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All the cool kids--that is, educators paying attention to the rapid pace at which the common assessments and overreliance on tests in teacher and school evaluation are detracting from the proper focus on student learning--are calling for a moratorium on testing.
It started more than a year ago, and included a call by Montgomery County Public School Superintendent Josh Starr. AASA issued a public note of appreciate on the blog yesterday.
AASA's recent letter to the Senate HELP committee echoed a similar sentiment: Slow down, take the time to get it right.
AFT President Randi Weingarten called for a moratorium on the stakes associated with high-stakes testing because the new assessments aligned to Common Core are being given to student before teachers have had time to process and create curriculum to support the standards.
WhiteBoard Policy Advisors latest Education Insiders poll found that while only 18% of those polled think USED would implement a moratorium on the stakes associated with Common Core, 63% think that states will implement such a policy.
Even Secretary Duncan and USED haven't ruled out the possibility of calling for a 'hold' on the Common Core stakes.
Before you read the funding update, some numbers to put it all in perspective. When talking about budget and appropriations, its good to keep the top line (overall budget authority) in mind. The following numbers are the budget authority for the LHHS appropriation (which includes education):
That means the House FY14 proposal for LHHS is 18% BELOW FY13 post-sequester levels and 26% below what President Obama proposed for the same fiscal year.
FY13 Funding: The final charts for FY13 (post-sequester) state allocations are available for Title I and IDEA. These charts are crucial, especially since some states have been counseling cuts that are deeper than will be reality. Use these charts in conversations with your SEA. You can also see final program funding levels for all USED programs.
This post comes from AASA Associate Executive Director for Advocacy & Communications, Bruce Hunter.
Several months ago Josh Starr, superintendent in Montgomery County Maryland, made a bold proposal. Starr proposed a three year moratorium on the testing regime required by NCLB. While the Common Core Standards and the new tests from the Smarter Balance and PARCC testing consortia are being rolled out. The moratorium would support complete implementation and alignment between the new standards and assessments. Dr Starr rightfully recognized that using test results from the period of misalignment creates a major debacle where students are victims. Of course improperly evaluated teachers and principals would also be victims. In short, haste makes waste.
Dr. Starr was vilified and mocked by the education reform crowd and staff in Congress and at the US Department of education. To hear it from them, Starr’s proposal was tantamount to asking that student outcomes no longer be considered. In their view, the proposal was a way for public school people (perceived as incompetent and/or racist) to short shrift low -income and minority students.
It turns out that the people doing the actual work of implementing the standards are now beginning to see what Josh Starr recognized a year ago. Randi Weingarten, President of AFT, had a great editorial about making sure the work was done before proceeding. Severe public school critic Katie Haycock said in a blog for Huffington Post that we needed to go slow to go fast.
Last week, AASA Executive Director, Dan Domenech joined with executive directors from 15 other national organizations serving public school educators in the concluding that a transition period was needed to deal with the period of misalignment.
AASA members tell us that the new standards will be implemented over the next 1-3 years, depending on the state level of progress. Similarly the new tests will be completed, implemented and ready for administration over the next two years. School districts, however, still need to work out the inevitable bugs associated with the complex digital technology and infrastructure (including bandwidth) needed to administer the tests online as they were designed.
During the period of misalignment, the US Education Department is requiring states to use test results to evaluate teachers, principals, schools and districts. Under the USED proposal, during misalignment, states are presented with poor options:. States can use new standards and the old tests aligned to former standards or old standards unaligned to the new tests. In either case the results would be seriously flawed.
Josh Starr was right: we need a transition period. Had someone not stood and made the proposal, federal policy would have driven the states to make a serious error. This blog post is a simple thank you and recognition to someone was not only smart enough to see the issue for what it is, but also courageous enough to stand and say’ let’s think this over and do it right’. Thank you, again, for your leadership on this issue.
I am receiving an increasing number of inquiries related to final allocations for FY13, especially in the context of sequestration. A previous post detailed the IDEA allocations. I am now adding the Title I allocations.
A handful of members had reached out detailing bizarre advice from state agencies detailing the depth of the cut. This chart should put to rest the question of what the state allocation is; local allocations are not yet available.
AASA joined 50 other organizations--including the Association of Education Service Agencies, the National Rural Education Association and the National Rural Education Advocacy Coalition--in signing a letter opposing the elimination of Impact Aid Federal Properties (Section 8002) funding in the Administration’s FY 2014 budget request.
Read the letter.
As mentioned on the blog last week, AASA sent an ESEA reauthorization priority letter to Senator Tom Harkin.
Diane Ravitch caught wind of the letter and featured it on her blog, in a post titled Outstanding Proposal About ESEA/NCLB by AASA. She writes:
The School Superintendents Association wrote a strong letter to Senator Tom Harkin about the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the basic federal legislation for elementary and secondary education, which is currently known as No Child Left Behind.
NCLB is generally recognized to be a disaster. The best evidence of its failure is the ever louder cries for “reform.” If NCLB had worked, why would we need more and more reforming, using the same failed methods?
AASA does not have kind words for Race to the Top and urges Congress not to codify it into law.
The AASA clears away the legislative debris, recognizes the over-reach of the federal Department of Education, recommends the removal of the claptrap associated with NCLB, and urges the restoration of a healthy federalism, with a balance of powers among federal, state, and local authorities.
A welcome dose of reality.
This weekend the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, the “bible” doctors and mental health professionals consult when determining diagnoses for students with disabilities, will be published with new definitions that could dramatically increase the number of students diagnosed as having a disability. Special education legal experts and psychiatrists are predicting that districts are going to see a large influx of parents seeking IEPs and Section 504 plans due to some of the changes related to autism, ADHD, bi-polar disorder, and PTSD diagnoses found in the new DSM guide.
Specifically, the DSM-5 is expected to stop recognizing Asperger’s as a unique diagnosis and instead stop differentiating between students with more mild autism and students with more moderate and sever autism. Some predict this change could result in students who may not have qualified for services before because they were at the very high-functioning end of the spectrum may now qualify for services with a mild case under the ASD umbrella. However, others say that it will have little impact because if a child with mild autism no longer qualifies as ASD, their disability can be classified as “other health impairment.” It’s possible that changes in the criteria will mean students with Aspergers, whose “autistic-ness” included mostly problems with communication without the presence of repetitive behaviors, may be reevaluated and perhaps receive a diagnosis of a communication disorder instead of an autism spectrum disorder. It’s important to remember that there is a big difference between a medical diagnosis of autism and an educational definition of autism. Even if a child loses their medical diagnosis of autism that does not mean they lose their IEP or even that they can’t still use the disability category of autism in their IEP. IDEA has a federal definition of autism and each State has an even more specific definition of Autism built into their education code and it is much easier to meet the definition of a child with autism in the educational setting then in the medical setting.
In the case of ADHD, the new criteria allow children to receive the diagnosis if they show signs of the disorder before age 12 — instead of the previous age of 7 which is an expansion of the definition of ADHD. The change means students have more time to demonstrate their ADHD symptoms than in the past. In response to concerns about the overdiagnosis of bipolar disorder in young children, the DSM-5 is expected to feature the new diagnosis of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. This would apply to kids ages 6-18 who three or more times a week have temper tantrums that are grossly out of proportion in intensity or duration to their situation. The new definition could lead to more students qualifying for disruptive mood dyregulation disorderd. Finally, a change in how stress related to bereavement is classified could mean a student who is experiencing normal grief over the death of a parent could now be diagnosed with PTSD.
Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed an amendment to their comprehensive immigration bill that would take money collected on fees for labor certifications and direct these dollars towards a new STEM fund that would be distributed to states based on their Title I allocation. The governors and chiefs of each state could then determine how to invest in STEM programming, but the funding must be used to 1) strengthen computer science, 2) ensure schools have access to well-trained and effective STEM teachers, 3) support efforts to strengthen the elementary and secondary curriculum or 4) and help colleges and universities produce more graduates in fields needed by American employers. The STEM fund is anticipated to be funded at approximately $90 million annually, and would not be subject to appropriations. This STEM fund would be in addition to the roughly $30 million in STEM demonstration grants available directly to districts working with public/private partnerships through the National Sciences Foundation. While it’s unclear whether the House will adopt a similar STEM fund during its work on immigration, AASA is generally supportive of the Senate amendment that creates a new funding stream for STEM in schools, even though the low funding level prohibits this money from being distributed via formula to districts.
When it comes to sequestration, there is nothing new to report. While the FAA was able to get flexibility to softern the impact of the cuts on its employment patterns, no further action has been taken or considered for other aspects of the federal budget. This may be a case of 'no news is good news'. ProPublica recently released Everything We Know About What Happened Under Sequestration. It reads like a Q&A conversation, and gives a really good overview of how we got here and what is (not) going on right now. For education in particular, it focuses on the impact on Head Start and Impact Aid.
For the annual appropriations process, while both the House and Senate have passed budgets, there is little momentum for a budget conference. The Senate, having passed a budget for the first time in four years, is perplexed as to why the House Republicans--so wedded to normal order in the budget process and urging the Senate to pass a budget--are now slow to move forward with normal order, only interested in a conference with pre-established parameters. No need to be alarmed; there wasn't a conference in the years the Senate didn't pass a budget, and the world carried on.
As for appropriations, both the House and Senate are expected to start marking up appropriations bills in June. Don't look for either chamber to mark up the LHHS appropriation bill (where education is funded) until late in the summer. As it stands right now, the drastic differences in the House and Senate budgets (including the treatment of sequestration and variance in overall spending) put us on a path toward a continuing resolution. It is highly unlikely that Congress will be able to wrap their work in time for the start of FY14 (Oct 1), especially as it related to needing to reconcile the differences between the budget proposals. It's kind of par for the course, though: you can count on less than three fingers the number of times Congress has wrapped its appropriations work on time since 1983.
In follow up to last week's post on the House ESEA hearing and what that might mean for ESEA reauthorization, a few more items:
Yesterday, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing titled Raising the Bar: Exploring State and Local Efforts to Improve Accountability.
Two of the four witnesses are currently school superintendents: AASA member and Minnesota 2012 Superintendent of the Year Chris Richardson (Northfield, MN) and Mr. Eric Gordon (Cleveland, OH Metropolitan Schools). The other witnesses included Mr. John White (Louisiana State Schools Chief) and Mr. Matt Given (Edison Learning).
True to the title of the hearing, most of the statements and the member questioning focused on what the balance should be in state and local leadership in accountability. There was consensus that the current federally heavy-handed approach in accountability is broken. It's clear from the conversation, however, that the committee itself remains far apart on how much autonomy states and locals should have. A case of deja vu, if you will.
Questions arose around vouchers, early education, school-based health care and 'total child', but the bulk of the dialogue was about what accountability can/should look like, and recognition that while the waivers currently represent the best available avenue for relief from current law, the waivers are far from the best overall solution.....that remains reauthorization.
Look for a bill/mark up in June and the possibility of floor time later this summer. We've heard that all before, though: the big question is what type of bill will the committee move? A bipartisan bill out of committee? A partisan bill through committee and to the floor?
Related coverage: Politics K12
A new report investigates what states are doing to phase out the 2% test otherwise known as the Alternate Assessment based on Modified Achievements Standards or AA-MAS. (ESEA) allowed states to apply for approval to create a test that would be given to up to two percent of students based on modified achievement standards as long as these students had an IEP and were unlikely to achieve grade level proficiency within the year covered by the IEP. Any state that currently used the AA-MAS test was forced to drop the test if they wished to be granted an ESEA waiver and a new report by the National Center on Educational Outcomes details how twelve states (CT, GA, IN, KS, LA, MD, MI, MN, NC, OK, TN, and VA) are phasing out their AA-MAS test.
According to the authors of the report, it appears that a few states are unclear about which assessment some students who currently take the AA-MAS would be shifting to, but it is likely almost all students who participated in the AA-MAS will transition to the general assessment, with or without accommodations. In the meantime, States will need to consider when they want to discontinue use of the AA-MAS, and then develop appropriate timelines as well as whether they want to totally phase out the use of the AA-MAS, or whether they want to continue to use the high school AA-MAS for graduation requirements.
Here are a few of th report's other findings:
In ,marked-up verisons of ESEA last year, the House and Senate had different approaches to the AA-MAS. The Senate base bill discontinued the use of the 2% test, but there was a hotly debated amendment by Sen. Isakson that would have allowed the IEP team to decide what assessment a student should take (regular, 2% or 1%) and not capped the number of students who could take each test. In contrast, the House did away with the 2% test, but lifted the cap for the 1% test or AA-AAS so that the IEP team would determine whether a student could take the assessment and not cap the number of students at 1%. AASA strongly supported the House's approach as well as Sen. Isakson's amendment. In light of the fact that GA received a waiver and is phasing-out the AA-MAS test, we do not anticipate Sen. Isakson being interested in this issue again this session.
Late last week, Thomas Vilsack (Secretary of Agriculture) and Arne Duncan (Secretary of Education) sent the following letter to school adminsitrators, relating to summer meal programs:
We are writing to urge you to take action on an important issue affecting children in your community. Childhood food insecurity remains at unacceptable levels across the country and children are most acutely at risk in the summer when they do not have access to school meals. The nation’s principals have a lead role in caring for students and helping them achieve and excel during the school year. Your leadership can help to ensure that those same children do not go hungry in your community this summer. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) operates summer meal programs to address this problem, and we are requesting your help to make access to and participation in summer meals a priority.
The USDA Summer Meal Programs available to schools include the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) as well as the Seamless Summer Option in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). These programs operate as a partnership among the Federal government, State agencies, and local organizations to serve free meals to children age 18 years and younger. USDA provides reimbursement for meals; State agencies administer the program; and local organizations, including schools, nonprofits, parks and recreation departments, libraries, and faith-based groups serve the meals.
In 2012, about 2.5 million children received summer meals through the SFSP. And while an additional 1 million children received meals through the NSLP Seamless Summer program, the combined 3.5 million children served in the summer months through these two programs is far fewer than the 21 million children who receive free or reduced price lunches through the National School Lunch Program during the school year. This means that during the summer we are not reaching the vast majority of children who rely on school meals to meet their nutritional needs. You can help change this by:
You can learn more about the USDA Summer Meal Programs by visiting: www.summerfood.usda.gov.
These programs need champions. Please help us feed more children in your community when school is not in session by being a champion for summer meals. Thank you, as always, for your dedication and commitment to our children.
A little Friday fun wrap-up, with a set of charts detailing federal education funding, all adjusted to reflect sequestration and the small across-the-board cut stemming from the final FY13 appropriations bill.
A HUGE thank you to AASA members and advocacy networks. Your outreach and support for Dan's nomination to the USAC board proved successful. Earlier this week we learned that his nomination was accepted. This means Dan now holds a seat on the USAC board, serving as the voice for public schools and libraries on the committees that represent E-Rate within the FCC and USAC. The number of letters submitted on Dan's behalf was overwhelming to the staff reviewing applications and nominations, and they were critical in bolstering his acceptance. Thank you, all, for taking the time so submit letter!
Senator Harry Reid filed legislation that would repeal the FY13 cuts of sequestration. The legislation pays for the cuts using funds from the reduced costs of the Afghan and Iraqi wars. While Reid would like to get a vote on the bill this week, it isn't expected to pass, as the Republicans don't recognize the war savings as 'real'. The bill would restore the cuts for the remaining five months of sequestration. The bill operates on the premise that Congress will be <somehow!> be able to do in those five months something they have been unwilling/unable to do in the last 24.
USAC, the entity that oversees the E-Rate (Schools and Libraries Program) within the FCC recently released the 2013 demand letter. Demand in 2013 (for funds available through June 2013) is $4.986 billion, well beyond the available $2.34 billion. The FCC received 45,189 applications.
Demand for Priority One Services (telecommunications services and Internet Access) came in at $2.709 billion. Priority Two Services (Internal Connections) demand totaled $2.277 billion. Overall demand for FY13 is down $251 million (4.8%) from FY12. Demand for Priority One Services is up more than 10%. Demand for Priority Two Services is down 18.5%.
So, if demand is down, does that mean schools have what they need in terms of connectivity? NO! The reality is that applicants have come to recognize that P2 services are rarely available to schools outside of the 90% discount. As such, knowing the limits on available funding, schools outside of the top discount band do not submit a P2 application, as it represents unnecessary paperwork. As we have long argued, demand for E-Rate is likely consistently artificially low, as schools choose not to pursue P2 applications because they know it won't be funded.
Student health and wellness is a hot topic in Washington as well as in state capitals across the country. In the spring edition of the AASA Legislative Trends Report, we explore trends in state laws related to physical education, child nutrition, epinephrine auto-injectors, diabetes management and concussions.
Click here to read it: http://www.aasa.org/uploadedFiles/Sample/2013SpringLegTrendsHealthWellness.pdf
Last week, AASA sent a letter to the House and Senate LHHS-Education appropriations subcommittees. These are the committees that will deliberate and determine the final FY14 funding levels for federal education dollars.
The letter reiterates AASA's commitment to public education and the prioritization of formula federal dollars (including Title I and IDEA). The letter is in conjunction with AASA's response to President Obama's FY 14 budget request.
AASA submitted specific program funding levels for Title I, IDEA, rural education, school safety and education technology. Please note: AASA supports continued investment in existing, authorized programs, including many of those programs not specifically mentioned in the letter. The letter highlights funding priorities.
Excerpts below (full text here):
AASA urges your committees to fund ESEA Title I Part A at $15 billion in FY14 and to fund IDEA Grants to States at $12 billion.
School Safety: AASA recommends Congress authorize and appropriate the proposed $280 million from the President’s FY14 budget into the former Safe and Drug Free Schools Program, a formula-driven program administered by the U.S. Department of Education that enables every school district to improve its climate, safety and mental health programs.
Rural Education: AASA recommends Congress fund the Rural Education Achievement Program at $200 million. Funding REAP at this level would help rural districts overcome the additional costs associated with their geographic isolation, smaller number of students, higher transportation and employee benefit costs, and increased poverty. An increase in REAP funding would help offset not only the impact of formula cuts for small rural districts, but also the impacts of the increased emphasis on competitive grants in federal education funding.
Education Technology: Currently, outside of the funds provided by USED for creation of the online state assessments related to Common Core, the ONLY federal funding related to education technology comes from the Federal Communication Commission and helps schools afford telephone and internet connection. While ESEA Title II Part D authorizes funding for education technology and professional development, the program has been zero-funded. The lack of this funding means schools have had zero support in expanding school infrastructure and teacher training for truly integrating education technology into all aspects of teaching and learning. This is an unfair reality as learning becomes increasingly digitized, putting unprecedented and ever-growing demand on system and personnel capacity. AASA recommends restoring funding for ESEA Title II Part D at $269 million, its 2009 level.
After the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school, AASA's Executive Committee and Governing Board put forth a white paper outlining how the federal government could support efforts to make and keep schools and communities safer and healthier. AASA was hopeful that some of the federal funding recommendations outlined in the document would be mirrored in the President's FY14 budget that was released last week. We found there were several areas of overlap between what AASA recommended funding and what the President proposed; however, the investment suggested by President Obama is fairly low compared to the federal allocations were devoted to school safety, climate and mental health services in the past. To read AASA's response to the section of the President's budget focused on school safety, climate and mental health, click here.
Fiscal Year 2010 was the last time Congress appropriated significant funding to improve school safety, school climate and student mental health supports. In FY10, the U.S. Department of Education’s Safe and Drug Free Schools grant program for communities was funded at $295 million dollars; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Safe Schools Healthy Students program was funded at $84.2 million dollars, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s COPS Safe Schools Initiative Program and Secure our Schools Grant program were funded at $2.6 and $16 million respectively. In total, this represents a federal investment to ensure safe and healthy schools and students of close to $400 million dollars. President Obama’s FY14 budget requests $280 million for a host of initiatives related to school safety, school climate and mental health that are distributed through USED, HHS and DOJ. While AASA appreciates the Administration’s renewed desire to invest in school safety, school climate and mental health, we believe that to truly improve the facilities, programs, and people working to maintain healthy and safe environments, we need to restore our investment to FY10 levels. Congress and the Administration’s refusal to restore formula grants to districts means that districts will be forced to compete against one another to access funds, rather than automatically receive federal funding through a formula grant program. The fragmented nature of multiple grant programs administered by multiple agencies will disadvantage high-poverty, small, and rural districts, many of which could desperately use these additional funds to maintain or enhance school safety, climate and mental health services. AASA recommends Congress authorize and appropriate the proposed $280 million from the President’s FY14 budget into the former Safe and Drug Free Schools Program, a formula-driven program administered by the U.S. Department of Education that enables every school district to improve its climate, safety and mental health programs.
To read AASA's detailed response to the President's budget proposal specific to school safety, climate and mental health supports, click here. To read AASA's comprehensive response to the President's FY14 budget as a whole, click here.
