Weekly Update-February 24

On February 24, 2012, in Weekly Update, by Mary Kingston

Announcements

House Education Committee to Mark up ESEA Bills Next Week

Chairman Kline (R-MN) of the House Education and Workforce Committee will mark up on Tuesday (at 10 am EST) his two bills to reauthorize ESEA. The Student Success Act (HR 3989) addresses accountability, and The Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act (HR 3990) addresses teacher quality. The committee markup should be interesting to watch given that the Chairman introduced these bills in a partisan manner, or without the support of the committee’s Ranking Member Rep. George Miller (D-CA) who finds faults with many of these bill’s provisions and will likely offer sweeping amendments to Kline’s bills. Be sure to follow NASSP Government Relations staff on Twitter for live markup updates: @akarhuse and @kingston_m. Access follow-up materials including the webcast and opening remarks here: http://edworkforce.house.gov/.

ESEA Waiver Update

From the U.S. Department of Education website: “The second submission deadline to request ESEA Flexibility is February 28, 2012. As of February 21, 2012, 26 States and D.C. have submitted the intent to request ESEA Flexibility for the second window.”

News

U.S. Department of Education to Monitor Subgroup Accountability in NCLB Waiver States

Now that 11 states have been granted NCLB waivers from the first round of applications, the Department of Education is issuing implementation letters to these states outlining how it will monitor states’ progress on their approved accountability systems, with a significant focus on their fidelity in monitoring subgroup performance. Specifically, the department will “make sure the states are providing “transparency” around subgroup performance—especially in states that are using a “super-subgroup.” It’s also watching how Tennessee approves new “annual measurable objectives” (or AMOs), and how New Jersey and Georgia are implementing their new, not-yet-final grading systems.” Read the entire article-and more about the department’s monitoring plan-here.

School Leaders Generally Find Common Core Resources Lacking

From an Education Week article published online 2/24/12: “As states and districts begin the work of turning common academic standards into curriculum and instruction, educators searching for teaching resources are often finding that process frustrating and fruitless.

Teachers and curriculum developers who are trying to craft road maps that reflect the Common Core State Standards can find themselves in a dispiriting bind: Their current materials fall short, and there is a dearth of good new ones to fill the void.

“Teachers are struggling, and very few people are helping. Almost nothing is available for them to use,” said Aaron Grossman, a former 5th and 6th grade teacher in Nevada’s Washoe County district who now works at the district office writing curriculum.

Many school leaders are finding a rough road as well.

Greg Netzer, the principal of Van Horn High School in Independence, Mo., said he hasn’t heard much from his district about new curriculum. Teachers at his school have banded together to search for material to inform course development and meet weekly to discuss and share what they’ve found.

“There seems to be very little out there, or it’s just not in places we can find it,” Mr. Netzer said. “To say we are prepared for common core would be a misconception.”

Read the rest of the article here.

New York City Department of Education Releases Individual Teacher Performance Rankings

On Friday, the city’s education department released individual performance rankings of 18,000 public school teachers as measured by their students’ gains on the state’s math and English exams over five years and up until the 2009-10 school year. Obviously this is a highly controversial move and one that is being challenged by the United Federation of Teachers through a campaign they are launching to discredit this use of ranking teachers. Still, others feel that more transparency on teacher performance is needed, though publishing individual teacher names and scores may go too far. Read Bill Gates’ take on the issue as expressed in his New York Times op-ed here.

Research

Report on School Crime and Safety

As shared by the U.S. Department of Education: “Indicators of School Crime and Safety, 2011,” a new report issued jointly by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, examines crimes occurring in school, as well as on the way to and from school, and presents data on safety at school from the perspectives of students, teachers, and principals.  The report covers topics such as victimization, bullying, school conditions, fighting, weapons, and availability and student use of drugs and alcohol.  One significant finding: the total crime victimization rate of students at school declined from 43 victimizations per 1,000 students in 2009 to 32 per 1,000 students in 2010.  FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012002.

Sustained Positive Effects on Graduation Rates Produced by New York City’s Small Public High Schools of Choice

Between fall 2002 and fall 2008, the New York City school district closed 23 large failing high schools (with graduation rates below 45 percent), opened 216 new small schools of choice, or SSCs (with different missions, structures, and student selection criteria), and implemented a centralized high school admissions process that assigns over 90 percent of the roughly 80,000 incoming ninth-graders each year based on their school preferences. In June 2010, MDRC released a report on the effectiveness of 105 of the 123 new SSCs, based on a large and rigorous study that took advantage of lottery-like features in New York City’s high school admissions process, and includes data on 21,000 students from four cohorts who entered ninth grade between fall 2005 and fall 2008. This policy brief extends the analysis by a year, adding information on high school graduation rates for the 2006 cohort and providing a fifth year of follow-up for the 2005 cohort.

http://www.mdrc.org/publications/614/policybrief.pdf

Resources

Want to Better Understand the Potential Impact of President Obama’s FY 2013 Budget Request on Federal Education Funding? (That Will Impact the 2012-2013 school year). Check out any of these resources below!

