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Quotes: The "Emerging Alliance" Between Teachers Unions & Republicans

Quotes2The emerging alliance between teachers unions and Republicans runs against decades of built-up cultural distrust. But the interests of the two partners are closely aligned...[And it's] not the first instance of this alliance in action.

- NY Mag's Jonathan Chait (Who’s Blocking Obama From Helping Poor Schools?)

Morning Video: Senate HELP Committee Hearing On ESSA Implementation

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Click this link to watch the video from yesterday's hearing (sorry but it's not embeddable), and to see the list of speakers and read their written testimony. Look at this morning's news roundup for coverage from PK12, USNews, and others. 

AM News: Senate Debates Proposed ESSA Funding Rule (Where's Clinton?)

Battle Raging Over Implementation of Every Student Succeeds Act | US News ow.ly/7EIh300mAYa

Sen. Murray supports USDE without endorsing Obama rule -- still no word from Clinton campaign? -- Politics K-12 ow.ly/uJZS300mL0z

Biggest Transitions Facing States for ESSA Accountability Flagged in New Report - Politics K-12 ow.ly/MaGp300mAEB

Publisher's ultimatim in test leak riles educators | 12NEWS.com ow.ly/dmOo300mKku

Paying Students May Raise Test Scores, But The Lesson Is Not Over : NPR Ed : NPR ow.ly/s6m9300mAxa

LAUSD administrative staff jumps 22 percent even as enrollment drops - LA School Report ow.ly/MEXY300mLSv

Wisconsin Supreme Court Affirms Power of State Superintendent - State EdWatch - Education Week ow.ly/Aua5300mAIF

Online School Enriches Affiliated Companies if Not Its Students - The New York Times ow.ly/MwXc300mAtj

California to Revise Textbooks to Reflect Diversity - ABC News ow.ly/bFea300mBaT

ESSA: The Obama Rule, A Clinton Quandary, & "Daylighted" Data To Come*

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Curious about the ESSA funding debate but not sure where to start or why to care? Let me see if I can help sort the substantive, political, and other aspects of the story out for you -- and point you towards and even more obscure part of ESSA that may make the current debate moot.

As you may already know, Senator Alexander and several education groups (including the teachers unions) are strongly opposed to an ESSA rule that the Obama education department has developed. No doubt, requiring districts to document equitable funding outcomes for Title I schools would require a series of changes for states and districts.

In extremely simplified terms, the Obama rule would require that states and districts show that they weren't spending more money on poorer schools* than less poor ones. Complying with the requirement could result in large-scale transfers of teachers, cutting of programs at middle-poverty schools, and other unwanted outcomes.

In establishing this requirement, the Obama rule goes against the flow of play these days, which under ESSA generally limits the USDE's role in overseeing the states and districts and how they use roughly $15 billion a year in federal education funding. According to ESSA, districts are relieved of having to identify specific services as supplemental and the USDE is specifically prohibited from requiring a “specific methodology” for distributing state and local funds.

Ed Week has covered this a number of times, including these two pieces (Education Secretary Advocates Robust ESSA Rules Amid GOP BacklashReport to Congress: Proposed Spending Rules Appear to Exceed ESSA Language). An NPR story this morning (The 'Intolerable' Fight Over School Money) adds that Senator Alexander has told states to resist this regulation if it isn't changed or stopped through other means. A NYT piece by New America's Kevin Carey (Why There’s an Uproar Over Trying to Increase Funding for Poor Schools) tells the backstory and makes the case in favor of the Obama position.

During a phone interview earlier this morning, Carey explained that the crafty folks at the USDE decided that the new law didn’t block them from requiring states to document comparable outcomes, as long as they didn’t meddle in the methods. “It’s a new and very different interpretation of the ‘supplement, not supplant’ rule,” according to Carey – but not an unjustifiable one. (On Twitter, economist Bruce Baker took issue with Carey's analysis, and the original headline of the piece [Why Poor Districts Receive Less Government School Funding Than Rich Ones] was quickly changed.) 

It comes down to semantics, really. If ESSA bans the USDE from establishing any specific method of allocating funding, does that also mean that it can’t require the resulting amounts to be equitable?

Nine Democratic Senators (including Senator Sanders and Senator Warren) are supporting the Obama position. A group of civil rights organizations is also supportive. 

We still don't know where Senator Murray and Hillary Clinton stand on the issue -- I've asked the Clinton campaign and will let you know when they respond. 

It’s worth adding that the Obama administration has made regular use of whatever flexibility it can find in federal law in the past. The 2009 Race to the Top initiative, the SIG program, and the NCLB waiver program all stretched – or perhaps broke – the limits of the USDE’s statutory and regulatory powers.

In pushing ahead with this ESSA rule the Obama administration could be seen as creating problems for the Clinton campaign. It certainly isn't taking a backseat and giving the presumptive nominee as much maneuvering room as possible. 

Even if the USDE blinks first, funding expert Marguerite Roza argues in the Brookings blog that a transparency provision put into the law by Senator Bennet is going to end up having much the same effect (More equitable spending on its way regardless of rulemaking). 