In February 2012, a report by the Equity and Excellence Commission argued that systemic changes to the funding of America’s schools are necesssary to improve educational outcome for children in low-income schools and ensure our country’s future economic prosperity. This report is an excellent read and the Commission’s recommendations regarding teacher recruitment, retention and evaluation were particularly astute as well as their recommendations regarding early learning and school finance. For example: the Commission recommends that the federal government enact equity legislation that targets significant new federal funding to schools with high concentrations of low-income students and provides significant financial incentives to states that concentrate dollars in communities with high percentages of low-income, minority and low-performing students. In response to this report, the nation’s premier civil rights coalition, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued a set of policy recommendations for what can and must be done at the federal, state and local level to improve equity in education. While AASA disagrees with some of their recommendations, several recommendations are worthy of further discussion and consideration:
I’m particularly interested in your feedback on the last bullet point. How would you feel about a federal mandate that required states to address inequalities in funding among school districts within states? Feel free to shoot me an email with your thoughts: email@example.com
From our friends at Rebuild America's Schools:
Late yesterday, USED issued a letter to all chief state school officers related to waivers from the Title I 15% carryover limitation. The full text is below.
In a nutshell, the letter states that USED will allow states to apply for a blanket waiver so they can grant LEAs flexibility to carryover more than 15% of their FY12 Title I funds, in recognition of the impact of sequestration. Specifically, it allows a waiver to be granted more than once every three years, which is the current statutory limit.
Note: USED even provided a template letter states can use in application.
MEMORANDUMDate: April 11, 2013To: Chief State School OfficersFrom: Deborah S. DelisleAssistant Secretary Subject: Waiver related to the Carryover Limitation in Section 1127(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA).
I am writing with respect to Section 1127(a) of the ESEA, which prohibits a local education agency (LEA) from carrying over to the next fiscal year more than 15 percent of its Title I, Part A allocation. Section 1127(b) permits a State education agency (SEA) to waive this limitation once every three years if: (1) the LEAs request is reasonable and necessary; or (2) a supplemental Title I, Part A appropriation becomes available. The uncertainty faced by LEAs concerning the amount of its Federal fiscal year (FY) 2013 Title I, Part A allocation due to the possibility of sequestration may be a reasonable and necessary reason for an SEA to grant an LEA a waiver of the carryover limitation with regard to Federal fiscal year (FY) 2012 Title I, Part A funds.
I believe it is important that each SEA ensure that its LEAs obligate their Title I, Part A funds in a timely manner. At the same time, I am aware of the enormous need to provide continued support for meaningful education reform and the need to offer flexibility to an SEA to enable its LEAs to conserve its remaining FY 2012 funds. This method carries additional benefits by allowing LEAs to use FY 2012 funds in combination with FY 2013 funds to support activities that might otherwise be affected by an FY 2013 Title I, Part A allocation that is reduced by the sequester.
Accordingly, under the waiver authority in ESEA Section 9401, I am inviting each SEA to request a waiver of ESEA Section 1127(b) to enable the SEA to waive the carryover limitation more than once every three years for an LEA that needs the additional waiver because of the sequestration with respect to FY 2012 Title I, Part A funds. To request this waiver, an SEA must:
If you choose to request this waiver, please submit your request to me via e-mail, with “Carryover Waiver Request” in the subject line at titleIwaivers@ed.gov. You may also send a hard copy of your request to me at the following address:
Deborah S. DelisleAssistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary EducationU.S. Department of Education400 Maryland Avenue, SWWashington, D.C. 20202-6100
Please note that an LEA may not carry over more than 15 percent of its FY 2012 Title I, Part A funds after September 30, 2013 unless the SEA has approved the LEA’s carryover waiver request. Therefore, I urge you to submit your waiver request as soon as possible. The Department will make every effort to respond to waiver requests quickly to facilitate your planning and that of your LEAs.
To assist you in requesting a waiver, I am attaching a template that you may wish to use. Prior to submitting a waiver request, you must provide all Title I LEAs with notice and a reasonable opportunity to comment on the request. Please attach copies of any comments received with your request. States must also provide notice and information regarding your waiver request to the public in the manner in which your SEA customarily provides such notice and information to the public (e.g., by publishing a notice in newspapers or by posting information regarding the waiver request on the SEA’s website).
If you have any questions about this waiver invitation, please address them to titleIwaivers@ed.gov. My office will be monitoring this mailbox frequently and will get back to you as soon as possible.
What impact could the proposed IRS health care regulations have on your district? Are you worried about the cost of providing health care to employees who are short-term and long-term substitute teachers, or to staff performing extracurricular or additional duties? Are you struggling to build your budget as a result of ACA implementation? Do you even know about the proposed IRS rule? If not, here’s quick primer:
If you’d like to weigh in with AASA’s Advocacy Team about how your district will be affected by the proposed IRS regulations, please email Sasha at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hat tip to our friends at CEF for their quick turnaround on this chart, which is a side-by-side comparison of how the President proposes to fund education in FY14 compared to FY13 and FY12.
Prepared by Noelle Ellerson, Assistant Director, Policy Analysis & AdvocacyApril 10, 2013
On April 10, 2013, President Obama released his FY14 budget proposal. Federal fiscal year 2014 (FY14) starts October 1, 2013 and runs through September 30, 2014, and these federal funds would be in school districts in the 2014-15 school year. The President’s budget is similar in content and priorities to his previous budget proposals, including how it treats education. This analysis is broken in to three parts: Background and Overview, AASA Analysis and Talking Points, and Related Charts.
Part I: Background and OverviewPresident Obama’s proposal funds USED at $71.2 billion, an increase of $3.1 billion (4.5%) when compared to FY12. This year’s AASA budget response analysis compares the FY14 proposal to FY12, given that FY12 represents the last point of comparison pre-sequestration. The President’s proposal focuses on six priorities: early-learning opportunities, improving teaching and learning, safe schools/learning environments, career-readiness for all, improving affordability and quality in post-secondary education and supporting Ladders of Opportunity initiative for high-poverty communities.
Part II: AASA Analysis & Talking PointsLike years past, AASA recognizes that the administration continues to highlight education within otherwise limited budgets, proposing funding increases. AASA applauds the administration’s work to support increased investment in early education opportunities, STEM and school safety. These increases are an important step in supporting long-term, meaningful gains in student learning and school performance. AASA welcomes the opportunity to continue to work with the Department to engage school superintendents in education policy and budget discussions.
1. AASA is deeply concerned by the administration’s continued reliance on competitive grants and the fact that virtually every new dollar proposed for K12 programs is competitive. Given the federal government’s limited role in funding public education, AASA believes those federal dollars should be targeted to fulfill the federal government’s initial commitments to historically disadvantaged students, including the poor and those with disabilities.
2. President Obama proposes to level fund the federal government’s investment in federal flagship formula programs designed to level the playing field. Level funding IDEA and ESEA Title I, both of which face rising costs and increased enrollment, is a cut when calculated at the per-pupil level.
IDEA FY12 Level
IDEA FY14 Proposal
Title I FY12 Level
Title I FY14 Proposal
3. AASA is concerned by the fact that the only federal education funds available to schools for education technology (including connectivity, infrastructure and professional development) are from the FCC and are not federal appropriations. As the nation’s schools work to prepare their students to be college and career ready, it is unacceptable that the Department of Education does not support investment in infrastructure, connectivity and professional development.
4. AASA questions some of the premises upon which the budget proposal was built, including the reinstating of sequestration cuts and ESEA reauthorization.
5. AASA applauds the administration’s commitment to school safety and supports flexibility for states and school districts to determine the best investments in school safety (including mental health and school climate).
Part III: Related Charts
See the PDF for related charts.
Better late than never (emphasis on the late, seeing as both the House and Senate have adopted their respective FY14 budget resolutions), President Obama today released his FY14 budget proposal. These are the dollars that, once through the full appropriations process, would be in your schools in the 2014-15 school year.
I am finalizing AASA's overview of and response to the budget. For your reference, though, I am linking here to a host of resources and materials:
As reported in an earlier blog post, USDA issued a proposed rule that would regulate competitive foods within schools. That is, USDA is proposing rules that would impact the nutritional requirements and availability of foods sold during the school day, but outside of the reimbursable meal pattern.
AASA filed comments in response to the proposed rule: (PDF)
Comments as filed:
On behalf of the American Association of School Administrators, representing more than 10,000 school superintendents across the country, I am writing to share our comments in response to the proposed rule published by the Food and Nutrition Service in the February 8, 2013 edition of the Federal Register, titled Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in School as Required by the Health, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
AASA supports the overall goals to end childhood hunger and address the epidemic of childhood obesity in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (PL 111-296). School superintendents understand the importance of fostering a healthy and positive learning environment. AASA’s response to this interim rule is in large shaped by the unfunded mandate the requirements and proposed regulations will bring to LEAs. AASA is concerned by the financial impact the interim could have on local education agencies (LEAs) in a time when many continue to struggle with the impacts of the economic recession and the troubling cuts of sequestration. The federal child nutrition law and its implementation must ensure that educational systems are supported, not undermined, by the provisions of the act.
AASA strongly supports the role of good nutrition for all students and recognizes its important role in helping advance student achievement. While AASA could not support the reauthorization of the child nutrition bill as passed, we remain hopeful that the regulation and implementation process will provide an avenue for addressing our concerns with the bill, especially as it pertains to the unfunded costs associated with the bill. Every day, school districts across the nation provide millions of school-based meals, both breakfast and lunch. The scope of the program is wide: in FY10, schools served 2.9 billion free NSLP lunches, 0.5 billion reduced price lunches, 1.8 billion ‘full’ price (or paid) lunches, 1.5 billion free breakfasts, 0.2 billion reduced price breakfasts, and 0.3 billion paid breakfasts. Federal meal reimbursements and USDA Foods totaled $13.3 billion in FY10.
AASA urges the Department to ensure that implementation of this law reinforces the important goals of the school nutrition program. We recognize that the intention of this rule was to regulate competitive foods within schools. Unfortunately, we find this interim rule proposes an unprecedented expansion of regulation in an area that had previously been under state and local control. Further, this regulation comes without any federal resources to support the required compliance. AASA is opposed to the unfunded mandate this proposed rule represents to our nation’s schools.
As an opening, general comment, AASA is concerned by the Department’s willingness to make a conscious decision to shift local school district funds from instruction to the federal school nutrition program without engaging the public. When created, the National School Lunch Program was designed as a federal program that was locally implemented. While states and locals could contribute to the program, the federal program was federally funded. With this latest reauthorization we see a significant shift, with a clear assumption that this program is now, somehow, a partnership, with direct fiscal implications for state and local dollars that were previously available for state and local priorities. This is a sentiment we have articulated time and again as this bill moved through the legislative and now regulatory processes, and we are concerned that the shift in funding burden is being overlooked. School districts should not have to continue to financially subsidize the federal meals program at the expense of their primary responsibility, our students' educational program.
As written, the current law, proposed regulations and interim rule cause good nutrition policy to fail because the provisions make the program fiscally impossible in these tough economic times. Recent guidance issued by USDA, relating to lifting the cap requirements on whole grains and protein within the new meal pattern, is an excellent example of the problematic nature of the current law and its implementation as shaped by proposed/pending regulations and rules. The law and its regulations should not put LEAs in the position of having to choose between covering the federal funding shortfall and funding an instructional position. Little attention has been focused on the drain of local school district funds to pay for or offset the continuing un-funded costs of the federal free and reduced-priced school meals, and AASA is concerned that this interim rule compounds this problem.
School superintendents simply request that the role of the federal government as it relates to competitive foods in schools be proportional to the amount of resources it provides to support the regulations. As the federal government currently does not provide funds—and this regulation provides no resources—for competitive foods, there is not a role for federal policy to dictate competitive food policy in school districts. Either provide the resources required to cover the costs associated with the new competitive food regulations or refrain from imposing new federal requirements.
AASA recognizes that it is likely these competitive food regulations will become reality, in some shape or form. To that end, while AASA opposes any federal role for regulating competitive foods within the school lunch program—we offer these comments:
Join school administrators and educators across the country for the final two installations of a three-part series looking at the promise of Common Core State Standards within the work of authentic school reform.
Former AASA Executive Direcotr Paul Houston will lead a discussion on April 23; he will describe his beliefs on the importance of collaboration and how the new standards can support children in developing socially, ethically, and academically. Houston will also share his views on possible pitfalls of the CCSS and discuss opportunities to implement what is right for all children.
Houston’s discussion is part of a 3-part series including P. David Pearson and Esther Wojcicki. Esther is an American journalist and teacher at Palo Alto High School where she developed the largest high school journalism program in the country. P.David Pearson is a Professor and former Dean at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education and founding editor of Handbook of Reading Research.
This series is hosted by the nonprofit organization, Developmental Studies Center.
A Senate office has asked us for feedback and help in providing specific examples where past Department of Education rules and regulations did not adequately take into consideration unique needs of rural schools and districts, and thus, that rules/regulation was subsequently revised.
If you have any such experience or information, please send it to Noelle (email@example.com).
Our friends at Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice and the National Education Policy Center have released Research Based Options, an multipart brief addressing important policy issues that identifies policies supported by research. To date, each issue has focused on a different issue.
The full set is accessible via the link in the opening paragraph of this blog post. For your convenience, though, I am linking to the individual topics, as well:
Our friends at the Rural School and Community Trust recently issued a special edition of Rural Policy Matters, focused on school violence. This special edition of Rural Policy Matters presents information gathered from some 700 media accounts of specific incidents of violence in schools since 1974.
The edition is reproduced here, with permission.
Among these incidents, we found 80 accounts of mass violence, claiming a total of 153 lives. We found references to almost as many mass violence incidents that were averted through interventions by other students, parents, and school staff or because the attempt failed.
Although mass violence events tend to capture more general media attention, we found three times more deaths in incidents that were not part of mass violence events. Overall, students were the most frequent perpetrators and victims of violence in schools.
These numbers corroborate other evidence that one of the most important things schools can do to prevent violence is develop and maintain a positive environment that engages and supports everyone and helps students learn skills and attitudes to prevent, resolve, and manage conflict.
The incidents also suggest that different types of schools might best be served by policies and practices aimed toward their specific circumstances. For example, the vast majority of incidents in middle and high schools involve student perpetrators. However, adult intruders were much more common in elementary schools.
The report underscores the need for more and better information about violence in the U.S. and about the practices and policies that will reduce the likelihood that anyone will be victimized.
Information is presented in both narrative and infographic form.
We hope this report helps to bring a rural perspective to policy debates about safety, guns, and violence in the U.S. These are important conversations that need the authentic engagement of rural Americans in all their varied perspectives and experiences.
In this issue:
InfoGraphic: Death and Mass Violence in U.S. K–12 Schools, 1974–2013This infographic presents information about mass violence and deadly one-on-one incidents in schools over the past 40 years. It can be printed on either 8.5" x 11" or 11" x 17" paper.
The Distance BetweenThis editorial frames the report and brings a rural perspective to the current debate on public safety, guns, and schools.
About This Special Edition on School ViolenceRead this section to understand what we hope this special edition of RPM can contribute and why we took a narrative approach to our exploration of violent incidents in schools.
Introduction: Approaches and DefinitionsRead this section to understand how we put this report together, how we defined “school violence,” and how we sorted specific incidents into meaningful categories.
Summary of Patterns in the IncidentsRead this section to understand the major patterns inherent in the school violence events included in the report.
In-Depth Exploration of IncidentsRead this section to get more detailed information about patterns in the incidents.
InfoGraphic: Patterns in School Violence: It's Not What You ThinkThis infographic presents major patterns in incidents of violence in schools since 1974. It can be printed on 8.5" x 11" paper.
Violence Begets Violence: Revenge, Copycatting, Triggers, and ThreadsRead this section to learn about connections between specific incidents.
Schools Inside and Out: Practices and Policies to Protect Everyone in School SettingsRead this section for descriptions of practices and policies that can lead to safer, happier, and more productive schools.
Conclusions: Putting It All In ContextRead this section for a brief summary and analysis of the context for reducing violence in American schools.
Graph: Percentage of Schools Reporting Violent Crime That Occurred at School By LocaleView this graph to see differences in violence rates among schools in rural communities, towns, suburbs, and cities.
Chart of Mass Violence IncidentsView this chart as a reference for more specific information about the 80 incidents of Mass Violence identified in this report, including links to newspaper accounts.
AASA has begun to compile recommendations for the next re-authorization of IDEA and Rethinking the Special Education Due Process System, is the first report in our series that addresses problems with the current statute as well as proposed improvements. Rethinking is intended to spark a thoughtful, new dialogue about the need for critical changes to the special education dispute resolution system. The report contends modifications to the current due process system could greatly reduce, if not eliminate, the burdensome and often costly litigation that does not necessarily ensure measureable educational gains for special education students. At the same time, AASA’s proposal preserves the right for parents to move forward with litigation against a district and maintains other effective dispute resolution models that were put in place in the prior re-authorizations.
Download the complete report here.
AASA members spoke, and AASA staff listened. Federal policy/advocacy is one area that AASA members consistently rank highly as it relates to what they are looking for in a national organization.
This year's registration fee is dramatically lower than years past; we will offer the same amount of high quality, high energy sessions, including a legislative breakfast and time on Capitil Hill to meet with your Congressional delegation. We'll just do so for half the cost.
You can learn more by visitng the legislative conference website and/or checking out this full page ad.
The gravity and the number of indictments coming out of the Fulton County grand jury regarding the Atlanta public schools’ cheating investigation are of unprecedented scope.
Although no one has been convicted, the indictments alone are ruinous to the reputations of those involved and will raise questions regarding the legitimacy of the performance of other school systems that have experienced significant student achievement gains.Educators have been swift to punish students when they have been caught cheating, and we should be equally swift in penalizing adults convicted of perpetrating crimes.
Tests have always been part of the education process, but we have never seen charges of this massive a conspiracy nor this many cheating incidents as we have seen in recent years. If indeed educators are succumbing to the pressures of high stakes testing, then making standardized test results the significant component of teacher evaluations will only add to that pressure. There are better and more valid and reliable ways to hold educators accountable for the performance of our students. It is time to re-evaluate the current process.
Our friends at ISTE are leading a White House petition to 'invest in classroom broadband connectivity to ensure that all students are ready for college and 21st centur careers.'
Here's the text of the petition: Education, like every sector in America, is undergoing a digital transformation. As students and educators embrace personalized instruction, online and mobile learning, adaptive assessments and data-driven decision making, and develop critical thinking, collaboration, communication and digital citizenship skills, demands on school networks will continue to skyrocket. Unfortunately, unlike the business and healthcare sectors, K–12 investment in school broadband infrastructure has lagged. Even the successful E-Rate program cannot meet rapidly escalating school needs for increased bandwidth. The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) recognizes that we as a nation must invest in school broadband connectivity to ensure our students graduate equipped for success. Act now!
You can sign the petition online by visiting: http://wh.gov/LVL7
Last week, USDA issued letters to governors in 42 states, informing them that they needed to refund a portion of their Secure Rural Schools payments, made in January as part of federal fiscal year 2012.
The letters to the governors indicate that the agency is rescinding these funds in compliance with the anti-deficiency act. States have until April 19th to let the agency know the money will be repaid.
AASA is working in conjunction with our friends at NEA and the Forest Counties coalition to support a Dear Colleague letter on Capitol Hill. Signed by members of Congress, the letter asks for a justification for the retroactive refund and urges the administration to work more closely with Congress and meet with impacted states before moving forward with collection notices.
If your district receives funds from SRS, reach out to your Representative and urge them to support the Dear Colleague letter.
The Office of Management and Budget has issued a clarification that there will be an across-the-board cut in the final FY13 appropriations package, beyond the 5% cut of sequestration.
A technicality within the CR itself gave OMB the authority to reduce overall funding authority in the continuing resolution exceeded the previously established FY13 spending caps (as determined in the 2011 budget control act). The Congressional Budget Office determined that the FY13 final appropriations package was within the cap; OMB review ended up with a slightly higher calculation, above the cap.
This across-the-board cut will apply to all discretionary programs within USED. In terms of what this means for your district and budgeting, take your FY12 allocations, reduce them by 0.2%, the adjust down again for sequestration. This additional across-the-board cut translates into an additional $136 million cut for USED.
As part of our work with the Wallace Foundation, AASA is pleased to offer a webinar: Effective Principals in Our Schools Takes Commitment and Focus.
Too often, training for principals fails to prepare them for the difficult task of guiding schools to better teaching and learning. This webinar will focus on the Wallace Foundation research and work in school leadership to identify five lessons for better training, including: more selective admission to training programs, a focus on instructional leadership and mentoring for new principals. Two urban school districts, Charlotte-Mecklenberg Public Schools, N.C. and Hillsborough County Public Schools, FL will share their stories as they set out to create a Principal Pipeline in their school districts to attract strong educational leaders into the position.
AASA, in conjunction with the US Education Department, is producing several webinars on School Emergency Procedures, Practices and Risk Assessments. The first webinar in the series--District-Level School Emergency Management for Superintendents--was held last week, and had nearly 200 participants.
School Emergency Management: Vulnerability and Risk Assessment
Implementing a School Emergency Management Plan at the School and District Level
AASA is pleased to support, be involved with, and to offer access to a unique Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) on Digital Learning Transition, designed to help educators navigate the shift to digital learning by turning them into Digital Learners. The precursor to our support of this MOOC is Digital Learning Day and Project 24, both covered on this blog!
Last week, the Alliance for Excellent Education and Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University opened enrollment for a first-of-its-kind Massive Online Open Course for Educators (MOOC-Ed). Titled “Digital Learning Transition,” the free course will examine how the effective use of digital learning can help school districts meet educational challenges, including implementing college- and career-ready standards for all students and preparing teachers to make effective use of technology to enhance teaching and learning.