The National Governors Association has compiled a list of policy provisions contained within the budget that affects major state programs. This list of provisions highlights significant levels of new funding, changes regarding program implementation, and other important non-funding related program changes.

First Focus released a detailed analysis of the Budget’s investment in America’s children.

PPT Slides From Tuesday’s Webinar on FY 2013 Federal Education Funding

CEF Webinar: The FY 13 Education Budget and Sequestration

Slides: Download slides in PDF format at www.acteonline.org/uploadedFiles/Publications_and_Online_Media/files/CEF-FY13EducationFunding-Feb2012-Final.pdf.

 

Links shared during this presentation:

  • Committee for Education Funding: www.cef.org. CEF is the oldest and largest education coalition, representing more than 90 national organizations and institutions from PreK through graduate education.
  • CEF on Twitter: @edfunding

 

Events

Monday February 27: What States and Nonprofits Are Doing to Encourage Early High School Graduation, 1 pm EST

 

A handful of states are offering students scholarship money for college if they graduate from high school early. And nonprofit organizations are piloting a new approach to curriculum and testing that give students a chance to wrap up their high school studies early. Such initiatives can give high-achieving students an incentive to work hard by taking summer school or online classes to wrap up their requirements a semester or two early. For others who are burned out on high school, an early exit enables them to avoid the senior slump and puts them on a fast-track to their career path.

 

The policies can save education dollars along the way-less instructional dollars spent by states and tuition savings for families. While some are concerned that students might be exiting the system before they are ready, others say by rewarding proficiency over seat time, students will leave high school college- and career-ready. Join us for this online chat to learn more about the challenges and merits behind this movement.

 

Guests:

·         Pat Garofalo, Republican from Minnesota and sponsor of the Early Graduation Achievement Act that passed in the state legislature last year.

·         Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, a Washington organization that is piloting an early high school graduation project in select high schools.

 

Caralee Adams, contributing writer, Education Week, will moderate this chat.

Click hear to listen to the live conversation:

http://www.edweek.org/ew/events/chats/index.html?intc=intst

 

Weekly Update-February 18

On February 18, 2012, in Weekly Update, by Mary Kingston

Announcements

President Obama Releases FY 2013 Budget Request, Signals Education as a Priority

From NASSP’s Principal’s Policy Blog: This past Monday, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2013 budget request, which outlines his spending priorities for certain programs and purposes for the next fiscal year, which will provide funding for the 2012-2013 school year. NASSP is happy to see the President’s continued investment in education: a proposed increase to the education budget of $1.7 billion, 2.5% above fiscal year 2012 levels. This proposed increase is especially significant given that the President in contrast proposed reducing the defense budget by 1%, while non-security discretionary programs across all other agencies only received an overall increase of $2 billion. Clearly, the President is fighting for investing in education, and on behalf of NASSP members we applaud this direction. Read the rest of the blog here.

Read more about the President’s education budget from the Department of Education here.

President Obama Announces $5 Billion Proposal to Strengthen Education Profession

From NASSP’s Principal’s Policy Blog: As part of his FY 2013 budget proposal, President Obama has requested $5 billion through the American Jobs Act for a new initiative to elevate teachers and school leaders. Known as Recognizing Education Success, Professional Excellence and Collaborative Teaching or “RESPECT,” the one-time competitive grant program would support states and districts “that commit to pursuing bold reforms at every stage of the teaching profession.”

“Our goal is to work with teachers and principals in rebuilding their profession and to elevate the teacher voice in federal, state and local education policy,” said US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a press release announcing the proposal. “Our larger goal is to make teaching not only America’s most important profession, but also America’s most respected profession.” Read the rest of the blog here.

Read the U.S. Department of Education press release here: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/obama-administration-seeks-elevate-teaching-profession-duncan-launch-respect-pro.

