News and Resources

Reports

Tran Mau Tri Tam

March 21, 2017

What Do People Know About Excellent Teaching and Learning? (Center for American Progress)

Mass incarceration and children's outcomes: Criminal justice policy is education policy (Economic Policy Institute)

The Right Tool for the Job: Improving Reading and Writing in the Classroom (Fordham)

March 14, 2017

Template for ESSA consolidated state plans (U.S. Department of Education)

Proposed Cuts to AmeriCorps Would Be Devastating for Education Reform (Center for American Progress)

The Right Tool for the Job: Improving Reading and Writing in the Classroom (Fordham)

Measuring the Achievement and Experiences of American Indian and Alaska Native Youth: National Indian Education Study 2015 (NCES)

March 7, 2017

Best States for Education (U.S. News)

Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and  Medicine)

Making Learning Personal for All: Research and the Promise of Personalized Learning (Digital Promise)

The State of American High School Graduates: What States Know (and Don't) About Student Performance (Achieve)

February 28, 2017

Reimagining the School Day: Innovative Schedules for Teaching and Learning (Center for American Progress)

Lifting the Pension Fog: What teachers and taxpayers need to know about the teacher pension crisis (NCTQ)

 

February 21, 2017

Coaching for Impact: Six Pillars to Create Coaching Roles That Achieve Their Potential to Improve Teaching and Learning (Learning Forward)

10 PRINCIPLES FOR SCHOOLS OF MODERN LEARNING (Modern Learners)

Running in Place: How New Teacher Evaluations Fail to Live Up to Promises (NCTQ)

When Educators Learn, Students Learn (CTAC)

 

February 14, 2017

How Much Teachers Make in Every State, GO Banking Rates

From Print to Digital: Guide to Quality Instructional Materials, SEDTA

6 Questions From Newsela That Teach Students to Distinguish Between Fake News and the Real Thing, The 74

Letter to State Chief School Officers about implementation of ESSA, Betsy DeVos, U.S. Department of Education

 

February 7, 2017

What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do (revised) (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards)

Resources Addressing Hate and Harassment in Schools (Learning First Alliance)

From Hammer to Flashlight: A Decade of Data in Education (Data Quality Campaign)

Leading for Equity: Opportunities for State Education Chiefs (Council of Chief State School Officers)January 31, 2016

School Climate Resource Package (National Center on Safe and Supportive Learning Environments at the U.S. Department of Education)

Early Learning Child Development Resources (U.S. Department of Education)

Collection of Civil Rights Resources (U.S. Department of Education)

ESSA Stakeholder Engagement: Early Challenges and Promising Practices  (NASBE)

5 key trends in U.S. student performance (Economic Policy Institute)

 

January 17, 2017

Teacher Stress and Health: Effects on Teachers, Students and Schools  (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

Quality Counts: 2017 Report and Rankings (Education Week)

Resources for Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Edutopia)

TEACHING IN THE MACHINE AGE: How innovation can make bad teachers good and good teachers better (Christensen Institute)

Union Role in Teacher Leadership (AFT)

Education Secretary John King's Cabinet Exit Memo (U.S. Department of Education)

 

Week of December 19. 2016

Landscapes in Teacher Prep, National Council on Teacher Quality

Links to State Plan Drafts [for ESSA Implementation] That Have Been Released, Collaborative for Student Success

Undue Process: Why Bad Teachers in 25 Diverse Districts Rarely Get Fired, Fordham

Rethink Discipline, U.S. Department of Education

Equity and ESSA: Leveraging Educational Opportunity Through the Every Student Succeeds Act, Learning Policy Institute

Proposed Regulations to Encourage Better and Fairer Tests and Reduce the Burden of Testing, U.S. Department of Education

Final Regulations Under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), U.S. Department of Education

 

Week of December 5, 2016

You Got This: Educational Pathways for Youth Transitioning from Juvenile Justice Facilities (U.S. Department of Education)

New NAEP Strategic Vision (National Assessment Governing Board)

PARCC releases 3rd-8th grade test items for 2015-2016. 

Show Me the Data: State Report Cards Must Answer Questions and Inform Action (Data Quality Campaign)

 

Week of November 28, 2016

Final Regulations for ESSA Title I Accountability, U.S. Department of Education

New Call-to-Action-Paper! Time for Action: Building the Educator Workforce Our Children Need Now, American Institutes for Research

Teacher Effectiveness in the Every Student Succeeds Act: A Discussion Guide, American Institutes for Research

Week of November 21, 2016

Lessons for Broadening School Accountability Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, Lauren Bauer and Megan Mumford, The Hamilton Project

Redesigning National Board Certification: The Advancement of Accomplished Teaching, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

Expanding Opportunities to Help Our Youngest Learners (non-regulatory ESSA  guidance), U.S. Department of Education

NAEP 2015 Science Data, Nation's Report Card

A New Agenda: Research to Build a Better Teacher Preparation Program, Ashley LiBetti Mitchel and Melissa Steel King, Bellwether

Leading Change: The Emerging Human Capital Landscape in Personalized Learning Initiatives, District Reform Support Network

 

Week of October 25, 2016

Advancing Equity through ESSA: Strategies for State Leaders, CCSSO

What We Are and Where We're Going: Educators explain what it will take to get college- and career-ready standards right, Learning First Alliance

Teacher Preparation Final Regulations, U.S. Department of Education

Week of October 10, 2016

A Quality Alternative: A New Vision for Higher Education Accreditation, Center for American Progress

Public opinion on education: Results from the 2016 Schooling in America Survey, American Enterprise Institute

Assessment Matters: Constructing Model State Systems to Replace Testing Overkill, National Center for Fair and Open Testing

Top 5 Ways for Public Schools to Better Support Talented Students of Color, Cherry Mullaguru, Center for American Progress

Global Survey of Teacher Effectiveness, Pearson

Some Very Good Search Engines for Academics and Educators, Educational Technology and Global Learning

 

Week of October 3, 2016

Title II, Part A Guidance to Support Educators and the Teaching Profession, U.S. Department of Education

Leveraging ESSA to Increase College Readiness and Completion, Higher Ed for Higher Standards

English Learners Non-regulatory Guidance on Title III of ESSA, U.S. Department of Education

Early College High Schools: Model policy components, Education Commission of the States

How to Support Talented Students of Color, Cherry Mullaguru, Center for America Progress

 

Week of September 20, 2016

Mindset in the Classroom: A National Study of K-12 TeachersEducation Week Research Center

Counsel or Criminalize? Why Students of Color Need Supports, Not Suspensions, Center for American Progress

 

Week of September 13, 2016

Survey: Teachers dislike smartphones, interactive whiteboards in the classroom, Education Dive

The Engagement Gap: Making Each School and Every Classroom an All-Engaging Learning Environment, ASCD

Resources for Schools, Colleges to Ensure Appropriate Use of School Resource Officers and Campus Police, U.S. Department of Education

What happens to teens who leave high school and work? Urban Institute

Great Teaching Takes Time, So Give Teachers More of It,Teach Strong Coalition

16 in 16: 16 Education Policy Ideas for the Next President, Bellwether

 

Week of September 6, 2016

Funding Opportunities in the Every Student Succeeds Act to Ensure All Students Are Safe, Healthy and Ready to Succeed, Futures Without Violence

Improving Student Outcomes through Rapid Cycle Evaluation, U.S. Department of Education and the District Reform Support Network

High Stakes for High Achievers: State Accountability in the Age of ESSA, Fordham

Ten-year Trends in Public Opinion, Education Next

Critical Issues in Public Education: The 2016 Survey, PDK

Preventing Missed Opportunity: Taking Collective Action to Confront Chronic Absence, Attendance Works and Everyone Graduates Center

 

Week of August 30, 2016

Fault Lines: America's Most Segregating School District Borders, EdBuild

ESSA's Well-Rounded Education, Scott D. Jones and Emily Workman, Education Commission of the States

Street-Savvy School Reform, Paul Hill and Ashley Jochim, Education Next

10-Year Trends in Public Opinion, Education Next

Title I and InequalityU.S. News

The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2016ACT

Absences Add Up, U.S. Department of Education, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Ad Council

Counselors and Mentors: What You Need to Know about the 2017-2018 FAFSA, U.S. Department of Education

The Effects of Teacher Match on Academic Perceptions and Attitudes, Anna Egalite, North Carolina State University, and Brian Kisida, University of Missouri

The Engagement Gap: Making Each School and Every Classroom an All-Engaging Learning Environment, ASCD

 

Week of August 24, 2016

Reading, Writing and the Common Core State Standards, Center for American Progress

The teacher pay gap is wider than ever, Economic Policy Institute

High hopes and harsh realities: The real challenges to building a diverse teacher workforce, Brookings

The Gap Within the Gap: Using Longitudinal Data to Understand Income Differences in Student Achievement, National Bureau of Economic Research

 

Week of August 13, 2016

ESSA Quick Guides on Top Issues, Education Commission of the states

No Time to Lose: How to Build a World-Class Education System State by State, National Conference of State Legislatures

 

Week of August 9

Guidance on Homeless Children and Youth, U.S. Department of Education

Guidance on Civil Rights of Students with ADHD, U.S. Department of Education

Common Core Math in the K-8 Classroom: Results From a National Teacher Survey, Fordham

What Matters Now: A New Compact for Teaching and Learning, National Commission on Teaching & America's Future

Policy Principle 3: Raise the bar for licensure so it is a meaningful measure of readiness to teach, TeachStrong

Educating Students in Rural America, NASBE

 

Week of July 5, 2016

ESSA's Well-Rounded Education, Scott D. Jones and Emily Workman, Education Commission of the States

Listen to Us: Teacher Views and Voices, Diane Stark Rentner, Nancy Kober and Matthew Frizzell, Center on Education Policy

Understanding ESSA in Your State, Collaborative for Student Success

Non-Regulatory Guidance: Ensuring Educational Stability for Children in Foster Care, U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.

Policy Proposal -- Principle 2 (Teacher Preparation), TeachStrong

2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book, Annie E. Casey Foundation

Native Nations and American Schools: The History of Natives in The American Education System, National Indian Education Association

ESSA Stakeholder Engagement Guide, Education First

Principles on Stakeholder Engagement as Required by ESSA, Learning First Alliance

 

Week of June 28

Teacher Pay Around the World, Brookings

Common Core in the K-8 Classroom: Results from a National Teacher Survey, Fordham

CTQ Releases Three Policy Reports. At the briefing, reports were released on how policy can support effective recruitment, professional learning and teacher leadership.

 

Week of June 21

Ensuring Equity in ESSA: the Role of N-Size in Subgroup Accountability, Jessica Cardishan, Alliance for Excellent Education

What's in a Teacher Test? Assessing the Relationship Between Teacher Licensure Test Scores and Student Secondary STEM Achievement, Dan Goldhaber, Roddy Theobald, Trevor Gratz; Calder.

Fact Sheet: Troubling Pay Gap for Early Childhood Teachers, U.S. Department of Education.

Joint Statement to Prevent Anti-Muslim Discrimination, a fact sheet released by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

How to Qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, U.S. Department of Education

Does Teaching Experience Increase Teacher Effectiveness? A Review of the Research, Learning Policy Institute

 

Week of June 6

The Critical Role of Oral Language in Reading for ELLs, Lexia

The Condition of EducationThe National Center for Education Statistics has published their 47th report on the state of education in the United States. They find that children who live in poor households are under-served over time in K-12 schools and that this inequity likely will follow them through college.

Making the Grade: A 50-State Analysis of Student Accountability Systems, Center for American Progress

One Year Later: Can State Equity Plans Improve Access to Great Teaching? Alliance for Excellent Education

Proposed ESSA regulations for Title I,  U.S. Department of Education

First-ever Nation's Report Card for Technology and Engineering Literacy measures how eighth graders solve real-world problems using innovative scenario-based tasks on computers, Nation’s Report Card

School Suspensions Cost Taxpayers Billions, Civil Rights Project at UCLA

What Happened to Student Mobility After the New Orleans Market-Based School Reforms? Education Research Alliance for New Orleans

 

Week of  May 16

The State of Preschool 2015, National Institute for Early Education Research

Listen to Us: Teacher Views and Voices, Diane Stark Rentner, Nancy Kober and Matthew Frizzell; Center on Education Policy

Advanced Placement: Model policy components, Education Commission of the States

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times: What Teachers Think About Test Prep, Teach Plus

 

Week of May 9, 2016

2016 Building A Grad Nation report, America's Promise Alliance

Mitigating Teacher Shortages, Education Commission of the States

The State of Racial Diversity in the Education Workforce, U.S. Department of Education

Ensuring Professional Capacity to Support English Learners, May 24, 12-1:30 PM ET, American Youth Policy Forum

The Teacher Leadership Landscape

Creating a Consistent & Rigorous Teacher Licensure Process

Residency teachers more likely to feel prepared for the classroom

Supplement—Scoring Student Learning Objectives

Easy A’s…and What’s Behind Them

Equitable Access Toolkit to Guide State Educator Equity Planning

The Equity Project Charter School: Impacts on Student Achievement

“Intentionality: Strategic Preparation & Development to Retain Our Most Effective Teachers.” (2014) 

ETS – R & D Connections

Articles

Week of March 21, 2017

"We Don't Have to Leave it Up to Luck," Katrina Boone, Huffington Post

"High School Students Start Club to Make Sure No One Sits Alone at Lunch," Taylor Pittman, Huffington Post

"Yes, Congress scrapped Obama-era education rules. But states say little is changing," Philissa Cramer, Chalkbeat

"No Imagination for Education," Andrew J. Rotherham, U.S. News

"Teachers must ditch 'neuromyth' of learning styles, say scientists," The Guardian

"National Teacher of the Year Finalists Would All Say 'Yes' to Visit With Trump," Kristine Kim, EdWeek

"'Your child is safe': Schools address deportation fears among immigrant families," Moriah Balingit and Emma Brown, Washington Post

 

Week of March 142017

"Make Some Waves," Monica Washington (Texas 2014), EdWeek

"What If We're Designing for Disengagement?Shanna Peeples (National and Texas State Teacher of the Year, 2015)

"How to Push Your Team to Take Risks and Experiment," Sara Critchfield, Harvard Business Review

"Teacher of year urges educators to speak up," Tom Soskil (Pennsylvania 2017), Pennsylvania State Education Association

"Why the Left Should Work With Betsy DeVos," Jennifer L. Steele, EdWeek

"A Teacher's Pursuit of Imperfection," Justin Minkel (Arkansas 2007), EdWeek

 

Week of March 7

5 Tips for Teaching AP in a High-Poverty, Urban School,"Yolanda R. Whitted, Education Post

"How President Trump's Federal Budget Would Hinder Poor Students," Eric Gorski and Cassi Feldman, Atlantic

"How Pop Culture Misrepresents Educators," Andrew Simmons, Atlantic

"The Only Skill That Really Matters," Bruce Dixon, Modern Learners

Interview: John King on His Year as Ed Secretary, the Trump Administration, His New Role at Ed Trust, the 74

"Weathering Transitions is Familiar Work for State-based Advocates," Suzanne Tacheny Kubach, PIE Network

 

Week of February 28

"#MyBlackHistory: My Mom Had to Lie to Get Me Into a Good School. No Parent Should Have to Do That." Nate Bowling (National Teacher of the Year Finalist and Washington State Teacher of the Year 2015), Education Post

"As access to AP exams grows, more students are doing better," Joe Helm, Washington Post

"What Happens to Teacher Leadership When the Money Runs Out?"

Rebecca Mieliwocki (National and California State Teacher of the Year 2012), EdWeek

"Can Micro-credentials Create More Meaningful Professional Development For Teachers? Katrina Schwartz, Mind/Shift

"I'm Out So Gay Youth Know They Have A Future," Brett Bigham (Oregon 2014), Tyler Clementi Foundation

"Why Writing About Math Is The Best Part Of Common Core," Chad Orzel, Forbes

"You're Saved By What You Love," Shanna Peeples (National and Texas 2015), her blogspot

"Suspensions plummet in NYC school that incentivizes good behavior," Tara Garcia Mathewson, Education Dive

 

Week of February 21

"Lessons in using data to improve education: An Australian example," Sarah Lux-Lee, Chiara Lawry, and Tamar Manuelyan Atinc, Brookings

"Education Week survey shows more stable state testing environment nationwide," Tara Garcia Mathewson, Education Dive

"4 things CMS should do right now to help immigrant students," Justin Parmenter, Charlotte News and Observer 

"Kirabo Jackson on the Importance of School Spending, 'Soft Skills' and Teacher Quality," The 74

Steep Learning Curve on K-12 as State Leaders Take New Seats," Daarel Burnette II, EdWeek

"How I learned my own value as a black male teacher," Ricky House, PBS NewsHour

"Teacher Leadership under ESSA is Just Good Business," Alicia Serafin, Huffington Post

Week of February 14

"Time to Step Up," Allison Riddle (Utah 2014), EdWeek

"Advocates De-Wonk School Funding," Sarah Grunewald, PIE Network

"What to do when the next awful thing happens," Tom Rademacher (Minnesota 2015)

"The Myth of Immigrants' Educational Attainment," Emily Deruy, Atlantic

"If I Was Governor for a Day...," Sean McComb (National and Maryland 2014), MSEA Newsfeed

"Bored Out of Their Minds," Zachary Jason, Harvard.Ed 

"To the Educators Who Will Teach My Black Daughter,'" Jemelleh Coes (Georgia 2014), EdWeek

Week of February 7

"How to Make Your Congressman Listen to You," Tricia Tongco, Attn:

"#MyBlackHistory: My Parents Decided to Go Back to College 30 Years Later. Here's How My Story Inspired Them," Charles Cole III, Education Post 

"School Disruption on the Small Scale: Can micro-schools break out of an elite niche?" Justin C. Cohen, Education Next

"What does it mean for math to be integrated?" Trey Ferguson, EdNC

"The School Principal's Role in Reducing Teacher Turnover," Roxanne Garza, New America

"How Finland's youngest learners obey the rules - by fooling around in school," William Doyle, Hechinger Report

"Wanted: Factory Workers, Degree Required," Jeffrey J. Selingo, NY Times

"How Teachers Learn to Discuss Racism," Melinda D. Anderson, Atlantic 

 

Week of January 31, 2016

All The Mathematical Methods I Learned In My University Math Degree Became Obsolete In My Lifetime, Keith Devlin, Huffington Post

2017: The year we could come back together again, Michael J. Petrilli, Fordham

5 Education Stories to Watch in 2017,  Claudio Sanchez, nprED

Philadelphia Principal Sharif El-Mekki embraces servant leadership to make a difference, Autumn A. Arnett, Education Dive

5 Numbers That Explain Education in 2016, Emily Deruy, Atlantic

 

Week of December 19, 2016

NNSTOY Unites the Tribe of Teacher Leaders from Coast to CoastRebecca Mieliwocki (National Teacher of the Year and California 2012) and Angie Miller (New Hampshire 2011), NNSTOY

What it Takes to Bridge the Gap, Jody Zepp (Maryland 2015), NNSTOY

Arkansas schools hire untrained teachers as people lose interest in the profession, Sarah Whites-Koditschek, Hechinger Report

4 Things Every Teacher Should Do to Help Students Move Forward Post-Election, Brittny Ray-Crowell and Monica Washington (Texas 2014), Education Post

Living in a World of WHY? HOW? and WHAT'S NEXT? Michelle Pearson (Colorado 2010), NNSTOY

Literacy Not A Right For Detroit School Kids According to State, CBS Detroit

Meet Jayden and Be ChangedMichael Dunlea (New Jersey Finalist 2013), NNSTOY

 

Week of December 5

Why the U.S. Education Department Never Dies, Paula Dwyer, Bloomberg View

Donald Livingston: Tell kids the truth, then inspire them, Joe Marusak, Charlotte Observer

U.S. now ranks near the bottom of 35 industrialized nations in math, Jill Barshay, Hechinger Report

Choice Without Accountability Puts Children at Risk, Peter Cunningham and Shavar Jeffries, Real Clear Education

4 Things Every Teacher Should Do to Help Students Move Forward Post-Election, Brittney Ray-Crowell and Monica Washington (Texas 2014), Education Post

 

Week of November 28, 2016

On Gratitude, Katherine Bassett (New Jersey 2000), NNSTOY

Creating Moments Our Students Will Remember, Allison Riddle (Utah 2014), EdWeek

Where Donald Trump Stands on School Choice, Student Debt and Common Core, Stephanie Saul, NY Times

Trump: My Glass is Half Empty, Nate Bowling (Washington 2016)

Literacy Not A Right For Detroit School Kids According to State, CBS Detroit

Beyond the Noise of Teacher Leadership ConversationsMichael Lindblad (Oregon 2015), NNSTOY

A Bronx LIbrarian Keen on Teaching Homeless Children a Lasting Love of Books, Nikita Stewart, NY Times

Award-winning teacher offers message of hope (about Sarah Brown Wessling, National Teacher of the Year 2010), Joe Nathan, Hometown Source

Week of November 21, 2016

The Potential of Personalized Learning From a Student With a Learning Disability, Ryan MacDonald, EdWeek

Trump: My Glass is Half Empty, Nate Bowling (Washington 2016)

Michelle Rhee Meets with Donald Trump: Could Our Next Education Secretary Be a Democrat? Joy Resmovitz, L.A. Times

Dissecting the Youth Vote, Emily Richmond, Mikhail Zinshteyn and Natalie Gross, Atlantic

A Lesson for Preschools: When It's Done Right, the Benefits Last, Elissa Nadworny, nprED

Here's What I Told My Black Students to Remember Now That Trump Is President, Sharif El-Mekki, Education Post

 

Week of November 15

My Name Is Tom. I've Been a Teacher for 10 Years and I Still Get My Ass Kicked Nearly Every DayTom Rademacher (Minnesota 2014), Education Post

After the Election: A To-Do List, Jennifer Gonzalez, Cult of Pedagogy

A Rural Teacher Gets a Glimpse Into Urban School Discipline, Jaclyn Roller Ryan (Virginia 2015), NNSTOY

Now What? Mike Petrilli, Flypaper

Minnesota cultural inclusivity starts with student name pronunciation, Tara Garcia Mathewson, Education Dive

8 Ways to Encourage Healthy Debate in the Classroom, Move This World

The Teacher Prep Regulations - A Short Primer for Educators, Maddie Fennell (Nebraska 2007), EdWeek

 

Week of November 18

What it Takes to Teach Science in a Rural School, Jessica Weller and Lynn A. Bryan, EdWeek

5 Great (Short!) Videos for School Leaders, Alex Kajitani (California 2009), EdWeek

How high school graduations reached a record rate, Amanda Hoover, Christian Science Monitor

Beyond the Binders: How Seeing Teachers as Learners Creates Meaningful PD That Sticks, Rebecca Mieliwocki (National Teacher of the Year, California  2012), EdWeek

What's Working: Measuring and Celebrating Success, Allan Godston, Huffington Post

What We Owe the Next Generation of Teachers, Nate Bowling (Washington 2016), Homeroom

October 25, 2016

Lift Every Voice: Classroom Essays From Our 2016 Fishman Prize Winners, TNTP

These states are spending less on education now than before the Great Recession, Emma Brown, Washington Post

Nobel Lessons for Education Researchers and Policymakers, Derek Neal, Education Next

Finally, ESSA Resources Designed with Educators in Mind, Katrina Boone, Huffington Post

Why Isn't Science Class More Like Learning to Play Baseball? Alison Gopnik, Mind/Shift

LGBT Students Are Not Safe at School, Marissa Higgins, Atlantic

 

October 17, 2016

What to Do When You Realize You Don't 'Like' Your Students, Justin Minkel (Arkansas 2007), EdWeek

A Misguided Attack on Charter Schools, NY Times Editorial Board

How High-Flying Teachers Get Their Wings, Maryann Woods-Murphy (New Jersey 2010), EdWeek

If We Value Great Schools, We Need Strong Teachers. President Obama's New Teacher Prep Reforms Can Do Just That, Tracy Dell'Angela, Education Post

Assessing the evidence base for school discipline reform, Matthew P. Steinberg and  Johanna Lacoe, Fordham Institute

Teachers are expected to remain politically neutral. These Teachers of the Year say they can't, Valerie Strauss, Washington Post. The article features a letter signed by 10 State and National Teachers of the Year.

