Recommendations in Response to Ohio’s Consolidated Plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act
Well-Rounded and Supportive Education for All Students
Page 86-93 Title IV Part A Funds
Title IV, Part A, Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants are designed to, in part, support districts and schools to “provide all students with access to a well-rounded education” (Title IV, Part A, Section 4101).
According to the ESSA template, Ohio’s state plan should describe strategies and uses of funds, “....to ensure that all children have a significant opportunity to meet challenging State academic standards and career and technical standards, as applicable, and attain, at a minimum, a regular high school diploma.”
As one of the requirements to receive funding under this new program, districts must conduct a needs assessment to identify how they currently support a well-rounded education and the areas for improvement.
According to the draft consolidated plan, the State will support LEAs to provide equitable access to a well-rounded education and rigorous coursework in subjects identified in Title VIII Section 8002 through implementation and revision of Ohio’s Learning Standards and model curricula in nine subject areas: English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, world languages, fine arts, technology, financial literacy and physical education.
Currently there is no published data in Ohio to document student engagement in Ohio’s Learning Standards in all subjects and at each grade level, although the data is collected through Ohio’s Education Management Information System, and has, in the past, been available by request. Therefore, there is no publicly accessible data to prove that all students have access to a well-rounded education based on the existence of Ohio’s Learning Standards and model curricula.
For example, when the OAAE conducted an analysis of student participation in arts courses in 2014, we found that 49 school districts (8 percent) did not report student enrollment in arts courses at all grade levels 1-12 in 2010-2013, and the number of school districts reporting grade levels without enrollment in the arts courses was increasing. (Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, draft report, Comparison of Arts Data for Traditional Public Schools for School Years 2010-2013, by Mary Hamann, Tyler Hirokawa, and Joan Platz, April 24, 2014.)
To receive a grant under this section (Title IV, Part A, Subpart 1), LEAs must conduct a needs assessment to identify gaps within well-rounded education opportunities, safe and healthy students, and the effective use of technology, and submit a plan to the state outlining the programs and initiatives that the district will use to address these gaps.
The OAAE therefore recommends that this section be amended on page 93 (before the links to Ohio’s Learning Standards) to include the following:
The Department will provide guidance to LEAs to encourage the use of district federal Title I dollars to support student access to and achievement of a well-rounded education.
To document that all students have access to a well-rounded education, the Department will also publish annually data about student enrollment in all courses, including integrated courses, aligned to Ohio’s Learning Standards at each grade level for each school, each school district, and for the State.
LEAs will identify through a needs assessment any gaps within well-rounded education opportunities, safe and healthy student, and the effective use of technology, and submit a plan to the state outlining how funds through Title IV Part A Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants will be used to support programs and initiatives to address the gaps.
Measure of School Quality and Student Success
Pages 13, 39-40
On pages 13 of the draft consolidated plan the State is proposing to use certain measures, chronic absenteeism and discipline, and prepared for success, as “non-academic indicators”. Then on page 39 the same indicators are also mentioned, but this time a different term is used, “Measure of School Quality and Student Success.”
Title 1 Part A Subpart 1, Section 1005 of the Every Student Succeeds Act refers to a “Measure of School Quality and Student Success” rather than a “non-academic indicator.” The OAAE recommends that when referring to this measure, the draft consolidated plan should be consistent, and refer to it as the “Measure of School Quality and Student Success” throughout the document.
Chronic Absenteeism and Discipline
Pages 13 and 39, Section 4 Accountability, Support, and Improvement of Schools, A (v) School Quality and Success Indicator
The State proposed in the draft consolidated plan to determine student engagement by measuring chronic absenteeism and discipline as one of the new indicators of school quality and student success in Ohio’s accountability system. The chronic absenteeism and school discipline measure would be incorporated into the Indicators Met measure in the Achievement Component on the Report Card.
According to the draft consolidated plan, the statewide average for chronic absenteeism is 15.8 percent, and is “...most severe in Ohio’s urban districts and those that are rural with a high percentage of students in poverty.”
The chronic absenteeism rate of economically disadvantaged students is “more than two and a half times the rate of their nondisadvantaged peers,” and “disabled students have a rate that is 1.6 times the rate for nondisabled students.”
Being so highly correlated with poverty, it would seem that LEAs are already implementing strategies to increase student attendance and reduce chronic absenteeism and discipline in their efforts to improve report card ratings in academic achievement, graduation rate, and closing the achievement gap among students who are disadvantaged and students with disabilities.
The OAAE recommends that a measure of School Quality and Student Success recognize school districts and schools that are supporting a well-rounded education and are meeting the diverse needs of students, rather than including another measure of poverty in Ohio’s accountability system for schools. For example, the “Educators in Your District” data included on the most recent Ohio report card show that school districts employ a number of educators who work to meet the academic, social, cultural, and health needs of students. These educators include fine arts and music teachers, physical education teachers, library media specialists, school nurses, school counselors, school social workers, gifted specialists, and more. They all contribute to increased student, educator, parent, and community engagement in the schools, and support a positive school environment and student success.
