November 3, 2006- Virtual Schools And Online Learning

As of this September 2006, 38 states had either statewide virtual schools or significant policies on online education, according to Education Week. Of those 38 states, at least five had either created virtual schools or passed laws on online learning in the 2005-06 school year. State-led virtual schools has grown quickly, according to the report, "Keeping Pace," slated for release this week at the Virtual School Symposium in Plano, Texas. The report said the number of students taking courses in the Florida Virtual School and the Idaho Digital Learning Academy has increased by more than 50 percent just since last year.........and enrollment has grown 24 percent in Massachusetts' Virtual High School and 22 percent in Ohio's eCommunity Schools. For more information, Click: http://www.learningpt.org/pdfs/tech/Keeping_Pace2.pdf Sources: Evergreen Consulting Associates, National Center for Education Statistics and Education Week.

November 2, 2006- Twenty-Two of 23 OHSAA Referendum Issues Pass

Twenty-two of the 23 proposed Ohio High School Athletic Association Constitution and Bylaw revisions passed as voted upon by OHSAA member schools. A two-week period to vote on the proposals ended Monday. Want to read the issues and voting results? Click to view the referendum voting results for October 2006.

November 1, 2006- Superintendents Leaving Their Job

On average, roughly 2,000 to 2,200 of the country’s 13,500 school superintendents (about 15 percent) leave their jobs annually, according to data from the American Association of School Administrators.

October 31, 2006- School Districts Turning To Earned Income Tax Levies

More Ohio school districts are turning to earned income tax levies. The Ohio Department of Education said 18 school districts are asking voters to approve earned income tax issues on November 7th. Those levies involve taxing wages, as opposed to other income. School districts were given the option of taxing only earned income last year. Supporters call it a fairer levy that doesn’t burden seniors on fixed income or those not working. There are 36 income tax-related levies on the November 7, 2006 ballot. In May 2006, 35 income taxes levies were on the ballot and 17 were approved by voters, according to the Associated Press. Sources: The Associated Press and Ohio Department of Education

October 30, 2006- "Tools For Teachers"

The Ohio Department of Education announced recently that it has created the electronic mailing list, "Tools for Teachers," to provide information to teachers about professional development, lesson-planning help, state tests and academic-content standards. To join, e-mail toolsforteachers@ode.state.oh.us.

October 27, 2006- ODE Says 206 School Issues On November 7th Ballot

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) website has a list of school districts with issues on the November 7, 2006 ballot. According to the ODE, the list contains 206 issues in 176 school districts. The 206 issues compares with 222 tax issues in November 2005 and 286 in November 2004. From 2001 to 2005 an average of 55 percent of levies on the November ballot passed. View the ODE information to find where, what kind of levy and for how much? Click: Preview by county Source: Ohio Department of Education

October 26, 2006- Private School Enrollment

Private school enrollment grew more slowly in the United States than public school enrollment from 1985 to 2005, rising 14 percent, from 5.6 million to 6.3 million. As a result, the proportion of U.S. students enrolled in private schools declined slightly, from 12.4 percent in 1985 to 11.6 percent in 2005. Source: National Center for Education Statistics

October 25, 2006- Ohio Supreme Court Upholds Charter School Program

The Ohio Supreme Court today upheld the constitutionality of the state's charter school program. The Court ruled that opponents had not shown constitutional defects in the law that provides state financing for privately owned and operated charter schools. Justice Judith Lanzinger, who wrote the majority opinion, said that such policy decisions are within the purview of legislative responsibilities. "After full consideration, we cannot say that the concept of community schools itself violates the Ohio Constitution," she said.

The vote was 4-3. Joining Lanzinger in the majority were Chief Justice Thomas Moyer, Justices Evelyn Stratton and Maureen O'Connor. Justices Alice Resnick, Paul Pfeifer and Terrence O'Donnell dissented.

Read the majority opinion. Click: lead opinion

Source: Gongwer News Service

October 24, 2006- State Education Leaders Recommend Changes For NCLB

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) wants the federal No Child Left Behind Act altered so that state officials would have more authority to oversee the law's testing and accountability measures. In a policy statement issue last week, the CCSSO said its members should be able to determine whether schools and districts are meeting their achievement goals by measuring individual students’ academic growth, and that they should be able to use results from a variety of tests to make those determinations. The states also will need extra federal money to help improve failing schools, the CCSSO said in a list of guidelines for improving the law. The changes would include:

• Letting states design assessments that are "more instructionally based … to inform best practices in teaching and learning."

• Allowing states to develop accountability systems that measure students’ academic growth, using data from more than just test scores to determine whether schools are meeting achievement goals.

• Establishing lesser consequences than in the law currently for schools that fail to reach achievement goals by small margins.

• Giving state education agencies a larger share of federal funds so they have the resources they need to turn around consistently failing schools.

SOURCES: Council of Chief State School Officers and Education Week Read the CCSSO policy statement. Click: "ESEA Reauthorization Policy Statement"

October 23, 2006- Ohio To Receive $5.5 Million To Reward Teachers

The U.S. Education Department plans to announce today the first of 16 grants worth $42 million to be used to reward teachers who raise student test scores. The grants are also aimed at luring teachers into math, science and other core fields. One of the first grants is $5.5 million to the Ohio Department of Education, to be shared among schools in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo. The Associated Press said, "In Ohio, school leaders plan to pay between $1,800 to $2,000 to hundreds of teachers." Schools with higher numbers of poor children get priority consideration.

For more information, read the Associated Press article: Teacher bonuses for test scores presented starting today

October 20, 2006- High School Sports Injury Rates

A study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy, based at Children’s Hospital in Columbus, found that high school football players had an overall injury rate of 4.36 athletes injured per 1000 participants, compared with 2.5 athletes injured per 100 for wrestling, slightly less than 2.5 for boys’ and girls’ soccer; 2.01 for girls’ basketball; and just under 2 for boys’ basketball. Volleyball, baseball and softball were all near 1.5 or less. Data was collected from 100 high schools across the country during the 2005-06 school year. The study included the injury rates at practices, in competition and overall for all sports. See table below.

Table 3

According to the report, high school sports participation has grown from an estimated 4 million participants during the 1971--72 school year to an estimated 7.2 million in 2005-06.

Read the report. Click: "Sports-Related Injuries Among High School Athletes—United States, 2005–06 School Year"

October 19, 2006- Value-Added: The Next Generation Tool For School Improvement

REGISTER NOW FOR VALUE-ADDED PROGRAM! (Program, Directions and Registration information below.)
VALUE-ADDED COMES TO OHIO Value-added chronology

1980s: Tennessee researcher Dr. William Sanders creates a value-added formula to measure academic progress in schools and school districts.

1992: Tennessee adopts Dr. Sanders' system statewide.

2002: Battelle for Kids begins a value-added pilot program in Ohio involving 42 volunteer districts.

2003: Ohio legislature includes value-added in future state accountability standards.

2006: Ohio pilot program expands to 110 school districts.

2007: All Ohio districts will use value-added for students in grades 4-8.

2008: Value-added data will appear on school and district report cards.

Reprinted from the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Battelle for Kids: Bringing clarity to school improvement............. www.BattelleforKids.org


PROGRAM INFORMATION: On Tuesday, October 31, 2006 CORAS will present the program,Value Added: The Next Generation Tool for School Improvement......What have we learned? Where is it going? with Dr. James Mahoney, Executive Director, & Staff, Battelle for Kids. The program will be held at the Olde Dutch Restaurant in Logan, Ohio beginning at 9:00 a.m. and concluding following lunch at approximately 1:00 p.m. DIRECTIONS: The Olde Dutch Restaurant is located approximately one-half mile North of State Route 33 on State Route 664 in Logan. TO REGISTER: Contact Lori at (740) 593-4445 or email her at: stumpl@ohio.edu The registration fee, including lunch, is only $15.00.

October 18, 2006- School Fundraisers

The Associated Press (AP) reported recently that parents and their school-aged children raised $1.7 billion last year by selling products through fundraisers. The average school campaign earned $2,500, according to the Association of Fund-Raising Distributors and Suppliers. An estimated 1,500 companies nationwide sell candy bars, holiday items, magazines and other goods through fundraisers that mostly target schools. Ohio has at least 80 companies that sell or distribute products for fundraisers, according to AP. A spokesperson for the fundraisers association said the growth has created a backlash. Some parents object to their children being counted on as a sales force. Many parents have also grown tired of being flooded with glossy product catalogs, product samples and order forms brought home from school by their children. The result has been a drop in sales over the last year.

October 17, 2006- Business Groups Lobby For NCLB Reauthorization

Education Week reported today that three major business groups, all based in Washington, with a wide range of interests in education policy, have recently stepped up their efforts to lobby Congress for reauthorization of the five-year old No Child Left Behind Act. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, the Committee for Economic Development and other business organizations are also pushing for changes in other areas of pre-K-12 education, such as improving mathematics and science education, expanding instruction in foreign languages and international issues, and offering preschool to all families that want it. Education Week said business leaders say their interest in the No Child Left Behind law and other education matters can be summed up in one word: competitiveness.

SOURCE: Education Week

October 16, 2006- Several Local District Report Cards "Inflated By Hidden Default"

"The success of nearly 40 Ohio schools, mostly charters, is inflated by a hidden default in how the state measures them." ...the Canton Repository, October 15, 2006

An analysis by the Canton Repository found that 30 charter schools and five public schools in Ohio got the state’s third-highest designation, “continuous improvement,” not because of student achievement but because of the state’s measure, adapted from federal guidelines, of “adequate yearly progress” (AYP).

In theory, the Repository said, AYP is supposed to measure how schools are doing with each subgroup of students, such as minority, disabled and poor students, to ensure schools are reaching them all in core subjects such as math and reading. But if a school doesn’t have enough students for a subgroup (30 students, or 45 students with disabilities), the state says it automatically meets AYP, no matter what the groups that are measured show. And any school or district that meets AYP can go no lower than “continuous improvement,” according to the State Department of Education’s accountability system.

According to the Repository, the sponsors of The Canton Academy, a charter school that helps students with learning, behavioral and other disabilities, found it confusing that the school met AYP when the state report cards were released in August. The Canton Academy was also designated in “continuous improvement." The Repository reported the school’s test scores showed just 23.1 percent of students reached proficiency in reading and 0 percent in math.........while the AYP goal is 71.8 percent proficient in reading and 60 percent proficient in math on the Ohio Graduation Test.

Read the Canton Repository article. Click: Fault found in scoring of Ohio schools

October 13, 2006- Survey: Teacher Satisfaction With Careers Improving

Teachers' satisfaction with their careers has increased significantly over the past two decades, according to the annual survey “MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Expectations and Experiences” of 2006, released yesterday by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. and the Committee for Economic Development. Fifty-six percent of the 1,001 teachers polled earlier this year reported being “very satisfied” with their careers, in comparison with just 40 percent in 1984, the first year of the survey. Education Week said, "That outcome is somewhat surprising, given anecdotal and survey evidence in recent years suggesting that teachers have gotten discouraged with what they see as an increasing loss of autonomy over their classrooms and an abundance of mandated tests." Over the past 20 years, views on how to recruit and retain qualified teachers have changed significantly, according to Education Week's analysis of the survey. In 1986, just 38 percent of principals said that providing teachers with good equipment and supplies helped attract and retain qualified instructors; today, 60 percent of principals agree with that statement. Similarly, more teachers today than in 1986 believe that providing better equipment and supplies (74 percent vs. 69 percent), more parent involvement (67 percent vs. 56 percent), and closer matches between student needs and teacher capabilities (63 percent vs. 55 percent) will help considerably in the recruitment and retention of qualified teachers. The annual survey tracks the opinions of teachers, principals and education dean. Read the full report. Click: "The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Expectations and Experiences" of 2006

Source: Education Week/edweek.org

October 12, 2006- "Too many charter schools failing"

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported today that, "according to three national charter organizations asked to review the state's charter system, Ohio's low-performing charter schools should be closed and the agencies that oversee them should be held more accountable because too many of the schools are failing." According to the report, 49 percent of Ohio's charters that were rated last year fell into the two lowest state categories for student achievement. About 12 percent were rated Excellent, 6 percent were Effective, and 33 percent were Continuous Improvement. Since the 1998-99 school year, the number of charters in Ohio increased from 15 schools serving 2,205 students to 304 schools serving 70,598 students last year, according to the Enquirer.

October 11, 2006- School Funding Shifts Toward Local Property Taxes

"Cutbacks in the state share of public school funding have forced Ohio school districts into an impossible choice: pass large school levies, cut back programs and staff, or both," according to the study "Ohio School Funding Fact Base," and the September 19, 2006 news release by the Ohio Education Association. "The state share of funding schools has declined from 47.4% to 41% in only five years, and dramatic increases in education costs have forced the local share up from 53% to 59% over that same period," said Gary L. Allen, president of the Ohio Education Association. "Few school districts can manage that kind of drastic shift without cutting teachers, eliminating valuable courses and charging higher student fees."

State vs. Local Per Pupil Funding for Ohio Public Schools

Fiscal Year

Cost Per Pupil

Local Funds

State Funds

State Share

Local Share

2002

$4,818

$2,561

$2,307

47.40%

53.15%

2003

$4,949

$2,653

$2,332

46.80%

53.61%

2004

$5,058

$2,780

$2,274

45.00%

54.96%

2005

$5,169

$2,910

$2,252

43.60%

56.30%

2006

$5,283

$3,061

$2,238

42.20%

57.94%

2007

$5,403

$3,190

$2,228

41.10%

59.04%

Source: Ohio Department of Education Reports.

Here are the key findings of the OEA study, "Ohio School Funding Fact Base," for five years, from fiscal 2002-2003 through 2006-2007.

  • Ohio’s state-level support for schools has declined 3.5% -- from an average $2,307 per pupil in 2002 to $2,228 per pupil for the 2006-2007 school year. The average state share of per pupil spending declined from 47.4% to 41.1% in only five years.
  • Meanwhile, average local taxes per pupil have increased from $2,561 to $3,190, up 24.6%, forcing the local share of school funding up from 53.2% to 59%
  • Local annual spending increases for public schools have averaged 4.1% per year, nearly double state increases of 2.2%, another indication of the shift to local taxes.
  • Between the 2002-03 and 2003-04 school years, two-thirds of Ohio districts reduced teaching positions. Over half cut teachers between the 2003-04 and 2004-05 school years, resulting in the loss of nearly 9,200 public school teaching positions.
  • Between fiscal 2002 and 2007, Ohio has failed to fund $277 million in special education costs, paying only 88 percent of its calculated share of special education and leaving an unfunded mandate that falls to local taxpayers.
  • Ohio cut $270 million in state parity aid to help poor school districts. Parity aid is designed to provide state money to make up for low local property tax values.
  • Despite booming fuel costs, Ohio increased transportation funds only 2% since 2004.
  • Between Fiscal 2003 and 2006, state aid to public schools grew by only 64% of the rate of inflation.
  • Much of the loss in state funding can be attributed to the $2 billion redirected to charter schools between fiscal 2002 and fiscal 2007, $470 million this year alone. (See an earlier OEA study, Ohio’s Charter School Program – 2006 Report, at www.ohea.org )
  • Between fiscal 1999 and fiscal 2005, school districts reduced the number of art, business, career development, consumer science, foreign language, industrial arts, music and physical education teachers by 16%.
  • Inequities between rich and poor school districts persist, with the lowest 10th percentile having enough property value to generate only one-third of the revenue from one mill of property taxes as districts at the 90th percentile.

    The news release said, using Ohio Department of Education data, OEA research found: "While under the pressure of an order of the Supreme Court, Ohio’s General Assembly legislated a significant increase in state funding in FY02. However, this one-time bump did not satisfy the Court as it still found Ohio’s school funding system to be unconstitutional in its subsequent DeRolph opinions. Since FY02, the State has ignored the Court and has continued to under-fund public schools."

    Source: OEA News Service, September 19, 2006

    October 10, 2006- "....a model for the rest of the country."

    "I do think we spend too much on property taxes, but it is up to each community to decide whether they want to pass those levies or not. We are spending an extraordinary amount on education in Ohio and are a model for the rest of the country." ....State Senator David Goodman, 3rd District, Columbus Dispatch, October 5, 2006

    October 9, 2006- Report Says AYP "Fundamentally Flawed"

    A University of Vermont report, published by the Education Policy Research Unit at Arizona State University, says the No Child Left Behind Act’s annual yearly progress (AYP) method for measuring whether schools and districts are reaching annual achievement goals is “fundamentally flawed” and should be suspended until further evaluations of the method are conducted.

    The report said, "AYP in its 2006 form as the prime indicator of academic achievement is not supported by reliable evidence. Expecting all children to reach mastery level on their state’s standardized tests by 2014, the fundamental requirement of AYP, is unrealistic." "In addition," the University of Vermont report said, "the program, whether conceived as implementation costs or remedial costs, is significantly underfunded in a way that will disproportionately penalize schools attended by the neediest children. Further, the curriculum is being narrowed to focus on tested areas at the cost of other vital educational purposes."

    The report recommends that AYP sanctions be suspended until the premises underlying them can be either confirmed or refuted by solid, scientific research and unintended, negative consequences can be avoided."

    Read the report. Click: "The Accuracy and Effectiveness of Adequate Yearly Progress, NCLB’s School Evaluation System"

    October 6, 2006- Federal Funding Cuts/AASA School Safety Document

    A news article provided by AASA Daily News said federal funding for a grant program that helps U.S. schools pay for programs to prevent substance abuse and violence has declined significantly since 2001. Funding was $439.2 million in 2001 but has fallen to $346.5 million this year, with $310 million recommended for 2007. According to the article, the Bush administration has recommended eliminating the program, though Congress has repeatedly voted to retain it. AASA has created a school safety document for school administrators. This document outlines key elements of school safety, organized under three categories: Awareness: Schools will remain aware of the threat of violence on campus and vigilant about protecting the safety of students.
  • Balance: Schools will take a balanced approach to school safety, recognizing that a combination of strategies, rather than one or two extreme solutions, can be most effective in keeping students safe.
  • Control: Schools will control access to the learning environment to protect all students. To read the document, click: ABC's of School Safety

    October 5, 2006- ",,,,'it can't happen here,' mentality."

    In reference to the recent school violence in rural communities in Colorado, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, the Associated Press reported that Ken Trump, president of the National School Safety and Security Services, a consulting firm in Cleveland, said, "The public tends to view city schools as less secure and more dangerous, yet urban districts are consistently better prepared. Rural and private schools frequently have not gotten past the 'it can't happen here' mentality,"

    To visit the National School Safety and Security Services website, click: www.schoolsecurity.org

    October 4, 2006- Building A New Ohio Economy

    "Make no mistake: The old Ohio economy, the one in which we baby boomers came of age and prospered, isn’t coming back. And the key to building the new Ohio economy isn’t tax cuts, it is education." ......... Joe Hallett, Senior Editor, Columbus Dispatch

    October 3, 2006- Ohioans Favor More School Spending, Poll Says

    The Cleveland Plain Dealer says a poll, commissioned by the nonprofit KnowledgeWorks Foundation, "found that Ohioans overwhelmingly favor more school spending." Nearly 80 percent of those surveyed said the state should increase spending for education, a higher portion than supported increased spending for such issues as jobs and economic development, courts and the prison system, or health care for the poor and elderly. Other poll findings include: Fifty-nine (59) percent of Ohioans think funding for public schools should come primarily from the state, not local school districts.
  • More than 63 percent said state funding for public kindergarten-grade 12 schools is not adequate and nearly 80 percent said they would be less likely to vote for a state legislator who voted to reduce state spending for those schools.
  • Ohioans are not well informed about alternatives to public schools, such as charter schools. Almost 37 percent of those polled said they aren’t familiar with alternatives to public schools and a similar number reported they don’t know whether charter and community schools are working well. Even so, about half either strongly or somewhat favor having charter schools in Ohio.
  • A majority of Ohioans do not agree with taxpayer-funded vouchers for private or religious schools. Nearly 49 percent said state funding should only be used for students who attend public schools, with 42 percent supporting vouchers for private schools and the remainder saying they are undecided or their position depends on other factors.
  • Ohio adults question the use of standardized tests. Fifty-seven percent said the tests are not accurate indicators of a student’s progress and abilities, as opposed to 37 percent who said they are. Almost 55 percent said schools place too much emphasis on tests, while just 14 percent said schools should emphasize tests more.
  • Support is strong for schools that focus on science, technology, engineering and math. Almost 70 percent of those surveyed said creating such schools should be a high priority. In addition, 89 percent wanted students to be taught critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

    Complete survey findings, including a searchable database, are available at www.kwfdn.org.

    October 2, 2006- Ohio Losing Most Educated Young Minds

    The Toledo Blade said a 2002 report by the Ohio Board of Regents confirms that new PhDs have left Ohio in large numbers. The report shows the percentage of Ohio PhD graduates who left the state between 1992 and 2001 as follows:
    Architecture.........................100%
    Engineering.......................... 75%
    Electrical Engineering....... 69%
    Mechanical Engineering..... 81%
    Biology.................................. 75%
    Computer Science............... 69%
    Mathematics......................... 61%
    Physics................................... 79%
    A University of Toledo study detected another trend, which the Ohio Board of Regents confirms. Those with master's degrees, doctorates, and professional degrees are 50 percent more likely to leave Ohio than those with bachelor's degrees. In fact, Ohio keeps more of its bachelor degree graduates than the average state, the study found. Read the Toledo Blade article. Click: State doesn't keep the right graduates

    September 29, 2006- Federal Officials And Local School Leaders At Odds

    The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) said, "New surveys from Public Agenda show major disconnects between the priorities of national policy-makers versus those of local school leaders on issues like teacher quality, standards and the need to ramp up science and math coursework. In "Reality Check 2006: Issue No. 4: The Insiders" (the fourth report issued this year in the Reality Check 2006 series), Public Agenda found that even when they see the same problems, the two groups seem to strive for different solutions. While 60 percent of principals say they are "very satisfied" with the teachers in their school and most superintendents (56 percent) believe the quality of new teachers is improving, federal officials enforcing No Child Left Behind said in Summer 2006 that not a single state in the nation has yet met its benchmarks for ensuring more qualified teachers." Read the report. Click: http://www.publicagenda.org/

    September 28, 2006- September 21st CORAS Program

    Nearly 50 superintendents and other educators attended the September 21, 2006 CORAS meeting/program at the Ohio University Inn, Athens. The program included a discussion of HB 115, Ohio Educational Regional Service System, by Craig Burford, Executive Director, Ohio Educational Service Center Association. The featured presentation by Dr. Thomas W. Farmer, Co-director, National Research Center on Rural Education Support (NRCRES), and Associate Professor, Pennsylvania State University focused on his research dealing with problems facing rural schools. Dr. Farmer and program participants discussed many common issues facing rural school districts. The discussion included the impact of poverty and geographical isolation on student achievement, lack of resources to be responsive to the instructional needs of a diverse range of learners and limited professional development opportunities for teachers. Dr. Farmer also provided incite into the research conducted by the National Research Center on Rural Education Support. The NRCRES website address is www.nrcres.org for those who would like more information about the research. The next CORAS program is set for Tuesday, October 31, 2006 at the Olde Dutch Restaurant, Logan. Dr. James Mahoney, Executive Director of Battelle for Kids, and his staff will help participants gain a better understanding of how to use value-added analysis. Registration materials will mailed to CORAS members in early October.

