Federal spending on K-12 education comes in at just under $60B, compared to local funding that's a whopping $464B, according to a blowup of the federal budget created by Visualizing.org (2013 Federal Budget). Click the link to explore the methodology used and see the full chart in all its glory.
So was the Senate HELP Commmittee, way back in 2011-2012.
That's right. There was language in the bipartisan Harkin ESEA bill calling for the creation of a national commission that would have, among other things, been charged with "determining the frequency, length, and scheduling of such tests and assessments, and measuring, in hours and days, the student and teacher time spent on testing."
The Senate language was proposed by Senators Alexander and Bennet.
Indeed, Bennet introduced standalone legislation last year. Colorado has been working on auditing and coordinating tests for several years, according to this 2011 Durango Herald opinion piece. Alexander is listed as a co-sponsor.
Since then, the noise surrounding test proliferation and/or test uses has risen exponentially -- warranted or not, we don't really know. Chicago and DC have already initiated testing audit/streamlining procedures.
The TeachPlus report that came out the other day indicated that there were large variations around the country, and that official and classroom views of the testing burden are very different. However, the report was limited to a small set of districts. [See here for some updated information on why its Chicago numbers were initially wrong.]
I proposed something along the same lines in my latest Scholastic Administrator column: "Secretary Duncan has at least one thing he could do with his remaining time in office that could be both effective at preserving his initiatives and popular with educators and parents. He could begin to address concerns over test proliferation... Serving as a watchdog against overtesting, he would also effectively be protecting the Common Core assessments during a very vulnerable time."
Hardcore testing opponents would not be appeased, of course -- look no further than the reactions to the New York State attempts to compromise on Common Core implementation for evidence of that. But, depending on the results such an audit provided, everyone else might be reassured and glad to know how different states and districts compare.
No word back yet about whether the USDE had taken a position on the language or not -- or what they think of the idea now.
There are lots of lessons reformers might glean from the NYT Sunday Magazine preview of season two of House of Cards -- greatest among them the dangers of imagining they're working in a "West Wing" world where good ideas, research results, and smarts prevail when the reality is much more "House Of Cards" (in which idealism and book smarts matter less than street savvy and knowing how to work the media).
Of particular note, the article focuses on the young(ish) show-runner, who worked on the Howard Dean campaign and watched as it responded to the press frenzy surrounding the "Dean Scream" by taking the higher ground rather than responding vigorously -- and in the end let Dean's opponents (and the media) define him and derail his campaign.
To be sure, both shows are exaggerated, fictionalized versions of reality. But there are real-world historical lessons to be gleaned from the show and article.
For reform opponents, the dangers illustrated by the show are the ever-present possibility of public revulsion and political excommunication that would likely follow revelation of cut-throat tactics no matter how worthwhile or well-intended the aims.
Momentum builds for retaining Deasy as LAUSD chief LA Daily News: As civic groups mobilized in support of Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy, board member Steve Zimmer expressed optimism Monday that the embattled schools chief can be persuaded to stay on as head of the nation's second-largest district.
Los Angeles Schools Leadership Questioned WSJ: The Los Angeles Unified School District is slated to meet Tuesday to discuss whether to renew its superintendent’s contract—a decision that could change the leadership of the nation’s second-largest school system.
Zimmer: LA Unified Board Wants Deasy to Stay LA School Report: In anticipation of what’s sure to be a long and dramatic school board meeting tomorrow, LA Unified board member Steve Zimmer says he’s optimistic that the board can convince Superintendent John Deasy not to resign as head of the nation’s second largest school district.
L.A. schools improved, but Deasy fell short of ambitious goals LA Times: Supt. John Deasy, whose annual review will be conducted Tuesday, failed to meet many goals he set for himself. Even so, school board members and civic leaders cite long-term gains.
LAUSD needs Deasy LA Times (editorial page): We don't always agree with him, but the superintendent has excelled in a difficult position.There are so many dramas and mini-disasters at the Los Angeles Unified School District, they have to take a number and line up for attention.