Roza argues that, when differentials between schools are finally published, it will become difficult for lawmakers to continue doing what they've done for so long:

"When the spending data are daylighted, the evidence will be clear that many districts have hardwired systematic spending inequities in their operations.... School boards will have no choice but to do the hard work of rethinking longstanding policies that contributed to the uneven spending."

*Correction: The original version stated poorer districts, not schools.

Quotes: Why Are Education Groups Aligned With Republicans?

Quotes2Normally, teachers unions and school advocates support Democratic politicians and are the mortal enemies of conservative Republicans. Yet this time, they found an enthusiastic supporter in Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee and chairman of the Senate Education Committee. 

-- Kevin Carey in the NYT (Why Poor Districts Receive Less Government School Funding Than Rich Ones)

AM News: Transgender Bathrooms, ESSA Conflict

U.S. Directs Public Schools to Allow Transgender Access to Restrooms nyti.ms/1WtMvrd

See also: Reaction To White House Directive On Transgender Bathrooms : NPR ow.ly/6cM2300a7Jc

USDE says it's trying to protect poor children. A senator says they’re trying to break the law. - WashPost ow.ly/Q78T300a7BL

Report: California’s charter schools lag behind traditional schools in graduating students | EdSource ow.ly/b3ar300a8br

CA schools will soon be on the hook for things like suspensions, attendance and graduation rates - LA Times ow.ly/eHlY3008Sc3

LAUSD votes to create thousands more magnet school seats in 2017 - LA Times pllqt.it/YymcSR

LAUSD makes $$ from charters, contradicting @UTLAnow-funded study, docs show.  LA School Report buff.ly/1Nso76y

Va. governor moves to upend traditional high school - The Washington Post ow.ly/29mq300a7ww

DC School Chief's Plea for Contractor Cash Draws Complaint - ABC News ow.ly/Kl5l300a7Py

Principals bracing to lose 20 percent in school budgets | Chicago Sun-Times ow.ly/qo8L300a8i5

More Chicago kids live in 'affluence bubble' than in most U.S. cities - Crain's Chicago Business ow.ly/XBsq300a7xo

Children in disadvantaged neighborhoods more likely to see local schools close. | USAPP pllqt.it/0eRQ4i

NAACP in St. Petersburg calls for Pinellas school superintendent Mike Grego to resign | Tampa Bay Times ow.ly/kJWs3008SeE

RIP: Jimmy Carter On Hufstedler

Pictures: Obama & King In The Oval Office

In case you missed it (like I did), here's a picture of President Obama greeting newly-official EdSec John King in the Oval Office last week.

#EDgif Of The Day:

In honor of today's primaries, I guess, the CAP Action Fund has put out this nifty GIF of the collapsing USDE building and some talking points (How Conservative Policies Hurt America).

AM News: Senate Confirms EdSec King 49-40

Senate Confirms John B. King Jr. as Education Secretary PK12: King had been serving as acting secretary since the start of this year after taking over for former Secretary Arne Duncan. The vote in the Senate was 49-40. See also LA TimesWashington PostAP.

NYC Charters Retain Students Better Than Traditional Schools WNYC: New York City charter schools retain more of their students, on average, than traditional public schools, according to Department of Education data obtained and analyzed by WNYC. Kipp and Icahn had the lowest comparable rates for middle school grades, too, among the big networks. We found most of Success's 18 schools in the 2013-14 school year had attrition rates that were lower than those of their local districts.

LAUSD turns down 'parent trigger' bid at southeast LA elementary school KPCC: District leaders rejected the petition from parents at 20th Street Elementary School because, according to a letter officials sent the group on Saturday, the school is not subject to the California law that lets parents force changes at a low-performing school where their children attend — if they can gather enough signatures. See also LA School Report.

Failing grade? Trial over Florida's schools finally starts AP: A showdown over Florida's public schools that began Monday in a Tallahassee courtroom is expected to delve into whether the changes pushed by Republican governors and a GOP-controlled Legislature over the last two decades helped or hurt the state's school children....

Alaska’s Schools Face Cuts at Every Level Over Oil Collapse NYT: Educators and state officials said a reckoning over policies and promises made in a different era, under different circumstances, has arrived.

Seven Schools Meet Higher Diversity Goals in Fall Acceptances WNYC: The seven New York City elementary schools participating in a pilot program to diversify their student bodies met their goals for next year’s kindergarten admissions in all but one case, education officials told WNYC, meaning their youngest students will be substantially more diverse than the year before.

Study: States Leave Out College Readiness Factors That Matter Most EdWeek: An Achieve study finds that states' accountability systems leave out factors that best indicate whether students are ready for college.

AM News: Senate HELP Committee Approves Obama EdSec Nominee, NY Regents Chief Reflects

Senate Education Committee Votes to Advance Education Secretary Nominee PK12: Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. is one step closer to being a full-fledged cabinet official with Wednesday's 16-6 vote by the Senate education committee. See also Washington Post.