    September 27, 2006- Growth In Numbers Of Children With Disabilities

    The number of children age 6 to 21 with disabilities under Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was about 4.6 million in 1992 and grew steadily to about 6 million by 2004, representing a 31 percent increase over the 12-year period. This growth was due in large part to a rise in the number of children classified as having other health impairments or specific learning disabilities, which together accounted for about 60 percent of the increase (and separately accounted for about 30 percent each). The total number of children with other health impairments increased from 65,531 in 1992 to 508,085 in 2004 while the number of children with specific learning disabilities grew from 2.4 million in 1992 to 2.8 million in 2004. Source: edweek.org, Research Center

    September 26, 2006- Young Adults Leaving Ohio

    Ohio lost more young people during the last 10 years than any other state except Pennsylvania. In 1995, 2.4 million young people born from 1971 to 1985 lived in Ohio. By July of last year, 103,952 fewer of those people, by then between the ages of 20 and 34, lived in the state, a Dayton Daily News analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data has found. Where those who left went cannot be determined from the data. However, the Daily News reported that demographic experts say young people, who are the most likely age group to move, go looking for better economic prospects and lifestyle amenities.

    September 25, 2006- Government Officials Violated Rules

    An Associated Press report said a "scorching" audit of Reading First, a U.S. Education Department billion-dollar a year program, was released Friday. The audit, by the department's inspector general, found that the reading program has been beset by conflicts of interest and willful mismanagement. It suggests the U.S. Education Department broke the law by trying to dictate which curriculum schools must use. It also depicts a program in which review panels were stacked with people who shared the director's views and in which only favored publishers of reading curricula could get money.

    The New York Times said the investigation was opened last year after the inspector general received accusations of mismanagement and other abuses at the department from publishers of several reading programs. The abuses described in the report occurred during 2002 and 2003, according to the NY Times.

    Read the audit report. Click below:

    OIG Audit Report: The Reading First Program's Grant Application Process (PDF)

    September 22, 2006- Teachers Salaries

    According to the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. teacher salaries in constant 2003-04 dollars increased only 1 percent between 1990-91 and 2004-05.

    September 21, 2006- The State Of Working Ohio & America

    A recent article in the Dayton Daily News said, "Separate economic reports released in August by Policy Matters Ohio and the Economic Policy Institute put into numbers what many working people have felt for some time: their wages aren't keeping pace with inflation at a time when corporate profits and pay for executives are soaring." Median wages failed to climb for 90 percent of workers in Ohio and America between 2000 and 2005, despite the fact that worker productivity more than doubled during that period, according to the two reports. Meanwhile, corporate after-tax profits, adjusted for inflation, increased 50 percent in that five-year period. The two reports warn of a growing inequality between Americans who earn hourly wages and those who are paid top salaries and/or reap stock dividends from corporate profits, the Daily News said.

    In an analysis of Ohio income tax returns filed between 1988 and 2006, Policy Matters Ohio found that the increase in income of the top 1 percent of Ohio households exceeded the entire average annual income of nearly all earners in the bottom 95 percent.

    Read "The State of Working Ohio 2006" from Policy Matters Ohio. Click below:

    Press Release Executive Summary Full Report Conclusion and Recommendations

    Read "The State of Working America 2006/2007" from the Economic Policy Institute. Click below:

    The State of Working America 2006/2007.

    September 20, 2006- "Homework Under Fire"

    Just in time for the new school year, the great homework debate is boiling over again. Harris Cooper, a noted education researcher at Duke University, has co-authored a new study finding that elementary school students gain little from most homework assignments, and that excessive amounts of homework might even be bad for middle and high school students. In his new book, The Homework Myth, education gadfly Alfie Kohn is even more strident. He calls for the complete elimination of homework, which he blames for stress, family conflict, and slackened student motivation. Other education experts believe that the problem isn’t homework per se, but the types of assignments teachers give—or are forced to give—and a general lack of clarity about the purpose of homework.

    Source: Reprinted from Teachers Magazine, Web Watch

    September 19, 2006- Report: Educating School Teachers

    Teacher training deficient, according to a four-year national study released yesterday. The report, Educating School Teachers, written by Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, said the vast majority of the nation's teachers are prepared in higher education programs with low admission and graduation standards, and the programs cling to an outdated vision of teacher education. Read the report. Click: "Educating School Teachers"

    September 18, 2006- State Support For Private Schools

    Private and religious schools in Ohio get tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer support each year. Ohio is among the most generous states toward private and religious schools, national experts say. The Cincinnati Enquirer said the funds for private and religious schools statewide totaled about $185 million last year, or about $899 per student. Add in about $60 million in transportation costs, since public schools bus private-school students, and Ohio spends about 3 percent of its $7.6 billion education budget on private and religious education.

    The funding for private and religious schools has grown about 59 percent over 10 years, though overall enrollment has declined. In addition, Ohio's new EdChoice voucher program will send more than 3,600 public school students and up to $18 million in state funds to private and religious schools, according to the Enquirer.

    Chart
    Source: Cincinnati Enquirer

    September 15, 2006- Teacher's Year, C.E.O.'s day: The Pay Is Similar

    The following article was published in a recent issue of the New York Times.

    Teacher’s Year, a C.E.O.’s Day: The Pay’s Similar

    Enough already on how many millions this or that chief executive earns, how many stock options are tossed around to keep the Champagne flowing, the McMansion dusted, the Bentley polished.

    As a little back-to-school thought, let’s shift gears to a group of workers who earn pennies in comparison but who, it could be argued, play at least as vital a role in society. It is teachers, after all, who try to make sure that those captains of industry have educated workers.

    According to the American Federation of Teachers the state with the highest average pay for teachers in 2003-04 was Connecticut, at $56,516; the lowest was South Dakota, at $33,236.

    Or look at it this way: Pick a corporate chieftain — say, Jeffrey R. Immelt of General Electric. He earns $15.4 million a year. Every single day — including Thanksgiving and Christmas — he makes almost what the average teacher does for a year of taming wild children, staying up nights planning lessons, and, really, helping to shape a generation.


    September 14, 2006- Charter Schools In Ohio Cities Gaining Students

    Charter schools are gaining a larger share of public school students, especially in Ohio cities, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Five cities in the state rank among the top 10 in charter school "market share" (the percentage of a city's public school students who attend charter schools). Dayton ranks second in the nation in charter school market share, ranking only behind the New Orleans school system. Dayton has a (28 percent) market share, with 6,374 of the city's 22,739 public school students attending charter schools. Youngstown (20 percent); Toledo (18 percent); Cincinnati (17 percent); and Cleveland (16 percent), also made the list. Ohio has a total of 72,000 students in charter schools this year, ranking it sixth nationally. California leads the nation with 212,000 charter pupils.

    Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer

    September 13, 2006- Federal Grants Target Low-Income Students

    If enacted into law, a bill (America's Opportunity Scholarships for Kids Act) introduced in Congress in mid-July, would authorize the U.S. Department of Education to award $100 million in fiscal year 2007 for competitive grants to states, school districts and nonprofit organizations to provide scholarships of up to $4,000 to children from low-income families in persistently low-performing schools to attend the private school of their choice. Grant recipients would also be authorized to provide up to $3,000 for tutoring services to economically disadvantaged students if they choose not to attend a different school. This would include tutoring through after-school or summer school programs designed to help improve students' academic achievement. In addition, on September 8, 2006, the U.S. Secretary of Education announced the award of 33 grants totaling $17 million to boost participation of low-income students in advanced placement courses and tests. The grant is being provided to states, school districts, and national education nonprofits to help increase advanced placement access rates for economically disadvantaged students. Ohio did not receive any of the 33 grants. Source: The Achiever, September 2006, Vol. 5, No. 7, U.S. Department of Education

    September 12, 2006- Study: Income Predicts Standardized Test Results

    A Dayton Daily News study found "the median income in a community powerfully predicts standardized test success for school districts." The Daily News compared the statistical relationship between 2004 median family income from tax returns with "performance index scores" (a state measure of test performance), across all tested grades, for 610 Ohio school districts. The result showed the correlation was more than twice what researchers expect for a strong connection. When the same calculation was run for other factors on Ohio's state report card, such as race, teacher pay, teacher training and school district spending and size, the connection was less than half as strong as for income, the report said. An identical analysis for just the 82 Dayton-area districts gave the same result. The Dayton Daily News concluded, "Income was by far the strongest predictor of test success."

    Read the article. Click: Data suggest income predicts school test score results

    September 11, 2006- Child Poverty Increasing In Ohio

    Poverty among children in rural Ohio increased 5.6% from 2000 to 2005. Ohio is one of five states to have at least a 5 percent increase in children living in poverty in rural areas, according a report by the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. The other states are Indiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Maine. Ohio had 100,002 children age 18 or younger living in rural areas below the poverty line in 2005, the report said. The poverty line was $19,806 for a family of two adults and two children. Read the 2-page report. Click: Carsey finds rural child poverty has increased

    September 8, 2006- Practices Restrict College Opportunities/Ohio Flunks Affordability

    A new report released last week by the Education Trust, a Washington D.C.-based education advocacy group, sharply criticizes trends in federal, state, and college practices that discourage low-income and minority students from enrolling and graduating from college. The report said despite the perception of progress, gaps in college-going and college completion for poor and minority students are actually wider than they were thirty years ago. Click here to read news release: (Click here for the full report)

    Click here to read full report: (Click here to read the full report)

    In related news, Ohio was among 43 states receiving a failing grade on a national report card for affordability in higher education. Ohio received an "F" grade for not making college affordable for students and families. The report said higher education has become considerably more expensive in Ohio since the early 1990s. The biennial report, known as "Measuring Up 2006," was conducted by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. Ohio also received an "F" in college affordability in 2004.

    September 7, 2006- Akron Company Get 20% Of Charter School Tax Dollars

    White Hat Management, a privately held company headquartered in Akron, received over 20% of the $486 million that went to Ohio's charter schools in 2005-06. White Hat enrolled about 14,700 students statewide, bringing with them $100 million in state tax dollars in the 2005-06 school year and over $366.5 million over the last five-years, according to an Akron Beacon Journal analysis of state reports.

    September 6, 2006- Bold Plan..."until it comes to putting up the money"

    The Gongwer News Service reported that a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland found that every dollar spent in early childhood education saves $1.62 from being spent on remedial education, counseling and other government-funded assistance while that child is in school.

    The following editorial is from the Akron Beacon Journal.


    A familiar Ohio story

    Another bold plan for education lacks the necessary resources

    Who can argue with a report that calls for Ohio to mobilize its energies, talents and resources to ensure high-quality learning experiences for very young children -- especially when the report asserts, accurately, that: "It's not for the timid because it requires bold action and a comprehensive approach to early learning"? And yet it is that same conclusion, that bold and comprehensive action is needed, that makes the report, "From the Beginning," ultimately disappointing.

    Presented recently to the State Board of Education by the School Readiness Solutions Group, the report lays out the case why improving early learning opportunities for all children should be a high priority in the state. It shows the breadth of research findings that justify investment in early education from birth to kindergarten. Communities pay the progressively higher costs for inadequately preparing children through school intervention programs, in a variety of social services and the criminal justice system.

    Nearly a third of the 130,000 children entering kindergarten in Ohio each year are not ready for school. The problem, the report notes, is that opportunities in and outside the home for experiences that prepare children for school are not equally available and the quality of services is uneven.

    The challenge, then, is how to improve access to and the quality of preschool programs for families in inner-city and rural settings, where the need is likely to be highest. Among other recommendations, the report asks for a new teacher license, a requirement that all districts offer full-day kindergarten by 2015 as needed and a new state agency to coordinate early learning programs, services and funding.

    Unfortunately, the report's promised boldness ends shy of the most basic question: How will all this be financed? The recommendation is for the state to create a financing model for early learning. When? By a Statehouse that hasn't restructured K-12 funding yet? The report offers a fine game plan, like the new Core curriculum for high schools, until it comes time to put up the money. And that's the disappointment.

    September 5, 2006- U.S. Education Secretary: "no Child Left Behind Act Near Perfect"

    U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said last week the No Child Left Behind Act is close to perfect and needs little change as its first major update draws near. "I talk about No Child Left Behind like Ivory soap: It's 99.9 percent pure or something," Spellings told reporters. "There's not much needed in the way of change.

    The Houston Chronicle said it is not surprising that Spellings strongly supports the law. She helped craft the law and now enforces it as the top education official. "Yet," the Chronicle added, "Her view that the law needs little change is notable because it differs so sharply from others with a stake, including many teachers, school administrators and lawmakers. In addition, the House education committee is holding hearings on how to improve the law. So is a prominent bipartisan commission, which is touring the nation to gather opinions. More than 80 organizations have signed a statement urging fundamental changes."

    September 1, 2006- Survey: Not Enough Parental Pressure On Students

    A survey, conducted by the Washington-based Pew Research Center, found that 56 percent of adults believe that parents are putting too little pressure on their children to work harder; 15 percent feel they are placing too much pressure; and 24 percent think they are exerting the right amount.

    Read the survey report. Click: Parental Pressure on Students: Not Enough in America; Too Much in Asia

    August 31, 2006- Only One In Three Earn A College Degree

    More than six out of 10 parents (62%) say a college education is "absolutely necessary" for their child's success, and four in five high school students expect to complete a college degree, according to the public policy research organization Public Agenda. However, a policy brief from the Education Commission of the States (ECS) said fewer than one third of the students who enroll in college will actually emerge with a baccalaureate six years after high school graduation.

    ECS examined state and federal research studies and found that while students and parents believe a college degree is necessary for success, many were not well informed about what it takes to prepare for college. The policy brief also found that students whose parents did not go to college needed the most support in trying to attain a degree.

    Read the ECS policy brief. Click: "Involving Families in High School and College Expectations"

    August 30, 2006- In The News...


    * Ohio has some of the highest rates of poverty and some of the lowest household incomes, according to data released yesterday by the U.S. Census. Ohio’s poverty rate of 12.3 percent, or about 1.4 million people, was up from 11.6 percent in 2004. The average poverty threshold for a family of four last year was $19,971, according to the federal Office of Management and Budget. Ohio also saw a rise in people without health insurance, about 1.4 million last year, up about 100,000 from 2004. ....Columbus Dispatch
    * Ohio students did better on the SAT than the national average. 2005 Ohio U.S. math 543 520 reading 539 508 2006 math 544 508 reading 535 503 writing 521 497 Source: College Board
    * Ten charges of violating state ethics laws were filed yesterday against four former board members of the State Teachers Retirement System.

    Read the article. Click: Ex-STRS board members face ethics charges ...Canton Repository

    August 29, 2006- Early Childhood Education Recommentdations

    A State Board of Education panel, School Readiness Solutions Group, has recommended that Ohio combine early childhood learning under a single state agency that would include behavioral and physical health resources, services for the disabled, educational offerings and programs for needy families and provide tens of thousands of additional day care openings in the state. The recommendations also calls for implementing a statewide licensing system for all out-of-home child care and preschool settings, developing a new teaching license for those specializing in instruction for children from birth to third grade, offer all-day kindergarten statewide by 2015 and limit kindergarten class size to 20 children, with at least one teacher and one assistant.

    A coalition of parents, childcare providers, teachers, business owners and health specialists, called "Groundwork," is supporting the recommendations. They cite research that shows early learning can help combat problems that become expensive to governments: poverty, crime, ill health and joblessness.

    August 28, 2006- How Well Are Charter Schools Performing?

    The annual study conducted by the Coalition for Public Education, a statewide bipartisan alliance of education, parent and civic organizations, suggests that charter schools in Ohio are failing to serve disadvantaged and minority students as well as traditional public schools do. The study showed that economically disadvantaged children met the state standard for proficiency in mathematics in 68 percent of traditional public schools, compared with 24 percent of charter schools. African-American students met the same standard in 40 percent of traditional public schools, but in just 20 percent of charter schools. In reading, in 49 percent of traditional public schools economically disadvantaged students met the state standard for reading proficiency, compared to only 15 percent of charter schools. African-American students met the state standard for reading proficiency in 27.8 percent of traditional public schools, compared to only 11.5 percent of charter schools.

    Richard Gunther, a professor of political science at Ohio State University and the 2006 recipient of the university’s Distinguished Scholar Award, wrote in an Ed-Op column in today's Columbus Dispatch, "Data released by the Ohio Department of Education demonstrated that most public schools are performing very well. Seventy percent of public schools statewide were categorized as excellent or effective, up from the 58 percent in those two top categories last year. These same data make clear that most charter schools have failed to achieve the quality promised by proponents. Only 17 percent were rated excellent or effective." Gunther went on to say, "The most shocking finding is that 49 percent of charter schools statewide were given failing grades: 18 percent were placed on academic watch, while 31 percent were declared to be under academic emergency. This compares with just 6 percent in each category for public schools."

    Gunther concludes by asking the following questions. Why did charter schools receive $487 million in taxpayer dollars last year, but with no ODE oversight? Why should charter-school students be exempt from the testing requirements established by the No Child Left Behind law? Why should business executives, some of whom have made millions dollars in campaign contributions to politicians, be allowed to make enormous profits from managing charter schools at the taxpayers’ expense? And when will our elected officials demand that private institutions deliver a high-quality education in exchange for receiving hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars a year?

    For more information about the Coalition for Public Education's report, click: annual review of charter school performance

    August 25, 2006- Enrollment In Public Schools And Colleges Continue To Grow


    In Fall 2005, 72.1 million persons were enrolled in American schools and colleges. Enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools rose 22 percent between 1985 and 2005. The fastest public school growth occurred in the elementary grades (prekindergarten through grade 8), where enrollment rose 24 percent over this period, from 27.0 million to 33.5 million. Public secondary school enrollment declined 8 percent from 1985 to 1990, but then rose 31 percent from 1990 to 2005, for a net increase of 20 percent. The number of public school teachers has risen faster than the number of students over the past 10 years, resulting in declines in the pupil/teacher ratio. Between 1994 and 2004, the number of full-time college students increased by 30 percent compared to an 8 percent increase in part-time students. Source: National Center for Education Statistics

    August 24, 2006- NCLB Seen As Ineffective, Poll Suggests

    The 38th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools found that more American adults reported being knowledgeable about No Child Left Behind than in previous surveys, but many have an unfavorable view of the law. Forty-five percent of those polled said they knew either “a great deal” or “a fair amount” about the federal law, up from 40 percent last year and 31 percent two years ago. However, of this group, 31 percent said the law was hurting the performance of public schools in their communities, and 37 percent said it had made no difference. Twenty-nine percent said it was helping their local public schools.

    When asked how educators should attempt to improve education, 71 percent of respondents preferred improvements in the existing public school system, rather than establishing an alternative system. Just 19 percent of the poll’s respondents blame the quality of schooling for the achievement gap between white students and their minority counterparts, while the overwhelming majority, 77 percent, attribute the inequality to “other factors.” In addition, the poll asked people whether they favored or opposed allowing parents to choose to have their children attend private schools at public expense. Of those surveyed, 36 percent favored the idea while 60 percent opposed it.

    Sources: Education Week & 38th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll

    Read the 38th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll report. Click : PDF Version HTML Web Version

    August 23, 2006- In The News...

    * "The average family will spend nearly $530 for back-to-school items, according to the National Retail Federation, making back-to-school the second-biggest shopping season. Christmas leads the list of shopping seasons." ...Cincinnati Enquirer/USA Today * "Fourth graders in traditional public schools did significantly better in reading and math than comparable children attending charter schools, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Federal Education Department." ...New York Times

    * "The state's unemployment rate surged from 5.1% to 5.8% from June to July, putting Ohio's rate a full percentage point higher than the national average, state officials announced Tuesday." ...Gongwer News Service

    * "An annual College Board report on pricing trends in higher education estimated that students will pay nearly $400 more for this year's room and board than they did last year. It also stated that on-campus housing expenses now average $6,636 and $7,791 at four-year public and private universities, respectively." ...yahoo.com

    August 22, 2006- Will Other Universities In Ohio Follow Miami's Lead?

    Miami (Ohio) University has announced plans to offer free tuition starting next year for low-income students from Ohio. Students who come from a family with less than a $35,000 income will be eligible for the free tuition beginning with the 2007-08 school year, according to an Associated Press report. The program will be limited to Ohio residents pursuing their first bachelor’s degree and who are enrolled full time and eligible for federal student financial aid. The free tuition and fees will be for four years. Housing fees will not be covered and current and transfer students are not eligible for the free tuition program. Miami University estimates the program will help about 150 new students the first year. Two years ago Harvard University started waiving tuition for families with incomes less than $40,000. Arizona State University offers a free education to students from households in which the family income is $18,850 or less, according to the Associated Press.

    August 18, 2006- Work Toward Addressing State Funding Formula

    "Education interests intensify work toward statewide ballot issue to address state funding formula," Gongwer News Service said yesterday. "Seeing no sign of relief from what they view as glaring problems with the state's school finance system, various education stakeholder groups say they are achieving unprecedented unity in laying the groundwork for a 2007 ballot issue."

    August 18, 2006- Report Card Results For Ohio Appalachian School Districts

    The 2005-06 Local District Report Card results for the 126 Ohio Appalachian school districts show 12 rated Excellent ; 78 rated Effective; and 36 with a Continuous Improvement rating. No school district in the 29 Ohio Appalachian counties received an Academic Watch or Academic Emergency rating. Ohio Appalachian school districts receiving an Excellent rating were: Bethel-Tate Local and Milford E.V. in Clermont county; Dover City, Garaway Local, Indian Valley Local, New Philadelphia City, and Strasburg-Franklin Local in Tuscarawas county; River View Local and Ridgewood Local in Coshocton county; Columbiana E.V. in Columbiana county; East Holmes Local in Holmes county; and West Muskingum Local in Muskingum county.

    August 17, 2006- Ohio's Plan For Equitable Distribution Of Good Teachers Lauded

    It was announced yesterday that Ohio's plan for getting a qualified teacher into every classroom was one of only nine nationally that met all the U.S. Department of Education's criteria to get 100 percent of teachers to be "highly qualified" by next school year. In addition, the Education Trust, a Washington D.C. research group, identified the two states, Ohio and Nevada, as having the best strategic plans to distribute qualified teachers to every classroom. The report, released last week, lauded Ohio for having no fewer than 68 specific strategies aimed at correcting inequitable distributions of good teachers. Data collected from the 2005-06 report cards show 94.4 percent of core courses in Ohio were taught by teachers who fit the "highly qualified" requirements in the No Child Left Behind Act. To be defined as a "highly qualified" teacher, a teacher must obtain a bachelor's degree, receive full state certification, and pass competency tests in every subject taught.

    August 16, 2006- ACT Scores Highest Since 1991

    The high school class of 2006 posted the biggest score increase on the ACT college entrance exam in 20 years, and recorded the highest scores of any class since 1991. Average composite scores on the exam rose to 21.1 from 20.9 last year. Officials said an increase of 0.2 points is significant when considered across a record 1.2 million test-takers nationwide, or 40 percent of graduating seniors.

    The average composite score in Ohio rose by 0.1 point from last year. Ohio's score of 21.5 was slightly higher than the national average. Ohio students also scored higher than the national average in each of the four exam sections: math, English, reading and science. The national average score in math and in science was 20.8 and 20.9, respectively, while the Ohio's average scores in math and science were 21.3 and 21.5, respectively.

    SAT results for the class of 2006 will be released later this month

    August 15, 2006- Report Card Results

    Early newspaper reports said that of the 610 school districts, which does not include charter schools, 192 are rated excellent; 299 are effective; 112 are continuous improvement, and seven are on academic watch. There are no school districts rated academic emergency. Two-hundred school districts moved up at least one designation this year. There are 1,290 individual schools ranked as excellent; 1,217 as effective; 643 as continuous improvement; 218 are academic watch, and 208 as academic emergency. Results from 295 community or charter schools showed 30 rated Excellent, 16 Effective, 87 Continuous Improvement, 46 Academic Watch, 81 Academic Emergency and 35 not rated. School district and individual schools report card results will be posted on the Ohio Department of Education website at 10:00 a.m. today.