Texas No Child Left Behind waiver means concessions to feds Politico: Critics often tie No Child Left Behind waivers to the Common Core and equate them with operating in the pocket of the federal government. Some say Texas crushed that theory. Others say the state's recently won waiver reinforced it.
New Jersey School District Cancels Testing After Exams Are Leaked on the Internet NYT: The breach of test security in the Montclair, N.J., school district was discovered by a parent on Friday, leading to a “full legal investigation.”
U.S. House Approves Bipartisan Background Check Bill Politics K12: Mary Kusler, the NEA's director of government relations, wrote in a letter to lawmakers that the measure is "well intentioned" but could "run counter to existing state laws requiring background checks."
Senator Raises Questions About Protecting Student Data NYT: Senator Edward J. Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, is investigating whether federal rules governing the sharing of student data provide adequate security and privacy protections.
Local Education Hiring is Up, Even With Sequestration Cuts PoliticsK12: Local government education employment posted a monthly increase of 9,500 jobs, according to the September jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That brought the overall gain to 56,400 jobs since June.
Common Core Reading Survey Shows Slow Start To Teaching Shift HuffPost: Based on an extensive survey of a small but nationally representative sample of teachers last year, the group suggests that teachers mostly have not yet overhauled reading instruction in a way that will herald change. "In summary, these results reveal that many teachers have not yet confronted the new text complexity demands of the Common Core," the report concludes. [ALSO: Teachers Are Supposed to Assign Harder Books, but They Aren't Doing It Yet AtlanticEDU]
Teacher Who Died Trying To End Shooting Remembered As A Hero NPR: Michael Landsberry was a 45-year-old former U.S. Marine who served in Afghanistan with the Nevada Air National Guard.
Nevada School Shooting Draws Fresh Focus on Bullying, Harassment State EdWatch: A new law in Nevada requiring school districts to track and report incidents of bullying could be put to use after a school shooting on Oct. 21.
Advocacy Groups Urge Arne Duncan to Get Tough on NCLB Waivers PoliticsK12: In a letter sent to the Education Department today, these groups express deep concerns about waiver implementation, from how graduation rates are factored into state accountability systems to how subgroups of at-risk students are being helped.
School iPads to cost nearly $100 more each, revised budget shows LA Times: The L.A. Unified School District will spend $770 per iPad, a 14% increase over earlier cost estimates, the revised budget shows.Language-Gap Study Bolsters a Push for Pre-K NYT: A Stanford psychologist found that affluent children had learned 30 percent more words from 18 months to 2 years of age than children from low-income homes. Video: Middle schooler: Shooter was aiming 'at my chest' NBC: Sparks Middle School shooting survivor Jose Cazares describes the scene inside the school Monday when teacher Michael Landsberry got between him and the 12-year old shooter.
Sequestration Cuts Lead To Bigger Classes, Shuttered Arts Programs In Schools HuffPost: For the current school year, the group heard back from 298 school districts in 42 states. Eighty-six percent factored sequestration cuts into budgets -- up from 36 last year -- and 144 reported they deferred building maintenance or purchases. Eight closed or consolidated schools.
West Point Women: A Natural Pattern Or A Camouflage Ceiling? NPR: Since 1980, the percentage of women at the U.S. Military Academy has stayed the same, leading some to conclude that the school has set an artificial cap on the number of female cadets that it accepts. Now, West Point has been told it must raise those numbers to meet the demand for more female leaders.
Crash Course on Speaking in Tongues, All 22 of Them NYT: A workshop in Brooklyn was held over three hours, in seven classrooms, featuring classes on nearly two dozen languages taught mostly by native speakers.