The course—a component of the Alliance’s “Project 24” initiative and the first of a series of MOOC-Eds planned by the Friday Institute—will help school district leaders develop a set of digital learning goals to address their students’ specific needs. Participating educators will learn how technology and the global information age impact both what students need to know and how and when student learning can take place. They will study the elements necessary for a successful digital learning transition, develop a set of goals for digital learning aligned to desired student outcomes, and create an action plan to meet these goals.
“By participating in this ground-breaking effort, educators can experience first-hand how digital learning can change teaching and improve learning,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “At the same time, they will develop a valuable plan for how to take their school or district through a digital learning transition.”
Throughout the course, participants will have access to digital learning experts who have successfully implemented digital learning efforts that are supporting teachers and positively impacting student learning. And by conducting the course on such a massive scale—literally thousands of district leaders can participate—participants will also benefit from “crowdsourcing,” a collaborative professional learning experience that uses the “wisdom of the crowd” to discuss ideas, share strategies and resources, and exchange constructive feedback with other participants in similar roles and schools.
“The Digital Learning Transition MOOC-Ed enables educators to experience using innovative technologies as learners and collaborators, which will help them gain insights into what these technologies can mean for students,” said Glenn Kleiman, executive director of the Friday Institute. “We look forward to having many innovative educators join us in exploring this new form of large-scale, flexible, multimedia, and collaborative professional development.”
Each of the seven course sessions will include core resources and supplemental materials around a specific topic, while allowing for a great deal of personalization and flexibility. Participants are expected to navigate their own paths, consistent with their own goals and the needs of their school or district, while being supported and guided by the facilitators, resources, and fellow participants.
Running from April 8 through May 24, the seven-week course is designed for school and district leaders, including superintendents, principals, curriculum directors, technology directors, financial officers, instructional coaches, lead teachers, and others involved in planning and implementing K–12 digital learning initiatives. Participants should expect to commit between two and four hours each week, but there will be opportunities for those who wish to invest more time and explore issues more deeply.
Interested individuals can obtain more information and register for the course at dlt.mooc-ed.org. After registering, they are strongly encouraged to take Project 24’s free online self assessment to help frame a vision for digital learning and specify how technology can help align efforts to achieve college- and career-ready standards. Upon completion of the self assessment, participants will receive a personalized report analyzing their district’s progress in integrating technology into instruction.
The MOOC-Ed is part of “Project 24,” a ground-breaking new initiative led by the Alliance for Excellent Education to help school districts plan for and effectively use technology and digital learning. Project 24 is an urgent call to action on the need for systemic planning around the effective use of technology and digital learning to achieve the goal of career and college readiness for all students. Project 24 participants benefit from free comprehensive district-level planning tools, expert advice, creative ideas, and tangible suggestions from experienced education experts and nonprofit education membership organizations. Already, more than 800 school leaders and 400 school district teams—representing 4.7 million students—have signed up to participate.
The Digital Learning Transition MOOC-Ed is provided by the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation as part of ongoing work to support the effective use of technologies and innovative teaching and learning practices in K–12 education.
“Make no mistake; digital learning holds the key to preparing millions of additional students for college and a productive career, but district leaders need to approach this opportunity with sound planning to leverage the potential and achieve the best results,” said Wise. “Going forward, our goal is to get every district to sign up and start planning.”
It's a good question. AASA is an original supporter of Digital Learning Day, something that superintendents and school districts across the nation have supported and participated in with growing numbers. We covered it a few times in the blog......see here and here!
Digital Learning Day, while important, is a one-day focus on Digital Learning, though digital learning is an everyday kind of thing. Project 24 is an opportunity for schools to engage--over 24 months-in conversations, professional development and networking that will bolster digital learning in schools.
Why P24? Because it provides tangible assistance to school districts for systemic planning around the effective use of technology and digital learning to achieve the goal of “college and career readiness” for all students.
Sign up today. You can learn more through this Project 24 Overview Document or introductory slideshow.
AASA is pleased to partner with the Alliance for Excellent Education (the Alliance) on the new initiative called Project 24. Hundreds of districts have already registered to participate. We invite you to review the free resources provided to district and school leaders to help plan for the effective use of technology as you strive for achieving higher student outcomes through the new college- and career-ready standards and sign up to participate. There is no specific time commitment on behalf of the district leaders, and you can begin by (1) signing up; (2) getting ready and assembling a team; (3) taking the self assessment, (4) consider participating in the free, online MOOC-Ed Digital Learning Transition Course. Upon review of your district or school’s confidential report, it is up to you how to make the most of the resources that are available through Project 24 web content, schedule of events, online course, and a team of experts.
Project 24 Framework: The Project 24 framework helps district leaders address the seven major topics listed below as they engage in their Planning for Progress process. Connections between each of the topics highlight the power of systemic planning to address college- and career-ready standards. Implementation of these learning outcomes will be supported by appropriate technology applications and aligned with the new, higher expectations for learning. The Project 24 framework will provide assistance for implementing
Free Self Assessment for District or School Leaders: District or school leaders will bring together the leadership team that will take a digital learning self assessment. Requiring no more than two hours to complete, this self assessment includes questions to help each district frame their vision, begin to recognize various aspects of the system to be addressed, and specify how technology can help align these efforts to achieve higher college- and career-ready standards. Each school district will be provided with a PDF report that analyzes where it is in each topic, as well as offering recommendations about best ways to use the Project 24 tools and content to review and develop its digital learning strategy.
Online Course: MOOC-Ed for Digital Transition Initiative Leaders: For the first component of the support model, the Alliance will use a Massive Online Open Course for Educators (MOOC–Ed) currently being developed by the Friday Institute to implement and evaluate an innovative, cost-effective, and scalable approach to providing professional development for K–12 digital transition planning teams, as well as individual teacher leaders and administrators. While most MOOCs provide accessible and cost-effective learning for large groups of participants, the Alliance/Friday Institute approach expands the application by incorporating a professional learning community structure and building upon authentic problems of professional practices and alignment with other principles of effective professional development.
Team of Experts: The Alliance has identified a team of nationally recognized leaders who have a demonstrated record of success effectively using technology to help advance the goals of college and career readiness, including development of the core competencies of creative and critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and self-reflection (deeper learning/twenty-first-century skills). This team of experts consists of teachers, principals, librarians, media specialists, chief technology officers/chief information officers, and superintendents from school districts of all sizes across the country representing various demographic groups and perspectives. The team of experts will help district leaders develop strategies and address the seven interrelated topics within the framework mentioned above.
Sign up TODAY and learn more at http://www.all4ed.org/project24.
Please let me (Noelle) know if you have any questions, or you can reach out directly to Sara Hall at the Alliance for Excellent Education at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the first time in four years, the Senate adopted a budget resolution. After more than 13 hours of debate, including consideration of more than 70 amendments, the Senate passed Sen.Con.Res 8, its budget proposal for FY14. The final vote (50-49) came very early Saturday morning. The details of the budget—including amendments AASA was monitoring—are available in a previous blog post.
Four Democrats (Baucus, Begich, Hagan and Pryor) voted against the budget. The IDEA and Impact Aid amendments AASA was following were not voted on. Here is an overview of the education-related amendments that were covered:
Both the House and Senate this week are considering their chambers’ respective budget proposal for FY14. This blog post includes a quick overview of what’s in each budget (Relying heavily on links to budget committee resources) and then summarizes where we are in terms of votes.
Background on House Budget Proposal: You can read the committee report on the budget proposal, which details proposed policy changes assumed in the budget. Many of the changes relate to higher education, though there is one withK-12 implications: “Eliminate Ineffective and Duplicative Federal Education Programs. The current structure for K–12 programs at the Department of Education is fragmented and ineffective. Moreover, many programs are duplicative or are highly restricted, serving only a small number of students. Given the budget constraints, Congress must focus resources on programs that truly help students. The budget calls for reorganization and streamlining of K–12 programs and anticipates major reforms to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which was last reauthorized as part of the No Child Left Behind Act. The budget also recommends that the committees of jurisdiction terminate and reduce programs that are failing to improve student achievement and address the duplication among the 82 programs that are designed to improve teacher quality.”
The Ryan budget isn’t that drastically different in its framework than last year’s budget proposal. I wrote an initial analysis earlier this month and included a quick comparison to the Murray budget earlier this week.
Status of House FY14 Budget: The House today passed their budget by a vote of 221-207. No Democrats voted for it and 10 Republicans voted against the measure. The House had previously voted down for Budget Alternatives (all mentioned in AASA’s letter of opposition to the Ryan budget proposal):
Background on Senate Budget Proposal: You can read the committee report on the senate budget proposal. If the Senate is able to act on this budget, it would be the first time since 2009 that they have done so. Chairman Murray’s budget eliminates the across-the-board cuts of sequestration and adds additional spending (stimulus dollars that include funds for school construction) as a way to stimulate economic growth. It maintains investments in education in FY14 as well as the outyears. Bipartisan Policy Center released a really good overview of the Murray budget.
Status of Senate FY14 Budget: The Senate is debating amendments for the budget as we write this. AASA wrote a letter of support for the budget, including comments on three specific amendments. The Senate is expected to consider upwards of 100 amendments; while debate started tonight, it is expected to wrap before midnight and resume tomorrow. It is possible they finish tomorrow, though it may spill in to Sunday. There are a handful of education-related amendments that I wanted to flag for you:
Bottom line? The differences between the House/Ryan budget and the Senate/Murray budget are significant, both in terms of overall funding level, addressing sequestration, and policy framework. This means we are, essentially, on course for another series of continuing resolutions. If I were a betting woman), and I am not, I would bet against Congress finishing its annual budget/appropriations work without using a CR. And that’s without considering Congress’ rather abysmal track record for completing budget and appropriations work on time.
Earlier this week, Senate Leadership released this roster of resources analyzing the House budget proposal for FY14:
Before we get to what the Senate released on the House budget, let me link to the Bipartisan Policy Center's analysis of Chairman Murray's budget.
Center for American Progress:
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
Economic Policy Institute:
Tax Policy Center/Washington Post:
UPDATED 3/21 at 8:30 pm: As mentioned in the original blog post (below), the House today considered and adopted the Senate version, sending the final CR bill to the President for signing. Our friends at CEF compiled a chart detailing funding levels for all education programs.
Yesterday, the Senate passed the FY13 CR. You’ll recall that the Harkin amendment (Which included targeted education funding increases) was defeated last week. Read AASA's letter of support. This means all federal education funds will be level funded and then cut by sequestration. Please note that Head Start did receive a $33.5 million increase. Unfortunately, education was funded as a year-long CR, meaning there was not room to advocate for programmatic increases. All programs will operate under FY12 terms and conditions. There are a few anomalies to make note of in sections 1513 and 1514:
The House is anticipated to take action today on the Senate version of the CR. This would clear it for the President and mean that Congress did its job for FY13. Er, for half of FY13. Six months late.
Our friends across the street (National School Boards Association) worked with Congress to introduce legislation to ensure that USED's actions are consistent with the original intent of law and that those actions do not undermine the educational, opertaional and financial functions at the local level. The bill protects local eduation agency governanct from intrusive and over-reaching federal intrusion.
AASA sent a letter of support to the Hill, endorsing the legislation and its work to ensure that any future waivers, rules, guidance, regulations and other activities from USED do not go beyond the specific intent of federally authorized legislation. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) is the lead sponsor for the legislation.
Until recently, most school superintendents have had to rely on the annual salary study sponsored by Education Research Service (ERS) to benchmark their compensation and benefits. With the recent closure of ERS, a void was created for such data. The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) responded to this need by creating a comprehensive study of the salary and benefits of school superintendents.
AASA is particularly well-suited for this task because it represents vast majority of school superintendents in the country and has been most active in collecting and disseminating to its members critical data needed to inform decision making. In the absence of the ERS data collection efforts, this study represents the first such effort of its kind undertaken by the AASA in more than a decade. AASA is committed refined this work over time thus maximizing the benefit to superintendents. This work complements The American School Superintendent: 2010 Decennial Study (Kowalski et al. 2010) also sponsored by AASA and available from Roman & Littlefield Publishers (https://rowman.com).
Lots to write about when it comes to FY13 federal funding. (As a reminder, FY13 is the federal fiscal year that started Oct. 1, 2012 and provides the federal dollars that will be in school district budgets in the 2013-14 school year).
First, the sequester kicked in March 1. Details are available in an earlier blog post, along with this quick overview of the impact on school construction bonds.
Second, last week the Senate acted on a Continuing Resolution (CR, the procedure that allows federal government to avoid a shut down even though Congress hasn't finished its appropriations work). You'll recall the current CR expires on March 27, meaning Congress has to act before Easter, to either provide a final appropriations package for FY13 or to provide another CR. At this point, it looks like Congress will provide a final appropriations process.
In talking about this year's appropriations process, Joel Packer (Executive Director for the Committee for Education Funding) pointed out that even this action,which Congress will point to as an accomplishment or as 'doing their job' is, at best, still 6 months late and only half the job (they only funded half the year; the first half was funded through the CR). Sometimes I wonder what would happen if we all worked under those metrics.....
In follow up to a previous post about the FY13 CR, the Senate is expected to pick up debate on its FY13 appropriations bill. The Mikulski-Shelby substitute has many similarities to the House CR, with one important caveat: like the House CR, all education programs would be frozen at their FY12 levels and subject to the cuts of sequestration. Unlike the House version, though, the Senate bill does NOT reduce all programs by 0.098% prior to sequestration.
Unfortunately, an amendment offered by Senator Harkin was defeated. This amendment, as described in blog post linked in the previous paragraph, would have provided targeted funding increases within the LHHS appropriations bill, with a focus on eduction. AASA sent a letter of support for the amendment.
If the Senate adopts this appropriations package, it is anticipated the House will support the Senate version, meaning they will have wrapped their FY13 work (6 months late), giving them time to now focus on resolving sequestration and digging into FY14. Speaking of, a quick overview on what we know about the FY14 budget proposals from the House and Senate:
First, school construction bonds and sequestration: One of the most popular questions I have received in the last week relates to how sequestration will impact the Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZABs), Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCBs), and Build America Bonds (BABs). At this point, the clarification is that "Payments made to issuers on or after March 1, 2013, through and including September 30, 2013, will be reduced 8.7 percent, unless Congressional action changes the reduction percentage".
AASA and others are perplexed by this clarification, as there was no appropriation involved in the bond. There was apparently initial disagreement between IRS and OMB, though OMB ultimately decided sequestraiton applied to these direct payment bonds. The IRS issued guidance earlier this month.
The IRS Tax-Exempt Bond office has issued guidance on the effect of the sequester on direct pay bonds. Payments made to issuers on or after March 1, 2013, through and including September 30, 2013, will be reduced 8.7 percent, unless Congressional action changes the reduction percentage. Issuers should complete Form 8038-CP as directed in the instructions. The form and the instructions continue to be the versions that were revised as of January 2012. Issuers will receive correspondence concerning the reduction after they have filed the form.
Effect of Sequestration on Certain State & Local Government Filers of Form 8038-CP: Pursuant to the requirements of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as amended, certain automatic reductions will take place as of March 1, 2013. These required reductions include a reduction to refundable credits under section 6431 of the Internal Revenue Code applicable to certain qualified bonds. The sequester reduction is applied to section 6431 amounts claimed by an issuer on any Form 8038-CP filed with the Service which results in a payment to such issuer on or after March 1, 2013. The sequestration reduction rate will be applied until the end of the fiscal year (September 30, 2013) or intervening Congressional action, at which time the sequestration rate is subject to change.
These reductions apply to Build America Bonds, Qualified School Construction Bonds, Qualified Zone Academy Bonds, New Clean Renewable Energy Bonds, and Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds for which the issuer elected to receive a direct credit subsidy pursuant to section 6431. As determined by the Office of Management and Budget, payments to issuers from the budget accounts associated to these qualified bonds are subject to a reduction of 8.7% of the amount budgeted for such payments.
Issuers should complete Form 8038-CP in the manner provided by the Form 8038-CP Instructions. Affected issuers will be notified through correspondence that a portion of their requested payment was subject to the sequester reduction. Issuers should use this correspondence to identify the portion(s) of amounts requested that were subject to the sequester reduction.
Issuers with any questions about the status of refunds claimed on Form 8038-CP, including any sequester reduction, should contact IRS Customer Account Services at 1-877-829-5500.
Second, other school contruction updates:
In response to the recent school tragedies and especially Sandy Hook, AASA has partnered with the Department of Education to provide several webinars on what public school districts and superintendents can do to plan for major catastrophic events. The first webinar is May 21, 2013.
FREE WEBINAR: District-Level School Emergency Management for Superintendents
WHEN: Thursday, March 21st, 2013 at 2pm E.T.
Please join the American Association of School Administrators and the U.S. Department of Education on for an overview of the key elements of comprehensive, all-hazards school emergency management for superintendents! This one-hour webinar, District-Level School Emergency Management for Superintendents, will provide an overview of the four-phases of school emergency management (Prevention-Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery) as well as the critical components and processes of school emergency management, specifically as it relates to the role of the superintendent. Immediately following the 45-minute presentation will be a 15-minute question and answer session, along with information on how to access more information and resources. The webinar is first come, first serve; we strongly encourage you to pre-register! Registration can be accessed at http://rems.ed.gov/webinars/webinar003/
Congress, ever the efficient multi-tasking agnecy <end sarcasm> is starting work on the annual FY14 budget and appropriations process. In case you missed details on how they have yet to wrap the work for FY13 (which started Oct. 1), you can read about that in an earlier blog post. Item to note: FY14 dollars are for the federal fiscal year that starts 10/1/13; these federal dollars will be in schools in the 2014-15 school year.
Here's what we know so far about the FY14 proposals:
First, the White House won’t release President Obama’s FY14 budget until April. This is nearly two months behind the regular timeline.
Ryan Budget: House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan released the House FY14 Budget proposal today. Before I get in to the details of the budget, the main thing to keep in mind is that the budget is dead on arrival in both the Senate and White House. That means it is a messaging piece more than anything.
A few quick overview thoughts: It cuts non-defense discretionary funding (where education is located) to levels far below those of post-sequester caps. For FY14 alone, the new NDD cap would be $55 billion below sequestration levels and $92 billion below the Budget Control Act pre-sequestration cap.
We need to pay attention to what it proposes, however, because it can be a tip to what policy priorities and thinking we can expect to shape any forthcoming legislative proposals from the House Republicans. The budget proposal is quite similar to the one he proposed last year, the one that can (At best) be described as ‘slightly worse than sequestration’. The proposal eliminates the nation’s deficit by 2023. Much of the savings come from repealing the Affordable Care Act. His budget keeps in place the tax revenue from the ACA and its$700 billion Medicare trims and other cuts. The budget also includes the $600 billion increase in tax revenues that came from the fiscal cliff deal at the end of 2012.
The proposal erases the deficit in 10 years thru spending cuts totaling $4.6 trillion over ten years and calling for politically charged changes related to the ACA and tax code. The budget proposal would significantly reduce the top tax rate to 25 percent. The budget includes a host of proposed changes for Medicaid (including capping its growth and reshaping it to a voucher program). The proposal essentially level funds discretionary funding over ten years. At the end of the projected timeline, discretionary spending would be $249 billion below levels that would be reached through current policies. The plan is compliant with budget caps established under the budget control act but does not specify what the split would look like between defense and non-defense discretionary.
The Senate budget is anticipated soon. Senator Murray briefed the Democratic caucus on the budget proposal today, though no information is yet available.
The House passed a long-term continuing resolution to fund federal government for the rest of FY2013 (thru Sept 30 2013). The House CR contains full-year bills for the Department of Defense, military construction and the Department of Veterans. It is a simple CR for the remaining 10 appropriations bills, including LHHS (where education is located). It extends FY12 funding for the remainder of the year, minus an across the board cut of 0.098%. It excludes the previous across-the-baord increase of 0.612% (to bring the FY13 level up to the budget cap as passed in the Budget Control Act). There is only one anomaly for education, which provides $3 million in funds for Project SERV (School Emergency Response to Violence). The $3 million is actually a transfer from the safe and drug-free school national program. AASA supports funding for Project SERV, but is opposed to using SDFS monies to do so. It is robbing Peter to pay Paul; in this instance, you are draining a fund that addresses school climate to address school safety.
After providing for the balance of the year. The CR makes clear that the funding levels are subject to sequestration. Each USED program would be reduced first by the 0.098% and then the 5.0% sequestration cut. In passing this CR, the House Rules committee denied Rep. VanHollen the right to offer an amendment that would have replaced the full sequester.
In responding to the House CR, House Appropriations Democrats released a fact sheet on the CR. It includes to items related to education:
The House CR now goes to the Senate. The Senate will start with consideration of a CR as filed by Senator Mikulski. (As of earlier this afternoon, it is expected the House will ultimately adopt what the Senate passes, but that is, as always, subject to change). The Mikulski CR includes full year bills for agriculture; commerce/justice/science; defense; homeland security; and military construction/veterans affairs.
For LHHS (where education is located), it extends funding as a CR with a couple of anomalies. FY13 funding in USED will be the FY12 level for each program/project/activity. These levels would then be subject to sequestration. The Mikulski CR does not include the 0.098% cut that is in the House version. The anomalies include the Project SERV funding as included in the House CR, and IDEA MoE fix (state level) and funding for the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need.