    August 14, 2006- Commissioner Questions Involvement, Not Results, In Private vs. Public Study

    According to Edweek.org, the commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Education, says his office should not have initiated a recent, heavily publicized study comparing the academic performance of public and private school students. The commissioner said the report (1) relied on a subjective analysis that could lead outsiders to question the research center’s impartiality and (2) it was not proper for the research office to have directed a study that went so far in making judgments about how to interpret raw school data. He also said he had the same concerns about the NCES directing a similar study of charter school performance, expected to be released later this month. The commissioner added that he was not faulting the study’s accuracy or methodology.

    The study on public and private schools came out the week before U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and Republican lawmakers unveiled a new, $100 million proposal to make vouchers for private school tuition available under the No Child Left Behind Act. The Edweek.org article said critics have cited the NCES report showing public school students outperforming their private school peers, in questioning the wisdom of that voucher proposal.

    Source: Edweek.org, August 10-11, 2006

    August 11, 2006- Annual Report Cards Coming Tuesday

    Ohio will issue annual report cards for schools and school districts on Tuesday. Twenty-three indicators were on the Ohio report cards for the 2004-05 school year. The total was increased to 25 this year and will increase to 30 for the 2006-07. The ratings are determined by using a composite of test scores called a performance index score; how many indicators a district meets, and whether the district reaches the federal adequate yearly progress (AYP) standard. According to an Ohio Department of Education official, this year's report cards will allow for comparison to last year. A recent newspaper article said the report cards will show one Ohio public school district meeting zero out of 25 standards. However, the newspaper said the district has made progress in raising some test scores, even though fewer than 75 percent of students are passing. That progress will enable the district to move up from "academic emergency" to "academic watch" ranking, the article said. There may also be a number of school districts showing improvement on test scores, but meeting very few standards, reaching a ranking as high as "continuous improvement." Measuring the academic progress that students make from year to year, even if the students have not yet made it to the proficient level, provides an avenue for school districts to highlight improvement.

    August 10, 2006- Only 29% Of School Tax Issues Pass

    In Ohio, there were 31 issues on the August 8th ballot. Twenty-seven school districts had one issue on the ballot and two districts had two issues. Of those 31 issues, 22 were rejected and nine passed, representing a 29.03 percent passage rate. Two issues were on the ballot in the 29 Appalachian counties. Both failed.

    August 9, 2006- GAO Report On "Growth Models"

    "Growth models," allowing schools to meet No Child Left Behind (NCLB) standards by measuring the academic progress that students make from year to year even if the students have not yet made it to the proficient level, has spread rapidly across the county. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), almost every state has created or is developing its own growth model. Twenty-six states are using growth models, and another 22 are either considering or in the process of implementing them. North Carolina and Tennessee are now running growth-model pilot programs approved by the U.S. Department of Education. The July 2006 GAO report said carefully constructed growth models can help meet the NCLB goal of getting the nation’s students to academic proficiency, but added that states face technical hurdles in crafting such models that work. The report said, "Technical challenges include creating data and assessment systems to meet the substantial data requirements of growth models and having personnel that can analyze and communicate growth model results. For example, states need to have tests that are comparable from one year to the next to accurately measure progress." In addition, the report said, "Using growth models can present risks for states if schools are designated as making AYP while still needing assistance to progress. For example, one school in Tennessee that did not make AYP under the status model would make AYP under the state’s proposed growth model. This school is located in a high-poverty, inner-city neighborhood and has been receiving federal assistance targeted to improving student performance. If the school continues to make AYP under the growth model, its students would no longer receive federally required services, such as tutoring or the option of transferring to a higher performing school."

    Read the report, "No Child Left Behind Act: States Face Challenges Measuring Academic Growth,"

    August 8, 2006- School Voucher Program Grows With Second Round Of Applications

    The Gongwer News Service reported Monday that the Ohio Department of Education said the second chance for parents to enroll in the state's expanded voucher program netted 1,036 applications in two weeks. A total of more than 3,300 applications have been received for the 2006-2007 school year.

    August 7, 2006- U.S. Issues New Rules On Schools and Disability

    "For more than 25 years, federal law had required that schools nationwide identify children as learning disabled by comparing their scores on intelligence tests with their academic achievement. This meant that many students had to wait until third or fourth grade to get the special education help they needed. In regulations issued today after changes to the law, the federal Education Department said states could not require school districts to rely on that method, allowing districts to find other ways to determine which children are eligible for extra help. It was the final step in the federal government's repudiation of the old approach, which had come under severe criticism from advocates for children with disabilities, testing experts and eventually federal officials themselves." ....New York Times, August 4, 2006 An unofficial version of the final regulations has been posted on the U.S. Education Department's Web site—www.ed.gov—with a scheduled publication date in the Federal Register of August 14. The rules become official 60 days after appearing in the Register. Read New York Times article, click: U.S. Issues New Rules on Schools and Disability

    August 3, 2006- Changes To Report Card, Due, August 15th

    School districts and schools also are being graded in two more academic areas for the 2005-06 school year, bringing the total number to 25. The changes will be reflected on the report cards, expected to be released on August 15th. One change is that schools and districts won't be graded on science or citizenship test results at the elementary level. The 2005-06 report cards will be the first to have results solely for the Ohio Achievement Tests throughout elementary grades. The changes, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, are in part a response to requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act that mandates schools test students in grades 3 to 8 in reading and math by 2005-06 and at least once in those subjects during grades 10 through 12. Read the Cincinnati Enquirer article: Click: • Changes to Ohio school report cards to be phased in

    August 2, 2006- Education News From Around Ohio

    * Ohio is one of only 11 states that have strong academic content standards and tests aligned to those standards in every grade, according to a recent report by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). The report, released in July at the AFT national convention in Boston, said in addition to Ohio, California, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia have strong standards aligned with their testing systems. * Six teachers from Spain will teach Ohio students this fall as a part of a visiting international teacher program arranged through the Ohio Department of Education. Two CORAS members are among six school districts receiving a visiting teacher from Spain. They are Meigs Local (Meigs County) and Beaver Local (Columbiana County). The teachers will instruct middle and high school students in Spanish language and culture. * State Senator Steve Stivers, R-Columbus, has introduced SB 354. The bill would eliminate the requirement that a school district or building that fails to make "adequate yearly progress" for more than two consecutive years be rated no higher than "in need of continuous improvement" on the annual state academic performance ratings.

    August 1, 2006- Spokesperson: President Will Sign Perkins Vocational Educational Law

    Both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate have approved the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act to run through 2012. The Associated Press quoted a White House spokesperson as saying the President would sign the legislation. The Bush administration had previously proposed zeroing out funding for the Perkins legislation proposal. The law provides $1.3 billion annually in federal funds to states and school districts for work-related classes, programs, equipment, and training. Federal vocational spending accounts for only about 10 percent of the total money devoted to career and technical education nationwide, with state and local governments contributing the majority, according to recent estimates. But proponents of those programs say the federal funding is critical to states and schools.

    July 31, 2006- In The News

    * There are 36 school tax issues on the August 8, 2006 special election ballot. These include seven bond issues and one request for an income tax. ....Ohio Secretary of State website * An Ohio law passed last year limited the number of charter schools to the 285 that were open as of last summer. However, this fall there will be 305 charter schools open in Ohio. The same law that created a "cap" allows three avenues for new schools, even if the number exceeds that cap. The three ways charter schools can be added are: (1) Companies operating charter schools can open one school for every school they manage that is performing well by state standards — even if the original school is not in Ohio; (2) Schools that applied to open last year but did not receive charters in a lottery are on a waiting list and can earn a charter if any charter school closes. About nine schools opened last year closed and three merged with other schools; and (3) School districts are always permitted to convert schools into charter schools. ....Dayton Daily News

    July 27, 2006- Steady Rise In Pupil Transportation Costs

    The percentage of public school pupils transported to school at public expense in the nation has remained relatively stable since the 1980-81 school year. The most recent data available show 56 percent of students in public schools were transported at a cost of $654 per pupil. Twenty-five years ago, 1980-81, Fifty-nine percent of students in public schools were transported to school at a cost of $438 per pupil (In constant 2004-05 dollars based on the Consumer Price Index). These figures do not take into account the recent spike in fuel costs. SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics

    July 26, 2006- 2005-06 Annual Survey Of Superintendents/K12 Salaries

    Superintendents of school districts enrolling at least 25,000 students receive average annual salaries of around $185,000, nearly 80 percent higher than their counterparts in the small districts with fewer than 2,500 students, according to a recent survey conducted by Educational Research Service (ERS). High school principals earn about 27 percent more in the largest school districts compared to their counterparts in small districts. Narrower gaps existed among middle and elementary school principals. The data is from the 2005-06 school year.

    Superintendents in school districts where annual per-pupil spending exceeds $9,000 earn salaries about $16,000 more than leaders in districts spending less than $6,000 per student, a difference of about 15 percent. The ERS study found that among superintendents, women out-earn men by more than $9,000, a margin of about 8 percent.

    Geographically, New England and the Mideast region typically pay the highest salaries for superintendents, high school principals, and teachers. The Southwest and the Rocky Mountain regions rank at the bottom. Average salaries in 2005-06 for the Great Lakes Region (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin) were: Superintendents $110,599; High School Principals $84,857; and Teachers $48,209.

    Download all survey data. Click: PDF (289KB) Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader Source: Edweek.org

    July 25, 2006- Report: Quality Of Life For Children Seen As No Longer Rising

    According to the report, "2006 Kids Count Data Book," by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, national trends in child well-being are no longer rising as steadily as they did in the 1990s. The 2006 annual report says that in the United States the percentage of children living in poverty and the percentage of children who live in families without a parent who has full-time, year-round employment has increased since 2000. Child well-being has gotten worse in 3 of 10 categories, the report said.

    According to the report, the percentage of Ohio children living in poverty increased from 16% in 2000 to 18% in 2004 (extreme poverty increased from 6% to 9%). The percentage of Ohio children who live in families without a parent who has full-time, year-round employment increased from 30 to 32 percent over that same period. The report rated Ohio in 10 categories over a five-year period beginning in either 1999 or 2000. Child well-being has gotten worse in Ohio in six categories, better in three and stayed the same in one.

    View data for Ohio and the country. Click: "2006 Kids Count Data Book"

    July 24, 2006- Congress Reaches Agreement On Vocational Education Law

    U.S. House and Senate negotiators reached agreement last week to renew the vocational education law through 2012, extending a program the White House wants to end. The compromise bill would update the Perkins Act, which provides grants for community colleges and high schools to offer occupational courses. The bill requires states to run career programs that will give students a broad base of academic skills, not just technical ones. In exchange for money, states and school districts must produce more evidence that students are making progress and landing good jobs. In addition, the legislation would require states to come up with model sequences of courses from high school through college. The goal is to give students a clear path of training for work. The bill also changes the title from vocational education to "career and technical education." At $1.3 billion a year, federal money is a small part of total vocational spending, but many schools depend on it. Source: Boston Globe

    July 21, 2006- Teachers Union Vows To Increase Activism

    The Boston Globe reported yesterday that the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) plans to increase dues, boost activism, and battle anti-union efforts. AFT's president said the 1.3 million-member union would seek a dues increase of 75 cents a month, an amount that would add approximately $7 million to the union's $120 million budget, including $950,000 earmarked for campaigns against anti-union initiatives and an unspecified amount for increased recruitment efforts. "If I had to characterize what I am about, I would have to say member organizing and activism," the AFT leader said. "The more members, the more union influence." AFT is holding its annual convention in Boston this week.

    July 20, 2006- More On Federally Financed Vouchers

    Less than a week after a study found that private schools offer little academic advantage over public schools, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said children in poorly performing public schools need the chance to attend private schools, and taxpayers should pick-up the tab. She was speaking in support of a $100 million federally financed voucher program. Secretary Spellings wouldn't say whether private schools would be held to the same standards as public schools. In addition, she refused to comment on the public/private school study, saying she hadn't read the report in full and only learned of its release by reading about it in newspapers. The U.S. Education Department released the study on, Friday, July 15th. USA Today said the current administration has consistently supported nationwide vouchers, asking Congress to finance them every year since 2001. But lawmakers have never seriously considered them. Source: USA Today

    July 18, 2006- U.S. Senate: Voucher Legislation Being Introduced

    According to the Columbus Dispatch, U. S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings plans to join Senator Lamar Alexander (R- Tennessee) today to introduce federal legislation that would offer competitive grants to states, school districts and nonprofit groups to provide private-school vouchers to poor children in struggling schools.

    Two recent government-financed studies have found that comparable (race, wealth and other factors) public school students do as well or better than their counterparts in private schools.

    July 17, 2006- Study: Public Schools Perform As Well As Or Better Than Private Schools

    The U.S. Education Department released a report last week that said children in public schools generally performed as well or better in reading and mathematics than comparable children in private schools. The only exception was in eighth-grade reading, where the private school counterparts fared better. The study, which compared fourth and eighth grade reading and math scores in 2003, found that fourth graders attending public school did significantly better in math than comparable fourth graders in private schools. Over 6,900 public schools and 530 private schools participated in the grade 4 assessments. More than 5,500 public schools and 550 private schools participated in the grade 8 assessments.

    In January 2006 CORAS reported on similar findings by researchers at the University of Illinois. This new report mirrors and expands upon those earlier findings. The University of Illinois researchers examined just math scores. The new study looked at reading scores, too. Both studies were government-financed.

    The latest report was released Friday without a news conference or comment from the U.S. Education Secretary. The New York Times said, "Findings favorable to private schools would likely have given a lift to administration efforts to offer children in ailing public schools the option of attending private schools."

    Read the report. Click: Full Report

    July 13, 2006- Six-Part Plan: Compact Between America And Its Teachers

    A group of academic and business leaders wants to increase the pay of public school teachers immediately by as much as 20% and up to 50% in the foreseeable future. The report, Teachers and the Uncertain American Future, released Monday by The College Board's Center for Innovative Thought, outlines a six-part plan. In addition to providing "salaries for the real world," the report calls for making teaching a preferred profession, creating multiple pathways into teaching, closing the teacher-diversity gap, addressing the math and science crisis, and creating the funds necessary to carry out these initiatives through the "Teachers' Trust." In more detail, the six-part plan includes:
    • Provide an immediate 15 to 20 percent hike in teachers' salaries (and rising to 50 percent in the foreseeable future), with provisions for an 11-month contract and a differential pay system based on challenging schools, shortage disciplines, and outstanding teaching contributions.
    • Make teaching a "preferred profession" by improving working conditions, implementing career ladders, and creating communities of learning within schools and districts.
    • Encourage multiple pathways into teaching, with a cease-fire declared between proponents of traditional and alternative certification programs, which frequently take enthusiastic liberal arts graduates and put them in front of classrooms after a few weeks of training.
    • Close the diversity gap so that the teacher population more closely mirrors the student population. The report recommends intensive and targeted recruitment programs that emphasize financial aid and loan forgiveness for minority teachers.
    • Enact recent recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences to increase college enrollments in math, science, and engineering majors. Provide 10,000 merit-based scholarships in math and science fields for first-year undergraduates willing to teach for a minimum of five years, along with 25,000 undergraduate scholarships annually (and 5,000 graduate fellowships) for U.S. citizens entering science and technical programs.
    • Invest for success in teaching now, rather than paying for failure later, through the establishment of a public-private Teachers' Trust that would hold federal, state, local, and private funds for salary increments. Read the press release: New Report from the College Board's Center for Innovative Thought

      Read the full report: Teachers and the Uncertain American Future

    July 12, 2006- More On The "100 Percent Solution", Funding The Child

    Education Week reported today the call for "weighted" student funding is getting bipartisan approval. Supporters are saying that schools’ budgets should be based on per-pupil allotments that are weighted according to students’ educational needs. The group says, in what is has been referred to as the "100 percent solution," the method differs from prevailing budget practices that often shift resources away from the schools that need them most. “The key change from traditional approaches is that money is allocated to schools not based on staffing levels or programs, or just the number of students, but on the characteristics of the students attending the school. Students with greater needs (poor, disabled, or English-language learners, for example) receive more money as part of their allocation, allowing their schools to provide the education they need,” according to “Fund the Child: Tackling Inequity and Antiquity in School Finance, a 67-page report released in June. Read more...Click on the following.
  • July 11, 2006- More Bachelor's Degrees Conferred

    The number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the United States increased by 33% between 1989-90 and 2003-04. Of the 1,400,000 bachelor's degrees conferred in 2003-04, the largest numbers were conferred in the fields of business (307,000), social sciences and history (150,000) and education (106,000). Source: National Center for Education Statistics

    July 7, 2006- Study: Ohio Cited For Not Having Teacher Equity Plan

    A study released yesterday by the Washington-based Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights, an education watchdog group, said that to date most states have made only minimal progress in addressing the teacher quality provisions in NCLB, particularly the teacher equity requirements. According to the study, Ohio was one of nine states cited for failing to have an equity plan to ensure that poor and minority students are not taught by inexperienced, unqualified, or out-of-field teachers at higher rates than other children. All states must submit revised plans to the federal government today detailing what they plan to do during the coming school year to meet the teacher quality requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, including the equitable distribution of qualified teachers. Read the report. Click: Days of Reckoning: Are States and the Federal Government Up to the Challenge of Ensuring a Qualified Teacher for Every Student? (pdf)

    July 6, 2006- Education Number One Issue

    A recently released poll conducted by Community for Quality Education, a pro-public education advocacy group, asked voters to identify, in their own words, the "two or three most important issues in the November election for governor." The largest number of respondents (30 percent) identified education as their top issue, followed by jobs (19 percent), taxes (8 percent), cost of living (5 percent) and corruption (5 percent). When voters were asked to rank a list of issue priorities, education again prevailed, topping the list of a third of the respondents. Education was also the top issue throughout the state, from big cities to rural areas. The issue also crossed party lines, with Democrats (71 percent), independents (56 percent) and Republicans (53 percent) saying the state should spend more on public education.

    July 5, 2006- Math & Science: Is America Falling Behind?

    Last July (2005) Fortune magazine reported that in 2004 China produced 600,000 engineers and India produced 350,000 engineers. That same year, the United States produced 70,000 engineers. Former George Mason University professor Gerald Bracey said, "The truth is, at best, lost in the translation of the numbers. In China, for example, the engineer count most likely includes technicians with the equivalent of two-year associate degrees." Bracey isn't the only one questioning the numbers. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that a Duke University study found the United States annually produces about 137,000 engineers while India produces 112,000 and China, 351,000. That means the United States produces more engineering degrees per million residents than any other nation.

    June 29, 2006- Report: Invest In High-Quality Preschool Programs

    “The business community has recognized that investing in quality pre-K not only benefits young children’s education, it makes smart fiscal sense for our states and our nation,” the director of state policy initiatives for The Pew Charitable Trusts said. Pew provided funding for the report, titled The Economic Promise of Investing in High-Quality Preschool: Using Early Education to Improve Economic Growth and the Fiscal Sustainability of States and the Nation. The 74-page report released yesterday said costly academic-remediation programs are draining state and federal budgets, when money would be better spent getting 3- and 4-year-olds ready to learn. The result, the report says, would boost the nation’s economy and deliver returns of at least between $2 and $4 for every dollar states and the federal government invest. According to the report, a high-quality pre-school program will cost about $5,100 per child. Only six states, including Ohio, spent more than $5,100 per child on preschool in the 2004-05 school year. Read the report, Click: "The Economic Promise of Investing in High-Quality Preschool: Using Early Education to Improve Economic Growth and the Fiscal Sustainability of States and the Nation," is available from the Committee for Economic Development. Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader NOTE: On Thursday, September 21, 2006, at the first meeting for the 2006-07 school year, CORAS will focus on "Rural Early Childhood Learning Programs." Dr. Tom Farmer, professor at Pennsylvania State University and co-director of the National Research Center on Rural Education Support, will be the presenter.

    June 28, 2006- 100 Percent Solution

    A new school funding proposal was released yesterday by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. U.S. Newswire said the proposal is "signaling a breakthrough in the decades-old war over the financing of public education in America." The proposal, Fund the Child: Tackling Inequity and Antiquity in School Finance (visit http://www.100percentsolution.org ), is "a 'manifesto' that offers a comprehensive solution to the most pressing problems in American education, including funding disparities on many levels," U.S. Newswire said.

    June 27, 2006- Audit Says Ohio Charter Schools Lack Oversight

    Ohio has no effective way to know if $20 million is has sent to charter schools for startup costs is be used properly, according to a state audit released last week by State Auditor Betty Montgomery. The audit said the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) "did not have an effective system in place" to determine whether 130 charter schools operating statewide used the money for planning and design as required.

    A spokeswoman for the state auditor said, "There was no effective system in place to determine if the charter schools were using these federal funds within applicable rules and regulations. There was a serious lack of controls." According to an ODE spokesperson, Ohio requires charter schools to submit annual performance reviews, expenditure reports, and audits, "but the auditor said it wasn't thorough enough."

    June 26, 2006- Governor Signs HB 115 (Educational Regional Service System)

    The Associated Press (AP) reported Friday that Governor Taft signed HB 115 (EDUCATIONAL REGIONAL SERVICE SYSTEM). According to the AP report, HB 115 contains provisions to establish the Educational Regional Service System and the EMIS Advisory Board, to revise the financing of Educational Choice Scholarships for kindergartners, to permit the governing authority of a start-up community school that meets certain conditions to establish another community school above the cap on the number of community schools, to permit school districts to establish residency requirements for superintendents, and to make an appropriation. The Bill was signed by the Governor on June 23, 2006 and becomes effective in 90 days.

    Read HB 115 Analysis. Click: Bill Analysis - HB 115 - As Reported by Senate Committee [.html format] [.pdf format]

    June 23, 2006- States Connecting Education Preschool Through College (P-16)

    The Education Commission of the States reports that during the past decade 30 states have created “P-16” councils or initiatives designed to increase collaboration from preschool through college. In most states, the governance, finance, data, and accountability systems for pre-K-12 and higher education have largely operated separately, with different legislative committees, governing boards, and state agencies. That divide, policy experts say, has contributed to a maze of disconnected policies and practices. Many experts believe a "P-16" structure would also provide for a more efficient use of tax dollars.

    June 22, 2006- CORAS End-Of-Year Update


    CORAS END-OF-YEAR UPDATE
    MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL. Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools (CORAS) new and renewal membership notices for the 2006-07 school year were mailed to school districts in early-June. CORAS continues to grow with its membership exceeding 130 school districts and institutions of higher learning for the past several years. Join CORAS now and support public education in rural Appalachia Ohio.
    CORAS SUMMER MEETING AND GOLF OUTING. Over seventy superintendents and guests attended the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools (CORAS) annual summer meeting and golf outing on Tuesday, June 20, 2006. The event was held at EagleSticks Golf Club and Inn, Zanesville. The first presentation featured a discussion of Online Advanced Placement programs by Dr. Teresa Franklin and Scott Robison from the College of Education, Ohio University. The second presentation was a discussion of the proposed school funding constitutional amendment. The presenters were Dr. Richard Murray, Superintendent of the Muskingum Valley ESC and CORAS representative on the statewide constitutional amendment committee and Dr. Jerry Klenke, Executive Director, Buckeye Association of School Administrators.
    CORAS member superintendents retiring this school year were recognized. They were: Jerry Narcisi, Shadyside Local, Gary Sterrett, East Holmes Local, Frank Barnett, Green Local, Michael H. Smith, Georgetown E.V., Michael F. Pockl, Zanesville City, Barbara Hansen, East Muskingum Local and Dan Brisker, Wellston City.
    CORAS member school districts and their superintendents receiving an Excellent on the 2004-05 Local District Report Card were also recognized. They were: Fairland Local, Jerry McConnell, superintendent; Northern (Perry) Local, Jack Porter, superintendent; and Indian Valley Local, Randall Cadle, superintendent.
    The following superintendents, who are leaving the CORAS Board of Directors, received plaques for their service to the Coalition. Dr. Scott M. Davis, Superintendent, Morgan Local; Michael H. Smith, Superintendent, Georgetown Exempted Village; Dr. Barbara A. Hansen, Superintendent, East Muskingum Local; Kyle S. Kanuckel, Superintendent, River View Local and Ohio University Professor Dr. Dianne Gut.
    Dr. Tom Davis, Interim Dean of the College of Education, Ohio University, was presented a special plaque for his support of the Coalition and for promoting a viable relationship between the school districts in the region and the Ohio University College of Education.
    A special plaque was also presented to Dale Dickson, Superintendent, Perry-Hocking ESC, for planning and organizing the CORAS annual golf outing for the past seven years.
    The President's Award was presented to 2005-06 CORAS President Dr. Phil Satterfield , Superintendent, Ross-Pike ESC, by Executive Director Dick Fisher subbing for 2006-07 CORAS President Charles Bizzari, Superintendent, Belmont-Harrison JVS.
    The golf outing followed the program. The team of Jack Payton, Jim Pope, Dick Smith and Tom Gumpf posted the winning low score for the golf scramble format.

