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Advocacy Update – May 3, 2017 – House Passes Budget, Testing Committee Brainstorms, and More

Budget Update – The Ohio House passed Substitute Bill HB49 this week largely along party lines. There were a few new tweaks to education provisions but nothing directly affecting gifted education. The amendment for a gifted cost study remains in the bill.  The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) will be presenting to the Ohio Senate Finance Committee today. The Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) presented to the committee yesterday. Senator Bill Coley took ODHE to task for requiring non-public schools to allow their students to participate in College Credit Plus saying that ODHE had misinterpreted the law. Non-public school students have always been allowed to participate in College Credit Plus and, before that,  PSEO (Post Secondary Enrollment Options) as a matter of parental/student choice. Eliminating that choice would be puzzling given Ohio’s history of support of school choice. Hearings on the budget will begin in the Senate will move into high gear next week.

Superintendents’ Advisory Committee on Assessments -- The State Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Assessments met on Tuesday, May 2 to begin developing recommendations based on their previously-compiled brainstorming list . The committee broke into four separate groups and began to work on recommendations. At the end of the meeting, each group indicated their top recommendations which included:

The next meeting will be on May 16, 2017 where additional time will be spent on state assessment recommendations. Committee members may also begin work on recommendations for local assessments. Brainstorming ideas for this area can be viewed here.

Federal Budget Spending Bill Includes Javits Funding – The spending bill that was negotiated this week to fund the federal budget through September includes $12 million to support the Jacob Javits Gifted grants.

OAGC Advocacy Live You Tube Event Rescheduled -- The OAGC Parent Division has rescheduled a YouTube LIVE event from May 1 to May 15th at 7 pm. Come learn from parents and professionals who will share their powerful tips on advocating for your gifted child. From the classroom level to the state level, this session will address advocacy needs that include academic, social-emotional, twice-exceptional, post-secondary, and so much more. Learn from others who “have been there” and get answers for your advocacy needs during this Q&A opportunity. Post questions during the event directly on YouTube or elsewhere on social media using #OAGC and we will answer them during the live event. Other questions or to learn more about the Parent Division visit www.oagc.com  or email Parent Division Chair Angela Grimm aecrowder@yahoo.com .

Posted: 5/3/2017
Last Update: 5/3/2017

Advocacy Update – April 28, 2017 – State Budget Update; OAGC Advocacy You Tube Event; Testing Committee to Meet

Budget Update – The Ohio House Finance Committee accepted Substitute Bill HB49 this week, which offers several changes to education including $80 million more to the funding formula. One education amendment that was inserted into the substitute bill was a provision requiring the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to do a cost study on gifted education to determine the appropriate level and funding formula. This is a welcome change. The Ohio House is expected to finalize their work on the budget by the middle of next week. The Ohio Senate Finance sub-committees are already holding hearings. Senate President, Larry Obhof, has indicated that the Ohio Senate is likely to make major cuts to the budget in order to account for the projected $800 million shortfall in state revenue for FY19-20. While the gifted funding formula is not likely to be affected, gifted unit funding to ESCs could be targeted.

OAGC Advocacy Live You Tube Event – Join the OAGC Parent Division for a YouTube LIVE event and learn from parents and professionals who will share their powerful tips on advocating for your gifted child. From the classroom level to the state level, this session will address advocacy needs that include academic, social-emotional, twice-exceptional, post-secondary, and so much more. Learn from others who “have been there” and get answers for your advocacy needs during this Q&A opportunity.
Post questions during the event directly on YouTube or elsewhere on social media using #OAGC and we will answer them during the live event. Other questions or to learn more about the Parent Division visit www.oagc.com  or email Parent Division Chair Angela Grimm aecrowder@yahoo.com .

Superintendents’ Advisory Committee on Assessments -- The State Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Assessments will meet on Tuesday, May 2 at 4:30 pm at the Ohio Department of Education. The Committee will work with the previously-compiled brainstorming list on state assessments to develop recommendations and action items on state assessments.

