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Advocacy Update 8.20.14 – Common Core Hearings

The common core fight in Ohio became a little more serious this week as a Substitute House Bill 597 was introduced in the House Rules Committee.  Four hearings were held over three days and over 50 proponent witnesses came to testify including several expert witnesses who have traveled the country to oppose the common core implementation. While most witnesses stuck to the content of the bill, some strayed into complaints about the third grade reading guarantee, homeschooling rights, corporate greed (focused mostly on Bill Gates), the dumbing down of the SAT and Advanced Placement exams, and at one point, climate change.One disconcerting theme was the need to dismantle the current accountability system largely in the name of local control. For all testimony, please go to:http://www.ohiohouse.gov/committee/rules-and-reference. Next week's hearing will include opponent testimony and will take place at 9:00 AM on August 26th and 27th most likely in hearing room 313. 

HB 597 would repeal and prohibit the implementation of the common core in Ohio along with any assessments related to the common core including the PARCC exams, which were scheduled to be implemented in the current school year. Over the course of four years, Ohio students would work under three sets of standards: For 2014-2015, there are no standards indicated so presumably the current Ohio Learning Standards are still in place. Instead of PARCC, the current OAAs and OGT would be administered. For 2015-2016 and 2016-2017, Ohio would implement the pre-2010 Massachusetts math and ELA standards with tweaks to include Ohio-specific content. The state board of education would have 90 days after the bill’s passage to rewrite and implement these standards. And then in 2017-2018, a new set of Ohio standards would be implemented after review and approval from a steering committee appointed by the governor, the speaker of the house and the senate president.  Other major provisions:

  1. Limits state standards to math, language arts, social studies, and science. Only biology, chemistry, and physics standards can be developed and according to the bill’s sponsor (via the Dispatch) does not prohibit the teaching of intelligent design.  Standards for fine arts, financial literacy, technology, foreign language, and entrepreneurship would not be required of districts.  
  2. Prohibits the state from withholding state funds to districts that choose not to implement the standards or the assessments.  Democrats on the committee were concerned that low-performing community schools would simply opt out of the assessments to skirt accountability. What this does to the state accountability system is a big question.
  3. Requires that a high standard of rigor be implemented in the standards, but does not specify that a high standard cut score be used in any assessments be used to measure the standards.
  4. Specifies that the ELA standards would be based on literary works, 80% of which would be required to be pre-1970 works from British and American authors. (One of the bill’s sponsor has stated this was a drafting error.)
  5. Removes the ability of the state board to set standards for “other such factors the Board finds necessary.”
  6. Requires any college readiness by normed-referenced and eliminates high school end-of-course exams for unspecified number of high school assessments. This is big change to the newly-passed legislation on graduation paths.

For the full analysis of the bill and the actual bill language, please go to http://oagc.com/advocacyUpdates.asp .

OAGC does not have a formal position on the common core. However, this bill could potentially delay or dismantle gains in accountability for gifted students in terms of value-added sub-group grades and the gifted performance indicator.  Any new set of standards and assessments need to extend to the needs of gifted children both in terms of both meeting their educational needs and holding districts responsible for the appropriate achievement and growth of these students.

For those of you who think this bill is dead on arrival, think again. The Rules and References committee will pass this bill, and it very well might clear the house. What happens in the senate is unclear. However, it is known that Senate President Keith Faber is not a fan of the common core.

Speaking of the Senate, Senate President Keith Faber is seeking members of the Ohio Academic Content Standards review committee established in HB 487. He must appoint one content expert in English language arts; one parent or guardian for the English language arts committee; one content expert in mathematics; one educator, currently teaching in a classroom, for the mathematics committee; one content expert in science; one parent or guardian for the science committee; one content expert in social studies, and one educator, currently teaching in a classroom, for the social studies committee.Content experts must be residents of Ohio, as well as primarily conduct research, provide instruction, currently work in, or possess an advanced degree in the respective subject area. These appointments are not compensated, but appointees will be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses related to serving as a member. 
 
Interested applicants should send a letter of interest along with a resume (or curriculum vitae) and references by Friday, Sept. 19, 2014 via email to Faber@OhioSenate.gov with the subject line: Special Appointments, or mail to: President Keith Faber, Ohio Statehouse, Attn: Special Appointments Office, 1 Capitol Square, 2nd Floor, Columbus, OH 43215.

Whatever your feelings on the common core, I would urge you to read the analysis of HB 597and communicate with your representative and senator about the need to maintain accountability measures for gifted students regardless of the standards and assessments in place.

