Since the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, tens of thousands of students across the country have opted out of federally mandated assessments. The opt-out movement has become a way for parents and students to protest the implementation of the Common Core State Standards as well as the overabundance of testing in schools.
One of the key provisions of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law requires school districts to maintain a 95 percent assessment participation rate. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently told states they risk losing federal funds if they fall below 95 percent compliance. This could have major implications for low-income and rural school districts that rely heavily on federal funding to hire staff, upgrade schools, and incorporate new programs. (more…)
After two days of debate and consideration of nearly 90 amendments, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved its bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in a historic, 22-0, vote on April 16. The Every Child Achieves Act was the end result of weeks of bipartisan negotiations between Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), and their leadership was evident throughout the cordial committee debate.
NASSP was pleased that the first amendment approved by committee would authorize a competitive grant for states and districts to audit their assessment systems, including the number of tests and the time spent on test-taking, in order to reduce redundant or unnecessary state and district assessments. The amendment was based on the SMART Act (S. 907) and introduced by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) who also sponsored the bill. (more…)
US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced a new partnership with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to encourage additional school leadership roles for teachers. Under “Lead the Change,” National Board-certified teachers would collaborate with principals, district leaders and other stakeholders to develop a plan for teachers to lead in their schools without having to leave their classrooms.
Prior to the announcement this afternoon, NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti had an opportunity to speak to Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Deb Delisle about the proposal and how our organization could contribute to the initiative. (more…)
NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti issued the following statement on the FY 2015 budget proposal:
President Obama’s proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget offers plenty to celebrate, but also renews some ongoing disappointment. Secretary Duncan got our attention when he declared teacher and leader effectiveness the #2 education priority—quite appropriately, behind equity and opportunity for all students. The Secretary’s language reflects a consistent recognition from ED of the importance of leadership in school success. Unfortunately, that recognition did not translate to budget support. Dedicated leadership-development funds under the School Leadership Program received just a modest $9 million increase to $35 million. Yes, the option of leadership development is woven throughout other programs under Title II, but history tells us that states and districts rarely use those funds for professional development for principals. And our nation’s school leaders need that training and support more than ever as they strive to implement new college and career-ready standards and teacher evaluation system sunder new accountability requirements. (more…)
The US Department of Education announced in December that five applicants would be granted nearly $120 million in the second round of the Race to the Top-District (RTT-D) competition, which aims to personalize education for all students in the classroom. The program is aimed squarely at classrooms and the all-important relationship between educators and students.
The FY 2013 winners were selected from 31 finalists out of the more than 200 applications received by the Department. They are: (more…)
As part of President Obama’s goal to redesign American high schools, yesterday he announced a new collaboration between the US Department of Labor and the US Department of Education to provide high school students “with the industry-relevant education and skills they need for a successful future.”
Under the administration’s proposal, $100 million in Department of Labor revenues from the H-1B visa program would be made available on a competitive basis for Youth CareerConnect Grants. Grants would be awarded only to schools districts with a strong public private partnership that includes, at a minimum, a local workforce investment system entity, a business, and an institution of higher education. Applicants would also be required to provide a 25% match in order to receive the grant. (more…)
As the House Education and the Workforce Committee works to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, last reauthorized in 2006, NASSP offered recommendations today to ensure that the law strengthens career and technical education (CTE) programs to promote college and career-readiness for all students.
The central focus of our comments was on educator quality, ensuring that school leaders are able to manage high-quality CTE programs and CTE teachers are knowledgeable and proficient in both effective teaching methods and technical skills. NASSP recommended that state leadership activities be focused on leadership development and technical assistance for districts and schools. States should be allowed to use Perkins funds to provide professional development opportunities for current CTE leaders and to support leadership training programs that help current principals manage CTE programs in their schools. (more…)
Elementary and Secondary Education Act
While there seemed to be little optimism at the beginning of the year that the 113th Congress would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the summer months saw a LOT of activity on Capitol Hill. The law, currently known as No Child Left Behind, has been due for reauthorization since 2007.
Bipartisan negotiations on ESEA failed in the spring, so the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate and House education committees went their separate ways on developing education policy. At one point, four separate proposals were floating around Capitol Hill, but ultimately a Democratic proposal was approved by the Senate HELP Committee in June and a Republican proposal (H.R. 5) was passed by the full House in July. Debate in both chambers centered on the appropriate federal role in education and a conversation about how to provide more flexibility for states and local school districts. (more…)
Using the power of the bully pulpit, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today criticized Congress for its inability to pass a bill reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the looming government shutdown, and further cuts to education programs under sequestration. The secretary’s speech took place at the National Press Club before an audience of education reporters, education advocates, and US Department of Education officials.
The speech was an opportunity for Duncan to address the Obama administration’s current education initiatives, and he praised state reforms underway due to the implementation of college and career-ready standards and new teacher and principal evaluation systems. Both were requirements under Race to the Top and the ESEA flexibility waivers. He also highlighted other initiatives “outside of the Washington bubble,” such as investments in early childhood education and wrap-around services, and shared specific examples where teachers unions were partners in reform in West Virginia, Indiana, Maryland, Florida, and Colorado. (more…)
Since Congress seems to have hit a brick wall on ESEA reauthorization, the House Education and the Workforce Committee has decided to focus on a new project: reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act. The subcommittee overseeing elementary and secondary education held its first hearing on Perkins and CTE programs on September 21, and NASSP was very pleased to be represented by the 2014 MetLife/NASSP National High School Principal of the Year, Dr. Sheila Harrity, who is the principal of Worcester (MA) Technical High School.
Worcester Tech, which was also named a MetLife Foundation-NASSP Breakthrough School in 2011, has 1,400 students in 24 technical programs within four small learning communities. Once the lowest-performing high school in the city and the poorest performing vocational school in the state, the students are graduating at high levels and performing well on state assessments, and the achievement gap has decreased significantly for all student subgroups. (more…)