Advocacy Update

Inside the Beltway

Congress returns from August recess after Labor Day on September 8 and the current continuing resolution keeping the government funded runs out on September 30. The Iran deal has been taking up airwaves as President Obama courts votes. On the budget front, conservative Republicans have threatened to derail the budget process if Planned Parenthood is not defunded, but Republican leadership is anxious to avoid that scenario.

In the Press

2015 PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, PDK/Gallup

This month, PDK International and Gallup released their annual poll data on the public’s attitudes toward public schools. Highlights of this year’s findings include a decline in support for standardized testing and the Common Core State Standards. The public showed support for charters and school choice but not for vouchers. Americans were wary of federal influence over schools and supported state control. Consistent with years past, Americans said they love their own local schools and cited lack of financial support as the top problem facing schools. A summary of the poll is also available from the Washington Post.

Disproportionate Impact of K–12 School Suspension and Expulsion on Black Students in Southern States, University of Pennsylvania

In a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education, researchers looked at suspension and expulsion rates for black students in every K–12 school district across 13 Southern states. Black students made up 24 percent of the student population across all 3,022 districts but made up 48 percent of all students suspended and 49 percent of all students expelled. The report breaks down data by state and district and includes a message on the policy implications from Rep. Cedric Richmond (LA-2).

The High Cost of Truancy, Center for American Progress

Truancy as a predictor of low student achievement and high school dropout rates has been well documented. In this report from the Center for American Progress, researchers outline the history of truancy in America’s schools and the court system and examine statistics and the consequences of high truancy rates for students, schools, and the workforce. They also offer concrete policy recommendations at the federal, state, and local level.

Waiver Politics Dominate in the Absence of ESEA Reauthorization, Brookings Institution

The U.S. Department of Education has granted over 80 percent of states waivers to the requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in exchange for implementing elements of the Obama administration’s reform agenda. However, the extent to which states are following through on the reform priorities vary greatly. Almost every state has adopted college and career ready standards but many have pushed to delay the use of student test scores to evaluate teachers and principals or taken a step back in implementing accountability systems. This federal-state tension will dominate school reform in many parts of the country until Congress finally moves to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

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