    FALL 2006 CORAS MEETINGS. (MARK YOUR CALENDAR!) The first CORAS meeting/program for the 2006-07 school year is set for Thursday, September 21, 2006. The featured speaker will be Dr. Tom Farmer, National Research Center on Rural Education Support and professor at Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Farmer will discuss early childhood learning programs in rural settings. The location of the meeting has not yet been determined. The Tuesday, October 31, 2006 CORAS program will focus on a proposed remedy for school funding in Ohio. The location for this meeting will be announced later.
    2006-07 CORAS LEADERSHIP. CORAS office holders for the 2006-07 school year include: Charles Bizzari, Superintendent, Belmont-Harrison JVS, President ; Dr. Richard Murray, Superintendent, Muskingum Valley ESC, President-Elect; and Dr. Phil Satterfield, Superintendent, Ross-Pike ESC, Immediate Past President.
    CORAS BOARD OF DIRECTORS. The Board of Directors will hold the annual planning meeting on Thursday, September 7, 2006 at the Brass Ring Golf Club in Logan. Newly elected or appointed members of the Board of Directors include Dr. Richard Murray, Superintendent, Muskingum Valley ESC; Lori Snyder-Lowe, Superintendent, Morgan Local; James Frazier, Superintendent, Brown County ESC: and Dr. Catherine Glascock, Professor, Ohio University. Dr. Barbara Hansen, Professor, Muskingum College and Dr. Aimee Howley, Professor, Ohio University, join Thomas Wolfe, Superintendent, Berne Union Local, as ex-officio members of the Board of Directors.
    The following email was received from Ohio University College of Education Interim Dean Dr. Tom Davis

    CORAS Colleagues,

    I wanted to send to you a note of thanks, and appreciation and to let you know how much I have valued the opportunity to work with you this past year. As you may know, Dr. Renee Middleton from Auburn University has been hired to be the new Dean of the College of Education at Ohio University . She will assume her role on August 14th.

    I want you to know that I have learned a great deal from many of you, and have a deep value for the importance of a positive relationship between our college and the public schools of Southeast Ohio . In my view there is no more important external relationship that the university has than with our public schools. During this past academic year I feel that we have made some great strides in forging a positive working relationship, and it would be my hope that you will continue that momentum with Dr. Middleton.

    It has been a privilege for me to have served as the interim dean of our college. It has also been a wonderful opportunity to get to know you all as the leaders of public education for the children and young adults of this part of the state. I have great respect and appreciation for all of you, and certainly wish all the best to you as you work hard for the betterment of our schools and the children that you serve.

    I look forward to seeing many of you at the June 20th meeting in Zanesville .

    Best regards,

    Tom Davis, Interim Dean

    College of Education, Ohio University


    June 21, 2006- Thirty Percent Of Ninth-Graders Fail To Receive A Diploma

    A study released yesterday estimated that 1.2 million U.S. students will fail to graduate with their peers. That's about 30 percent of the class of 2006, according to the news release. The report, "Diplomas Count: An Essential Guide to Graduation Rates and Policies," by the Editorial Projects in Education (EPE) Research Center of Education Week newspaper, said 69.6 percent of the students who enter ninth grade graduate in four years with a regular diploma. In Ohio, 76.5 percent of students received a diploma. The researchers used data from 2002-2003 school year, the most recent year data was available.

    The EPE Research Center has created an online mapping service, posted at edweek.org/dc06, that allows users to zoom in on each of the nation's individual school districts and create a report for that district, including comparisons with state and national figures.

    June 19, 2006- "08 Schools"

    Ohio recognizes two different ways for parents to educate their own children at home. Most families file a notice of intent pursuant to the homeschool statute. If a parent has a bachelor's degree, however, the family is free to form a non-chartered, non-tax supported school pursuant to Ohio Administrative Code § 3301-35-08. These are generally known as "08 schools." The Columbus Dispatch reported today that an increasing number of home schools have been reinventing themselves as "08 schools." "These private schools have a principal and maybe one or two students. Class can still take place at the kitchen table, though. And nobody will monitor what’s being taught or when school’s in session. Growth in the number of "08 schools" has been swift in the past decade, mostly because students in such private schools can get state money to take college courses while still in high school, under Ohio's 'postsecondary enrollment options' program," the Dispatch said. According to the Ohio Department of Education, there are 461 "nonchartered, nontax-funded" private schools in Ohio, about a 150 percent increase in the past decade.

    June 14, 2006- School "Wellness" Policies

    School districts receiving federal funds are required to develop local “wellness” policies that must go into effect by the start of the 2006-07 school year. The $16 billion Child Nutrition Act, which covers the National School Lunch Program, imposed new requirements on federally funded schools for their lunches and breakfasts. Signed into law in June 2004, the legislation applies to regular public schools, charter schools, and some private schools. The deadline to create a final policy is July 1, 2006 but the mandate does not include penalties for schools that do not adopt their policies by then.

    Each district’s wellness policy must include goals for nutrition education and nutritional guidelines for all food available on campuses during the school day. Districts must also adopt guidelines for food brought into school and distributed to students, such as candy or other treats brought from home. In addition, the wellness policies must discuss ways the districts can increase the activity level for students in all grades.

    See model school wellness policies, developed with the support of a group of health organizations. Source: Education Week, June 14, 2006

    June 13, 2006- Thousands Of Vouchers Go Unused

    The Dayton Daily News reported today that 2,568 Ohio students have applied for the state's new voucher program. This represents only 5.5 percent of eligible students, according to the report. Last Friday was the deadline to apply. The Daily News said it appeared 11,500 vouchers approved by the legislature would go unused. However, the state is offering a second voucher enrollment period (July 21 to August 4) for parents to apply.

    June 12, 2006- Salary Gap Widens Between Teachers and Administrators

    A national study conducted last year by the Education Research Service (ERS) found that between the 1994-95 and 2004-05 school years, teachers’ salaries dropped 3.4 percent when adjusted for inflation, while high school principals and superintendents had gains of 2.4 percent and 12 percent, respectfully. However, the ERS study found that salaries of superintendents, high school principals, and teachers all fell during the 2004-05 school year when adjusted for inflation. The researchers speculate that some of the decline in teacher salaries over the last decade was a result of new teachers entering the teaching force and retirements from the high end.

    In addition, ERS researchers said teachers, principals and superintendents working in rural communities are paid much less than their counterparts in urban and suburban school districts. For example, teachers in rural districts are paid 27 percent less than their suburban counterparts, and 20 percent less than those in large urban districts.

    June 9, 2006- Study: Children With Greatest Needs Get Least Qualified Teachers

    According to a study conducted by The Education Trust, based in Washington D.C., one out of eight teachers in Ohio's high-poverty schools is not highly qualified. In low-poverty Ohio schools, the figure is one out of 67 teachers. About 40 percent of the teachers in Ohio's poor middle and high schools are not highly qualified, the report said. The study, released yesterday, found that districts routinely place the least-experienced, least-educated and least-skilled teachers in public schools with the children who have the greatest needs.

    Read the report. Click: Teaching Inequality: How Poor and Minority Students are Shortchanged on Teacher Quality

    June 8, 2006- Education News From Other States

    * High school students in Florida will have to declare majors and minors, just as college students do, under a new state law. A major could be a traditional academic subject like English or math, or a vocational field like carpentry or auto repair. South Carolina began a similar program last year, requiring high school students to choose a "career cluster." ....New York Times * California voters decided in the June 6th statewide primary not to tax the state’s wealthiest residents in order for all of the state’s 4-year-olds to attend preschool for free. More than 60 percent of those who went to the polls voted against the measure, which would have added a 1.7 percent income tax on individuals making at least $400,000 and couples earning more than $800,000 a year. Experts say the defeat of the Preschool for All initiative in California this week is unlikely to slow the pace at which public preschool programs have been growing in other states. ....Education Week

    June 7, 2006- Report Says Private-School Parents Abusing Vouchers

    The Columbus Dispatch reported this morning that private-school parents are enrolling their children in struggling public schools they don’t intend to send them to, in hopes of using state voucher money to pay tuition. The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) is seeking legal advice. ODE sent a letter to public-school districts yesterday alerting them to the practice. The letter advised them to flag suspicious new enrollees until a legal opinion is offered, according to the Dispatch.

    The Dispatch said private-school parents say it’s un- fair that they pay tuition while others can get help from the state. The scholarships are worth $4,250 for elementary students and $5,000 for high-school students.

    June 5, 2006- Bill Propose Property Tax Option For Seniors, Disabled Homeowners

    According to a Gannett News report, state lawmakers are considering bills that would set up low-interest loans to help senior citizens and disabled homeowners pay property tax bills. Last week the Ohio House has unanimously passed a bill [HB 293] that would allow counties to set up loan programs with banks. The county would deposit money with the bank to be used for low-interest loans to qualified homeowners who are 65 and older or disabled, or both, to be repaid when the borrower dies or sells the house. Gannett said some homeowners might be reluctant to participate because the loan puts a property lien on their home even if the home is paid off.

    The House vote sends the bill to the Senate, which is considering a more limited loan proposal. The Senate plan [SB 198] would be backed by state money. The Legislature is recessed until after the November election, but may meet occasionally during the summer.

    Read an analysis of HB 293. Click: Bill Analysis - HB 293 - As Reported by House Committee [.html format] [.pdf format]

    Read an analysis of SB 198. Click: Bill Analysis - SB 198 - As Introduced [.html format] [.pdf format]

    June 1, 2006- Ohio School Districts Predict Significant Losses

    According to an Associated Press (AP) report, Ohio public school districts, small and large, rural and urban, poor and affluent, predicted significant losses in five-year financial forecasts submitted yesterday to the Ohio Department of Education.

    The AP report said, "A few wealthy suburban districts project they can stay in the black, either by drawing deeply from healthy reserve funds or through hikes in property and school taxes that voters have already approved. Some large urban districts, like Columbus and Cleveland, foresee red ink reaching into the hundreds of millions of dollars five years from now, though school fiscal officers acknowledge that could change. Many districts' bottom lines will be hurt, according to the reports, by the phase-out of the business tax on tangible personal property, below-inflation growth in state aid and increases in classroom costs, including teacher salaries."

    In addition, a new report by the Ohio Public Expenditure Council found that Ohio teachers' pay has lost ground against the U.S. average for their field from 1999 and 2005, the AP article said.

    May 30, 2006- Growing Number of College Students Lack High School Diplomas

    According to a 2003-04 survey by the U.S. Education Department, nearly 400,000 students, accounting for 2 percent of all college students, 3 percent at community colleges and 4 percent at commercial or profit-making colleges, entered these institutions without first achieving a high school diploma. That is up from 1.4 percent of all college students four years earlier. The figures do not include home-schooled students.

    The existence of such students exposes a split in education policy, a New York Times article said. "On one hand, believers in the standards movement frown on social promotion and emphasize measurable performance in high school. At the same time, because a college degree is widely considered essential to later success, some educators say even students who could not complete high school should be allowed to attend college."

    May 26, 2006- Report On School Bus Pollution

    The Union of Concerned Scientists' National School Bus Report Card analysis shows that the average U.S. school bus is nine years old and emits nearly twice as much dangerous diesel pollution per mile as a tractor-trailer truck. Some states are making significant progress in protecting their children's health, while others are in serious need of new technology and federal support. The state by state report card follows:

    STATE

    SOOT POLLUTION GRADE

    CLEANUP PROGRAM RANK

    SMOG POLLUTION RANK

    Alabama

    B

    Poor

    Above Average

    Alaska

    B

    Above Average

    Above Average

    Arizona

    D

    Above Average

    Poor

    Arkansas

    D

    Poor

    Poor

    California

    C

    Good

    Poor

    Colorado

    D

    Above Average

    Poor

    Connecticut

    B

    Above Average

    Above Average

    Delaware

    B

    Incomplete

    Above Average

    District of Columbia

    B

    Incomplete

    Above Average

    Florida

    C

    Poor

    Average

    Georgia

    C

    Above Average

    Average

    Hawaii

    D

    Incomplete

    Poor

    Idaho

    C

    Incomplete

    Average

    Illinois

    C

    Average

    Average

    Indiana

    B

    Average

    Above Average

    Iowa

    C

    Above Average

    Above Average

    Kansas

    C

    Incomplete

    Incomplete

    Kentucky

    C

    Poor

    Average

    Louisiana

    D

    Incomplete

    Poor

    Maine

    B

    Above Average

    Above Average

    Maryland

    B

    Poor

    Above Average

    Massachusetts

    B

    Average

    Above Average

    Michagan

    C

    Poor

    Average

    Minnesota

    D

    Average

    Poor

    Mississippi

    C

    Average

    Poor

    Missouri

    B

    Average

    Above Average

    Montana

    D

    Poor

    Poor

    Nebraska

    D

    Average

    Poor

    Nevada

    B

    Above Average

    Above Average

    New Hampshire

    C

    Poor

    Average

    New Jersey

    B

    Poor

    Above Average

    New Mexico

    C

    Poor

    Average

    New York

    B

    Above Average

    Above Average

    North Carolina

    C

    Above Average

    Average

    North Dakota

    C

    Poor

    Poor

    Ohio

    C

    Average

    Average

    Oklahoma

    D

    Incomplete

    Poor

    Oregon

    C

    Above Average

    Average

    Pennsylvania

    B

    Average

    Above Average

    Rhode Island

    C

    Average

    Average

    South Carolina

    D

    Above Average

    Poor

    South Dakota

    D

    Incomplete

    Poor

    Tennessee

    B

    Average

    Above Average

    Texas

    C

    Above Average

    Average

    Utah

    D

    Poor

    Poor

    Vermont

    C

    Incomplete

    Average

    Virginia

    C

    Average

    Average

    Washington

    D

    Good

    Poor

    West Virginia

    C

    Poor

    Average

    Wisconsin

    C

    Average

    Average

    Wyoming

    B

    Incomplete

    Above Average

    Selected Report Findings

    • The average school bus is nine years old and emits nearly twice as much pollution per mile as a tractor-trailer truck (or “big rig”).
    • Only Alaska, Connecticut, Maine, Nevada, and New York scored above the national average in all three categories we evaluated.
    • Nationally, soot pollution from school buses has been reduced more than two percent through local, state, and federal actions. Nine states and the District of Columbia did not appear to have taken any action to clean up school buses in 2005.
    • Even states receiving highest marks for school bus cleanup programs are still challenged by older, dirtier buses in their fleets with Washington receiving a D and California a C for soot pollution.
    • Buses are still the safest way to transport children to school. Parents should work with school administrators to explore pollution control retrofits, cleaner fuels, and bus replacement. For more information on school bus pollution, including policy recommendations, Click: Full report (with grades for each state)

      May 25, 2006- Ohio Science Test Results Mixed, 12th-graders Decline Nationwide

      The first nationwide science test administered in five years shows that achievement among high school seniors has declined across the past decade, even as scores in science rose among fourth graders and held steady among eighth graders, the U.S. Education Department reported yesterday. The science results came from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a comprehensive examination administered in 2005 by a branch of the U.S. Department of Education to hundreds of thousands of students in all 50 states. The test, administered during the first months of 2005, covered the earth, physical and life sciences. The most recent previous administrations of the science test came in 2000 and in 1996. The test administrators translate scores into four achievement levels: advanced, proficient, basic, and below basic. The test results show:

      * 2005 Ohio results: (State results not available for Grade 12)

      Percent Grade 4 Percent Grade 8

      Below Basic 25 33

      Basic 40 32

      Proficient 31 31

      Advanced 3 4

      Proficient (including advanced) fourth-graders increased 3 percentage points from 2000. At the same time, the number of science-proficient eighth-graders (Proficient & Advanced) in Ohio dropped from 41 percent five years ago to 35 percent.

      Read the full report. Click: The Nation's Report Card

      May 24, 2006- 2005 Vital Statistics

      The compilation of Vital Statistics for member school districts is a service provided annually by the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools (CORAS). The document provides important comparative data to school leaders and others throughout the 29 Ohio counties designated in federal legislation as "Appalachian." If you would like a copy of the full report, which provides the data for each of the 127 Ohio Appalachian school districts, send request to rfishe5@columbus.rr.com We will mail a copy to you. The following the summary from the 2005 Vital Statistics.

      COALITION OF RURAL AND APPALACHIAN SCHOOLS

      Summary of 2005 Vital Statistics

      MEAN

      ** (Median is used for income data)

      APPALACHIAN

      DISTRICTS

      STATE

      (ALL DISTRICTS)

      APPALACHIAN

      DISTRICTS

      HIGH

      LOW

       

      Total ADM FY 2005

      2973

      1836

      9220

      310

      Percent of Pupils In Families Receiving OWF FY05

      2.72

      4.44

      14.50

      0.00

      Median Income **

      (Per State Return 2003)

      $30,757

      $25,723

      $38,187

      $17,167

      Expenditure Per Pupil

      (EFM-Expenditure Flow Model)

      FY 2005

      $8,364

      $7,938

      $9,817

      $6,412

      Effective Operating Mills

      (Residential/Agriculture)

      26.59

      23.11

      36.13

      20.00

      Authorized Operating Mills

      46.16

      33.96

      67.70

      20.00

      Pupil Attendance Rate

      95.16

      94.69

      98.30

      93.10

      Drop Out Rate

      7.63

      8.75

      38.70

      0.00

      Property Valuation Per

      ADM

      $119,092

      $85,940

      $236,067

      $33,688

      Regular K-12 Pupil Teacher Ratio

      16.45

      16.22

      19.70

      13.00

      Average Teacher Salary

      2004-05

      $46,657

      $42,297

      $55,697

      $30,987

      Data Source: Ohio Department of Education

      NOTE: Un-weighted averages are used for all districts. Three island districts and College Corners are excluded as outliers.


      May 23, 2006- Study: Colleges Inadequately Prepare Elementary Teachers How To Teach Reading

      Most of the nation’s colleges of education are doing an inadequate job of preparing aspiring elementary teachers for what is often characterized as their most important task: teaching children to read, according to “What Education Schools Aren’t Teaching About Reading and What Elementary Teachers Aren’t Learning,” released yesterday by the National Council on Teacher Quality. The report said teacher education programs across the country are failing to teach the elements of effective reading instruction that research has proved are essential. Those essential elements, according to the study, are phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. The report’s authors gathered information on required reading courses from a sample that was deemed representative of the nation’s nearly 1,300 teacher-education programs. They sifted through the syllabi, textbooks, and other required readings from those courses to gauge whether the five components were taught. Only 11 percent of the colleges reviewed taught all the components, while nearly one-fourth didn’t appear to teach any of them. Colleges that have earned accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) didn’t fare any better than those without accreditation, according to the report. No Ohio college or university was included in the sample. Read the report, "What Education Schools Aren't Teaching About Reading—and What Elementary Teachers Aren't Learning," released by the National Council on Teacher Quality.

      May 22, 2006- Analysis: Education Hardest Hit By Spending Limitation

      An analysis released Friday by the Center for Community Solutions in Cleveland said capping state general revenue growth at 3.5 percent a year would place the biggest burden on education. The report said if the spending limit becomes law, public schools and state supported universities would be among the hardest hit since the new limit would apply only to tax dollars, not fees and other money in the state coffers. Since schools and colleges get a high percentage of tax money, they would get squeezed the most, the center concluded. The center based its analysis on public comments made by legislative leaders, according to the director of public policy and advocacy.

      In addition, companion legislation would allow the Tax and Expenditure Limitation (TEL) amendment to be pulled from November's ballot. The Associated Press said Governor Taft refused to negotiate a compromise on new state spending restrictions until he gets assurances TEL will not be on the November ballot. The Governor has veto power over any bill passed by the Legislature. Both proposals are scheduled for vote this week.

      Sources: Cleveland Plain Dealer and Associated Press

      May 19, 2006- Who Could Vote Against A Bill To Fix Ohio School Buildings?

      The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported this morning that House Republicans have decided to add a controversial state-spending cap to a bill that would spend $760 million that Ohio received from the national tobacco settlement. The bulk of the money would be used for school construction projects. The Plain Dealer, in reporting the political maneuvering, asked the question, Who could possibly vote against a bill that spends someone else's money to fix Ohio's school buildings?

      In separate legislation, the Senate is expected to add a provision that would allow petitioners to withdraw the initial amendment from the ballot.

      May 19, 2006- Two State Allowed NCLB Flexibility

      The U.S. Education Department has announced that two states, Tennessee and North Carolina, will be allowed to track how individual students advance in math and reading from year to year and to count them as meeting the goals of the No Child Left Behind if the they are on a trajectory toward proficiency in three or four years. Other states must show that students are actually reaching proficiency. Both North Carolina and Tennessee applied for the flexibility as part of a pilot project that could involve as many as 10 states. Sixteen states, including Ohio, submitted proposals. However, a panel of reviewers approved only the two states to start immediately. Education Department officials said that six additional states, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Florida and Oregon, would receive early consideration if they reapplied and made recommended changes to their proposals. Source: New York Times

      May 18, 2006- Legislation To Put Spending Limitation In State Law

      An Associated Press report yesterday said gubernatorial candidate Kenneth Blackwell and Ohio Republican legislative leaders have reached a compromise. Republican legislative leaders will write into state law a government spending cap matching that of Blackwell's proposed constitutional amendment [Tax and Expenditure Limitation (TEL)]. The bill will also clarify the ability of Citizens for Tax Reform, the committee that placed TEL on the ballot, to remove the issue from November's election. The Republican legislative leaders said the bill they advance within in the next week will limit state general-revenue growth to 3.5 percent a year, as Blackwell's amendment did, but will not apply to local governments, school districts, libraries and other smaller entities, according to the Associated Press.

      May 17, 2006- Some Schools Are Leaving Recess Behind

      Schools across the country are beginning to eliminate recess, according to an Associated Press (AP) article. The proportion of schools that don't have recess ranges from 7 percent for first and second grades to 13 percent by sixth grade, new government figures show. But government figures show the overwhelming majority of elementary schools still offer recess each day, usually for about 25 minutes. Where recess is in decline, school leaders usually blame academic pressures to test and show progress in reading and math starting in third grade, the AP article said.

      In an informal survey by the National PTA of its state leaders, more than half said daily recess is at risk. Only 9 percent were confident recess would not be reduced in their school. The Cartoon Network and the National PTA have launched a "Rescuing Recess" campaign. Kids are leading the huge letter-writing effort to school officials with one theme: "Let us play." The Cartoon Network has pledged more than $1.3 million to the campaign. That includes more than $300,000 in grants to PTA chapters for participating in the ongoing letter campaign.