Senator Harkin is expected to offer an amendment that is a full-year LHHS bill (initial details on the Harkin blog). The bill does not increase overall funding for the bill compared to the continuing resolution, but it does provide targeted increases for some programs. It pays for these increases through a small across the board cut (0.127%) .These levels become the base for calculating sequestration. The text of the amendment is not yet available. Until it is, here is what the funding increases would look like (prior to the 0.127% cut and 5% sequestration cut):
Some programs are decreased. These cuts are prior to the 0.127% cut and 5% sequestration cut: Title I Evaluation (-94,000); Transition to Teaching (-7.6 million); School Leadership (-15 million); and Safe/Drug Free (-16.3 million); among others.
The Harkin amendment also includes policy proposals: clarifies that Title I funds can be used to transport homeless children/youth; authorizes SIG funds to be used to implement research-proven, whole-school reform models; allows SEA (w/approval of the Secretary) to provide a state-determined school improvement strategy under SIG (sounds like the 7th model in the Harkin ESEA bill); allows REAP-eligible districts to modify not more than one element under a school improvement model (again, like the Harkin ESEA bill); and directs USED and HHS to use RttT funds for Early Learning Challenge competition.
There are a handful of policy items related to IDEA: There is a provision that clarifies that penalties paid by states violating maintenance of effort are to be allocated to states that did not violate MoE; clarification that when an LEA fails to meet MoE, the base level calculation for the out-year remains the higher level (consistent with OSEP’s informal guidance letter from April 2012); and clarification that funds received under 611(c) of IDEA can be used to bolster state capacity to meet data collection requirements.
The bill could be voted on as early as tomorrow. You can read a summary of the FY13 CR substitute.
This blog post made possible thanks to our friends at CEF.
Using the OMB sequester report (issued March 1), this chart details the discretionary funding levels for USED programs (and related education programs from other agencies). The total cut to USED is $2.271 billion. The sum total of cuts (including cuts to mandatory programs) within USED is $2.478 billion.
The chart (based on OMOB’s cut of 5% to non defense discretionary programs) calculates the sequester from a a base of the FY13 CR. The FY13 CR level is equal to the FY12 appropriations level plus a 0.612% across the board increase. Please note that USED has yet to issue tables showing program/project/activity level impact. This chart reflects CEF calculations and is subject to change, depending on the final FY13 CR or omnibus appropriations bill.
UPDATED: USED issued a document showing state-level impact for post-sequester allocations for 12 formula programs including Title I, IDEA, SIG, Impact Aid, ELL, and Perkins.
State Waivers: Our friends at the Center on Education progress issued States' Perspectives on Waivers: Relief from NCLB, Concern about Long-term Solutions. The report “describes states’ early experiences in applying for flexibility from key requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as NCLB waivers, and their plans for implementing the new systems outlined in their applications. Findings from the 38 survey states indicate states believe that the waivers address several of the problems they see with the NCLB accountability requirements, however, many state officials are concerned about what will happen to the programs and policies in their waiver plans if ESEA is reauthorized. These and other key findings that emerged from the survey results are presented in this report.”
USED Announces 11 States Receiving Contintuation SIG Awards: The 11 states receiving continuation grats are: Connecticut—$3.6 million; Kentucky—$7.7 million; Maryland—$6.8 million; Minnesota—$5.5 million; Mississippi—$6.1 million; New Mexico—$4.1 million; Ohio—$20.2 million; South Carolina—$7.4 million; South Dakota—$1.5 million; Utah—$3.4 million; and West Virginia—$3.3 million. See: U.S. Department of Education Announces 11 States Will Receive Funding to Continue Efforts to Turn Around Their Lowest-Performing Schools H/T CEF!
Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rates at The School Level: School Year 2010-11: ED recently released this dataset that “contains school level information on the four-year adjusted cohort graduation rates calculated by state education agencies in accordance with U.S. Department of Education regulations on ESEA, Title I, published in 2008. The dataset contains information on the number of students identified within the cohort for 2010-11 graduation, along with the percent of those students graduating with a high school diploma within four years. Adjusted cohort rates and counts are reported for the school as a whole, and for key subgroups of students (major racial and ethnic groups, children with disabilities, limited English proficient students, and economically disadvantaged students). The reported graduation rate has been reported in a manner that protects the privacy of individuals within the data. The privacy protections vary based on the n-size of the student group whose graduation rate is being reported. To interpret these data appropriately, please utilize the cohort count that is reported for each graduation rate and reference section 4.1 of the Public File Documentation for details on the privacy protections. For more information on the data file and guidance for its appropriate use, please read the Public File Documentation.” H/T CEF!
Later today, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold an FCC oversight hearing. As part of the hearing, Chairman Rockefeller (longtime advocate and champion for E-Rate) will make the case for increasing the funds available for E-Rate, to help schools and libraries afford their connectivity.
AASA sent a letter of support to the Commerce committee, specifically supporting the infusion of funding for E-Rate, citing--in part--the fact that technology demands are only going to grow as we move forward.
You can read the full letter here. (PDF)
Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee backed 14-4 an amended measure that would authorize $40 million for each of fiscal 2014-2023 for school security, under the Justice Department’s existing Community Oriented Policing Services Secure Our Schools grant program that allows schools to install tip lines, surveillance equipment, metal detectors and other safety measures. The original legislation would have authorized $100 million. AASA, AESA, NREAC, AND NREA sent a letter in support of the legislation last week.
In light of recently issued guidance by OCR regarding the obligation of districts to provide students with disabilities equal opportunities to participate in extracurricular athletics, AASA’s policy team met with OCR. During our meeting we clarified several key points that have been raised by members in response to this guidance.First, the “equal opportunity” language used in the guidance does not mean, for example, that every student with a disability is guaranteed a spot on an athletic team for which other students must try out. The student’s skill level trumps the responsibility of the district to provide an opportunity for them to participate in an athletic activity, so if a student lacks the skill level to compete, then the district does not have to find a way to integrate the student onto the existing sports team. However, districts should not relegate students with disabilities to serve as team manager, ball boys/girls, water boys/girls, if they can compete with modifications. But if opportunities to serve on sports teams in this capacity are provided to students without disabilities then districts must allow students with disabilities to be assigned these positions on the team.Significantly, districts have no legal or fiscal obligation to provide new athletic opportunities for students with disabilities under the guidance. Districts only need to provide students with disabilities opportunities within existing athletic extracurricular activities. OCR repeated several times that districts are not required to provide new opportunities for students with disabilities; however, if they do decide to create a new team, the district must support this team equally (meaning that they have uniforms, access to practice fields, transportation, etc). Lastly, when asked whether districts could charge fees to students with disabilities for their participation in athletic events or leagues that they charged to students without disabilities, the answer was yes. OCR urged AASA members to reach out to their regional offices if you have additional questions as they are able to provide more specific technical assistance.
This week and last week, both the House and Senate remain focused on the topic of school safety and school climate legislation and funding. Last Thursday, the House Education and Workforce Committee held a hearing that focused on the role of SROs in school, the important role mental health supports play in ensuring schools are safe and healthy places for students, and the need to allocate additional resources for both school security and school climate measures and programs.
Former AASA President and Loudoun County, VA Superintendent, Dr. Edgar Hatrick, will testify before the Senate Education Committee this Thursday for their hearing on school climate and school safety. Other panelists include the Eric Gordon, Superintendent of Cleveland Public Schools, as well as the National School Psychologist of the Year, Benjamin Fernandez, who hails from Dr. Hatrick’s district in Loudoun County. We anticipate the focus of the will be on best practices for promoting positive school climates and student behavior. Given Chairman Harkin’s role as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, we hope there is a larger discussion of the need for new funding for school climate initiatives particularly in light of the de-funding of programs like Safe and Drug Free, as well as smaller mental health grants, REMS and COPS Secure our Schools grants several years ago.
Additionally, on Thursday the Senate Judiciary Committee will be marking up bipartisan legislation that would re-authorize the COPS Secure our Schools grant program. AASA, along with AESA, NREAC, and NREA, sent a letter to the Hill this afternoon urging members of the committee to approve the bill. The authorization for funding would assist districts in ensuring they have deterrent measures like surveillance equipment and locks, two-way radios and other emergency equipment, and training materials for school personnel would enable schools districts to respond to growing school safety and security concerns in these tough fiscal times.
I will be live-tweeting from the Senate Education Committee hearing in case you want to follow the action. The hearing begins at 10 a.m ET on Thursday.
In case you missed it....March 1 came and sequestration was triggered.
This means the 5.1% across-the-board cuts are now a reality, though for schools that pinch won't be felt until the 2013-14 school year. Congress and the Administration (continuing a now 18 or 20 month trend) were unable to reach an agreement to avoid this fiscal crisis, a consequence they dreamed up and issued to themselves.
The President has indicated he will NOT issue a veto for a proposed continuing resolution related to Congress' annual appropriations work (though their track record there is about as successful as their track record on resolving the sequester). This is an important clarification, though: while sequestration and the appropriations process are linked, they are separate and would represent two independent federal crises. Left unresolved, the lack of a CR would likely mean a government shutdown (because that worked so well in the 90s?!) on top of job cuts stemming from sequestration and the resulting economic ripples in the broader economy.
It is anticipated Congress will continue to meet and look to resolve sequestration, but with Republicans opposed to any discussion related to new revenues and Democrats hesitant to give any room related to mandatory program reform, the idea that they could meet in the middle and come up with a compromise still seems a far way off.
So what can you do? These cuts are in place. School districts across the country are working on--and will be finalizing in the next few weeks--their operating budgets for the 2013-14 school year. These budgets will likely reflect the cuts of sequestration. Use the finalized budgets and related job cut projections to reach out to Congress and tell them how the cuts will impact your district. Tell you Representative and Senators what teachers will be eliminated, what academic programs have to be reduced.cut, and how these changes will impact the ability of your district to meet your students' educational needs.
I know this sounds a lot like the type of information we've asked you to share before. It is similar.....but also so different. As of Friday, these cuts have happened and budget pieces are falling in to place. Jobs cuts are now imminent and schools are planning appropriately. Whereas last week there may have been the perception that the cuts were hypothetical or that pink slips wouldn't be issued, the 'other shoe has fallen' and sequestration and job cuts/program eliminations are a reality.
In late January (on a Friday afternoon) the administration released regulations for competitive foods as part of the school nutrition program. The school lunch program was reauthorized in December 2010 as the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act. AASA opposed the legislation given its federal overreach and the unfunded mandates it represents.
Earlier AASA blog posts detail concerns related to the meal pattern regulations, which took effect this school year.
The competitive food regulations--open for comment through April 9--are far less onerous than the school meal pattern regulations, but are still problematic. How does USDA have authority to regulate an darea for which it provides no federal funding?
As a point of overview, the competitive food regulations limit the sale of vending items foods to certain hours in the school day and establish nutritional requirements for competitive foods (including a la carte items in the food line). The regulations do NOT apply to concession stand items (think Friday night football or drama club booster sales at a performance).
Here is a sampling of the requirements: All competitive foods must:
Hat tip to our friends at EdWeek for a concise overview on the regulations.
Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama announced her Let's Move Active Schools campaign, of which AASA is a proud supporter. The program is designed to support schools' efforts to help students reach the suggested one hour of daily physical activity. Under the new initiative, modest grants will be made available for schools (through USED). The GENYOUth Foundation and ChildObesity180 will also be awarding grants. Nike has committed $50 million to the effort over the next five years.
Additional information (including how to involve your school district) is available online:
Our friends at the Economic Polcy Institute, including Richard Rothstein, the keynote speaker at last month's NCE Federal Relations Luncheon, released What Do International Tests Really Show About US Student Performance?
The authors are quick to explain the limitations of the data they had available, but do an excellent job of making sincere comparisons between the comparable countries, including those that the US are most commonly compared to. From the author's own executive summary, here are some eye-opening conclusions:
In general, we find that test data are too complex and oversimplified to permit meaningful policy conclusions regarding U.S. educational performance without deeper study of test results and methodology. However, a clear set of findings stands out and is supported by all data we have available:
Because social class inequality is greater in the United States than in any of the countries with which we can reasonably be compared, the relative performance of U.S. adolescents is better than it appears when countries’ national average performance is conventionally compared.
Because not only educational effectiveness but also countries’ social class composition changes over time, comparisons of test score trends over time by social class group provide more useful information to policymakers than comparisons of total average test scores at one point in time or even of changes in total average test scores over time.
Earlier this afternoon, USED released a set of press releases detailing the impact of sequestration on the largest district in each state. The roster of districts is listed below; you can access the full set of press releases here.
AASA appreciates Secretary Duncan's outreach and communication about how damaging the cuts of sequestration will be to education. That said, we are disappointed by USED's continued urban-centric approach. As readily as the department collected information on the largest district in each state, they could have also collected similar information for the smallest district in each state or the district in each state that is most reliant on federal funding. We urge the department to consider, reflect on, and share the very real impact of all the nation's public schools, including rural.
Like you, I am on a lot of email lists, chains and groups. Once in a blue moon, an item will land in my inbox that I am compelled to share with our members, including one today!
In conjunction with our work with the Forum on Education Accountability (a group that advocates for ESEA reauthorization, driven in part by a focus on overreliance on high-stakes testing at the state and local level), I received this gem of an email, which lists 21 stories from nearly a dozen states' illustrating growing resistance to high-stakes testing overkill. I've included the articles below:
School superintendents across the nation are bracing for the deep cuts of sequestration, the federal policy consequence for continued Congressional inaction. In response to a call to action issued during AASA’s National Conference on Education last week (and posted to the blog), hundreds of districts across the nation provided details describing what the cuts would look like in their district, reporting jobs cut, programs eliminated, and other negative impacts. (PDF Version)
“If we will be judged by how we treat our children, this move [sequestration]… indicate[s] that we do not prioritize the quality education for all students, who represent the future of our nation.” New York
Nearly 400 responses from 42 states paint a dreary picture as it relates to the nation’s public schools and sequestration. “The blind cuts of sequestration, made regardless of program demand or effectiveness, represent poor, short-sighted policy…” said AASA Executive Director Daniel Domenech. “The cuts represent billions of lost dollars for the Department of education and will affect millions of students, classrooms and teachers by increasing class sizes, reducing programs and eliminating educator jobs.”
School districts are finalizing their budgets for the 2013-14 school year; this is the school year in which federal FY13 funding and policy (including sequestration) would play out in schools. This means school superintendents are bracing for the cuts by building the cuts in to their budgets. When asked how they were preparing for sequestration last summer, more than half indicated they would build the cuts in to their budget. With that budget now being finalized, this latest call to action asked AASA members to detail what the cuts look like:
Responding to an open-ended item asking about the impact of sequestration, AASA members delivered a very clear message: the cuts will be to areas that most directly impact student learning. The findings are alarmingly consistent with those of AASA’s Economic Impact Survey Series (which examined the impact of the recession on the nation’s schools) and indicate the cuts will be to areas in the budget that directly impact student learning: reducing academic programs, personnel layoffs, increased class size, reducing professional development and deferring technology purchases.
“The bottom line is that kids and society pay the price.” Alabama
The results of this AASA data collection reflected a new harsh reality: for the first time in the four years and 14 surveys AASA has administered relating to the impact of the recession on the nation’s schools, there was a significant increase in the percentage of respondents indicating that special education funding will take a hit. Funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Act has historically represented an unfunded mandate for local education agencies, with school districts left to cover the federal shortfall stemming from Congress’ perpetual failure to meet is statutory funding commitment. School districts use local budget funds to cover this shortfall, sacrificing local budget authority and priorities. Statutory requirements related to maintenance of effort meant that the cuts of the recession were concentrated on non-IDEA dollars.
The deep reduction in federal IDEA funding attributable to sequestration, however, represents an obstacle local school districts cannot overcome. “School districts remain severely underfunded when it comes to IDEA. They have yet to receive the full support in federal education dollars for special education students that was promised many years ago…” said Bruce Hunter, AASA Associate Executive Director for Advocacy & Communications. “The cuts of sequestration border on hypocrisy: As the federal government habitually underfunds and considers cuts to IDEA, local school districts are left not only without flexibility to adjust their budgets to changing local fiscal realities, but are also ‘on the hook’ to cover a significantly larger federal shortfall.”
For a deeper look at the potential impact of sequestration on the nation’s public schools, refer to AASA’s Fiscal Cliff Toolkit, a comprehensive set of resources that gives educators and community leaders everything they need to urge Congress to action, including background information on sequestration, a state-by-state analysis of the impact of sequestration, a sample letter to the editor, a draft opinion/editorial piece, and template letters for communicating Congress.
“AASA members pass balanced budgets in a timely manner every year. It is time for Congress to meet one of its fundamental responsibilities—the federal government’s funding and appropriations—in a way that avoids sequestration and puts the nation on track to fiscal growth and stability…” said Domenech. “Now is the time for leadership, now is the time to perform the jobs to which they were elected. It is time for Congress to set aside political posturing and to find common ground in a responsible approach that doesn’t disproportionately impact schools by derailing our national investment in education and long-term fiscal health and competitiveness. Education cuts don’t heal.”
In response to an open-ended item asking about the impact of sequestration, respondents delivered a clear message: sequestration will result in severely negative budget cuts that undermine schools’ academic growth and progress. The responses below are a small sample that represent the broad concerns school superintendents have when it comes to sequestration:
“We continue to systematically reduced our ability to meet the needs of students and provide training for staff. You cannot continue to demand and expect excellence if you do not support the work. At some point you need to stop the rhetoric and fund to the level of expectations.” Washington“The sequester will negatively impact the student sub-groups who need additional assistance and interventions the most- students from low income families and special education.” Maryland“It's not just the sequester, it's the whole instability of the system and the constant brinksmanship that affects our educational system and the educators who support our students.” Illinois“It baffles me that supposedly intelligent people can't get together and make fundamental decisions that will impact millions of K-12 students. “ Maine“We must not forget the qualitative effect the sequester has on staff morale. No one seems to know for sure how deep or for how long the reductions will occur. It's hard to motivate, challenge, and encourage at-risk students, when you are worried about your current employment or already started to look out of uncertainty in the future.” Kentucky(Referring to cuts to special education) “Because students already have IEP's in place that specify services, those services must, by law, be provided. What this means to the district is that monies will need to be diverted from another source to cover the costs of programs already in place. This reduces the amount of basic education that can be provided.” Washington“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We can invest in our students now or we can pay to house our inmates later. We, in our system, would prefer to invest in our students now.” Tennessee“It is unlikely that the local tax payers will be able to pick up the bill for these cuts, and the ultimate impact will be felt with our students receiving less support and services to meet their increasing academic demands.” Vermont“Making informed decisions about how best to allocate financial resources is always better than arbitrary across‐the‐board mandatory cuts. Elected officials should make the tough choices they were elected to make.” Virginia“At a time where society demands more from schools and student learning this action would put all schools in direct sight for those that already discount schools and their efforts. We have a great opportunity to make the changes for student improved learning and …now we could face a huge stoppage of effort.” Wyoming
“We continue to systematically reduced our ability to meet the needs of students and provide training for staff. You cannot continue to demand and expect excellence if you do not support the work. At some point you need to stop the rhetoric and fund to the level of expectations.” Washington
“The sequester will negatively impact the student sub-groups who need additional assistance and interventions the most- students from low income families and special education.” Maryland
“It's not just the sequester, it's the whole instability of the system and the constant brinksmanship that affects our educational system and the educators who support our students.” Illinois
“It baffles me that supposedly intelligent people can't get together and make fundamental decisions that will impact millions of K-12 students. “ Maine
“We must not forget the qualitative effect the sequester has on staff morale. No one seems to know for sure how deep or for how long the reductions will occur. It's hard to motivate, challenge, and encourage at-risk students, when you are worried about your current employment or already started to look out of uncertainty in the future.” Kentucky
(Referring to cuts to special education) “Because students already have IEP's in place that specify services, those services must, by law, be provided. What this means to the district is that monies will need to be diverted from another source to cover the costs of programs already in place. This reduces the amount of basic education that can be provided.” Washington
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We can invest in our students now or we can pay to house our inmates later. We, in our system, would prefer to invest in our students now.” Tennessee
“It is unlikely that the local tax payers will be able to pick up the bill for these cuts, and the ultimate impact will be felt with our students receiving less support and services to meet their increasing academic demands.” Vermont
“Making informed decisions about how best to allocate financial resources is always better than arbitrary across‐the‐board mandatory cuts. Elected officials should make the tough choices they were elected to make.” Virginia
“At a time where society demands more from schools and student learning this action would put all schools in direct sight for those that already discount schools and their efforts. We have a great opportunity to make the changes for student improved learning and …now we could face a huge stoppage of effort.” Wyoming
 Ellerson, N. (2012). Cut Deep: How the Sequester Will Impact Our Nation’s Schools. AASA: Alexandria, VA.
 The results of the AASA data are subject to change. Data continue to pour in. The analysis of this memo was based on responses collected prior to February 25, 2013.
 Ellerson, N. (2011). Projection of National Education Job Cuts for the 2011-12 School Year. AASA: Arlington, VA.
Earlier today, USDA issued a memo that extends flexibility in the meat and grain maximums in school meal patterns.
You'll recall that in December, USDA granted flexibility to state and local operators to lift the maximum/caps in place as it related to weekly ranges for grains and meats/meat alternatives. This flexibility would be in place for the 2012-13 school year.