Merryl Tisch, Board of Regents Chief Who Set Off Testing Backlash, Reflects on Her Tenure NYT: Dr. Tisch, who is stepping down this month, said she tried to do too much, too fast during her time as chancellor, but justified her sense of urgency.

Educators on front line of desegregation debate say city must take the lead Chalkbeat: "The segregation wasn’t organic, and the integration is not going to be organic either,” said Jill Bloomberg, the principal of Park Slope Collegiate, a grade 6-12 school in a gentrifying part of Brooklyn where many schools remain racially isolated.

2 Baltimore School Officers Arrested in Assault on Teenager NYT: A video shows one of the officers slapping and kicking a young man at a school as the other officer stands by.

L.A. County report on special education sees 'crisis' LA Times: Some students with disabilities in Los Angeles County are getting shortchanged by the bureaucracy that is supposed to ensure they receive a good education, according to a consultant’s report discussed on Tuesday.

Arizona Set to Provide Districts a 'Menu' of Standardized Tests State EdWatch: The Every Student Succeeds Act requires states to provide all students in grades 3-8 just the same exam.

Lead fear forces water ban in 30 New Jersey school buildings AP: Elevated levels of lead caused officials in New Jersey's largest school district on Wednesday to shut off water fountains at 30 school buildings until more tests are conducted, but officials said they don't believe the contamination poses any serious health risks....

This Kansas high school student must pay back $3,000 after smugglers helped him leave Guatemala WNYC: This sophomore in Kansas from Guatemala juggles algebra — and the reality that he must soon pay the smuggling fee he owes from coming to the United States.

Charts: New Report Makes Case For Teacher Development > Accountability

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From New America's "Beyond Ratings" Report: "State education agencies are beginning to embrace the notion that both accountability and development play important roles in ensuring that evaluation systems have their intended effect of improving the quality of teaching for all students."

 

Morning Videos: Chicago Teachers Rally, Duncan Reflects, & OK UPK

 

Fresh off the heels of news that the public supports them more than City Hall, Chicago teachers rallied downtown. From WTTW Chicago Public Television.

See also WGN TV interview of former EdSec Arne Duncan interviewed about Chicago, unfinished business, and what he might do next.

Or, watch this PBS NewsHour segment on the Oklahoma universal preschool program.

EdSec: Six Years Ago, Duncan's Biggest Gaffe (& Perhaps A Turning Point)

Quotes
Six years ago yesterday, Arne Duncan made what is arguably the biggest gaffe of his entire tenure, talking about Hurricane Katrina. It was a big one, no doubt, and might have represented something of a turning point in media coverage of Duncan and educators' perceptions of him. But it was also one of very few mistakes like these that I can recall him making. The only other that comes to mind is the time he came out in favor of same-sex marriage before President Obama. 

 

 

AM News: New Federal Education Statute Signed Into Law

Obama signs education law rewrite shifting power to states AP: Calling it a "Christmas miracle," President Barack Obama signed a sweeping overhaul of the No Child Left Behind education law on Thursday, ushering in a new approach to accountability, teacher evaluations and the way the most poorly performing schools are pushed to improve. See also Washington PostNYTNPREdWeek, NPR.

State Chiefs' ESSA Accountability Pledge: 'There Will Be No Backpedaling' PK12: So what do state superintendents plan to do with the new power they'll have under the Every Student Succeeds Act? And how much do they see accountability changing?

Some States' Share of Federal Teacher Funds Will Shrink Under ESSA TeacherBeat: The change to the Title II program will benefit Southern states, while Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania, among others, will see their allocations shrink.

Cuomo Panel Calls for Further Retreat From Common Core Standards NYT: The panel, in recommendations released on Thursday, is calling for changes in what New York State students learn and how they are assessed. See also WNYC, The Seventy Four.

Divided On Arrival: Even In Diverse Schools, New Immigrants Face Bullying WAMU: Immigrant students face a number of challenges coming to the U.S., and as some Montgomery County schools are finding, young people face bullying, fights and attempts to "otherize" them.

Achievement gap in D.C. starts in infancy, report shows Washington Post: New report shows stark disparities in the health and well-being of infants and toddlers in the city's richest and poorest neighborhoods.

More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

Continue reading "AM News: New Federal Education Statute Signed Into Law" »

Update: New CBPP Report Highlights Funding Flaws In New NCLB Just Signed Into Law

Kudos to Shree for pointing out the ironic juxtaposition of today's signing of the new NCLB into law and the release of a CBPP report showing state and local education funding cuts in recent years.

As the new CBPP report shows, states and districts have struggled mightily to bring education funding levels back since the Stimulus expired. 

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Meantime, federal funding for education programs has decreased 10 percent.

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These realities are problematic enough.'

The lack of requirements or incentives for states to increase education in the new version of the federal education law is one of the least-noted concerns out there.

In addition, the vague and complicated relationship between the law and state education efforts in the new version of the law creates little political incentive for lawmakers to support education funding at the federal level.

Quotes: Sen. Warren Voices Concerns About NCLB Rewrite

Quotes2The idea that we would pass a major piece of legislation about education and, in effect, shovel money into states and say 'Do with it what you want', and not have some accountability for how that money is spent, I think, is appalling.