New Mexico ESEA Waiver Approved

Secretary Duncan announced this Wednesday that NM was also granted its ESEA waiver, so all 11 states that applied have now been approved. In addition, ED set September 6 as the deadline for the third round for states to submit waiver requests. See: Department of Education Approves New Mexico’s Request for Flexibility from No Child Left Behind and 3rd-Round Waiver Deadline Set, Short-Term NCLB Relief Offered

News

House Education and the Workforce Committee Holds Hearing on ESEA Bills

On Thursday, House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) held a hearing on two ESEA bills he formally introduced the same day: The Student Success Act (HR 3989) that addresses accountability, and The Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act (HR 3990) that addresses teacher quality. Chairman Kline drafted and introduced these bills in a partisan manner and without the participation and support of Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA) and other Democrats after talks apparently broke down at a certain point. As a result, the committee members were divided on the appropriate federal role in education, and it did not seem as if consensus will be reached soon. NASSP has heard that Chairman Kline would like to mark up the bill in the committee the week of February 27, which would give Rep. Miller (D-CA) and any other members the chance to offer as many amendments as they would like to the bill. It remains to be seen, however, if the committee can find enough of a common ground to approve these two bills. Access the witness testimony, remarks by the Chairman and Ranking Member, and the hearing video here.

Read NASSP’s perspective on these bills here.

Finally, read an Education Week analysis of the hearing here: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/02/22/21esea.h31.html?tkn=MTNFcszfdThFvzrdqOs0aDJe7CRZR3Dm6EDw&cmp=clp-edweek.

Brookings Institution Report Claims the Common Core Will Have Little To No Effect on Student Achievement

Excerpt from the report: “Common standards will only affect variation between and among states (analysts use the grammatically suspect “between-state” as shorthand for this kind of variation). Achievement variation existing within states is already influenced, to the extent that standards can exert influence, by the states standards under which schools currently operate. Within state variation is four to five times larger than the variation between states. Put another way, anyone who follows NAEP scores knows that the difference between Massachusetts and Mississippi is quite large. What is often overlooked is that every state has a mini-Massachusetts and Mississippi contrast within its own borders. Common state standards only target the differences between states, not within them, sharply limiting common state standards’ potential impact on achievement differences.” Read the full report here and read the Education Week summary here.

NASSP strongly supports the common core state standards, as expressed in a position statement awaiting its final draft format: http://www.nassp.org/tabid/3788/default.aspx?topic=Common_Core_State_Standards_and_Assessments_in_K_12_Education

U.S. Secretary of Education Appears on the Daily Show with John Stewart

From a Washington Post article that appeared February 17, 2012: “Jon Stewart tried to engage Education Secretary Arne Duncan on “The Daily Show” Thursday night, but the effort was an exercise in the futility of conversing with someone who won’t deviate from his talking points.

Duncan was so programmed that Stewart was even unable to get the basketball-playing secretary to have some fun talking about the New York Knicks’ new hero, Jeremy Lin.

When Stewart jokingly asked Duncan whether, having graduated from Harvard, it was “a disappointment” that he “ended up as just the secretary of education” and not as an NBA superstar, Duncan’s only response was about how great a role model the hard-working Lin was for young people.

Stewart surely knew at that point he would get nothing from Duncan, but he made a polite effort anyway, because he had time to fill and, perhaps, because he knew his mother, a teacher who apparently can’t stand Duncan’s policies, would be watching.. Read the rest of the article here.

Research

Calder Releases Report on the Effect of Principals on Student Achievement

Titled “Estimating the Effect of Leaders on Public Sector Productivity: The Case of School Principals”, the report’s abstract states: “Although much has been written about the importance of leadership in the determination of organizational success, there is little quantitative evidence due to the difficulty of separating the impact of leaders from other organizational components – particularly in the public sector. Schools provide an especially rich environment for studying the impact of public sector management, not only because of the hypothesized importance of leadership but also because of the plentiful achievement data that provide information on institutional outcomes. Outcome-based estimates of principal value-added to student achievement reveal significant variation in principal quality that appears to be larger for high-poverty schools. Alternate lower-bound estimates based on direct estimation of the variance yield smaller estimates of the variation in principal productivity but ones that are still important, particularly for high poverty schools. Patterns of teacher exits by principal quality validate the notion that a primary channel for principal influence is the management of the teacher force. Finally, looking at principal transitions by quality reveals little systematic evidence that more effective leaders have a higher probability of exiting high poverty schools.” Access the report here.