 

Posted: 8/20/2014
Last Update: 8/20/2014

Advocacy Update – 6.5.14 – HB 487 Mid-biennial Review Passes with Major Changes

After a lengthy delay in deliberations on 6.4.14, last night the Ohio House finally accepted the conference committee report which was negotiated between the House and Senate. First the good news: The conference committee voted to accept the House requirement that the Ohio Department of Education must report how districts are spending gifted funds from the gifted formula. Also, aside from AP and IB test fees, districts are not allowed to count as served, any gifted student who is paying for their own services (e.g. credit flexibility and college credit plus). Also, qualified 7th and 8th graders may access College Credit Plus programs.

 

Which leads me to the not-so-good news: College Credit Plus changes largely followed those laid out by the Ohio Senate.  Private colleges can charge students anywhere from $100 to $153 per credit hour for courses depending on who is teaching them and where they are taught. This means that a student taking a math course offered by a private college but taught on the high school campus by a high school teacher may have to pay $300 to $400 depending on how many credit hours the course is. If the student takes the course at the private college, the cost would be at the $153 rate.  Students would be charged $125 for courses taught by college instructors on a high school campus. The original bill language limited the charge to students to $33 per credit hour. Considering that the whole point of College Credit Plus was to increase college access to students, it appears this program will only be for those students who have access to public colleges, who are on free and reduced lunch (for whom no charge can be levied) or for those students whose parents are wealthy enough to afford the cost. Districts do not have to indicate to students that there are no-cost options available (through public colleges), and, in fact, it might be that these options will not be available as the bill is unclear on this point.  So, sorry middle class kids, you may be shut out of appropriate coursework if your district chooses to partner with a private college for College Credit Plus.  Also, private colleges can require that public school students sign statements of faith as part of the admission requirements for College Credit Plus as this was not addressed in the bill.  

Back to some more good news. Many elements of HB193 were incorporated into the HB487. The Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) will see the end of days for next year’s entering freshmen. There will now be three graduation exam paths. The first requires the passage of seven end-of-course exams including Algebra I, Geometry (or integrated math I and II), and physical science, American history, American government, and English I and English II. AP, IB, or “dual enrollment” course exams can be substituted for American history, American government, and physical science. It is unclear whether the dual enrollment courses encompass all College Credit Plus courses or just those taught on the high school campus.

The second path would allow students to earn a remediation free score on the ACT or SAT. The passage cut scores for the ACT would be 18 for English, 21 for Reading, and 22 for Math. For the SAT, the passage scores would be 430 in writing, 450 in reading, and 520 in math.  This pathway could be the easiest way for many gifted students to dispense with graduation hoop-jumping.

The third path would be for students to receive an industry credential and achieve a score that demonstrates workforce readiness on the ACT Work Keys or some other assessment.

The bad news is that the testing levels for the new Ohio assessments will continue to be named advanced, accelerated, proficient, basic, and limited.

There is much, much more included in HB487, including the introduction of value-added at the high school level. A more thorough analysis will be prepared in the upcoming weeks.

Posted: 6/5/2014
Last Update: 6/5/2014

Advocacy Alert 5.28.14 – Private Colleges are Pushing to Charge Any Amount to Students Under College Credit Plus

The as introduced language under college credit plus limited the amount that private colleges could charge high school students for college credit to $33 per credit hour. The House Education Committee kept the as introduced language, but the Ohio Senate Education amended the language to allow districts to charge students potentially up to $193 per credit hour. In addition, the Senate Education committee took out language that required districts partnering with private colleges to inform parents that there were no cost options available. There are rumblings that private colleges are lobbying hard to remove any limitation on what students can be charged. (Note: none of this applies to students on free and reduced lunch. They still would not be charged). Please call the following individuals and tell them you object to any public school student being charged for the college credit plus program – especially for programs taught on the high school campus with high school teachers. Any charge to students will limit access to College Credit Plus, which is contrary to the intent of the program. Public school students are not charged for the current PSEO program. They should not be charged for the College Credit Plus program. Also, parents should be informed of all non-cost options for College Credit Plus. Tell them that you would like the funding language for college credit plus to be restored to the as introduced version in HB487. Please make your phone calls now. You will likely talk to an aide or get voice mail. Be polite and state your message. If you are shy about talking to a live person, call after 5 and you will likely get voice mail.
It should take you roughly 15 minutes to make phone calls to the following individuals:

Representative Gerald Stebelton (Chair, House Education Committee) – 614-466-8100

Senator Peggy Lehner (Chair, Senate Education Committee) – 614-466-4538

Representative Andrew Brenner (Vice Chair, Education Committee) – 614-644-6711

Senator Randy Gardner – 614-466-8060

Representative Tony Hall – 614-466-2994

Representative Timothy Derickson – 614-644-5094

Representative Burkley – 614-644-5091

Posted: 5/28/2014
Last Update: 5/28/2014

Advocacy Update – May 20, 2014 –HB487 and State Board of Education Updates

HB 487 was voted out of the Senate Education Committee today. No amendments sought by OAGC were included in the Senate version of the bill, and several provisions supporting gifted students were eliminated. Among the many changes are the following that relate to issues of concern to gifted advocates:

  1. Allows non-public universities to charge students under College Credit Plus the difference between the maximum ceiling amount and the floor. This appears to allow private universities to charge students $153 per credit hour vs. the as introduced and House bill language $33/per credit. (Until the actual language is posted, this is a bit unclear. It is possible that the new charge is $193 per credit hour. )
  2. Eliminates the provision that requires districts that are charging students for College Credit Plus programs to provide information to parents about non-cost options.
  3. Eliminate the House provision that requires districts to report gifted spending.
  4. Eliminates the provision that prohibits districts from indicating that a gifted student is served unless the district provides for the cost of the service. 

There are also many major policy changes regarding teacher evaluations, value-added, assessment phase-in, district report card safe harbor provisions and more. Until the bill is passed by the Senate and LSC posts the Senate version of the bill and the full analysis, it will be difficult to know the full extent of the modifications.

The LSC analysis of these changes can downloaded here.

OAGC testimony on HB487 can be found here.  We will need to make contact with the bill conference committee members when they are announced.  Changes sought will include the following:

  1. Restore the House amendment regarding gifted funding reporting.
  2. Restore the House amendment prohibiting districts from indicating students are served unless the district is paying for the services.
  3. Restore the as introduced language that requires districts to provide information to parents on no-cost options for college credit plus for students who are being charged to participate with a private college.
  4. Include language that would clarify that regardless of any partnering agreement that a district has with a college, that a student who meets the admissions criteria can access coursework from any public post-secondary institution.
  5. Include language that would clarify admissions to colleges would be no more rigorous than that of typical, matriculating students.
  6. Include language that ensures that non-public universities cannot require non-secular admissions requirements on public school students.
  7.  Include language ensuring that the grading scales for colleges will be made comparable to those of districts before weights are applied and that a student with a disputed grade may appeal to the state board of education.

GIfted Performance Indicator Update -- The State Board of Education Accountability Committee made two decisions last week with regard to the gifted performance indicator that were contrary to those supported by OAGC.  The committee voted to allow districts under 600 ADM (students) to be not rated if they do not identify enough gifted students to receive a value-added grade or gifted performance index score. OAGC believes that 500 ADM is a number better supported by the data. In addition, the committee decided that districts with missing value-added subgroup scores would merely be rated on the scores of the subgroups that the district has. This could provide a disincentive for appropriate identification of gifted students.  Our suggestion to the full board is to ensure that districts above the minimum ADM that do not have a gifted value-added subgroup should be penalized in some way.

Next month, the accountability committee and the full board will likely vote on the thresholds of each of the three elements of the gifted performance indicator: gifted value-added, gifted performance index, and the gifted input points. The thresholds of all three of these elements must be met in order for the indicator in total to be met.  OAGC’s recommendation is to set the gifted value-added score at C and above; the gifted performance index at 116 and above (out of 120), and the gifted input score phased in at 50 (out of 100) for 2013-2014, 65 for 2014-2015, and 80 for 2015-2016. There will be tremendous pressure on board members to set these thresholds at a low level. ODE presented the following possible scenarios: a C or a D in the value-added component; 110 – 115 for the gifted performance index component, and 25 – 35 for the gifted input component.  The argument for the low thresholds is that districts will ignore any indicator that is too hard for districts to reach. But if districts that are doing very little for gifted students, it is a disservice to gifted parents to set the thresholds too low. It will undercut their ability to advocate for the children.  OAGC testimony on this issue was presented at the State Board of Education regarding these issues. You can download the testimony here.

We will likely need testimony and emails to state board members. More information on this will forthcoming in the next week.