For many young D.C. parents, city schools remain a sticking point Washington Post: Public school enrollment in the District has risen nearly 18 percent over the past five years, mostly in the early grades and charter schools, as an increasing number of parents have been persuaded to give D.C. schools a try.Study: 15 percent of US youth out of school, work Associated Press: Almost 6 million young people are neither in school nor working, according to a study released Monday. That's almost 15 percent of those aged 16 to 24 who have neither desk nor job, according to The Opportunity Nation coalition, which wrote the report.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visiting Wheeling Thursday Chicago Daily Herald
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will visit with students at Wheeling High School on Thursday to discuss the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and tour the school's new nano technology laboratory, ...
Writing about TFA is fun. I do it all the time. They're the most iconic school reform organization out there. People love them or hate them (or like me, it depends on the day). There's always something new to talk about!
However, fulltime paid journalists writing for for-real mainstream media outlets ostensibly writing straight news coverage shouldn't be throwing around half-hidden opinions and only getting two thirds of the full story. That's what bloggers, part-time freelancers, and columnists are for!
Plus which, writing about pro-reform endeavors all the time is predictable and boring, especially when there's lots of other big education action going on out there that might warrant some careful examination, too (ie, the watered-down teacher dismissal bill in CA, or the funding equity fight in IL, or the new LAUSD board president who apparently has a temper and appropriate behavior problem).
Which brings us to today's Politico education story bylined by Stephanie Simon -- and yet another set of problems and issues with the journalism being provided. Plus one obvious issue related to TFA's new Congressional fellows program.
Budget Deal Would Allow Alternate-Route Teachers to be Deemed "Highly Qualified" PoliticsK12: The legislation, which is expected to be approved by both houses of Congress very soon, would allow teachers participating in alternative-certification programs (for example, Teach for America) to be considered "highly qualified" for an additional two years, through the 2015-16 school year.
[For the full backstory on this provision's history, see my long article: Teach For America & The Alternative Certification Loophole]
Federal workers returning to a 'mess' Politico: The Commerce, Education, Housing and Urban Development and Labor departments, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, have largely been dark since Oct. 1. Not only are those workers almost three weeks behind schedule, many will need to spend the next few days just digging through clogged inboxes and answering phone messages.
Education Commissioner Opts for Private Meetings After Heckling WNYC: New York State Education Commissioner John King said he understood parents are frustrated. But he said he would not participate in any meetings with disruptions, like the Poughkeepsie hearing where parents shouted at him.
In Laurel, 'intense' but promising shift to Common Core Baltimore Sun: At first glance, the bulletin boards lining the hallways of Oaklands Elementary School in South Laurel look like any typical display of students' work — drawings, short essays, a display of some dioramas.
New standardized tests boast less risk of cheating — by students and teachers KPCC: Last school year, students were caught taking pictures of the tests with their cellphones to share with others.But this year's computer test gets rid of those answer sheets and booklets. Tests will be given on computer, and officials can monitor when a student is logging in and out of a web site to take the test.
Study: Poor children are now the majority in American public schools in South, West Washington Post: A majority of students in public schools throughout the American South and West are low-income for the first time in at least four decades, according to a new study that details a demographic shift with broad implications for the country.
New study finds Teach for America recruits boost student achievement in math Politico: A rigorous new study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education finds that Teach for America recruits lead students in impoverished middle and high schools to higher achievement in math than teachers who have come through traditional training programs.
Some teachers left behind? Politico: The House's first lob in the budget fight, a continuing resolution filed late Tuesday that would keep the federal government in action through Dec. 15, doesn't include language that would allow educators in alternative-certification programs to be considered "highly qualified.
Also: Teach for America is a deeply divisive program. It also works. (Washington Post), TFA Teachers Perform Well in a New Study -- But Teacher Experience Still Matters (Dana Goldstein)
Federal government threatens action against Calfornia if it cuts student tests KPCC: Torkalson is urging legislators to pass the bill and has said he will try to get a waiver from the federal government later. It had been expected to go to the state senate for a vote Tuesday, but the vote was not scheduled.
