Superintendent’s Committee on Assessments – The first meeting of the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Assessments was held this past week. Committee members heard a presentation from ODE Deputy Superintendent, Dr. John Richard. Dr Richard also shared a timeline for committee tasks. The committee has representatives from most of the major education groups. OAGC President, Colleen Boyle is representing OAGC on the committee. To view the assessment committee presentation, timeline, and next meeting tasks, please go to www.oagc.com/advocacyupdates.asp and look under the “Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Assessments 2017” tab. All documents from meetings will be posted under that tab. The next meeting is scheduled for April 4, 2017 from 4:30 to 6:30 pm at the Ohio Department of Education.
Gifted Operating Standards Update – The Ohio Department of Education officially field the gifted operating standards on March 21st. Typically, this would mean that the standards would go into effect 10 days after the final filing. However, in order to coincide with school year, the operating standards will go into effect on July 1, 2017. To see a copy of the final rule, please go to http://www.oagc.com/rulelaw.asp
New Supreme Court Ruling on Special Education – This week in a landmark case for students with disabilities, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled districts must give students with disabilities the chance to make meaningful, "appropriately ambitious" progress. "It cannot be right that the IDEA generally contemplates grade-level advancement for children with disabilities who are fully integrated in the regular classroom, but is satisfied with barely more than de minimis progress for children who are not," read the opinion, signed by Chief Justice John Roberts. While it is unclear what impact this might have in the future for gifted students, it is definite victory for all families of students with special needs For more information on this ruling, please go to http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/03/22/521094752/the-supreme-court-rules-in-favor-of-a-special-education-student .
OAGC Budget Testimony – OAGC provided testimony before the House Finance Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education, this morning. The association made several budget requests along with recommendations for changes to funding accountability and the College Credit Plus program. The Ssbcommittee members ask a variety of questions. Rep. Miller and Patterson focused on how the needs of rural, gifted students could be better met. Chairman Cupp wondered how funding accountability could be achieved. Rep. Reineke wanted to know what the impact of potential reduced testing might have on gifted identification. OAGC testimony along with that of Allen County ESC gifted coordinator, Judy Chaffins, can be accessed at oagc.com/statebudget.asp .
Gifted Operating Standards Update – Last week, JCARR held hearings on several administrative rulings including the gifted operating standards. With no witness testimony provided, JCARR released jurisdiction of the administrative rule. The operating standards should be officially adopted by the end of March.
ESSA Update – In the first of two major pieces of information on ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act), the USDOE released new guidance to states this week on how to submit a consolidated state plan. Earlier this week, State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria, in response to major pushback from several education groups, delayed the submission of the Ohio plan from April to September. ODE now plans to convene several committees to review and revise the plan. One of the major concerns about the current ODE draft plan expressed by many education groups is over testing. No state assessments were recommended for elimination in the ODE draft ESSA plan. Gifted advocates will need to watch and provide insight on testing as ODE revises the ESSA plan. Universal screening for gifted students is a necessary tool to ensure that underrepresented populations are identified. Ohio needs to maintain gifted universal screening and not allow it to be sacrificed as part of a misguided solution to over-testing. The first meeting of the Advisory Committee on Assessments is next week. It is not currently known whether anyone representing the gifted community is on the committee. OAGC will also seek other changes to ODE’s plan to ensure that the needs of gifted students are better represented.
New Gifted Poll – A new gifted poll released this week by the Institute for Educational Advancement (IEA) found wide bi-partisan voter support for increased funding and resources for gifted students. For more information on this poll and the results, please go to http://www.nagc.org/first-ever-poll-voters-about-gifted-learners-finds-strong-bipartisan-support-increasing-funding-and
In February, ODE released Ohio’s draft plan for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This is the federal act that replaces the replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). ODE’s draft Plan is posted at http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Every-Student-Succeeds-Act-ESSA . ODE is currently conducting survey to receive public input on the proposed plan. The survey is general, and asks for input on several major areas. OAGC’s position on ESSA can found at the first link under the OAGC positions and research tab at: http://oagc.com/advocacyUpdates.asp . Please take a few minutes to read it and respond to ODE’s ESSA survey, which will be open through Monday, March 6, 2017.
The survey can be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ESSAOhioOverview. For ease of responding, you may wish to read below for a “quick and dirty” guide to some ways to fill out the survey to encourage ODE to provide more to support to gifted students in the ESSA plan. As always, please add your own thoughts.