Five reasons teacher residencies often outperform traditional training, Karen DeMoss, Hechinger Report

Why states should use student growth, and not proficiency rates, when gauging school effectiveness, Michael J. Petrilli, Aaron Churchill, Flypaper

 

Week of October 10, 2016

Raleigh middle school's pedal desks draw worldwide attention, T. Keung Hui, News & Observer

Poverty Matters, But Not the Way You Think, Peter DeWitt, EdWeek

Scores on the Rise: Majority of States with High Standards in Place See Improvement, Collaborative for Student Success

Why the DFL's Addiction to "Fakequity' is the Real Problem with the Minneapolis School Board, Beth Hawkins

Equity in Education: When Equality is not Enough, Alicia Smith, Source

 

Week of October 3, 2016

The Difficult (and Satisfying) Run of Teaching Defiant StudentsAllison RiddleEdWeek

Yale study suggests racial bias among preschool teachers, Emma Brown, Washington Post

Here Are Students' Candid Responses to their U.S. Education, The 74

Supreme Court to hear special education case, Richard Wolf, USA Today 

(After Jeopardy) Next Target for IBM's Watson? Third-Grade Math, Elizabeth A. Harris, NY Times

 

Week of September 20, 2016

Teaching through tears in Tulsa after a student's dad is killed by police, Rebecca Lee, Washington Post

How to sharpen students critical thinking skills online, Ian Jamison, eSchool News

What if students could study what they love at a place that suits their needs? Nichole Dobo, Hechinger Report

Why I Kneel: Freedom of Expression  Includes the Right to Protest, Nate Bowling

Do teacher expectations matter? Nicholas Papageorge and Seth Gershenson, Brookings

 

Week of September 13, 2016

The New High School Outsiders, Angie Smith (photos),  NY Times

What Kids Wish Their Teachers Knew, Donna De La Cruz, NY Times

Dear Mayor Emanuel: I resign my position as principal of the #1 rated neighborhood school Chicago, Troy LaRaviere

To Improve Education, Focus on Excellence, Not Failure, Mike Petrilli, Washington Post

The Myth of the Miracle School, Arne Duncan, Atlantic

 

Week of September 6, 2016

Time to Rethink Our PD Paradigms, Sarah Brown WesslingEdWeek 

Disrupting the One-Teacher Standard, Haley Glatter, Emily Deruy and Alia Wong,The Atlantic

Mission-Minded Teaching, James E. FordEdWeek

Beware the Iconography Trap of Personalized Learning: Rigor Matters, Bethany Gross, Center for Reinventing Public Information

Accountability: Reclaiming the Worst Word in Education, Justin MinkelEdWeek

Deconstructing the Myth of American Public Schooling Inefficiency, Bruce D. Baker and Mark Weber, Albert Shanker Institute

 

Week of August 30, 2016

Why America's Leadership Fails, David Brooks, NY Times

A principal berated a new teacher in front of his class. He needed her support instead. Jay Mathews, Washington Post

Why Black Men Quit TeachingChristopher Edmin, NY Times

A Persistent Practice: Corporal Punishment in U.S. SchoolsEdWeek

The Good News about Educational Inequality, Sean Reardon, Jae Waldfogel and Daphna Bassok, NY Times 

 

Week of August 24, 2016

Why American Schools Are More Unequal Thank We Thought, Susan Dynarski, NY Times

Another Year, Another PrincipalAlex KajitaniEdWeek 

Study: Student-Teacher Racial Gap Matters--Even in Pre-K, Natalie Gross, Education Writers Association

The debate on school discipline, Frederick Hess, AEIdeas

The Lifeline Every Teacher Leader NeedsRebecca MieliwockiEdWeek

ESSA Didn't Settle Education Policy. Far From it. Chad Aldeman, Education Next

Kinetic Sculpture: On a Race to the Middle School Brain, L.A. Johnson and Emily Bogle, nprED

Calling a Teacher a Leader is Not EnoughTom Rademacher, Education Post

 

Week of August 13

Which States Invest the Most in Education? Governing magazine. Companion article by Mike Maciag breaks down the numbers (Chicago Tribune).

Microaggressions in Schools, Jose Vilson, JLV site

Is School Integration Necessary? Peter Cunningham, US News

The Right and the Wrong Ways to Ensure Equity in IDEA, Paul L. Morgan and George Farkas, Education Next

Want to Address Teacher Biases? First, Talk About Race, Peter Balanon-Rosen, nprED

When Black Kids Don't Matter, RiShawn Biddle, Dropout Nation

Gay High School Students Attacked, Raped More Often, Mike Stobbe, AP

Student Mobility: How it Affects Learning, Sarah D. Sparks, Education Week

Taking a Lesson from the Boys in the Boat and Aiming for "Swing," Robin Lake, Center for Reinventing Public Education

Place Matters: Why Teach for America created Residency, Molly Osborne, EdNC

ESSA Title II: A unique opportunity for professional learningTrey Ferguson, EdNC

Student Mobility: How it Affects Learning, Sarah D. Sparks, Education Week

 

Week of August 9

How should we measure school success? Now is your chance to weigh inLyon TerrySeattle Times

Teachers, I'll See You on TwitterCathy WhiteheadEducation Week

The New Era of Education Accountability, Lauren Camera, U.S. News

Measuring the Impact of Poverty in Education, Jarrett Carter, Education Dive 

What Teachers Talk About When They Talk About Evaluation, Maryann Woods-Murphy, The 74

No App Can Replace MasteryAllison Riddle, Education Week

Justin Minkel: Teacher Becomes a Literacy Superhero, Lara Hightower, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 

The Summer of Race and Equity in Education, Anna Baldwin

Teens Talk About Racism, Maryann Woods Murphy

This White Teacher is WokeMaddie Fennell

 

Week of August 2, 2016

Why so many black, Hispanic and poor kids miss out on gifted education, Jay Mathews, Washington Post

A Little Ditty about Donald and Diane, Peter Cunningham,  Education Post

Teacher expectations top list of effects on student achievementTara Garcia Mathewson, Education Dive

Students With a Bigger Purpose Stay MotivatedDigital Promise

Assessing with capstone projects, portfolios brings own share of pros, cons, Tara Garcia Mathewson, Education Dive

How Teachers Can Help 'Quiet Kids' Tap Their SuperpowersElissa Nadworny, NPREd

 

Week of July 5, 2016

When Critics Pounce: How to Survive (& Thrive) When You're Burned as a Teacher Leader, Alex Kajitani,

EdWeek

A New Argument for More Diverse ClassroomsEmily Deruy, The Atlantic

What teachers really think of Common Core math: Lessons from a new Fordham Study, Amber Northern and Michael J. Petrelli, Fordham. Download the full report.

We have the answer, we choose to ignore it, Nate Bowling, Education Post

One Math Teacher's Move from Frustration to Appreciation on Common Core, Mary PinkstonEducation Post

 

Week of June 28, 2016

Your Cheat Sheet for the Proposed ESSA Accountability Rules, Andrew Ujifusa, EdWeek

A Tale of Two School Systems: The District of Columbia shows why the charter model of schooling is taking offDavid Osborne, US News and World Report

America's Not-So-Broken Education System, Jack Schneider, Atlantic

 

Week of June 21, 2016

"You've got to be Carefully Taught," Brad Hull, NNSTOY CEO blog

Feeling Stuck in the "Right Field" of Teaching? How Teachers Can Get Unstuck This Summer, Sarah Brown Wessling,  EdWeek

The Building Blocks of Learning,  David Brooks, NY Times

Come Back Better, Rebecca Mieliwocki, EdWeek

IB students do well, but few low-income kids take the classes, Tara Garcia Mathewson, Education Dive

The Danger of a Single Story and How the Common Core Can Help,  Josh ParkerEducation Post

 

Week of June 14, 2016

They've rejected multi-state Common Core exams. Now what?  Shaina Cavazos, Chalkbeat

The Challenge of Educational InequalityRon Brownstein, The Atlantic

The Case for Integrated Math, Trey Ferguson, EdNC

How to Fix a Graduation Rate of 1 in 10? Ask the Dropouts, Gabrielle Emanuel, NPR Ed

Maybe All Men Are Created Equal, but All Kids Aren't Treated Equitably, Peter Cunningham, Education Post

 

Policy Principle One, Teach Strong

 

Week of May 24 2016

How to End the School Year Right, Justin Minkel, Education Week

Best School Violence Prevention Program May Start with Raising Test Scores, Jill Barshay, Hechinger Report

The invisible tax on teachers of colorJohn King, Washington Post

Will Teaching Change or Will We Just Keep ComplainingMaddie Fennell, Education Week

What I Learned Making Common Core Videos with State Teachers of the Year, Joe Fatheree, Education Week

The Challenge of Educational Equity, Ronald Brownstein,The Atlantic

 

Week of May 16, 2016

Why Poor School Districts Get Less Government Funding Than Rich Ones, Kevin Carey, NY Times

Experts say teachers are being taught bad science, Emmanuel Felton, Hechinger Report

High schools try to make better use of something often wasted: Senior year, Matt Krupnick, Hechinger Report

Survey: Tech Underperforming in Most Classrooms, Erin McIntyre, Education Dive

School Poverty isn’t an Excuse, It’s a Barrier, Helen Ladd, Pedro Noguera, Paul Reville & Joshua Starr

Special report on Teaching America’s English Language Learners, EdWeek

What Can Stop Kids From Dropping Out (of college), David L. Kirp, NY Times

Our Most Popular Resources for Educators, U.S. Department of Education

How can your state make the most out of ESSA? Start by finding your North Star, Susan Bodary, Education First

Aiming Higher Together: Strategizing Better Educational Outcomes for Boys and Young Men of Color, Ronald Ferguson, Urban Institute

Putting Grit in Its Place, David Brooks, NY Times

 

Week of May 9, 2016

We Aren't Using Assessments Correctly, John Hattie, Education Week

ESSA: Time for States to Seize the Initiative, Marc Tucker, Education Week

5 Habits that lead to ineffective teaching and how to fix them, Erin Burns, Teacher Quality Bulletin

The #1 Factor That Determines A Toxic or Thriving School Culture, Alex Kajitani,  Education Week

School Reformers Must Stop Giving Parents a Pass, Rick Hess and Gerard Robinson, American Enterprise Institute

School districts are a big reason for the rise in income segregation in the U.S., study says, Sonali Kohli, L.A. Times

Grading the Graders: a Report on Teacher Evaluation Reform in Public Education, Thomas Toch, Georgetown University

Tools

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Week of February 28, 2017

Evidence for ESSA website, a national resource that ranks K-12 reading and math programs according to evidence (Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University School of Education)

 

Week of February 21, 2017

ESSA Tracker (new EdWeek feature)

(4:51 Video) Federal Flash: Key Takeaways from the DeVos Confirmation Hearing, (Alliance for Excellent Education)

Week of  January 20, 2016

Askwith Debates: Pass/Fail - How Test Based Accountability Stacks, video (Harvard Graduate School of Education)

 

Week of November 21

Engaging with State Policymakers: Video Series. NNSTOY has released a new series of short videos that offers educators advice about how to reach out to state and local policymakers.

"The success of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) depends on deep educator engagement," said NNSTOY President and CEO Katherine Bassett (New Jersey 2000). "These videos, recorded by State Teachers of the Year and Finalists, contain great strategies for teacher leaders to get into the game."

Barriers to Equity in Education and the Resources Needed to Support Students. Download the survey results Teacher & Principal School Report: Equity in Education (Scholastic).

Letter to States from Secretary John King Calling for an End to Corporal Punishment. Dear Governors and Chief State School Officers (U.S. Department of Education)

High Stakes for High Schoolers. Download the second report about state accountability in the age of ESSA (Fordham Institue)

Within Our Grasp. Review report about achieving higher admissions standards in teacher preparation (NCTQ)

What Does ESSA Say About Teacher Evaluation Systems? Principles for Teacher Support and Evaluation Systems (CCSSO)

Diplomas Matter: Ensuring Equity of Opportunity for Students with Disabilities (Achieve)

 

Week of November 14

TrustED20, "a judiciously vetted and painstakingly curated list of splash-making education thought leaders who are worthy of your time to read, friend, and follow," K-12 Insight

Finding a Path for Kids After the Election, PIE Network

Powering Up Your PD, webinar Thursday, November 17 6:00-7:00 PM ET, Learning Forward and the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future

 

Week of November 8

STEM Active Resource page.  100kin10 has posed a new page of resources for STEM teachers.

 

Week of September 20, 2016

The Adversity of a Child's Life in Rural Kentucky (20-minute video), Atlantic 

 

Week of September 13, 2016

Can School Integration Make a Comeback? (6:31 video), Atlantic

Let's Teach for Mastery, Not Test Sores (TedTalk), Sal Kahn

5,000 Walden grants available for ALL past State Teachers of the Year. Walden University is offering a $5,000 grant for educators who were awarded State Teacher of the Year prior to 2015. This grant can be used towards any EdS, EdD or PhD in Education degree program from the Richard W. Riley College of Education. This grant applies to the October 10 or November 28 start date. Call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336 or go to WaldenU.edu for more information.

 

Week of August 13, 2016

Room to Run, TNTP. This multimedia feature can be used to communicate with parents and other educators about the benefits of rigorous standards.

Webinar--Zika Virus Response Planning: What School Administrators Need to Know.  Provided by U.S. Department of Education.  Friday, August 19, 1:30-2:30 PM ET. Download CDC Zika guidance.

How to join the webinar:

  • To activate and use your device's digital signals for BOTH Audio, Video and the Presentation, join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device.
  •  Or join Audio Only by phone (to see the presentation, you will still need to click the link above): +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll) or +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll) Webinar ID: 494 704 100

Locate international call-in numbers.

 

Week of June 6, 2016

Foster care Transition Toolkit. The U.S. Department of Education has issued a toolkit to help young adults transition out of foster care and into independence. The materials can be used by adolescents transitioning out of foster care and by the adults who support them.

Week of May 9, 2016

School Leadership Policy Toolkit, Eric Lerum, sponsored by the Center for Reinventing Public Education and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute

Live Map Tracking ESSA Implementation by State, Education Reform Now

Communicating K-12 Student Data Privacy to Parents and Stakeholders, May 11, 2:00-2:30, Alliance for Excellent Education

50 Best Colleges for African Americans, Kenneth Terrell, Essence

As a leading partner in the endeavor to enhance global learning for students across the US and around the world, we thought you might be interested in learning about our latest opportunity. The NEA Foundation is pleased to announce the addition of a new online course, Global Education: Tools and Approaches.

Developed by Primary Source, this course introduces participants to key ideas and methods for connecting classrooms with the wider world (for example, how to utilize Web 2.0 tools ─ like blogs, voice threads, and video conferencing ─ to engage students in the world around them). See a sample activity from the course below.

As with all the NEA Foundation courses, educators can take the whole course (four, two hour sessions) or focus their energy on a single session or activity that they need the most. And the best part is that it is accessible to all educators at no cost! We strongly encourage you to share this opportunity with your networks and colleagues.

Milestones is a free online collection of videos aimed at helping parents understand grade-level expectations in grades K-5. Milestones show students demonstrating what success looks like in reading, writing and math, grade by grade. Choose a grade below to get started.

Helps teachers and their schools, unions, and districts implement collaborative, job-embedded professional learning that leads to better student learning by developing and using the skills of involved teacher-leaders.

ECS Education Fact

Opportunity

NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR TEACHER LEADERS

 

Submit an idea for Teach to Lead - Columbus, Ohio. The 12th Teach to Lead Summit will be held in Columbus May 5-7. The focus of the summmonicait is "Innovation through Teacher Leadership." Learn more and submit an applicationdue March 30.

Nominate your principal for the Rohatyn Prize. The application process is now open for the $25,000 prize that goes to the principal of a "school that advances opportunities for students by positioning teachers to lead, learn, and thrive." The prize focuses on programs that reflect and help create a modern teaching profession. Examples include initiatives that have fueled collaboration, established mentorships, or strengthened "intervisitation." Applications close May 12..

Apply for an SEL grant. Education First seeks applications for teacher-led projects that foster social-emotional skills in students in grades PK-12. Their Innovation in Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Awards will grant up to $5,000 to individual teachers or groups of teachers to implement the project in their classrooms and schools in the 2017-18 school year. Awardees will also have the opportunity to present their work to a group of national SEL practitioners, experts and advocates at a convening in October 2017. Learn more and download an application, deadline April 21.

 

Get a Master's Degree in Teacher Leadership. Mount Holyoke College is offering an opportunity for the second cohort of our Master of Arts in Teacher Leadership - Independent Schools program. The graduate programs are designed for working educators so they can balance life, career, and family responsibilities while pursuing a graduate degree. Participants can attend class sessions on campus or via video conference. Find out more about the classes and application process.

Attend ACSD's Empower17. ASCD is offering teachers 20% off of registration for their Empower17 Conference in Anaheim, California, March 25 - 27.  On Saturday, March 25, at 1:00 PM, Emily Davis will lead a special session on ASCD Teacher Impact Grants. There teachers will learn how educators have obtained funding and support for teacher-led, administrator-supported ideas, programs, or initiatives. Register. To get your 20% discount, enter code TEACH20.

 


ARCHIVE

Join the #TPOfficeHour. This week's Teaching Partners Office Hour chat features Michael Dunlea (New Jersey Finalist 2012) in dialogue with educators about how professional learning is transforming student learning. Join the chat at 9:00 PM ET Thursday.

GTL Center Teacher Leadership Webinar: Tools and Strategies for Putting Your Ideas into Action. The Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center) is hosting a webinar aimed at helping schools and districts assess readiness for teacher leadership initiatives. Amy Traynor (Wisconsin 2010) is one of the presenters. Participants will emerge with ideas and actionable strategies for successfully designing and implementing teacher leadership initiatives that achieve their intended outcomes. Wednesday, March 15 ~ 3:30-5:00 PM ET. Register.

Busting School Bureaucracy: Thursday, February 24 - 4:00-5:15 PM ET.

Join us at the American Enterprise Institute for AEI's Washington, D.C., release of "The Cage Busting Teacher," an online curriculum to help equip teachers to break through school bureaucracy and make decisions that best serve their students.

The event will be live-streamed. Josh Parker (Maryland 2012) and Peggy Stewart (New Jersey 2005) will serve as panelists. Rick Hess will moderate, and other panelists include Wendy Uptain (Hope Street Group) and Dianna Wentzell (Connecticut State Department of Education).

Register or watch through streaming. Join the conversation on social media using #cagebusting and #teachersleading.

Support Graduate Research. Joe Craft, a graduate student at Columbia International University, has asked for our help with his study on teacher effectiveness. If you are a State Teacher of the Year from 2009-2017, please consider taking his 38-question survey from now through March 2. Questions? Write to [email protected].

Product Testing. Renaissance Learning is looking for 3rd-8th grade reading and math teachers to participate in a series of two 90-minute in-person research activities. They are seeking your feedback to ensure that their new products are helpful, efficient, and easy to use. For your participation, you will receive up to $200 in Amazon Gift Cards ($100 per session). If interested, complete the following 5-minute survey. Get more information.

Win a $20,000 Grant. The 2017 LRNG Innovators grant competition is now accepting applications to fund projects that "actively help youth discover interests connecting the spheres of their lives, both in and out of school." A team of teachers can apply for the grants. The deadline for applications is March 16, 2017.

Earn Money Moonlighting for edTPA. Pearson is hiring edTPA scorers for work after regular school hours. They are looking for PK-12 educators who teach a wide variety of content areas to work at home scoring edTPA portfolios. Check out the website regarding the scoring positions and qualifications.

Teach Plus is asking teachers to take their poll about the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Donors Choose has launched a program allowing teachers to request "life essentials" for their students, including food, personal hygiene products and warm, clean clothes.

Empowered to Lead Symposium: Cultivating Cultures of Empathy and Growth. April 27 8:30-3:30 PM - Uncasville, Connecticut ~ Mohegan Sun Convention Center. Hosted by the Connecticut Teacher of the Year Council.

E2Lead provides opportunities for educators to enhance their collective power, expertise and experience. This event includes inspiring speakers and networking opportunities. Interactive sessions throughout the symposium promote the sharing of ideas and resources, innovative strategies and solutions, collaborative discourse and best practices to elevate the teaching profession.

Speakers include: Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence Dr. Marc Brackett; 2016 National Teacher of the Year and 2016 Connecticut Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes; 2017 Connecticut Teacher of the Year Lauren Danner; Connecticut Commissioner of Education Dr. Dianna R. Wentzell; NNSTOY CEO and President Katherine Bassett; NNSTOY Director of Professional Learning Peggy Stewart; 2010 Florida Teacher of the Year Megan Allen.

Learn moreRegister. Questions? Interested in presenting? Email [email protected].

National Board Scholarships. To the 2015 STOYS who have not already taken advantage of scholarship funding to pursue National Board Certification -- there is still time! The registration and payment deadline for the 2016-17 assessment year was recently extended to February 28, 2017. Find more information, including next steps for STOYs.

The Harvard Graduate School of Education is offering an online course in Culturally Responsive Literature Instruction February 27 - March 12, 2017. Tuition: $149 per person.

Opening at NNSTOY.  NNSTOY is currently searching for the right person to fill a new position as our Director of Partnerships. Learn more on our website.

Christian Science Monitor EqualEdPoll. The Christian Science Monitor (CSM) is looking for educators to participate in an advisory committee on education equity that they are calling the EqualEdPoll. This your opportunity to share your thoughts with a national audience and help shape public opinion.

Participants will take a brief (less than 10 minutes) survey once a month. The survey will include one multiple choice question and a place to leave thoughts, either anonymously or quotable. Results will be used to help CSM readers be informed about what thought leaders are saying around the major issues in education. If you participate, your name may be featured on a webpage with a short bio. If you are interested, please send an email to Katherine Bassett using the subject line that reads "CMS Advisory" to [email protected] no later than Friday, January 13.

Join the U.S. Department of Education as a School Ambassador Fellow. The Department's 2017-2018 School Ambassador Fellowship application is now open, and the deadline has been extended until February 6 at 11:59 PM ET.

Nominate a teacher for the Yale-Lynn Hall Teacher Action Research Prize. This annual award supports the leadership of teachers who continually work to improve their practice through action research. The School of Management (SOM) Education Leadership Conference is seeking applications from educators who are trying new lessons, modes of content delivery, or types of activities to improve student outcomes. The application deadline is March 3, 2017. Learn more.

Apply for a Carnegie Networked Improvement Fellowship. The 2-year, salaried Fellowship is open to applicants who are interested in enhancing their education careers by learning and applying Improvement Science approaches and methodologies within Networked Improvement Communities.

Fellows will engage in an intense program that combines training and practical experience. This will include a mix of improvement science, network initiation and development, and facilitation skill development. Learn more.

Gates Webinar Thursday, January 19 Noon PT -- What Teachers Care About: Understanding Changing Teacher Narratives. Two years ago, the Gates Foundation funded research looking at teacher narratives about everything--their classrooms, the profession and the education system. Ten narratives emerged, which are explored in a new report and an upcoming webinar. Join the webinar.

Join the NNSTOY Facebook Group. If you are a State Teacher of the Year, a Finalist or a State Coordinator, you are missing out if you are not connected with us on the NNSTOY Facebook Group. Sign up not to get important notices, post your news and gain great ideas and resources from colleagues. Ask to join the group (the answer is YES!) or email [email protected], who can hook you up.

 

Catch up on the Inward and Onward webinar series. View Session #2, Creating Equitable Classrooms, and peruse the presentation deck on the NNSTOY website.

Present at our 2017 National Teacher Leadership conference. Applications due January 16 at 5:00 PM ET

Join a Facebook Q&A about the future of the White Huse Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. David Johns, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, will answer your questions about the future of education fo r students of color in an Education Post hosted Facebook Q&A. Tonight, Tuesday, December 6 ~ 7:30 PM ET.

Share your StoryCorps videos. If you or your class participated in the toryCorps Great Thanksgiving Share, please remember to:

  1. Remind your students tag interviews with the keyword "NNSTOY" or "National Network of State Teachers of the Year" 
  2. Share your favorite student stories (and classroom photos) with the StoryCorps production team by emailing them to [email protected]. Every year a few get chosen to be produced for radio!
  3. Contribute to the NNSTOY community by sharing your story with the NNSTOY communications team at [email protected]

Catch up on KNOW YOUR POWER: Engaging with State Policymakers About Teacher Shortages. View the video archive of our November 15 webinar presented by NNSTOY Education Policy Advisor Jane West and Allison Riddle (Utah 2014). Download the presentation deck.

Participate in ESSA Educator Research. In partnership with NNSTOY, the Collaborative for Student Success has developed a survey to understand what teachers think about ESSA. If you are a current classroom teacher, we invite you to take part in this online survey. The survey will take 30-45 minutes to complete, and all participants may choose to share their name and email address to enter for a chance to win the gifts listed below. Take the survey.

  • iPad Pro ($599 value, 1 prize available)
  • $100 Amazon gift card (2 prizes available)
  • $50 Amazon gift card (4 prizes available

Send us your testimony for the Fundraising Campaign. Share with us your one-to-three sentence testimony about why you value being part of NNSTOY. Send to [email protected].

Post your unique NNSTOY story to Facebook or Twitter. Take your picture and post a message in your Twitter feed or on your Facebook page telling friends and colleagues why you support NNSTOY during our Annual Giving Campaign. Don't forget to include the URL for our donation site:  https://secure.donationpay.org/nnstoy./ 

Join an Important Conversation abut STEM Teacher Leadership. December 6 ~ 7:00-8:00 PM ET. The conversation is hosted by the U.S. Department of Education, SRI Education, and Policy Studies Associates. Panelists include members of Math for America, Educate Texas, and the Utah Department of Education. Register.