Arizona and Education Department in NCLB Waiver Standoff Politics K12: Arizona may be the next state headed toward high-risk status for its No Child Left Behind Act waiver after it submitted a final draft of its accountability system—a plan that does not meet federal demands on high school graduation rates or teacher evaluations.
No Child Left Behind ends in PA The Reporter: Adequate Yearly Progress is a thing of the past in the North Penn School District and in districts across Pennsylvania after the USDE approved the state's request to ignore parts of No Child Left Behind.
Okla. school changes policy on dreadlocks AP: An Oklahoma charter school is changing its dress code after inciting criticism for telling a 7-year-old girl that her dreadlocks violated the school's policy...
Here via PBS NewsHour is the President laying out the plan late last week. Reactions have been mixed.
Sequestration Effects: 59 Percent of Districts Cut Professional Development PoliticsK12: Districts are dealing withautomatic, across-the-board trigger cuts of federal education funding by slicing professional development (59 percent of districts), eliminating personnel (53 percent), increasing class size (48 percent), and deferring technology purchases (46 percent).
Obama pushes ambitious Internet access plan Washington Post: There’s just one catch: The effort would cost billions of dollars, and Obama wants to pay for it by raising fees for mobile-phone users. Doing that relies on the Federal Communications Commission, an independent agency that has the power to approve or reject the plan.
Charter partnership gives L.A. Unified school new name and outlook LA Times: In an unprecedented partnership, the L.A. Unified School District has joined forces with Crown Prep, an outside charter operator, to run the persistently low-performing campus south of downtown.Top Obama Higher Education Official, Resigns Huffington Post: Her departure thins out the ranks of the Education Department's first-term upper echelons. Until recently, the department lacked heads for its preschool and civil rights offices, and a general counsel. The department has "acting" leaders in charge of "innovation and improvement," "planning, evaluation and policy development" and communications.
Parents got left out of NCLB in terms of engagement, transfers, and tutoring, says NACS's Nina Rees in this recent WSJ Opinion Video -- but the House rewrite of NCLB over-corrects the law's problems.
Paul Kendrick has been named to this year's edition of The Hill's 50 Most Beautiful. The single 29 year-old is from West Hartford and previously worked for Geoff Canada's Harlem Children's Zone.
Check and see who's on the old lists, if they're still in education, and whether they're still hot (for education, at least).
House takes up GOP version of No Child Left Behind AP: The House is ready to make the final tweaks to its Republican-led rewrite of the sweeping No Child Left Behind education law that governs every school in the country that receives federal education dollars.
Rollback of NCLB to get vote Politico: A bill to roll back No Child Left Behind, the far-reaching 2001 education overhaul that expired six years ago but remains in effect, will finally get a vote in the House of Representatives later this week after clearing a procedural hurdle Wednesday night—and despite grumbling from some of the chamber’s more conservative members.
House Lawmakers Set to Debate No Child Left Behind Act Rewrite Politics K12: On the eve of a possible vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on long-stalled legislation to rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act, the bill's road to passage is still somewhat bumpy. House leaders have scheduled votes for Thursday on a host of amendments to the proposed Elementary and Secondary Education Act revision—26 of them altogether. But so far, a vote on final passage hasn't been scheduled, which gives leaders extra time to twist some arms, if they need to.
Senate Reaches Deal to End Fight Over Student Loan Interest Rates NYT: A Senate aide said that the new proposal, which had been the subject of tense negotiations since the rates doubled on July 1, would include a cap on federal Stafford and PLUS loans and a relatively low interest rate.
Plan approved for Conn. school shooting donations AP: Families of the 26 children and educators killed in the Connecticut school shooting will receive $281,000 each under a plan for dividing up $7.7 million in donations....
Texas School District Drops Microchip-Tracking System WSJ: District officials decided that attendance didn't increase enough to justify the costs of the program, said Northside spokesman Pascual Gonzalez. "The lawsuit and negative publicity were part of the conversation, but not the deciding factor in ending the program," he said.