1) Challenging State Academic Standards and Academic Assessments
Please ensure that double testing is eliminated for middle school students taking high school coursework should be a priority in the area of assessments.
2) Aligned System of Accountability, Support, and Improvement
The reduction in N-size from 30 to 15 is a welcome change as the performance of sub-groups in more districts and schools will be highlighted.
The continued use of the gifted performance indicator and the gifted value-added sub-group is recommended with increased emphasis on the excellence gap which is the gap between the performance of minority and/or economically disadvantaged gifted students and gifted students who are not.
3) Schools and Districts Identified for Support
Ohio should recognize districts where gifted students are provided with opportunities and are performing well and as support to districts where gifted students are not provided with sufficient opportunities or where there are large gaps between gifted minority and/or economically gifted students and those gifted students who are not.
4) An Aligned, Evidence-Based Improvement System
Title I funds are allowed to be utilized for the support of gifted students. The plan should acknowledge this and require/encourage districts to take advantage of ESSA flexibility, and implement evidence-based strategies to support gifted students
5) Supporting Excellent Educators
ESSA requires that districts receiving Title II funds must provide training to educators to support the needs of gifted students. The only area in the plan that discussed PD for gifted is a reference to Javits gifted online modules that were developed over a decade ago. This reference should be removed and language should be developed requiring/encouraging districts to utilize their Title II funds to support professional development in gifted to district classroom teachers.
6) Supporting All Students: Well Rounded and Support Education for Students
Title IV funds may be used to support initiatives to improved students access to challenging curriculum. Ohio’s ESSA plan needs to ensure that gifted students are included as a sub-group under these initiatives and, in fact, all initiatives related to district or student improvement. Gifted minority and economically disadvantaged students may be the least well-served student population in Ohio. This should be addressed in Ohio’s plan.
Gifted Standards Update – The State Board of Education held a Chapter 119 hearing on the proposed gifted operating standards on February 13th. Three witnesses provided in-person testimony in support of the new standards. Several witnesses also submitted written testimony. Final adoption of the standards is still on schedule for later this spring.
State Board of Education Board Member Changes – The state board of education welcomed a new board member in February. Laura Kohler of New Albany, replaced C. Todd Jones, who did not seek reappointment for another term. Ms. Kohler was a local board of education member for several years prior to this appointment. With this change, the board now has nine new members out of nineteen.
Biennial Budget – The state budget is officially underway with testimony heating up in the Ohio House. The House Finance Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee will be hearing testimony through the end of March. Gifted education issues will be discussed on March 16th. If you wish to testify, please contact email@example.com . There are no funding changes for gifted education included in HB49 (the budget bill). However, as the vast majority of districts receive cuts in funding, it is likely that gifted funding will feel the squeeze at the local district level unless things change in the House and Senate. Beyond the funding issues, the big education policy issues receiving attention are the requirement of local boards of education to add three members from the business community and the requirement of teachers renewing their licenses to intern with a business.
College Credit Plus, which will be discussed in the House Finance Higher Education Subcommittee has many new changes included in the governor’s budget. HB49 does the following:
No changes were made to address the issue of homeschooled and non-public students who are shut out of state funding or for those students wishing to take more than 30 credit hours of coursework to be able to access the program at the default ceiling amount charged to districts and non-public schools.
ESSA – Both the State Board of Education as well as the JEOC (Joint Education Oversight Committee) received an overview of ODE’s ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) draft plan, last week. The full draft can be downloaded at http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Every-Student-Succeeds-Act-ESSA . Other than the current accountability provisions, gifted is not addressed in the plan. ODE will accept comments on the plan through March 6th. JEOC plans to hold two hearings on ESSA in early March. With a new administration at the federal level, it is difficult to predict the future of ESSA.
On Tuesday morning, the House Finance commitee peppered OBM Director Tim Keen and State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria with questions for hours. Many of the questions had to do with a foundation funding formula that many contend favor wealthier suburban districts over rural districts. This morning, the still un-numbered bill, was released. A very cursory review shows that gifted funding is left unchanged from the last biennium both in the foundation formula and in ESC funding. That is a relief to ESCs and smaller districts counting on ESC gifted services. It should be noted, however, that this funding is still half of what it was four years ago. The lack of support for gifted in Ohio's rural districts is becoming more apparent in staffing levels and performance measures. The budget bill language along with the current district foundation simulations can be accessed at oagc.com/statebudget.asp . This page will be updated regularly as more budget documents are released. OAGC will be testifying in mid March on gifted provisions in the budget.