Posted: 5/20/2014
Last Update: 5/20/2014

Advocacy Update – May 10, 2014 – HB 487 Hearings and Gifted Performance Indicator Update

Things in the General Assembly are heating up again as both chambers push to move bills to the finish line before the summer break. HB 487 received two hearings in Senate Education Committee this week.  It appears from comments made by Senator Randy Gardner during testimony given by witnesses representing three non-public universities, there is already an amendment drafted that would allow at least non-public universities to charge students for College Credit Plus courses. It is unclear how much the universities would be allowed to charge students per credit hour. It almost certainly will not be applied to economically disadvantaged students.  Also, in testimony, the education management associations as well as the Urban 8 asked the committee to remove language that the House Education included in the bill to require districts to report to ODE how they spent state gifted funding allocated in the funding formula.

 

OAGC will present testimony next week. There are Senate Education Committee hearings scheduled for Tuesday, May 13th at 1:30 PM in the South hearing room and Wednesday, May 14th at 2:30 pm in the Grant hearing room.  There is a possibility of a May 15th hearing. OAGC will be asking that the House provision supporting gifted funding accountability be maintained as well as the provision that allows 7th and 8th graders to access the College Credit Plus program.  OAGC will express opposition to allowing universities to charge students for college credit plus courses. In addition, OAGC will ask for amendments to clarify that students will be allowed to access courses taught on any public college campus regardless of any agreements for dual enrollment programs held at the district. OAGC will also seek clarifying language to ensure that college credit plus admission requirements are no more rigorous than they are for typical matriculating students and that there no religious requirements for admission. Finally, OAGC will ask the committee to strengthen language that would require all college courses to be provided with similar district weights for other Advanced Standing programs within the district.  If you would like to voice your concerns about potential amendments or changes to HB 487, please contact the Ohio Senate Education Committee members and your own senator. If you would like to testify, please contact me at anngift@aol.com .

 

Senator

Email Address

Senate Office

Phone Number

Peggy Lehner (R) – Chair

lehner@ohiosenate.gov  

614-466-4538

Cliff Hite (R) – Vice Chair

hite@ohiosenate.gov 

614-466-8150

Troy Balderson (R)

balderson@ohiosenate.gov

614-466-8076

Bill Beagle (R)

beagle@ohiosenate.gov 

614-466-6427

William Coley (R)

coley@ohiosenate.gov

614-466-8072

Randy Gardner (R)

gardner@ohiosenate.gov 

614-466-8060

Gayle L. Manning (R)

manning@ohiosenate.gov 

614-644-7613

Tom Sawyer (D) – Ranking Member

sawyer@ohiosenate.gov

614-466-7041

Eric Kearney (D)

kearney@ohiosenate.gov

614-466-5980

Nina Turner (D)

turner@ohiosenate.gov

614-466-4583

     
     

 

Gifted Performance Indicator – The GPI workgroup concluded its last meeting on May 7. The group made several decisions regarding the threshold ADM for districts to be responsible for identifying enough gifted students to qualify for a gifted value-added measure. While the two gifted representatives voted no, the majority group voted that the minimum threshold would be 600 ADM and that it would be phased-in over three years. In addition, any district under 600 ADM that did identify enough students to warrant a gifted value-added grade and a gifted performance index grade would not be penalized if it did not meet the measure. It would simply be “not rated.” The group made no decisions regarding thresholds for the three components of the gifted performance indicator: gifted value-added, gifted performance index, and the gifted inputs. The gifted input scale (which along with other new documents is posted at www.oagc.com/advocacyUpdates.asp) is based on a 100 point scale on various measures of identification and service across categories, grade bands, and student demographics. The median district score is 34, which is not too surprising given the low levels of service across the state.  The Hannah coverage on the final GPI work group meeting is also posted at www.oagc.com/advocacyUpdates.asp .  Probably the most telling exchange of the meeting was at the end when all work group members were asked for final thoughts. Michael Tefs, the Wooster City Schools superintendent indicated that he somewhat objected to the whole idea of the gifted performance indicator. Hannah reported the exchange as follows:  

 

Michael Tefs, superintendent, Wooster City Schools, commented, “This is a back door to public policy.” Sheldon agreed and asked him, “Would you rather have an outright mandate?”

 

The state board accountability will meet on Monday, May 12th to discuss the report from the work group and possibly to make some decisions regarding thresholds for the three components. There is likely to be heavy pressure from districts to set these thresholds at low levels.

Posted: 5/10/2014
Last Update: 5/10/2014