-- MA Senator Elizabeth Warren in NPR (Goodbye, No Child Left Behind)

Quotes: Latest Version Of NCLB Puts Obama In Tight Spot

Quotes2[The conference version of the NCLB overhaul] puts [President Obama] in a difficult position to be signing onto something that clearly empowers states to be less aggressive in addressing inequity.

-- Peter Cunningham, former assistant secretary at the Education Department and a past adviser to Secretary Arne Duncan (quoted in Politico (Growing anxiety on left over NCLB deal)

Maps: How Many States Have "Repealed" Common Core, Again?

image from si.wsj.net
There's some energetic back and forth going on behind the scenes about the accuracy of this WSJ piece and how it codes the states (Financial Woes Plague Common-Core Rollout), but that doesn't mean you can't read it and check out the map of states.

Charts: How One Miami SIG School Made Significant Progress

Quotes: Duncan Replacement Touts Teachers

Quotes2Teachers, New York City public school teachers, are the reason that I am alive... They are the reason that I became a teacher. They are the reason I'm standing here today.

- Acting EdSec John King at the White House on Friday (Acting Education Secretary Says Teachers Saved Him)

 

Quotes: Ohio Lawmaker Questions $32M Grant For Ohio Charters

Quotes2The charter school system in Ohio is broken and dysfunctional... The last thing we need is a black eye because the money went to a dysfunctional program that we knew was dysfunctional.

-- Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) in Washington Post (Ohio Congressman questions Arne Duncan’s $32 million charter grant)

 

Quotes: Noguero On Why Obama Picked/Kept Duncan (& If Duncan Really Cares)

Quotes2Even though I have disagreed with many of his policies, positions and statements, I do think he actually cares about poor children. Just goes to show that "caring" is not enough to create good, effective policy.

- Pedro Noguero on Arne Duncan (via Facebook).

Quotes: Noguero On Why Obama Picked/Kept Duncan (& If Duncan Really Cares)

Quotes2Even though I have disagreed with many of his policies, positions and statements, I do think he actually cares about poor children. Just goes to show that "caring" is not enough to create good, effective policy.

- Pedro Noguero on Arne Duncan (via Facebook).

Quotes: Duncan Laments Belated NCLB Waiver Decision

Quotes2We spent a year and a half two years trying to finish No Child Left Behind in 2009 and '10 and '11... We let schools, we let kids suffer for another year. So, in hindsight, we should have done waivers earlier... I think [overall] waivers have gone pretty darn well. You guys don't cover it much. But we have 44 pretty happy customers across the political spectrum.

-- EdSec Arne Duncan in EdWeek (Duncan's Big Mistake?)

Morning Video: In LinkedIn Debut, Duncan Promos Lehigh High School Teachers

Check it out. Here's the accompanying text. With Duncan's debut, that makes ... two folks I know about using LinkedIn. The other is Deschryver.  Are there others?

AM News: What Next For NCLB Rewrite?

Senate Votes Overwhelmingly For Bipartisan No Child Left Behind Rewrite HuffPost: However, the bill’s next steps are unclear, since even its supporters concede President Barack Obama is unlikely to sign it in its current form. See also NYT, HuffPost.

Revising the No Child Left Behind Act: Issue by Issue PK12: Here's a look at the Senate and House bills to rewrite the NCLB law, and how they compare to each other, current law, and the Obama administration's waivers. See also AP, Washington Post, PBS NewsHour.

Senate tweaks formula for Title 1 funds to educate children from poor families Washington Post: Burr rewrote the amendment so that the formula changes would not take effect until Congress funds Title 1 at $17 billion annually. It is unclear when that would happen; the program is currently funded at $14.5 billion, an amount that has been steady since 2012. In addition, the change in formula would affect only dollars spent by Congress in excess of the $17 billion benchmark.

Testing Revolt In Washington State Brings Feds Into Uncharted Waters NPR: As Congress debates the future of No Child Left Behind, one state falls short of federal testing requirements.

Crime stats show troubling trend at nation’s schools SI&A Cabinet Report: A general decline in serious crime on K-12 school campuses nationwide appears to be reversing, perhaps reflecting an upswing in violence in some of the nation’s largest cities.

Some schools are still testing students for drug use APM Marketplace: Many schools are still testing students for drug use, despite the end of federal funding and mixed evidence on whether it's worth the expense. Some are expanding their testing.Research shows that while drug testing is associated with a very modest decline in marijuana use, surveys sometimes find an increase in the use of other drugs. How? For one thing, drug tests aren’t always accurate. Case in point, Goldberg says, the athletes Marion Jones and Lance Armstrong. 

Lawsuit says SoCal schools among those breaking law in teacher evaluations KPCC: A lawsuit filed Thursday in Contra Costa County alleges that 13 school districts are violating state law because they aren't using student achievement data when evaluating instructors. The suit was filed by four parents and two teachers. It's backed by Students Matter, a nonprofit founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Welch. See also EdSource Today.