Nominate a Teacher for the Fishman Prize for Superlative Teaching. Besides being a State Teacher of the Year, the Fishman Prize is one of the most highly respected awards a teacher can receive. Four winners will participate in a thought-provoking summer residency with their peers, reflecting, writing and sharing their voice. Each winner also receives a $25,000 award. Learn more (TNTP).

Inclusion, Equity and Opportunity Twitter Chat sponsored by #TeachersAtED November 15 ~ 7:00 - 8:00 PM ET.

Join the NNSTOY Communications Committee. If you are interested in being part of a team that helps NNSTOY communicate with members, other teachers and stakeholders, please contact Laurie Calvert ([email protected]). We are looking for energetic people who have ideas and interest in supporting our members, our work and our organization through both traditional and nontraditional means. Time commitment to be on the committee: one-hour monthly call and some social media posting throughout the month.

Teach to Lead Inclusion, Equity Summit & Opportunity Summit, December 2-4, Chicago, Illinois. Get more information and submit an idea.

The Journal of Interdisciplinary Teacher Leadership is accepting original articles related to teacher leadership advocacy, professional development in K-12 education. Submissions are accepted through October 31. Submission guidelines.

Share Your PD Truth. The NEA, Corwin and Learning Forward want to know how professional learning impacts your teaching and your students' learning. They are asking educators to take a survey that helps industry leaders understand how your professional learning aligns with the Standards for Professional Learning. The survey takes 20-25 minutes and must be complete by October 31.

Paid Opportunity for Online Coaches. The NEA is offering paid positions for online coaches who will work with early career teachers in Early Career Learning Labs. Coaches will help teachers unpack and learn around problems of practice through a 6-8 week learning-cycle process. Coaches are expected to spend 4-6 hours per week on this work. This position will pay $3000 for this pilot school year. Apply by October 24. Direct questions to Ann Nutter Coffman ([email protected]) or Maddie Fennell ([email protected]).

(NNSTOY Webinar) Giving Students the Floor: How to Turn Your Classroom Upside Down to Promote Innovation and Creativity. Featuring students and teachers at Effingham (Illinois) High School. Tuesday, October 25   8:00-9:00 PM ET  Register.

Walden University Scholarships. One of the benefits of being a State Teacher of the Year in 2015 or 2016 is that you qualify to receive a full-tuition scholarship for an advanced degree from Walden University. To receive this gift, follow the process outlined on the Walden webpage. This year Walden is also offering five full-tuition scholarships to STOYs whose year of recognition was prior to 2015. Review the process to apply for one of these scholarships on the NNSTOY webpage. Hurry, as applications are due by Saturday, October 15. Applications can be sent directly to [email protected]

View the "Power and Privilege" Webinar.  Watch the archived September 27 webinar about Equity in the Classroom on YouTube and check out the presentation deck on the the NNSTOY webpage.

Mount Holyoke Programs in Teacher Leadership has a new Facebook page!

The University of Delaware is offering an online Master of Education in Teacher Leadership.

Wear Orange. Wednesday, October 19 is Unity Day Against Bullying. Show you are united for kindness, acceptance and inclusion.

Webinar, The Shifting Paradigm of Teaching: How Lessons from the Classroom Inform System Design, Tuesday, October 11 AM, Knowledge Works

Collaborate with #MindblowingSTEM. Starting on September 28, 100Kin10 in partnership with The Teachers Guild, will launch an active STEM collaboration. Participants will have a chance to be guided through a design process, coached by other teachers and mentored by industry leaders as they develop new and better solutions for their students. Sign up to learn more.

The Global Education Forum (October 13-15, Philadelphia, Pa.) provides educators with an opportunity to engage in a critical conversation between K-12 and higher education educators about how best to prepare students for a global world. Educators from around the world discuss best practices and promising programs and research. Through a series interactive formats, participants will explore how to prepare students to be globally competent, review trends and best practices in teacher and leadership development, and develop strategies for teaching and assessing critical 21st century skills.

Chat with Global Educators Wednesday. Join the #TeachersLeading Twitter Chat September 14, 8-9 PM ET. This month's topic: What does it mean to be a global educator?

Apply to Attend DC Teach to Lead Summit (Deadline Extended). The folks at Teach to Lead have changed the application deadline for the November Teach to Lead Teacher Preparation Summit and eased up on the team requirements a bit. Any member of a team can now submit the application by September 15. Team participants must now only include:

  • An active classroom teacher
  • A representative from a College or University teacher preparation program
  • A current teacher candidate from that teacher preparation program

The other two team members can be any stakeholder the team feels is appropriate to move the idea forward.

Webinar: Taking Your Educational Leadership to the Next Level, Featuring Microsoft Sway and Docs.com. Tuesday, September 13, 8:00-9:00 PM ET. Register.

Webinar: Power and Privilege: A Conversation About Equity in the Classroom. Tuesday, September 27. Register.

Teaching Partners Office Hour hosted by 2010 Florida State Teacher of the Year Megan Allen. Tonight, September 8, 9 PM ET on Twitter. Topic: How to develop a community of learners in the classroom. Use #TPOfficeHour. Check out the Weekly Wall on the topic.

Relief for Flood-Ravaged Louisiana Schools : How Educators Can Help Restore Classrooms.
More than 200,000 students were out of school immediately following the flooding that devastated Louisiana. According to a Politico interview with state education chief John White, roughly 70,000 will remain out of school until after Labor Day.

Educators can help Louisiana teachers replace classroom supplies at the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana (where Louisiana teachers can also request assistance) and through Donors Choose.

StoryCorps and the Great Thanksgiving Listen. This school year, NNSTOY is once again partnering with StoryCorps to bring you The Great Thanksgiving Listen

(TGTL), a national education project based on a simple idea: find an elder you love and interview them about their life.

Download the StoryCorps App to record and archive your interview in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, where it will become an invaluable resource for future historians and provide families with a priceless piece of history. Last Thanksgiving, over 100,000 Americans participated across all 50 states to capture the voices of an entire generation in a single weekend. This Thanksgiving, empower your students once again to make history with their loved ones.

NNSTOY teachers are invited to access an advanced copy of the 2016 TGTL Teacher Toolkit, by joining the new StoryCorps in the Classroom

Teacher Facebook Group; a forum to share best practices, classroom content, and ask questions directly to StoryCorps staff.

Walden University Scholarships for STOYs. One of the benefits of being a State Teacher of the Year in 2015 or 2016 is that you qualify to receive a full-tuition scholarship for an advanced degree from Walden University. To receive this gift, follow the process outlined on the Walden webpage.

This year Walden is also offering five full-tuition scholarships to STOYs whose year of recognition was prior to 2015. Review the process to apply for one of these scholarships on the NNSTOY webpage.

Applications are due by October 15, 2015. They can be sent directly to [email protected].

Wear your NNSTOY digital badge proudly! If you are an NNSTOY member, you can highlight your membership with this nifty digital badge. Use it the signature line in your email signature and on your social media pages. To get one, email a request to Joe Fatheree: [email protected].

Submit a Teacher Prep Idea to Teach to Lead DC. Do you have a great idea to bridge the gap between teacher preparation and classroom practice? Submit your idea for the upcoming Teach to Lead Teacher Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. November 3-4. The summit will focus on teacher preparation programs, and how to leverage teacher leadership to strengthen such programs through collaborating, problem solving and developing action plans. Learn more and submit an idea by September 13.

Join Us for a Cup of Virtual Coffee.  The Teachers Leading Coffee House Facebook page has a number of interesting virtual conversations going. Join the Facebook group and check out responses to questions posed b Joe Fatheree (Illinois 2007)What one thing are you looking to improve upon as a classroom teacher this year? and Barbara LaSarancina (New Jersey 2001) When did/do you know it's time to leave the classroom to pursue other roles in education?

While you are at it, check out the updated banner on our Teachers Leading Facebook page. To support the organization and each other, SHARE posts that you like regularly on your Facebook page.

Join the 2017 Conference Committee Team. We have already begun planning our 2017 national conference and are gearing up for an amazing experience in Washington, DC, July 15-18. (We are even considering extending the event to July 19 for a Day on the Hill!)

Now that have two co-chairs in place, Daniele Massey (DoDEA 2013) and Julia King (Washington DC 2013), we need your help!

The conference team depends on sub-committees to make decisions and to plan just about everything: theme, strands, keynote speakers, concurrent session speakers, meal choices, social outing, service projects, gifts for presenters! The sub-committee structure makes the work manageable and keeps our meetings focused and brief.

Members of the conference planning committees meet virtually for one hour a month from August through March. Beginning in April, the meetings take place twice a month.

If you are interested in helping to guide and plan our next conference as a member of conference planning committee this year, please send a note to Jessica Hansen at [email protected].

We will hold our first meeting within two weeks, and we are eager to get started! If you served on past conference planning committees, we welcome you back with open arms. If you have not, please consider joining us in this unique new opportunity to contribute to the success of this exciting event.

--

Join Charlotte Danielson and the Danielson Group at a 2016 conference to explore collaborative professional learning. Attend for one, two or three days to elevate your Framework for Teaching Practice August 2-4 at the College of New Jersey (Ewing, N.J.) or October 6-8 at Northern Illinois University (Naperville, Ill.). Read the brochure.

Write for Wisewire. Wisewire, a new education marketplace with a free technology-enhanced platform, is seeking STOYs to serve as guest contributors this summer for their upcoming blog launch. Guest bloggers will be paid for writing about topics they are most passionate about and to share their best strategies and success stories with other teachers. If you are interested in sharing your talents with a new community, contact Lisa Doehnert, Learning Product Leader, ([email protected]) and copy Laurie Calvert at NNSTOY ([email protected]).

Apply for the Discovery Award of Unsung Heroes (Deadline Extended to July 1). The Discovery Award honors students who devote themselves to sharing the stories of Unsung Heroes in order to hold up positive examples of leadership to their peers and inspire their communities. Students may submit projects in the form of a documentary, performance or website. They must also include an annotated bibliography and a 500-word process paper. Educators now have extra time to get their project in for a chance to win this year's $7,500 grand prize. Review the guidelines.

Educators Earn Grant Money. The Collaborative for Student Success, a nonprofit organization working to improve public education through a commitment to high standards for all students, is seeking applications for its Teacher Champion Fellowship from educators (including principals and district-level employees) in Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Teacher Champions receive professional development around communications, legislative engagement, media interaction, and more. They also receive a $5,000 grant to work with teachers and local organizations in their states to educate and inform all shareholders about the need for and benefit of high, consistent state standards and high-quality assessments. To learn more, email Katrina Boone at [email protected]. There is no formal application process.

Take a New Teach Plus Policy Course Online. Learn how to get your voice heard in education policy decisions that affect you and your students! Teach Plus' new online course, "What Teachers Need to Know to Influence Policy Decisions," equips teachers with the knowledge and skills they need to advocate for impact.  The five module-course includes a comprehensive overview of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which is driving major state-level policy decisions. Teachers need to be at the table! The FREE course launches July 7. Watch a preview and sign up.

Submit an idea for Teach to Lead Long Beach (Calif.). If you have a great idea that you need help developing, consider applying to the Teach to Lead Summit in Long Beach, Calif., September 24-25. To attend, submit an idea by July 25. If your idea is chosen, you may bring a team of up to five people for a weekend designed to help your team develop the idea into an action plan. You will work with a critical friend from a supporting organization who has the experience to help you ask and answer some of your toughest questions and push your thinking. Teach to Lead provides lodging (if more than 50 miles from hotel), some meals and full registration.

Participants must:

  • Have an actionable teacher leadership idea.
  • Pay for or obtain sponsorship for travel.
  • Have at least one practicing classroom teacher on the team.
  • Commit to taking implementation steps following Summit participation.
  • Be available to attend the entire summit (8:00 AM Saturday through 12:30 PM Sunday).

STOY Volunteers Needed for Teacher Perceptions on State Education Policy Research

Megan Allen is beginning her doctoral research and is looking for STOYs to participate in her study. She has provided us with the following information:

We are looking for STOY volunteers for a research study on teacher perceptions on state education policy. Approximately 1 hour interview and the possibility to impact your profession! Please contact Katherine Bassett ([email protected]) and Megan Allen ([email protected]) for more information.

Legislative Information

NNSOY Legislative Agenda 2016

In a Flash Poll conducted June 6-17, 2016, members of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year indicated that states and districts are doing little to engage them around the new Every Student Succeeds Act, as required by law.

Data from ESSA Flash Poll

March 21, 2017

Special Edition of Washington Update:  Overview of President Trump’s FY 2018 Budget Proposal, the “Skinny” Version

Background

On March 16, President Trump released a blueprint for his first budget proposal – for FY 2018 -- which begins October 1, 2017.  Known as the “skinny” budget, this blueprint will be filled in with greater detail about proposed specific funding levels for additional programs in May.  This skinny budget is a skeleton which leaves a number of questions unanswered, but does provide a broad framework.

The proposal fulfills President Trump’s campaign promises to shift funding from domestic spending to defense spending.  The budget boasts an increase of about $60 Billion for the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs.  These increases would be paid for by deep cuts in domestic spending with the Environmental and Protection Agency being hit the hardest with a 31% decrease.  The Department of Education is recommended for a 14% decrease.   All spending cuts come out of the small slice of “Non Defense Discretionary (NDD)” spending which represents only 15% of the federal budget.

Note that this is a proposal.   It does not carry the weight of law; rather it is a “wish list” and a recommendation to the Congress regarding funding levels.  It begins the budget process in the Congress which will continue through the summer and into the Fall whereby committees of jurisdiction will write and mark up bills outlining funding for every government program.  The numbers will become real after the Congress passes its appropriations bills for FY 2018, likely in the fall of 2017.

Many in Congress have described the budget as “Dead on Arrival,” which is a common response to President’s budgets no matter what the party proposing it.  Every program has champions in Congress, often from both sides of the aisle, so eliminating programs and/or cutting them significantly faces political challenges.  But the budget does set a marker which rallies responses either in support or opposition.  Most in the education community are deeply opposed to the cuts proposed for the Department of Education.

Overview of Proposed Department of Education Budget

The Department of Education’s proposed budget for $59 Billion represents a  13.5%, or $9 billion cut from the current level of funding.   In addition, there are increases recommended for some programs which are paid for by cuts in existing programs.

Winners in the President’s proposed education budget are primarily within the $1.4 B increase for school choice, featuring the following:

  • $1 billion for Title I of ESSA to allow funding to follow a student to the public school of his or her choice, sometimes called “portability”
  • $250 million new dollars for a new voucher program which would allow public funds to support private schools
  • $168 million increase for existing charter school program

Losers in the President’s proposed education budget include:

  • Elimination of $2.3 billion Title II A of ESSA, funds for teacher and leader development
  • Elimination of $1.2 billion after school program, 21st Century Community Learning Centers
  • Elimination of $732 billion higher education student grant aid – the Supplemental Opportunity Grants program
  • Elimination of $43 million Teacher Quality Partnership program which prepares new teachers in shortages areas via residency programs
  • Elimination of $190 million Striving Readers, a literacy program
  • Elimination of $72 million higher education international education and foreign language studies program
  • Cut of $104 million (32%) to GEAR UP, a program to recruit low income students into college
  • Cut of $92 million (10%) for TRIO, programs to recruit and support high need students in college
  • Rescinding of $4 billion from the Pell Grant surplus (grants for low income college students)

Programs which appear to be level funded in the President’s budget: (note that these could very likely change when the final budget proposal comes out in May; in other words they could be cut in the next iteration of the budget proposal)

  • IDEA Part B and discretionary programs including personnel preparation
  • Office for Civil Rights
  • Institute for Education Sciences, including special education research

Take Aways

  • Attached to this document is a table provided by the Committee for Education Funding which offers a chart for specific education programs comparing current funding levels to levels proposed in the “skinny” budget. (Thank you CEF!)
  • This is the time to begin actively communicating with Members of Congress about the programs you   The more they hear from constituents, the more aware they will be of the impact of individual programs on their communities and what their loss would mean.
  • Do not assume that because a program is not recommended for cuts in this “skinny budget” that it will not be recommended for cuts in the May full budget proposal.
  • Congress has already begun its process of hearings and consideration of FY 2018 funding for education. Stay involved throughout the spring and summer so you know the status of bills and funding levels as they move through the House and Senate.

February 10, 2017

Dear Colleagues:

It’s been a testy week here in the nation’s capital as the new Secretary of Education is sworn in and the Congress continues to grow even more partisan.

1. Betsy DeVos Squeaks by in VP Tie Breaker Vote and Offers an Olive Branch to her New Staff. After an all-night contentious partisan debate, the Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education on Feb. 7. For the first time in the history of cabinet confirmations, the Vice President cast the tie breaking vote. With a 51-50 vote which featured all Democrats and two Republicans (Collins of Maine and Murkowski of Alaska) opposing, DeVos crossed the finished line and was, later that evening, sworn in as the new Secretary of Education by VP Mike Pence.

Democrats and multiple education and civil rights organizations waged a virtual war against the DeVos nomination. The nomination generated a level of unparalleled  grassroots activism; on the weekend and days before the final votes, a handful of Republican Senators were targeted with protests back in their states and deluges of phone calls to offices, with some offices topping 40,000. The Capitol switchboard reported unprecedented jams on the phone lines. A Utah constituent who reported being unable to get through to Sen. Hatch’s (R) office reportedly had a pizza delivered to him with a note asking him to vote against DeVos.

Some national organizations that have never taken positions on nominations came out against DeVos, including the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Both teachers unions opposed DeVos with vengeance. After the confirmation vote Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of the NEA noted that “There will be no relationship with Betsy DeVos.”  The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund said that the senators who voted for DeVos “were shamefully derelict in their constitutional duty of advice and consent.” Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate HELP Committee, said that ‘She would start her job with no credibility inside the agency she is supposed to lead, with no influence in Congress--as the punchline in a late night comedy show- and without the confidence of the American people. A vote for Betsy DeVos is a vote for a secretary of education who is likely to succeed only in further dividing us on education issues.”

But DeVos had her supporters too. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) noted that President Trump…”chose an outsider, someone much like himself. …someone more interested in results, rather than paying homage to and feeding the education establishment right here in Washington D.C.” Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce said that DeVos enters office with the “chance to prove to those who organized this malicious and personal campaign against her that they were wrong.” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chair of the Senate HELP Committee, said, “I think she’ll be an excellent secretary.” Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), one of two Republicans who voted against DeVos, tweeted “Although I did not vote in favor of Betsy DeVos, now that she’s been confirmed it is important we work together as she takes over.”

Indeed, DeVos appeared conciliatory and inclusive on her first day in office. In live-streamed comments to the assembled Department of Education staff, she said she wanted to “come together, find common ground and put the needs of our students first.” She said she was a “’door open’ type of person who listens more than she speaks.” Yesterday DeVos visited Howard University, an HBCU in Washington DC. Today she visited Jefferson Academy, a middle school in Washington, DC.

See: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2017/02/07/betty-devos-education-secretary-confirmation/97589282/

See: https://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/secretary-betsy-devos-remarks-department-education

2. House Rescinds Two Obama Era Education Regulations. On the other side of the Capitol on Feb. 7, the House passed resolutions revoking two sets of Obama education regulations: the ESSA accountability regulations (H.J. Res. 57) and the HEA teacher prep regulations (H.J.Res. 58).  H.J. Res. 57 was offered by Rep. Todd Rokita (R-In), chair of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education while H.J. Res. 58 was offered by Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), new chair of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training. Votes on both resolutions were largely partisan; however, a few democrats did cross party lines to support the repeal of each set of regulations. Education organizations are split on the accountability regulations, with many civil rights and related organizations actively supporting them. Few seem to be championing the teacher prep regulations which have garnered considerable skepticism from both the higher ed and K-12 community since their inception five years ago.

Many Democrats in both chambers are opposed to using the Congressional Review Act as a mechanism for repealing regulations believing that executive agencies should have the authority to regulate.

Both resolutions are expected to be introduced in the Senate soon, perhaps next week.

See:  http://edworkforce.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=401239

See:  http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2017/roll085.xml

3. House Republicans Seek to Abolish Department of Education. Just as the Senate was confirming a new Sec. of Education, several House Republicans led by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), introduced a bill which would abolish the U.S. Department of Education. One sentence long, the bill states:

“The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018.”

Original co-sponsors of the bill include: Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID).

Upon introduction Massie stated:

"Unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. should not be in charge of our children’s intellectual and moral development. States and local communities are best positioned to shape curricula that meet the needs of their students. Schools should be accountable. Parents have the right to choose the most appropriate educational opportunity for their children, including home school, public school, or private school."

It is unlikely that this bill will garner enough support to move forward for serious consideration, but we shall see!

See:  https://massie.house.gov/newsroom/press-releases/rep-massie-introduces-bill-to-abolish-federal-department-of-education

4. New Report Out on the Impact of Cutting Medicaid on Education. AASA, the School Superintendents Association, has released Cutting Medicaid: A Prescription to Hurt the Neediest.  The report:

  • outlines findings from a AASA survey
  • highlights how students with disabilities and low-income students will be particularly impacted by a per-capita cap or Medicaid block grant
  • describes how communities will be economically affected by a per-capita cap or Medicaid block-grant for school districts
  • details the potential of districts to lose critical mental health supports for students that are reimbursable by Medicaid
  • notes how recent district efforts to expand Medicaid coverage to students and their families will be undermined by a block grant or per-capita cap

When Congress revisits a replacement for Obamacare, it will be examining Medicaid and making determinations that could significantly affect students and schools, particularly low income students and students with disabilities. This is important to watch.

See: http://aasa.org/uploadedFiles/Policy_and_Advocacy/Resources/medicaid.pdf

5. Teacher Shortages Continue to Grow. The Learning Policy Institute issued Addressing California’s Growing Teacher Shortage:  2017 Update this week. The findings continue to paint a bleak picture concluding that shortages have worsened in the last year, particularly in special education, math and science. Findings include:

  • The number of teachers entering the field is near historic lows while the need for new teachers continues to rise
  • Significantly more students are being taught by underprepared teachers
  • More special education teachers are entering the classroom on substandard credentials than are entering with full credentials
  • Shortages disproportionately impact low-income and minority students

Recommendations to address the shortages include:

  • Targeted service scholarships or loan forgiveness
  • Teacher residency models and other high-retention teacher prep programs
  • Eliminate barriers to re-entry for retired teachers in shortage fields, or postpone their exit from the field

My thoughts:

There appears to be little to no evidence that teacher shortages are shrinking anywhere in the country. And the pipeline preparing future teachers continues to shrink. Lowering teacher standards to address the shortages is not a strategy that will lead to strong student outcomes. In my view, this is a national crisis. Any school reform initiative that may be put forward depends on a highly skilled workforce.  Without it, no reform will work. A thriving economy and a thriving democracy depend on a well-educated citizenry. It’s time for a national strategy to be developed and implemented to address this challenge.   What do you think? Tweet me at @janewestdc

See:  https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/addressing-californias-growing-teacher-shortage-2017-update-report

My rickety knee and I have decided to part ways next week. So I will be getting to know my shiny new knee and taking a break from Washington Update for a couple of weeks. I’ll be back as soon as I can, and hope to stay connected with you on twitter @janewestdc.

 

February 3, 2017

Dear Colleagues:

Betsy DeVos is on her way to be our next Secretary of Education; the teacher prep regs and the ESSA accountability regs are on the chopping block. But there are plenty of sticky wickets along the way.

1. Betsy DeVos:  A Political First?

Unless you were sleeping all week, you know the week was rife with drama around the nomination of Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education. First there was the Senate HELP Committee meeting. Chairman Alexander (R-TN) called for a vote which yielded a straight party line result (12 Rs supporting and 11 Ds opposing). Democrats objected to the result noting that Sen. Hatch (R-UT) cast his vote by proxy, violating Committee rules and thus nullifying his vote. This would leave the vote at a tie: 11-11, therefore not moving her nomination to the floor with approval by the Committee. After much contentious back and forth among the formerly amicable and bi-partisan Committee members, Sen. Hatch returned to the Committee and cast his vote live. With a final vote of 12-11 the nomination of Betsy DeVos was forwarded to the full Senate with Committee support.

Later in the week, two Republican Senators -- both of whom are on the HELP Committee and had expressed reservations during the Committee vote -- announced that they would be opposing DeVos in the final floor vote. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) cited their reservations about her knowledge of public education and the multiple phone calls they had received raising further concerns. In fact, multiple Senate offices have been overwhelmed with calls opposing DeVos. One office I was in last week told me they had received 30,000 phone calls in opposition!  Many who attempted to call reported being unable to get through. Advocates have been aggressively pursuing targeted Republicans in hopes of finding one who would turn the tide, but to no avail as of yet.

Meanwhile DeVos supporters have prepared TV ads pointing the finger at her opponents as “full of rage and hate” since DeVos “angers the extreme left because she exposes their hypocrisy.  DeVos wants low-income kids to have the same choices that liberal elitists have for their families.”  One of the ads is sponsored by America Next, a group overseen by former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.

The Senate voted at 6:30 this morning to proceed to full consideration of the DeVos nomination and a final vote on Tuesday. Debate on her nomination will likely begin Monday night. The vote line up appears to be 50 in support and 50 opposed with VP Mike Pence ready to cast the tie breaker which would result in a final 51-50 DeVos victory. If this occurs, it would be the first time in history that a cabinet nominee was confirmed by a tie-breaking vote from the Vice President.  Sen. Alexander and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer have both expressed confidence that she will be confirmed.