Other states are including student access to a well-rounded education as a measure of School Quality or Student Success. Massachusetts will include as an accountability
measure the percentage of students in a school district and in high school that enroll in each of the four core course areas (English, math, science and social science), at least one foreign language, and at least one arts course in a school year. See page 17 of the Massachusetts Consolidated Plan at http://www.mass.gov/edu/government/departments-and-boards/ese/programs/accountability/financial-support/title-i-and-other-federal-support-programs/every-student-succeeds-act-essa.html
Prepared for Success
Pages 13 and 43-44 (vii) Prepared for Success
The draft consolidated plan also states, “A second non-academic indicator will include state percentage of graduates meeting Ohio’s Prepared for Success standards. This graded component of Ohio’s report card measures graduates who are remediation-free on all parts of ACT/SAT, who earn an honors diploma, or who earn an industry-recognized credential.”
According to the draft consolidated plan, “Prepared for Success is the fifth component on the Report Card. It looks at how well prepared Ohio’s students are for all future opportunities. Whether training in a technical field or preparing for work or college, the ultimate measure of a school’s quality is the preparedness of its students once they leave.”
This indicator is based on six measures:
1. College Admission Test(s) (percent of students in the cohort receiving a non-remediation score on all parts of the ACT or SAT)
2. Dual Enrollment Credits (percent earning at least three transcripted college credits)
3. Industry Recognized Credentials (percent earning at least 12 points with an industry-recognized credential or bundle of credentials within one of 13 career pathways)
4. Honors Diplomas Awarded (percent with an Honors Diploma)
5. Advanced Placement (percent scoring three or above on at least one AP test)
6. International Baccalaureate Program (percent scoring four or above on at least one IB test)
The draft consolidated plan states that the Department will clarify the calculation of the Prepared for Success component, and will also consider how “access to advanced coursework” might be incorporated in the future into the report card as an indicator of School Quality and Student Success.
The OAAE recommends that the Department add another option for students to prove college and career readiness as it reviews this measure: 7. “Other Measures Approved by the State Board of Education.”
Based on our OAAE experience as arts educators, students who are pursuing careers in the arts as performing musicians, dancers, and actors, and visual artists often attend professional schools for dancers and actors, colleges of art and design, or conservatories in their particular arts discipline, and must present a portfolio of their work, or audition, to be accepted into the program.
Even high school students who apply to colleges or universities as majors in the arts usually are accepted based on a portfolio or an audition.
Although the number of high school students who would fall into this category could be very small each year, the State Board of Education should consider acceptance into a professional school in a particular discipline as an additional way for students to demonstrate readiness for college and a career.
School Climate Survey
Page 13 D. Measure of School Quality and Student Success
The OAAE supports examining the use of “…school climate surveys as both a school improvement tool and a potential measure to include as part of Ohio’s accountability system in the future.”
The OAAE recommends that the survey provide an opportunity to measure the effects of arts education programs on school climate.
A 2015 report about the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, Turnaround: Arts initiative under the Obama administration, showed “...significant improvement in academic achievement, reduction in disciplinary referrals and increases in attendance” in low performing schools participating in the program.
The Ohio Clearinghouse and the Peer Review Network
Pages 26 and 57-59
According to the draft consolidated plan, “The Ohio Clearinghouse will provide evidence-based strategies that the district and buildings will select, identify in their plan, and begin to implement.”
The OAAE recommends that language be added to say that the Ohio Clearinghouse include evidence-based strategies and best practices in all content areas to support a well-rounded education.
The OAAE recommends that another sentence be added on p. 26: The Ohio Clearinghouse will provide evidence-based strategies that the district and buildings will select, identify in their plan, and begin to implement. These evidence-based strategies will include best practices in all subject areas to support a well-rounded education, which is defined in Title VIII 8002 Definitions (52).
The OAAE recommends on p. 57: The clearinghouse will provide schools and districts with a broad menu of proven strategies and programs to support local planning, decision making and implementation. These evidence-based strategies and programs will include best practices in all subject areas to support a well-rounded education, which is defined in Title VIII 8002 Definitions (52).
The OAAE recommends on p. 59 Regarding the Peer to Peer Network: Ohio will create the Peer-to-Peer Improvement Network encouraging partnerships and opportunities for educators to collaborate across district boundaries and across subjects that support a well-rounded education to fashion solutions to common challenges.
Early Learning Standards
According to the draft consolidated plan Ohio’s Early Learning and Development Standards include social and emotional development, approaches toward learning, physical well-being and motor development, language and literacy development, and cognition and general knowledge.
The OAAE has recommended for years that Ohio’s Learning and Development Standards align with Ohio’s Learning Standards in the Arts, because so many of the early learning standards refer to students participating in learning activities in the arts and demonstrating knowledge and skills through the arts.
Under the domain, Approaches to Learning and the strand Creativity, there is even a topic called “Expression of Ideas and Feelings through the Arts.”
To support Ohio’s children to successfully transition from Early Childhood Education to Elementary Education and be better prepared to achieve a well-rounded education, the OAAE recommends that the draft consolidated plan be amended on page 90 to include the following recommendation among the actions that Ohio will take:
The Department will provide guidance to LEAs on the use of district federal title dollars for early childhood through the early grades, including evidence based research strategies that support student access to and achievement of a well-rounded education.
College and Career Ready Standards Graduation Requirements
The graduation requirements listed on pages 91-92 neglect to include the requirement that students, with some exceptions, complete two semesters or the equivalent in fine arts, in any grades 7-12. (ORC 3313.603 (K))
The OAAE recommends that the graduation requirement in the fine arts be added to this section.