Today's guidance extends that flexibility through the 2013-14 school year, and means that menus simply have to comply with the meal pattern minimums, for both breakfast and lunch.
Read the full memo.
You are invited to join a call with senior White House officials on Tuesday, February 26 at 10:30am EDT to discuss the President’s call for Congress to replace harmful cuts with a balanced approach to deficit reduction.
Participants must preregister for this teleconference at http://ems6.intellor.com?p=600025&do=register&t=1. Once the participant registers, a confirmation page will display dial-in numbers and a unique PIN, and the participant will also receive an email confirmation of this information. This call is off the record and not for press purposes.
With the sequester's across-the-board cuts scheduled to take effect on Friday, the White House tonight released a report detailing the deep spending cuts for every state. The reports detail the impact of the 5% cut to all programs, including English. Also available are USED projections (state-by-state) for Title I and IDEA.
Democrats and Republicans are both expected to introduce plans to avoid the sequester, though some pretty big questions remain: how do they do so when neither side supports the other's plan and how would they suddenly be able to do something they haven't been able to do in the last 18 months?
Keep in mind that the across-the-board nature of the cuts will be felt deeper in some districts than in others, as some districts are more reliant on federal dollars, where a larger share of their overall operating budget is composed of federal budget. Five percent of 10 percent (districts where federal dollars are a small share of the overall budget) will have a lesser impact than districts where federal dollars represent upwards of 50 or 60 percent of their budget. This was explained at length (and there's a great national map!) in the AASA Fiscal Cliff Toolkit.
Here are links to each state analysis:
Our friends at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy released a report today detailing the teen birth rate in our country
USAToday wrote a summary of the report, and the text of their article is below:
The teen birth rate in rural counties in the United States is nearly one-third higher compared to the rest of the country, according to new research from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. This first of its kind analysis shows that the teen birth rate in 2010 in rural counties surpasses that in suburban counties and major urban centers.
Other findings from the new research include:
“This data provides an answer to a straight-forward but previously unanswered question: is rural teen childbearing higher or lower than in other places?” said Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign. “Clearly the need for efforts to help rural teens avoid too-early pregnancy and parenthood is great.”
The new research is based on National Campaign tabulations using birth data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. Visit www.TheNationalCampaign.org for more information about the new research, including the definition of rural, suburban, and urban areas.
Bruce, Sasha and I flew to Los Angeles this morning for AASA's National Conference on Education. The rain we had today will be gone by tomorrow. Here's to sunny weather the rest of the week!
This year's conference agenda is jam packed with great speakers, though provoking breakout sessions and many great opportunities for networking and having fun. You can find an online version of the agenda here. Full information is available at the National Conference website.
For a concise wrap up of each day's events, check out Conference Daily, led by the award-winning School Administrator magazine staff.
Here's a run-down of all the advocacy-related events at conference this week. Hope to see you in LA!
Don't forget to visit Bruce, Sasha and I at AASA Central. Located at in NCE Marketplace, it has everything you need to know about AASA. Come see the great work being done by all of AASA's departments. AASA Central will be open the following hours:
Earlier today, AASA Executive Director Daniel Domenech issued the following call to action for AASA members:
Dear AASA Member,
The cuts of the sequester are drawing ever closer, and it is all but certain that the 5.3% cut will take place on March 1—next week!—and impact federal funds within your school budget for the 2013-14 school year. These cuts would affect millions of students and lead to potentially significant job losses and program eliminations for the nation’s schools, the educators who run them, and the students they educate.
To that end, and in conjunction with AASA’s annual National Conference on Education, I am emailing our full membership to ask you to use AASA’s newest SmartForm to help us gather, analyze and report how the sequester would impact your schools.
Unlike AASA’s Sequestration Invoice, which asked individual members to relay the information to their Congressional Delegation, this SmartForm collects the information in one place. From there, our advocacy team will be able to collect, analyze and report how deeply the cuts of sequestration will impact schools, communicating with Capitol Hill and the Administration.
Using the AASA Sequestration SmartForm is quick and simple:
Thank you, in advance, for your help with this. The strength of AASA advocacy rests in the fact that our members remain engaged and active, especially in advocacy outreach on issues as critical as sequestration. Should you have any questions about the sequester or AASA’s SmartForm or sequestration calculator, please email Noelle Ellerson, Assistant Director for Policy Analysis & Advocacy (email@example.com).
Sincerely, Daniel A. Domenech
Earlier this morning, in follow up to this week's State of the Union address, the administration released details around its proposal to expand Pre-K/early childhood education programs. The proposal has three main pillars:
Here's the plan, as released by the White House:
The President’s Commitment to Early Education
A zip code should never predetermine the quality of any child’s educational opportunities. Yet studies show that children from low-income families are less likely to have access to high-quality early education, and less likely to enter school prepared for success. By third grade, children from low-income families who are not reading at grade level are six times less likely to graduate from high school than students who are proficient. Often, the high costs of private preschool and lack of public programs also narrow options for middle-class families.
High-quality early childhood education provides the foundation for all children’s success in school and helps to reduce achievement gaps. Despite the individual and economic benefits of early education, our nation has lagged in its commitment to ensuring the provision of high quality public preschool in our children’s earliest years. The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates that the United States ranks 28th out of 38 countries for the share of four-year olds enrolled in early childhood education. And fewer than 3 in 10 four-year olds are enrolled in high-quality programs.
Preschool for All
Quality Early Learning for Our Youngest Children
Hat Tip: Wonk Blog, EdWeek,
House Appropriations Committee Democrats released Sequestration Endangers Economy, Jobs, Critical Services and Investments. (Summary)The full report is nearly 40 pages long, and the education information starts on page 12. The projected cuts (bulleted below) were calculated at the 5.35% level.
This blog post originally appeared in the blog Thinking About Schools, as maintainted by Jere Hochman, Superintendent of Bedford Central School District in New York.
Dear Mr. President:re: Education, please...
Last night, President Obama gave the annual State of the Union address. (Full transcript here.) The President's speech centered on eight topics: reduce the debt; tax code overhaul, create jobs, climate change, immigration reform, EDUCATION, defense/foreign trade, and gun control.
The eight topics all supported the broader theme of the speech, calling to invest in the nation's economic future and bolster the middle class.
For obvious reasons, this post focuses on the education components of the speech. His education comments focused on the entire PreK-college spectrum, with a proposal for early education, K-12 and higher education.
Other education-related items included calling on Congress to vote on the President's package of proposals (including a call for a ban on assault weapons and a requirement for mandatory background checks to buy a gun) and a call for a comprehensive immigration overhaul, one piece of which would mirror the DREAM Act, which provides a path to citizenship for young people who come to the country as young children.
The unfortunate current reality is that sequestration is likely to happen, meaning all federal K12 dollars will be subject to a 5.2% cut. These are the federal funds that will be in your school district budgets for the 2013-14 school year.
One of the questions I get asked most often is 'What can be done to protect Title I and IDEA? Does the department have any flexibility to protect some programs?'
While the technical answer will likely depend on how OMB writes the guidance (do they allocate cuts to the function level, or delve further to the program/project/activity level?), there is the chance that the administration--including Secretary Duncan--will have some say in how 'across the board' the sequester really is.
AASA's absolute priority is to avoid the blind cuts of the sequester; AASA believes that Congress should pick up the work of the failed super committee and identify a blended approach of spending cuts, revenues increases and mandatory program reform. Congress created the threat of sequestration as a consequence; they alone can--and should--act to avoid it.
Given teh likelihood of the sequester, though, I took the liberty of looking at the final appropriations levels within USED and ran a quick analysis to see what relief for Title I and IDEA might look like.
In early 2012 I blogged about the final appropriations levels for USED; check it out for the full program-by-program analysis. For purposes of this entry, though, I have excerpted the Title I, IDEA and Race to the Top appropriations.
The cut of the sequester would be roughly 5.2%. For the federal flagship formula programs, that would translate to roughly:
Looking at the appropriation for Race to the Top, and knowing that it will likely be level funded in a final CR, it becomes clear that RttT is one way to help protect Title I and IDEA. In fact, picking up on an idea from AASA budget talking points, RttT funds would absorb a significant part of the Title I and IDEA sequester cuts:
Food for thought. As Secretary Duncan prepares to speak before the Senate appropriations committee, this seems a very fitting question to put before the Secretary. Absent Congressional success in avoiding the sequester, what efforts will USED take to protect Title I and IDEA funding in the sequester?
Even if the sequester is avoided, there are likely to be further cuts to USED. What conversation is being held at USED to prioritize authorized programs like Title I and IDEA, protecting those crucial investments?
It is with great pleasure that I announce that AASA assisted in securing a major victory in the fight to improve Medicaid reimbursement for school districts. AASA, along with our hard-working colleagues at NAME, just learned that the U.S. Dept of Education will be formally releasing IDEA Part B final regulations tomorrow that change the parental consent requirements for Medicaid. These final regulations, which take effect on March 18, 2013, will make it considerably easier for school districts to access public benefits for Medicaid-eligible students. Moreover, as the number of Medicaid eligible students grows in states that are adopting the State Medicaid Expansion option from Obamacare, this could lead to a significant new source of funding for districts. To all the superintendents who helped AASA make this happen over the past seven years--Thank you!
The 2006 IDEA regulations related to Medicaid required districts to receive written consent from parents each time or at least every year (depending on the interpretation) a district bills for Medicaid reimbursable services for an individual student. The new regulations only require that written parental consent be given one time during the course of the student’s education and that the district notify the parents each subsequent year of their decision to continue to bill Medicaid for these services. This will greatly reduce the administrative burden on district personnel who spend countless time and resources tracking down parents to consent to Medicaid reimbursement. It will also lead to much larger Medicaid reimbursement rates for districts allowing superintendents to allocate this funding for salaries of in-house or contracted specialized school support staff, equipment costs, or other fungible expenditures.
The new regulations on Medicaid reimbursement should strongly incentivize superintendents to lobby their state leaders to expand Medicaid eligibility because expanding eligibility will enable districts to access millions of additional dollars to support mandated services in their schools. Public school districts have much at stake if their state decides against expanding Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act. Since federal mandates require schools to provide services to children regardless of the availability of funds, an increase in the number of children who become eligible for Medicaid will increase the amount of financial support to the schools for providing those services. While each state is unique and the policy and financial implications must be considered on a state-by-state basis, the benefit to education is indisputable. An increase in the number of children who become eligible for Medicaid will increase the amount of federal reimbursement available to support mandated services provided in the schools without increasing state costs. States that do not expand eligiblity will miss an unprecedented opportunity to support their schools and to help lessen their ongoing financial stress.
Two Minnesota School Districts (Farmington and Spring Lake Park) had the opportunity to work with award winning filmmaker and illustrator Anthony Weeks.
Their collaboration resulted in an illustration of where they are heading as a school district, as both districts look to innovate toward transformative goals. The video they created was designed in such a way so that anyone can use it in their own district or community.
Check out the video: http://youtu.be/B1bOIcnVI3g
Hat Tip: Thank you to Gary Amoroso, Executive Director of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators for passing this along.
Earlier this month, USED released reports that may be of interest:
Race to the Top: USED released state-specific reports for 12 Race to the Top grantees, detailing their progress on transforming education at the local level. The reports highlight the second-year work and accomplishments of states awarded funding through the first two phases of Race to the Top: Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Tennessee. You can read the press release and state reports.
Student Assessment Data: USED released student performance data in reading and math for all schools in the country for school years 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11. This is the first time the Department is releasing school-level state assessment data. You can read the press release or access school-specific data from the following links:
As part of our work with Project 24 (see related blog post), I am passing along information for an online course and webinars that should be of interest to school system leaders.
While a great resource on their own, they are part of the comprehensive approach to assessing and expanding Digital Learning in schools. have you considered signing up for Project 24? Dozens of districts have already started the process.
Online Course, March 2013: The Digital Learning Transition in K-12 Schools: A Planning MOOC for Educators. This free, Massive Online Open Course for Educators (MOOC-Ed) developed by the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NC State University, is designed to help educators like you successfully lead the digital learning transition of K-12 education. The focus is on understanding the potential of digital learning; setting goals for your school or district; and planning how you and your colleagues will proceed to achieve those goals. Learn more.
Webinars (February 2013):
Featuring representatives from the Project 24 team of experts—an experienced group of nationally recognized leaders with demonstrated records of success—this webinar will provide insight into how to approach curriculum and instruction in planning for digital learning from the perspectives of a superintendent, chief technology officer, principal, and educator.
Panelists: Michael King, Principal, Dodge City Middle School (KS); Maribeth Luftglass, Chief Technology Officer, Fairfax County Public Schools (VA); Jeremy Macdonald, Teacher, Klamath Falls City Schools (OR); Pam Moran, Superintendent, Albemarle Public Schools (VA); and Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education.
Register and submit questions for the webinar online at http://media.all4ed.org/registration-feb-13-2013
This webinar will examine the extent to which the effective use of technology provides tools, resources, data, and supportive systems that increase teaching opportunities and promote efficiency. Panelists will discuss how such environments enable anytime, anywhere learning based on competency and mastery with empowered caring adults who guide the way for each student to succeed. They will also discuss adequacy, quality, and availability of devices; robust network infrastructure; how to provide responsive support; and implementing a formal cycle of review and replacement.
Panelists: Peg Cagle, Teacher, Lawrence Gifted/Highly Gifted Magnet, Los Angeles Unified School District (CA); Sara Hall, Director, Digital Learning Policy, Alliance for Excellent Education; Christine Johns, EdD, Superintendent, Utica Community Schools (MI); Patrick Larkin, Assistant Superintendent for Learning, Burlington Public Schools (MA); and Jean Tower, Director of Technology, Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough (MA).
Register and submit questions for the webinar online at http://media.all4ed.org/registration-feb-28-2013
AASA was a proud supporter of Digital Learning Day last week. The 2nd annual event was a huge success: More than 25,000 teachers representing over 5 million students participated in school based activities. Not to mention the 50 statewide celebrations, thousands of district level events and your contests, challenges and celebrations!
Digital Learning, though, is more than just a one-day event. As such, AASA is proud to partner with the Alliance for Excellent Education on Project 24, a call to action on the need for systemic planning around the effective use of technology and digital learning to achieve the goal of "career and college readiness" for all students. It is a one-stop shop of comprehensive district-level planning tools, expert advice, creative ideas, and tangible suggestions from experienced education experts and nonprofit education membership organizations.
The Project 24 framework helps districts address the seven concepts listed below as they engage in their Planning for Progress process. Connections between each of the topics highlight the power of systemic planning to address career- and college-ready standards. Implementation of these learning outcomes will be supported by appropriate technology applications and aligned to the new, higher expectations for learning. The Project 24 framework includes: Academic supports; Budget and resources; Curriculum and instruction;Data and assessments;Professional learning;Technology and infrastructure; and Use of time.
Get Started Today: As an initial step to participating in Project 24, district leaders are encouraged to create a leadership team that will participate in a FREE digital learning self assessment. Requiring no more than two hours to complete, this self assessment includes a series of questions helping each district frame their vision for student learning, begin to recognize various aspects of the system to be addressed, and specify how technology can help align these efforts to achieve higher college- and career-ready standards. Learn more.
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the release of a request for applications for the latest round of USDA’s Farm to School grants. These grants help eligible schools improve the health and wellbeing of their students and connect with local agricultural producers.
“USDA’s Farm to School grants connect schools with their local farmers, ranchers and food businesses, providing new economic opportunities to food producers and bringing healthy, local offerings into school cafeterias,” said Merrigan. “USDA continues to make improvements to the nutrition of food offered in schools, and investing in farm to school programs is yet another important opportunity to encourage our nation’s kids to make lifelong healthy eating choices.”
This year, three different kinds of grants will be available. Planning grants are intended for schools just getting started on farm to school activities, while implementation grants are available for schools seeking to augment or expand existing efforts. Additionally, eligible non-profit entities, Indian tribal organizations, state and local agencies, and agriculture producers or groups of producers may apply for support service grants in order to conduct trainings, create complementary curriculum, or further develop supply chains, among other activities. Proposals are due at midnight EST, April 24, 2013.
To assist eligible entities in preparing proposals, USDA will host a series of webinars related to the application process:
The Farm to School Grant Program is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which authorized and funded USDA to assist eligible entities, through grants and technical assistance, in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. The Act provides $5 million annually to support grants, technical assistance, and the federal administrative costs related to USDA’s Farm to School Program. In this funding cycle, USDA anticipates awarding up to $5 million in grants.
Healthier school meals are a key component of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was championed by the First Lady as part of her Let's Move! campaign and signed into law by President Obama. The new meal requirements are raising standards for the first time in more than fifteen years and improving the health and nutrition of nearly 32 million kids that participate in school meal programs every school day.
Farm to School is one component of USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF) initiative, launched in 2009 to coordinate the Department's work on local and regional food systems and create new opportunities for farmers, ranchers, consumers and rural communities. An interactive view of USDA programs that support local and regional foods, including farm to school and farm to institution, is available in the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass. The KYF Compass consists of an interactive map of USDA-supported local and regional food projects and an accompanying guide to programs and results. In October 2012, the map was expanded and now includes projects from nine other federal agencies.
Earlier this week I updated the AASA Sequester Toolkit to reflect the adjusted sequester cut (5.2%). I wanted to link to updated program-by-program and state-by-state analysis for the impact of the sequester:
One of the more popular pieces of AASA's Sequestration toolkit is the excel invoice, which allows users to input their FY12 federal allocation (for programs including Title I, IDEA, Perkins and Title II) and then see the dollar calculation for cuts related to the sequester.
In light of the CBO report released today (see related blog post), AASA has updated the sequester invoice. Use it to raise awareness with your Congressional delegation and community members. Weigh in to tell the story of how the sequester will impact your school district. Urge Congress to take action to avoid the sequester.
Access the updated sequestration spreadsheet (Excel) and check out the full AASA Sequestration Toolkit.
Three things from the Hill today: CBO announces adjustments in economic projections (including sequestration cuts); President Obama calls on Congress to take action around the sequester; House Member Cantor makes education speech (vouchers, anyone?!)
Last week, AASA members had the opportunity to participate in a call with USED staff (including Secretary Arne Duncan) to hear about the department's proposals as they relate to school safety. The conversation also included David Esquith, Director of the Office of Safe and Healthy Students.
The call lasted only 30 minutes, but included both an overview of the administration's proposals and time for Q&A with AASA members.
Not surprisingly, the adminstration's overview was an exact summary of the proposal as previously reported on this blog (see related AASA blog posts here and here).
AASA advocacy staff covered the conversation via twitter. Check out the @Noellerson twitter handle, and a brief summary of Q&A is included below:
AASA's Assistant Director for Policy Analysis and Advocacy, Noelle Ellerson, will be joining Bob Wise (President for the Alliance for Excellent Education) and Jim Kohlmoos (CEO, National Association of State Boards of Education) in a webinar titled Countdown to Digital Learning Day: A Vision for the Path Ahead.
You'll recall that AASA is a proud supporter of Digital Learning Day. The national event is taking place on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 and local events are popping up all over the country with more than 17,000 teachers already signed up to participate representing more than 3.3 million students. We urge you to make plans to host local activities and sign-up TODAY to join tens of thousands of educators in a wave of innovation sweeping across our nation’s schools.
Participation is free and open to all interested parties. This is a great opportunity to highlight teachers doing great things and your efforts to promote the effective use of technology in education. Take a look at http://www.digitallearningday.org/participate/ for ideas on ways you can participate.
It’s been a while since I did a comprehensive overview of AASA’s advocacy efforts and where we stand. With a new year, a new Congress, and a recently updated legislative agenda (pending governing board approval at NCE…have you registered yet?), I am going to walk through, in a series of blog posts, what is going on on Capitol Hill and how AASA’s advocacy team is working for you. I've covered a lot of topics over a handful of quick blog posts. I've linked to--and listed them--below:
Even with this blogging blitz, there are aspects of the AASA advocacy portfolio that still need an update. Check back later this week for information about school lunch, education technology, e-rate, and other components of our policy agenda.
My money is on the latter of these two. It is anticipated that this Congress—though fresh off an election that saw Democrats pick up seats in both the House and Senate—will be as politically partisan (if not more so) than the previous Congress. As a point of reference, that would be the 112th Congress that failed to finalize appropriations bills on time, was unable to reauthorize ESEA, and pushed the nation to the verge of federal shutdown and global economic insecurity a handful of times. There are several factors that contribute to this:
Helpful Reports and Articles
Let’s go back to the start of the year. Before 2013 started, there was a brief moment where it looked like all the stars could align for Congress to tackle a comprehensive fiscal deal: avoiding the sequester, mandatory program reform, spending cuts, revenue increases, raise the debt ceiling, look at tax code. Then, we apparently woke up from that dream and realized that we were—once again—a nation teetering on a cliff.
This cliff was three-pronged: tax extenders were expiring on December 31 and the sequester ‘kicked in’ January 2. I blogged about the fiscal cliff deal in an earlier post, but have also outlined the details below:
What’s IN the Fiscal Cliff Deal
Education-Related Tax Provisions in the Fiscal Cliff Deal (Hat Tip: CEF!)
What’s NOT in the Fiscal Cliff Deal
Bottom line? The sequester is likely to happen, and the depth of the sequester cut in 2013 is likely to be closer to 5.1% than the previously reported 8.2%. There are a couple of reasons for this; read on to learn more, including analysis as to when/whether the sequester will happen.