Many have speculated about whether DeVos will sustain damage as a result of this process if she does assume the Secretary’s position. She certainly has garnered more opposition than any nominee probably ever for this position. Her performance at her confirmation hearing will long be remembered for her grizzly bear comment and her lack of knowledge about IDEA among other things. Education groups which routinely work with the Department will likely approach her administration with great skepticism.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/betsy-devos-weakened-secretary-education-234580

http://mobile.edweek.org/c.jsp?cid=25920011&item=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.edweek.org%2Fv1%2Fblog%2F49%2F%3Fuuid%3D64845

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/01/31/512507538/under-devos-heres-how-school-choice-might-work

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/defections-put-devos-nomination-peril-n715521

2. Congress Moves to Repeal ESSA Accountability Regs and Teacher Prep Regs

The House and Senate are moving to repeal a range of Obama Administration regulations across the federal government including in education. The top two on the target list for education were the subject of Resolutions introduced in the House this week. On Wednesday, Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), chair of the House Subcommittee on k-12 education introduced House Joint Resolution 57 targeting the ESSA accountability regulations. Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) introduced House Joint Resolution 58 which would rescind the teacher preparation regulations. Both resolutions are allowed by the Congressional Review Act, a law which enables Congress to repeal regulations within certain parameters. If they are overturned, the Trump Administration is prohibited from issuing “substantially similar” regulations. No one seems to know what “substantially similar” actually means, as it has never been tested. The Act has only been utilized once since its inception -- for repeal of an ergonomics rule years ago.

Both resolutions are likely to move quickly in the House, possibly as early as next Tuesday. The Rules Committee meets Monday at 5 pm to determine how they will proceed. While Democrats will likely oppose the overturning of the Obama regulations, Republicans will support the resolutions bringing probable swift passage since only a simple majority is required. Both sets of regulations have detractors and supporters in the education community. However, a broad set of 35 national stakeholder organizations (including both unions, higher education organizations and the NGA) have united to raise concerns about the teacher preparation regulations.

Since ESSA state plans are due in April or September, states are eager for clarity. If the accountability regulations are rescinded, there will need to be clear direction from the Department so states are able to move forward confidently in developing and submitting their plans. Supporters of the regulations argue that their repeal would cause confusion and muddle early implementation of ESSA.

The Senate is likely to introduce companion resolutions soon, but no word yet on when.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-joint-resolution/58/text/ih?overview=closed&format=xml

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-joint-resolution/57/text/ih?overview=closed&format=txt

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2017/02/house_scrap_essa_teacher_rules.html

https://secure.aacte.org/apps/rl/res_get.php?fid=3123&ref=res

3. New Hires at the Department of Education

The following names have been listed as new hires at the Department of Education.

  • Matt Frendewey, former national communications director for the American Federation for Children (group Betsy DeVos chaired)
  • Nate Bailey
  • Michael Brickman
  • Gillum Ferguson
  • Ebony Lee
  • Laura Rigas
  • Jana Toner

4. Thoughts on the Future of Special Education: Supreme Court Meets the Trump Administration

Written by the parent of a young man with autism, this article offers interesting reflections on the future of special education.

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/01/is-the-bar-too-low-for-special-education/514241/

Wishing you a wonderful Super Bowl weekend!  I will be in Philly avoiding all sporting events!

By the way, Washington Updates are now posted on my website in case you want to look back at them for reference http://www.janewestconsulting.com/

See you on the tweet machine @janewestdc

 

January 20, 2017

Dear Colleagues:

The changing of the guard is complete in Washington as Donald Trump has become the 45th President of the United States. It has been a high profile and controversial week in Washington for education.

1. Donald J. Trump Sworn in as President

President Donald Trump made his first comments about education today during his inaugural speech at the Capitol. He said we  have … “an education system flush with cash but leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.”   Twitter blew up after this comment (do get on twitter if you aren’t!) challenging both aspects of the comment. In fact, funding for education in states is below pre-recession 2008 levels. The notion of students being deprived of all knowledge….well….seems a big exaggerated, don’t you think?

Education nominee Betsy DeVos appeared to be on the dais with other cabinet nominees at the swearing in at the Capitol. After the swearing in President Trump signed the official nomination forms, including the one for DeVos, offering  to Speaker Ryan a signing pen to pass on to her.

For inaugural address see: http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/20/politics/trump-inaugural-address/index.html

2. DeVos Vote Likely Tuesday January 31 at 10:00 AM in Senate HELP Committee

The hearing of Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos has been widely covered by the press and I hope you were able to listen in. The hearing is recorded and available on the HELP Committee website. (See link below.) Democrats grilled the nominee about a wide range of issues and repeated a refrain urging Chairman Alexander (R-TN) to allow more than one round of questioning at five minutes each. Chairman Alexander argued that he was following precedent. Because the Committee had not received the full financial disclosure materials or ethics agreement from Ms. DeVos at the time of the hearing, Democrats asked for more time to vet the nominee. Mr. Alexander was unyielding, offering only that he would not hold a committee vote on the nominee until her ethics form was complete.

Today the Committee received the full financial disclosure information (108 pages) in addition to the ethics agreement, so it appears that the Committee will vote on her nomination on January 31 at 10:00 AM ET unless new developments occur. The full Senate may well take up her nomination the week of Jan. 30.

DeVos made troubling comments at the hearing which have alarmed some education advocates, particularly in relation to special education:

  • At one point DeVos indicated that enforcement of IDEA would be up to the states. When asked  if all schools receiving federal funds should have to meet the requirements of IDEA, she responded that that was “worth discussion.” She later noted she was confused about the question related to IDEA and that when federal funds were involved the federal law must be followed.
  • She told Sen. Maggie Hassan (who is the parent of a young man with significant disabilities) that if confirmed she would be sensitive to the needs of special needs students. Hassan noted that what was of concern was not her sensitivity but her willingness to enforce the law.
  • When Sen. Collins asked if she would be willing to look for ways to fully fund IDEA to meet the 40% promise, DeVos urged consideration of a different approach – the federal money going to the students directly, rather than to the states (i.e. vouchers).

Other issues of concern include enforcement of Title IX requirements, robust civil rights enforcement, commitment to public schools, equal accountability for charter schools and other public schools, her lack of any experience in education, her potential conflicts of interest with her considerable investments and Board participation, her historic support of organizations that are opposed to LGBTQ equity, her apparent support of guns in schools and her favoring of voucher expansion. Many civil rights groups have come out opposing her nomination and urging Senators to vote against her. Many education organizations have issued letters of concern with some requesting delay on votes until she answers additional questions. (Senators submitted numerous questions in writing to her yesterday.) At the hearing Sen. Alexander included in to the record 92 letters of support for DeVos which he received, including one from a home schooling organization and one from Republican governors.

With the Senate being controlled by Republicans with a 52-48 majority, it appears that DeVos will receive the 50 votes she needs to be confirmed as Secretary of Education. (Remember Vice President Pence would be the tie-breaker in case of a 50-50 vote.) Though Sen. Murkowski (R-AL) expressed concern about the efficacy of vouchers in a rural state and Sen. Collins (R-ME) urged full funding for IDEA at the hearing, it does not appear at this point that any Republicans will be opposing her.

Recording of hearing:  http://www.help.senate.gov/hearings/nomination-of-betsy-devos-to-serve-as-secretary-of-education

See:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/01/18/six-astonishing-things-betsy-devos-said-and-refused-to-say-at-her-confirmation-hearing/?utm_term=.55a988ffa2fc

See: http://www.civilrights.org/action_center/betsy-devos-is-public.html

 

3. Department of Education Summary of Loan Forgiveness for Teachers

For decades a number of loan forgiveness programs have been in place, intended as an incentive for people to become teachers. They have not been marketed widely, nor have they been used as extensively as they could be. Just before turning out the lights at the Department of Education, a summary of the options was released which could be very useful for potential teachers and for those seeking to recruit people into teaching. Given the substantial teacher shortages around the country, these program could make a big difference.

https://blog.ed.gov/2017/01/4-loan-forgiveness-programs-for-teachers/?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/sites/default/files/product-files/How_Effective_Are-Loan_Forgiveness_and_Service-Scholarships_Recruiting_Teachers.pdf

I will be out of pocket at a conference next week. Washington Update will return February 3. See you on twitter @janewestdc

 

January 6, 2017

Dear Colleagues:

Welcome to the New Year!  This is going to be an action packed January so let’s fasten our seatbelts!

1. The 115th Congress Reconvenes in High Gear

Wasting no time the 115th Congress reconvened on Jan. 3. Republicans are eager to flex their muscles and demonstrate results, given that they now control the Senate, the House and shortly the White House.

A first order of business is confirming President-elect Trump’s cabinet nominees.  January may be explosive with back to back nomination hearings on controversial candidates.  Multiple hearings for multiple nominees are scheduled on the same day (e.g on Jan. 11, six different hearings are scheduled for 6 nominees in 6 different committees) as part of a strategy to confound Democratic opposition, which is building for some of the most controversial nominees, such as Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) for Attorney General.  While Democrats will move to slow down the process by seeking additional disclosure information from nominees and asking lengthy questions at hearings and for the record,  it appears that most nominees in the end will be confirmed.  Republicans are hoping to have many nominee’s confirmed by the full Senate prior to the Jan. 20th swearing in.

The three policy priorities for the first 100 days look to be repealing Obamacare, eliminating many Obama era regulations (including in education) and beginning restructuring the tax code. This week the House began the process by passing a budget bill that sets the stage to roll back Obamacare.

Both the Senate and the House have confirmed their leadership for the 115th Congress with the most notable change being the election of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to be Senate minority leader, taking the place of retired Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV). Committee memberships are still falling into place and will sort themselves out over the next month.

2. Senate HELP Committee Hearing on Sec. of Education Nominee Betsy DeVos Set for January 11

One of multiple confirmation hearings set for Jan. 11 in the Senate is that of controversial Betsy DeVos, President-elect Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education.  Democrats on the committee and many in the education community are working overtime digging into her background and raising concerns.  She will likely be portrayed as an enemy of public education lacking the qualifications for the job of Secretary. Democratic and related developments include:

  • Six Democratic Members of the HELP Committee (Whitehouse, Casey, Baldwin, Sanders, Franken and Warren) issued a letter to nominee DeVos asking for detailed clarification on her past political and financial activities related to a range of orgnizations;
  • Two progressive groups, End Citizens United and Every Voice called on the five Republican members of the HELP Committee who received campaign donations from DeVos to recuse themselves from the nomination vote; (DeVos allies responded that all Democratic Senators on the Committee who received campaign contributions from teacher unions should be asked to recuse themselves as well);
  • 33 civil rights groups and unions issued a statement of concerns about the DeVos nomination noting that her record “demonstrate{s} a lack of respect and appreciation for the diversity of our nation’s classrooms and fail{s} to recognize a long and pernicious history of discrimination against groups of students.”
  • The NEA and the AFT have crafted “Open Letter: A Commitment to Student Success in Public Schools” voicing dissatisfaction with the nomination and urging people to sign on.

Senate Republicans appear united in their support of DeVos. Chairman Alexander (R-TN) noted early on that she was an “excellent choice” to lead the Department and that the Committee would move swiftly on her confirmation. Former Presidential candidate and education reformer Jeb Bush has been an active supporter of Betsy DeVos and will likely continue to play a role if she is confirmed. At least two organizations have submitted letters of support for DeVos:

  • The Home School Legal Defense Association noted that she “is dedicated to building an education system that will effectively support and facilitate the education of all students, everywhere, no matter their background, interests or personal needs.”
  • The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools noted that “As a result of her work with organizations dedicated to education reform, countless children throughout America are now able to access a higher quality education.”

Reports are that Senators on the HELP Committee are receiving multiple calls both supporting and opposing DeVos. Calling your Senator to voice your opinion always makes a difference, as the offices keep tallies of how many are for and against, thus taking the temperature of their constituents. These calls do matter as Senators make up their minds how to vote.

Note that three new members of the HELP Committee have been announced:  For the Democrats Tim Kaine (VA) and Maggie Hassan (NH) and for the Republicans Todd Young (IN).

You can watch the hearing live (link below) Wednesday January 11 at 10 AM.  I will be there so follow me on twitter @janewestdc.

To watch hearing: http://www.help.senate.gov/hearings/nomination-of-betsy-devos-to-serve-as-secretary-of-education

See: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2016/12/civil_rights_groups_blast_devos_diversity.html

For NEA/AFT letter: https://preaprez.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/nea-and-aft-call-to-action-against-devos-nomination/

 3. Trump’s Education Team Grows

The Trump team has announced that Rob Goad will serve as the education policy leader on the White House Domestic Policy Council, a role held for the last 8 years by former Kennedy staffer Roberto Rodriguez. Goad was a top staffer to Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN), a prominent school choice champion in the Congress. Messer founded the Congressional School Choice Caucus, a group where Goad served as director. Goad also worked with the Trump team to devise the $20 billion choice proposal that has become the centerpiece of Trump’s education policy.

Trump’s landing team at the Department of Education has been joined by Kent Talbert, former general counsel for the department under George W. Bush, and Kathleen Madigan Rebarber, co-founder and president of the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE), a controversial teacher certification program.

See: https://greatagain.gov/agency-landing-teams-54916f71f462#.2m9ocnqoj

4. Obama Ed Department Securing Legacy in Final Days

On December 28 at 2:23 AM the Department of Education issued 25 emails (!) with a range of announcements including new regulations, guidance, reports, fact sheets and grant competitions.  The topics of the emails range from early childhood to higher education to literacy to research to Title IX violations. Among the announcements were three sets of guidance related to the civil rights of students with disabilities. Included is a parent and educator resource guide, a Dear Colleague letter and a question and answer document on the rights of students with disabilities in charter schools.

Still pending is the issuance of the final supplement not supplant regulations under ESSA which were quite controversial in draft form. With only two weeks left before the end of the Obama term, we may be at the end of the road.

See:  https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/fact-sheet-equity-idea?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

  1. Teacher Recruitment Strategies Lacking

The Center for American Progress released a report examining the teacher recruitment strategies of school districts. They determined that strategies are "hyperlocal, untargeted, or nonexistent." The Center surveyed 108 districts and found that many are lacking in offering mentoring new teachers and recruiting diverse candidates. The report notes that an average district has "1.8 employees assigned to recruitment and a student population of 3,721.” Few travel to college or university job fairs and even fewer travel out of state for recruitment.

See: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education/reports/2016/12/22/295574/to-attract-great-teachers-school-districts-must-improve-their-human-capital-systems/

Wishing you a relaxing weekend with good weather and good health!  See you on twitter @janewestdc

 

December 9, 2016

Dear Colleagues:

Congress is wrapping up and leaving town and the Trump Administration is moving into place.

1. In Final Act, the 114th Congress Funds the Government Temporarily through April 28, and Moves  to Adjourn

Yesterday the House passed another continuing resolution (CR) which will fund the government through April 28, 2017.  Passed by a vote of 326-96, the bill includes a 0.19% across the board cut for all programs including education.  This cut keeps the funding level under the mandated budget caps for FY 2017.  Despite a last minute Democratic hold up over health care benefits for coal miners, the Senate is expected to follow suit and pass the bill today, sending both bodies home for the holidays.

One notable provision in the bill related to education is the funding made available (from current unobligated funds) for the DC voucher program – the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act.  This program was not supported by the Obama Administration and funding for it has been frozen.  This freeing up of this funding certainly reflects the new Administration’s anticipated support for expanding vouchers.

The April 28 date was chosen with the urging of the incoming Administration giving time to the new Congress to focus on confirming cabinet nominations and addressing the repeal of Obama Care in the early days of 2017.  April 28 will be anticipated as the next date where action must be taken to keep the government open and funds flowing.   At that time, deliberation for the FY 2018 budget (which should be in place by October 1, 2017) will also be well underway and the need to extend the debt ceiling will be paramount, requiring astute multitasking by all involved!

See: http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=394665

See: http://democrats.appropriations.house.gov/sites/democrats.appropriations.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Summary%20of%20Dec2016%20CR.pdf

See: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/spending-stopgap-congress-232363

 

2. Department of Education Issues Final ESSA Regulations on Assessment

As it moves to the end of the Obama Administration, the Department of Education continues to issue final regulations under ESSA.  This week the assessment regulations were issued, including rules for new pilots where up to 7 states can experiment with new assessments.  This is a package of regulations that had consensus during the negotiated rulemaking sessions and little was changed since that time.  The controversial “supplement not supplant” regulations have not yet been issued.

See:  http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/essaassessmentfactsheet1207.pdf

See:  http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2016/12/obama_administration_releases_.html?_ga=1.67868309.589128606.1425909031

 

3. Teacher Preparation: Department of Education Issues Guidance on Regulations; NCTQ Issues New Report

Following up on the release of the final regulations on teacher preparation programs, the Department of Education issued guidance intended to assist in the implementation of the regulations, which are now in effect.  Discussions continue on Capitol Hill regarding  overturning the regulations early in the new Congress.  A number of national education and related organizations continue to object to the regulations and advocate repeal.

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released a new review this week which considers nearly 900 elementary teacher preparation programs.  The report notes that significant progress has been made, particularly in relation to reading instruction.  The report notes that just about a quarter of programs draw teacher candidates from the top half of college goers based on GPA/SAT/ACT scores; however selectivity has improved.  NCTQ bases its assessments of programs on a review of documents related to the program, such as syllabi.

See: http://www2.ed.gov/documents/teacherprep/teacher-prep-reporting-guidance.pdf

See: https://secure.aacte.org/apps/rl/res_get.php?fid=3123&ref=res

See: http://www.nctq.org/teacherPrep/findings/landscapes.do

 

4. Obama Administration Highlights Civil Rights Accomplishments in Education and the Need for Continued Vigilance

This week the Department of Education sponsored a gathering that featured past Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and current Secretary John King to reflect on the accomplishments and road ahead for the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education.  Many advocates are concerned about possible cutting back, or even elimination of this office, under a Trump Administration.  This has been an active office under President Obama. The Office issued a report documenting that over 76,000 complaints were received during the Obama Administration and a remarkable amount has been accomplished with a record low staff of 563 full time employees.  The office has been particularly active in relation to Title IX addressing sexual assault on campuses and the use of bathrooms of choice by transgender students.  The office administers the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) which has provided significant information that was vital to addressing matters ranging from the equitable distribution of experienced teachers to inequitable impact of school discipline procedures on minority students.

In a related report, the White House updated the status of work on school discipline which has been undertaken by the My Brother’s Keeper initiative.  Titled The Continuing Need to Rethink Discipline, the report reviews a wide ranging set of activities and accomplishments intended to ensure that all students experience welcome and safe climates in school.

See: http://www2.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/ocr/achieving-simple-justice.pdf?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

See: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/school_discipline_report_-_120916.pdf

 

5. Members of Congress Introduce Education Bills Just Before Adjournment

Two important education bills were introduced late this week, serving as markers for the 115th Congress.  Both bills will be re-introduced in the 115th Congress when additional co-sponsors will be sought.

HR 6472:  The Teachers and Parents at the Table Act introduced by Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).  This bill amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to create two advisory committees: one comprised of teachers and one comprised of parents.  The committees would provide feedback on the implementation and impact of ESSA to policy makers and make recommendations for improvements.

The RISE Act: The Respond, Innovate, Support and Empower Students with Disabilities Act introduced by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA).   This bill amends the Higher Education Act to clarify the documentation an institution of higher education must accept when considering whether an enrolled student has a disability, create a TA center to support students and families in accessing disability-relevant information about higher education and to support higher education faculty in accommodating students with disabilities and providing effective instruction.

For HR 6472:  https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/6472?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22HR+6472%22%5D%7D&r=1

For the RISE Act:  http://www.ncld.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/RISE-Act-Updated-Text-12.6.16.pdf  and  http://www.ncld.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/RISE-Act-One-Pager-12.5.16.pdf

 

6. A Busy January:  115th Congress; the Trump Administration; the Supreme Court

The 115th Congress is expected to reconvene January 3 and work intensively on confirming President elect Trump’s cabinet nominees prior to his swearing in as President on January 20.  It is interesting to note that nominee for Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s confirmation hearing before the Senate HELP Committee was held January 13 and he was unanimously approved by the full Senate on January 20.  We are expecting the confirmation hearing for Secretary of Education nominee Besty DeVos to be around January 11, with Senate approval likely  a week or so later.  While Ms. DeVos will surely receive stringent vetting and extensive questioning (both at the hearing and in writing), it appears that she will move through the process rather swiftly – unless of course an unanticipated event occurs.  Other cabinet nominees will be on similar timetables.  Historically, the Senate leans toward approving a President’s cabinet nominations, even if there are stringent objections by some, as they are needed for the government to function and appointing the cabinet is considered part and parcel of winning the presidential election.  Only 51 votes (not the 60 often required) are required for confirmation.  Thus, even if all Democrats objected, nominees could be confirmed.

The Congress is also expected to bring up a bill in early January, called “Reconciliation,” which will allow for a fast track move to repeal Obamacare.  This bill also requires only 51 votes to pass in the Senate, so it is likely to move quickly.

Across the street at the Supreme Court, January 11 marks the day that the court will hear an important IDEA case:  Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District.  The case involves a student with autism whose parents pulled him out of the county school district because they believed he was not making meaningful educational progress.  The parents argue that the school district should pay his private school tuition.  The case will consider the level of benefit that IDEA requires for a student e.g. should it be “meaningful,” or “some” or “just above trivial” etc.  Over 100 current and former members of Congress submitted a brief noting that “it strains credulity to think that Congress would have expended the time and effort to enact and amend {the IDEA}merely to give each student with a disability “just above de minimis’ educational benefit.”  Many national disability and related organizations also filed amicus briefs supporting the family.

See: http://heavy.com/news/2016/12/donald-trump-cabinet-nominees-approved-approval-process-will-be-rejected-confirmed-by-senate-block-democrats-republicans-filibuster-oppose-jeff-sessions-steven-muchin-votes/

See:  http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/trump-cabinet-democrats-senate-232136

See: http://www.denverpost.com/2016/09/29/supreme-court-douglas-county-student-disabilities-case/

See:http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/speced/2016/09/court_special_education_benefit_case.html

Washington Update will resume in January.   I wish you all a wonderful holiday season!  See you on twitter @janewestdc.   If you haven’t yet joined the twitter world, make it your new year’s resolution!  That’s what I did last year and now I’m hooked!

 

 

December 2, 2016

Dear Colleagues:

The Trump Administration is moving into place and the 114th Congress is moving toward closure next week.

1. Congress on the Brink of Passing Another Temporary Funding Bill Through March 2017

Next Friday, December 9, funding for the federal government will end; Congress is poised to pass another temporary funding measure which will continue government funds through the end of March, 2017.  It is likely that this next Continuing Resolution (CR) will keep virtually all programs funded at current levels with a small across the board cut, similar to the .5% cut that was included in the CR that is currently in place.  This funding measure may be unveiled as early as Monday, December 5.  It appears that Congress may well adjourn by the end of next week – a change of pace, as recent Congresses have frequently worked right up until Christmas.

Having a temporary FY 2017 funding measure in a position to expire at the same time the FY 2018 budget process is beginning will be complicated.  The Trump Administration will likely be releasing a funding blueprint for FY 2018 just as decisions need to be made on how to complete funding for FY 2017.  It is challenging to create a new budget when it is unclear what the last budget was.  To complicate this prospect, Congress is likely to invoke a budget-related process -- called reconciliation -- early in the new year. In fact, Congress may move two budget bills early in 2017 followed by two reconciliation bills, which will be used to repeal Obamacare and revise the tax code – two major Trump campaign promises.  Reconciliation is a preferred vehicle for significant change since it only requires a simple majority vote of 51 in the Senate, rather than the usual 60.  Thus, the bills could pass with no bi-partisan support.

These complex budget decisions will be underway as the Congress moves quickly to confirmation hearings for the new Cabinet members nominated by incoming President Trump.  January and February will be a busy time in Washington!

See: http://crfb.org/blogs/appropriations-watch-fy-2017

 

2. Department of Education Releases Final ESSA Accountability Regulations

As it wraps up business in the last days of the Obama Administration, the Department of Education issued final ESSA Accountability and State Plan regulations this week.  The original proposal proved controversial, drawing ire from teachers unions as well as HELP Committee Chair, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), both believing that the Department was overstepping its authority by prescribing additional requirements.  Sen. Alexander noted that he would have moved to overturn the earlier version of the regulation but is now carefully reviewing the final version.  The National Governor’s Association noted that the final rule was a compromise taking into account the needs of states and the civil rights community. Both unions continue to raise concerns over the incorporation of the 95% assessment participation rate into the accountability systems that states will develop.  Lilly Eskelsen Garcia, President of the NEA, noted that while there were improvements in the new regulations, they “continue to punish schools that do not test at least 95% of the students because parents decided to opt their children out of standardized testing.”

