Weekly Update-March 4

On March 4, 2012, in Weekly Update, by Mary Kingston


House ESEA Bills Approved: The House Education and the Workforce Committee this past Tuesday approved the two ESEA bills introduced by Chairman Kline (R-MN) on strictly partisan lines with all Republicans voting yes and all Democrats voting no. Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA) offered two substitute bills to completely replace Kline’s bills, but they were defeated.  Rep. Thompson (R-PA) offered an amendment to eliminate “number weighting” under the Title I formula but this was defeated by a vote of 16-22. For more coverage of this markup see NASSP’s blog post here or go to markup of the Student Success Act and markup of the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act.


Second Deadline of ESEA Waivers: The Department announced this past week that “Twenty-six new states and the District of Columbia have formally submitted requests to the U.S. Department of Education for waivers. These states join the 11 states that applied in November in the first-round (and already gained approval) to implement their own accountability systems in exchange for certain reforms articulated by the Obama administration. Refer to the Resources section below for useful materials on ESEA waivers. Also see this Education Week article for more coverage.


NASSP Responds to High School Shooting in Ohio

NASSP official statement: “NASSP expresses its condolences to the community of Chardon High School in Chardon, OH, and especially to the families of slain students Daniel Parmertor, Russell King, Jr., and Demetrius Hewlin. NASSP School Safety Specialist Bill Bond has been in regular contact with Chardon Principal Andy Fetchik and providing guidance as the school community works to recover from this tragic event. View additional NASSP resources on school climate/safety.



Principal Turnover Severely Hurts School Performance

A RAND Corporation study released last week found that, not to anyone’s surprise who knows the critical role of the principal in student achievement, principals who leave a school within one or a few years leave behind a school that performs worse years after their departure. As the Education Week article states, “However, the answer is not as simple as just allowing or encouraging those principals to remain in place…In some cases, the solution is to give folks more time,” Ms. Ikemoto said, but policymakers should make sure they’re selecting the very best candidates for those positions from the start.” Read the rest of the article here.


U.S. Department of Education Launches Effort to Strengthen Accountability for Students with Disabilities

From a March 2 Department of Education press release: “The Department of Education announced new steps to help close the achievement gap for students with disabilities by moving away from a one-size-fits-all, compliance-focused approach to a more balanced system that looks at how well students are being educated in addition to continued efforts to protect their rights.

While the Department has effectively ensured access to educational resources for students with disabilities, not enough attention has been paid to educational outcomes, which have not sufficiently improved. This is partly due to the fact that federal policy has focused more on procedural requirements and not enough on critical indicators like increasing academic performance or graduation rates for students with disabilities.

“For too long we’ve been a compliance-driven bureaucracy when it comes to educating students with disabilities,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “We have to expect the very best from our students—and tell the truth about student performance—so that we can give all students the supports and services they need. The best way to do that is by focusing on results,” Duncan said.” Read the rest of the press release here: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/department-announces-new-effort-strengthen-accountability-students-disabilities.

For more information about the work of the Department’s Office of Special Education Programs, see http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/osep/index.html


Weigh in on Theory of “Cage-Busting Leadership”

Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute is seeking input from school leaders like yourselves on stories that illustrate either:

“A] the ways in which you’ve been hemmed in by federal/state laws or regulations, district policies, employee contracts, IT/HR/finance operations, established routines, or stagnant cultures, or
B] the ways in which you, or your colleagues, have found ways to escape or explode those constraints.”

Mr. Hess may use some of these stories in his next book tentatively titled Cage-Busting Leadership, and centered on the premise that “It is true, as would-be reformers often argue, that statutes, policies, rules, regulations, contracts, and case law make it tougher than it should be for school and system leaders to drive improvement and, well, lead. At the same time, however, it is also true that these leaders have far more freedom to transform, reimagine, and invigorate teaching, learning, and schooling than is widely believed.” Read the rest of his musings on this topic and learn how to weigh in with your thoughts here: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rick_hess_straight_up/2012/02/cage-busting_leadership.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Walt+Gardner+Reality+Check.



CBO on ARRA: On February 22, CBO released Estimated Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Employment and Economic Output from October 2011 through December 2011. “CBO estimates that, compared with what would have occurred otherwise, ARRA will raise real GDP in 2012 by between 0.1 percent and 0.8 percent and will increase the number of FTE jobs in 2012 by between 0.2 million and 1.1 million.”


Useful Resources for ESEA Waivers:

U.S. Department of Education: Website devoted to the waivers including press releases, fact sheets, summaries, and more: http://www.ed.gov/esea/flexibility

Council of Chief State School Officers: State ESEA flexibility map coloring states by status (applied, applications pending, not applied) as well as “state innovations and specific details found in NCLB flexibility requests”: http://www.ccsso.org/Resources/Programs/ESEA_Flexibility.html

National Governors Association: Press release linking to a news issue brief outlining the opportunity for states through ESEA waivers to “reinvent” their accountability systems: http://www.nga.org/cms/home/news-room/news-releases/page_2012/col2-content/states-have-opportunity-to-reinv.html

White House Education Blueprint: In conjunction with the President’s speech this week to NGA which focused on the importance of education, the White House released: Education Blueprint: An Economy Built to Last. It includes sections on Higher Education Access and Success: Securing America’s Economic Competitiveness, Reforming K-12 Education to Prepare All Students for College and Career and Common Purpose: Investing in Our Students and in Our Future.

National Skills Coalition Budget Analyses: The National Skills Coalition last week issued its analysis of the President’s FY 13 budget.

Republican Presidential Candidates and the Budget: Last week, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget released a new report that “analyzes how the policy proposals put forth by Speaker Newt Gingrich, Congressman Ron Paul, Governor Mitt Romney, and Senator Rick Santorum will affect the federal budget. The report, Primary Numbers: The GOP Candidates and the National Debt attempts to measure the debt impact of each candidate’s platforms as they have presented them to date.”


Senate HELP Hearing: On March 8 at 10 AM in 430 Dirksen, the Committee is holding the following hearing: The Key to America’s Global Competitiveness: A Quality Education. Go here to view the witness list and to access the witness testimonies and webcast once the event has taken place.

Occupy the DOE: Two organizations, Save Our Schools and United Opt Out are planning a series of events on March 30-April 2 called Occupy the DOE (Department of Education).  NASSP is not involved in activity, but we wanted to share the information for those NASSP members who may be interested: http://unitedoptout.com/occupy-the-doe-in-dc-schedule-march-30th-to-april-2nd-2012/


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