      May 16, 2006- No State Meets Highly Qualified Goal

      Not a single state will have a highly qualified teacher in every core class this school year as promised by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. Last Friday the U.S. Department of Education ordered every state to explain how it will have 100 percent of its core teachers qualified, belatedly, in the 2006-07 school year. Education Department officials said some states face the loss of federal aid because they didn't make enough effort to comply on time. They are Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina and Washington, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

      The CNN.com report said the fact that no state complied with the law on time, four years after it was passed with great fanfare, is due in part to the enormity of the challenge. Some teachers, particularly in small or rural areas, handle many subjects and have not met the law's requirement in each one. Many schools struggle just to find teachers in math, science or special education. And turnover is common, often blamed on salary and stress.

      May 15, 2006- Study: National Certification Has Little Correlation To Student Achievement

      National Board Certification has virtually no correlation to student achievement, according to a study commissioned by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). Conducted by William L. Sanders, the statistician who pioneered the concept of “value added” analysis of teacher effectiveness, the study found that there was little difference in students’ achievement levels for teachers who earned the prestigious NBPTS credential, those who tried but failed to earn it, and those who never tried to get the certification. The study examined student and teacher records in North Carolina, the state with the most board-certified teachers. NBPTS did not provide any public information about the report until earlier this month and officials say they do not intend to release the full study.

      Source: Education Week

      May 12, 2006- CORAS Summer Meeting/Golf Outing, June 20th

      Registration materials for the June 20, 2006 CORAS summer meeting and golf outing were mailed to CORAS members this week. A registration form is also attached to this message. The program/golf will be held at EagleSticks Golf Club and Inn, Zanesville. Registration and continental breakfast will be from 9:00 to 9:30 AM. Retiring CORAS member superintendents, members leaving the CORAS board of directors and superintendents of CORAS member school districts receiving Excellent on the 2004-05 Local District Report Cards will be recognized. The program will feature a presentation on Online Advanced Placement Programs (Scott Robison and Teresa Franklin presenting) and a discussion of the Proposed Draft Constitutional Amendment on School Funding (Jerry Klenke and Dick Murray presenting). Lunch will follow the program. The activities will conclude following golf, with dinner, awards and prizes around 5:30 PM.
      Use the form on the attached brochure to register or contact Lori. Phone: 740-593-4414 or 740-593-4445 or FAX: 740-593-9698 or Email: stumpl@ohio.edu Registration deadline is June 2, 2006.

      May 11, 2006- Do The Math

      According to a recent USA TODAY Snapshots, "Do the math," getting beyond Algebra 2 in high school bumps up the likelihood a student will earn a bachelor's degree.
      Highest High School Math Course Percent Who Earned (percentage of students taking) a Bachelor's Degree
      Calculus...............9.7%.................................................83.3%
      Pre-calculus.......10.8%................................................74.6%
      Trigonometry....12.1%.................................................60.0%
      Algebra 2..........30.0%.................................................39.3%
      Geometry..........14.2%................................................. 16.7%
      Algebra 1..........16.5%................................................. 7.0%
      Pre-algebra...... 6.7%................................................. 3.9%
      Source: "The Toolbox Revisited: Paths to Degree Completion for High School Through College," 2006 report by Clifford Adelman, U.S. Department of Education. Note: Data are from the high school class of 1992 followed through December 2000.

      May 10, 2006- Fifty-three Ohio Schools Face NCLB Penalties

      An Associated Press (AP) article said today that about 1,750 U.S. schools have fallen short of requirements under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and ordered into radical “restructuring,” subject to mass firings, closure, state takeover or other moves aimed at wiping their slates clean. Many are finding resolutions short of such drastic measures. But there is growing concern that the number of schools in serious trouble under the NCLB law is rising sharply, up 44 percent over the past year alone, and expected to swell by thousands in the next few years, according to the article. Schools make the list by falling short in math or reading for at least five straight years. Ohio has 53 schools on the list. In perspective, the total amounts to 3 percent of roughly 53,000 schools that get federal poverty aid and face penalties under the NCLB law. Seven states, California, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania account for almost 70 percent of all schools ordered to restructure.

      May 9, 2006- Children From Wealthy Areas Do Better On Kindergarten Tests

      According to an Associated Press report, the state's new kindergarten readiness test results show that a child's readiness for school is closely tied to the wealth of the community where the child lives. Kindergartners starting school in affluent suburbs did much better than children from high-poverty urban and rural areas. This year's kindergartners were the first to take the annual exam. Administered either in the summer before classes begin or up to six weeks into the school year, the test assesses skills such as answering questions, sentence repetition, recognizing rhyming words, letter identification and identifying words with the same sound. Each child is tested individually, a process that takes 10 to 15 minutes. The kindergarten test is a result of the ongoing fight over school funding in Ohio and whether a system dependent on local property taxes creates wide disparities between low and high wealth districts, AP said. Read the AP article. Click: Students from wealthy areas do better on new kindergarten test

      May 8, 2006- Funding Requested To Train Ohio Core Teachers

      The Associated Press reports that Governor Taft is asking the Legislature for funding beginning in July to start training math and science teachers in preparation for the Ohio Core curriculum he's proposed. The governor has requested $13 million for the upcoming school year and $114 million over the next five years to train existing teachers and encourage today's high school students to become tomorrow's math and science teachers.

      Under the proposal released last Friday, 1,400 teachers would be trained to specialize in disciplines for Ohio Core, such as a teacher who needs to teach Algebra II instead of general math. It also calls for sending money to school districts so that 5,000 more students can take high school classes that earn them college credit and 2,250 students can attend summer institutes with intense training in the Ohio Core subjects. The plan encourages students and those seeking to change professions to go into teaching. One such incentive would be the signing bonus of as much as $20,000 in cash or the forgiveness of student loans — $4,000 a year as long as the teacher remains in a public school district, the Associated Press said.

      May 5, 2006- Home Schoolers Taking AP Exams

      Though a very small number compared to the total, home schoolers taking Advanced Placement (AP) exams has tripled, from 410 in 2000 to 1,282 in 2005, according to data from the College Board. Education Week said a growing number of home schoolers are using AP exam results as a credential for college entrance. The chart below shows the number of students in various categories of schooling who took advanced placement exams in 2000 and 2005. The number of students taking AP exams in public, private and religious schools has increased by 40 percent over the past five-years.

      STUDENTS TAKING ADVANCED PLACEMENT EXAMS
      School Type Number of Students
      2000 2005
      Public 1,020,015 1,759,296
      Private 133,516 176,324
      Religious 71,353 112,835
      Home school 410 1,282
      Other/blank 17,028 15,308

      SOURCES: The College Board and Education Week

      May 4, 2006- Passing rate For School Levies

      Ohio voters approved 112 of 188, or just under 60 percent, of the school levies on Tuesday's primary ballot. It marked the highest passage rate in a primary election since 2002, when 61 percent passed. The passage rate in the 2005 primary election was 54 percent and only 47 percent passed in the 2004 primary.

      Source: Ohio Department of Education

      May 3, 2006- Soda Sales To Schools To End

      According to the Associated Press, the nation's largest beverage distributors have agreed to halt nearly all soda sales to public schools. Under the agreement, the companies have agreed to sell only water, unsweetened juice and low-fat milks to elementary and middle schools. High schools will still be able to purchase drinks such as diet and unsweetened teas, diet sodas, sports drinks, flavored water, seltzer and low-calorie sports drinks from distributors.

      Cadbury Schweppes PLC, Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc. and the American Beverage Association have all signed onto the deal, the AP article said, adding that the companies serve "the vast majority of schools." The agreement follows a wave of regulation by school districts and state legislatures to cut back on student consumption of soda amid reports of rising childhood obesity rates. "How quickly the changes take hold will depend in part on individual school districts' willingness to alter existing contracts," the Alliance for a Healthier Generation said. The companies will work to implement the changes at 75 percent of the nation's public schools by the 2008-2009 school year, and at all public schools a year later.

      May 2, 2006- Important BASA Meetings

      Over the past several months the major education organizations have been meeting to reach agreement upon a school funding constitutional amendment that all organizations can support. It has come to a point where the framework of the agreed upon structure should be shared with school superintendents and other members of the education community.

      Therefore, the executive directors of the Alliance, BASA, CORAS, E&A Coalition and OESCA are urging you to attend one of the previously scheduled Breakfast with BASA Regional Meetings to hear what concepts are in place and being discussed, and to give your feedback and input. All meetings begin with breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and end at 12:30 p.m. The discussion of the proposed constitutional amendment will begin at 11:00 a.m. Please make every effort to attend one of the following important meetings.
      Meetings in or near the CORAS region are as follows: Tuesday, May 9, 2006 at Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center, 205 North Seventh Street, Zanesville. Wednesday, May 10, 2006 at Jackson City Schools, 450 Vaughn Street, Jackson. Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at BASA, 8050 North High Street, Columbus.
      REGISTER TODAY! Copy and FAX the following registration form.

      FREE REGISTRATION – Breakfast with BASA

      Please check the date

      you will be attending! Name:_________________________________________________

      ______May 9 Title:___________________________________________________

      ______May 10 School District:___________________________________________

      ______May 23 EMAIL:__________________________________________________

      Fax this completed registration form to: BASA at 614-846-4081


      May 1, 2006- $100 Million Incentive To Improve Teaching

      Last Friday the U.S. Secretary of Education touted a $100 million federal fund to reward teachers and principals who raise student achievement in high-need schools. Secretary Spellings said, "The President and the Congress recently created a $100 million Teacher Incentive Fund to encourage more experienced teachers to go to high-poverty schools, and reward them for results, an approach that has been shown to positively impact student performance. We'll start accepting applications for the new Teacher Incentive Fund on Monday [today], just in time to kick off the Department's Celebrating Teachers Week."

      According to reports, this strategy is part of the federal government's attempt to offer incentives, rather than sanctions, to spur change.

      For additional information about the Teacher Incentive Program, Click:

      Eligibility

      Contacts

      Laws, Regs, & Guidance

      April 28, 2006- Northeast Ohio Poll Says Schools Should Share Wealth

      The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported today a Gallup poll found northeast Ohioans strongly support a system of school financing that would spread money more evenly across districts, even if that comes at the expense of wealthier schools. Support for more equitable school financing cuts across racial and geographic lines, according to the poll that was released yesterday. Respondents were asked whether they would "favor or oppose a regional system of school funding that would increase equity across public school districts but could be at the expense of wealthier districts." Across a 15-county region, only one-third were opposed, according to the report. The poll surveyed 2,140 residents from March 6 to April 9, 2006. The survey was supported by Cleveland State University, the Cleveland Foundation, business groups Greater Cleveland Partnership and Team NEO and the Fund for Our Economic Future. The margin of error for the poll is 2.1 percentage points.

      Click below to read related articles.

      School tax burden unequal

      » Win or lose, levy requests persist

      Educators say state must reform system to stop endless cycle

      April 27, 2006- College Professors/High School Teachers Differ

      Surveys of college professors and K-12 educators have found large gaps between how well prepared high school teachers think their students are for college and what college faculty members think. A survey released last month by The Chronicle of Higher Education, for example, found that while 31 percent of high school teachers believed their students were “very well” prepared for college-level work, only 13 percent of professors agreed.

      April 26, 2006- CORAS/Hick Executive-in-Residence Program,

      Over forty superintendents and other educators attended the annual Hicks Executive-in-Residence program yesterday at the Ohio University Inn, Athens. Dr. David H. Monk, Dean, College of Education, Pennsylvania State University, was the honored speaker. He discussed teacher preparation and the job market in rural school districts. Preceding his presentation, Dr. Dan Ross, Commissioner of the Ohio High School Athletic Association, discussed the role of academics and athletics in Ohio schools. Other speakers included Dr. Craig Howley and Dr. William L. Phillis. CORAS President Dr. Phil Satterfield moderated the program. Dr. Aimee Howley served as the Hicks program coordinator. The CORAS Board of Directors met following the program to elect 2006-07 officers and appointed/confirmed recently elected members to the Board of Directors. Charles Bizzari, Superintendent, Belmont-Harrison JVS was confirmed as CORAS President. Richard Murray, Superintendent, Muskingum Valley ESC, was elected President-elect. The election of James Frazier, Superintendent, Brown County ESC (Region 1), Dale Dickson, Superintendent, Perry-Hocking ESC (Region 4), and Richard Murray (Region 6) were confirmed. The Board appointed Phil Satterfield, Superintendent, Ross-Pike ESC, (Region 1) Lori Snyder-Lowe, Superintendent, Morgan Local (Region 4), and David Branch, Superintendent, Franklin Local (Region 6), to the Board of Directors. The next CORAS program will be the annual summer meeting and golf outing at the EagleSticks Golf Club and Inn, Zanesville, on Tuesday, June 20, 2006.

      April 25, 2006- Gender Gap

      Nationwide, about 72 percent of the girls in the high school class of 2003, but only 65 percent of the boys, earned diplomas, a gender gap that is far more pronounced among minorities, according to the report, "Leaving Boys Behind: Public High School Graduation Rates," released last week by the Manhattan Institute.

      The report compiles data on high school graduation, by school district, state, race and sex. The researchers say it is the first study to offer such a complete picture of the gender gap, in part, because information broken down by sex has only recently been available.

      April 24, 2006- Advanced Placement: Passing Exams More Important Than Enrollment

      The May 2006 issue of Teacher Magazine said studies say Advanced Placement (AP) enrollment doesn't necessarily ensure college success. A study at the University of Texas that tracked 67,000 Texas high school students graduating in 1998 suggests that passing AP exams is a more important factor than AP enrollment in determining whether students graduate from college on time. In another study at the University of California, Berkeley, researchers looking at students in that school concluded likewise. Although AP coursework did not seem to have much impact on college grades or graduation rates, they found AP exam scores “remarkably strong” predictors of college success. In a related concern, the executive director of the College Board's AP program says all the research suggests that high schools may be giving an AP label to classes that don't necessarily provide college-level curricula. To discourage the practice, the board will begin auditing the courses in August 2006.

      April 21, 2006- Study Show Teacher Job Market Improving

      The U.S. job market for teachers is showing signs of slow but steady improvement, according to a survey by the American Association for Employment in Education (AAEE). This marked the second straight year overall demand for educators has grown, after declines in 2002 and 2003.

      The survey revealed “considerable” teacher shortages only in mathematics and several special education fields. Falling in the “some shortage” category were other special education areas, physics, chemistry, and bilingual education. Supply and demand were "evenly balanced" in language arts, elementary education-middle school level, and music. Job candidates in these fields “can have realistic expectations to obtain desirable positions, but may not find the exact position they seek in the exact location they most desire,” according to the AAEE report. Surpluses of teachers were reported in elementary education-primary level, physical education, health education and social studies. No field, however, had a “considerable” surplus.

      The greatest teacher shortages are in the Mountain-West, the Plains, and the Southeastern states, the AAEE said.

      April 20, 2006- The Ohio Appalachian Region

      Last week the Akron Beacon Journal (ABJ) and several other newspapers ran a series of Associated Press (AP) articles on the Ohio Appalachian region. The articles pointed that:

      April 19, 2006- HQ Teachers: Poorer Schools Lag In Ohio

      The No Child Left Behind law says teachers with a bachelor's degree, a state license and proven competency in every subject they teach are determined to be highly qualified.

      According to a review of new state data by Associated Press (AP), Ohio said that 98 percent of teachers were highly qualified at its elementary schools in wealthier districts, while 90 percent of elementary school teachers in poorer areas were highly qualified. Only 77 percent of teachers at high schools in poorer areas had such credentials. At wealthier high schools, the rate was 95 percent. AP said a preliminary count show 33 states saying that 90 to 99 percent of their main classes have teachers who are highly qualified, including Ohio at 92.6 percent. Most of the other states put their numbers in the tier below, 70 percent to 89 percent, and a few are way behind.

      April 18, 2006- College/High School Completion In Region

      Slightly more than 12 percent of adults living in the 29 Ohio Appalachian counties completed a four-year college degree, compared with 21 percent statewide and 24 percent nationally; 78 percent completed high school, compared with 83 percent statewide and 80 percent nationally.

      Source: U.S. Census Bureau

      April 17, 2006- Do Teacher Licensing Exams Work?

      According to a new study reported in Education Week, students whose teachers scored high on state licensing exams learn more mathematics over the course of a school year than peers taught by teachers with low scores. The study was based on 10 years of test-score data on North Carolina schoolchildren. The findings were released April 7 at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association.

      Education Week said all but two states require teachers to pass some sort of licensing exam before entering the teaching profession. Few studies, though, have explored whether the exams work. The North Carolina study tested whether teachers who pass the test produce bigger gains in student learning than those who fail to make the cutoff. The study analyzed testing data collected from 1994 to 2004 on 701,000 students in grades 4-6 across the state and gathered licensing records for 24,000 teachers.

      Visit CORAS online at: www.coras.org

      April 14, 2006- School Tax Issues On May 2nd Ballot

      There are 87 counties with issues on the May 2, 2006 ballot. The total number of issues appearing on the ballot is 839. Of these, 199 are school issues: 138 are property tax levies, 24 are bond issues, and 37 are school district income tax. Click link below for the list of issues broken down by type:

      27 Bond Issues (24 are also school issues) (PDF)
    • 476 Tax Issues (138 are school issues) (PDF)
    • 235 Local Options questions (PDF)
    • 101 Miscellaneous questions (please see breakdown below) (PDF)
      • 3 gas aggregation questions
      • 16 charter amendment questions
      • 57 tax changes (tax changes & school issues can be the same issue)
      • 6 miscellaneous issues
      • 9 zoning amendments
      Source: Ohio Secretary of State website.

      April 13, 2006- States Electing Governors Debate "65 percent solution"

      The Associated Press (AP) reported this week that debate over the "65 percent solution" proposal continues to grow in dozens of states. The "65 percent solution" has become an issue in some of the 36 states electing governors this year. Nationally, according to the AP report, the proposal has attracted support from Republicans and opposition among Democrats and the education establishment.

      AP said the average in-classroom share of dollars nationwide now is 61.4 percent. New York, at 68.7 percent, spends the greatest portion of its education money on instruction, according to education service division of the bond ranking agency Standard & Poor's (S&P), and New Mexico spends the smallest share, 55.5 percent. S&P said 23 percent of the nation's more than 13,000 school districts spend 65 percent or more of their money on in-classroom expenses.

      In Ohio, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, Republican candidate for governor, supports a drive to get the proposal on the ballot. Attorney General Jim Petro, also a Republican, and Congressman Ted Strickland, Democratic candidate for governor, oppose it, the AP article said.

      April 12, 2006- Proposal May Block Most School Levies

      According to the Associated Press (AP), a legal opinion obtained by the Coalition for Ohio's Future says the Tax and Expenditure Limitation (TEL) Constitutional Amendment proposal would require a majority of all registered voters to pass a school tax levy, not just a majority of those who vote on Election Day.

      AP's summary follows:
      CAPPING SPENDING: The Tax and Expenditure Limitation, or TEL, would amend the Ohio Constitution to limit growth in state and local budgets to either 3.5 percent a year or a combination of the rates of population growth and inflation, whichever is greater.

      VOTER CONTROL: Amendment language, already certified for the November ballot, says no political subdivision could levy a new tax or increase the rate of a current tax "without first obtaining the approval of a majority of electors in that political subdivision."

      POTENTIAL FALLOUT: Opponents believe the amendment's wording means school districts - and other government entities, including cities, counties and libraries - would need the support of more than 50 percent of all their registered voters. Backers say it is understood that "a majority of electors" means more than 50 percent of the people who show up at the polls.

      Source: Associated Press and AP Research

      April 11, 2006- Advanced Placement (AP) Test Fee Reimbursement

      The Ohio Department of Education has contracted with The College Board to handle Advanced Placement (AP) test fee reimbursement for free and reduced lunch students who are taking the AP test. The following reimbursement process is from the College Board website.

      The State of Ohio will pay $52 per AP Exam for public and private school students qualifying for the College Board's fee reduction. Final AP Exam fee for students qualifying for the College Board fee reduction: $0 What the school must do:

      1. Fill in the "Option 1" oval on qualifying students' AP Exam answer sheets.

      2. When generating your invoice online, enter the total number of exams (not students) that qualify for the fee reduction.

      3. AP Coordinators in Ohio will forgo collection of AP Exam fees from students qualifying for the College Board fee reduction. The AP Coordinator must submit a copy of their invoice to the State. The College Board will bill the State directly for qualifying students' AP Exam fees.

      For more information, contact Keith Hall, Ohio Department of Education, 25 South Front Street, MS 209, Columbus, OH 43215; Keith.hall@ode.state.oh.us. ; 614 995-1427.

      The College Board fully anticipates entering into an agreement to bill the State of Ohio directly for AP Exam fees for qualifying students, but the agreement is pending at this time. Should an agreement not be completed prior to the May 2006 exam administration, the College Board will notify schools regarding revised billing and fee collection procedures.

      The College Board website address is: http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/repository/ap06_examfeeassistanc_50301.pdf

      April 10, 2006- New Research: Skills Tests For Teachers Poor Indicators

      Two long-term studies presented last week at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association challenge requirements that teachers pass standardized exams to receive licensure and get jobs. The new research suggests "skills tests that most public school teachers must pass are poor predictors of whether they will actually be good teachers, and in some cases may even keep good ones from entering the classroom." A Michigan State University study examined data going back to 1960 and found teachers' scores had almost no correlation to principals' evaluations of their classroom performance. A University of Washington researcher matched North Carolina teachers' scores with their students' skills on standardized tests and found almost no correlation. He warns that passing a general-knowledge or even a specific-subject-matter test doesn't guarantee that you're getting the right people in and keeping the right people out." The new studies echo one released last week by the Brookings Institution that recommended requiring fewer credentials for new teachers but increasing requirements for teachers to keep their jobs and earn higher salaries. According to a report in USA TODAY, prior to 1983 only three states required teachers to pass general-knowledge tests. By 1999, 39 states had such requirements. Today, with the "highly qualified teachers" requirement of the No Child Left Behind law, 48 states require the tests. Teachers, schools and states spend an estimated $50 million to $100 million on such exams, the article said. Nearly all states, including Ohio, use Praxis exams from Educational Testing Service.

      April 7, 2006- Data: Free And Reduced Price Lunches And IEP's

      The following data show the number and percentage of free and reduced price lunches and IEP's in Ohio for the 2003-04 school year.
      Number of Ohio students eligible for free or reduced price lunches.......................... ............544,374
      Percent of all Ohio students eligible for free or reduced price lunches......................................33.3%
      State with highest %:
      Mississippi....64.3%
      State with lowest %:
      New Hampshire...16.5%

      Number of Ohio students with IEP's............................................................................................ 257,078
      Percent of Ohio students with IEP's....................................................................................................14%
      State with highest %:
      Rhode Island....16.5%
      State with lowest %:
      Colorado.....................10%

      Source: National Center for Education Statistics

      April 6, 2006- In The News

      Business Tangible Personal Property Tax State Representative Jim Hughes has introduced HB 562 to extend indefinitely the full reimbursement to school districts for the phase-out of taxes on business tangible personal property. Read HB 562, Click: As Introduced Ohio Graduation Test A section of the state's graduation test (OGT) that included an essay question some students overlooked will be redesigned to prevent confusion, an Ohio Department of Education spokesman said. More than 5,300 students, or about 4 percent, left the essay blank last month. In the redesigned test, the page in the test booklet will say, "Turn page to continue the test" instead of the current reading, "This page was intentionally left blank." "Core Ohio" New High School Curriculum State Senator Randy Gardner said he will introduce legislation for new high school curriculum requirements today. The standards, named the "Ohio Core," would require that Ohio high school students, beginning with the graduating class of 2011, take four years of English language arts, four years of math, including Algebra II; three years of lab-based science, to be chosen from physical science, biology, chemistry, and physics, three years of social studies and two years of a foreign language. The new curriculum would be required for students planning to attend a four-year, state-funded university or college in Ohio. (Students could opt out of this core curriculum and still obtain a high school diploma.)