State plans on how they will implement the new law are due either April 3, 2017 or September 18, 2017.  The Trump team at the Department of Education will review and approve the new plans.  Some civil rights groups worry that the review may not be rigorous and may lean toward providing states wide latitude, as Republicans believe a key goal of ESSA is state flexibility.

Some key features of the regulations:

  • States have until the 2018-19 school year to identify schools for comprehensive and targeted support and improvement
  • States set their own ambitious goals and measurements of interim progress for academic outcomes
  • States will create robust multi-indicator statewide accountability systems for all public schools including all public charter schools; indicators must:
    • Be the same for all public schools
    • Include valid, reliable and comparable measures disaggregated by subgroup
    • Measure each of the following:
      • Academic achievement
      • Graduation rates for high schools and academic progress for elementary and middle schools
      • Progress in attaining English language proficiency
      • At least one state-selected indicator of school quality of student success (which may vary for schools in different grade spans)
    • State accountability systems must meaningfully differentiate schools by using summative determinations in at least three categories:
      • The categories can be the same as those that ESSA requires (needs comprehensive support and improvement; needs targeted support and improvement; other schools) or the state may develop it’s own system of summative determinations
      • States must report school’s overall result alongside performance on each individual indicator on a data dashboard or similar mechanism
    • While state accountability systems do not prescribe specific weights for indicators, there are guidelines to ensure that certain indicators are afforded “substantial” and “much greater” weight than others, as required by the statute
    • States much take into account whether the 95% participation rate for statewide assessments is met by each school as part of the accountability system
    • For schools which need improvement plans, they must review the inequitable distribution of teachers in terms of ineffectiveness, out-of-field placement and inexperience – and devise a plan for how to address inequities that are found.
    • Broad, robust and transparent consultation with a diverse representative group of stakeholders is required at multiple points during the design, development and implementation of state plans.

See: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/essaaccountstplans1129.pdf

See: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/index.html

 

3. President-Elect Trump  Nominates Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education

Incoming President Donald J. Trump has nominated Betsy DeVos as his Secretary of Education.  DeVos is a high profile school choice and voucher advocate active in Republican politics as both a donor and party leader.  Her nomination was lauded by many notable Republicans including Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) who said this was “great news for those of us who care about educational freedom, local control for parents and more opportunity for all.”   Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called her an “outstanding pick.”  HELP Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) called her an “excellent choice” and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) lauded her as a future Secretary of Education.  Some from the right raised concerns about her past support of Common Core, though she subsequently noted that she does not support Common Core.

On the left, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate HELP Committee, which will conduct her nomination hearing, said she will want DeVos to address some of Trump’s troubling statements during the campaign and that she will want to explore civil rights, equal opportunity, Trump’s views on sexual assault and harassment and more.  Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), a member of the HELP Committee noted that he has some serious questions for DeVos.   “I want to know how Congress would put someone who has spent her life trying to strip funding from public schools in charge of those very schools,” he said.

The Network for Public Education, headed by education activist Diane Ravitch, has launched an effort to defeat her nomination urging people to reach out to their Senators to oppose her.  “Betsy DeVos’ hostility to public schools makes her unfit to be secretary of Education…She has a long record of supporting private and religious schools, not public schools.  Those of us who believe that public education is a public responsibility, not a consumer good, must resist her nomination,” Ravitch said.

DeVos and her husband, Dick DeVos, have made donations to the re-election efforts of several Republicans who sit on the HELP Committee -- which will conduct her nomination hearing -- including Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC).

The nomination hearing in the Senate HELP Committee will likely take place early in the new year and it is guaranteed to be a rigorous vetting.

See: http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/307395-trump-offers-betsy-devos-job-of-education-secretary-report

See: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/trump-picks-billionaire-betsy-devos-school-voucher-advocate-as-education-secretary/2016/11/23/c3d66b94-af96-11e6-840f-e3ebab6bcdd3_story.html?utm_term=.7dda4e02140e

See: http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2016-11-23/betsy-devos-named-secretary-of-education

 

4. Trump Education Transition Team Transitioning!

This week a number of shifts were announced on the Trump transition and “landing” teams.  The “landing” team is the on-the-ground Trump staff in the Department of Education who work there ahead of time to understand the operations of the Department.

  • Gerard Robinson of the American Enterprise Institute left the transition team with no explanation.
  • Attorney Thomas Wheeler was named to the “landing” team at the Department of education.  Wheeler was general counsel to VP-elect Mike Pence when he was Governor of Indiana and has extensive experience representing schools on legal issues.
  • Robert Goad, a staffer of Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN), officially joined the transition team.  Goad took leave from Messer’s office to help draft candidate Trump’s school choice plan.
  • Townsend McNitt, former HELP Committee staffer,  will serve as the “sherpa” for Betsy DeVos, guiding her through the confirmation process in the Senate.
  • James Manning, former education official in George W. Bush’s Department of Education, remains on the transition team as does William Evers, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and former advisor to Sec. Margaret Spellings.

See:http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaignk12/2016/11/trump_education_transition_team.html

 

5. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) Will Chair House Committee on Education and the Workforce

Today House Republicans officially chose Rep. Virgina Foxx to replace Rep. John Kline (R-MN) as chair of the Committee on Education and the Workforce.  A colorful conservative and frequent vocal critic of President Obama’s education policies, Foxx is a former community college president.

See: http://foxx.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=398966

 

6. New Report to Guide States in Defining “Teacher Ineffectiveness” Under ESSA

ESSA requires states to create multiple definitions as they develop their accountability systems and write their first state plans.   Those include the definition of “inexperienced” “ineffective” and “out-of field” for teachers.  AIR’s Center on Great Teachers and Leaders has issued Teacher Effectiveness in the Every Student Succeeds Act: A Discussion Guide. The guide outlines four possible approaches in defining ineffective teachers:

  • Use evaluation systems to define “ineffective teacher”
  • Engage stakeholders to select from available indicators of effectiveness to develop a new measure for use statewide
  • Use the state definition of “highly qualified” teacher
  • Allow LEAs to develop a locally specific definition within a set of parameters

See: http://www.gtlcenter.org/products-resources/teacher-effectiveness-every-student-succeeds-act-discussion-guide

 

7. New Resource for Advocacy

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) has launched an Action Alert system as a part of its new Advocacy Center.  Anyone can sign up for the alerts.  You do not have to be an AACTE member to participate.  The alerts will let you know about issues related to teacher preparation as they come up on Capitol Hill and with the Administration.  They will provide an easy way to make your voice heard.    Use the link below to sign up.

http://aacte.org/policy-and-advocacy/advocacy-center

Wishing you all a great weekend.  See you on Twitter @janewestdc!

 

November 18, 2016

Dear Colleagues:

Washington Update is pleased to be back with you as we navigate through the end of the 114th Congress and the Obama Administration as well as the transitions to President Trump and the  115th Congress, which will begin in January, 2017.  There is a lot to consider in this new terrain!

1. The 114th Congress Reconvenes for the Final Lame Duck Session:  Education Spending on the Table

Congress adjourned before the election with a Continuing Resolution (CR) in place funding the government temporarily until December 9.  Since the election and the resulting strengthening of Republicans, there have been daily shifts in possible strategies regarding the next step in appropriations for FY 2017 (which we are in now and ends September 30, 2017).

Yesterday, House and Senate Republican leadership, in apparent consultation with the Trump team, determined that they will pass another CR which will take spending through the spring, possibly to March 31, 2017 or even later.   In the spring, when the Trump team is installed, they will have an instant vehicle for addressing the spending priorities of the new administration and policy riders which they favor.   At that time they will finalize the remaining 11 appropriations bills (including education) for the last half of the 2017 fiscal year.

This second CR, which will likely be completed by the December 9 goal, will likely not include policy riders but may include across the board cuts to every education program and/or some funding changes for specific programs (called anomalies).   Negotiations are underway now and when they are complete the CR is likely to move very quickly and Congress is likely to adjourn shortly after that.  In general, Republicans in the House, the Senate and the Administration are eager to focus their efforts strategizing for 2017 when they will control both bodies of Congress and the Administration.

See:  http://thehill.com/policy/finance/306529-gop-opts-for-short-term-spending-bill

 

2. Congressional Leadership for 115th Congress

Below are lists of Members of Congress who will serve in leadership positions in the 115th Congress.   All are important to education!  Some positions are still undetermined and will flesh out in the next weeks.

S. House of Representatives:

Republicans:

Speaker of the House: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) | @SpeakerRyan
Majority Leader: Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) | @GOPLeader
Majority Whip: Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) | @SteveScalise
Conference Chair: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) | @cathymcmorris
NRCC Chairman: Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) | @RepSteveStivers
Policy Committee Chairman: Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) | @RepLukeMesser
Conference Vice-Chair: Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) | @RepDougCollins
Conference Secretary: Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) | @RepJasonSmith
Sophomore Representative: Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) | @RepMimiWalters
Freshman Representative: Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI)

In terms of Education and Appropriations leadership in the House, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) remains the likely new chair of the Committee on Education and the Workforce and Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) will likely be the new chair of the full Appropriations Committee.

Democrats:

House Democrats have not yet voted on their leadership for the 115th Congress.  A vote for minority leader, the role in which Rep. Nancy Pelosi (CA) currently serves, was postponed last week as Rep.Tim Ryan (OH) indicated his interest in the job.  The vote is now scheduled for November 30.

S. Senate:

Republicans:

Leader:  Sen. Mitch McConnell (KY)

Whip:  Sen. John Cornyn (TX)

Conference Chair:  Sen. John Thune (SD)

Policy Committee Chair:  Sen. John Barrasso (WY)

Conference Vice Chair:  Sen. Roy Blunt (MO)

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair:  Sen. Cory Gardner (CO)

It is expected that Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) will continue to chair the HELP Committee and that Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) will continue to chair the Appropriations Committee.

Democrats:

Senate Democratic Leader and Chair of the Conference: Senator Charles Schumer (NY)

Democratic Whip: Senator Dick Durbin (IL)

Assistant Democratic Leader: Senator Patty Murray (WA)

Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee: Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI)

Vice Chair of the Conference: Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA)

Vice Chair of the Conference: Senator Mark Warner (VA)

Chair of Steering Committee: Senator Amy Klobuchar (MO)

Chair of Outreach: Senator Bernie Sanders (VT)

Vice Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee: Senator Joe Manchin (WVA)

Senate Democratic Conference Secretary: Senator Tammy Baldwin (WI)

In terms of Committee leadership, Sen. Patty Murray will remain ranking on the Committee on HELP as well as the Subcommittee on Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations; Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT) will now be ranking on the Appropriations Committee and Sen. Bernie Sanders will remain ranking on the Budget Committee.

See:  http://www.speaker.gov/press-release/house-republicans-elect-leaders-115th-congress

See:  http://www.rollcall.com/news/policy/mcconnell-re-elected-senate-gop-leader

3. The Trump Education Team

President-Elect Trump has named the following individuals to serve as education advisors on the transition team:

For agency action:  William Evers as the lead and Jim Manning as the Deputy.

For Policy Implementation:  Gerard Robinson as the lead and Townsend McNitt as the Deputy.

The education transition team is expected to be at the Department of Education early next week.

The list of possibilities for the Secretary of Education changes by the day!  As of press time, the following individuals were or are in the mix as possibilities.  They are not in any particular order.

Note that several are from or have served in Indiana, undoubtedly the influence of VP-Elect Mike Pence, former Governor of Indiana and school choice campion.  Note that Indiana is home to the largest voucher program in the country serving 33,000 students who attend private schools supported by public funding.

 

Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN):  leader in the House on school choice, member Committee on Education and the Workforce

Tony Bennet: Former Superintendent  of Education in Indiana

Mitch Daniels:  Former Governor of Indiana and President of Purdue Univ.

William Evers: on the Trump transition team for education, research fellow at the Hoover Institution, was sr. advisor to Bush’s Sec. of Education Margaret Spellings

Gerard Robinson: Fellow at AEI on education policy, former Education Chief in VA and FL

Tony Zeiss: former President of Central Piedmont Community College in NC

Michelle Rhee:  Former chancellor of DC Public Schools

Betsy DeVos:  American Federation for Children

Kevin Chavous:  American Federation for Children, former member of DC City Council

Jerry Falwell Jr. : President of Liberty University

Scott Walker:  Gov. of Wisconsin

Lisa Graham Keegan: former Arizona Education Superintendent

Hanna Skandera:  Secretary of Education for New Mexico

Eva Moskowitz: CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools (She has met with Mr. Trump and indicated that she will not serve as Sec. of Education;  Ivanka Trump is scheduled to tour a Success Academy Charter School in Harlem today.)

Interestingly, the Democrats for Education Reform posted a letter urging fellow Democrats not to work for President-elect Donald Trump. Shavar Jeffries, President of Democrats for Education Reform

noted that a Trump Sec. of Education “would become an agent for an agenda that both contradicts progressive values and threatens grave harm to our nation’s most vulnerable kids.”  Note that at least three candidates on the list above – Michelle Rhee, Kevin Chavous and Eva Moskowitz – are Democrats.

See:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2016/11/14/will-donald-trump-destroy-u-s-public-education/

See:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/pb/news/education/wp/2016/11/17/advocacy-group-warns-fellow-democrats-dont-become-trumps-education-secretary/?outputType=accessibility&nid=menu_nav_accessibilityforscreenreader

 

4. Education Policy in the Trump Era

Three key areas of likely focus in education policy are emerging as the Trump team considers education appointments and Department changes.   The first is the promotion of school choice, a feature during his campaign and a position which all potential appointees for Secretary of Education share.  President elect Trump recommended a $20B school choice block grant which would expand charter schools and private school options for low income students  He proposed that the block grant program come from redirecting existing federal funds and that states would decide how the dollars would follow children to public, private, charter or magnet schools.  Both Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) have proposed expansive choice provisions, neither of which was adopted during the consideration of ESSA.

 

A second focus has been on cutting back the Department of Education, either eliminating it (which would likely prove difficult) or diminishing its funds and functions.  A target area could be the Office of Civil Rights, which has been very active under President Obama in enforcing Title IX, processing complaints related to disability and race discrimination in schools and working with the Department of Justice on matters such as rectifying bias in school discipline.  The Civil Rights Data Collection has also provided critical information related to the inequitable distribution of experienced teachers in terms of low income and minority students.  Many Republicans believe the Department has overstepped its authority in the Office of Civil Rights.  Civil Rights groups are on alert to defend Obama accomplishments in this area.

A third focus is likely to be deregulation of both higher education and PK-12 education.   Regulations such as the teacher preparation regulations and the gainful employment regulations (intended to reign in for-profit higher education) are at risk in the higher education realm.  Controversial proposals under ESSA such as the “Supplement not Supplant” regulations will certainly be on the chopping block in the PK-12 arena, in addition to guidance which may be rescinded.  Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), HELP Committee Chair,  has long been a vocal opponent of over-regulation and has spearheaded opposition to the Department’s “Supplement not Supplant” proposal.

Regulations could be rescinded or revised in a number of ways. Either the Congress could take action through legislation or the Department could begin what might be a long and arduous process of revising regulations.  This could require reposting notice, issuing a draft, collecting comments, analyzing comments and re-issuing  new regulations.  It might require new rounds of negotiated rulemaking, though that is unclear.  Suffice it to say that a quick signature on an executive order would not likely be an option to eliminate multiple education regulations instantaneously.  If the Congress considers legislation to repeal regulations, a number of questions arise, such as what the vehicle might be for such repeal; a stand-alone bill or a policy rider on appropriations bills are options.  Dates of adoption of regulations and cost of regulations also factor into what congressional actions might be chosen.

See:  http://www.politico.com/story/2016/09/donald-trump-school-choice-proposal-227915

See: http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/11/donald-trump-on-education/507167/

See:  https://thinkprogress.org/drastic-education-cuts-could-be-coming-under-trump-650c1ed6e807#.vrq39pctw

 

5. Join Us on November 22 for a Webinar on Implications of the Election Results

TITLE:  DECONSTRUCTING THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: RESULTS, POLICY IMPLICATIONS, AND DISABILITY ADVOCACY IN THE NEW TRUMP ERA

How will the Presidential Election results affect P-20 public education, special education, and disability advocacy?  Over the next four years, new Washington leadership is likely to change many federal and state programs and policies including the role and responsibilities of the U.S. Department of Education.  In addition, ESSA, the Common Core, IDEA, school vouchers, higher education policy, and the scope of multiple education regulations will likely be reconsidered.   What are emerging signs about these anticipated changes?  Who might serve in key education roles in the Trump Administration?  How will the 115th Congress work with the Trump Administration? How do these changes affect the ongoing work of education advocates  To learn more about these questions and related topics, please join us for a FREE webinar on November 22, 2016 4:00-6:30 p.m. (EST) hosted by two leading Washington education policy experts:  Dr. Michael Gamel-McCormick and Dr. Jane West.

Dr. Michael Gamel-McCormick is the Associate Executive Director for Research and Policy at Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). Before joining AUCD, Michael was the Disability Policy Director for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions under the chairmanship of Sen. Tom Harkin. He was also senior education policy advisor for Sen. Harkin. Prior to joining Senate staff, Michael was the professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies for 17 years, dean of the College of Education and Public Policy, and Director of the Center for Disabilities Studies, Delaware's UCEDD, all at the University of Delaware.

Dr. Jane E. West is a federal education policy expert who provides consulting services to a range of national teacher education and special education organizations.  She specializes in assisting professionals in informing and participating in the policy making process in Washington DC.  She served as a Senior Vice President at the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) for eight years where she led AACTE’s advocacy and policy efforts. Prior to her AACTE appointment, she was a founder of Washington Partners LLC, a government relations firm.  Jane began her policy career on Capitol Hill as senior education advisor on the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

This is free webinar sponsored by the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Counseling and Special Education, and is supported by U.S. Department of Education grant #H325D150077-15 as part of VCU's Research to Policy Advocacy (RTPA) doctoral leadership training project.

TITLE: DECONSTRUCTING THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: RESULTS, POLICY IMPLICATIONS, AND DISABILITY ADVOC
Tue, Nov 22, 2016 4:00 PM - 6:30 PM Eastern Standard Time

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Washington Update will be on pause next week for Thanksgiving.  Expect your next edition on Friday December 2.  Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with great friends, family, food and blessings!

 

September 23, 2016

Dear Colleagues:

Tomorrow I am off to Melbourne Australia to speak at the annual conference of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders.  My topic won’t surprise you:  Teaching Equity in the US: Recruitment, Retention and Distribution.   A special thanks to our colleague Chriss Walther-Thomas at VCU who opened this door for me!  I’ll be back at this blog intermittently and definitely when Congress reconvenes in November.  In the meantime, I’ll see you on twitter: @janewestdc.

1. After Promising Start, Congress Slips Back into Gridlock over Funding Bills

One week from today, September 30, 2016, the federal fiscal year ends.  Unless Congress acts the government will shut down – and we have seen that before.   Virtually no one in either the House or the Senate, Republican or Democrat, wants to see that happen, yet Congress does not seem to be able to cross the finish line.  Senate Republicans released a proposal (taking funding through December 9) which House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) described as “not even worthy of a counter.” While a compromise over funding to combat the zika virus was reached, the main sticking point appears to be a lack of funding to address the water crisis in Flint while $500 million was included for states like Louisiana facing flooding and other natural disasters.

I am betting on resolution of a final bill next Friday, just in the nick of time.  What do you think?

For Republican Continuing Resolution Proposal see: http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Continuing%20Resolution%20Legislation.PDF

For  summary of proposal see: http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/092216-CR-FY17-Section-By-Section.pdf

2. Career and Technical Education (CTE) Reauthorization Stalled in the Senate

After a promising boost last week in the House, the CTE reauthorization process came to a screeching halt in the Senate.  HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) had announced a markup for Wednesday, however it was suddenly postponed indefinitely.  Apparently the draft Senate bill had added language that was not part of the House bill – language limiting the Department of Education’s oversight and authority related to state plan approval.  Senate Democrats on the committee, led by ranking member Patty Murray (D-WA), opposed the draft Senate bill.

Chairman Alexander has been a vocal critic of the Department of Education during the ESSA regulatory process where he has repeatedly noted his opposition to draft regulations holding that they go beyond the law and congressional intent.  Undoubtedly this concern spilled over into the CTE reauthorization bill also, resulting in the contested language that would limit the authority of the Secretary of Education.

3. ESSA: Congressional Republicans Continue Sparring with Obama Administration over Regulatory Proposals

On Wednesday I attended a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, Supplanting the Law and Local Education Authority through Regulatory Fiat. You might guess from the title that Republicans, who hold the majority in the House, have a particular perspective they want to share!

The topic of the hearing, which was chaired by Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), was the proposed ESSA regulation related to supplement not supplant, or “SNS” at it is fondly known inside the beltway.  Three of the four witnesses opposed the regulatory proposal while one witness supported it.   The give and take was both lively and substantive.

In summary, the regulatory proposal requires school districts to show that federal funds are supplementing their budgets through:

  • A weighted student formula for disadvantages or special education students
  • A formula based on district-wide average of personnel and non-personnel spending
  • A state developed but federally peer reviewed methodology
  • A district option to create greater equity, but not necessarily equality, in per pupil spending between rich and poor schools

Republicans argued vigorously that the proposed regulation oversteps the bounds of the law and that the Department is way out of bounds dictating policy that the bipartisan legislation rejected. They said it could undermine local decision making and possibly hurt poor students. Chairman of the full committee, John Kline (R-MN) said it could “wreak havoc in communities across the country.”  Rep. Rokita called the proposal “unlawful.” Witnesses from the AASA, the School Superintendents Association, and the Chief State School Officers also spoke against the proposal.

Democrats on the Subcommittee, led by ranking member Marcia Fudge (OH), argued that the regulation provided a much needed remedy for addressing inequitable spending between low income and well-to-do districts. “I thought the intent of the law was equity,” she said.  Speaking on behalf of the Center for American Progress in support of the regulatory proposal, Scott Sargrad noted that currently 5700 schools get an average of $440,000 less annually than wealthier schools in the same district. Sen. Susan Bonamici (D-OR) noted that students of color receive on average $700 less than other students. A number of civil rights organizations are supporting the regulatory proposal, including the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

The public comment period is open until November 7.  My take away from the hearing?  The Department probably has overstepped its authority but for such a good reason.  Take a listen and see what you think.

For a video of the hearing and written copies of testimony: http://edworkforce.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=401015

Department of Education fact sheet on the SNS proposal: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/fact-sheet-supplement-not-supplant-under-title-i-every-student-succeeds-act

4. ESSA Guidance on English-Language Learners Issued

The Department of Education issued guidance on Title III of ESSA with recommendations about how school districts can better serve English learners.

See: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/essatitleiiiguidenglishlearners92016.pdf

5. Members of Congress Weigh in on Addressing Teacher Shortages

Two leading congressional Democrats on education, Sen. Patty Murray (WA) and Rep. Bobby Scott (VA) issued a letter Friday to Secretary of Education John King urging him to issue guidance on how Title II of ESSA can be used to address teacher shortages.  Noting the significant shortages in their  home states, particularly for high-need students, the authors wrote that “a key purpose of Title II of ESSA is to increase the number of effective teachers serving our nation’s most vulnerable students.”  They recommend three key strategies for this:

  • multiple and innovative pathways to teaching
  • meaningful induction programs and
  • effective professional development activities

Teacher residency preparation programs and “grow your own” programs, such as those that support para educators in becoming certified teachers, are called out as effective approaches.  The letter also notes the particular shortage of special education teachers with many leaving the profession after only a year.

For the Murray/Scott letter see: http://www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/9.22.16%20-%20Murray-Scott%20%20Teacher%20Shortage%20Letter.pdf

6. New Commission on Social and Emotional Learning

The Aspen Institute has announced the creation of the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. Social and emotional learning is a topic that has gained salience recently as states ponder how to construct new accountability systems under ESSA. Three heavy hitters will chair the Commission:

  • Learning Policy Institute’s Linda Darling-Hammond
  • Business Round Table President John Engler
  • Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver

Other members include Jim Shelton, president of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Nancy Zimpher, outgoing chancellor of SUNY and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.  Funded with $4.5 million from a range of sources, including the Gates Foundation and the Joyce Foundation, the commission will produce a report in late 2018 with recommendations about validly measuring student social and emotional learning.  The commission’s first meeting is in November.

See: https://www.aspeninstitute.org/programs/national-commission-on-social-emotional-and-academic-development/

7. Trump Names Education Advisors on Transition Team

Presidential candidate Donald Trump has named two education advisors to his transition team that will likely please Republicans.   Williamson M. Evers is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.  Gerard Robinson is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Evers is a former assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Education during the presidency of George W. Bush and adviser to former Secretary Margaret Spellings. Evers has been a vocal critic of common core. Evers has served on a county board of education in California and been on the board of a charter school.

Robinson is the former school chief in Florida who resigned after controversies over a large drop in scores on the state writing exam and the A-F school rating system.   Robinson’s current portfolio at AEI includes school choice and the role of for profit institutions in education.

Last month Trump hired Rob Goad as his education advisor.  Goad formerly worked for Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN), a school choice champion.

