Weekly Update-March 23

On March 23, 2012, in Weekly Update, by Mary Kingston


House Budget Committee Chairman Introduces and Marks Up FY 2013 Budget Resolution

NASSP Coalition Partner Committee for Education Funding “Strongly Opposes” this Budget

Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) of the House Budget Committee introduced his FY 2013 budget resolution this past week in Congress, and in a phrase, it is bad for education. Quoting a letter sent to House Budget committee members in response to Chairman Ryan’s FY 2013 budget resolution, Executive Director Joel Packer of the Committee for Education Funding, a coalition partner of NASSP, writes: “Because the Budget appears to increase defense spending to $554 billion in FY 13, nondefense discretionary spending [which includes education] would be subject to a $27 billion (-5.4%) aggregate cut.

Education programs have already suffered significant harmful cuts to both K-12 and higher education.…Since FY 10, funding for over 50 education programs has been terminated, cutting over $1.2 billion.”

The mark-up of the budget occurred on Wednesday evening. Three education amendments were offered and voted on but all were defeated on party line votes. One of the amendments was from Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) to prevent FY 2013 cuts to federal education funding.

The Budget Resolution is expected to be on the House floor next week. Check back on our blog for updates.

The White House this week stated its opposition to Chairman Ryan’s budget as well with its analysis, The Ryan-Republican Budget: The Consequences of Imbalance. As stated in a White House blog post, “This week, the House Republicans released their 2013 budget. The budget would give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires, while paying for it by ending Medicare as we know it and cutting the very investments we need to grow the economy and restore middle class security. We did the math and put a graphic together to help illustrate the importance of a balanced and fair budget.”


U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan Defends President Obama’s FY 2013 Education Budget in House Hearing

On Thursday March 22, Arne Duncan was the sole witness to testify at a hearing held by the House Appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education on the President’s FY 2013 budget request. (For a summary of how the President seeks to fund education for FY 2013 along with NASSP’s reaction, go here). For excellent updates on the testimony, follow NASSP’s coalition partner Committee for Education Funding (CEF) on Twitter at @edfunding and find the tweets from March 22. As CEF Executive Director Joel Packer states, “Basically, Duncan was criticized by both parties for the emphasis on competitive grants and new programs over funding for existing programs like Title I, IDEA, Impact Aid, TRIO and GEAR UP.”



Poor Public Education is a Threat to National Security

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)–sponsored Independent Task Force report on U.S. Education Reform and National Security issued a report this week that said, “Educational failure puts the United States’ future economic prosperity, global position, and physical safety at risk.” “Human capital will determine power in the current century, and the failure to produce that capital will undermine America’s security,” the report states. “Large, undereducated swaths of the population damage the ability of the United States to physically defend itself, protect its secure information, conduct diplomacy, and grow its economy.” Secretary Duncan cited this report in his March 22 testimony to the House appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (see Announcements section above) as a means to argue for increased investment (e.g. funding) in education for FY 2013 that President Obama proposes in his FY 2013 budget request.


Findings on the Implementation of School Improvement Grants

The Center on Education Policy issued this week two reports on implementation of the School Improvement Grant program:

State Implementation and Perceptions of Title I School Improvement Grants under the Recovery Act: One Year Later

Opportunities and Obstacles: Implementing Stimulus-Funded School Improvement Grants in Maryland, Michigan, and Idaho


According to a summary of the reports, these are the key findings:


  • Participants in both studies expressed optimism but also raised concerns about certain aspects of the ARRA SIG program.


  • Participants in the case study report, as well as some state survey respondents, said their schools faced significant challenges in replacing teachers and principals, as required by some of the SIG school improvement models.


  • Participants in both studies cited the importance of state assistance to district and schools that are implementing ARRA SIG reforms.


  • Both studies provided evidence that low-performing schools across the country are using some similar approaches to school improvement, although with varying levels of intensity, and are somewhat optimistic about these approaches.


The Center on American Progress (CAP) also issued a SIG report: Competing for School Improvement Dollars


U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Speaks out Against Publishing Teacher Value-Added Scores

From a March 23 Education Week article: “Publishing teachers’ ratings in the newspaper in the way The New York Times and other outlets have done recently is not a good use of performance data, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in an interview yesterday.

“Do you need to publish every single teacher’s rating in the paper? I don’t think you do,” he said. “There’s not much of an upside there, and there’s a tremendous downside for teachers. We’re at a time where morale is at a record low. … We need to be sort of strengthening teachers, and elevating and supporting them.”

So how does this square with Duncan’s famous endorsement, in 2010, of the Los Angeles Times‘ controversial project to publish a database of teacher “value added” ratings?

Duncan told me that while that project highlighted important data that at the time had been collected and unused by the district, its publication was “far from ideal.”

“What I was reacting to in L.A. was this mind-boggling situation where teachers were denied access to this data. The only way they could get it was through the newspaper,” he said. “There was clearly some level of dysfunction [in the district], that this was the only way they could get it.”