More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

Continue reading "AM News: What Next For NCLB Rewrite?" »

Afternoon Video: Former Education Staffers Debate ESEA 2015 Chances

 

Check out this video from yesterday's Brookings event, Getting education bills to the finish line, which among other things includes former education staffers' best guesses at the chances that Congress will act on ESEA reauthorization this year. (Or if you prefer, check out the twitterstream using the hashtag #EdBills.)

My favorite moment is when Bethany Little highlights the impact of waivers on Congressional momentum in 2011.  What's yours? Featuring Chingos, DeLisle, Little, Flanagan, and West.

Next time, maybe they could include a leadership staff alumnus to give the larger, more political perspective. Committee staff are great and smart, but also sometimes in their silos.

Quotes: Patty Murray's Remarkable Negotiating Skills (Are They Enough?)

Quotes2[Compromise] doesn’t mean that you come in here and say, ‘Lamar, I’ll do whatever you say. I want a bill out of here and you write it and I compromised because I’m with you... That’s not compromise from either side.-- US Senator Patty Murray in TNR (Patty Murray's Negotiating Skill Has Made Her the Democratic Dealmaker)

Thompson: A White Suburban Dad Named Arne Duncan Needs Out

New York  Board of Regents Chancellor Meryl Tisch says that "it’s been well over a year since I’ve had someone talk to me about instruction and curriculum. Everyone has talked to me about evaluations."

Well duh!

We are in the middle of a wonderful democratic moment as the Opt Out movement is poised to kill the high stakes testing vampire. And, even Tisch ridicules the idea that the test, sort, and punish school of reform can be saved by punishing parents who are standing up for their children. She says, “I would say to everyone who wants to punish the school districts ... Really, are you kidding me?”

But, Arne Duncan has even surpassed his previous political blunder of dismissing the concerns of "white suburban moms" whose kids might not be as brilliant as they think. He again demonstrates political sensitivity comparable to that of Southpark's Eric Cartman. As Chalkbeat's Patrick Wall reports, in As Opt Out Numbers Grow, Arne Duncan Says Feds May Have to Step In, Duncan now threatens to punish low-income schools in states which fail to hit participation rate targets.

The Education Czar demands, "Respect My Authorit-iii!"

Even better, Duncan reveals his lack of education judgment by asserting that his children aren't being injured by punitive testing mandates. After all, testing hasn't sucked all of the oxygen out of elite schools. Whether Duncan knows it or not, its under-the-gun, high-challenge schools that face the most pressure to impose drill and kill. He remains clueless about the inevitable ways that the toxicity dumped on teachers and administrators flows down onto the kids.

Duncan, the white suburban father, knows best. He, not moms and students, should decide how much of the joy of learning should be sacrificed in the name of bubble-in accountability.

Duncan's gaff is the best news since the announcement that 185,000 New York students have already opted out. He has just thrown more gasoline on the irreversible fire that is spreading through states that first adopted his extreme version of test-driven  accountability.

Continue reading "Thompson: A White Suburban Dad Named Arne Duncan Needs Out" »

Morning Video: Arne Duncan's Impenetrable Wall Of Talking Points

Last week, MSNBC's Chris Hayes tried valiantly to get past EdSec Duncan's talking points (Why is Common Core so controversial?) Curmudgucation tears it apart here. At least Duncan now limits his "race-to-the-bottom" claims about NCLB to 20 states.

Already seen it? Watch this Engadget blog post about a new video game, No Pineapple Left Behind. ("You're a principal lording over pineapples, making sure they do amazingly well on standardized tests because that's what begets more funding for your school...")

Selfies: Oh No, Duncan's Mastered The Selfie Stick

Quotes: Why NCLB Can't Just Give States/Schools The Money

Quotes2The worry is that if you leave it to the states, they will drop the ball, as they did in the past.

-- HGSE professor Martin West (Schools Wait to See What Becomes of No Child Left Behind Law)

Update: Unfortunate Stalemate For Feds & Diverse Charters*

This week's announcement that Success Academy charters won't give an absolute priority to ELL kids in its charter lotteries because of opposition seems like an unfortunate turn of events (see ChalkbeatNY's Success Academy drops lottery preference for English learners).  

Charter schools located in mixed neighborhoods are often flooded by wealthier, whiter parents, and lose their diversity despite all efforts.  The USDE will allow weighted lotteries, but not guaranteed admission. USDE has opposed letting diverse charters weight their lotteries in such a strong way for fear of the precedent that would tempt other schools to set priorities (for white kids, for kids whose parents have yachts, etc.)

There are situations where charters have been set up to avoid integration, or located or run in ways that are disadvantageous to poor and minority kids.  But this is not one of them.

What could be done?  

Lots of things, it seems. Congress could change the federal definition of a charter school to allow this kind of weighting. The USDE could revise its guidance (though risking Congressional displeasure). Or Success could shift its proposal from an absolute 14 percent priority for ELL kids, going with an unweighted lottery for the first year or two and then shifting. The unitary enrollment system would be diluted, creating different systems for different schools, but more ELL kids would be served.