Arne Duncan presses GOP to back universal pre-K Politico: Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday he's urging reluctant Republicans in Congress to get on board with funding universal preschool. One of the big sticking points for Republicans has been coming up with new money for the program.
25 Children Die From Tainted Lunches at Indian School NYT: The authorities were searching for the headmistress of a primary school in the eastern state of Bihar after children were served food contaminated with insecticide.
"Got a master’s degree? Yes, great. Then you can help with folding mail."
2 of 29 Hill Staffer Problems: Having a master’s degree and feeling stupid. Image via Buzzfeed.
GOP divided on rewrite of 'No Child Left Behind' AP: Conservative Republicans don’t think a GOP rewrite of the No Child Left Behind education law does enough to reduce Washington’s influence. Moderates are warily eying proposals that would expand charter schools’ role. Those intraparty differences appear to be blocking the bill’s momentum.
Cantor, Kline Push No Child Left Behind Rewrite, Public School Choice Politics K12: School choice will be part of the debate when the U.S. House of Representatives takes up its version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, possibly as early as this week. The House Majority Leader, Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., who has become much more active on K-12 issues lately, has introduced an amendment that would allow Title I dollars to follow children to the public school of their choice, including charter schools.
Republican House leaders visit DC charter school to tout education bill Washington Post: House Republicans have taken a clear turn away from Bush's philosophy that states receiving billions of dollars each year in federal aid should be accountable to Washington.
The Charter School Vs. Public School Debate Continues NPR: The charter school movement turns 21 this year and the latest study shows kids in most charter schools are doing as well or better in reading and math than their counterparts in traditional public schools. But now, leading charter school supporters are questioning that study.
How Congress Works, care of Jimmy Kimmel, starts at about the 3 minute mark.
Senate Panel Nips at Key Obama Competitive Grant Programs Politics K12: The Obama administration's signature competitive grant programs survived, but took some serious abuse this week from some Democrats during the Senate Appropriations committee's consideration of a bill to finance the U.S. Department of Education in fiscal year 2014, which starts Oct. 1.
Wyo. delays No Child Left Behind waiver request AP: Wyoming is pushing back by a year its request for a waiver from federal education requirements. Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, schools are required to meet rising benchmarks toward all students testing proficient.
Teachers Respond to Tennessee Pay Plan - Teacher Beat Teacher Beat: Tennessee has become the latest state to experiment with a new teacher-pay system, thanks to new rules passed by the state's board of education at its June 21 meeting. Via GothamSchools.
Does Obama's Early Education Proposal Have a Chance? Huffington Post: Children's advocates high-fived when President Obama called for "high quality preschool" for "every child in America" in his State of the Union Address. The details of the plan are considerably more complicated.
Ready Access to Plan B Pills in City Schools NYT: Through a patchwork of nurses’ offices and independent clinics at New York City schools, girls can get free emergency contraceptives in more than 50 high schools.
Diary reveals school aide had student's baby AP: Authorities say the diary of a Southern California teacher's aide reveals her sexual relationship with an underage student and that she gave birth to the boy's baby.
Is NCLB Waiver Renewal the Next Big Issue? EdWeek: The waivers are only set to be in place for two years, and it's unclear if Brokedown Congress will get its act together to pass a rewrite.
Arne Duncan Expected To Tap Emma Vadehra As New Chief Of Staff Huffington Post: She is expected to be replaced by Emma Vadehra, who works as the chief of staff for a charter school management organization known as Uncommon Schools, the sources said.
Education with a LIFT NBC: Schools adopt program to LIFT low income students to higher learning.
In Dallas, 3-Year High School Diploma Would Expand Preschool NYT: Dallas Independent School District, the state’s second largest, is developing a voluntary three-year high school diploma plan that is likely to start in the 2014-15 school year and would funnel cost savings to finance prekindergarten.