In Los Angeles, the city teachers’ union still hasn’t come around to using the data in a districtwide evaluation system, but such a system is now being piloted in some schools with teacher volunteers.

Duncan’s comments opposing the mass publication of this information echo others in the field—including philanthropist Bill Gates and Teach For America’s Wendy Kopp. While both are generally bullish on the use of such data as a component of teacher evaluations, they argue that its mass publication amounts to a shaming of teachers.” Read the rest of the article here.


NASSP Coalition Partner Committee for Education Funding Releases its Annual Budget Response to Obama’s FY 2013 Budget Request

From the committee website: CEF’s annual Education Budget Response is the most comprehensive source available on how vital federal education programs improve the lives of millions of Americans.

The Budget Response is a useful source for information on federal education programs, but there are resources even more valuable: the authors and contacts listed within, who invite you to find out more about the programs described here and the lives of the people these programs touch.

Initial Summary of Education Provisions in the President’s FY 2013 Budget, click here



National High School Graduation Rate Increases

From a U.S. Department of Education e-mail blast on March 23: “According to a report released at the second annual “Building a Grad Nation” Summit, sponsored by America’s Promise Alliance, the nation continues to make progress at increasing graduation rates and decreasing the number of “dropout factories.”  The national high school graduation rate increased, from 72% in 2001 to 75.5% in 2009.  Twenty states made significant gains (+3 to +17 percentage points), with New York (+13) and Tennessee (+17.8) recording double-digit gains.  Yet, only one state, Wisconsin, had a graduation rate of 90%, and 10 states actually saw declines in their graduation rates during this period.  Meanwhile, the number of so-called dropout factories — high schools graduating 60% or fewer students on time — decreased, from 2,007 in 2002 to 1,550 in 2010, with the rate of decline accelerating since 2008.  Three states, Florida (-62), Georgia (-54), and Texas (-122), decreased the number of dropout factories by over 50.  Further, the South (-410) and suburbs (-171) recorded the largest declines in the number of dropout factories.  However, the Midwest (+33) and towns (+42) and rural areas (+33) recorded increases.”  FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.americaspromise.org/our-work/grad-nation/building-a-grad-nation.aspx.



Note: NASSP lists these events because many are free and offer a webcast for those who cannot attend in-person (which would be most of our members!)

Please join the Center for American Progress for a special presentation:

Race to the Top: What Have We Learned So Far?

March 26, 2012, 10:00am – 11:30am EST

Admission is free.

RSVP to attend this event

Welcoming Remarks:
Tom Perriello, President, Center for American Progress Action Fund

Featured Presenter:
Ulrich Boser, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Featured Panelists:
Francine Lawrence, Executive Vice President, American Federation of Teachers
Lillian M. Lowery, Secretary of Education, Delaware
Joanne Weiss, Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Education

Cynthia G. Brown, Vice President for Education Policy, Center for American Progress

With $4.35 billion at stake the Obama administration’s Race to the Top competitive grant program may be its most significant education initiative. Race to the Top promised to help states and districts close achievement gaps and get more students to be college and career ready by supporting several key reform strategies. Eleven states and the District of Columbia won grants in 2010, and since then, there has been much debate about the impact of the initiative.

Please join the Center for American Progress for a conversation with Race to the Top experts who grapple with the challenges of implementation and its implications on a daily basis. We will launch the conversation with a new report by CAP Senior Fellow Ulrich Boser that examines the progress in states and provides a sense of early successes and failures. We will expand on the discussion with a panel of distinguished policy and state leaders.

March 29: National Journal LIVE Policy Summit

Budget Review: Leading Policy Priorities for Sustained Growth

Thursday, March 29
Newseum Knight Broadcast Studio
555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

RSVP AT: http://njbudgetreview.eventbrite.com


With the release of the House Republican’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget resolution, budgetary issues are roaring back to the front burner. Join National Journal for a policy summit that takes a substantive look at each of the leading budget proposals. Where might budgetary compromise and confrontation exist in the competing plans? What does each plan say about the political parties’ respective vision for the country? How are issues like entitlement reform or changes in the federal tax code addressed?  And finally, given the long-standing political impasse on budgetary issues, is passing a comprehensive budget still possible, or is the age of continuing resolutions the “new normal” in polarized Washington?

Moderated by:

Kristin Roberts, Managing Editor, Budget and Economy, National Journal

Keynote One-on-One Interviews:


  • Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Chairman, House Budget Committee

Followed by:

  • Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ranking Member, House Budget Committee

Panel Discussion:

  • Steve Bell, Senior Director of Economic Policy, Bipartisan Policy Center
  • Laura Peterson, Senior Policy Analyst, Taxpayers for Common Sense
  • Ethan Pollack, Senior Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Institute

Green Ribbon Schools Award

On April 23, following Earth Day, Secretary Duncan will announce winners of the Department’s inaugural Green Ribbon Schools recognition award competition.  FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/.




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