I'll let you know if and when Success or the USDE respond with more about their thinking, or why these solutions couldn't work.*

*UPDATED: From USDE's Dorie Turner Nolt: “The U.S. Department of Education is firmly committed to increasing high-quality educational opportunities for disadvantaged students, including English learners, in charter schools, as in all public schools. The Department has worked with Success Academies to find ways for it to provide additional weight for English learners within the boundaries of the law and program guidance, and remains committed to that effort. We have worked with other grantees that submitted proposals to use weighted lotteries for educationally disadvantaged students—including other charter management organizations operating in New York—and have approved several such proposals. Such approaches complement broader efforts by charter schools to recruit, serve and retain educationally disadvantaged students.”

Your turn, Success. 

Related posts: "Smarter" Charters Are Diverse, Teacher-Led;  Diverse Charters Form New National Alliance;  Diverse Charters Spread Nationally (Education Next); Diverse Charters Balance Learning & Accountability.

USDE: Illinois Could Lose $1.2B In Funding Over Chicago Refusal

Image 1Here's the letter from the USDE to Illinois about Chicago's refusal to administer the Common Core assessment this spring, dug up just yesterday by Crain's Chicago's Greg Hinz.

According to Hinz, "Politically, the problem is that, given national wrangling over school standards, Duncan cannot be seen as being easy on Chicago, said one source close to the center of the flap. That doesn't mean Illinois would lose all of the money, but a sizable hit is likely." 

I'm not sure that's how it's going to happen but it' certainly interesting to see what the USDE is saying and how ISBE is playing things.

There was a Board meeting for CPS yesterday but I haven't seen any indication that the district is backing off its decision not to give the tests.

There's a mayoral election in a few weeks, which is likely heading for a runoff, according to the latest polls.  Yes, a runoff for Rahm. Chicago schools are in an estimated $1 billion hole, budget-wise -- not counting pension obligations. 

Full letter below, via Crain's. 

Continue reading "USDE: Illinois Could Lose $1.2B In Funding Over Chicago Refusal" »

AM News: Senators Murray & Alexander Push To Revamp NCLB

Democrats and Republicans Agree: It's Time To Rewrite No Child Left Behind HuffPost: Murray articulated a similar position on testing in an interview Tuesday. "We have to fix the redundant and unnecessary testing within the system broadly," she told The Huffington Post.  But, she said in her speech, "That doesn't mean we should roll back standards or accountability." She further defended the need for some degree of standardized testing by invoking a reason more often used on the right: taxpayer money.

Senators set stage for debate about federal education law Washington Post: Top Republican and Democratic negotiators over federal education law each took to the Senate floor Tuesday to lay out their sometimes conflicting visions for rewriting No Child Left Behind.Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the chair of the Senate education panel, emphasized that he wants to shrink the federal footprint in local education, saying the Obama administration has acted as a “national school board” and that Congress ought to cede power back to states to decide how best to educate K-12 students. 

Why Google Didn't Sign Obama-Backed Student Privacy Pledge Wall Street Journal: Other Google student-privacy policies are more nuanced than the pledge Obama endorsed Monday. The company says it doesn't sell Google Apps for Education data to third parties and it only shares personal information with third parties in “exceptional ...

The Most Controversial Woman in School Reform NY Magazine: Even in school reform’s new lawsuit era, hand-to-hand combat is still the preferred mode of resolving—or not resolving—­conflict. Brown has become the latest vilified figure in a decades-long PR battle—between the teachers union, one of the last powerful unions in the U.S., and “reformers”—to rival the ugliest type of corporate warfare.

Teacher survey: Change tenure, layoff laws EdSource Today: Gov. Jerry Brown said last week he's open to changing tenure and other teacher employment laws at issue in the Vergara v. State of California lawsuit, and most teachers in a new survey say they want to change them, too.

Speak & Spell: A History Hacked Education: The Speak & Spell – one of the most iconic toys of the 1980s – is a teaching machine. By that, I don’t mean simply that it’s an electronic, educational device. It is that, sure. The Speak & Spell is a teaching machine specifically in the tradition of B. F. Skinner, reflecting some of both Skinner’s design principles and his theories of learning, decades older than the popular Texas Instruments device. Rather than selecting the correctly-spelled word in a multiple choice quiz, for the example, the Speak & Spell prompts the user to construct the response. It praises; it corrects.

 More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

Continue reading "AM News: Senators Murray & Alexander Push To Revamp NCLB" »

AM News: Duncan Support For Annual NCLB Testing (Is This News?)

Administration Doubling Down on K-12 Priorities, Ed. Sec. Arne Duncan Declares PK12: Duncan is making it clear he doesn't think that Republicans in Congress—who could introduce draft proposals that make significant changes to federal testing mandates as early as this week—are on the right track. 

Arne Duncan Wants To Drop 'No Child Left Behind' — But Keep Its Tests NPR: The secretary of education calls the law "tired," asserting that much of it ought to be scrapped. But he still wants to keep the annual exams that serve as the law's centerpiece.