See a recent oped in US News and World Report by Robinson: https://www.aei.org/publication/preserve-our-liberty-to-learn/

8. An Amazing Teacher Deals with the Tragedy in Tulsa

This is a must read.   Warning: it will make you cry. There is much work to be done and our classrooms are key.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2016/09/22/as-the-questions-roll-so-do-the-tears-a-tulsa-teacher/

Wishing you all well and hoping to meet a kangaroo and a koala bear in addition to some wonderful Aussies!

 

 

Week Ending September 16, 2016

Dear Colleagues:

It’s been a busy week in Washington as legislators scramble to wrap up and get back on the campaign trail.

1.  Action on Education Funding for FY 2017

Despite a push by Senate leadership to jam through a short term spending bill and get out of town this week, the work has spilled over into next week.  Eager to avoid a government shutdown just before the election and to hit the campaign trail, Senators are stalled in negotiations with House leaders about spending for the Zika virus and whether those funds will be allowed to go to Planned Parenthood organizations.  The first vote to move the bill is set for Monday afternoon, and there is a strong push to wrap things up by the end of next week.

The funding bill is expected to run through either December 9 or 15 at which time the 114th Congress will reconvene for the final time and determine next steps.   Depending on the outcomes of the election, the next funding bill may carry the country through September 30, 2017 or provide another short-term fix until March or so 2017.

The short term funding bill we will likely see next week is not expected to have any significant policy riders related to education or to alter funding in any significant way.  However, there is some talk of slight across the board cuts (perhaps 1%) which would mean that every education program would take a hit.  The reason for this is that because some spending has increased (e.g programs with triggers related to the number of people who use the programs such as health care or Pell grants) and in order to stay under the sequester imposed spending cap, the money must come from other programs.

See: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/296132-senate-funding-bill-slips-into-next-week

2. House Passes Bill to Reauthorize Career and Technical Education Programs

On Tuesday the House passes HR 5587, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.   With a vote of 405-5 (all “no’s” were from Republicans), the bill supports funding for programs to prepare students for high skilled industry jobs in areas where employers have shortages.  Specifically it:

  • Adds a definition for students who can be “concentrators” in career and technical ed
  • Allows states to withhold larger portion of funds for their own competitive grant or formula programs
  • Creates a new grant program which would award funds to programs that align CTE with state workforce needs
  • Reduces paperwork for schools

This legislation (generally called the Perkins Act) has not been reauthorized since 2006. The Senate HELP Committee has scheduled a markup for its version of the reauthorization bill for Wednesday, September 21.  The bill will is expected to be similar to the House bill.

See: http://edworkforce.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=401021

3. Likely New Chair of House Education and Workforce Committee: Virginia Foxx (R-NC)

As current chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce John Kline prepares to retire at the end of the 114th Congress, Rep. Virginia Foxx is actively campaigning to be the new chair for the 115th Congress.  First elected in 2004, Rep. Foxx currently chairs the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training and is third in seniority for Republicans among 22 on the Committee.  A frequent, feisty tough-talking conservative, she is also a lifelong educator with an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Teaching from UNC-Greensboro.   She served as president of Mayland Community College and in the NC State Senate for a decade. Foxx represents the 5th district in NC (Boone area).

Foxx’s bio indicates that she “regularly takes a stand for the principles of individual freedom and limited government.” She has been a vocal critic of regulatory proposals put forward by the Obama Administration intended to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act and is a long standing critic of the Administration’s efforts to clamp down on for-profit colleges, recently  noting that their work to close ITT Tech was done without “one iota of proof the school did anything wrong.”  She has indicated that her top legislative priority for the Committee for the next Congress would be revisiting the Higher Education Act and, in particular, seeking greater transparency from colleges on the graduation rate of Pell grant recipients.

See http://foxx.house.gov/biography/ and http://foxx.house.gov/issues/issue/?IssueID=60408

4. House Democrat Coalition Releases Priorities for the Higher Education Act

A group of 52 members of the House of Representatives, the New Democrat Coalition, released a document this week outlining priorities for reauthorizing the Higher Education Act. Jared Polis (D-CO), vice-chair of the Coalition, noted that the Coalition is focused on the innovation aspects of the Higher Education Act. Among those priorities listed in the document is teacher preparation.  The following is excerpted from the Coalition’s document:

Reforming Teacher Preparation

  • Increase mentorship for teachers and principals by creating new opportunities for residencies with experienced educators and administrators while fostering better ongoing support mechanisms for the first two years on the job.
  • Robustly support the funding, implementation, and dissemination of teacher advancement tracks that have demonstrated effectiveness in their ability to increase teacher retention and improve teacher professional development.
  • Develop and deploy teacher performance assessments that prioritize knowledge of culturally relevant teaching methods, racial and socioeconomic privilege and bias, and English language learner support.
  • Incentivize more people to pursue careers in the teaching profession and increase the number of teachers in areas where there are shortages by improving the mobility of teacher licenses between states.
  • Increase teacher diversity through recruiting, supporting, and retaining educators from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • Reform student loan repayment models to provide clear and tangible incentives for teachers to stay in the classroom.

See: https://newdemocratcoalition-kind.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/new-democrat-coalition-releases-higher-education-priorities

5. GAO Issues Report on Vouchers

At the request of Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Gwen Moore (D-WI) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH), the GAO examined whether voucher programs are allowing participating schools to discriminate against students with disabilities in their admission policies.  After reviewing the report, Rep. Pocan noted, “We already know voucher and many charter school programs lack the same levels of accountability and transparency as our public schools, but what this study proves is that many of these schools are also failing to meet the needs of special needs students and in many cases discriminating against them.”  The  GAO study found that participation in taxpayer-funded voucher programs and education savings accounts has more than doubled in the last five years with taxpayers increasing spending on them from $400 million to $859 million.

See: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-16-712

 

6. The Teacher Shortage Crisis in the Spotlight: In Search of Solutions 

This week the Learning Policy Institute (LPI), led by Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, hosted an all day event in Washington to release their new analysis: A Coming Crisis in Teaching? Teacher Supply, Demand and Shortages in the US.  The conference featured an all star line up of educators, analysts, researchers, policy makers, philanthropists and civil rights leaders considering and reflecting on the comprehensive set of briefs and reports issued on topics ranging from teacher turnover, attracting and retaining minority teachers, shortages in special education, STEM and English Learners, strategies for addressing shortages, implications of the new ESSA, equitable distribution of inexperienced teachers, building career ladders for teachers and teacher leadership roles, residency programs and lessons from high performing countries.

Among the findings in the reports:

  • There was a 35% decline in enrollment in teacher preparation programs from 2009 to 2014
  • There was a nationwide teacher shortage of 60,000 last year
  • Teacher shortages could increase to 100,000 by 2018
  • High minority and high poverty schools are hit hardest with uncertified teachers
  • Teacher attrition is the biggest contributor to the shortage with job dissatisfaction cited as the biggest reason for leaving
  • Teachers make 20% less than other college graduates; in 30 states a mid-career teacher heading a family of 4 is eligible for government assistance
  • To increase the diversity in the teacher workforce minority recruitment and retention initiatives are required

Policy solutions recommended include:

  • Use weighted student funding formulas to direct resources to districts with the neediest students
  • Offer financial incentives to teachers such as mortgage guarantees, down payment assistance, child care support etc.
  • Create “grow your own” and residency programs to prepare new teachers
  • Develop strong universally available induction and mentoring for new teachers
  • Strengthen principal preparation
  • Develop a national teacher supply market and support teacher and pension mobility

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who spoke at the conference, noted that “This research underscores the importance of offering effective incentives to keep our best teachers in the profession, contributing their expertise to help others.”

The report also rates each state using a variety of indicators (including average starting salary, attrition and working conditions) on “Teaching Attractiveness.”  The most attractive state for teachers, according to this system, is Oregon, with the least attractive being Arizona.  A second rating system looks at the disproportionate distribution of uncertified and inexperienced teachers to students of color, a “Teacher Equity Rating” -- rating Colorado the worst and Vermont the best.

The Center for American Progress also released a report this week examining the sharp decline in enrollment in teacher preparation programs.

Join the conversation on twitter using #solvingteachershortages

For LPI reports on teacher shortages: https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/event/solving-countrys-shortage?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Solving%20Teacher%20Shortages%20Forum&utm_campaign=UA-67199435-1

For LPI interactive state rating system: https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/understanding-teacher-shortages-interactive

See: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/america-has-a-teacher-shortage-and-a-new-study-says-its-getting-worse/2016/09/14/d5de1cee-79e8-11e6-beac-57a4a412e93a_story.html

See: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-09-14/the-teacher-shortage-crisis-is-here

CAP report: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education/report/2016/09/14/144215/educator-pipeline-at-risk/

7. Chiefs for Change Recommendations for ESSA Title II Priorities

Chiefs for Change, a group of reform oriented state chiefs, issued a document with recommendations about how states might use Title II ESSA funds.  Among the recommendations offered is utilization of Title II funds for the controversial teacher preparation academies.  Modeled after charter schools, these academies would function outside of the parameters of requirements for other teacher preparation programs in the state.  The Chiefs cite the Relay GSE as a model for such academies.

Relay, along with some other independent teacher preparation programs, was recently scrutinized by researcher Ken Zeichner who concluded that:

“State policymakers should be very cautious in authorizing “teacher preparation academies” under a provision in the new federal education law (Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA). Such authorization would exempt those programs from the higher standards for teacher preparation that states typically seek to enforce for other teacher education programs. Policies should hold all programs to clear, consistent, and high standards.”

See:  http://chiefsforchange.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/CFC-Title-II-Policy-Brief.pdf

For Zeichner’s critique of Relay and other independent teacher prep programs see http://nepc.colorado.edu/files/publications/PB-Zeichner%20Teacher%20Education.pdf

8. Damning Expose on Special Education in Texas

A recent remarkable expose from the Houston Chronicle, “Denied: How Texas keeps tens of thousands of children out of special education,”  found that school officials in Texas set an arbitrary cap of 8.5% as the percentage of students who could receive special education services. School districts have been audited by the state to ensure their compliance. While the cap has saved the state billions of dollars, it has also denied services to thousands of students with disabilities.

See: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/denied/?t=9c54f4ac20

Have a great weekend.  Don’t watch too many political shows (wish I could follow my own advice)! See you on twitter @janewestdc

Best, Jane

 

Week of September 6, 2016

It’s good to be back with you as Congress has reconvened for the final push before the election and students all over the country are sporting new backpacks headed back to school.  Today’s blog is chocked full as we catch up after a long summer pause.

1. The Education Policy Agenda for September

Appropriations: Congress is scheduled to be in session until the end of September with September 30 looming as the close of the fiscal year and the deadline for new funding bills to be passed.  While Republicans in the House weave and bob looking for leverage to prevent a short term funding bill from passing (they prefer one that takes us all the way through to March 2017), Republican leaders in the Senate confirm that they are looking to pass a short term “continuing resolution” (this keeps funding the same as this year) that will take us through December 9.  This would ensure the return of the 114th Congress for a final “lame duck” session after the election where a longer term funding bill would be considered and no doubt lots of “last licks” mischief.  Goals for Republican leadership in the Senate are avoiding a government shutdown right before the election and leaving town to campaign.  They are hoping to hold on to their majority in the Senate and many races are tight.

An interesting question with all of the various funding vehicles is whether or not there will be any policy riders or “anomalies” attached to the bills.  While at the end of the day there always are, there is much Democratic posturing over “refusing to accept them on a funding bill.”  Despite the Democratic position of a “clean” funding bill with no policy provisions, the White House has submitted a request for multiple “anomalies” that they would like to see included in the stop gap funding bill.  So, as usual, these will be part of the negotiations.   While a number of education “anomalies” are on the list, there is nothing of great concern for educators, unlike in past years when the definition of “highly qualified” was changed as part of a funding bill at the Administration’s request.  However, there will likely be another bite at the apple when Congress reconvenes during the lame duck.

Career and Technical Education: The reauthorization of the Perkins Act remains on the agenda and could possibly emerge.  Republican chairs of House and Senate education committees want to move it along, but there is a way to go.  The House committee endorsed a bipartisan reauthorization bill earlier in the year but it would have to be considered on the floor and time is short.

Teacher Preparation Regulations:  The OMB website indicates that the final teacher preparation regulations will be issued this month!  (Has it been five years….who’s counting?!)  I am told they will be issued “before the election” so I wouldn’t be surprised if they slip to October.  But the big surprise will be what is in those regulations.  Given that the NCLB waivers are now defunct --courtesy of ESSA -- and the proposed regulations were built on those waiver requirements (such as assessing all students in “non-tested grades and subjects” and teacher evaluations using value-added), how they might be reconfigured is hard to imagine.   A policy rider is still pending in Congress that would block the teacher prep regs from moving forward, but whether or not that will be activated is an open question.

2. ESSA Developments

Last week the Department of Education issued new proposed regulations to implement the “supplement not supplant” provision of ESSA.  Drawing the immediate ire of Congressional Republicans who believe the Department has undermined the law with the proposal, fireworks are likely to continue during the 60 day comment period.  With his usual colorful language, Chair of the Senate HELP Committee, Lamar Alexander (R-TN) noted that the “Education Secretary must think he is the US Congress as well as chairman of a national school board.”   He continued “If anything resembling it becomes final, I will do everything within my power to overturn it.”  The Obama Administration believes that this proposal is critical to upholding the civil rights foundation of the law as it is intended to ensure that low income schools and students receive adequate funding and that federal funds do not take the place of state and local funds.

For proposed “supplement not supplant” regulations see: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/snsnprm83016.pdf and  http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/fact-sheet-supplement-not-supplant-under-title-i-every-student-succeeds-act

For Sen. Alexander’s statement see: http://www.help.senate.gov/chair/newsroom/press/alexander-education-secretary-must-think-he-is-the-us-congress-as-well-as-chairman-of-a-national-school-board

3. National Labor Relations Board Determines Charter Schools are Private Corporations, not Public Schools

In notable rulings last week, the NLRB determined that charter schools are private corporations, not public schools, when it comes to labor laws.  While the rulings only apply to the NY and PA charter schools in the case, this is a remarkable finding as charter schools supporters have long contended that they are public choice options, clearly distinct from private options.  Ironically, the determinations also support the efforts of charter school teacher to unionize since federal law, not state law applies to unionization.  It is possible that if teachers in the charter schools under consideration decide to unionize they would also have the right to strike.  Federal law offers more bargaining power to unions than state laws.

See: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2016/08/30/national-labor-relations-board-decides-charter-schools-are-private-corporations-not-public-schools/

4. What Does the Public Think of Education:  PDK Annual Poll

The 48th annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes toward the Public Schools reveals the following:

  • What is the main goal of public school education?
    • 45% think it is to prepare students academically
    • 25% think it is to prepare students for work
    • 26% think it is to prepare students to b good citizens
  • What grade does the public give public schools?
    • 25% give schools in the country an A or B
    • 48% give their local schools an A or B
  • What do Americans think of standards for learning?
    • 46% say the standards in their community are about right
    • 43% say they are too low
    • 7% think they are too high
  • Should students opt out of standardized state tests?
    • 59% say no
    • 37% say yes
  • What are the preferred school improvement strategies?
    • 68% support more career and technical education
    • 21% prefer more honors/advanced academic classes
  • Should failing schools be closed?
    • 84% say leave them open and improve them
    • 14% say close them

For more See: http://pdkintl.org/

5. Secretary John King Hitting the Road Back to School

On September 12, Secretary of Education King will launch the 7th and final Obama Administration back to school bus tour. The tour will include stops in Washington, D.C.; Charlottesville, Virginia; Bristol, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Memphis, Tennessee; Harvest, Alabama; Little Rock, Arkansas; Indianola, Mississippi; and Monroe, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana.  It will end September 16.

See:  http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-announces-seventh-annual-back-school-bus-tour-%E2%80%9Copportunity-across-america%E2%80%9D  and https://www.facebook.com/ED.gov/videos/10154510274454320/?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

6. What Will the Next President Bring for Education?

The party platforms are worth reviewing in thinking about this question.  While no President ever follows the platform like a script, she/he may use them as a guideposts.  Of course more is on the candidate’s websites.  A few highlights:

Republican Party:

  1. “We likewise repeat our long-standing opposition to the imposition of national standards and assessments, encourage parents and educators who are implementing alternatives to Common Core, and congratulate the states which have successfully repealed it.” (p.33)
  2. “[The Republican Party] rejects excessive testing and ‘teaching to the test’  and supports the need for strong assessments to serve as a tool so teachers can tailor teaching to meet student needs.” (p. 33)

Read more here: https://www.gop.com/the-2016-republican-party-platform/

In addition candidate Trump outlined a school choice plan yesterday that would    create a $20 billion block grant for charter and private school options for low income students.  Ironically, the backdrop for the announcement of his plan was at a failing charter school in Ohio.

See: https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/new-school-choice-policies-to-be-unveiled-by-donald-j.-trump-today

Democratic Party

1. "Democrats believe all students should be taught to high academic standards. Schools should have adequate resources to provide programs and support to help and meet the needs of every child." (p. 32)

2. "We are also deeply committed to ensuring that we strike a better balance on testing so that it informs, but does not drive, instruction." (p. 33)

3. "We oppose high-stakes standardized tests that falsely and unfairly label students of color, students with disabilities, and English Language Learners as failing; the use of standardized test scores as basis for refusing to fund schools or to close schools; and the use of student test scores in teacher and principal evaluations, a practice which has been repeatedly rejected by researchers." (p. 33)

Read more here: https://www.demconvention.com/platform/

Some New Ideas:

Finally, the organization Bellwether Education Partners has offered up “16 Education  Policy Ideas for the Next President. Sixteen articles by different authors offer intriguing titles such as “Build Charter Schools Like Affordable  Housing” and “Get Schools in the Fight Against Sex Trafficking.”

See: http://bellwethereducation.org/publication/16-2016-16-education-policy-ideas-next-president

7. Judge Issues Groundbreaking Ruling in Connecticut School Funding Case

After years of working its way through the judicial system in Connecticut, a school funding case which challenged the state’s financing system as unconstitutional was settled this week with Judge Thomas Moukawsher issuing scathing findings and a broad mandate for the state to revise its public education enterprise.  He called for a basic reimagining of schooling beginning with consideration of the goals for elementary and high school graduates and how funding will lead to meeting those goals. He called the state’s teacher evaluation system useless and “little more than cotton candy in a rain storm.”  He called the state’s efforts to define high school proficiency as “like a sugar cube boat….(that) dissolved before it’s half-launched.”

See: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/09/nyregion/crux-of-connecticut-judges-grim-ruling-schools-are-broken.html?_r=0

8. The National Education Policy Center Releases Report on Independent Teacher Prep Programs

Ken Zeichner of the University of Washington authors the brief arguing that research and evaluation do not support independent teacher prep programs. From the executive summary:

“…policymakers should consider carefully the extant evidence about the nature and impact of different pathways into teaching, including the entrepreneurial, stand-alone programs that advocates proclaim to be the future of teacher preparation. This consideration is particularly critical because, to date, these new alternatives focus almost exclusively on preparing teachers to teach “other people’s children” in schools within high-poverty communities—not on public school teachers in advantaged communities. Therefore, their entry into the field raises important questions not only about effectiveness, but also about equity.”

See:     http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/teacher-education

9. Absenteeism Study Released

This week the Attendance Works and Everyone Graduates Center released a report documenting widespread chronic absenteeism in our nation’s schools.  Half of chronically absent students are in 4% of school districts and 12% of schools.  Data from the Civil Rights Data Collection is analyzed in the report.

See: http://www.attendanceworks.org/research/preventing-missed-opportunity/

At this time of year, I always remember the excitement of my first day of school as a kid.  My mother was a teacher and so I was thrilled to be able to “go to work” with her! What are your memories?  See you on twitter @janewestdc

Best,

Jane              

 

Week of August 30, 2016

The Fifth Indicator

One requirement of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that is getting a lot of buzz in Washington is the requirement that states include a non-academic indicator as part of their accountability plans. This fifth indicator is to be weighted less than the four academic indicators of school success.

Each state will determine its fifth indicator, however the law identifies some possibilities, including school climate, advanced coursework, student engagement, educator engagement, and readiness for college.

Read up on how states and organizations are thinking about the topic in articles published by the American Youth Policy Forum, Teach PlusHuffington Post and EdWeek.

 

Washington Update  July 8, 2016

Dear Colleagues:

Well, despite my intermittent summer Washington Update promise, here we are already with lots to report!  The Congress is sprinting to the finish line and ESSA regulatory action from the Department of Education continues apace.

1. House Committee Moves Education Spending Bill;  Continuing Resolution Likely in September

The long awaited mark up of the House education spending bill took place this week in the Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations Subcommittee. Voted out 8-4 along party lines (all Democrats opposed), the bill represents a $1.3 billion cut for education below last year.  It eliminates several education programs, as it did last year, and makes cuts in others.  While the details of the bill are not yet available and I cannot yet report on many specific programs of concern to educators, some broad numbers are available below.

  • Title I ESSA: 15.9B, a cut of $57 million
  • Special Education Part B:  $12.4 billion, an increase of $500 million
  • Title IV of ESSA (the new block grant): $1 billion ($700 million higher than the Senate number

Like the Senate appropriations bill, funds were taken from the surplus in the Pell grant account and used for increases in other programs.  Also like the Senate bill, the National Institutes of Health was a big winner with the House allocating an additional $1.25 billion.

Unlike the Senate bill, which was bipartisan, the House bill includes multiple policy riders, many of which are controversial and partisan, for example repealing portions of Obamacare.  One such policy rider would block the Department of Education from promulgating the teacher preparation proposed regulations, which have been under development for five years.

The Democrats offered 6 amendments at the markup. All were voted down along party lines.  The full House Appropriations Committee is expected to take up the bill next Wednesday and multiple amendments are expected.

Despite the progress on education spending bills in both the House and the Senate, it is virtually assured that there will be a continuing resolution passed in September that will punt the final decision making forward.  The question is how far forward.  Will it be until December, after the elections, or will it be into next year left for the new Congress and the new President to figure out?  My money is on December!

House Approps Bill http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-114hr-sc-ap-fy2017-laborhhs-subcommitteedraft.pdf

House press release on bill: http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=394633

2. House Education Committee Endorses Career and Technical Education Reauthorization Bill

In a remarkable bi-partisan love fest, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce voted out a bill to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.  HR 5887, Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century, was adopted 37-0.  The bill was also received overwhelming support from virtually every education association in town.  The key theme of the bill is alignment between career and technical education courses and the demands of jobs in today’s economy.  The Senate has been working on a companion bill for some time and this may inspire movement in the other body.

See: http://edworkforce.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=400923

3. New Draft Regulations Proposed for ESSA by Department of Education on Assessment and Innovative State Pilots

This week the Department issued yet another set of proposed regulations for ESSA (an NPRM – Notice of Proposed Rulemaking).  These are the result of the negotiated rulemaking session earlier in the year and they address student assessments and the new state pilot option for developing assessments.   ESSA authorizes up to 7 states to apply for a pilot assessment to be developed by several districts in the state. Some key features of the pilot assessment regulatory proposal include:

  • States would have up to 5 years to pilot the assessment with an optional 2 year extension
  • The innovative assessments must produce results comparable to traditional state standardized tests
  • Four options are outlined:
    • Administer the innovative assessment at least once during elementary, middle and high school while waiving students from standardized tests;
    • Allow students to take both the innovative assessment and the standardized assessment in the same year;
    • Have a number of common assessment items across both assessments;
    • Demonstrate that assessments are as rigorous as standardized tests and produce valid results.

While these proposals have been distributed by the Department of Education, they have not yet appeared in the Federal Register.  Thus, we do not yet know what the deadline will be for submitting comments.  So start reading and stay tuned!

Proposed assessment regulations: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/nprmassessementfedreg1a.pdf

Proposed innovative assessment regulations: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/nprmassessementfedreg1b.pdf

Summary of regulatory proposals from Department of Education: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/nprmsassessmentfactsheet762016.pdf

4. More on ESSA Accountability Regulatory Proposal

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chair of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions has scheduled another hearing on ESSA implementation for next Thursday, July 14.   This will be the 5th oversight hearing and will likely, like the last hearing, focus on the Department’s proposed accountability regulations.  This hearing will feature a number of stakeholders.

Don’t forget that the proposed accountability regulations are still out for public comment, closing on August 1.  I have just finished reading them and there is a lot to digest!  So start now and dig in!

To view the hearing at 10 AM EST on July 14:  http://www.help.senate.gov/hearings/essa-implementation-perspectives-from-stakeholders-on-proposed-regulations

Accountability regs proposal: comments due August 1: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/05/31/2016-12451/elementary-and-secondary-education-act-of-1965-as-amended-by-the-every-student-succeeds

5. Draft DNC Platform on Education

The Democratic National Committee has released its draft platform on education.   Features include:

  • Free community college
  • Expanding federal income based student financial aid repayment programs
  • Cutting interest rates on student financial aid for future undergraduates
  • Increased funding for HBCUs, HSIs and MSIs
  • "going after for-profit colleges that engage in deceptive marketing, fraud, and other illegal practices
  • Ensuring great schools in all zip codes and closing the achievement gap for low income students, minority students, English learners and students with disabilities
  • Supporting high quality charter schools
  • On testing, the draft notes: "We are also deeply committed to ensuring that we strike a better balance on testing so that it informs, but does not drive, instruction."