Resources

Want to Know What’s on the Department of Education’s Agenda for FY 2012-2013? The Department recently released their priority goals for fiscal year 2012-2013:

FY 2012-13 Priority Performance Goals. The goals are the following:

  • Improve outcomes for all children from birth through third grade.
    By September 30 2013, at least nine states will implement a high-quality plan to collect and report disaggregated data on the status of children at kindergarten entry.
  • Improve learning by ensuring that more students have an effective teacher.
    By September 30th, 2013, at least 500 school districts will have comprehensive teacher evaluation and support systems and a majority of States will have statewide requirements for comprehensive teacher and principal evaluation and support systems.
  • Demonstrate progress in turning around the nation’s lowest-performing schools.
    By September 30th 2013, 500 of the nation’s persistently lowest-achieving schools will have demonstrated significant improvement and serve as potential models for future turnaround efforts.
  • Make informed decisions and improve instruction through the use of data.
    By September 30th, 2013 all states will implement comprehensive statewide longitudinal data systems.
  • Prepare all students for college and career.
    By September 30th 2013, all states will adopt internationally-benchmarked college- and career-ready standards.
  • Improve students’ ability to afford and complete college.
    By September 30th, 2013, the Department will develop college scorecards designed to improve consumer decision-making and transparency about affordability for students and borrowers by streamlining information on all degree-granting institutions into a single, comparable, and easily-understandable format, while also helping all states and institutions develop college completion plans.

Events

Tuesday February 21, 2-3 pm EST: Want to Know More About What Is At Stake for the Fiscal Year 2013 Federal Education Budget? Attend this free webinar hosted by NASSP coalition partner Committee for Education Funding. This information is important for school leaders to know-we strongly encourage you to attend!

Register at: http://eo2.commpartners.com/users/acte/session.php?id=8479

 

 

As part of his FY 2013 budget proposal, President Obama has requested $5 billion through the American Jobs Act for a new initiative to elevate teachers and school leaders. Known as Recognizing Education Success, Professional Excellence and Collaborative Teaching or “RESPECT,” the one-time competitive grant program would support states and districts “that commit to pursuing bold reforms at every stage of the teaching profession.”

“Our goal is to work with teachers and principals in rebuilding their profession and to elevate the teacher voice in federal, state and local education policy,” said US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a press release announcing the proposal. “Our larger goal is to make teaching not only America’s most important profession, but also America’s most respected profession.”

While most of the rhetoric surrounding RESPECT has focused almost exclusively on teachers, the key elements of the initiative would also impact principals and other school leaders:

  • Attract a high-performing and diverse pool of people to become teachers and leaders in education and ensure that they are well prepared to be successful in the school environments in which they will work;
  • Retain, promote and maximize the talents of accomplished teachers and leaders, while creating well-supported roles for novices;
  • Create schools whose climates and cultures, use of time, approaches to staffing, use of technology, deployment of support services, and engagement of families and communities are optimized to continuously improve outcomes for the students they serve;
  • Evaluate and support the development and success of teachers and leaders;
  • Create an education system that provides the highest need students with the most effective teachers and principals, and provide access to other necessary resources to support every student’s academic success; and
  • Transition to a significantly more effective and efficient educational system that is sustainable after the grant program has ended.

In an interview with Jon Stewart last night on The Daily Show, Secretary Duncan said that the “ability to attract and retain talent now will impact education for the next 30 years,” and we at NASSP couldn’t agree more! We look forward to working with the administration and Congress to ensure that teachers and school leaders are well-prepared and supported to meet the demands of educating students to excellence in the 21st Century.

NASSP Applauds Proposed Increase to Education Funding Yet Is Disappointed in Frozen Funding Levels for Core Programs and Alerts Members to the Threat of Sequestration

This past Monday, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2013 budget request, which outlines his spending priorities for certain programs and purposes for the next fiscal year, which will provide funding for the 2012-2013 school year. NASSP is happy to see the President’s continued investment in education: a proposed increase to the education budget of $1.7 billion, 2.5% above fiscal year 2012 levels. This proposed increase is especially significant given that the President in contrast proposed reducing the defense budget by 1%, while non-security discretionary programs across all other agencies only received an overall increase of $2 billion. Clearly, the President is fighting for investing in education, and on behalf of NASSP members we applaud this direction.

However, a closer look at the President’s education budget reveals the administration’s spending priorities within education, which give NASSP cause for concern. The President continues his investment in his signature competitive grant programs in calling for an increase to Race to the Top $300 million above its 2012 level largely to provide funds for the new Early Learning Challenge focused on early childhood education. In contrast, the President proposes to freeze funding at the 2012 levels for the core programs of Title I state grants that provide services for low-income students and of IDEA Part B state grants that fund special education services for students ages 3-21.

