Weekly Update-February 10

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


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.



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.)”



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



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.


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



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