Duncan lays out priorities for education law: Testing, preschool funding, teacher evals Washington Post: Education Secretary Arne Duncan spelled out his priorities for a new federal education law Monday, calling on Congress to build in funding for preschool, add $1 billion annually in federal aid for schools with the neediest students, and maintain the federal mandate that says states must test students every year in math and reading. See also: Education groups, leaders weigh in on Duncan’s speech.

White House Still Backs Annual Testing in Schools NYT: Arne Duncan outlined the administration’s priorities for a revision of No Child Left Behind, indicating that testing was important to measuring achievement.

Obama to Call for New Laws on Data Hacking, Student Privacy NPR: The Obama Administration wants to create some new regulations that would alert consumers to the potentially unavoidable dangers facing them in the era of Sony's hacks.  See also Daily Caller.

NYC DOE reveals elusive data for 13 charter schools: How many students leave each year ChalkbeatNY:  The limited student mobility data challenges that [Farina] argument, to a degree. The schools with the highest average mobility rates over the past four years are also the ones that are performing the worst academically.

More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

Continue reading "AM News: Duncan Support For Annual NCLB Testing (Is This News?)" »

Update: USDE Alt Cert Report Now Over A Year Late

Way back in 2012, Congress called on the USDE to issue a report on the number and distribution of alternative certification teachers in US classrooms as a condition of extending the provision that makes alt cert teachers highly qualified under NCLB.  

The HQT waiver is good through 2016, which is why there wasn't any need for a rider in the 2015 spending bill currently under consideration.  (The union waiver, known as HOUSSE, is permanent and doesnt't require updating.)

But the report was supposed to come out in December 2013 -- a year ago.  But it hasn't been heard of.

Related posts: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" About Highly Qualified Teachers"Technical Amendments" In The Fiscal Cliff Deal?Alt Cert: TFA "Interns" Allowed To Keep Teaching ELLs (For Now)Budget Deal Gives TFA Another Two Years.

Continue reading "Update: USDE Alt Cert Report Now Over A Year Late" »

Quotes: Jindal Touts Defeat Of Common Core Supporter Landrieu

Quotes2Mary Landrieu supported Common Core and was soundly defeated — the voters have spoken... We hope Secretary Duncan is coming to Louisiana to see how real education reform is benefitting kids and families in the real world, and we hope he wants to work with us. - LA Governor Bobby Jindal in Politico (Jindal blasts Duncan ahead of NOLA visit)

Thompson: With King Appointment, Obama Administration Kicks Teachers In The Teeth

I guess I'll never learn. After President Obama's wonderful appearance on the Colbert Report, I reverted back to the dream that the real Barack Obama would emerge. At this point in the second term, there doesn't seem to be a reason to keep up the teacher-bashing and union-bashing of the last six years.

The appointment of the divisive New York Education Commissioner John King to the USDOE can only be seen as a gratuitous attack on teachers. The title of Chalkbeat's recount of King's career, by Geoff Decker, Patrick Wall, and Sarah Darville, says it all: After a Turbulent Career, State Education Commissioner John King Stepping Down for a Federal Job Offer

Surely, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan doesn't think there is a constructive education rationale for the appointment. He must be sending a message to reformers who revel in bitter political in-fighting. During the last two years, Duncan seems to be saying, he will be loyal to corporate reformers. Educators and schools won't be getting any relief from this devastating turmoil.  

I have continually wondered whether we educators would be offered an olive branch. If it happened, I'd be thrilled to respond in kind. But, the administration continues to make its point; it is joined at the hip with the Billionaires' Boys' Club. This appointment is rubbing salt in our wounds.

We cannot allow Democrats to question our stick-to-it-ness. We can't endure another term with a Secretary of Education who will keep up this assault on our profession and our students. Now, more than ever, is time to release our anger. We can't just take these insults anymore.-JT(drjohnthompson)

Morning Video: Here's Yesterday's Edweek/Pearson Midterm Re-Examination

Skip to the 22 minute mark to watch the video from yesterday's much-tweeted Edweek/Pearson event, After the Storm: What the 2014 Election Results Mean for K-12 Policy, featuring the likes of Brandon Busteed, Executive Director, Gallup Education, the PK12 team, Lamar Alexander's COS David Cleary and HELP staff director Jamie Fasteau among many others.  Watch it above, or look back at the Twitterstream #EdElect2014.

Reform: It All Began 25 Years Ago In Charlottesville -- Right?

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Conventional wisdom has it that the current reform movement started in 1983 with the release of the Nation At Risk report, but EdWeek makes a pretty good case with this piece (Historic Summit Fueled Push for K-12 Standards - Education Week) that a better starting point would be 25 years ago (1989) in Charlottesville, Va.

Penned by Alyson Klein, the EdWeek piece reaches back to some of the folks involved in the 1989 summit and some of those who're working on national standards today. In a few cases - Achieve's Mike Cohen, for example -- they are still working at it.

My old boss, Jeff Bingaman, was a committed member of the National Education Goals Panel, which was one of the entities that came out of the standards movement of that time, and was a strong advocate for the voluntary national assessment that President Clinton proposed funding in his second administration in order to provide cross-state comparisons beyond NAEP and give the national standards that were being developed some extra emphasis in schools and districts.

