievement Committee, chaired by Mike Collins and Tammy O'Brien, discussed two items: the development of Model Curricula in math, English language arts, social studies, and science, and violations of testing procedures.

The SBE adopted revised content standards in June 2010, and is now working to develop the model curricula.  The SBE is required by law to adopt model curricula by March 2011.  The committee received an update on the process and timeline that is being used to develop the model curricula.

The committee also received information about the testing industry's standards and procedures for reviewing student exams to determine if all testing procedures have been followed.  Recently the scoring company that the ODE uses to grade the state assessments identified some instances in which testing protocols might have been violated in some schools.  The Committee agreed to move to the full Board for approval resolutions #5,6, and 7 (on the Board's agenda) regarding these alleged violations.

Capacity Committee:  The Capacity Committee, chaired by Rob Hovis and Kristen McKinley, approved a resolution of intent to rescind and adopt Rule 3301-24-03, Educator Preparation Programs; received an update on the Teacher Evaluation System Guidelines; and received an update on the Transition Resident Educator Program and Development of the Ohio Resident Educator Program.

The committee also received an interim report, "Diversity Strategies for Successful Schools -- Recommendations" from the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University. The SBE obtained a grant from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation to revise its 1980 Equal Educational Opportunity Policy in response to U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding the public school systems in Seattle and Louisville in 2006.  The Board received a draft of the policy recommendations in July, provided feedback, and the Kirwan Institute revised those recommendations, which are presented in the interim report.

The Capacity Committee will consider approval of these recommendations at its November 2010 meeting, and the full Board will receive a presentation about them in December.  The SBE expects to

adopt an "intent resolution" in January, 2011, and a final resolution in February 2011.

The following recommendations were included in the draft interim report.  According to the report, these recommendations "...align with the state constitution's mandate to provide a 'thorough and efficient' school system, reasonable, predicated upon quality research, and compliant with law.  Thus, the following recommendations are valid, constitutional, and defensibly in the best interest of Ohio school children."

  • Reaffirm the commitment to promoting diversity and reducing racial isolation.

  • Continue the policy of obligating districts with substantial variation to take reasonable actions to reduce it as are consistent with federal law.

  • Support and encourage voluntary student assignment policies that promote diversity.

  • Require districts to assess the diversity impact of a new school site or school closing.

  • Continue the policy commitment to equal employment opportunities and staff diversity.

  • Support and expand diversity training for teachers and administrators.

  • Limit the application of Zero Tolerance policies to serious offenses only and support effective intervention measures that reduce push-out programs.

  • Expand and replicate successful magnet school programs.

  • Maintain rigorous standards of achievement while focusing on students needs.

  • Replicate successful comprehensive counseling programs to support diversity.

  • Encourage community involvement/relations.

Communications Task Force:  The Communications Task Force, chaired by Michael Collins, reported that they have been working with ODE staff to review information regarding the communication strategies used by the ODE and the SBE, including communications from Board leadership and other Board members; communications of Board members with senior ODE staff; and Board communications with the public. The Board will receive a draft of this report in November; discuss the report in December; and approve its recommendations in January 2011.


Following the lunch break the Board received a presentation led by Dennis Reardon, chair of the SBE's Budget Subcommittee; Superintendent of Public Instruction, Deborah Delisle; and Kelly

Weir, director of the ODE's Office of Budget and Planning, regarding the Superintendent's FY12-13 proposed budget.

The State Board of Education is required by statute (ORC 3301.07) to recommend a biennial education budget that reflects the status, needs, and major problems of the public schools in the state to the governor and General Assembly. The Superintendent of Public Instruction, Deb Delisle, submitted a proposed budget to the SBE in July 2010, and included increases of 4.5 percent in FY12 ($333.2 million) and 3.4 percent increases in FY13 ($262.6 million), and also recommended several changes regarding the Evidence-Based Model. Although the School Funding Advisory Council is also developing recommendations regarding the Evidence-Based Model (EBM), the proposed ODE education budget does not necessarily reflect the ideas being considered by the Council.

The SBE Budget Subcommittee, chaired by Dennis Reardon, met several times over the summer to review the proposed budget, and proposed a flat-plus budget of $7,626,691,584, with a 2.4 percent increase in FY12 ($179.5 million) and $7,785,534,493 in FY13, which is a 2.1 percent increase ($158.8 million). The proposed budget is based on General Revenue Funds and lottery profits, minus the tax relief line items, which are included in the Department of Taxation's budget.

However, Mr. Reardon also stated his intent to amend the proposed budget during the Board's business meeting on October 12, 2010.  The amendment would change the recommendation regarding Educational Service Center funds for gifted education.  The proposal would allocate funds from the funding that Educational Service Centers receive to support services for gifted children ($8.1 million in both fiscal years), and make some funds available to identify gifted students in community schools and joint vocational school districts, upon request.  The recommendation would not include a mandate that students in community schools be identified as gifted, or served. Funds from the same source would also be used to support ODE staffing for gifted education.

There was a lengthy discussion about this proposed amendment, and several other ideas were offered. During the discussion Board members learned that 280,000 students in Ohio have been identified as "gifted", but approximately 55,000 students (unduplicated) are being served.

In addition to the Flat-Plus budget, the ODE Office of Budget and Planning also prepared and will submit a budget based on the parameters established by the state's Office of Budget and Management, executive director J. Pari Sabety.  Those parameters were issued for FY12 & 13 in July, and require Ohio agencies to prepare and submit a flat budget at FY11 levels in both years, and a ninety percent budget based on FY11 in both years.

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