NASSP wants to emphasize the point that level-funding these programs actually denotes a cut in services from these programs when one factors in the rising enrollment for grades K-12 and the impact of inflation. Further, as cited in a recent New York Times article, a study found that “the gap in standardized test scores between affluent and low-income students had grown by about 40 percent since the 1960s, and is now double the testing gap between blacks and whites.” This evidence only underscores the need to invest more in foundational federal programs like Title I that reach all low-income students, instead of using some of this money to invest in competitive grants like Race to the Top that by nature only reach some. NASSP feels that when it comes to the achievement gap, the stakes are too high to divert Title I funds into grants like Race to the Top whose effectiveness is not yet comprehensively proven. Similarly, flat-funding IDEA grants for special education amounts to a cut in services whereby the federal share to fully fund the additional costs of special education (as measured by average per-pupil expenditure) drops to 16% despite a promised contribution of 40% (which the federal government has never fulfilled).

Consolidated Funding Streams Jeopardize Federal Programs for School Leaders

The Administration also proposes to consolidate 38 programs into nine new flexible funding streams. While the idea of flexible funding may seem favorable at face value, consolidating programs jeopardizes the chance that any of those individual programs will receive dedicated funding next year to carry out the critical services each of them provides. NASSP members should be concerned about the proposed consolidation of the School Leadership grant, funded at $29 million this year to recruit, train, and mentor principals and assistant principals in high-need districts. The administration would consolidate this program into a pathway called the Effective Teachers and Leaders State Grants that pits funding for this and other programs against one another for one pot of funds and increases the prospect that the school leadership grant will not be funded for fiscal year 2013. NASSP recognizes that school leaders already struggle to obtain funding for their own professional development against competing issues like class size reduction, and opposes this and other consolidations that further jeopardize funding for these critical services for school leaders.

NASSP Members Must Learn and Speak Out About Danger of Sequestration

Despite the promise that the President’s increase to education funding provides, NASSP members should be concerned-and vocal-about the looming threat of sequestration that would cut education programs by an untenable 9.1%. (Congress now faces the threat of sequestration because the twelve-member “Supercommittee” this fall failed to present a plan to reduce the federal deficit by an additional $1.2 trillion. As a result, according to the Budget Control Act passed in August 2011, across-the-board, deep cuts to all discretionary programs including education is scheduled to occur in 2013 unless Congress acts to stop it). As stated by Executive Director Joel Packer of NASSP’s coalition partner the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), “Education programs will be chopped by over $4 billion, moving the country backwards in efforts to close academic achievement gaps, improve overall student achievement and educator quality and increase high school graduation, college access and completion rates.” To this end, NASSP urges its members to contact their legislators and impress upon them that sequestration cannot be an option due to the severe cuts to education that it would cause and the backwards direction in which it would set our country. To learn more about the dangers of sequestration and talking points to use with your legislators, NASSP encourages you to attend a free webinar next Tuesday, February 21 2-3 pm EST hosted by CEF Executive Director Joel Packer. Register here.

For its part, NASSP Government Relations staff is joining forces with dozens of other education advocates in the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) and will be meeting with Congressional staff in the House and Senate budget committees over the next several weeks where we will reinforce the President’s message to invest in education and impress upon staff the severe threat to education funding that sequestration imposes. NASSP is timing these visits to occur before the House presents its own budget resolution for fiscal year 2013, so we can educate Congressional staff about the importance of investing in education funding in order to put our country on a long-term stable and thriving financial path.

 

 

Weekly Update-February 10

On February 10, 2012, in Weekly Update, by Mary Kingston

Announcements

Ten States Receive NCLB Waivers

From NASSP’s Principal’s Policy Blog: “The U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced on February 9 that ten states—Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee—are approved to waive certain requirements from the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act in exchange for raising standards, improving accountability, and undertaking reforms to improve educator effectiveness. New Mexico was the only state to apply for and not receive a waiver, but ED will continue to work with the state to improve its application. An additional 28 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have also indicated their intent to apply for waivers later this month.” Read the rest of the blog here and read about the reactions of various education groups in the News section below.

 

FY 2013 Education Funding: President Obama to Release FY 2013 Budget 2/13

On Monday February 13, President Obama will release his Fiscal Year 2013 budget request, which outlines proposed funding for all government agencies and further, for certain programs, and gives a sense of the President’s priorities for spending in the year ahead. NASSP staff will keep you updated on the proposed budget for education overall and by particular program, but for a preview of what might be in the President’s budget, access this article: Budget Cheat Sheet: What to Watch. On February 13, budget materials will be posted online at http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget13/.