      April 5, 2006- Ohio Ranks 12th In Dependence On Local Property Tax

      U.S. Census Bureau figures released April 3, 2006 show Ohio ranks 16th nationally in per-pupil spending. But those same figures show that the state ranks 12th in its dependence on local property taxes, 24th on state funding and 38th in the amount of federal dollars that go to schools. The Cleveland Plain Dealer pointed out that reliance on local property taxes was at the core of four Ohio Supreme Court rulings that called for a complete overhaul of the way the state pays for public education.

      The U.S. Census Bureau says Ohio school districts spent an average of $8,963 per student in 2004. This statistic is misleading because wealthy districts in Ohio spend over three times as much per student as many poor districts do. The census figures showed Ohio school districts that spent the most per student were Beachwood ($17,457, first), Cuyahoga Heights ($15,834, second), Orange ($15,038, third) and Perry ($13,958, fourth).

      April 4, 2006- Teacher Attrition: A Costly Loss To Ohio and The Nation

      According to the Alliance for Excellent Education, a conservative national estimate of the cost of replacing public school teachers who have dropped out of the profession is $2.2 billion a year. If the cost of replacing public school teachers who transfer schools is added, the total reaches $4.9 billion every year. For individual states, cost estimates range from $8.5 million in North Dakota to a whopping half a billion dollars for a large state like Texas.

      The following shows the cost to Ohio and the nation to replace public school teachers who either leave the profession or transfer to other schools.

        OHIO UNITED STATES
      Total Number of Teachers 123,370 2,998,795
      LEAVING THE PROFESSION    
      Teachers Leaving the Profession 8,900 173,439
      Cost Related to Teachers Who Leave the Profession $110,627,905 $2,158,074,356
      TRANSFERRING TO OTHER SCHOOLS    
      Teachers Transferring to Other Schools 7,708 220,700
      Costs Related to Teachers Who Transfer to Other Schools $95,816,606 $2,709,805,065
      Total Teacher Turnover Cost (Not Including Retirements) $206,444,511 $4,867,879,421


      Source: "Issue Brief," August 2005, Alliance for Excellent Education

      April 3, 2006- Ohio Not Selected For "Growth Model" Pilot Program

      Edweek.org, WEB EXTRA, reported Friday that eight states have made the first cut to qualify for a pilot program that would let them use growth models to judge whether schools and districts meet their performance targets under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The states, chosen from 20 that applied for the pilot program, are Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, North Carolina, Oregon, and Tennessee. The eight proposals that made it through the first cut now go to a peer-review panel made up of testing experts, state education leaders, civil rights advocates, and representatives of national education groups. The recommendations for final acceptance into the pilot program are due in next month. Ohio, one of the twenty states submitting an application for the pilot program, did not qualify. Growth models give schools credit for student improvement over time by tracking individual student achievement from one year to the next. The pilot program gives the U.S. Education Department the ability to rigorously evaluate growth models and their alignment with NCLB, and to share results with other States. If you are interested in reading the proposals from the states making the first cut, Click:
      Alaska
    • Arizona
    • Arkansas
    • Delaware
    • Florida
    • North Carolina
    • Oregon
    • Tennessee

      March 31, 2006- Fewer Choosing Teaching Jobs

      Stateline.org said many states report that fewer people are choosing to become teachers, a trend that could lead to a national teacher shortage crisis. This is especially so if baby boomers, who make up the largest age group in the profession, begin retiring en masse. Increases in college tuition and new pressures to up student test scores have made low-paying teaching jobs less appealing. Intense accountability measures under the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) have increased the pressure on teachers, who often get blamed if their schools are failing to meet NCLB targets. Turnover for teachers is also at a record high, the report said. An estimated half of all teachers leave the field within five years. The shortfall is hitting schools hardest in the core subjects of math and science and in traditionally hard-to-staff areas such as special education and language training for non-English speakers, according to the American Association for Employment in Education. Read the Stateline.org article. Click: [ Read more ... ]

      March 30, 2006- Proposal: Operating Levy that Grows With Inflation

      The budget-corrections bill contains a measure that would allow school districts to put before voters a new type of levy that increases with inflation. The bill was passed by the legislature yesterday, and the Governor supports it, according to a spokesman. The following, in capsule form, is a comparative view of the bill as printed in today's Columbus Dispatch. Read the Dispatch article. Click: Schools could see new type of levy (If it doesn't open, see attachment.)

      March 29, 2006- Report: NCLB Recommendations

      The report, "From the Capital to the Classroom: Year 4 of the No Child Left Behind Act," conducted by the Center on Education Policy, offers the following No Child Left Behind recommendations.

      * One of the recommendations is to improve the transparency in state accountability programs. The U.S. Department of Education has been in talks with some states to revise their accountability plans, but that process has largely been shielded from public view. Many states don’t know what types of flexibility other states have been granted

      * The report also recommends that the Department of Education monitor closely the effects of such flexibility to determine whether it is having a positive or negative effect on student achievement.

      * Another recommendation is that the federal government support the efforts of states and districts with adequate funding for the No Child Left Behind Act. While the demands on local officials are becoming greater in relation to the federal education law, funding is shrinking, it suggests. The President has called for a 3.8 percent cut to the department’s fiscal 2007 discretionary spending level. The department’s 2006 discretionary spending took a 1 percent cut, because of an across-the-board reduction that affected most federal departments.

      * The report also recommends that Congress give states and districts more resources and authority over supplemental-service providers that offer tutoring services for students at struggling schools. While states must approve those providers, they have little resources or authority to monitor them to prevent fraud or other problems, the report says. “Current federal regulations unduly restrict the ability of school districts to establish rules for supplemental-service providers,” the report says. “Yet school districts are ultimately responsible for allocating funds to providers and raising the achievement of the students who receive tutoring services.”

      * In addition, the report recommends that the U.S. Education Department expand a pilot program that allows schools identified as being in need of improvement to offer tutoring to students before they are given the option of transferring to another school. The law currently requires schools to offer transfer options to students after two years of failing to meet AYP goals. After three years of failing to meet those goals, a school has to offer transfer options and tutoring services.

      Want to read the full report. Click: "From the Capital to the Classroom: Year 4 of the No Child Left Behind Act,"

      The above is re-printed from the WEB ONLY Education Week article, "After Four Years, NCLB Impact Seen as Positive and Negative" by Michelle R. Davis.

      March 28, 2006- Survey Says....

      According to a survey by the Center on Education Policy, the No Child Left Behind law impact the following: 71% Percentage of school districts surveyed who say they've cut back on teaching one subject to focus on math and reading, 33% Percentage of schools that have scaled back social studies lessons. 29% Percentage of schools that have limited their teaching of science. 22% Percentage of schools that have cut back on arts and music teaching. 33 Number of states who say there isn't enough money to help struggling schools. Source: Center on Education Policy and Columbus Dispatch

      March 27, 2006- Education Around The Nation

      * A survey, by the Center on Education Policy, found that since the passage of the No Child Left Behind law, 71 percent of the nation's 15,000 school districts had reduced the hours of instructional time spent on history, music and other subjects to open up more time for reading and math. ....Center on Education Policy * The Florida House passed a bill last week that would make the state the first to require high school students to declare a major, just as college students do. The Governor and others say that requiring high school students to declare a major and concentrate on a particular field could prepare them better for college and the working world and reduce the dropout rate. ....New York Times * Lawmakers in New Jersey are calling for major reforms in compensation practices for public school administrators in the wake of a report by the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation that concludes that millions in taxpayer dollars were spent on lucrative contracts, hidden perks, and pension padding for dozens of superintendents and their top deputies. ....Education Week

      March 24, 2006- March 14th CORAS Program

      Over 70 school superintendents, board members and treasurers were registered for the March 14th CORAS/ Southeast OSBA program at the Burr Oak State Park Lodge. The program opened with remarks from CORAS President Dr. Phil Satterfield and Southeast Region OSBA Secretary Paul Mock. Pamela Beam, instructor in the Department of Teacher Education, Ohio University , held a brief discussion of the Adolescent to Young Adult (AYA) program. The program featured OSBA Attorney Richard Dickinson and former Journalist Tim Miller, now Vice President of the Cochran Group Inc., Columbus. Their presentations focused on "The Law" and "The Media and Your Message." A Question & Answer session followed each presentation. CORAS members may request Tim Miller's PowerPoint presentation and Handbook by sending a request to the Dick Fisher rfishe5@columbus.rr.com The materials will be forwarded via Email. In each of the last two years CORAS and Southeast Region OSBA have teamed together to present programs of interest to superintendents, board members and treasurers. The joint sponsored programs have proven to be very successful ventures.

      March 23, 2006- Higher Education Finance Report Released

      Five years ago public colleges and universities enjoyed their highest per-student levels of state and local government support in at least 25 years. By 2005, that figure had plummeted to a 25-year low, according to a report released yesterday by State Higher Education Executive Officers, a group of top state higher education officials. The rapid decline in real spending by states, per student, on higher education is documented in the report, State Higher Education Finance FY2005.

      Read the reports Executive Summary. Click: State Higher Education Finance FY2005 - Executive Summary

      March 22, 2006- In The News

      * The following is an excerpt from an article in the Sunday, March 19, 2006 Cleveland Plain Dealer.
      "In the name of reform, Ohio has re-routed more than $1.4 billion in taxpayers' money away from traditional urban schools, much of it going to profit-seekers like David Brennan, the Akron entrepreneur who has dominated the charter scene here. But with some notable exceptions, the results so far have been dismal. At the end of the last school year, Ohio's charter schools remained far behind traditional public schools in proficiency test scores. Despite some gains, the charters continued to trail the maligned urban districts they were supposed to outclass as well."

      Read the Plain Dealer article. Click: • Who's profiting from Ohio's charter schools? and • Who's minding the store?


      * The following is an excerpt is an article in today's New York Times.
      "A recent Education Week survey found that 42 percent of students are now taking state reading and math tests that are entirely multiple choice. To save time and money, Kansas and Mississippi switched to all-multiple-choice tests this year."

      Read the Times article. Click: Standardized Tests Face a Crisis Over Standards


      March 21, 2006- State Senator Proposes Constitutional Amendment To Fix School Funding

      State Senator J. Kirk Schuring, R-Canton, says he will introduce a school funding reform proposal to the state Legislature in the next few weeks, and, if the Legislature refuses, he’ll go directly to voters in the form of a constitutional amendment. “Either embrace it, offer suggestions to make it better, or come forward with an alternative plan,” Schuring said yesterday, according to the Canton Repository.

      The Repository said Senator Schuring’s School Funding Reform Proposal would:

      ---- Create a separate education budget — beginning at $11 billion (Ohio’s current contribution) — that includes funding for primary, secondary and higher education.

      ---- The budget would be financed by an Ohio Education Trust Fund, which would be made up of a percentage of Ohio’s income, sales and some excise taxes. The Trust Fund would be created by a constitutional amendment so that funds could not be frozen or changed by the Legislature.

      ---- As Ohio’s revenue collection grows, the Trust Fund would grow, too.

      ---- As the Trust Fund increases, the state could contribute more to local school districts, decreasing the dependence on local property taxes.

      ---- The proposal would also establish a rainy-day fund and create an Ohio Knowledge and Economic Empowerment Commission, which would oversee the process, create a partnership between the business and education community and make recommendations for investment of funds.

      Read the Canton Repository article. Click: Schuring offers fix for school funding

      March 20, 2006- Districts Complain About OGT

      The media has reported that at least 46 school districts have complained to state officials about confusion over the writing portion of the Ohio Graduation Test administered last Wednesday. The problem, the reports said, was that a blank page in the test booklet separated the multiple-choice questions from the second essay question. The Dayton Daily News quoted Ohio Department of Education (ODE) officials who said they were not sure how many students mistakenly assumed they were finished with the test when, after completing one essay question and a series of multiple-choice and short-answer questions, they encountered a page on their answer sheet with the phrase "this page was intentionally left blank." Those students thought they were finished when they reached the blank page and did not complete a second essay question worth 18 of the exam's 48 points, according to the Daily News. An ODE spokesperson said the test booklet and the directions that are supposed to be read by the test administrator are very clear that the test contains two essays.

      March 17, 2006- Identifying Future Mathematicians and Scientists

      A study published in the March 2006 issue of Psychological Science suggests that one effective way to identify future mathematicians and scientists would be to give the SAT to middle school students. Researchers from Vanderbilt University, Appalachian State University, and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire spent decades tracking two groups: 13-year-olds who had scored high on the SAT college-entrance exam and graduate students enrolled in top-ranked mathematics, engineering, and physical science programs. By the time they reached their early 30s, the study found, both groups, regardless of what professions they were in, had achieved comparable and "exceptional" levels of success, as measured by outcomes such as their salaries, whether they had earned doctoral degrees, or if they held patents. Read an abstract of "Tracking Exceptional Human Capital Over Two Decades." Click: abstract Source: Report Roundup, Education Week

      March 16, 2006- Cap On School Administrative Costs

      The Governor of Arkansas is shopping a proposal to state lawmakers that would cap the percentage of a school district's budget that could be devoted to administration. The governor did not specify a percentage or say whether the measure specifically targeted the salaries of school superintendents, whose salary and benefit packages ranged from $61,000 to more than $230,000 annually. "There's a need to have a greater level of standard on how much goes to the machinery of operating a school as opposed to academics," the governor said. The cap on administrative costs is one of the proposed prerequisites the Governor outlined to address the Arkansas Supreme Court order declaring the states' public school funding system unconstitutional, according to the Arkansas News Bureau.
      Source: Aransas News Bureau, A Stephens Media Group Company, March 14, 2006

      March 15, 2006- Legislators Debate Budget Changes

      Legislators are debating a bill that will make minor changes in the state's two-year, $51 billion budget approved last year. The Associated Press said the proposed changes for education include:

      • Expands eligibility for the state's 14,000-slot voucher program from students in buildings with academic emergency ratings for three years to buildings in academic emergency or academic watch.
      • Provides an additional $30 million this year and next to cover a shortfall in the Ohio Instructional Grant Program, which provides tuition aid to full-time college students from poor or moderate-income families.
      • Requires schools to offer both breakfast and lunch in districts where at least 20 percent of the students are eligible under federal guidelines for free and reduced meals. Current law requires the meals if 33 percent of students meet the guidelines. The measure, paid for by a combination of state and federal dollars, would allow districts to opt out if the cost was prohibitive.

      Sources: Associated Press and Office of Budget and Management

      March 14, 2006- New "Homework Help" Web Site Makes Debut Monday

      Discovery Communications, the media giant, hopes families will to pay $9.95 a month to give their kids access to a rich online "homework help" website www.cosmeo.com that makes its debut on Monday. Discovery officials say their subscription-based site will offer more than 30,000 video clips and thousands of documents, pictures, math explainers, brain games and links to "trusted" websites. It also has step-by-step lessons that promise to bring parents up to speed with their kids. The new site is an in-home version of a school-based subscription service used in 70,000 schools. As with the school version, all of Cosmeo.com's material is cross-tabulated with state academic standards. Cosmeo.com is available only to families with a well-equipped computer and a broadband connection. However, Discovery Communications plans to offer the service free to all public libraries. Source: USA TODAY, March 13, 2006

      March 13, 2006- Mandatory High School Exit Exams

      According to the Center on Education Policy (CEP), mandatory high school exit exams are having a “major impact” on students nationwide. Within the next six years, about 72 percent of all American public school students will be required to take exit exams. Nationwide, 23 states have graduation exams and at least three more are phasing them in by 2012, CEP said.

      An article in the Sunday Canton Repository said Ohio is spending more than $20 million each year on the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT). Ohio’s neighboring states, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia do not require a test for graduation. Indiana spends about $4.2 million to test its 10th-graders, about one fifth what Ohio spends. Michigan’s Department of Education is making the ACT its state graduation test. Michigan estimates it will spend $14.9 million annually on the tests. The ACT, which costs $29 for basic registration, will be free to Michigan students.

      Last month, a bill was introduced by Kentucky legislators to mandate students take the ACT as part of the state’s No Child Left Behind tests. The Repository article said Kentucky is following the lead of Illinois and Colorado, where both states are reporting higher rates of low-income and minority students’ attending college. According to an Ohio Department of Education spokesperson, the ACT is not an option for Ohio because the OGT's "align with Ohio standards, accommodate special-needs students, and include special versions such as foreign language translations."

      Read the Canton Repository article. Click: Ohio’s tests to graduate debated

      Visit CORAS online at: www.coras.org

      March 10, 2006- Statistics For Children

      • In 2003, there were 73 million children ages 0–17 in the United States, or 25 percent of the population, down from a peak of 36 percent at the end of the baby boom (1964). Children are projected to compose 24 percent of the total population in 2020.
      • In 2004, 68 percent of children ages 0–17 lived with two married parents, down from 77 percent in 1980. After decreasing from 1980 to 1994, the percentage has remained stable at about 68–69 percent from 1994 to 2004.
      • In 2003, 18 percent of all children ages 0–17 lived in poverty, whereas among children living in families, the poverty rate was 17 percent.
      • The official poverty rate of children living in families below the poverty threshold has fluctuated since the early 1980s: it reached a high of 22 percent in 1993 and decreased to a low of 16 percent in 2000.
      • The proportion of children ages 6–18 who were overweight increased from 6 percent in 1976–1980 to 16 percent in 1999–2002.

      Want more data on children? Click: America's Children: Key National Indicators of Children's Well-Being 2005 or visit www.childstats.gov

      March 9, 2006- "For Once, Blame The Student"

      "Failure in the classroom is often tied to lack of funding, poor teachers or other ills. Here's a thought: Maybe it's the failed work ethic of today's kids. That's what I'm seeing in my school. Until reformers see this reality, little will change." ...Patrick Welsh, English teacher at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., and a member of USA TODAY's board of contributors.

      Read USA TODAY article, "For once, blame the student." Click: Full coverage

      March 8, 2006- "65 Percent Solution" Gaining Momentum?

      Georgia may become the first state to enact a law requiring districts to spend at least 65 percent of their budgets on classroom expenses. The Georgia legislature has approved the bill. It now awaits the signature of the Governor, who proposed the measure. The so-called “65 percent solution” has been gaining political traction in several states, however, no other state legislature has passed a law that would require school districts to meet that target for classroom spending and demand penalties for those who don’t, according to an Education Week report.

      Texas adopted the "65 percent solution" through an executive order by the Governor after the measure failed to pass in a school finance bill. The Kansas legislature set a goal of spending 65 percent on classrooms as part of a school finance bill that was signed into law. The Louisiana legislature passed a bill last year ordering the state board of elementary and secondary education to enact the "65 percent solution" through regulation. That effort stalled in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, according to First Class Education, the group organizing the national campaign to promote the effort. A spokesperson for First Class Education said advocates of the "65 percent solution" have collected enough signatures to put an initiative on the statewide ballot in Colorado next fall. Similar efforts are under way in Oklahoma, Oregon, and Washington state. According to SchoolMatters, additional states proposing or expected to propose the "65 percent solution" are Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and Minnesota. Sources: Education Week and SchoolMatters

      March 7, 2006- "Benefits And Costs Of Channel One..."

      A recent study found that students remember more of the advertising than they do the news stories shown on Channel One, the daily public affairs program shown in 12,000 schools in the United States. The study appears in the March 2006 journal Pediatrics.

      Read the study, "Benefits and Costs of Channel One in a Middle School Setting and the Role of Media-Literacy Training." Click:
      Abstract
      Full Text
      PDF

      March 6, 2006- Report: High School Dropouts Cost U.S./Ohio Billions$

      More than 1.2 million students either dropped out of high school or did not graduate on time in 2004, which could cost the nation more than $325 billion in lost wages, taxes, and productivity over their lifetimes if they do not complete high school, concludes a report. The report, released by the Washington-based Alliance for Excellent Education, is based on an analysis by a Princeton University researcher. The report estimates that the lifetime difference in income between a high school graduate and a dropout is about $260,000.

      The report said Ohio had 159,724 high school 9th-graders in 2000-01. Nearly 30 percent, or 46,799, either dropped out of school or did not graduate on time. The cost to Ohio, according to the report, over $12 billion in lost wages, taxes and productivity over their lifetimes.

      Read the report. Click: “High School Dropouts Cost the U.S. Billions in Lost Wages and Taxes”

      March 3, 2006- On The Lighter Side...Or Maybe Not!

      Only one in four Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment (freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and petition for redress of grievances.) But more than half can name at least two members of 'The Simpsons' cartoon family, according to a survey. The study by the new McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum found that 22% of Americans could name all five Simpson family members, compared with just one in 1,000 people who could name all five First Amendment freedoms. The telephone survey of 1,000 adults was conducted January 20-22, 2006 by the research firm Synovate and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Sources: The Associated Press and USA Today

      March 2, 2006- Poverty Too Tough For Schools To Surmount

      "That 600-pound gorilla sitting in the nation's classrooms is making it difficult for schools to do their job," David Berliner, Regents' Professor of Education at Arizona State University, former president of the American Educational Research Association and author of The Manufactured Crisis, told the American Association of School Administrators Federal Relations Luncheon last week. He said, "The giant beast is poverty." "The nation did not need the No Child Left Behind Act to identify poor-performing schools," Berliner said, "because we have known for 50 years that they are going to be in low-income areas." Read more. Click: [ Read moreŠ) ]

      February 28, 2006- NEA Local Affiliates Allowed To Join AFL-CIO

      Yesterday, an edweek.org report said the National Education Association (NEA) has signed an agreement that will allow its local affiliates to join the AFL-CIO. The AFL-CIO already represents the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). NEA said the action does not represent a merger at the national level, and dismissed rumors of a backdoor attempt by the 2.8 million-member NEA to join with the 1.3 million-member AFT. However, union watchers say the agreement could set the stage for a merger between the two teacher unions. The NEA Representative Assembly voted down a merger with the AFT in 1998. Read the edweek.org report. Click: NEA Gives Affiliates Option of Joining Labor Federation

      February 27, 2006- Statistics For U. S. Teachers

      A look at some of the teaching profession’s vital statistics. The following was compiled by Edweek.org .