Defiant LAUSD Superintendent Says He’ll Push Targeted Spending Plan Anyway LA School Report: “The Board voted down the directive to have me come and do it,” said Deasy, referring to Galatzan’s local spending resolution. “[But] they can’t stop me from doing it; we’re doing it anyway. If they had voted to prevent me from doing it… well they didn’t think of that.”
A Lifeline for Minorities, Catholic Schools Retrench NYT: Many blacks and Latinos say they can trace the success they have achieved in their careers to the guidance they received in Catholic schools.
Texas school district apologizes to valedictorian AP: A North Texas school district has apologized to a high-school valedictorian whose microphone was switched off during a graduation ceremony when he deviated from prepared remarks.
Republican-led House committee passes new federal education bill
Washington Post: A Republican-controlled House committee Wednesday
approved a new version of the country’s main education law that would
sharply shrink the
federal role in K-12 public schools.
Did Obama Diss Catholic Education In Northern Ireland? BuzzFeed: Education remains deeply divided in the region, with the children of Catholics mainly attending Catholic schools and the children of Protestant families mainly attending government-run schools.
Online Classes Fuel a Campus Debate NYT: A heated discussion has emerged over whether free online college classes will lead to better learning and lower costs — or to a second-class education for most students.
Condoms Approved for Schools in Massachusetts NYT: The new policy allows students to obtain condoms, unless parents opt them out, and makes sexual education a required part of school health curricula.
Lax Education In Humanities, Social Sciences Spark Outcry NPR: A new report argues that humanities and social sciences are as essential to the country's economic and civic future as science and technology. The study by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences was commissioned in 2010 by a bipartisan group of members of Congress.
Marathon Board Meeting Signals Changes to Come LA School Report: Among several key decisions the Board arrived at during the lengthy session were votes to award a $30 million contract to Apple, close a charter school that had dodged a district audit, and add some local regulations to the controversial parent trigger process (but not call for the law’s repeal).
Hillary gives early childhood agenda what it needs: A public boost. | New Republic ow.ly/m4mV8
How online tools may change classrooms today and forever. ow.ly/m4k74
After Newtown shooting, mourning parents enter into the lonely quiet - Washington Post ow.ly/m4kMt
Sir Ken Robinson, Teachers on Creativity in Schools (Audio) ow.ly/m4k8k
Big data is not our master -TNR ow.ly/m4mYl
Trying to make separate equal | Feature | Chicago Reader ow.ly/m5hNB
From Jay Mathews: School ignores advice from learning disability experts: Stacie Brockman is the Prince George... bit.ly/13RA8qe
Did Ritalin Make Kids in Quebec Dumber? | New Republic ow.ly/m4mGH
Arne Duncan slams No Child Left Behind (diagnoses Congress, etc.) POLITICO
The latest example is Thompson Media Group, from which plastform Andy Brownstein and Chuck Edwards have been reporting for the past bunch of years.
I know Brownstein mostly from the Title I Monitor, a Thompson newsletter that's been around since I was on the Hill, and from Brownstein's more recent blog posts. (Click here if you want to skim Brownstein's appearances on this site.)
If I understand correctly, Thompson has been bought by LRP, a competitor, and Brownstein and Edwards are unlikely to be retained with the new, merged operation. I can imagine them writing for another trade publication, or being grabbed up by a smart nonprofit, association, or Hill office looking for deep knowledge of federal policy, regulation, and political mechanics.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan works to sell Obama administration’s preschool initiative Washington Post: He is reaching out to Republican governors, hoping they will help him persuade GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill to embrace the “Preschool for All” initiative. But it’s a tall order for many Republican governors who are cool to the notion of new taxes.
Senate Committee Passes Democratic NCLB Renewal Bill EdWeek: On a completely predictable party-line vote, the Senate Education Committee approved a bill to reauthorize the long-stalled renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Senate committee approves bill updating federal education law Washington Post: On a party line vote, a Senate committee approved a bill Wednesday to update the country’s main federal education law by erasing some of its most punitive aspects.