Read the draft proposal: https://demconvention.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/2016-DEMOCRATIC-PARTY-PLATFORM-DRAFT-7.1.16.pdf

Have a great weekend!  See you on twitter @janewestdc

Best,

Jane

 

Washington Update July 1, 2016

NOTE FROM JANE:  WASHINGTON UPDATE WILL BE PROVIDED INTERMITTENTLY OVER THE SUMMER AS THERE IS NEWS TO REPORT.  WITH CONGRESS IN RECESS FROM MID JULY THROUGH LABOR DAY, ALL EYES WILL BE ON THE PRESIDENTIAL CONVENTIONS.  DON’T FORGET TO FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @janewestdc.

Dear Colleagues:

The pace in the nation’s capital is slowing down as tourists pour in for the awesome fireworks on the Mall for the 4th.  If you’ve never been, put it on your bucket list.

1. Senate HELP Committee Holds 4th Oversight Hearing on ESSA

Always colorful in his comments, HELP Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) opened his 4th ESSA oversight hearing on Thursday by invoking Humpty Dumpty!  He said:

Humpty Dumpty said ‘When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.’ Like Humpty Dumpty, we chose our words carefully,” Alexander said. “We did when we wrote the law fixing No Child Left Behind. The words we used were debated and carefully and deliberately chosen. We meant for the words to mean what they say – nothing more, nothing less.”

Alexander proceeded to challenge Sec. of Education John King on the recently proposed accountability regulations noting possible overstepping of the law in provisions related to academic standards, the school rating system and its privileging of math and reading test score results and the requirement for a summative rating system for each school.  He noted that the new law eliminated the following--which had been a part of NCLB and/or subsequent waivers -- returning decision making authority to states and locals in these areas:

  • The Common Core mandate
  • The Adequate Yearly Progress mandate
  • Test-Based Accountability
  • The School Turnaround models
  • Highly Qualified Teacher requirements
  • Teacher Evaluation mandates

One area where there was bi-partisan concern was in relation to the implementation timeline.  Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking Democrat on the Committee,  joined others from both sides of the aisle urging a slower transition timeline.  In particular, they noted that requiring full implementation in the 2017-18 school year was problematic as 2016-17 would be the first year for new data collection under the law and utilizing that data for decision making (for example intervening in underperforming schools) the following year would be challenging.  Sec. King seemed sympathetic to the concerns and noted that the comment period on the proposed regulations was open until August 1, urging all to send in comments.

Other Senators at the hearing raised the following points:

  • Chris Murphy (D-CT) noted his concern that the n size was too liberal (the proposed regulation does not set a floor or a ceiling but notes that if the n size is over 30, the state must submit a rationale.  The n size refers to the number of students in a subgroup who must be in a school/district in order for that subgroup to be a part of the accountability system.)
  • Richard Burr (R-NC) pushed Sec. King hard asking him why his Department didn’t trust schools to make their own decisions.  Sec. King noted that while he did trust them, there was a history of lax civil rights protections for disadvantaged students.
  • Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) asked about improving access to advanced courses and other resources for poor and minority students – describing these as “opportunity gaps.”  Sec. King noted that states could address these gaps in the context of the law.

Chair Alexander has promised two more ESSA oversight hearings before the end of the year.

See the hearing here: http://www.help.senate.gov/hearings/essa-implementation-update-from-the-us-secretary-of-education-on-proposed-regulations

 

2. Bipartisan Bill Introduced in House to Reauthorize Career and Technical Education

Last reauthorized almost a decade ago, the process finally got underway again this week with the introduction of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.   Introduced by Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), the bill reforms the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

The key component of the legislation is $1.2 billion state grant program which has been updated to target high-skilled in-demand jobs, including those in technical fields.  The Senate has been working for months on a companion bill; perhaps this will spur movement in the upper chamber.

See:  http://edworkforce.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=400894

 

3. New Regulations from the Departments of Education and Labor on Workforce Law

The Obama Administration has issued new regulations for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).  Released 22 months after the law was enacted and well beyond the statutory deadline for issuance, the release was blasted by House Republicans John Kline (R-MN) and Virginia Foxx (D-NC) as they noted that workers:

"will finally have the opportunity to enjoy all the benefits of a modern workforce development system ... it's a shame that it has taken this long for the administration to do its job and implement these critical reforms."

See:  http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/obama-administration-announces-new-regulations-strengthen-employment-and-training-opportunities-millions-americans?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

For the House Republican statement see: http://edworkforce.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=400897

For an overview of the law see: https://www.doleta.gov/wioa/Overview.cfm

 

4. Department of Education Updates FAQ on ESSA Including Changes for Special Education Teachers

The Department of Education has posted an updated version of its ESSA FAQ document.  Intended to support states and districts in understanding the new law, and particularly how to transition from NCLB to ESSA, the document will be continually updated.   Two interesting items in the publication address the eliminated term “highly qualified” and what that means for special education teachers.  It is worth noting that the requirements for special education teachers are not the same in law as those for general education teachers, though what that means in practical terms is yet to be determined.

The FAQ says:

Must a State ensure that special education teachers are  “highly qualified,” as defined in section 9101 of the ESEA, as amended by NCLB, in the 2016-2017 school year?  

No. The ESSA amended the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by removing the definition of “highly qualified” in section 602(10) and the requirement in section 612(a)(14)(C) that special education teachers be “highly qualified” by the deadline established in section 1119(a)(2) of the ESEA, as amended by NCLB.  Accordingly, a State is not required to ensure that special education teachers are “highly qualified” as defined in the ESEA beginning with the 2016-2017 school year but must ensure that they meet the requirements described in D-1b.

If the definition of “highly qualified” is no longer applicable to special education teachers, what are the federal requirements related to the professional qualifications of those teachers?

Section 9214(d)(2) of the ESSA amended section 612(a)(14)(C) of the IDEA by incorporating the requirement previously in section 602(10)(B) that a person employed as a special education teacher in elementary school, middle school, or secondary school must: 1) have obtained full certification as a special education teacher (including certification obtained through alternative routes to certification), or passed the State special education teacher licensing examination and hold a license to teach in the State as a special education teacher, except that a special education teacher teaching in a public charter school must meet the requirements set forth in the State’s public charter school law; 2) not have had special education certification or licensure requirements waived on an emergency, temporary, or provisional basis; and 3) hold at least a bachelor’s degree. Each State must continue to comply with these certification requirements during the 2016-2017 school year. (Updated May 4, 2016)

See:  http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/essafaqstransition62916.pdf

 

5. ASCD Releases Policy Brief on IDEA and Special Education

My smart colleague Myrna Mandlawitz had written a policy brief for ASCD titled Special Education After 40 Years:  What Lies Ahead?  Myrna offers reflections on the history of IDEA, current trends, current policy issues and recommendations for the future.  If you read carefully, you will find a quote from yours truly!

See: http://www.ascd.org/publications/newsletters/policy-priorities/vol22/num01/Special-Education-After-40-Years@-What-Lies-Ahead%C2%A2.aspx

 

6. Eighth Grader Comedic Star Does “the Donald” on Jimmie Fallon

In case you need a laugh, I highly recommend the astounding 8th grader who offered his impression of the Donald at his graduation ceremony.  Subsequently appearing on Jimmy Fallon, he generated even more laughs.  It’s a MUST!

Take a look: http://bit.ly/296TKTz

Along with you, I will be celebrating on the 4th.  How lucky we all are to live in this amazing country!

See you on twitter @janewestdc

Best, Jane

 

 

Washington Update  June 24, 2016

Dear Colleagues:

What a week!  House Democrats took the unprecedented move of a sit-in over stymied gun control legislation and Britain voted to leave the EU.  What will happen next week?!

1. Appropriations

There is no real news to report on this front.  The rumor of a House Committee markup on the education spending bill did not pan out.  But the new rumor is that it will take place the week of July 5 when the Congress returns from recess.   Just to recap – we have a Senate education funding bill out of Committee but no legislative movement on a House companion.   The fiscal year ends September 30 (e.g. the government runs out of money) and there are about five legislative weeks left before the ball drops.  (Congress will be out beginning mid-July for the Presidential party conventions returning after Labor Day).   So there is likely to be some fancy footwork in September to temporarily extend government spending until after the election when the Members get back to business.   Stay tuned!

2. ESSA Implementation Oversight Hearings: House and Senate

Despite the House take over by a Democratic sit-in and an early adjournment for recess, the Committee on Education and the Workforce moved ahead with its oversight hearing on ESSA implementation.   Chairman John Kline (R-MN) noted his concern that the Department’s proposed regulations were overly prescriptive. “The law represents the best opportunity we’ve had in decades to provide every child in every school an excellent education. We will not allow the administration to destroy that opportunity by substituting its will for the will of Congress and for the will of our state and local education leaders,” he said.  One witness at the hearing, Superintendent David Schuler from Illinois reflected that  “State and local education agencies are emerging from 15 years of compliance-based mentality as it related to education policy. ESSA represents the first time these education agencies have the opportunity to innovate and demonstrate what we are capable of.”

Education Secretary John B. King Jr. did not flinch as he was questioned about proposed “supplement not supplant” and accountability regulations.  He said the Department’s proposed language seeks to enforce the law as written.

Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) warned Sec. King: “I think you’re setting yourself up for a lawsuit that you will lose,” in reference to the draft accountability rules.   He was concerned that states were being restricted in terms of identifying schools that are “consistently underperforming.”

Earlier in the week two dozen civil right groups issued a statement urging the Department of Education to strengthen their proposed accountability regulations.  One issue raised was the question of “n” sizes, or the number a state may choose for the minimum number of students who must be present to constitute a subgroup which will be analyzed for accountability purposes.  The proposed regulation says that states that choose 30 or higher would have to justify the choice.  The civil rights groups believe 30 is too high, as too many students would be left out of the accountability system.

Next Wednesday at 10 AM, congressional oversight will continue when Sec. King will testify before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.  Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN),  said he will be looking for the Department’s legal justification for its proposed regulations.

For House ESSA oversight hearing: http://edworkforce.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=400831

Letter from civil rights organizations about accountability regs: http://www.civilrights.org/press/2016/essa-accountability-regs.html

The Senate hearing will be live cast here June 29 at 10 AM: http://www.help.senate.gov/hearings/essa-implementation-update-from-the-us-secretary-of-education-on-proposed-regulations

3. New Department of Education  ESSA Guidance on Stakeholder Engagement and Foster Children

The Department of Education issued guidance this week on stakeholder engagement, which is required by law and is frequently underscored by Congress during their oversight hearings.  A foundational shift of the new law was to move decision making authority away from the federal government and to states and communities.  This represents a significant culture shift that is just beginning in most places.  The Department’s guidance is intended to facilitate the participation of stakeholders in ESSA decision making.

The Department’s guidance offers a number of resources and makes the following specific recommendations:

  • Holding meetings or hearings at varying times during the day, including after the work or school day or on the weekends and, if possible, offering child care, so that working parents, teachers, school leaders, and other professionals are best able to participate;
  • Holding multiple meetings or hearings across the State or district, rather than only in the State capital or district headquarters, which can limit the ability of stakeholder groups from across the State to participate;
  • Ensuring meetings or committees include a broad range of stakeholder voices, including those who have been traditionally left out of such conversations;
  • Facilitating broad participation beyond the representatives that will be attending the meetings or hearings in person (for example, by working with trusted stakeholders to gather input from other stakeholders who may not be able or inclined to attend a hearing);
  • Making publicly available the name and contact information of officials and stakeholders who will be working on State implementation;
  • Allowing all stakeholders who are participating in meetings or hearings to provide substantive input;
  • Providing accommodations and supports to ensure meetings or hearings are accessible (e.g., translators, interpreters, materials in alternative formats for use by persons with disabilities); and
  • Ensuring transparency on the process, timeline, and opportunities to engage at different levels of policy development by providing advance notice and clear descriptions of the opportunities for feedback on implementation of the new law, including by sharing information on the State's website.

The stakeholder guidance also reinforces the importance of having stakeholder participation during implementation as well as development.  Continuous feedback mechanisms are critical for effective implementation.

ESSA has a number of provisions related to foster children and the Department of Education along with the Department of Health and Human Services has issued guidance on the topic.  The guidance addresses the following topics:

  • The importance of the new educational stability requirements;
  • The statutory requirement that a child in foster care remains in his or her original school, if it’s in his or her best interest;
  • Procedures for jointly determining with the child welfare agency which school is in a child’s best interest to attend;
  • Procedures for resolving disputes that may arise over the best interest determination and school placement;
  • Transportation procedures developed jointly to maintain children in foster care in their original schools;
  • The transfer of relevant records;
  • Foster care points of contact for states, districts and child welfare agencies
  • Protecting student data and privacy; and
  • Best practices and suggestions for interagency collaboration on these issues

For stakeholder engagement guidance:    http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/secletter/160622.html

For foster care guidance: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/edhhsfostercarenonregulatorguide.pdf

4. 100-Member Coalition for Teaching Quality Holds Congressional Briefing and Issues New Reports to Strengthen the Teaching Profession

On June 23, the 100 member Coalition for Teaching Quality held a briefing on Capitol Hill.  “Strengthening Educator Recruitment, Development, and Support through ESSA Implementation” featuring  9 educators addressing best practices across the continuum of educator development from a high school student preparing to enter a teacher preparation program, to a residency preparation program, to a recent residency program graduate,  to a teacher mentor, to teacher leaders and a principal.   The theme of the briefing was how to use ESSA as a tool to ensure high teaching quality and a diverse workforce – particularly for high need schools and students --  in the face of ongoing shortages and declining enrollment in preparation programs.  Three new reports were issued intended to bring best practice to inform policy development and implementation, particularly in relation to decisions states and districts will be making about ESSA.  They are:

  • Building a Strong and Diverse Teacher and Principal Recruitment Pipeline
  • Strengthening Pathways of Professional Learning and Growth for Teachers and Principals
  • Developing and Supporting Opportunities for Teacher Leadership

The reports and the list of speakers in the briefing can be found here: http://coalitionforteachingquality.org/main/

5. National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) Finds Little State Engagement with Teachers in  ESSA Decision Making

In a flash poll of its members conducted early this month, the National Network of State   Teachers of the Year found that only 32% of their members were aware of/engaged in ESSA decision making in the states.  Only 3% were aware of/participating in their districts.  Given that State Teachers of the Year are highly accomplished high profile exemplar teachers, it is likely that the vast majority of teachers are not participating in the important decisions being made by states and districts as of yet.   There is certainly room for improvement and time to make that happen.

In addition, NNSTOY found that only about half of its members are aware that ESSA requires the input of educators for the creation of ESSA implementation plans.   Calling all educators:  check out what is happening in your state and your district and make your voice heard.  It’s the law!!

http://www.nnstoy.org/flash-poll-nnstoys-weigh-in-on-state-essa-engagement/

Until next week, find me on twitter: @janewestdc

Best,

Jane

 

Washington Update   June 17, 2016

Dear Colleagues:

Like the rest of the nation, Washington was overwhelmed by the tragedy in Orlando this week.   I know you join me in prayers for the victims, the families and for our nation.

Highlights of education developments are below.

1. House Expected to Move on Education Funding Next Week

Rumor has it that the House Subcommittee on Labor/HHS/Education appropriations will mark up its spending bill next week.  While no date has been set and no official announcement has been made, anticipation is high.  Unlike the Senate education spending bill, which was endorsed by the Appropriations Committee last week with bipartisan support, the House companion bill is expected to include multiple policy riders as it did last year which will generate partisan rancor and complicate the prospects of negotiating a final bill.   Among the policy riders is likely to be a prohibition against the Department of Education moving forward on the long-awaited teacher prep regs.  In addition, the funding levels for education in the House bill are typically lower than those in the Senate bill.  Stay tuned for developments.

2. ESSA Implementation – House Committee to Hold Hearing

The rhetoric continued this week between Secretary of Education John King and Republicans on the Hill regarding concern about the Department of Education’s regulatory proposals on ESSA, in particular the  “supplement not supplant” provision.   House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) has announced a hearing on June 23 at 9 am where Sec. King will appear to defend his proposals.  Kline noted that it is “deeply concerning” how the Education Department has proposed regulations that would “undermine this bipartisan law. We are determined to hold the administration accountable and make certain the law is implemented in a manner that adheres to the letter and intent of the law ,” he said. Earlier in the week Sec. King saidWe won't heed the calls from some to ignore the supplement, not supplant, provisions of the law.”

Another point of contention between the Department of Education and Congressional Republicans has been the proposed regulations for state accountability systems.   Those regulations are in the public comment period now with comments due August 1.  See link below to weigh in with your comments.  The Department reads all comments and responds to them as they consider changes to their proposal.  This is an important way to have your voice heard in policy making!

See: http://edworkforce.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=400829

For Regulatory proposal on accountability: https://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/nprmaccountabilitystateplans52016.pdf

3. ESSA and Early Childhood

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) – the lead Democrats in the reauthorization of ESSA, have written to the Secretaries of Education and Health and Human Services promoting the implementation of new ESSA provisions related to early learning.  Preschool Development Grants are authorized by ESSA to be jointly administered by the two agencies.  The letter notes that "fulfilling the promise of the ESSA PDG program will take ambitious actions and comprehensive coordination between the two agencies. We intend for the agencies to work  together, and jointly with us, in order to faithfully implement the law. We look forward to working with you to ensure that the PDG programs are effective and create real, positive change for children and families across the country.”

In a related development, the Obama Administration issued a new report documenting the tremendous pay gap between preschool teachers and  K-12 teachers.  The median salary for preschool teachers is $28,570, about half of what elementary school teachers earn annually.  While training requirements for preschool teachers are increasing, pay is remaining stagnant,  the report finds.  "Wage parity across settings is critical to attracting and retaining a high-quality workforce, essential for a high-quality program," said Linda Smith, deputy assistant secretary for early childhood development at the Administration for Children and Families.

See: http://www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/PDG%20letter_6.1333333.pdf

For new study: http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/earlylearning/index.html?src=rn

4. New Teacher Prep Coalition Calls for Federal Policy on Accountability

A group of 9 teacher related organizations has created a coalition which will provide “a series of letters to federal officials that will guide efforts to strengthen teacher preparation programs across the country.”  The new coalition is made up of: Urban Teachers, Aspire Public Schools, Blue Engine, Boston Teacher Residency, Match Teacher Residency, National Center for Teacher Residencies, Relay Graduate School of Education, Teach for America and TNTP.

While the coalition does not specifically call on the Department to issue the teacher prep regulations which have been under development for 4 years, it does call on the Department of Education and Congress to “provide states with specific guidance around developing systems where all teacher preparation programs are accountable for collecting and publicly sharing outcomes data on the success of their programs, participants and graduates.”

See:  http://static1.squarespace.com/static/54dc2642e4b0469314195dca/t/5761ee149f7456a0f0a4e03f/1466036228280/CoalitionLetter.pdf

5. An Educator Speaks Out on the Tragedy in Orlando

Dr. Brad Hull, the Deputy Executive Director of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year and a friend and colleague, has written powerfully about lessons for educators from the Orlando tragedy.  Join me in sharing this blog and in thinking about how, as educators, we can recommit to our students and invest in them for a better future.

See: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/youve-got-carefully-taught-bradley-j-hull?trk=prof-post

Wishing you a joyous Father’s day as we all remember how lucky we are to have friends and family and be part of the profession that makes all others possible:  education!

Best,

Jane

 

Washington Update  June 10, 2016

Dear Colleagues:

It’s been a busy week with the Congress back in action, sprinting to the Presidential conventions in July.   In the good news column, there was finally action on a FY 2017 spending bill for education.

1. Senate Education Funding Bill Clears Committee in Bipartisan Fest

This week the Senate cleared its FY 2017 Labor/HHS/Education funding bill out of committee with a bipartisan vote of 29-1.  (Only Sen. Lankford {R-OK} opposed noting his displeasure with the increase in funding for civil rights complaints to be processed at the Department of Education.)  Noting that this is the first bi-partisan Labor/HHS/Education spending bill in 7 years, Committee members from both sides of the aisle lauded praise on the bill.  Of course there are reservations about the bill and no one gets everything they want in a compromise.

The bill features a number of slight-of-hand moves appearing to find funds where none exist!  While the bill includes a $270 million cut from last year’s spending level, it also includes some remarkable increases – for example a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health.  Much of the “new” funding came from a $1.2 billion draw down on the surplus for Pell grants, a move which has some education advocates concerned.  Since the amount needed for Pell varies by year based on the number of students who apply and are eligible, some years there are surpluses and other year’s there are deficits.  It is sometimes hard to predict which scenario will unfold year by year.

For the Department of Education, $67.8 billion was provided, a $220 million decrease below FY 2016.  Below are the numbers for some education programs of interest:

  • Title I state grants:  $15.4B, a $500 million increase
  • Title IV (new ESSA “well rounded education” grant):  $300 million
  • IDEA Part B:  $11.95 Billion, a $40 million increase
  • Charter schools: $343 million, a $10 million increase
  • IDEA Personnel Preparation Part D:  $83.7 million, flat funded
  • Teacher Quality Partnership Grants, Higher Education: $43 million, flat funded
  • National Center for Special Education Research:  $54 million, flat funded

Another feature of the bill is that it extends Pell grants so that they can be utilized year round, not just during the fall and spring semesters.  It also increases the maximum Pell from $5815 per year to $5935 per year.  This appears to be a trade off for utilizing funds in the surplus for other programs.

Some education advocates are deeply disappointed in the funding level for Title IV of ESSA ($300 million).  This new state grant program was a consolidation of multiple smaller programs, including arts education, school counseling, computer science and others.  ESSA authorized the program at $1.65 billion.  The International Society for Technology in Education called this low level of funding “stunningly shortsighted.”

The next step in the process would be for the House Appropriations subcommittee and committee to mark up their companion bill.  Rumor is that this will occur before the July 4 recess.  No one expects the process to continue much beyond that House committee action.  The next step will most likely be a continuing resolution (which would keep funding at current levels) to take the government beyond the November  election.   After the dust settles from the election, all bets are off!!

For a copy of the bill see: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CRPT-114srpt274/pdf/CRPT-114srpt274.pdf

2. Department of Education Issues New Civil Rights Data Revealing Ongoing Disparities for Students of Color and Students with Disabilities

This week the Department of Education issued its first look at the 2013-14 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC).   The data is comprehensive, including 99% of all school districts (16,758); 99% of all schools (95,507) and over 50 million students.  It also includes a number of new data sets, such as student absenteeism and educational access in correctional facilities.  This release is one of several that the Department will issue over the course of the summer and fall as it continues to analyze the rich 2013-14 CRDC.  One such release will address teacher churn/turnover.

The demographic makeup of our students in school is as follows:

  • 3% white
  • 7% Hispanic or Latino
  • 5% Black or African American
  • 8% Asian
  • 1% two or more races
  • 1% American Indian or Alaska Native
  • .4% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander

Our nation’s school students include 9.9% English learners and 14% students with disabilities (including those served by IDEA and Sec. 504 of the Rehabilitation Act).

A few key highlights from the release include:

  • Students with disabilities in K-12 are disproportionately suspended from school; students served by IDEA are more than twice as likely to receive out-of-school suspensions as students without disabilities;
  • Black students are expelled from school at disproportionately high rates; they are 1.9 times more likely to be expelled from school without educational services as white students;
  • Over 100,000 students were placed in seclusion or involuntary confinement or were physically restrained at school, including over 67,000 students served by IDEA; while students with disabilities served by IDEA represent 12% of all students, 67% are subject to restraint or seclusion;
  • Black and Latino students have less access to high level math and science courses; 33% of high schools with high black and Latino populations offer calculus, compared to 56% of high schools with low black and Latino enrollment;
  • More than 6.5 million students (13% of all students) are chronically absent during a school year (15 or more school days);
  • More than 3 million high school students (18% of all high school students) are chronically absent; 20% of all English learner high school students are chronically absent;
  • Black, Latino and American Indian or Alaska Native students are more likely to attend schools with higher concentrations of inexperienced teachers;  for example 11% of black students attend schools where more than 20% of teachers are in their first year of teaching compared to 5% of white students;
  • Nearly 800,000 students are enrolled in schools where more than 20% of teachers have not met all state certification requirements.

See: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/2013-14-first-look.pdf?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

See: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/06/07/disparities-continue-to-plague-us-schools-federal.html?cmp=eml-enl-eu-news1-RM

For the entire data file see: CRDC.ed.gov.