Check it out.  It seems so long ago, it's almost a dream.  But it wasn't that long ago -- and many of the same issues are part of Common Core and whatever happens next. Image used with permission. Image used with permission from the Bush Presidential Library.

Quotes: How Testing Has Made Schools 'Significantly’ Better

Quotes2We’ve begun, I think, to pay more attention now to interim assessments and formative assessments (which help teachers adjust in the middle of a school year to target student needs). We’re beginning to have just enough information where we can string some things together. - Oregon Deputy State Superintendent Rob Saxton (How a decade of testing made education ‘significantly’ better Washington Post).

Five Best Blogs: #Vergara Decision Triggers #CommonCoreDelay

The Vergara decision came down -- largely in favor of the student plaintiffs -- but then the Gates Foundation came out with a statement in support of a Common Core delay (in terms of high-stakes implications), seeming to catch everyone by surprise:

Did @gatesed @drvickip et al not realize that #Vergara was coming down today, or not care, or not believe that they could wait?

"A blanket delay is not appropriate for all states," says @CCSSO's @minnichc in response to @gatesed call for #commoncoredelay.

Still no word from @ArneDuncan on #commoncoredelay statement from @gatesed, pro or con, or what would be required to implement.

#Vergara judge: "“The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience." via @StephanieSimon_ http://ht.ly/xQNWK 

College presidents express support for Common Core - Newsday http://ht.ly/xQJqY

How much Bill Gates’s disappointing small-schools effort really cost - @valeriestrauss http://ht.ly/xQlwu 

A Black Father's Search for a Diverse Preschool - Education Week http://ht.ly/xF2s5 

@AP: BREAKING: Police: Shooter used rifle in fatal attack at Oregon high school; teacher injured.

Media: What The Post Gets Wrong About Gates & Common Core (Plus Reactions Roundup)

 Yau Hoong Tang FlickrThere's a long piece about the Common Core in the Washington Post you should probably read -- but be forewarned that the view of events and the causal chain that's cobbled together in the piece isn't entirely accurate or fairly contextualized (and differs from other accounts of what happened and why).

Basically, the Post's piece makes the claim that Bill Gates was behind the Common Core's rapid spread over the past few years. Indeed, the headline claims that Gates "pulled off" the Common Core, like it was a heist or a grift. 

"The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation didn’t just bankroll the development of what became known as the Common Core State Standards. With more than $200 million, the foundation also built political support across the country, persuading state governments to make systemic and costly changes." Both left and right -- Diane Ravitch and NRO's Stanley Kurtz  -- are already calling for Congressional hearings.

Gates' support is clear, and no doubt played a role.  There are some fascinating tidbits about that process in the piece.  But let's be clear: the idea for common national standards and tests goes back a long long way before Gates (and David Coleman), the spread of the Common Core in recent years wasn't merely a function of Gates' enthusiasm and largess, and the myth of the all-powerful billionaire is just that. 

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Media: CQ Roll Call Reporter Joining EdWeek's Politics K-12 Team

image from spencerfellows.orgNews is out that CQ Roll Call reporter (and current Spencer Education Journalism Fellow) Lauren Smith Camera is going to join Alyson Klein at @PoliticsK12, EdWeek's blog covering the USDE and Congress.  

No longer will Camera's work be hidden behind CQ's paywall.  She'll be out front, doing daily battle with all the new upstarts that have appeared in basically the same space (RealClear, Politico, etc.).

Camera will be replacing Michele McNeil, the blog's co-founder, who left recently to join the College Board.

Camera's Spencer year has been spent looking into whether federal funding in the form of competitive grants is a good investment (compared to dedicated funding streams).

Previous posts: New Spencer Fellows, New Research TopicsRecollections, Controversy, & Advice From Departing PK-12 BloggerDo Journalists Make Good Program Officers?Two Journos Win Nieman Fellowships, Another Heads To College Board. Image via SpencerFellows.org

Quotes: Common Core By Any Other Name

Quotes2Even states that are publicly distancing themselves from the Common Core and its assessments are often patterning their new standards closely on it, rather than invest the time and money required to start from scratch.  -- NPR's Common Core FAQ

Afternoon Video: Will Chicago's BAM Program Go National?

"In a report for the Hamilton Project, they propose allocating $400 million over five years to competitive program that would select forty cities, in each of which a local nonprofit would offer the program to 500 youths." (How Chicago is using psychotherapy to fight crime — and winning Vox)

Afternoon Video: Watch Obama Avoid Saying "Common Core" 10 Times

image from i1.huffpost.com
It's not quite a SuperCut, but HuffPost's Rebecca Klein has assembled a bunch of Obama speeches in which he talks about high standards but avoids saying "Common Core."

Morning Video: Duncan Talks Common Core At White House

 

On Friday, they let Duncan talk to the White House press corps and he ended up answering questions about the Common Core. via The Blaze. #someonepleasgifthis

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in This Week In Education are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.