 

ESEA Reauthorization

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman Kline on Thursday formally introduced his two bills to reauthorize ESEA that address accountability and teacher quality: The Student Success Act (HR 3989) and The Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act (HR 3990). He spoke about these bills at a briefing that morning hosted by the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC, and a video of the briefing can be accessed here. NASSP sent a joint letter with NAESP to Congressional offices outlining areas we favor in these two bills and areas that cause serious concern: http://www.nassp.org/Content.aspx?topic=NASSP_and_NAESP_Letter_on_School_Leadership_Provisions_in_House_ESEA_Bills. NASSP and NAESP are most concerned about the diminished role of professional development in the bills’ language, when instructional leaders already struggle to obtain that funding under Title II in current regulations. Chairman Kline will hold a committee hearing on these two ESEA bills next Thursday February 16 and is expected to hold a mark-up on the bills the week of February 27. Follow NASSP staff on Twitter (@akarhuse and @kingston_m) as well as on NASSP’s Principal’s Policy Blog for the latest developments on these two bills.

 

White House STEM Announcement

On Tuesday, the President announced new proposals on STEM education. Among the proposals is that “The President’s upcoming budget will request $80 million for a new competition by the Department of Education to support effective STEM teacher preparation programs, such as those that allow students to simultaneously earn both a STEM degree and a teaching certificate, and provide undergraduates with early and intensive experiences in the classroom honing their skills.”

AFT Endorses President Obama for 2012

From the AFT website: “Declaring that President Obama is the only candidate who will fight to preserve and expand the middle class, close the inequality gap and ensure everyone has a “fair shot” at success, the 1.5 million strong American Federation of Teachers announced today its endorsement of President Obama and Vice President Biden for re-election.” Read more here.

 

News

NASSP Urges Support for Homeless Children and Youth Act

This week, NASSP staff sent an action alert to all NASSP members urging them to contact their House Representatives to vote for the Homeless Children and Youth Act (HR 32). This legislation amends the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) definition of homelessness to include children, youth, and their families who are verified as homeless by federal program personnel from four federal programs: school district homeless liaisons designated under the education subtitle of the McKinney-Vento Act; Head Start programs; Runaway and Homeless Youth Act programs; and Early Intervention programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part C.

The Homeless Children and Youth Act creates a streamlined, efficient referral process for homeless children and youth to access HUD homeless services. It stands in contrast to HUD’s current regulations on the definition of homelessness, which impose requirements for multiple moves and long periods of homelessness, as well as extensive documentation and recordkeeping, before a family or youth receives HUD homeless assistance. The simplicity of the Homeless Children and Youth Act is modeled on successfully implemented provisions of the Child Nutrition Act and the College Cost Reduction and Access Act.

NASSP asks you to send the form letter here to your Representatives for their support of this important legislation. Even better, include a few sentences about how this legislation would help homeless students in your school or community. A personal note from a constituent like you is very powerful!

 

Millions Participate in Digital Learning Day

From A U.S. Department of Education email newsletter: “Thirty-six states and Washington, D.C., 18,000 teachers, and 1.7 million students participated in the first-ever Digital Learning Day on February 1, which aimed to demonstrate how technology is improving teaching and learning across the nation.  The day kicked-off with web sessions focused on leadership and innovation, instruction, and professional learning and teacher effectiveness before attendees viewed a national town hall webcast featuring Secretary Duncan, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski, and video conferences with teachers and students from exemplary schools across the nation.  “We have to do everything we can to foster education and to help us move from print to digital as fast as we can,” the Secretary said, noting that while technology has transformed business and government around the world, it has only slightly changed the way most U.S. schools operate.  “We have to move from being a laggard to being a leader.”  Next month, the Department and the FCC will convene a meeting with policymakers and stakeholders to develop real action plans.  FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.digitallearningday.org/.  (Note: During the town hall, a collaborative of business and education leaders presented the “Digital Textbook Playbook” [http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/digital-textbook-playbook], a guide to help K-12 teachers and administrators leverage broadband technology and develop rich digital learning experiences.)”

 

Research

What Parents and Educators Want from K-12 Assessments

From the NWEA website: “Produced by NWEA and Grunwald Associates LLC, For Every Child, Multiple Measures: What Parents and Educators Want From K-12 Assessments gauges the assessment needs of parents, teachers and district administrators – those with the most practical and personal experience with the day-to-day impact of assessments and accountability. The study comes at a pivotal time, as policymakers are considering a new blueprint for education improvement and significant education reform initiatives are currently underway.”