      1) Estimated number of U.S. elementary and secondary school teachers: 3.5 million

      2) Percent increase in the number of teachers from 1990-2004: 27

      3) Average teacher salary (2004): $46,597

      4) State (excluding District of Columbia) with the highest average teacher salary (2004): Connecticut ($56,516)

      5) State with the lowest average teacher salary (2004): South Dakota ($33,236)

      6) Percentage of teachers who see teaching as a lifelong career: 74

      7) Percentage of teachers who leave the profession within five years: 46

      8) Number of states that finance mentoring for new teachers: 15

      9) Number of teachers with National Board certification: 47,356

      10) Number of states that provide financial incentives for teachers to become Board certified: 37

      11) Average per-pupil state expenditures (2003): $8,041

      12) Percent increase in average state per-pupil state expenditures from 1994-2003: 21

      13) Number of states that finance incentives for teachers in high-poverty or low-performing schools: 14

      14) Average number of hours each week that public school teachers spend on non-compensated school-related activities: 12

      15) Average amount public school teachers spend out-of-pocket each year for student needs: $443

      16) Percentage of public school teachers who are male: 21

      17) Number of teachers who entered the profession in 2004-05 through alternative-certification routes: 35,000

      18) Number of states that finance professional development for teachers: 39

      19) Percentage of teachers who say that recent professional development made little difference in their performance: 50

      20) Percentage of teachers who say that standardized tests are a seriously flawed measure of true student achievement: 53

      Sources: 1) National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 2004; 2) Ibid; 3) Education Week, Quality Counts 2006; 4) Ibid.; 5) Ibid.; 6) Public Agenda, Stand By Me, 2003; 7) National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, No Dream Denied: A Pledge to America's Children, 2003; 8) Education Week, Quality Counts 2006; 9) Ibid.; 10) Ibid.; 11) Ibid.; 12) Ibid.; 13) Editorial Projects in Education Research Center; 14) National Education Association, Status of the American Public School Teacher 2003; 15) Ibid; 16) Ibid; 17) National Center for Education Information, Profile of Alternate-Route Teachers, 2005; 18)Education Week, Quality Counts 2006; 19) Public Agenda, Stand By Me, 2003; and 20) Ibid;

      February 24, 2006- SB 276: Property Tax Relief For Disabled and Elderly

      State Senator Gary Cates has introduced SB 276 to authorize local taxing authorities to exempt from new property tax levies the homes of elderly persons. The proposed legislation applies to a person who is permanently and totally disabled or a person who is sixty-five years of age. The legislation as introduced says, "The reduction shall equal the amount obtained by multiplying the tax rate for the tax year for which the certificate is issued by the reduction in taxable value shown in the following schedule:"
      Total Income Reduce Taxable Value by the Lesser of: $11,900 or less $5,000 or seventy-five per cent More than $11,900 but not more than $17,500 $3,000 or sixty per cent More than $17,500 but not more than $23,000 $1,000 or twenty-five per cent More than $23,000 -0-
      Read the bill. Click: SB 276 As Introduced

      February 23, 2006- Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) High Schools

      The Ohio Department of Education website said the State Board of Education, at its February meeting, heard from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction about a proposal to create a regional system of 21 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) High Schools. The curriculum at these high schools would infuse math and science into extracurricular activities along with international perspectives. Students would have opportunities to gain experience in the workplace and to earn college credit. There would also be laboratories that would allow teachers to acquire new strategies for hands-on instruction. No additional information was provided on the website.

      February 22, 2006- Growing Number of High-Poverty Schools Fail To Meet AYP

      The New York Times reported today that the number of high-poverty schools in the nation that failed to make enough yearly progress in 2004-05 under the NCLB law jumped by 50 percent, to 9,000 from 6,000 the year before. The NY Times said there are thousands of high-poverty schools in the United States, "for whom failing to make enough progress sets off a cascade of extra attention, as well as eventual punishments, including the possible closure of the school." Ohio is one of 20 states submitting a request to alter significantly the way student progress is measured under the No Child Left Behind Act. Only 10 states will be approved to do so by the U.S. Department of Education. Final approvals are expected in May 2006.

      February 21, 2006- "Doubts About School-Funding Promise Flimsy"

      Responding to a February 5, 2006 article in the Columbus Dispatch, an Ohio public official wrote in a letter to the editor, "I am disturbed by the comments of some central Ohio school officials in the February 5 article "Tax phase-out alarms schools" questioning the state’s promise to reimburse schools for lost tangible-personal-property tax revenue after 2010. They voice this with no basis in fact to support such a concern."

      School officials may well have good reason to be alarmed. The "basis in fact" to support being alarmed is the Governor and Ohio General Assembly have blatantly ignored several Ohio Supreme Court DeRolph decisions that ordered the State of Ohio to conduct a "complete systematic overhaul of Ohio's school finance system."

      Read the letter to the editor. Click: Doubts about school-funding promise flimsy (Feb. 18)

      February 20, 2006- Poll: People Saying 'No" To Higher Property Taxes

      The online edition of the Canton Repository www.cantonrep.com is conducting a daily poll asking readers to answer the following question: Are you willing to pay more taxes for schools? As of this morning, February 20, 2006, the poll results show 75.3% saying 'No'; 20.2% saying 'Yes'; and 4.4% unsure. To date, 1,024 people have responded to the non-scientific poll.

      February 17, 2006- Ohio Seeks Flexibility Under NCLB

      Ohio is among more than a dozen states submitting an application to be allowed some leeway in how student progress is measured under the No Child Left Behind Act. Under the current law, schools are expected to show year-to-year improvement in test scores, for example, this year's fifth-grade scores are compared to last year's. Under the pilot program, if a fifth-grader improved by two grades over one year in testing in math, for example, it would be counted as progress even if the student was below the fifth-grade level.

      According to the Associated Press (AP), in addition to Ohio, applications are coming from states including Florida, Arizona, Alaska, Hawaii and Oregon. Other states planning to apply include Indiana, Colorado, Delaware, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. A maximum of 10 states will be chosen by this spring. Applications are due today.

      AP reported that a spokesperson for a Washington advocacy group said the new approach "is going to have to ensure that those students who are very far behind are going to make more than one year's progress in one year's schooling. We are not sure states are prepared to ask that of their teachers."

      February 16. 2006- Federal Funding Proposal: Largest Percentage Cut Since 1996

      According to Education Week (EW), the President's federal budget for the 2007-08 school-year calls for $2.1 billion less for the U.S. Department of Education than the agency received for 2005-06. EW said, if approved by Congress, the plan would mean the largest percentage cut for the department since fiscal 1996. While the budget proposes new initiatives, funding for the Education Department’s two largest K-12 programs, Title I and special education state grants, would remain essentially flat. The Title I program, which seeks to address the educational deficits of poor children, would hold steady at $12.7 billion, and special education programs would receive a $100 million hike, or less than 1 percent, from $10.6 billion to $10.7 billion.

      The proposed 2007-08 spending plan would add money for new programs, but would eliminate others.

      Winners: Losers:
      High School Improvement Initiative $1.48 billion Education technology state grants
      $0
      K-12 math and science education
      $380 million
      GEAR-UP
      $0
      No Child Left Behind vouchers
      $100 million
      Parental information and resource centers
      $0
      Help for schools needing improvement
      $200 million
      Vocational education (Perkins Act)
      $0

      SOURCES: U.S. Department of Education and Education Week

      February 15, 2006- Parents, Students Respond To Math/Science Poll

      In a new poll released yesterday, 57% of parents say "things are fine" with the amount of math and science being taught in their child's public school. The poll was conducted by Public Agenda, a public opinion research group that tracks education trends. Other poll findings were:

      • 70% of high school parents say their child gets the right amount of science and math.
      • Only 32% of parents say their child's school should teach more math and science.
      • 62% of parents say it is crucial for most of today's students to learn high-level math, like advanced algebra and calculus. The story changes, though, when parents talk specifically about their kids' schools.
      • 69% of parents say their children will finish high school with the skills needed to succeed in college, and 61% say their kids will be ready for the work world.
      • Half of the students in grades six to 12 say that understanding sciences and having strong math skills are essential for them to succeed in life after high school.
      • In 1994, 52% of parents considered a lack of math and science in their local schools to be a serious problem. Now, only 32% say the same thing.

        An Associated Press article said congressional leaders, governors, corporate executives, top scientists have "urgently called for schools to raise the rigor and amount of math and science taught in school." Yet, AP said, "Where public officials and employers see slipping production in the sciences as a threat to the nation's economy, parents and students don't share that urgency. Such a disconnect could undercut the national push for more science and math."

      Read the AP article in USA TODAY: Click: What education crisis?

      February 14, 2006- Universal Preschool For 3 and 4 Year-Olds

      The Governor of Illinois wants his state to become the first state in the nation to offer universal preschool to 3 and 4 year-olds. He said the preschool proposal would particularly help middle-income families, many of whom earn too much to qualify for existing state preschool but not enough to pay for preschool on their own. The plan will require approval from state legislators.

      Source: New York Times

      February 13, 2006- Homework

      Most parents say their children get the right amount of homework, and most teachers agree, according to an AP-AOL Learning Services Poll.

      The AP-AOL Learning Services Poll found:

      • 64 percent of parents said they have little trouble finding time to help with homework.
      • 57 percent of parents said they spend the right amount of time helping out.
      • 70 percent of parents say the homework they see is not too difficult for them to help with.
      • Almost nine in 10 teachers said parents don't set aside enough time to help.
      • By subject, math is the one that kids need the most help with, parents and teachers agree.
      • More than 80 percent of both groups rated Internet resources as good or better.
      • Less educated parents spend more time helping kids with take-home assignments.
      • The most affluent parents spend the least time helping their kids with homework.
      • Women spend an average 46 minutes a day helping with homework. Men spend 35 minutes.
      • Black parents spend more time than Hispanics or whites on homework help.
      • Public school students spend less time on homework than kids in other schools.
      • Only 19 percent of parents said their kids get too much homework.
      • Parents polled said their children spend an average of 90 minutes a night on homework. The workload grows as the students do — 78 minutes of homework a night in elementary school, 99 minutes in middle school and 105 in high school.

      The AP-AOL poll of 1,085 parents and 810 teachers of children in kindergarten through 12th grade was conducted online Jan. 13-23, by Knowledge Networks after respondents were initially contacted by using traditional telephone polling. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for parents, 3.5 percentage points for teachers.

      Source: Associated Press

      February 10, 2006- More On Advanced Placement Growth

      According to a report from the College Board about 60 percent of American high schools now offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Nationwide, the number of students participating in AP has more than doubled in 10 years. In the class of 2005, 14.1 percent of students received an AP exam grade of 3 or higher (5=A & 3=about a C+) on one or more AP exams, up from 13.2 percent of the class of 2004, and 10.2 percent of the class of 2000. According to the College Board the most popular AP courses, in rank order, are: (1) U.S. History; (2) English literature and Composition; (3) English Language and Composition; (4) Calculus; (5) U.S. Government and Politics; (6) Biology; (7) Spanish; (8) Psychology; (9) Statistics; and (10) European history.

      An increasing number of Ohio public school students are taking Advanced Placement courses. But Ohio lags the nation in the percentage of public school students who pass AP exams. About 10 percent of Ohio’s 2005 graduates passed an AP exam. Nationwide, more than 14 percent of students passed an exam. These figures compare to 7 percent of Ohio graduates in 2000 and 10 percent nationwide.

      The College Board reports that students who take AP math and science courses are much more likely than other students to continue to study science, technology, engineering or math after graduation. Another interesting side note is that three states, Arkansas, Florida and South Carolina, now pay for students to take AP exams, and in those states, the program has grown rapidly.

      February 9, 2006- Income Gap In Ohio Widens

      A study by the Center on Budget Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute, with assistance by Policy Matters Ohio, found the gap between the richest and poorest families in Ohio grew significantly during the past two decades. The study compared income statistics and other data from 2001-03 with the early 1980s and early 1990s. Average income growth among the richest fifth of families in Ohio increased by nearly $42,884, or 57.6 percent, to $117,277, the study showed. By contrast, the average income of the poorest fifth of Ohio families increased by $3,186, or 21.1 percent, to $18,216, while average incomes of the middle fifth of families increased by $10,305 to $47,692. Source: Columbus Dispatch, Joe Hallett

      February 8, 2006- Homeschooled: How Many and Why?

      The National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) estimated the number of students being homeschooled in the United States in the spring of 2003 was 1,096,000, a figure which represents a 29 percent increase from the estimated 850,000 students who were being homeschooled in the spring of 1999. The percentage of the student population being homeschooled rose from 1.7 percent in 1999 to 2.2 percent in 2003.

      In this latest survey, parents were asked whether any of a set of reasons for homeschooling applied to them. Parents were then asked which one of the applicable reasons they considered to be their most important reason for homeschooling. The table below show how parents responded to the survey questions.

      Number and percentage of homeschooled students whose parents reported particular reasons for homeschooling as being applicable to their situation and as being their most important reason for homeschooling: 2003
      Reasons for homeschooling Applicable1 Most important
      Number Percent Number Percent
      Concern about environment of other schools2 935,000 85.4 341,000 31.2
      Dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools 780,000 68.2 180,000 16.5
      To provide religious or moral instruction 793,000 72.3 327,000 29.8
      Child has a physical or mental health problem 174,000 15.9 71,000 6.5
      Child has other special needs 316,000 28.9 79,000 7.2
      Other reasons3 221,000 20.1 97,000 8.8
      1Percentages do not sum to 100 percent because respondents could choose more than one reason.
      2These include safety, drugs, or negative peer pressure.
      3Parents homeschool their children for many reasons that are often unique to their family situation. “Other reasons” parents gave for home schooling include: It was the child’s choice; to allow parents more control over what child was learning; and flexibility.
      NOTE: Excludes students who were enrolled in school for more than 25 hours a week and students who were homeschooled only because of a temporary illness.
      Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey of the 2003 National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES).

      February 7, 2006- More Federal Funding Cuts For Education In 2007-08?

      CBS NEWS reported last evening that the FY 2007 federal budget proposal, released earlier in the day on Monday, contains a 2.8% cut in federal funding for education for the 2007-08 school year. The New York Times said the budget proposal cuts the U.S. Education Department's discretionary budget $1.51 billion. The loss would follow more than $624 million in cuts to the department's budget last year, the NY Times said. According to the Associated Press (AP), the budget proposal sharply reduces or eliminates entirely 142 government programs. AP said, "Almost one-third of the targeted programs are in education, including ones that provide money to support the arts, vocational education, parent resource centers and drug-free schools." The President included in the budget his State of the Union proposal to training of 70,000 high school math/science teachers and to entice up to 30,000 non-teacher scientists and mathematicians to teach classes in local public schools, at a cost of a little over $400 million.

      February 6, 2006- States Targeting High Schools

      Proposals to make high school more rigorous are surfacing in many states. Fueled by local and national concerns about economic competitiveness and jobs, governors and lawmakers throughout the nation have targeted high schools for change. Connecticut, Florida, and Louisiana all have commissions weighing a comprehensive set of ideas for redesigning their high schools. State legislatures in Indiana, Maryland, and Michigan have bills in the works to codify how they calculate graduation rates, an attempt to gather better graduation data. The Colorado governor is calling for legislation that would allow the K-12 and higher education systems to share student data to better track educational outcomes.

      More specific proposals in other states include:

      Georgia: The governor has proposed spending $23.3 million in fiscal 2007 on a plan to raise graduation rates, which would include putting a “completion counselor” in every high school.

      Idaho: The governor has backed a recommendation from the state board of education to require four years of mathematics and three years of science to graduate from high school, up from two years now for each subject.

      Michigan: The governor has urged the legislature to approve a core curriculum for all high school students and has pledged to increase funding for after-school programs for middle school students to better prepare them for high school coursework in math, science, and computer technology.

      New Hampshire: The governor has proposed that the compulsory-school-attendance age rise from 16 to 18, noting that last year an estimated 2,300 Granite State students dropped out of high school.

      New Mexico: The governor has proposed replacing the state’s high school exit exam with one that would match high school expectations with college-entrance standards.

      Ohio: The governor has outlined a five-point plan that would require all students to take a rigorous core curriculum, beginning with the class of 2011, and make completion of that curriculum a requisite for admission to the state’s public four-year colleges and universities.

      Wisconsin: The governor has announced plans for a Wisconsin Covenant, which would provide tuition grants for students who finish high school with a B average and meet other eligibility criteria

      Source: Education Week

      February 3, 2006- CORAS Meeting Well-Attended, Next Program March 14

      More than 70 superintendents and other educators attended the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools (CORAS) program at the Olde Dutch Restaurant in Logan on Tuesday, January 31, 2006. The program opened with a presentation by Patrick Heekin, Aimpoint Research, describing the companies online Aimpoint Libraries. The featured presentation, Someone’s Communicating With Your Staff. Is It You?, was conducted by Don Miller of Don G. Miller & Associates. The program concluded with Stanley Wernz of Cincinnati portraying Abraham Lincoln with the presentation "Lincoln Looks at Life and Liberty." The next CORAS program is set for Tuesday, March 14, 2006 at Burr Oak State Park Lodge. The featured presenters are Tim Miller, former statehouse report for the Dayton Daily News and current vice president of the Cochran Group, Inc., Columbus, and Rick Dickinson, Attorney for the Ohio School Boards Association. Miller will discuss School District Media Relations: Communicating Done Right! Dickinson will talk about current legal issues. The program is free of charge and is co-sponsor by the Southeast Region, Ohio School Boards Association. CORAS and SE Region OSBA have designed this program for school board members, treasurers, superintendents and principals. Registration materials will be mailed to CORAS members in mid-February. Mark the date on your calendar and invite your board members.

      February 2, 2006- Bill Mandates Minimum Number of Hours, Not Days

      H.B. 254, requiring the school year to be based on hours instead of days, has passed the Ohio House. The bill establishes 910 hours for grades 1 through 6, and 1,001 hours for grades 7 through 12. The measure does not allow calamity days. Regardless of how long a school is closed, as long as the minimum classroom hours are met, districts will not be required to make up days. Current law requires students to be in class for 182 days, and for a minimum number of hours each day. The bill now moves to the Ohio Senate.

      Read H.B. 254 as passed by the House, Click: As Passed by House

      February 1, 2006- Bullying Bill Passes Ohio House

      Ohio school districts would be required to adopt policies to identify and stop bullying under a bill (H.B. 276) that passed the Ohio House of Representatives recently. The bill defines "harassment, intimidation, or bullying" as intentional written, spoken or physical acts directed at a student more than once that both harm the target and are severe and persistent enough to create an intimidating environment. The State Board of Education would develop a model policy for districts to follow, which would include procedures for reporting harassment incidents and disciplining students found guilty. The bill also protects students, employees and districts from lawsuits over reporting suspected bullying. The measure now moves to the Senate.

      To read H.B. 276, as passed by the Ohio House, Click: As Passed by House

      January 31, 2006- Public School Students Do As Well In Math As Private School Students

      A large-scale government-financed study has concluded that when it comes to math, students in regular public schools do as well as or significantly better than comparable students in private schools. The study, from University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, compared fourth- and eighth-grade math scores of more than 340,000 students in 13,000 regular public, charter and private schools on the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress. The study was financed with a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Education Department, but was independent.

      Though private school students have long scored higher on the national assessment, the new study used advanced statistical techniques to adjust for the effects of income, school and home circumstances. "Over all," the study said, "demographic differences between students in public and private schools more than account for the relatively high raw scores of private schools. Indeed, after controlling for these differences, the presumably advantageous private school effect disappears, and even reverses in most cases."

      Read the New York Times article. Click: Public-School Students Score Well in Math in Large-Scale Government Study

      January 30, 2006- President Plans "Math/Science Program," Cuts For Everything Else

      According the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), President Bush is expected to call for a major new math/science program in his State of the Union speech this week. He will base the proposal on the allegation that China trains 600,000 engineers a year and India 350,000, to only about 70,000 in the United States.

      "These figures are questionable," the AASA report said. "The numbers in the allegation stem from a National Academy of Sciences October report, which took those same figures from Geoffrey Colvin's July 25, 2005, Fortune Magazine story, "America Isn't Ready." The disclosure, that the highly-touted National Academy based its research for a major report on a shaky magazine story, was exposed in August by Wall Street Journal columnist Carl Bialik, aka 'The Numbers Guy.' " "Any notion that this administration cares about education is easily challenged not only by last year's education budget cuts, but also additional cuts in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2007 budget," AASA said. "The budget, due to be released February 6, will see the President propose that all domestic agencies (every one but the military) be cut five percent. This does not mean each specific program, but it does illustrate that we should expect another bad budget proposal." Source: AASA Legislative Corp Weekly Report, January 27, 2006

      January 27, 2006- In The News

      * Unemployment in Ohio rose to 5.9 percent in December 2005, up from 5.7 percent in November, even as the national unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent. ....Akron Beacon Journal, January 23, 2006 * The average incomes of the richest 20 percent of Ohio families are now 6.4 times larger than those of the bottom fifth, according to a study by the Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute. That ratio was 4.9 in the early 1980s. ....Cleveland Plain Dealer, January 27, 2006 * Looking at children ages eight to 18, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 83 percent have a video game console at home, and about half have one in their bedroom. On average, 8 to 18-year-olds spend just under 50 minutes daily playing video games, and just over an hour each day using a computer outside of schoolwork. ....Toledo Blade, January 27, 2006

      January 26, 2006- OEA Survey: School Funding Flawed, Little Faith Legislators Will Fix It

      A survey conducted for the Ohio Education Association by the Orchard Group showed that Ohio teachers overwhelmingly think that the state’s school funding system is fatally flawed and have little faith that legislators will fix it. OEA said 4,000 of their members responded to the survey. Among the survey’s findings: • Two-thirds feel their school district is underfunded, while 93 percent said Ohio schools overall lack sufficient financial support.

      • Eighty-nine percent think lawmakers have not fixed the funding formula for public schools, and 96 percent said they have no confidence the General Assembly will ever solve it.

      • More than 93 percent indicated that GOP-led initiatives such as No Child Left Behind, tax-funded vouchers and student testing do more harm than good to public education.

      January 25, 2006- Governor To Propose New High School Curriculum

      The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported today that Governor Taft will introduce an education proposal based on Indiana's "Core 40" concept in his upcoming State of the State address. According to the Plain Dealer, the Governor plans to lay out a new high school curriculum that would include mandatory classes in Algebra II, biology, chemistry, physics and two years of a foreign language, a courseload that would become a prerequisite for acceptance into a four-year college or university. A student could still earn a high school diploma without taking the more rigorous curriculum, but that student would need to deliberately opt out of the college-preparation courses in consultation with a parent and guidance counselor.

      Students not taking the mandatory classes could still get into some colleges, but would need a waiver. In addition, the proposal would limit most remedial higher-education courses to two-year institutions and would cost less, the Plain Dealer said. Students currently in the seventh grade would be the first graduating class needing to meet the new standards.

      Read more about Indiana's "CORE 40." Click: Core 40 InfoCenter

      Read the Plain Dealer article. Click: Taft to outline plan for education reform

      January 24, 2006- Student Aid Plan Widens Federal Role In High Schools

      A new five-year, $3.75 billion student aid program was included in the federal budget bill passed by the U.S. Senate in December. Reporting the initiative, the New York Times said Congress set up what could be an important shift in American education: for the first time the federal government will rate the academic rigor of the nation's 18,000 high schools. The measure, expected to pass the House when it returns next month, would provide $750 to $1,300 grants to low-income college freshmen and sophomores who have completed "a rigorous secondary school program of study" and larger amounts to juniors and seniors majoring in math, science and other critical fields. It leaves it to the secretary of education to define "rigorous", giving the federal government a new foothold in matters of high school curriculums, according to the Times.

      The U.S. Constitution outlines no role for the federal government in education, and local control of schools is a cornerstone of the American system. Previously, Washington has specifically prohibited federal officials from assuming supervision or control over programs of instruction, the NY Times said

      January 23, 2006- State Money For Colleges Based On Graduation Rates

      State Senators Randy Gardner and Joy Padgett introduced a plan to college presidents recently to offer more state money to colleges based on how many students graduate. The details have yet to be worked out. The Associated Press reported that Roderick Chu, chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, said the incentive money is a good idea. Universities would have to do more to help students who are destined to drop out, he said.

      AP said Cleveland State President Michael Schwartz cautioned against any plan driven by higher graduation figures. "If you're going to reward high graduation rates, you better be sure the standards that students have to reach are in order," he said. "If you start lowering standards to increase graduation rates, then what have you gained?"

      The following rates, provided by the Ohio Board of Regents, show the percentage of students who started at the specific school in fall 1998 and graduated with a bachelor's or equivalent degree by 2004.