As mentioned above, the cut of the sequester would be roughly 5.1%. This would translate to a cut of $2.6 billion for USED. This is just for 2013. When it comes to FY14-21 (the outyears of the sequester timeframe established in the Budget Control Act). The cuts will be deeper, as the discretionary caps are even lower than initially established. It would mean a cut of (roughly) $745 million in Title I, $594 million in IDEA state grants, and $89 million in Perkins. This cut to USED would put overall funding at the Department to pre-2004 levels.
The sequester is set to hit March 1, and it increasingly looks like the pending cuts will become a reality. Repealing the full sequester would cost $960 billion. The White House is looking for an even split (50/50) between spending cuts and revenue, and Republicans are opposed to new revenues. The sequester cuts will be calculated from current funding levels. Which is an interesting calculation, since Congress has yet to finish the funding bills for the year (see the related blog post on appropriations/ the continuing resolution). Just know that the cuts of the sequester will be taken from the continuing resolution level, which is slightly higher than FY12 levels.
Both sides of the aisle are increasingly candid with their conclusion that the sequester is likely to happen. A recent National Journal article captured this sentiment: “Republicans and Democrats in the Senate appear to be coming to the same conclusion on spending, namely that once unthinkable, draconian cuts designed to force a more reasonable compromise may be much harder to undo than anyone ever imagined.”
One of the changes in the fiscal cliff deal at the end of 2012 adjusted the sequester cuts for 2013 down slightly. The second contributing factor is related to Superstorm Sandy and the emergency supplemental bill that Congress is working to pass. The emergency funds being made available to states impacted by the storm are NOT exempt from the sequester. This means that the cut of the sequester in 2013 (an absolute dollar amount) will now be applied to a pie of federal funds that is larger than it was before the funds became available. So, a fixed dollar amount, applied to a larger ‘pie’, means a smaller slice (ie, the percentage will fall).
I say this a lot, but it bears repeating: just because schools have to pass balanced budgets on time doesn’t mean Congress has to. And another factoid? Since 1975, Congress has passed all of its appropriations bills on time (before the start of the fiscal year) ONLY FOUR TIMES. With all this good news, here’s where the current appropriations work stands:
Annual Appropriations: FY13 started October 1, and Congress failed (once again) to complete its funding work. When the funding is not finalized, a continuing resolution (CR) is used to allow government to continue operating. CRs provide level funding, meaning that while there are not cuts, there are also not any funding increases. The current CR for FY13 expires on March 27. Through some technical adjustments attributable to the Budget Control Act and pre-determined funding caps, this CR includes a slight increase (0.612%).
With the current CR expiring March 27, it adds to another perfect storm: Congress will be working to wrap FY13, the introduction of the President’s FY14 budget, the sequester, and any residual effects of the debt ceiling debate. A long-term CR to finish FY13 is possible, though it is more likely to see another short-term CR.
The President’s budget proposal, typically released in February, is now expected to be out in March. AASA will prepare its usual budget response.
Debt Ceiling: The House passed HR 325, “The No Budget, No Pay Act” by a vote of 285-144. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill next week, and the White House will not oppose it (see related SAP). The bill extends the debt ceiling until May 18, which in reality means that the debt ceiling won’t need to be raised until sometime in July, as the Treasury would—as it has before—use ‘extraordinary measures to prevent the default for a couple of months.
Don’t hold your breath! A recent poll of education insiders finds that most believe reauthorization won’t be completed before 2015. There is definitely momentum to reauthorize ESEA, though it may not be enough to overcome the multitude of other political pressures/realities:
I drafted this blog on Friday, and between then and now, as I post this, there has been a monumental announcement: Senator Tom Harkin, Chairman of the Senate HELP Committee (Which oversees the authorizing bills for federal education programs, like ESEA and IDEA) and Chairman of the Senate Appropriations LHHS Subcommittee (The subcommittee that oversees federal funding for education programs). This dual-leadership role when it comes to education makes him one of the most powerful Congressmembers when it comes to education.
With the announcement that Harkin will not seek reelection in 2014, it means this Congress is his last chance to move ESEA reauthorization (now more than 5 years past due) to completion. See the blog post on ESEA update to read about he interplay of political pressures between the House, Senate and administration.
The House Clerks office has posted the Official Member Telephone Directory for the 113th Congress and the Official List of Members by State. The Senate has also posted its directory for the 113th Congress. Not sure who your members of Congress are? Figure it out here.
AASA advocacy meets primarily with offices of members sitting on the budget, appropriations and education committees. I’ve listed the chair and ranking members below, and included links to the relevant roster webpage.
USED released a set of materials that provide a substantive overview of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility process—also known as ESEA waivers—by which 34 states and the District of Columbia have applied for and received flexibility regarding certain provisions of ESEA. The intent of these materials—a brochure and five companion fact sheets—is to explain the rationale and intent of ESEA flexibility, as well as address its key components and highlight plan elements for a number of states approved for flexibility.
The brochure and fact sheets can be found on the Department’s updated ESEA flexibility web page: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/. Individual links to the documents are below:
USED released a fact sheet that contains additional details on programs that focus on schools, students and teacher. The facts are listed below:
Programs that focus on schools, students and teachers include:
ENSURE EVERY SCHOOL HAS A COMPREHENSIVE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PLAN
CREATE A SAFER CLIMATE AT SCHOOLS ACROSS THE COUNTRY
MAKE SURE STUDENTS AND YOUNG ADULTS GET TREATMENT FOR MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES
ENSURE SAFE SCHOOLS
While this document highlights the main initiatives that focus on schools and youth, there are a number of additional proposals that touch on these areas included in the President’s plan.
This came across my desk, and I wanted to make you aware of the event. If you are unable to attend the event but are interested in the information (concussions tend to be one of the top topics when we hear about student athlete safety), there is contact information at the bottom of this post.
In an effort to improve appropriate medical care for youth athletes, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association will host the fourth annual Youth Sports Safety Summit in Washington, D.C. The February 5-6, 2013 event, which will launch the National Action Plan for Sports Safety and introduce the Student Athlete’s Bill of Rights, will build upon the success of the NATA-founded Youth Sports Safety Alliance and its prior summits. The Alliance, comprising more than 80 organizations, is committed to keeping young athletes safe.
Momentum continues to build for comprehensive action to protect student athletes. Public interest has remained strong; however, much of the focus remains on concussion in high school athletes despite the higher number of student athletes in all grades that suffer other serious or even fatal injuries.
Those attending will help to finalize the National Action Plan, a new educational initiative to improve sports safety and achieve appropriate medical care in secondary schools. The Plan will focus on four major areas: cardiac events; neurological injuries; environmentally-induced conditions and dietary/substance-induced conditions. The summit will culminate with visits to legislators on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, February 6.
WHEN: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
WHERE: Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert Street, NW, Washington, DC
CONTACT/RSVP: Robin Waxenberg, 212/489-8006, firstname.lastname@example.org
WEBSITES: www.nata.org or www.youthsportssafetyalliance.org
In case Congress should happen to resolve that minor deluge of fiscal cliff/sequester/debt ceiling any time soon, here are a few of the education-related authorizations and appropriations that have expired. If Congress finds itself looking for something to do, any of the following items are on the 'to-do' list:
Hat tip: CEF. You can read the full report, released by the Congressional Budget Office, here.
Yesterday, AASA was proud to be invited to attend the roll-out of President Obama's gun violence prevention recommendations where the President signed paperwork initiating 23 executive actions and outlined four major legislative proposals aimed at curbing gun violence. In his order, he asked Congress to do the following related to school security:
He also direction action administratively. Specifically, he ordered U.S. Dept of Ed and other agencies to:
In addition, Obama's order stated that Congress should require states and school districts that receive school safety funding from the Department of Education to have comprehensive, up-to-date emergency plans in place for all of their schools. AASA also recommends that all school districts have comprehensive, current emergency plans, and we look forward to discussing how districts would have to report this information to the U.S. Dept of Education, particularly in light of the fact that some states (like CT) already require districts to share their emergency plans with the State Depts. of Ed.
Newtown Superintendent of Schools Dr. Janet Robinson is among a panel of speakers who will testify during a House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee Hearing on Wednesday.
The hearing, called "Gun Violence Prevention: A Call to Action," is being held by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. The hearing will discuss what can be done to prevent future gun violence and learn from the wide range of experience and expertise presented by the invited panelists.
In addition to Robinson, panelists include:
The hearing will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 2 p.m.
Earlier today, Secretary Duncan issued a letter to local school system leaders, talking about his first term as Education Secretary, looking to his second term, briefly mentioning the Sandy Hook tragedy.
Digital Learning Day
The Alliance for Excellent Education is the proud host of Digital Learning Day - a national campaign that celebrates educators and the potential of technology in education.
The national event is taking place on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 and local events are popping up all over the country with more than 17,000 teachers already signed up to participate representing more than 3.3 million students. We urge you to make plans to host local activities and sign-up TODAY to join tens of thousands of educators in a wave of innovation sweeping across our nation’s schools.
You can also join Gov. Bob Wise and the Alliance for Excellent Education for the Digital Town Hall on February 6, 2013 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (ET). The Digital Town Hall will focus on how great teaching, combined with effective technology, makes a positive impact on improving America’s schools, particularly those that serve high-risk and high-poverty populations. It will profile teachers, students, schools, and districts that are implementing digital learning in innovative and successful ways, including
Last year, more than 40,000 people watched this digital event live and more than 3,500 educators participated in the live chat to share resources and best practices.
If you aren’t able to coordinate organization-wide activities, we ask that you email the note below to encourage teachers to participate individually. As a registered participant of Digital Learning Day, teachers receive tips and interactive lessons that offer great opportunities to collaborate, celebrate and participate in this important campaign to highlight the potential of digital learning. There are a lot of great ideas, activities, and toolkits available in the “ways to participate” and the “take action” sections of the Digital Learning Day website. For questions, or if you would like to share your story or activities ideas, please contact Rachel Jones.
Each year, Education Week releases Quality Counts, an in-depth look at a relevant, timely topic in education. This year, as reported on this blog here and here, the focus is on school safety and climate. The summary here is based on the full State of the States report.
In addition to a deep look into a specific topic, Quality Counts also includes state report cards detailing key education indicators and evaluating states based on policy efforts and outcomes. The 2013 update includes new information on three of the six indicators. This year’s updated indicators are Chance-for-Success Index, school finance and transition/alignment among stages of education. The other three indicators—updated in the 2012 Quality Counts—include K-12 achievement index, the teaching profession, and standards/assessments/accountability.
Overall, and for the 5th year in a row, Maryland ranked first, Rounding out the top five were Massachusetts, New York, Virginia and Arkansas. The five lowest-ranking states were Alaska, Mississippi, Idaho, Nevada and South Dakota.
The Chance for Success Index examines the relationship between education and beneficial outcomes throughout life. There are 13 indicators that inform the index and they cover the span of childhood thru adulthood in three broad phases: early childhood, formal education, and educational attainment/workforce outcomes during adulthood. Grading in this indicator is relative, meaning each state’s performance on a given criterion is relative to the nation’s top-ranked state on the same indicator. The nation as a whole received a C+ in the Chance for Success Index.
The Transitions and Alignment indicator looks at sate policy efforts to improve coordination between points of transition in the education pipeline. State activity is monitored around a set of 14 individual policies, and a state’s final score is determined by the number of policies the state has implemented. The 2013 national average in Transitions was a B-. Georgia made history in this category this year, earning a perfect score, having enacted all 14 policies.
State rankings for school finance were determined by a set of eight school finance indicators. Four measures focus on spending patterns, four focus on the distribution of resources within a state. State ranking here is calculated like that in Chance for Success; that is, each state’s performance is relative to the nation’s top-ranked state on the same indicator. The 2013 national average was C, with Wyoming receiving the only A grade!
The above post was a quick overview; here’s a more detailed look. I urge you to poke around the interactive graphics!
Education Week State of the States: States Show Spotty Progress on Education Gauges
Each year, our friends at Education Week take an in-depth, 360-degree look at an issue, topic, or debate within education. This year’s topic is school climate/school safety; work on the collection is the culmination of months of effort, and the editors and contributors had no idea how perfectly timed and relevant this issue of Quality Counts would be, especially in the context of increased focus on school safety, mental illness and gun safety.
The collective report—thru numerous articles, infographics, data and features—highlights just how much a school’s social and discipline environment can and does impact its students’ ability to learn, and its teachers’ ability to teach. AASA’s legislative agenda and policy priorities are, understandably, focused on improving schools through curriculum and personnel, which includes discussion about testing, standards, accountability and funding. Beyond that, though, the legislative agenda has increasingly reflected the thinking of AASA’s members and recognition of the fact that elements of school climate are huge factors in student, teacher and school success, and that peer relationships, perceived/actual levels of safety and school security/discipline matter. In fact, AASA’s Executive Director Dan Domenech leads AASA’s efforts to Educate the Total Child, a campaign centered on the belief that it is time to get back to the basics of supporting the total child—including physical and mental health, along with the development of fundamental, lifelong learning skills.
The takeaway of the report is that discipline and school safety policies—like other education policy discussions—evolve over time and shift with views on what works, what is relevant, and what is possible. To that end, the report looks at discipline policy, student ability to cope with academic and personal pressures, the role of parent and community groups and school design, among other issues, to explore the multitude of factors that shape and impact the school climate debate arena.
You can access the full report. I’ve also linked to some particulars in the report that caught my eye:
Sasha Pudelski, who handles advocacy related to school climate and safety, also blogged about this report.
Check the next blog post for a look at the second half of the report, detailing the State Report Cards!
A new EdWeek survey of 1,300 school personnel on school climate and school safety had some interesting results. I have noted a few below, but encourage you to read the complete series of articles on school climate that are part of this report as well as the survey at EdWeek.org. Here’s the link to the survey: http://www.edweek.org/ew/qc/2013/school-climate-gauging-attitudes.html
A few findings of interest:
In case you have a need to contact your Congressional Delegation, both the House and Senate have released their directories for the 113th Congress. Check them out: House Senate
Sequester: I cannot emphasize this enough: the final fiscal cliff deal did not resolve to issue of the sequester. The fiscal cliff deal just kicked the can down the road. The cuts of the sequester are still looming on the horizon and—absent Congressional action—will kick in March 1.
Getting a little wonky here, read on for some intricate detail (beyond the earlier blog post) related to the sequester: Should the sequester occue in FY13 (anytime before Sept 30, 2013), the total cut would be just over $85 billion (Take the original FY13 cut ($109 billion) and subtract the $24 billion reduction from the fiscal cliff deal). The lower amount of $85 billion would still be split evenly between defense and nondefense spending, roughly $42.7 billion each.
Given that shift in numbers, the actual percentage cut would vary from the 8.2% that OMB is projecting and that AASA has reported. Our friends at CEF have calculated that the new percentage cut would be 5.9%. This would be a cut of $2.9 billion for USED, compared to the previously projected $4.1 billion. At this point, it is safe to keep calculating an 8.2% cut based off FY12 allocations.
Impact Aid: In the context of the current sequester situation, Impact Aid will have a bit of a buffer, attributable to additional funds made available in the continuing resolution. The administration authorized funds for the program to last beyond the current six-month CR (the one that expires Mar 27). When the cuts come, they will still be calculated immediately and would ultimately still impact 2012-13 payments. Having bought a bit of time, the concern now is how much Impact Aid funding will be cut through the final sequester deal and the annual appropriations process, and to what extent it delays/reduces the ability of USED to increase payments beyond base payments already made for the current school year.
Committee Rosters: Updates to the House Budget/Appropriations Committee Roster blog post: Rep. Quigly (D-IL) and Rep. Owens (NY) were appointed to the appropriations committee.
In follow up to an earlier blog on updated House Budget and Appropriations Committee rosters (and a previous post on roster changes to the authorizing committees, here’s what we know in terms of which members will serve on the Senate committees that oversee the allocation of federal funding.
Senate Appropriations (Full Committee)Changes: For the Appropriations Committee, Chairman Inouye (D-HI) passed away in December, and Sen. Mikulski (D-MD) will now be chairperson. The Democrats will hold 16 seats on the full committee, including 3 new members and 1 remaining vacancy. Republicans will have 14 seats on the committee, including 2 new members. Sen. Cochran (MS) is term-limited as ranking member of the committee, a spot likely to be filled by Sen. Shelby (AL).
Not Returning To 113th Congress
Still in 113th Congress, No Longer on the Committee
Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related AgenciesChanges: Democrats will have 10 seats on the subcommittee and Republicans will have 8. Democrats have three vacancies (Inouye, Kohl, and Brown) and Republicans have 2 (Bailey Hutchison and Johnson).
Senate Committee on the BudgetChanges: In the 113th Congress, the Senate Budget Committee will have 12 Democrats (including 3 new members) and 10 Republicans (including 1 new member). The Democrats will have a new staff director.
In follow up to yesterday’s blog post on roster changes to the authorizing committees, here’s what we know in terms of which members will serve on the House committees that oversee the allocation of federal funding.
House Appropriations (Full Committee)Changes: For the 113th Congress, Republicans will have 29 members on the House Appropriations Committee. As of today, there are six new members and one remaining vacancy. Democrats will have 22 members, including six new committee members. Other changes (departures from Congress and the committee) are bulleted below:
House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related AgenciesChanges: The subcommittee will have 8 Republicans and 5 Democrats. As of today, there are 4 Republican vacancies and 2 Democrat vacancies. For the Republicans, Chairman Rehberg lost his reelection bid and will not be returning to the subcommittee, nor will Reps. Lewis or Flake. Rep. Lummis, while returning to Congress, will not be returning to the committee/subcommittee. For the Democrats, Rep. Lowey (NY) will now be an ex officio member of all subcommittees, creating another vacancy on the subcommittee. Rep. Jesse Jackson (IL) will not be returning to Congress. At this point, republicans have
House Committee on the BudgetChanges: In the 113th Congress, there will not be a change of leadership on the budget committee. Republicans will have 22 members, including 4 new members, with one vacancy remaining. Democrats will have 17 seats, and as of today, that includes 3 new members and 6 vacancies. Additional changes (Congressional exits or off the committee) are bulleted below:
The House and Senate have announced which members will serve on the committees overseeing education policy and legislation. To see if your state or district has increased its education clout as a result of changes to committee membership, see the list below.
Few changes were made the Senate side: John McCain was replaced by new South Carolina Senator Tim Scott. Three new Democrats were added to the Committee to replace members who either retired or who changed committees: Tammy Baldwin (WI) Christopher S. Murphy (CT) and Elizabeth Warren (MA).
There were substantial changes made to the House Education Committee’s members and leadership. Rep. Todd Rokita (IN) will now be chairing the committee previously led by Duncan Hunter (CA) that focused on K-12 policy. Rokita did not introduce any education legislation during his first term on the Committee. In addition, Republicans replaced some retiring or un-reelected members with four veteran representatives and three newly elected members, two of whom are from Indiana. The members who departed the Committee but remain in Congress are: Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA), Rep. Richard Hanna (NY), and Rep. Kristi Noem (SD). Susan Brooks (IN) Richard Hudson (NC) and Luke Messer (IN) are the three newbies. The four veterans are: Tom Price (GA), Kenny Marchant (TX), Matt Salmon (AZ) and Brett Gurthrie (KY); Guthrie previously served on the Committee.
Democrats made changes to the Committee as well replacing members who retired or who changed committees. On the Democratic side of the committee, six members were added to replace retiring members, three of whom served previously on the Committee. The veterans returning to the Committee after taking time-off in the last Congress are: Joe Courtney (CT), Jared Polis (CO) and John Yarmuth (KY).The following members are new to the Education Committee in the 113th Congress, but are not new to Congress: Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (Mariana Islands), John Yarmuth (KY) Frederica Wilson (FL) Suzanne Bonamici (OR). Here is the complete list of members on both committees.
Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Democrats Tom Harkin, Iowa - Chair Barbara Mikulski, MarylandPatty Murray, WashingtonBernard Sanders, Vermont (I)Bob Casey, PennsylvaniaKay Hagan, North CarolinaAl Franken, MinnesotaMichael Bennet, ColoradoSheldon Whitehouse, Rhode IslandTammy Baldwin, WisconsinChristopher S. Murphy, ConnecticutElizabeth Warren, MassachusettsRepublicans Lamar Alexander, Tennessee - Ranking Member Michael Enzi, WyomingRichard M. Burr, North CarolinaJohnny Isakson, GeorgiaRand Paul, KentuckyOrrin Hatch, UtahPat Roberts, KansasLisa Murkowski, AlaskaMark Kirk, Illinois Tim Scott, South Carolina
House Committee on Education and The Workforce
RepublicansRep. John Kline, Minnesota - Chair Rep. Thomas E. Petri, WisconsinRep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, CaliforniaRep. Joe Wilson, South CarolinaRep. Virginia Foxx, North CarolinaRep. Tom Price, GeorgiaRep. Kenny Marchant, TexasRep. Duncan Hunter, CaliforniaRep. David "Phil" Roe, TennesseeRep. Glenn "GT" Thompson, PennsylvaniaRep. Tim Walberg, MichiganRep. Matt Salmon, ArizonaRep. Brett Guthrie, KentuckyRep. Scott DesJarlais, TennesseeRep. Todd Rokita, IndianaRep. Larry Bucshon, IndianaRep. Trey Gowdy, South CarolinaRep. Lou Barletta, PennsylvaniaRep. Martha Roby, AlabamaRep. Joseph J. Heck, NevadaRep. Susan Brooks, IndianaRep. Richard Hudson, North CarolinaRep. Luke Messer, IndianaDemocratsGeorge Miller, California - Ranking Member Robert Andrews, New JerseyRobert Scott, VirginiaRubén Hinojosa, TexasCarolyn McCarthy, New YorkJohn Tierney, MassachusettsRush Holt, New JerseySusan Davis, CaliforniaRaúl Grijalva, ArizonaTimothy Bishop, New YorkDave Loebsack, IowaJoe Courtney, ConnecticutMarcia Fudge, OhioJared Polis, ColoradoGregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, Mariana Islands John Yarmuth, KentuckyFrederica Wilson, FloridaSuzanne Bonamici, Oregon
AASA, in partnership with the Consortium for School Networking and Gartner, Inc. has developed a new collection of tools to help schools and districts nationwide use student data to strengthen teaching and learning in the classroom. The new resources include nine templates, which provide guidance on how to select and implement Student Information Systems and Learning Management Systems. They can be downloaded from the Closing the Gap: Turning Data into Action website, along with other reports and resources. All are available free of charge to the K-12 educational community.