No Child Left Behind Bill Passes Senate Committee, But No End In Sight For Recasting Bush Law Huffington Post: Harkin says he intends to bring his bill to the Senate floor sometime this year -- hopefully by the fall -- and would allow amendments to be made during that process. But even if the overhaul makes it through the floor vote, it is unlikely to be signed into law because the predominant legislative vision in the House varies significantly.
States Seek Flexibility During Common-Test Transition EdWeek: A flurry of education groups are staking out positions on the role tests should play in evaluating teachers and labeling schools.
This isn't news except to me but perhaps you missed it too: Roughly a dozen of the biggest suburban districts in the country have started their own "Coalition" to share ideas and make their voices heard in state and national debates over education.
Dubbed the Large Countywide and Suburban District Consortium (LCASDC?), the group was announced last year -- see EdWeek piece (Big Suburban Districts Form Network of Their Own) -- and has yet to make any big splash that I know of. Then again, I didn't know anything about it until I had the chance to interview Joshua Starr (MCPS) the other day.
Does the group take positions, issue press releases, offer quotes to the press? That could be sort of interesting. Someone ask them if they like/dislike the new Harkin ESEA proposal and let us know what they think. It's operated out of AASA and handled by Education Counsel, apparently.
Differing Viewpoints on Teacher Preparation Reflected in New Bills EdWeek: The first bill, known as the GREAT Act, was introduced May 23 in the House by Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Tom Petri (R-Wis.), and in the Senate by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.). The second bill, known as the Educator Preparation Reform Act, introduced the same day, is sponsored by Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) and Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.).
President Obama calls on teachers to help identify mental health disorders EdSource Today: More than 75 percent of mental illnesses, including depression, panic disorder, schizophrenia and anorexia nervosa, emerge when children are school-aged or young adults, Obamanoted.
Candidates but Also Parents and Former Students NYT: The 11 contenders, who have a mix of backgrounds in private and public education, have made standardized testing and arts classes familiar issues in the campaign.
The Students That Keep Teachers Inspired NPR: Teachers endure bored, misbehaving, or totally tuned out students, often with little recognition. In a commentary in The Chronicle of Higher Education, professor Charles Rinehimer pays tribute to the completely engaged students who gave him the strength to deal with tough cases.
Vaccine Exemptions Could Help Make Whooping Cough a Thing Again Atlantic Wire: The rising percentage of parents opting out of at least one mandatory vaccination could be a major factor in the recent increase in whooping cough cases.
Inflation-Adjusted Title I Budget Back to Pre-George W. Bush Level via Thompson (Andy Brownstein plus special appearance by Wayne (CRS) Riddle).
There's a good long piece in the latest Washington Monthly looking into what happens to federal laws after they're passed, titled He Who Makes the Rules, that makes some good reading for any education watchers.
While it focuses on non-education issues (Dodd-Frank implementation), it tells the story of how the regulatory process -- rules, interpretations of Congressional intent, public comment, and final determinations -- can make or break the statutory language that Congress passes and a President signs into law.
"It may seem counterintuitive, but those big hunks of legislation, despite being technically the law of the land, filed away in the federal code, don’t mean anything yet."
Who cares what happens to a law once it's passed? I can think of at least three education examples where rulemaking has played a big role: (1) the 2002 passage of NCLB, which was followed by some frenzied rulemaking around such hot topics as highly qualified teachers, tutoring (SES), and AYP; (2) the more recent passage of what became Race to the Top, extremely brief statutory language that blossomed into a much bigger, broader program; and, (3) the higher education regulations and rules surrounding Title II teacher quality grants (about which I know frighteningly little except they've been hotly debated and delayed).
As you'll see from the TWM story, a committed group of individuals can carve up a law they don't like by attacking language and swarming the process. It's been a while since that's happened in K-12 but if anything big ever happens and one side or the other (or both) doesn't like it, they know that they can probably get things changes further down the line, after most folks have moved onto other issues.