      Miami University...................................80 percent

      Ohio University......................................70 percent

      Ohio State University..........................62 percent

      Bowling Green State University.........60 percent

      Kent State University..........................49 percent

      University of Cincinnati.......................48 percent

      University of Toledo............................45 percent

      Wright State University.....................41 percent

      Youngstown State University.............37 percent

      University of Akron.............................35 percent

      Shawnee State University...................29 percent

      Cleveland State University.................27 percent

      Central State University.....................23 percent

      January 20, 2006- School Funding Gap In Ohio

      The Funding Gap 2005: Low-Income and Minority Students Shortchanged by Most States, a recent report by the Education Trust, said Ohio's gap between revenues available per student in the highest poverty districts is $54 higher than in the lowest poverty districts when there is a zero adjustment for low-income students. However, analyses of school funding equity commonly apply a 40-percent adjustment for educating students growing up in poverty. When the 40-percent adjustment is applied, the Education Trust report said low poverty districts receive $487 dollars more per pupil than high poverty districts. The Education Trust report is based on 2003 data. Quality Counts at 10, A Decade of Standards-Based Education, released by Education Week in January 2006, gives Ohio a C for Resource Equity, but added the following qualifier: "Ohio earns an average grade for resource equity. Ohio's wealth neutrality scores shows that, as in most states, wealthier districts tend to have higher per-pupil funding levels than its poorer ones." 2004 Vital Statistics, a Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools publication using Ohio Department of Education data, show school districts in the 29 Ohio Appalachian counties received $458 less revenue per pupil than the state average during the 2004-05 school year. One Ohio Appalachian district received almost $1900 less per student than the state average, with several other districts near that figure. Some politicians are citing the Education Trust report, that says high poverty districts are receiving $54 more per student than low-poverty districts, to support their claim that Ohio has closed the funding gap. However, the data clearly show that a significant school funding gap still exists Ohio.

      January 19, 2006- House Bill Would establish Merit Pay, Eliminate Continuing Contracts

      State Representative James Trakas has introduced H.B. 473. The bill would amend Am. Sub. H.B. 66 (1) to require school district boards of education to establish through collective bargaining merit pay systems for classroom teachers and certain educational assistants; (2) to eliminate continuing contracts for teachers and certain educational assistants employed by school districts; and (3) to prohibit the State Board of Education from requiring a degree higher than a bachelor's degree or continuing education to obtain or renew an educator license for being a classroom teacher. To read H.B. 473, Click: 126 HB 473

      January 18, 2006- Merit Pay For Teachers/School Administrators

      The Houston (Texas) School District has approved the nation's largest merit pay program. The three-measure program calls for rewarding teachers based on how well their students perform on standardized tests. One measure will reward teachers based on how much their school's test scores have improved compared with the scores of 40 other schools with similar demographics around the state. Another measure will compare student progress on the Stanford 10 Achievement test and its Spanish-language equivalent to that of students in similar classrooms in the Houston district. The third measure will be student progress on the statewide Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test, as compared with that in similar Houston classrooms.

      About half the district's teachers will be eligible for stipends in all three categories, for a total of $3,000. The system's 305 principals with the best-achieving teachers could earn as much as $6,000 in merit pay, and the 19 executive principals and five regional superintendents will be eligible for up to $25,000.

      Source: New York Times, January 13, 2006

      January 17, 2006- Education and Earning Power

      The following table illustrates the difference education can make in earning power for a person during their lifetime.
      EDUCATION LEVEL ACHIEVED average yearly salary average weekly salary
      Not a high school graduate $22,074 $425
      High school graduate $27,975 $538
      Some college but no degree $33,948 $653
      Bachelor's degree $51,644 $993
      Master's degree $61,296 $1,179
      Ph. D $80,225 $1,543
      Professional degree (M.D., J.D.) $95,175 $1,830

      Sources: Shane Pyle, Columbus Dispatch Business Columnist, January 15, 2006 U.S. Census Bureau

      January 13, 2006- Investing In Young Children

      About 700,000 American preschoolers are enrolled in state-financed pre-kindergarten classes, and about 800,000 in Head Start. This represents only about 20 percent of the U.S. pre-school population. Most states offer some preschool programs, but paying for effective programs remains problematic almost everywhere. The funding provided for pre-kindergarten programs in most states is only a fraction of what it would take to actually provide it, according to a New York Times article. In Britain, on the other hand, a free part-time universal preschool program for 3- and 4- year-olds is in place and it is genuinely universal, with virtually all 4-year-olds and about 95 percent of 3-year-olds enrolled, the NY Times said.

      January 12, 2006- Online Schools/Enrollment Increasing

      According to an Associated Press report, in 2001 Ohio had one online school, enrolling 2,232 students. During the 2004-05 school year there were 46 online schools enrolling 17,070 students.

      January 11, 2006- State Board Increases "Local Report Card Indicators" for 2006-07

      The State Board of Education yesterday adopted a new set of indicators that Ohio will use to measure performance at school districts and individual school buildings in 2006-07. The "Local Report Card Indicators" for 2006-07 will include five new statewide tests to be administered next school year. The state used 23 indicators during the 2004-2005 school year. The total was increased to 25 for this school year, and will now increase again to 30 for the 2006-07 school year. According to the media report, a spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Education said the new tests are part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which requires testing in grades three to eight. For more information, Click: State adopts new academic indicators

      January 10, 2006- Advanced Placement Has Advanced

      The College Board's Advanced Placement program, in which high school students take college level courses and test for credit, turns 50 this year.

      Advanced Placement
      Student Participation
      1955-56.......... 1,229
      1962-63........ 21,769
      1969-70........ 55,442
      1976-77........ 82,728
      1983-84.......177,406
      1990-91.......359,120
      1997-98.......635,168
      2004-05.... 1.2 million

      Source: The College Board Reprinted from USA TODAY, January 9, 2006

      January 6, 2006- Florida Voucher Program Unconstitutional

      The Florida Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the Florida school voucher program is unconstitutional. The ruling said vouchers violate the state constitution's provision that requires a "uniform" system of public schools for all students. The Florida chief justice wrote that vouchers "diverts public dollars into separate, private systems ... parallel to and in competition with the free public schools. This diversion not only reduces money available to the free schools, but also funds private schools that are not 'uniform' when compared with each other or the public system." In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Ohio's voucher program in Cleveland, saying it didn't violate federal constitutional rules against the separation of church and state.

      January 5, 2006- New Census Poverty Estimates Have Been Released; Appeal Procedures

      The following is re-printed from the AASA publication, The Leader's Edge.

      New Census Poverty Estimates have been Released; Appeal Procedures
      The U.S. Census Bureau recently released the most updated estimates of school district poverty. As many districts are already aware, these estimates are used in the calculations of Title I formulas, and are the basis for many other federal programs. While the census criteria are stricter than the criteria used for Free and Reduced Lunch eligibility, there should be a correlation between the two numbers–to a certain degree. But census poverty calculations are notoriously inaccurate in communities with fewer than 20,000 residents. In these instances, census encourages states to use an alternate distribution model for Title I dollars. This alternative model must be approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

      Select your district to view its poverty estimate. Divide the number in the “relevant age 5 to 17 in families in poverty” column by the number in the “relevant number age 5 to 17” column.” This calculation will result in your district’s census poverty estimate for the coming school year.

      If you are concerned about the poverty estimate for your district and feel that it might have been calculated in error, school districts have the ability to appeal directly to the U.S. Census Bureau. Appeals must be made prior to the Feb. 27, 2006, deadline. There is a simple online process to appeal, but additional documentation can also be submitted. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a challenge will result in a revised estimate if either of the following is found:

      1. The U.S. Census Bureau made an error in processing input data or running the estimation models/programs.
      2. The U.S. Census Bureau made an error in preparing or processing information to define geographic boundaries (e.g., school district boundaries).

      To successfully file an appeal, school districts must have clear documentation that one of these errors has occurred. Simply stating your free and reduced lunch percentage versus the census estimate will not be enough to succeed.

      If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Mary Kusler or by phone at 703-875-0733.

      January 4, 2006- Michigan May Require Online Course For H.S. Diploma

      According for the Chronicle for Higher Education, the Michigan State Board of Education is considering a new graduation requirement that would make every high school student in the state take at least one online course before receiving a high school diploma. The new requirement would appear to be the first of its kind in the nation. The Michigan state superintendent of public instruction proposed the online-course requirement to make sure students were prepared for college and for jobs, which are becoming more technology-focused. "While most high-school students are adept at using the Internet, few of them take courses online. But today's high-school students are increasingly likely to encounter online courses as more colleges turn to online education," he said.

      January 3, 2006- Federal Funding For Education Cut

      In case you missed it, in late December the U.S. Congress approved the 2006 spending bill for the departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services. In addition, Congress passed the 2006 Defense Appropriations bill that contained a 1 percent across-the-board cut for all government spending with the exception of veterans' programs. The AASA Leader's Edge said the 1 percent cut eliminated what had been very slight increases for primary and secondary Title I and special education programs. The AASA publication said, "Therefore, Title I will be cut $28 million from last year's level and IDEA will be cut by $7 million. This demonstrates that Congress has abandoned its commitment to fully fund its share of special education by reducing its contribution to 17.8 percent from the current 18.6 percent." Education Week reported the spending bill includes a number of other cuts for education, including a 96 percent cut to comprehensive school reform; a 45 percent cut to education technology state grants; a cut of nearly 50 percent to state block grants for innovative education; and a 20 percent reduction to state grants for the safe and drug free schools and communities program. A third bill contains $12.7 billion in cuts to the student loan program, according to EW. “We’re frustrated about the entire endgame,” said a spokesperson for the American Association of School Administrators. “One of their last acts was slashing funding for education and they did it in the middle of the night with big consequences for every school and district.”

      December 22, 2005- Study: Most States Shortchange Low-Income and Minority Students

      Most states shortchange poor and minority children when it comes to funding the schools they attend, according to a report released today by the Education Trust. Nationally, the U.S. spends about $900 less per pupil on students educated in poor school districts than those educated in the wealthiest. In some states, this funding gap exceeds $1,000 per pupil. In 27 of 49 states studied, the school districts serving the highest concentrations of poor students spend less per pupil than the lowest-poverty districts.

      The Education Trust also analyzed funding data by applying a widely used 40-percent adjustment to account for the additional costs of educating low-income students. When this adjustment is applied, the funding gap between high and low-poverty districts grows to more than $1,400 per student, and the number of states with funding inequities increases to 38 states. In Ohio, poor districts received an average of $54 more per student in state and local funding than affluent districts in 2002-03. However, assuming it takes 40 percent more to educate a poor child, Ohio's poor districts are being shortchanged by $487 per child, according to the report.

      Read the news release and 11-page report. Click: (Press Release) (The Funding Gap 2005)

      December 21, 2005- Teacher Training Programs to Match K-12 Standards

      House Bill 107, approved by the Ohio General Assembly, is now awaiting the governor's signature. The bill requires that Ohio's college and university teacher preparation programs align their instruction to Ohio's K-12 standards. The bill also includes a mandate that students in teacher training programs be taught "value added" analysis, a student progress tracking system that Ohio will adopt in 2007. A spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Education said, "Teachers colleges are now going to be teaching brand new Ohio teachers how to teach in Ohio schools." Do you want more information on H.B. 107? Click: As Passed by Senate

      December 20, 2005- U.S. House Approves Across-the-Board Reduction in Spending

      Both Reuters and the Associated Press reported yesterday that the U.S. House of Representatives has approved a 1% reduction in spending this fiscal year for all discretionary federal programs, except those affecting veterans. The cut, if approved by the Senate, could affect special education and Title I funding. According to AP, the provision was inserted in the defense bill, saving $8.5 billion. The bill is now before the U.S. Senate.

      According to a spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), both Title I and special education received $100 million increases. But this does not take into consideration the potential 1% across the board cut. "The budget process has been very complex and is still pending," the spokesperson said.

      December 19, 2005- In The News...

      * Ohio, once a national leader in state-funded Head Start, has seen enrollment plunge 73 percent over the last several years. In 1999, 23,381 preschoolers attended the program aimed at preparing disadvantaged children for kindergarten. Two overhauls later, only 6,485 are enrolled. ....Columbus Dispatch, December 19, 2205 * Governor Taft is scheduled to sign H.B. 203, the Ohio School-Safety Law, today. The law will require county health commissioners to take on additional inspection duties. County health commissioners already inspect schools twice a year for disease-causing problems in areas such as food service, heating and air quality, but now inspectors will look for any potential hazards from equipment such as tables, desks and bleachers. The law will require the Ohio Department of Health to establish minimum inspection standards and procedures and to provide lists of potentially dangerous conditions and products, including items recalled by manufacturers. ....Cleveland Plain Dealer, December 19, 2005

      * ...to keep the United States in the forefront of innovation and technology. "....tackle the talent-supply problem: recruit 10,000 future science and mathematics teachers each year and award them four-year college scholarships, with big bonuses to those who teach in underserved schools; give additional training to 250,000 current math and science teachers;..." ....David S. Broder, Washington Post Writers Group, quoting U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, December 18, 2005

      December 16, 2005- Next CORAS Meeting, January 31, 2006

      Mark Tuesday, January 31, 2006 on your calendar. The Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools meeting will feature Don Miller, of Don G. Miller & Associates. He will present the following program.
      Someone's Communicating With Your Staff. Is It You? . We need to know only two things about communications . Seven PR ideas to help make this your best year ever
      . What makes us feel secure? . 14 ways to influence staff morale
      . Six things employees need . Helping employees accept change
      . What did you notice about that person? . Nine ways to communicate better with your staff
      . How to run a good meeting . If you must criticize someone, try this
      . Staff awards . Internal communication by design--The Dallas Model
      . Assessing your ICP (Internal Communication Profile) . Image Makers and Breakers

      In addition, there will be a special presentation by Abraham Lincoln. The meeting, at the Olde Dutch Restaurant in Logan, will begin at 9:00 a.m. and end following lunch at 1:30 p.m. Registration materials will be available in early January.

      December 15, 2005- U.S. House Cuts NCLB Funding, Sp. Ed./Title I May Be Frozen

      The U.S. House of Representatives voted yesterday to cut federal aid to education for the first time in a decade. The spending bill would freeze or cut back a wide variety of domestic programs. The Associated Press (AP) said, "The cuts in the bill would be magnified by an additional 1 percent across-the-board cut to all agency budgets that GOP leaders promise to pass before Congress adjourns." According to the AP report, programs funded under No Child Left Behind would face a 4 percent cut, while aid for special education and Title I funding for disadvantaged children would be frozen at last year's levels, assuming a one-percent across-the-board cut is imposed. AP said the bill is a compromise between very different House and Senate versions. The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate, where its prospects are uncertain.

      December 14, 2005- Practices Associated With Student Achievement in Low-Income Schools

      What schools do and what resources they have for doing it can make a powerful difference in the achievement of students from low-income backgrounds, according to the initial findings of the study, Similar Students, Different Results: Why Do Some Schools Do Better?, conducted by California-based EdSource. Researchers conducted a large-scale survey of principals and teachers in 257 demographically similar elementary schools serving many low-income students. They analyzed data on educational practices. Since the schools ranged widely in the state’s academic-performance rankings, the researchers sought to determine which activities were most strongly correlated with higher student test scores.

      According the study, the four practices found to be most closely associated with higher performance were:
      • prioritizing student achievement by setting higher expectations for students and creating well-defined plans for instructional improvement;
      • implementing a consistent school-wide curriculum aligned with state standards;
      • using varied assessment data to evaluate student progress and instructional needs;
      • and ensuring an adequate supply of up-to-date instructional materials and trained teachers. The practices found to be less closely associated with better performance included:
        • increasing involvement and support of parents;
        • encouraging teacher collaboration and development;
        • and enforcing high expectations of student behavior.

      In a clarifying statement, the report’s authors said that parental involvement, along with teacher collaboration and student behavioral standards, was in fact “ found to be positively correlated” with achievement. It just didn’t have nearly as pronounced an impact on performance as the top four practices.

      Read Executive Summary. Click: Executive Summary

      Read Initial Report Findings. Click: Initial Report of Findings

      December 13, 2005- CORAS Membership Approaching 2005-06 Goal

      Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools (CORAS) membership has been increasing gradually over the past several years. CORAS membership is approaching 130 school districts for the 2005-06 school year. All school districts in 15 counties have joined CORAS for the current school year. The 100% membership counties are: Athens; Brown; Gallia; Harrison; Hocking; Holmes; Jefferson; Meigs; Monroe; Morgan; Muskingum; Noble; Perry; Pike; and Vinton. Five counties lack only one school district of having 100% membership. They are: Belmont (Martins Ferry); Coshocton (Ridgewood); Guernsey (Cambridge); Jackson (Oak Hill); and Washington (Marietta). Ross County is two school districts short of 100% membership (Adena and Zane Trace). To reach the 100% goal, CORAS member superintendents in the aforementioned five counties are requested to encourage superintendents (in the school districts in parenthesis) to renew their membership for the 2005-06 school year.

      December 12, 2005- Error Mistakenly Fails Students on OGT

      According to an Associated Press (AP) report, North Carolina-based Measurement Inc. make a mistake that led to hundreds of students incorrectly receiving a failing grade on Ohio's new graduation test. AP said an ODE data analyst caught the error in October after noticing discrepancies between actual and projected results on the test. The Ohio Department of Education announced the error today, saying the company graded the tests of 890 students correctly but made a mistake converting raw test data to passing and failing grades. The mistake was made on tests given last summer to students entering their junior and senior years as well as students who were in 12th grade last year but haven't graduated. Among those receiving failing grades were 45 seniors who needed to pass the test to graduate. The state and the company planned to notify 272 school districts this week whose students were affected by the mistake. Read the Associated Press article. Click: Error mistakenly fails hundreds of students on graduation test

      December 12, 2005- Residual Budgeting...."We Don't Do That Anymore."

      According to the Columbus Dispatch, State Senator Jeff Jacobson says the Ohio school funding system is now constitutional, poor schools are not suffering for a lack of local property wealth and there is a rational basis for the state funding numbers. "Before DeRolph II, I think the state did arbitrarily pick school-funding numbers, and they did it on residual budgeting, meaning they spent the rest of the money, and then what was left over, they gave it to schools," Senator Jacobson said. "We don't do that anymore." The Dispatch reported that Jacobson said local levies are unnecessary. He said schools generally wasted money on fat contracts when the state started making bigger funding increases in the late 1990s. "We gave them [schools] a lot of money, and they still went out and overspent it," Jacobson said. State Senator Jeff Jacobson 6th Ohio Senate District Senate Building
      Room #138, First Floor
      Columbus, Ohio 43215
      Telephone: 614/466-4538
      Email: jjacobso@mailr.sen.state.oh.us Source: Columbus Dispatch, "School Funding Still Unfixed," December 11, 2005

      December 9, 2005- Report: Boosting H.S.Student Achievement

      The Education Trust has released two new reports that highlight the practices of high schools that are getting the job done and improving student achievement, especially for the poor and minority children traditionally underserved by the American high school.

      The first report, "Gaining Traction, Gaining Ground: How Some High Schools Accelerate Learning for Struggling Students," is the result of a careful, on-the-ground study into the practices of public high schools that serve high concentrations of either low-income or minority children and have a strong track record accelerating learning for students who enter high school below grade level. Researchers found powerful differences in the practices in the two sets of schools, ranging from the way they provide remedial support to faltering students to the way they make decisions about teaching assignments.
      The second report, "The Power to Change: High Schools that Help All Students Achieve," chronicles the stories of three very different high schools that are getting strong results for minority students and students from low-income families. The report demonstrates clearly that some high schools are succeeding, even under challenging circumstances. Read news release. Click: (Press Release) Read the reports. Click: (Gaining Traction; Gaining Ground) (The Power to Change)

      December 8, 2005- Teaching The Test vs. College Preparedness

      The apparent paradox between rising passage rates on state tests and the rising need for remedial courses in college is a national trend, according to a recent article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Plain Dealer quotes Robert Schaeffer of the Cambridge, Mass.-based National Center for Fair and Open Testing. He said students from two states at the vanguard of standardized testing, Florida and Texas, actually have declining scores on college-entrance exams. Schaeffer went on to say, "What appears to be happening is that high schools are drilling students on a narrow group of skills and facts needed to pass exams, and not truly educating students to go on to college and to do well. Rather than teaching the high-order thinking skills that colleges and employers want, we're teaching kids to regurgitate facts and to bubble-in multiple-choice answers."

      The Plain Dealer article pointed out that some educators believe Ohio has done a good job linking what it tests to what it teaches, but it has not linked high school performance to college readiness. "About 10 or 12 years ago, there was a push to have more high school graduates," Solon (Ohio) Superintendent Joseph Regano said. "But trying to meet that outcome is not the same as trying to create college freshmen." Regano said it is also significant that the public school curriculum used to be broadly influenced by colleges and universities, but is now driven by state standards and No Child Left Behind.

      December 7, 2005- Tutoring Becoming Lucrative

      The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported today that 283 agencies are registered in Ohio to do student tutoring, making it among one of the busiest states for tutoring. The Plain Dealer article said, in addition to school districts, private companies, churches and even the Cleveland Teachers Union, are now providing tutoring services. The reason: tutoring is becoming lucrative! For example, the Education Recovery Clinic of Indiana, pays teachers $125 an hour to tutor up to five students per session. In addition, the company offers $100 to each student who finishes all sessions, according to the Plain Dealer report.

      A quarter of the companies registered in Ohio work with students online. The Plain Dealer said one online company, Tutorial Services, started by a Detroit high school teacher, came to Ohio partly because the Michigan education department would not approve his application to tutor there. Some have claimed Ohio's requirements are easier to meet than other states. But an Ohio Department of Education spokesperson said, "Ohio ranks high in the number of tutoring options because the state got serious about meeting federal requirements."

      The U.S. Department of Education has approved a $1.1 million grant to the Association of Educational Service Agencies (AESA) to provide tutoring for rural students in three states. Education Week reports that AESA has recruited educational service centers in Georgia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania to gather groups of small school districts in regional contracts with Baltimore, Md.-based Catapult Learning, a company providing online tutoring services.

      December 6, 2005- CORAS Meeting Dates For Your Calendar

      The following CORAS meeting dates, locations and programs are firm except June 20, 2006. Please mark the dates on your calendar.
      Tuesday, January 31, 2006 Program: Someone's Communicating With Your Staff. Is It You? . We need to know only two things about communications . Seven PR ideas to help make this your best year ever
      . What makes us feel secure? . 14 ways to influence staff morale
      . Six things employees need . Helping employees accept change
      . What did you notice about that person? . Nine ways to communicate better with your staff
      . How to run a good meeting . If you must criticize someone, try this
      . Staff awards . Internal communication by design--The Dallas Model
      . Assessing your ICP (Internal Communication Profile) . Image Makers and Breakers Presenter: Don Miller, Don G. Miller & Associates ..........and a special presentation by Abraham Lincoln. Location: Olde Dutch Restaurant, Logan, Ohio 9:00 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
      Tuesday, March 14, 2006 Program: I. The Law: Executive Session; Sunshine Law; Public Records; Legal Ramifications of Email Among Board Members/Superintendent; and What Constitutes a Board Meeting (unofficial gathering of three or more board members)? II. School District Media Relations: Communicating Done Right! Helping board members/superintendents respond to the media.
    • How to keep school personnel out of trouble with the media.
    • What to do if (an individual) becomes a "target" of the media.
    • How to prevent and/or deal with "hostile" or "unfriendly" media.
    • How to deal with highly charged sensitive/controversial issues such as: sexual encounters; abuse; tax levies; school choice; release of personnel and other public records; executive sessions/sunshine law; etc. Presenters: Attorney Rick Dickinson, OSBA and Journalist Tim Miller (back by popular demand), The Cochran Group, Inc. Location: Burr Oak State Park Lodge, Glouster 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
      Tuesday April 25, 2006 Program: Samuel I. Hicks Executive-in-Re