The nationally representative study summarizes which assessments parents and educators find most useful, most relevant and most cost effective.

Key findings from the study include:

  1. Child-centered teaching and learning is a top priority for parents and educators.
  2. Parents, teachers and district administrators think it’s important to measure student performance in a full range of subjects—and in the “thinking” skills that will be critical in life.
  3. Parents, teachers and district administrators agree on local decision-making about teaching and learning.
  4. Formative and interim assessments are perceived as more valuable by parents and educators.
  5. Many parents, teachers and administrators question the money, time and stress spent on assessment.

Access the report and executive summary here: http://www.nwea.org/every-child-multiple-measures

 

Resources

Report Describes the Process of Six States in Implementing Common Core

Based on interviews with state officials in the six Southeast Region states, this study describes state processes for adopting the Common Core State Standards (a common set of expectations across states for what students are expected to know in English language arts and math) and plans for implementing the common standards and aligning state assessment systems to them. Access the report and summary here.

Events

Tuesday February 21, 2-3 pm EST: Want to Know More About What Is At Stake for the Fiscal Year 2013 Federal Education Budget? Attend this free webinar hosted by NASSP coalition partner Committee for Education Funding. This information is important for school leaders to know-we strongly encourage you to attend!

Register at: http://eo2.commpartners.com/users/acte/session.php?id=8479

 

 

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced on February 9 that ten states—Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee—are approved to waive certain requirements from the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act in exchange for raising standards, improving accountability, and undertaking reforms to improve educator effectiveness. New Mexico was the only state to apply for and not receive a waiver, but ED will continue to work with the state to improve its application. An additional 28 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have also indicated their intent to apply for waivers later this month.

“After waiting far too long for Congress to reform No Child Left Behind, my Administration is giving states the opportunity to set higher, more honest standards in exchange for more flexibility,” said President Barack Obama at a White House event announcing the waivers. “Today, we’re giving 10 states the green light to continue making reforms that are best for them. Because if we’re serious about helping our children reach their potential, the best ideas aren’t going to come from Washington alone. Our job is to harness those ideas, and to hold states and schools accountable for making them work.”

The 10 states receiving waivers will no longer have to meet the 2014 deadline for 100% proficiency, but they are required to set new performance targets for improving student achievement. Their accountability systems must recognize and reward high-performing schools in addition to providing “rigorous and comprehensive” interventions in the lowest-performing schools. State plans must address how they intend to improve educational outcomes for underperforming subgroups of students and close achievement gaps, but they will also provide schools and districts with greater flexibility in how they spend Title I funding.

In a conference call with education stakeholders today, Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development Carmel Martin and Acting Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Michael Yudin explained that all of the states would not only adopt higher standards but submitted plans to transition all of their students to college and career readiness. Massachusetts was particularly noted for its plan to align teacher and principal licensure requirements with the new college and career ready standards.

States would incorporate student growth and progress into their accountability systems, and they would also move away from the one-size-fits-all intervention strategies that are required under NCLB. Some plans focused on improving school and district capacity and providing tiered supports for low-performing schools and districts. Plans also included a focus on early warning data systems to identify students that are not on track to graduate from high school and provide them with necessary supports to succeed.

Improving educator effectiveness was a requirement for the waivers, and all states will modify their teacher and principal evaluation systems to incorporate multiple measures of student achievement. The evaluation systems will be created in partnership with teachers and principals and are intended to provide meaningful feedback to teachers in order to improve instruction.

What may be of surprise to educators is that only four of the states receiving a Race to the Top grant—Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Tennessee—also received a waiver in the first round. Although it should be noted that the other seven states—Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island—have not yet submitted a request for a waiver.

To read the state plans, go to: http://www.ed.gov/esea/flexibility/requests. Questions and comments concerning the NCLB/ESEA waiver process may also be sent to eseaflexibility@ed.gov.

Weekly Update-February 3

On February 3, 2012, in Weekly Update, by Mary Kingston

Announcements

NASSP Recognizes “Digital Principals”

Congratulations to the 2012 NASSP Digital Principal Award winners: Michael King of Dodge City (KS) Middle School, Patrick Larkin of Burlington (MA) High School, and Eric Sheninger of New Milford (NJ) High School. Read more about the winners!

The Digital Principal Award is an opportunity to honor principals who exhibit bold, creative leadership in their drive to harness the potential of new technologies to further learning goals. The award also allows us to showcase models of leadership that encourage the use of technology in instruction and for principals’ own professional use.