Last week's IGM survey of economists was - excitingly! - about education.
Specifically, respondents were asked whether expanded pre-K programs would have "a much lower social return" than the best existing programs currently generate.
I'd have guessed that economists would answer that question with a resounding and disheartening "yes", but the actual results were somewhat mixed with only 1/3 of economists answering in the affirmative. (This increased to a bit over half when survey results were weighted by confidence.)
The biggest takeaway seems to be that mainstream economists as a group know and/or care relatively little about education. (In this regard they are perhaps not that different from the general public.)
Consider, for example, that 29% of respondents reported being "uncertain." Another 18% didn't answer the question at all. Also notable: though the IGM survey sometimes asks a second, related question, in this case it didn't bother even though an obvious follow-up was available.
After all, what we want to know is not necessarily whether universal pre-K access would result in diminishing returns, but whether such an investment would generate positive returns.
Cantor: 'Our schools are too dangerous' (via Politico) #CPAC2013
Here's Rachel Maddow's 12-minute segment recounting Walter Mondale's attempt to provide preschool to everyone (and Nixon's veto) 40 years ago, complete with the story about Oklahoma's UPK program that you probably already know from This American Life. Plus James Heckman.
EdSource is reporting that a ten-district consortia of California school districts that educate more than 20 percent of the state's students is pressing ahead with its NCLB waiver application, despite concerns from the state and Secretary Duncan about creating different rules for different districts. Hey, there was a district version of Race to the Top, so why not a district version of NCLB waivers?
The hearing starts at 10. The above is just a screenshot. Here's a link to the committee site -- the video is not embeddable, far as I can tell (and according to the staff I talked to). One of the highlights may be EdTrust president Kati Haycock's critique of the waiver approval and implementation process, notes HuffPosts's Joy Resmovits, though I don't think it's anything particularly new she's saying.
Behind the scenes, some civil rights and accountability types admit that the waivers might end up being preferable to what Congress would have done in a reauthorization. Speaking of reauthorizations, DFER's Charlie Barone thinks that one might still happen (for better or worse).
The Atlantic thinks so. Photo via Whitehouse.gov.
Here's a chart showing federal funding for Head Start via New America's info page: New Resources on Head Start:
HHS is obviously pushing to fix and change the program, which is all well and good, and everybody loves the pre-K kids, but as I keep asking this week: what about regular old Kindergarten? How can it be that Kindergarten's not already universal and full-day?
The real lesson of the Newtown tragedy for educators, foundations, and reform groups is how clearly it highlights the importance of single-issue advocacy efforts conducted at the national level:
As many have noted, the NRA has for decades blocked gun control measures, becoming one of the most effective single issue advocacy operations in the country (along with the anti-tax folks, perhaps, and AARP).
NYC Mayor Bloomberg's "Demand A Plan" initiative, including 34 shooting victims sending videos to the Obama White House over this past weekend, has already arguably had an impact on the Administration's decision to move forward (however tentatively).
In this National Journal article, Adam Cohen discusses the possibility of a "parent lobby" that would, like the NRA or AARP or anyone else, focus on child safety and welfare issues. (The chart shows just how cheap it is to have an impact.)
And what about in education? The teachers unions and education associations are well-established. The Children's Defense Fund and NAACP used to perform some of these functions on behalf of poor children and families. Short-run efforts such as Ed in '08 and that College Board thing this summer revealed the power and challenges. While powerul at the policy level, state-level advocacy networks are limited politically when things get big and struggle with command and coordination issues among different states.
Twenty-odd years into school reform (and at least five into my blathering about the need for such a thing) there's still no national education reform advocacy group or PAC.
All the focus on universal preschool these past few years might lead you to believe that, well, Kindergarten was already taken care of, but I recently learned that's not the case at all.
The bare dozen green states on this January 2012 map from CDF (!?) shows how unusual it is for full-day kindergarten to be provided at no charge to all children per state statute and funding.