Four Finalists Announced 2013 AASA National Superintendent of the Year ProgramFinalists selected from 49 state-level winners;Program celebrates 26th year
ALEXANDRIA, Va., January 3, 2013 – The American Association of School Administrators has announced four finalists in the 2013 National Superintendent of the Year program. The program, co-sponsored by ARAMARK Education, VALIC, and AASA, in its 26th year, honors the leadership and exceptional contributions to education of public school superintendents. AASA will announce the 2013 National Superintendent of the Year on Feb. 21, 2013, at the National Conference on Education in Los Angeles, Calif.The four finalists for 2013 AASA National Superintendent of the Year are:
"AASA is honored to present these four outstanding superintendents," said AASA Executive Director Daniel A. Domenech, in announcing their names. "They represent the best in school system leadership today. They and their colleagues are at work daily, transforming schools to meet 21st century standards and to provide quality education for all students."
“We would like to congratulate the four Finalists and all of the State winners for their outstanding leadership, achievement and commitment to K-12 education,” said Dennis Maple, President, ARAMARK Education. “As a longtime supporter of AASA, we are pleased to recognize the accomplishments of superintendents throughout the nation who work so diligently to give our children exceptional educational experiences and bright futures.”
"VALIC is proud to join the American Association of School Administrators and ARAMARK Education in sponsoring the 2013 Superintendent of the Year award," said Bruce R. Abrams, President and CEO of VALIC. "The Superintendent of the Year program provides a wonderful opportunity to recognize the important role Superintendents play in our nation's public schools. On behalf of VALIC, I would like to congratulate the 2013 honorees and offer our profound appreciation for their commitment and dedication to supporting our nation's children."
The four national finalists were chosen from 49 State Superintendent of the Year finalists. The finalists will be at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 8, 2013, where they will participate in a panel discussion moderated by Rich Bagin, Executive Director of the National School Public Relations Association. Also, the finalists will be interviewed by a national blue-ribbon selection panel of educators, businesspeople and government officials. The finalists are:Wanda Cook-Robinson, superintendent, Southfield Public Schools, Southfield, Mich.
Under Cook-Robinson’s leadership, SPS became the sixth school district in Michigan to be awarded District Accreditation by AdvancED/NCA. She designed new instructional initiatives—including two University Academies in partnership with the University of Michigan-Dearborn, a STEM program, a world cultures K-5 academy, an International Baccalaureate (IB) program, and the introduction of Mandarin Chinese language instruction. She established a partnership with the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) to identify strategies to close gaps in reading proficiency. The district is now a model site for ASCD.
Cook-Robinson holds a Ph.D. in instructional technology and an Ed.S. in educational leadership from Wayne State University, a Master’s degree in curriculum development and supervision from the University of Michigan, and a B.A. in special education from Michigan State University. She has received recognition for her work both in education and in the community—
among others, Wayne State University College of Education Alumni Association’s “Distinguished Educator” award and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Southfield Alumnae Chapter’s “Educator of the Year” award.
Mark Edwards, superintendent, Mooresville Graded School District, Mooresville, N.C.
When Mark Edwards came to MGSD in 2007, his vision for preparing students for life in the 21st century included a laptop for every child in grades 4 through 12 for their 24/7 use. Since 2007, MGSD’s academic achievement for students testing proficient or advanced on state end-of-grade tests has increased by 16 percentage points from 73 percent to 89 percent. The 4-year cohort graduation rate has improved by 13 percentage points, with 90 percent of seniors graduating. The college-going rate has increased from 74 to 88 percent.
Edwards holds a Ph.D. in education from Vanderbilt University, a M.Ed. in administration and supervision from Tennessee Technical University, and a B.S. in education from the University of Tennessee. Before coming to Mooresville, Edwards served as dean for the University of Northern Alabama’s School of Education, superintendent of Henrico Public Schools (VA) and superintendent of Danville Public Schools (VA). Edwards has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the 2001 Virginia State Superintendent of the Year, a 2002 Tech Savvy Superintendent by eSchool News, and the 2003 Harold McGraw Prize in Education.
C.J. Huff, superintendent, Joplin Schools, Joplin, Mo.
Over 60 percent of the students of Joplin Schools are eligible for free-or-reduced price lunch. After Huff arrived in 2008, the schools adopted a comprehensive plan to address lackluster student performance and low levels of community engagement. Since then, the student drop-out rate has been cut in half, community support has increased, and the district has established 280 partnerships with local businesses, faith-based communities, and social service agencies, to meet student needs. The program has become the model for the creation of Bright Futures, USA, that now serves nearly 50,000 children in a dozen school districts in Missouri.
Huff earned an Ed.D. in education leadership from the University of Arkansas and an M.S. in educational leadership and a Specialist degree in education from Missouri State University. His B.S. in elementary education is from Pittsburg State Universitiy. Among other recognition, he is a recipient of the Bob Grossman Leadership in Communication Award from the National Association of School Public Relations, the Tech Savvy Superintendent of the Year from eSchool News, and the National Together for Tomorrow Recognition for the Bright Futures program from the U.S. Department of Education.
Maryalice Russell, superintendent, McMinnville School District, McMinnville, Or.
Since 2003, Russell has led a number of initiatives to improve student learning, including a comprehensive approach to STEM education that features a FIRST LEGO Robotics team in each elementary school, STEM Summer Camp for girls, a STEM problem-based 90-minute algebra class for all 9th graders, and an Engineering and Aerospace Science Academy. In 2008, Russell initiated a strategic planning process that has guided comprehensive school improvement resulting in gains in student achievement that are significantly above the state average. MSD is the only district in Oregon with three schools identified by Oregon Department of Education as Model Schools.
Russell earned an Ed.D. Education from Oregon State University and an Education Leadership Certificate from Lewis and Clark College. She has an M.S. in teaching, an M.S. Ed. in administration, and a B.S. in teaching from Portland State University. Russell and the district have received numerous awards for their work. In addition, Russell plays a leadership role at the state level, where she has participated as a member of the Confederation of Oregon Administrative Funding Coalitions and serves as a governor-appointed commissioner to the Quality Education Commission
The annual Superintendent of the Year program is open to all U.S., Canadian, and International School superintendents who plan to continue in the profession. The applicants were measured against the following criteria:
A $10,000 college scholarship will be presented in the name of the National Superintendent of the Year to a student in the high school from which the superintendent graduated, or the school now serving the same area.
The National Superintendent of the Year will receive a jacket emblazoned with the National Superintendent of the Year emblem and, with the three other national finalists, will be recognized at the AASA National Conference on Education on Feb. 21, 2013, during the ceremony announcing the National Superintendent of the Year.
The 49 state-level, Canadian and international winners will also be honored at the AASA National Conference on Education. The winners are:
Jeffery E. Langham
Elmore County Public Schools
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
Jeffrey J. Smith
Balsz Elementary School District 31
Conway Public School District
Garrett G. Rutherford
Upland Unified School District
Sandra B. Smyser
Eagle County Schools
Gary G. Richards
Wilton Public Schools
Kevin Richard Fitzgerald
Caesar Rodney School District
Richard A. Shirley
Sumter District Schools
Christopher B. Erwin
Banks County School System
Wiley J. Dobbs
Twin Falls School District 411
Jane L. Westerhold
Community Consolidated School District 62
Craig J. Hintz
Warsaw Community Schools
Thomas N. Lane
Carlisle Community School District
Olathe Public Schools, USD 233
Boone County Schools
Michael W. Faulk
Central Community School System
Betsy M. Webb
Bangor School Department
Jack R. Smith
Calvert County Public Schools
Revere Public Schools
Southfield Public Schools
Jeffrey J. Olson
Saint Peter Public Schools
David J. Daigneault
Grenada School District
Jason A. Butcher
Lewistown Public Schools
Kevin M. Riley
Gretna Public Schools
Caroline B. McIntosh
Lyon County School District
Christine C. Rath
Concord School System, SAU 8
Christopher M. Manno
Burlington Township School District
Emmanuel David Atencio
Jemez Valley Public Schools
L. Oliver Robinson
Shenendehowa Central School District
Mark Adrian Edwards
Mooresville Graded School District
West Fargo Public Schools
West Carrollton City Schools
Tulsa Public Schools
McMinnville School District 40
William N. Miller
Tyrone Area School District
Burrillville School District
Rainey Harris Knight
Darlington County School District
Robert A. Sittig
Baltic School District 49-1
Johnny F. McDaniel
Bradley County Schools
Daniel P. King
Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District
Rich County School District
Windham Southeast Supervisory Union
James G. Merrill
Virginia Beach City Public Schools
Saundra Lynne Hill
Pasco School District 1
Blaine C. Hess
Jackson County Schools
Pewaukee School District
Big Horn County School District 2
Robert T. Mills
Lester B. Pearson School Board, Dorval, Québec
International Ellen Stern Saigon South International School, Vietnam
About AASA The American Association of School Administrators, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. The mission of AASA is to advocate for the highest quality public education for all students, and develop and support school system leaders. For more information, visit www.aasa.org. Follow AASA on twitter at www.twitter.com/AASAHQ. Become a fan of the AASA Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AASApage.
About ARAMARK EducationARAMARK Education provides a complete range of food, facility, uniform and other support services to more than 500 K-12 school districts in the U.S. It offers public and private education institutions a family of dining and facility services including: on-site and off-site breakfast and lunch meal programs, after-school snacks, catering, nutrition education, retail design and operations, maintenance, custodial, grounds, energy management, construction management, and building commissioning. For more information on ARAMARK’s K-12 food service programs, please visit www.aramarkschools.com.
About ARAMARKARAMARK is a leader in professional services, providing award-winning food services, facilities management, and uniform and career apparel to health care institutions, universities and school districts, stadiums and arenas, and businesses around the world. The company is recognized as the industry leader in FORTUNE magazine's "World's Most Admired Companies," and as one of America's Largest Private Companies by both FORTUNE and Forbes magazines. ARAMARK seeks to responsibly address issues that matter to its clients, customers, employees and communities by focusing on employee advocacy, environmental stewardship, health and wellness, and community involvement. Headquartered in Philadelphia, ARAMARK has approximately 255,000 employees serving clients in 22 countries. Learn more at the company's Web site, www.aramark.com, or www.twitter.com/aramarknews.
About ValicFor more than half a century, VALIC has served as a leading retirement plan provider for K-12 schools and school districts, as well as for higher education, healthcare, government and other and not-for-profit institutions. As of June 30, 2012 VALIC has more than $67 billion in total assets under management and manages plans for nearly 25,000 groups serving nearly 2 million plan participants. VALIC represents The Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, VALIC Financial Advisors, Inc. and VALIC Retirement Services Company.
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One sentence summary: The Congress did act in time to avoid sending the nation over the fiscal cliff, though the final bill fails to address some of the nation’s longer-term fiscal challenges, setting Congress—and the nation—up for another round of heated debate and discussion as early as next month.
Giving credence to the concept of ‘better late than never’, the House passed the fiscal cliff bill the Senate had adopted earlier this week. There was a bunch of political posturing (both sides of the hill, both sides of the aisle) that I won’t detail here. All we need to know is that the nation barely avoided the fiscal cliff. I’ve bulleted the details below. Take care to read the full summary, though, as the deal Congress passed is not comprehensive and sets the stage for an additional set of fiscal conversations in the next two months that could prove just as heated and damaging.
You can read the full text of the bill.
A quick run down of things happening on the hill this week:
AASA’s Winter Edition of the Legislative Trends Report is now available! This issue focuses on state legislation enacted since 2011 affecting superintendent contracts, eligibility, evaluation, vacancies, tenure, pay, and supervision of other districts. Click here to read the report.
Every so often (roughly four times a year), Sasha and I put together Policy Insider, a publication that allows us to get 'in the weeds' on a certain education policy issue. We are pleased to release the Winter 2012 edition. This time around, Sasha writes about the administration's recent proposal for Perkins (Career/Tech) reauthorization and I conclude a three-part series on education technology, with a quick write up on AASA's continued efforts (and call to action!) related to the fiscal cliff and sequestration.
Check it out!
Andrew Hysell, Project Director at Campaign for Healthy Kids, contributed this article to Huffington Post, looking at Race to the Top and Rural.
In his work at Save the Children, Andrew collaborated with a recent applicant (ultimately unsuccessful) to the Race to the Top District competition. This article explores the far-from-new and unique challenges facing rural schools, especially in the context of competitive grants. His article crystalizes the sentiment that concern about competition in rural areas is about capacity, not willingness, to compete.
"When we think of inequities, whether a poor child lives in a city, suburb, or rural community doesn’t seem that relevant. The reality is that children enrolled in small, rural schools may not see much state and federal innovation funding as their school districts struggle to compete for grants. With more education funding being distributed through competitions, it’s important that small, rural school districts get a fair shake." Read the article.
Superintendents: Please take a few moments to complete the District Speak Up Survey. The rest of this blog links to more information, talks about how responses are at an all time high, and calls out those states with a lower response rate. I'd love for you to read the whole post, but not as much as Speak Up would appreciate a few more survey responses!
AASA is pleased to once again be partnering with the Speak Up survey. This year is marks the tenth anniversary of the survey, which asks students and other education stakeholders--including school administrators--how they use, and would like to use, technology for learning.
Have you taken the survey? If not, please do so today! You have until NEXT Friday, December 21!
More background is available in a previous blog post and the general Speak Up 2012 webpage.
Check out these funfacts:
That said, we always welcome more responses, and a handful of states in particular have low response numbers. If you are in Alaska, Connecticut, Idaho, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon or Nevada, help increase the response rate for your state!
USED today announced 16 winners in the $400 million Race to the Top District Competition. You'll recall, from earlier AASA blog posts, that USED received 372 initial applications that were whittled down to 61 finalists
The $400 million will be spread across 16 winners in 12 states: California (3 awards), Colorado, DC, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina (2 awards), Nevada, New York, South Carolina, Texas (2 awards) and Washington.
The awardees represent 12 individual districts, 3 consortia, and one applicant that applied as an individual that appears to be a network of schools:
AASA received a heads up on the list of winners, but a host of questions remain, all likely to be answered in the official USED press release, which will be available at www.ed.gov:
First, the fiscal cliff update. Depending on the minute of the hour, negotiations are either on, or off. Conversations over the weekend involved Speaker Boehner and President Obama, but details are still sparse. The conversation has separate, but related, pieces: what to do about the expiring tax cuts, what to do about avoiding the fiscal cliff, and how to address the sequester.
Not surprisingly, neither side wants the country to go off the fiscal cliff. How to avoid it, though, is the point of conflict. Republicans want to look at spending cuts, Democrats want to consider tax rate adjustments/increases. Odds are the final deal will include a blend of both, it's just a question of who gives on what and how the final package is assembled.
One possible scenario is to address the expiring taxes in the lame duck. Left unaddressed, those rate changes are immediate. Federal agencies have some flexibility in how/when the cuts of the sequester would be absorbed, so while the cuts come January 2, the impact could be delayed (like what we anticipate for K12 programs, with the actual cuts coming in July).
And in the world of all things ironic.....this is the conversation about avoiding the sequester cuts for this year. You'll recall that the threat of a sequester is in place for 10 years, as part of the the Budget Control Act. That means that, absent a complete deal (whether a Super-Committee-like blended approach of spending cuts/revenue increases/mandatory program reform or rescission/retraction/amendment of the Budget Control Act) the sequester would remain an annual consequence. There is a sentiment of support for keeping the threat of the sequester in place, as a pressure point/catalyst to get the real work done. Because that worked so well this time around.....<end sarcasm>
Second, the Sandy supplemental: Last week, OMB shares the official request for emergency supplemental appropriations (funds) for Hurricane (SuperStorm) Sandy relief. The package totals $60.4 billion. No funds are made available for the department of education, but there are three significant portions related to the ability to rebuild/repair schools:
Impacted by Sandy? Check out AASA's efforts to provide schools relief. We're offering the ability to make donations and to support AASA's Urgent Need Mini Grant Program, along with AASA's Sandy Relief Center.
AASA's latest toolkit and related economic impact report are getting a lot of traction! Hopefully you have been able to look at the toolkit and examine the role of federal dollars within your state and school district and use the sample invoice and letter to help raise awareness with your Congressional delegation and local media. If not, I hope you can take some time this week.
AASA's toolkit has been covered in EdWeek, by the Committee for Education Funding, the PTA (who made the resource available to their membership) and the National Title I Association (check their blog).
Good news! You'll recall that AASA had expressed concerns with the final school meal pattern regulations for the school lunch program. Our concerns weren't unique; in fact, the House Education and the Workforce Committee echoed our concerns earlier this fall, sending two letters to USDA Secretary Vilsack, urging USDA to reexamine the new meal patterns and calling for a GAO Report looking in to the challenges and burdens LEAs face in implementing the new meal pattern.
On Friday, USDA released new guidance, directed to Regional Directors and Special Nutrition programs, detailing increased flexibility in the meat/meat alternate and grain maximums for the 2012-13 school year.
While you can read the full letter here, the major change is that the Daily/weekly/ maximum for grains and meat/meat alternates is lifted for the 2012-13 school eyar. That is, while there will be NO change in the method of measuring the required daily minimum quantities for grains or meat/meat alternates, state agencies shall consider any SFA compliant with the requirements for grains and meat/meat alternates if the menu meets the daily/weekly minimums for these two components, regardless of whether they exceed the maximums of the same components.
Read the related AP Wire story.
UPDATED FEBRUARY 5: This blog post includes an updated sequestration invoice.
AASA created this toolkit in tandem with our recent Economic Impact report, Federal Public Education Revenues and the Sequester, to help school districts and education stakeholders raise awareness about the true local impacts of the looming cuts of the fiscal cliff and sequester.
URGENT Call to Action: With fiscal cliff negotiations ongoing, it is more important than ever raise awareness of the impact of the sequester on education. Given the extremely local nature of this data, AASA was able to create a ready-to-use Opinion/Editorial (Op/Ed) letter, Letter to the Editor, letters for communicating with Congress, and an invoice and draft letter to quantify and qualify the impact of the sequester on your district.
Please take advantage of these resources. We ask AASA members to work with local media outlets and sources to get this word out!
Data and Maps: The following excel spreadsheets detail (one state per page, 10 pages per file) the share of federal, state and local dollars for every school district in the nation. You can look up your district to see the role of federal dollars in your operating budget. Each file contains LEA data for the state abbreviations in the title.
Additional AASA Sequestration Resources:
Today, AASA released a new report entitled Federal Public Education Revenues and the Sequester. The report, fourteenth in AASA’s Economic Impact Series, examines a comprehensive dataset detailing education revenues for every school district in the nation. In partnership with ProximityOne, AASA was able to analyze total education revenues—split between federal, state and local share—to see what districts and states are disproportionately reliant on federal revenues and to explore the extremely dire situation this creates for schools as the nation braces for the looming ‘fiscal cliff’ and cuts of sequestration.
Looking at the share of federal revenues within school’s operating budgets for FY10 (the 2010-11 school year), AASA found that federal dollars represented—on average—12.3 percent of schools’ revenues. Further:
Funding realities within our nation’s public schools mean that some districts are more reliant on federal revenues. As a result, these districts have to apply the ‘across-the-board’ cut of sequestration to a larger portion of their overall operating budget than their wealthier counterparts. FY10 federal education dollars were higher than current levels, due in part to the presence of emergency education spending and subsequent spending cuts through the annual appropriations process. In an effort to adjust for these changes and to start a conversation about the impact of the sequester on school districts, the second half of the report adjusts the FY10 spending levels to estimate federal funding share within state aggregate operating budgets.
The adjusted projections for FY12 federal share drop closer to the historic level, with federal revenue representing closer to 10 percent of education budgets. The states that reported higher reliance on federal dollars in FY10 continue to have higher portions of education budgets comprised of federal revenues. This data is a clear illustration of the shortcoming of sequestration, as both a policy premise and implemented reality.
Beyond making school-level data available for every school district in the nation, this report and its dataset are a call to action: Congress must act now. Working to avoid reach consensus to avoid sequestration and the fiscal cliff represents the very essence of Congress’ job: As publicly elected officials put in place to make tough policy decisions, the work of avoiding the fiscal cliff and sequester are arguably the toughest decisions Congress will address in the forseeable future.