ESEA Reauthorization

NASSP Government Relations staff has heard of the possible schedule regarding House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman Kline’s recently released ESEA bills. It is speculated that the committee could hold a hearing on the bills the week of February 13 and a mark-up the week of February 27. NASSP staff will keep you updated with the latest news on this front, but recall that Chairman Kline’s bills are very partisan in the House and the Senate doesn’t want to move its ESEA bill unless the House can produce a bipartisan bill. Also read more about Chairman Kline’s ESEA draft bill on accountability in the News section below.

House Floor Agenda

This week House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) issued a memo setting forth the issues that the House will consider in the first quarter of this year. Though the memo lists the plan to pass a budget resolution by the end of March, interestingly, there is no mention of ESEA reauthorization in this quarter.

News

38 Groups Decry House Republicans’ ESEA Draft Bill on Accountability

A coalition of education, business and civil rights groups sent a letter last week to Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, expressing their grave disapproval of Chairman Kline’s draft bill on accountability, the Student Success Act. The signed organizations, including the American Federation of Teachers, the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, the National Urban League, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, stated that

“The draft bill is not an update; it is a roll­back…It under­mines the core American value of equal opportu­nity in education embodied in [Brown v. Board of Education, 107 LRP 36247, 347 U.S. 483, (1954)]. Specifically, it abandons accountability for the achievement and learning gains of subgroups of disadvantaged students who for generations have been harmed by low academic expectations.” The letter goes on to state that the committee’s proposal “also eliminates performance targets, removes parameters regarding the use of federal funds to help improve struggling schools, does not address key disparities in opportunity such as access to high-quality college preparatory curricula, restricts the federal government from protecting underprivileged students, and fails to advance the current movement toward college-and career-ready standards.” NASSP has similar concerns about the issue of neglecting accountability for disadvantaged students, as expressed in our January 9 blog post. Look for a joint statement from NASSP and other education groups on the Principal’s Policy Blog soon outlining favored provisions in the draft language along with our concerns, many of which resonate with those expressed in this group’s letter.

Report Finds Progress Among States on Teacher Quality Measures

The National Council of Teacher Quality (NCTQ) recently issued its annual “State Teacher Policy Yearbook” and found that in 2011 states made significant gains in teacher quality, but still earned only an overall grade of D+ in their efforts to improve teacher evaluation systems and policies to identify effective teachers and to help remove ineffective ones. With Race to the Top serving as part of the momentum for change, NCTQ assessed that “new state policies for identi­fying effective teachers and exiting ineffective ones contributed to the highest Yearbook grades NCTQ has given to date.” State specific information is available at www.nctq.org/stpy.

Few States’ Science Standards Are High Quality

A report published by the Washington, DC think tank Thomas Fordham Institute finds that in analyses of the rigor and quality of state science standards, 75 percent of states scored a C or lower on an A-F scale, and just five states and the District of Columbia earned an A or an A-minus. Reviewers used a common grading metric to evaluate the science standards for content, completeness, accuracy, and clarity. Kathleen Porter-Magee, senior director of the High Quality Standards Program at the Fordham Institute, said states should use these reviews to determine the specific strengths and growth areas of their own standards against the Next Generation Science Standards, which 26 states and Achieve is currently designing. See how your state fared and read the full report here: http://www.edexcellence.net/publications/the-state-of-state-science-standards-2012.html.

Research

Center for American Progress Reports

1) On Chairman Kline’s ESEA Bills: House Republicans’ Education Plan Would Shortchange Disadvantaged Students and Schools.” Part of the report analyzes the impact of the proposed formula change for ESEA Title II funds.

Access the report here: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2012/02/cut_and_run.html.

2) On Spending by Category that Contributed to the Federal Deficit: What Caused This Year’s Deficit?: Hint: It Wasn’t an Obama ‘Spending Binge’. The report notes that nondefense discretionary spending only resulted in 9% of the increased deficit since 2009.

Resources

New Website Focusing on Achievement Gaps

Educational Testing Service (ETS), the world’s leading measurement and research organization, has created a new website to draw attention to achievement gaps among students, provide resources to those studying the issue and highlight success stories.

The site looks at why and where achievement gaps exist; the impact they have on students, teachers, families, communities and national competitiveness; and most importantly how they can be narrowed and eventually closed. The ETS Achievement Gap website is: www.ets.org/achievement_gap.

Events

Chairman Kline ESEA Event: Chairman Kline will speak about his ESEA bills at an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) event on February 9. For details and to register (and to view the video of the event if you are not within the Washington, DC area): Chairman Kline Unveils GOP Vision to Fix No Child Left Behind

 

 

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