Inside the Beltway
What’s going on in Washington?
While the dark cloud of a potential government shutdown loomed over Washington, House and Senate leadership were meeting behind closed doors to make a deal on the budget. They’re calling it the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, and it raises the current ceiling for spending allowing Congress to give more money to programs across the board. The act passed both chambers while most of us slept in the small hours of the morning last Tuesday (the House) and Thursday (the Senate).
Why should principals care?
A budget deal means no government shutdown (for now), which means money keeps flowing to states and schools. It also means that it’s time to get down to determining which programs get funding and how much they will get. We at NASSP are keeping our eyes on funding for Title I and IDEA grants, which give needed money to support disadvantaged children and kids with disabilities. We also want to see funding for principal recruitment, training, and development.
In the Press
Nation’s Report Card 2015, National Center for Education Statistics
The National Center for Education Statistics released their yearly report card presenting the scores from the annual National Assessment of Academic Progress (NAEP). The report includes an overview video and trend data. The test is given to samples of students from all 50 states in math and reading in fourth and eighth grade. After years of small but steady increases in NAEP scores, the report shows small dips in both math and reading.
Promises and Pitfalls of Using NAEP Data, Urban Institute
This report describes the advantages and potential trouble points of using NAEP data to assess the state role in student achievement. The report looks into how much student achievement varies across observationally similar states and the extent to which changes in state performance on the NAEP are accounted for by changes in demographics. It finds that performance varies greatly by state and demographic data cannot account for all of the differences.
As the new speaker of the House, Rep. Paul Ryan’s biggest challenge when it comes to education will be to find middle ground between Republican lawmakers who want state and local education leaders to have control and civil rights groups who want strong federal oversight and a federal accountability plan. A bipartisan plan will be necessary for Speaker Ryan to shepherd an ESEA reauthorization through the House that the President will actually sign.
Predictive Validity of MCAS and PARCC, Mathematica Policy Research
As Massachusetts considers whether to reform its existing statewide assessment system, the MCAS, Mathematica Policy Research conducted a study of the predictive validity of the MCAS in comparison to the new Common Core-aligned PARCC assessments. The research found that both the MCAS and the PARCC assessments were able to predict college readiness and whether a student would require remedial coursework, but the PARCC math assessment had better predictions of college performance than the MCAS math assessment.