Advocacy Update

Welcome to the new blog version of the weekly advocacy update! A few things have changed to make the weekly update as useful as possible. You can look forward to more unique content, summaries of articles and reports of interest to secondary schools, and insight about how these issues affect school leaders.

Inside the Beltway

The House and Senate are on recess through Labor Day. In the meantime, education advocates are anticipating the formation of a conference committee between House and Senate leaders to reconcile differences between the two bills to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Now is a good time to schedule meetings with your representatives in their home offices to talk about what principals need in a reauthorized law.

In the Press

20% of New York State Students Opted Out of Standardized Tests This Year, New York Times

This is a sizable drop from the previous year when 95 percent of eligible students took the test. Federal law requires 95 percent participation in assessments for third through eighth graders, and districts falling below the threshold could face state or federal sanctions. In addition, the opt-out movement has gained the attention of Congress. In a proposed House bill, students who opt out would not count against a state’s participation rate. In the Senate, lawmakers are considering allowing states to write their own test refusal policies.

Connecticut to Require All 11th Graders to Take the SAT, New York Times

Amid concerns that students were being tested too much, Connecticut opted to drop a statewide exam in favor of the SAT. Many students were taking the SAT already, but it will now be provided without cost. Current federal law requires students to be tested once in high school in math and reading.

More Kids, More Problems, The Atlantic

The states with the highest growth in their youth populations may be seeing the weakest outcomes for kids. This article uses the work of demographer Bill Frey at the Brookings Institution and the new Kids Count data book to look at trends across the United States.

The Next Chapter: Supporting Literacy with ESEA, Alliance for Excellent Education

This new report offers legislative recommendations to increase literacy in the rewrite of ESEA as well as examines the success and shortcomings of other federal literacy programs such as Reading First and the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) also penned a guest blog on the importance of literacy in policy.

The Complicated Politics of National Standards: The Many Sources of Opposition, Brookings

In the first of a three-part blog series, Dr. Patrick McGuinn looks at just a few of the sources of opposition that make writing national standards so complicated: federal (and presidential) overreach, data privacy, and backlash to corporate concerns.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act Issue Brief, Washington Partners

This issue brief provides a comprehensive 4-page overview of the legislative history of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act including the current status and projected future of the act in the House and Senate.

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