Posted: 4/28/2017
Last Update: 4/28/2017

Advocacy Update 4.20.17 – Superintendent’s Assessment Committee Tackles Local Assessments; State Budget Woes

Assessment Advisory Committee Update -- The Superintendent’s Assessment Advisory Committee met on April 18th. The agenda largely was dominating by a presentation from committee member, Neil Gupta, whose district participated in a pilot program with four other Central Ohio school districts to conduct district audit assessments. His presentation is posted at http://oagc.com/advocacyUpdates.asp  under the 4.18.17 meeting documents under the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee 2017 heading. Dr. Gupta warned the committee that while the audit yielded very useful information for the district, it did not result in the elimination of any assessments. The process, however, did bring a better awareness and understanding of district assessments among both staff and parents. Dr. Colleen Boyle, Gifted and Talented Supervisor for Columbus City Schools, also spoke to the committee to provide some insight on universal gifted screening, the use of assessments for multiple purposes, and the gifted identification gap between minority and/or economically disadvantaged students with those students who are not. Committee members wanted to know who decided which assessments could be used to identify gifted students and why the process used to select those instruments couldn’t be streamlined to also be used for OTES and other purposes. Other questions had to do with how gifted identification was funded and what gifted assessments were required for identification before the new standards were adopted.

The committee split up into multiple groups for the last ten minutes of the meeting to brainstorm ideas on how to streamline local assessments. The group was then given the results of the last meeting brainstorming session on state assessments. This list is available at the above link. The next meeting will be held on May 2nd. The group will work with the brainstorming list on state assessments to develop recommendations and action items on state assessments.

State Budget Deliberations to Begin Again with Budget Shortfall Looming – After a two week spring break, the General Assembly will be back next week to discuss the biennial budget. Given the recent announcement  that $800 million must be eliminated from the two year proposal, deliberations will likely take a more serious look at where cuts will be made as opposed to previously hoped-for program expansions. The Ohio House is expected to release a sub bill in the next week which will likely include these cuts. The Ohio Senate will also continue to hold hearings on the bill.

Posted: 4/20/2017
Last Update: 4/20/2017

Advocacy Update – 4.6.17 – Assessment Committee Meets; ODE Releases Gifted Regional School Study; Senate Takes Up Budget

Superintendent’s Committee on Assessments – The second meeting of the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Assessments was held April 4th. Committee members received an overview of state assessments from ODE Deputy Superintendent, Dr. John Richard. In addition, invited speakers addressed the committee about the kindergarten readiness, 3rd grade reading assessments, and social studies assessments. The latter group of speakers indicated that when social studies assessments were eliminated earlier in the decade that social studies teaching declined. After these presentations, the committee broke up into small groups to brain storm how state assessments could be streamlined. The next meeting takes place on April 18th from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM at the Ohio Department of Education. The focus will be on local assessments including those required by the state, which would include gifted assessments. Committee members were asked to prepare a list of assessments at each grade level used by their district and the amount of time each assessment took. The committee will hear from Neil Gupta from Worthington City Schools about how his district did an assessment audit. In addition, Colleen Boyle, OAGC President, will address the committee regarding gifted screening and assessment. Based on comments from a few of the committee members at this week’s meeting, it is clear there is confusion about what is required for gifted screening and assessment, and why it is important. 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.

Gifted Regional School Feasibility Study Released  – Language in the last biennial budget required the Ohio Department of Education to conduct a feasibility study of regional gifted schools and submit that report to Ohio policy makers by July 1, 2016.  The study, which was conducted in April of 2016, was finally released last week. While there are a few interesting items in the study, the final determination was that the feasibility of schools would require “detailed, region-specific market and cost analyses, especially in the rural, sparsely-populated regions. Those detailed analyses were beyond the scope of this study.” In other words, the report had no specific conclusions about the feasibility of regional gifted opportunities that gifted students from across the state could access. A few of the more interesting findings in the report included:

The report can be accessed at www.oagc.com/statebudget.asp .

Ohio Senate Takes Up State Budget – Before the Ohio House has produced a sub bill for HB49, the biennial budget, the Ohio Senate Finance Committee and subcommittees have begun initial hearings. While the Ohio General Assembly will be on hold for a couple of weeks for spring break, look for things to heat up again the last week of April. As Ohio’s revenue shortfall continues, the budget outlook appears to be even more bleak than previously thought.  

Posted: 4/7/2017
Last Update: 4/7/2017

Advocacy Update – 3.24.17 – Assessment Committee Meets; Gifted Standards Update; Supreme Court Ruling

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 .

Posted: 3/24/2017
Last Update: 3/24/2017