3. New Stakeholder Engagement Guide for States on ESSA

On June 9, the Council of Chief State School Officers issued a new guide for its members and stakeholders titled  “Let’s Get This Conversation Started:  Strategies, Tools, Examples and Resources to Help States Engage with Stakeholders to Develop and Implement their ESSA Plans.”  Developed in conjunction with multiple national stakeholder organizations (NEA, AFT, AASA, National PTA, NSBA, NASSP, NAESP, NASBE and more),  the guide offers strategies, checklists and multiple examples from states as to how to engage stakeholders during ESSA decision making.    A few examples included in the publication:

  • Kentucky held 11 town hall meetings across the state to consider how to define school success.
  • North Carolina released a detailed timeline of ESSA outreach, events, presentations, convenings and the development of the ESSA plan itself.
  • Oregon hosted 12 community forums to help build the state’s ESSA plan.  They were held in community centers, an early learning center, a cultural center, community colleges, a maritime museum and a few school districts.
  • Illinois held an 8 stop listening tour during the spring of 2016 and worked with regional offices to set up local meetings to secure feedback on ESSA implementation.
  • Massachusetts has launched an online feedback form to get feedback on accountability.  Stakeholders can sign up online for ESSA updates and other opportunities to provide feedback.
  • Washington State created a series of workgroups for the major policy areas of ESSA comprised of stakeholders and experts,  The groups meet monthly to prepare parts of the state’s ESSA plan.
  • New Hampshire created six content-specific stakeholder advisory teams to formulate the state’s ESSA plan.

Now is the time for educators and other stakeholder to be at the table.  Check out what is happening in your state and be sure your voice is heard!  The law requires it.

http://www.ccsso.org/Documents/2016/ESSA/CCSSO%20Stakeholder%20Engagement%20Guide%20FINAL.pdf

4. Does Experience Make you a Better Teacher?  What the Research Says

The Learning Policy Institute reviewed 30 research studies published in the last 15 years to consider the impact of teaching experience on teaching effectiveness.   They found that the most notable gains appear in the early years,  however teachers can continue to increase their effectiveness into the second and third decades of their careers.

Other findings include:
• Experienced teachers have a positive impact on the performance of their peers.
• As teachers gain experience, their students are more likely to do better on other measures of success beyond test scores, such as school attendance.
• Teachers make greater gains in their effectiveness when they accumulate experience in the same grade level, subject, or district.
• More experienced teachers confer benefits to their colleagues, their students, and to the school as a whole.

This report is particularly timely given the critical teacher shortages in fields such as special education, the inequity of the distribution of experienced teachers and the decisions states will be making under ESSA to address teacher quality.

https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/our-work/publications-resources/does-teaching-experience-increase-teacher-effectiveness-review-research/

5. Oklahoma Tackles Teacher Shortages

Facing an unprecedented teacher shortage, Oklahoma created a Teacher Shortage Task Force comprised of 91 members including educators, parents, legislators, colleges of education, school districts, communities and businesses.    The Task Force presented 29 recommendations to the Board of Education in December, several of which required legislation.   As a result, 7 new bills were signed into law.  The bills include the following:

  • Allowance of retired teachers to volunteer or serve part time as mentor teachers;
  • Eases the State Board’s ability to issue teaching certificate to those with out-of- state certification;
  • Provides new authority for the Board to issue certificates to those with out-of-country certificates;
  • Gives districts the authority to enter into contracts with student teachers provided they will not teach the following year until completing all certification requirements;
  • Increases the maximum number of clock hours an adjunct teacher may teach;
  • The “Empowering Teachers to Lead Act” enables districts to pursue a framework of teacher career paths, leadership roles and compensation structure, defining the responsibilities of model teachers, mentor teachers and lead teachers;
  • Creates a teacher certification scholarship program for one teacher candidate.

The task force will continue to meet and issue a final report in the fall.   The state has yet to tackle the sticky issue of teacher salaries.  With starting salaries around $31,600, Oklahoma is one of the lowest paying states in the country.  

See:  https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/OKSDE/bulletins/14bf56f

Wishing you a great summer weekend filled with fun and sun!

See you on twitter @janewestdc.

Best,

Jane

 

Washington Update  May 27, 2016

Dear Colleagues:

Congress left town yesterday for Memorial Day recess, slated to return on Monday June 6.  Then comes the mad dash of the summer toward a July 14 recess for the Presidential Party conventions.  Congress will return for a couple of weeks in September and that’s it until the November election.   Meanwhile the policy agenda grows larger and the polarization grows deeper.

1. Appropriations Hits a New Low

With a commitment to “regular order” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) took another hit this week, watching what appeared to be a non-controversial spending bill (energy and water) go down in flames over an LGBT amendment.   The vote was 112-305.  The amendment was proposed by Democrats and would have barred federal contractors from discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.   Some Democrats opposed the spending bill anyway because of several Republican amendments, including one related to immigration.  If this is an indicator of how the remaining spending bills will fare, it will be a frustrating summer with little to show for weeks of work.

Meanwhile the House and Senate appear to be moving toward conference on at least one spending measure: the Zika virus.  This is an emergency appropriations measure (not one of the 12 required bills), but it will be a trial run to see if the House and Senate can come to agreement during this polarized political season.  While the President requested $1.9 billion in emergency funding to respond to the virus, the House bill has approved $622 million which the White House said it would veto.  The Senate passed a $1.1 billion bill.   Meanwhile the virus continues to spread and the CDC is increasingly concerned.

To date the House has passed only 1 of the 12 required spending bills and the Senate has passed three.  The bill that funds education (Labor/HHS/Education) is expected to move in the Senate first and be marked up in the Subcommittee the week of June 6, when Congress returns.  This is the time to contact your Members of Congress regarding your education funding priorities!

For a great overview of the appropriations process: http://crfb.org/document/updated-appropriations-101

2. Department of Education  Pours Gasoline on the Fire:  Proposed ESSA Accountability Regulations Released

On May 26, the Department of Education released draft accountability regulations for ESSA, engendering a quick outpouring of response from multiple quarters.   Predictably, Congressional Republicans are skeptical, with HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) noting that he is “disappointed that the draft regulation seems to include provisions that the Congress considered—and expressly rejected.  If the final regulation does not implement the law the way the Congress wrote it, I will introduce a resolution under the Congressional Review Act to overturn it.”

Chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor John Kline (R-MN) issued the following statement:  “I am deeply concerned that the department is trying to take us back to the days when Washington dictated national education policy.  I will fully review this proposed rule and intend to hold a hearing on it in the coming weeks.”

The proposed regulations will appear in the Federal Register on Tuesday May 31; however, they are available for review now (see links below).  The public is invited to comment on the proposal for 60 days – through August 1.  The proposed regulations address accountability, data reporting and state plan provisions.  A few highlights include:

  • States must develop a “summative” rating for schools, or a concrete  score or evaluation rather than a dashboard of data, as some had recommended;
  • While no weighting of accountability indicators is prescribed (in fact, this is prohibited by the statute) and no definition of “substantial” weight is offered, any school achieving the lowest level of performance on any academic indicator must receive a different summative rating than a school performing at the highest level on all of the indicators;
  • States must factor into their accountability system whether schools are meeting a 95% assessment participation rate for each subgroup of students and take robust action for schools not meeting the requirement;
  • While no specific n-size is required, any state with an n-size larger than 30 must submit a justification for that size in its state plan;
  • All public charter schools must be part of the rating system;
  • States may define “consistently underperforming” in relation to subgroups which have underperformed two or more years;
  • States must identify schools which require additional targeted support for the 2017-18 school year with annual identification of schools with consistently underperforming subgroups in the 2018-19 school year.

Additional responses to the regulatory proposal to date include the following:

  • Ranking Democrat on the Senate HELP Committee Patty Murray (D-WA) is reviewing the proposal looking closely at parameters for accountability to ensure a focus on preparing all students for success in college and career.  She plans to provide feedback to the Department.
  • NEA noted they will “be carefully looking at this regulation to ensure that it fosters state and local innovation and collaboration.”
  • AFT said the regulations succeed in some places, but fail in others. “Rather than listen to the outcry by parents and educators over hypertesting, the department offers specific punitive consequences for when fewer than 95% of students participate in tests.  This doesn’t solve the issue of the misuse of testing.  It simply inflames the problem by suggesting punitive consequences for those who are so frustrated by the misuse and high-stakes nature of standardized testing that they want to opt their kids out.”
  • Education Trust praised many components of the proposal but noted: “There is at least one place where…the proposed regulations fall short:  assured action when any group of students in any school is not making progress. For example, by allowing states to define consistent underperformance of any student group relative to statewide averages, the draft regulations undermine the idea that what matters most is whether a group is making progress over time.”

As stakeholders study the complex proposed set of regulations, additional questions will arise. Surely this proposal offers the perfect beach reading for the long three day holiday ahead!

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Accountability, State Plans, and Data Reporting

Fact Sheet for Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Accountability, State Plans, and Data Reporting

Chart Comparing Proposed Regulations to NCLB

Press Release for Proposed Regulations on Accountability, State Plans, and Data Reporting

https://edtrust.org/press_release/statement-from-the-education-trust-on-the-u-s-department-of-educations-proposed-essa-regulations/

https://www.politicopro.com/education/whiteboard/2016/05/democrats-call-on-obama-administration-to-draft-strong-accountability-rules-under-essa-072427

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2016/05/essa_accountability_rules_release_education_department.html?cmp=soceml-twfdbltz-ewnow

3. Presidential Candidate Forum on Education:  Donald Trump a No Show

On May 26, the Committee for Education Funding, with the sponsorship of 12 national education-related organizations, sponsored a Presidential Forum.  Representatives of all three Presidential contenders, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, were invited to participate.  Despite extensive outreach and dialogue with Trump representatives, no one was present at the forum to represent the Republican presidential nominee’s views on education.

Moderated by award winning former CNN political correspondent Candy Crowley at the Washington DC Newseum, the forum featured Ann O’Leary for the Clinton campaign and Donni Turner for the Sanders campaign.  O’Leary is a long time advisor to Clinton having served as her legislative director when she was Senator. Turner  held multiple congressional staff positions and serves as policy advisor to the Sanders campaign as well as head of African American outreach.

On most points the two candidates seemed to agree and the differences appear to be more a matter of priority and nuance.  Both want more federal funding for education and  prioritize closing achievement gaps for students.  Expanding pre-K and ensuring internet access for all families were discussed.

A second panel was comprised of representatives of the conservative think tanks, The Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise and the left leaning Center for American Progress.

See: http://cef.org/cef-presidential-forum/

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2016/05/advisors_to_hilary_clinton_and_bernie_sanders_debate_education_policy.html?cmp=soceml-twfdbltz-ewnow

4. TeachStrong Coalition Issues Paper on Teacher Recruitment

Organized by the Center for American Progress, the TeachStrong campaign was launched in the fall of 2015 with over 40 education policy organizations.   The mission of the campaign is to modernize and elevate the teaching profession as a national priority.

The campaign has agreed on nine principles and plans to release policy papers on each. The first one, on teacher recruitment, was released this week.  The first principle is to “identify and recruit more teacher candidates with great potential to succeed, with a deliberate emphasis on diversifying the teacher workforce.”

By way of background, the report notes:

“Millennials are shying away from teaching careers: Teacher preparation program enrollment has declined 30% since 2008, and many school districts across the nation are experiencing critical shortages.  Many young prospective teachers find teaching less attractive than other professions, especially given low salaries, challenging working conditions, and a media culture that can be unsupportive of teachers.”

Recommendations include the following:

  • Teacher prep programs should partner with school districts to recruit diverse high achieving candidates;
  • Teacher prep programs and IHES should dedicate more resources to recruitment of high achieving individuals with great potential to succeed as teachers;
  • States should incentivize recruitment in programs such as “grow your own;”
  • States and districts should partner with HBCU’s and HIS’s to ensure diversity of candidates.

For a copy of the paper: http://teachstrong.org/principle-1-2/

For more about TeachStrong: https://www.americanprogress.org/press/release/2015/11/10/125052/release-40-education-organizations-unite-to-launch-teachstrong-a-campaign-to-modernize-and-elevate-the-teaching-profession/

 

Washington Update May 20, 2016 

Dear Colleagues:

There was a flurry of activity in Washington this week as Congress slowly lurches forward amidst increasing pre-election polarization.

1. Appropriations Bills Moving Ahead

The House and the Senate moved on many of the 12 required appropriations bills this week, though the end game is still likely to be continuing resolution (continued funding at current levels) for many of the bills, at least through the election.  The House passed a Zika funding bill which immediately drew a veto threat from the White House. The Senate passed both the Military Construction and Transportation/HUD appropriations bills including a more generous Zika funding package than the one passed by the House, which is supported by the White House.

The Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations bill is expected to be marked up in Senate subcommittee and committee the week of June 6.   This will be the first indication of Congress’s intentions for funding the newly authorized Every Student Succeeds Act, as well as all other education programs.  Since the Congress is still functioning under the sequester, funds are limited.  This is the time to advocate for funding for your priority programs!

Many education organizations are rallying around a desire to secure an adequate level of funding for the newly authorized Title IV under ESSA.  This title consolidates multiple smaller programs (including after school, dropout prevention, technology) into a block grant to states with most of the money passed on to districts.  While the Obama Administration proposed $500 million for the program, education advocates are seeking $1.65 billion to fully fund all of the consolidated programs.

2. ESSA Implementation Standoff: Congressional Republicans vs. Obama Administration

Political polarization over the development of regulations to implement ESSA was in high profile in Washington this week.  In the third of three oversight hearings on ESSA implementation, HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) blasted the Department of Education for “a brazen effort to deliberately ignore” congressional intent.

At issue is the draft “supplement not supplant” regulation which was proposed by the Department but rejected by the negotiated rulemaking team.  The provision is intended to ensure that Title I schools are not being shortchanged in state and local funding.  While ESSA bars the Department from proscribing a specific method  of how to do this, the Department argues that their proposal is in line with the civil rights framework of ESSA and is intended to ensure that districts will not be penalized if they use a weighted student funding formula or a formula that allocates resource, including staff positions.

At the hearing, AFT President Randi  Weingarten noted concern that the Department would take the level of prescription in the proposed supplement not supplant provision and apply it to upcoming rules on accountability.  Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)  noted that while there are “legitimate disagreements” about the draft rule, the department has the responsibility and the authority to ensure that poor students are getting their fair share of resources.

Led by House Committee Education and the Workforce Chairman, John Kline (R-MN) and joined by Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) and Chairman Alexander, Congressional Republican education leaders submitted a letter to Secretary of Education King listing an array of concerns about the integrity of the negotiated rulemaking process.  Among the questions asked:

  • How did the Department meet the requirement in the law that individuals on the negotiating panel included “representation from all geographic regions of the US in such numbers as will provide equitable balance between representatives of parents and students and representative of educators and education officials?”
  • Did the Department’s actions in naming panel members bias the panel’s deliberations?
  • What were the protocols/criteria used to determine when the Secretary or other high ranking Department officials would speak to or participate in the panel’s work?
  • What steps were taken to ensure that statements made by the Department’s negotiators accurately reflected the statute?
  • How were the three outside experts chosen to participate?
  • How did the Department determine which provisions related to assessments would be considered during negotiated rulemaking?

Meanwhile, the Department is moving ahead with their regulatory proposals.  Three sets of regulations are under consideration:  assessment, supplement not supplant and accountability.  All of these proposals will be issued as “Notices of Proposed Rulemaking” (NPRM) which will include public comment periods.  These comment periods should take place over the summer.

The tug of war between Congressional Republicans and the Obama Administration is likely to continue for the foreseeable future with Congressional Democrats, civil rights groups and education officials continuing to weigh in.

For Senate HELP Committee hearing on ESSA implementation: http://www.help.senate.gov/hearings/essa-implementation-perspectives-from-education-stakeholders

For letter from Republican Congressional leaders: http://edworkforce.house.gov/uploadedfiles/5-17-2016-secretary_king-negotiated_rulemaking.pdf

On NPR: http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/05/18/478358412/the-intolerable-fight-over-school-money

3. ESSA around the States

Hawaii:

The Hawaii State Board of Education voted to remove student test scores as a required component of teacher evaluation.

See: http://www.hawaiipublicschools.org/ConnectWithUs/MediaRoom/PressReleases/Pages/BOE-approves-policy-changes.aspx

State Accountability Systems:

Under ESSA states will be revisiting their accountability systems to include new metrics for school success.  A report issued by the Center for American Progress provides a 50 state analysis of state accountability systems.  Nearly every state will need to revisit their current system to comply with the new law.  For example measuring English language proficiency is a new metric required for accountability systems.

See: https://www.americanprogress.org/press/release/2016/05/19/137543/release-as-states-navigate-increased-flexibility-under-essa-new-cap-report-offers-a-50-state-analysis-of-school-accountability-systems/

 4. New GAO Report Issued on Racial Disparities in Schools.

The Government Accounting Office issued a report this week intended to examine three issues:

  • how the percentage of schools with high percentages of poor Black or Hispanic students has changed over time and the characteristics of these schools;
  • why and how selected school districts have implemented actions to increase student diversity; and
  • the extent to which the Departments of Education and Justice have addressed issues related to racial discrimination in schools.

The report determined that the percentage of K-12 schools with high percentages of   poor and Black or Hispanic students grew from 9 to 16% from 2000-01 to 2013-14.  These schools offered   disproportionately fewer math, science and college prep courses and had higher rates of students who were held back in 9th grade, suspended or expelled.

See: http://www.gao.gov/assets/680/676745.pdf

See:  http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2016/05/high_poverty_racially_isolated_schools_GAO.html?cmp=soceml-twfdbltz-ewnow

Enjoy the great springtime weather.  Let me know if you have questions.  See you on twitter @janewestdc.

Best,

Jane

 

Washington Update  -- May 13, 2016

By Jane West

Dear Colleagues:

With about 10 legislative weeks left before the election for the Congress, pressure builds for action on FY 2017 funding.  With seven months left for the Obama Administration, the education activity level is frenzied and the list of “must dos” seems to keep growing.   What the outcomes will be remains to be seen.

1. Budget Effort Still Alive in House; Appropriations Bills Stumbling Forward

In the House, the effort to craft and pass a revised budget plan limps along with a new proposal to cut $160 billion over 10 years.  Many of those cuts would come from mandatory education spending in areas such as Pell Grants and student loans.  While the House may pass the bill, it will not move forward in the Senate and there is no way the White House would support it.  This fruitless effort will likely fade away and be overtaken by the movement of appropriations bills which can begin in the House on May 15.  (The House has a rule that no appropriations bills may move before May 15 in the absence of a Budget Resolution.)

Meanwhile, the Senate has broken the logjam over their effort to pass the first of 12 appropriations bills – the Energy/Water bill.  The Senate passed the bill with a vote of 90-10.  Senate, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee that drafted the bill, has again demonstrated his bipartisan prowess that was essential to enacting ESSA.

The Senate will continue marking up appropriations bills in Subcommittee and Committee, while they package a few bills together to take to the floor – now referred to as a “minibus.” The bill that funds education – Labor/HHS/Education – is likely to see the light of day in both Senate and House Committees in June.  Where it might go after that is a real question.  In all likelihood the attention will turn to a Continuing Resolution at that point in order to keep the government going through September.  Final decisions about FY 2017 spending are not likely to be made until after the election in November.

2. ESSA:  Prolific Department of Education;  Battle Brewing with Capitol Hill

The Department of Education certainly wins the energizer bunny prize for generating events, activities and documents focused on the early implementation of ESSA and related matters.   Last week – teacher appreciation week – featured numerous events and new reports.   There was a national convening focusing on teacher preparation and one focusing on expanding teacher diversity.   President Obama honored the new Teacher of the Year, Jahana Hayes, and all of the State Teachers of the Year at the White House.  As a part of the teacher diversity summit, the Department issued  REPORT: The State of Racial Diversity in the Educator Workforce.

Hoping to write history on its legacy in education, the Obama Administration issued a report titled  GIVING EVERY CHILD A FAIR SHOT: PROGRESS UNDER THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S EDUCATION AGENDA.  The report covers the Administration’s early childhood through higher education accomplishments as well as plans for the future.

The big controversy this week erupted between Republicans in Congress and the Obama Administration when the bipartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) issued a report on the “Supplement not Supplant” proposal from the Department of Education. This proposal was a topic during the negotiated rulemaking but negotiators failed to reach consensus. In a follow up hearing on Capitol Hill, Sen. Alexander (R-TN), HELP Committee chair, blasted Secretary King for going beyond the law in the proposal.   Considered a bipartisan and fair minded entity, CRS concluded that “ED’s interpretation appears to go beyond what would be required under a plain-language reading of the statute.”  Sen. Alexander responded by vowing to use “every power of Congress to see that this law is implemented the way Congress wrote it.”  He proceeded to schedule another hearing in the Committee for May 18, ESSA Implementation:  Perspectives from Education Stakeholders,  where this will undoubtedly be a hot topic.  Rep. John Kline (R-MN), chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, said that “This regulation would violate both the letter and intent of the law, and it must be abandoned.”

Nine Senate Democrats weighed in urging Sec. King to hang tough and continue to pursue the proposal. The Department of Education defended its proposal with the following statement: "The law is clear - Title I funds must be used to supplement state and local funds, and the Department is working to help states and districts meet this requirement. As the Department has been reminded by over 30 civil rights groups, 600 teachers, and 9 U.S. Senators, the entire purpose of Title I funds is to truly provide the additional resources necessary to ensure that students in high poverty schools have access to equitable educational opportunity. If schools are being shortchanged before the federal dollars arrive, then those dollars are not supplemental."

Another letter going to the Department from Congressional Democrats urged the Secretary to provide guidance and technical assistance to ensure broad stakeholder involvement in ESSA decision making, including providing release time for school employees and offering non-traditional times for stakeholder sessions for working parents.

For regular updates on ESSA (including a new FAQ) check the Department of Education’s website:  http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/index.html?src=essa-page

To see the agenda from The National Summit on Teacher Diversity: http://www2.ed.gov/documents/press-releases/05052016-teacher-diversity-summit-agenda.doc.

CRS Report on “Supplement not Supplant: http://edworkforce.house.gov/uploadedfiles/sns_and_negotiated_rulemaking_5-5-16.pdf

Senate Democrats letter on Supplement not Supplant: http://www.warren.senate.gov/files/documents/2016-05-02%20Letter%20to%20ED%20re%20ESSA%20Fiscal%20Accountability%20in%20SnS_OCR.pdf

Sen. Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Scott (D-VA) urging Department of Education to provide guidance on broad stakeholder engagement: http://mobile.edweek.org/c.jsp?cid=25920011&item=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.edweek.org%2Fv1%2Fblog%2F49%2F%3Fuuid%3D58251&cmp=soc-edit-tw

3. State Decision Making under ESSA

As states begin to think about ESSA, legislatures, state boards and state departments of Education are revisiting previous decisions about K-12 education.  Below are a few highlights:

4. New Grants Available for Teacher-Led Transformation

In collaboration with the US Department of Education, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and other national organizations, ASCD has announced a new competition for teachers – Teacher Impact Grants (TIGs).  These grants will go directly to teachers for promising teacher-led, administrator-supported ideas, programs or initiatives to improve education.   Teachers can develop projects that can serve as models to be replicated.  The goal is to support teachers as leaders in driving transformation in education.   Funds are provided through the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Foundation Charitable Trust and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

The grants are available for the 2016-17 school year.  The average grant is expected to be $10,000.  The application period is from May 16 to June 16.

See:  http://www.ascd.org/programs/teacher-impact-grants.aspx

See:     http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-collaborates-ascd-and-national-board-professional-teaching-standards-provide-grants-support-teacher-leadership-projects?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

5. Obama Administration Issues Guidance on Civil Rights of Transgender Students in Schools

In response to the controversy generated in North Carolina related to the use of bathrooms by transgender students, the Department of Education and the Department of Justice released joint guidance to assist schools in protecting the civil rights of transgender students.

See: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-departments-education-and-justice-release-joint-guidance-help-schools-ensure-civil-rights-transgender-students?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

6. Senate HELP Committee Holds Hearing on Dyslexia

On May 10, the Senate HELP Committee held a hearing “Understanding Dyslexia: The Intersection of Scientific Research and Education.”  Chaired by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and retiring Committee Member Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), the hearing was intended to raise awareness about dyslexia. According to Sen. Cassidy, nearly 20% of the US population has dyslexia.  He noted that good schools for students with dyslexia are almost all private costing $10,000-$50,000 per year.  He cited three public charter schools for students with dyslexia, two of which are in Louisiana. Sen. Cassidy, a physician, has a daughter with dyslexia and his wife assisted in creating one of the charter schools in Louisiana for students with dyslexia.

Speakers at the hearing included Dr. Sally Shaywitz from the Yale University School of Medicine and Attorney David Boies who is best known for representing former Vice President Al Gore in the contested 2000 Presidential election.

For a witness list and testimony see: https://www.help.senate.gov/hearings/understanding-dyslexia-the-intersection-of-scientific-research-and-education

For Sen. Cassidy’s statement: http://www.cassidy.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cassidys-opening-statement-for-senate-education-hearing-on-dyslexia

More on Sen. Cassidy: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/09/bill_cassidy_gets_emotional_as.html

Let me know what is happening in your state with ESSA implementation. I am particularly interested in how states might be changing their teacher certification policies in relation to the elimination of the federal “highly qualified” mandate.  Please forward articles!  See you on twitter @janewestdc.

Best,

Jane



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