“Now is the time for action, now is the time for leadership,” said AASA Executive Director Daniel Domenech. “There is no room for error and thoughtless, blunt cuts. We call on Congress to set aside differences and find common ground in a responsible approach that doesn’t disproportionately impact schools by gutting our national investment in education and long-term fiscal health and competitiveness.”
“In a federal fiscal climate with a seemingly laser-focus on ‘cut, cut, cut’, it is more important than ever that our nation’s leaders recognize the important role of education in not only educating students, but in preparing a high-quality workforce for post-secondary opportunity, whether work or college,” said AASA President Benny Gooden, Superintendent of Fort Smith Schools in Arkansas. “Education budgets across the country have persisted through unprecedented cuts attributable to the recession. The additional cuts of sequestration will devastate the already fragile economic reality of our nation’s schools and will set an unacceptably low new baseline for future allocations.”
In conjunction with the release of the report, AASA released its Fiscal Cliff Toolkit, a comprehensive set of resources that utilize this report and dataset to give educators and community leaders everything they need to make urge Congress to action, including background information on sequestration and the fiscal cliff, a sample letter to the editor, a draft opinion/editorial piece, and template letters for communicating with Congress.
“We encourage AASA members and other education stakeholders to use this very powerful data to make the case at the local level—in your communities, with your local media, and with your congressional delegation—that the fiscal cliff is something to be avoided,” said Noelle Ellerson, AASA’s Assistant Director for Policy Analysis and Advocacy. “The report and related toolkit have everything needed to tell an individual district’s story in a compelling manner.”
About AASAThe American Association of School Administrators, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. The mission of AASA is to advocate for the highest quality public education for all students, and develop and support school system leaders. For more information, visit www.aasa.org. Follow AASA on twitter at www.twitter.com/AASAHQ.
ProximityOne develops geographic-demographic-economic data and analytical tools and helps organizations knit together and use diverse data in a decision-making and analytical framework. We develop custom demographic/economic estimates and projections, geographic and geocoded address files and assist with impact and geospatial analyses. Wide-ranging organizations use our tools (software, data, methodologies) to analyze their own data integrated with other data. Follow ProximityOne on Twitter at https://twitter.com/proximityone. Contact ProximityOne (888-364-7656) with questions about data covered in this section or to discuss custom estimates, projections or analyses for your areas of interest.
Earlier today I was talking with AASA President Benny Gooden. He relayed to me that his board had recently voted to adopt a sequestration resolution that calls on Congress to "...amend the Budget Control Act to avoid sequestration to mitigate the drastic cuts to education that would affect our students and communities, and to protect education as an investment critical to economic stability and American competitiveness."
Feel free to use this resolution as a template in your district. Additional sequestration resources are available in the AASA Sequestration Toolkit.
Accountability under NCLB and the waivers operates primarily by using standardized test scores to identify and sanction students, schools and educators.
The Forum on Educational Accountability calls on Congress and the states to redefine accountability. It proposes that schools, districts and the system as a whole be accountable primarily for taking steps to improve schools. This must involve using multiple forms of evidence gathered over time, including a range of information about student learning outcomes as well as school inputs and processes, and using the data for steps that evidence and research say will improve educational outcomes.
This webinar should be of particular interest to school board members, administrators, teachers, community and policy organizations concerned about accountability in education.
The Rethinking Accountability Webinar will:
When: December 6, 2012; 3:30 – 4:30 pm, EST
Presenters: Maribel T. Childress, Principal, Monitor Elementary School in Springdale, Arkansas; Dr. Adriane Dorrington, National Education Association Senior Policy Analyst on Teacher Evaluations, Effectiveness, and Peer Assistance and Review; Dr. Monty Neill, Executive Director, FairTest; Chair, FEA; Kelly Pollitt, Associate Executive Director of Advocacy, Policy and Special Projects, National Association of Elementary School Principals and Moderator Beth Foley, Senior Policy Analyst, Education Policy and Practice, NEA.
To Participate: On Dec 6, just before 3:30, follow the instructions at https://www302.livemeeting.com/cc/nea1/join?id=S3R8CR&role=attend&pw=FEAEPP310%24.
If you are a first-time user of this system, or for more information about logging on, see detailed instructions at http://www.edaccountability.org/EVENTS.html.
The Forum on Educational Accountability bases its work on the Joint Organizational Statement on NCLB, signed by more than 150 national education, civil rights, religious, disability, parent and civic organizations. FEA offers proposals for overhauling NCLB/ESEA regarding assessment, accountability, improvement and opportunity to learn. Its work on accountability includes recommendations to Congress, the report Rethinking Accountability, and a letter to Congress regarding the evaluation of teachers and principals. Go to http://www.edaccountability.org for these papers and more resources.
In quick speed, the Education Department announced the 61 finalists for the FY12 RttT District competition. You'll recall that earlier this month, USED received 372 applications for the 15-25 awards that will total $400 million.
The 61 applications represent nearly 200 districts from 24 states and the District of Columbia. Thirteen of the finalists are consortia applications, and 48 are individual districts.
Final awards have to be made by the end of the calendar year.
Need a little light reading? Want a quick resource on sequestration and what it means for your schools?
Check out AASA's one pager on sequestration and the schools. It's ready to be printed or emailed, ready for use with school adminsitrators, your school board, the community, or anyone looking for a concise overview of what the sequester is, how we got here and what it could mean for education.
Looking for something more expansive? AASA has a rich set of sequestration resources you can use, in our Sequestration Toolkit.
Click and print today! Sequestration and the Schools (PDF)
Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents, in collaboration with the Center for Research, Regional Engagement and Outreach at SUNY New Paltz, released a report earlier this year detailing the how the cost to implement the federal Race to the Top (RTTT) mandates well exceed the funding provided by the competitive grant. The superintendents argue that without substantive validation, New York State and U.S. taxpayers “are funding a grand and costly experiment that has the potential to take public education in the wrong direction at a time when we need to be more competitive than ever before.”
For example, in six Rockland County districts, leaders projected a total four-year cost of almost $11 million. This compares with an aggregate revenue of about $400K in Race to the Top funding – a $10 million deficit representing an increase in average per pupil spending for this single initiative of nearly $400 per student. In a sample of eighteen Lower Hudson school districts, the aggregate cost just to get ready for the first year of RTTT in September 2012 was $6,472,166, while the aggregate funding was $520,415. These districts had to make up a cost differential of $5,951,751 with local taxpayer dollars.
In order to meet the expectations outlined in the RTTT grant applications, much is being sacrificed including: teacher and staff cuts resulting in increased class sizes; redirected priorities and unmet facilities’ needs; diminishing professional curriculum; and sacrificed leadership in curriculum development and nontraditional approaches.
Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents believe New York’s leaders still have the opportunity to change its course before its school systems are radically and unalterably changed, perhaps for the worse, and at a great short and long-term financial loss to all taxpayers. They recommend: a mid-course assessment to determine progress for achieving real return on this costly investment; greater local flexibility in evaluation processes; more careful consideration of the technology infrastructure and testing costs implications; and better planning, especially concerning teachers and principals who receive poor evaluations.
The report can be downloaded here: http://www.newpaltz.edu/crreo/brief_8_education.pdf
If you live in a state that received a RTTT grant, do you believe that the costs to implement the mandates of the competition greatly exceed the amount districts and states were awarded by the U.S. Dept of Education? If so, email Sasha Pudelski at email@example.com
Last week the Department released a list of the 372 applications they received for their Race to the Top ‘District’ competition. Funded at $400 million in FY12, the funds will be used to award somewhere between 15 and 25 applicants at up to $40 million.
The 372 applications represent 1,189 local education agencies, including public schools, charter schools, virtual schools and education service agencies. Of the 372 applications, 265 are single district applicants, meaning that the remaining 107 applications were from consortia representing 924 districts (more than three quarters of applicants (77.7%) applied as part of a consortium). The 372 applications represent just of the 41.7% of the 892 districts/consortia had expressed initial intent to apply in August.
The details of the applications for this round of applications mirror those of the state level applications: tensions with unions and concerns about the cost of merely assembling the application, which is a separate conversation from the size of the final awards and whether the final awards will cover the true work of the application.
Looking at where the applications came from, the states submitting the five largest number of applications were Texas (35), Georgia (23), California (21), North Carolina (20) and Florida (17). The states whose applications cover the five largest number of schools were Texas (113), Kentucky (81), New York (77), Washington (76) and Missouri (66).
AASA remains committed to the belief that federal funding for K-12 education should remain committed to prioritizing federal flagship formula programs (including Title I and IDEA). The $400 million used for this round of Race to the Top ‘District’ will ultimately serve but a sliver of the nation’s public schools. Looking to FY13 and considering that the federal government is currently operating under a continuing resolution, that means that will be $400 million for yet another round of RttT. The $400 million would do much to reduce the depth of the cuts associated with the sequester. $400 million would represent more than ¼ of the anticipated 8.2% cut in Title I or slightly less than half of the same cut within IDEA.
AASA, in partnership with the Alliance for Excellent Education led for Governor Bob Wise, is pleased to announce our participation in the Digital Learning Day campaign. This national campaign is designed to celebrate innovative teaching and highlight practices that make learning more personalized and engaging for students, exploring how digital learning can provide all students with the opportunities they deserve – to build the skills needed to succeed in college, career, and life. Through this campaign we are hoping to build momentum for a wave of innovation that changes policies, shifts attitudes, and supports wide-scale adoption of these promising instructional practices.
By signing up now, participants will have access to targeted toolkits outlining ideas and ways to plan their Digital Learning Day celebration, as well as updates, informational videos, webinars, and other resources. No matter the approach, no matter the grade level, no matter the subject or geographic location, no matter a teacher’s specific comfort with using technology, this campaign will challenge education professionals and policy makers at all levels to start a conversation, make a proclamation, improve a lesson, or create a plan.
Then, on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 a national town hall meeting will be held to highlight and celebrate participants across the nation. Schools, libraries, community programs and classrooms are invited to showcase how they are using digital media to improve teaching and learning!
The campaign is a movement that will help provide a quality education for EVERY child. Change is up to YOU – we hope you will help build this wave for innovation, personalized learning, and great teaching by participating in the Digital Learning Day campaign effort.
Please sign up at http://www.digitallearningday.org to learn more about how you can be part of this ground-breaking event. You can also “like” Digital Learning Day on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NationalDigitalLearningDay and follow the discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #DLDday.
A little light Veteran's Day reading. Here's a synopsis of what happened on election night, with a focus on education.
Election Results: No changes at the federal level. Democrats in the White House and Senate, Republicans in the House.
State Gubernatorial Elections: Republicans are the chief state executive (governor) in 30 states; Democrats hold the governorship in 19 states. The lone independent is in Rhode Island. Eleven seats were up for election this year (compared to the 36 up for election in 2014): DE, IN, MO, MT, NH, NC, ND, UT, VT, WA, WV and Puerto Rico.
State Legislature Elections: More than 6,000 of the nation’s 7,383 seats in 99 state legislative chambers were up for grabs this year. Partisan shifts occurred in only 11 chambers, including both the House and Senate in Arkansas (now ruby red!), the Alaska Senate (previously split down the middle, now under Republican control), and a host of pick-ups for Democrats: Colorado House, Maine’s House and Senate, Minnesota’s House and Senate, New Hampshire’s House, New York’s Senate and Oregon’s House. Republicans lead both chambers in 26 state legislatures while Democrats control both chambers in 19 states. Four states have split legislatures (IA, KY, NH, VA) and Nebraska is unicameral and non-partisan.
Chief State School Officers: Four states (NC, MT, IN and WA) elected their chief state school officer.
2012 State Elections: Candidates and Results: State-by-state list of state elections (governor, lieutenant governor, chief school officer, state board of education, etc…)
Related Readings/Articles: There was a deluge of post-election analysis (and spin?!). I’ve read a lot of it, and have pulled some of the more relevant/thoughtful pieces that include education.
Sources: The New York Times, The Washington Post, CQ, The Hill, Roll Call, Politico, White Board Advisors, Committee for Education Funding
From our friends at the Alliance at Excellent Education:
Calling All District Leaders!The Need for Systemic Technology Planning to Address Higher Standards
Thursday, November 15, 20122:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (ET)
Panelists: Ryan Imbriale, Principal, Patapsco High School (Baltimore County Public Schools) (invited); Bailey Mitchell, Chief Technology Officer, Forsyth County Schools (Georgia) (invited); Tom Ryan, President, Council of Great City Schools (invited); and Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education.
As states have rightly moved to require that all students be college and career ready, school district leaders must now make far-reaching decisions that will affect the next decade of education in the United States. Partnering with other organizations, the Alliance for Excellent Education (the Alliance) seeks to provide education leaders in states and school districts with tools to make good decisions about technology aligned with the goals and vision for their students.
Please join the Alliance on Thursday, November 15 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (ET), for a webinar discussion on the need for states and districts to develop plans that incorporate the use of technology in school improvement efforts, specifically as they implement college- and career-ready standards for all students; use online assessments to gauge comprehension and learning; integrate new teacher evaluations; deal with shrinking budgets; and address the effects of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act waivers.
Make your plans today! State and district leaders are encouraged to view and participate in this important webinar discussion of the tools and resources district leaders will need to address technology’s role in the successful implementation of these higher standards in K–12 public schools.
Register and submit questions for the webinar at http://media.all4ed.org/registration-nov-15-2012 .
Please direct questions concerning the webinar to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: If you are unable to watch the webinar live, an archived version will be available at http://www.all4ed.org/webinars approximately one or two business days after the event airs.
The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) developed the Urgent Need Mini-Grant program in 2002 to help public school districts meet the urgent health, mental health, education, and social service needs that impact poor children and their families. Every day you see the kinds of hardships faced. And, as school administrators, you know how the smallest kindness can enhance a child’s life…make them feel good about themselves and more connected to school.
This year, the AASA Urgent Need Mini-Grant will, through your membership and goodwill, provide funds to assist both children and families affected by Hurricane Sandy AND children and families in unaffected school districts who need a leg up.
In 2009, AASA awarded monetary grants to 16 school districts for dental health, school uniforms, winter clothing and coats, school supplies and more as a result of the Urgent Need Mini-Grant Program. For more information and to apply click here.
Check out today's Title 1-derland blog entry, an education roundtable take on what the election means for education. AASA contributed one of the responses!
Hurricane Sandy has has affected millions of people on the East coast. Thousands of children have been displaced and have no place to go, their homes and neighborhoods left destroyed. Efforts to rebuild affected areas will take years as communities work to restore homes, schools, roads, libraries. AASA believes that we all must reach out to lend a helping hand to those most in need.
In light of this trageday and in an effort to support efforts to get schools back online, AASA has annoucned its online exchange. Like our efforts after Hurricane Katrina, AASA's Hurricane Sandy Relief support ailing communities through a three-pronged response to the storm and its aftermath:
Check out http://www.aasa.org/sandyrelief.aspx for additional information, whether you have something you can donate/give or if your district needs aid.
Follow @Noellerson, @AASAHQ and @AASATotalChild for more information as it becomes available. For immediate questions, email email@example.com.
So, there’s a presidential election today. Beyond that, though, there are a lot of decisions that will be made today that will directly impact what happens in schools, whether at the federal, state or local level. On the ballot I cast this morning, there was a school board decision along with a bond issue for school capital improvement. There are many education related decisions being made today.
Congressional elections will impact committee make-up, state-level intiatives are numerous and potentially far-reaching, and local school board elections will shape local education leadership. In advance of the obvious post-election analysis I’ll post as this week rolls on, I wanted to start here with a catch-all of what’s going on re: education.
Starting with the elections at the federal level, there are already a handful of known vacancies, attributable to either retirement, primary losses and other natural exits. Beyond the names listed here, the membership of the various committees we follow most closely (education, appropriations and budget) are all subject to further change once the election results are finalized and committee rosters are adjusted to account for election losses and transfers to other committees. Thanks to CEF for assembling the information in one place.
Our friends at Education Gadfly have assembled what they’re calling the top seven state-level education initiatives on ballots across the country. You can read the full story here. A quick overview is bulleted here; how do you think this list stacks up?
AASA wishes all those affected by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy a full and speedy recovery. As we did after Hurricane Katrina, AASA seeks to link school leaders across the country to those school districts and children most affected by the storm. In these instances, AASA members have always shown solidarity for public schools and the children they serve. AASA is organizing an online exchange to match what superintendents are able to give with those most in need. Watch for details about the exchange coming soon. We thank you, in advance, for your cooperation during this difficult time, and we hope that our efforts will assist those working to pull their schools and communities back together.
Direct all questions to our Children’s Programs Department (firstname.lastname@example.org).
AASA is a proud supporter of the Speak Up survey. This year's survey represents the 10th time the national survey has asked students how they use--and how they would like to use--technology for learning.
In the 2012 survey, students will be asked about their use of mobile tools, social networks and gaming as part of their learning in and out of the classroom. Teachers and administrators will be asked what tools they use and what they want to use and how prepared they are for technology use, and parents will be asked how they feel about the role of technology in their children’s lives and learning.
Ther national online survey is open for one more month (through Dec. 14) and will be completed by more than 400,000 K-12 students, educators and parents. To date, more than 2.6 million K-12 students, educators and parents from more than 30,000 schools in all 50 states have participated in Speak Up.
Take the survey today!
This webinar, Effective School Improvement: Integrating Real-Life Stories and Policy, was rescheduled due to Hurricane Sandy.
What does effective school improvement look like? Hear from District Superintendent Bart Goering of Kansas and retired school social worker and elementary school reform team leader Brenda Rinkes of Ohio tell their stories of school improvement. Gary Ratner, chair of FEA’s school improvement committee, will then explore how their strategies align with FEA’s policy and practice recommendations for turning around low-achieving schools.
Questions we will address include:
Who: Bart Goering, Superintendent, Spring Hill School District, KS; Brenda Rinkes, retired school social worker and reform team leader, Bellaire Elementary School, Bellaire, OH; Gary M. Ratner, Executive Director, Citizens for Effective Schools; Chair, FEA Committee on School Improvement/Capacity-building; and moderator Mary Kingston, Manager of Government Relations, National Association of Secondary School Principals
When: November 19, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. Eastern time
Please Register at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/311765512. This registration also explains what you will need to do on November 19th to participate in the webinar. Please sign up no later than November 16th.
In follow up to an earlier letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack urging flexibility on school lunch requirements, House Education and the Workforce Committee Republicans issued a press release announcing their request of a study on new school lunch requirements.
AASA was happy to coordinate a site visit to a local WV public school, highlighting an excellent school nutrition program while featuring the strain and pressures the school faces in implementing a successful program under such inflexible, controversial requirements.
The request was submitted to the Government Accountability Office, the audit/evaluation/investigative arm of Congress. The report request focuses on four areas:
Read the letter request.
In addition to AASA's sequestration toolkit and economic impact/sequestration reports, here is a compilation of other sequestration-related resources you may find helpful. AASA jas actually made all of these resources available at one time or another, but a special thanks to our friends at CEF for sharing them all in one list.
I was going to post this yesterday, when it was 100 days until Digital Learning Day, but Hurricane Sandy had other plans! Here it is, with just under 100 days to go until Digital Learning Day.
Believe it or not, there are less than 100 days until Digital Learning Day 2013! We know that February sounds very far away, yet it’s time to start making plans for you and your students to participate in this nationwide celebration of great teaching and learning.
Three EASY WAYS to Spread the Word and Celebrate the Potential of Technology in Schools:
Visit the Digital Learning Day website to find out more about how to incorporate technology in your lessons on the Learn & Explore page and more ways to participate in Digital Learning Day.
You can also “like” Digital Learning Day on Facebook and follow Digital Learning Day on Twitter for the latest updates on digital learning and Digital Learning Day.
More information on AASA's involvement with DLD is available in an earlier blog post.
Today's guest post comes from Jennifer Casap Vollmann, Executive Director of New Global Citizens.
To succeed in American society today requires a range of knowledge, skills and dispositions that are vastly different than ever before in our history. The move toward implementation of the Common Core State Standards (Common Core) in more than 40 states is driving significant shifts in education policy and practice. The pervasive influence of the Common Core offers tremendous opportunities for educators to foster learning that will prepare all students for college, careers and citizenship.
In our rapidly changing worldwide information economy, global awareness is an essential competency—and education is a key means to fostering global competence. Students who learn to think in ways that transcend borders and cultures are able to be successful in future careers and take action that effects change for the common good.
Recognition of the importance of global awareness is evident in the fact that globally-focused knowledge, skills and dispositions are threaded throughout the Common Core content standards as well as the foundational capacities and practices—often referred to as “habits of mind.” For example, in the language of the Common Core, students who are ready for college and career:
As we progress toward implementation of the Common Core, it is important to be cognizant of an important reality: Because academic standards focus on student outcomes, they are not designed to address how learners develop essential competencies such as global awareness. Rather, it is through in-school and expanded learning programs that students acquire these abilities.
Learning opportunities that enable students to grapple with real-world issues through inquiry and exploration—and offer vehicles for students to apply what they know in meaningful ways, provide a critical link between the learning process and mastery of knowledge and skills.
One program that is making powerful strides in fostering habits of mind as well as core academic content is New Global Citizens. The program provides blended learning opportunities for students and educators as an afterschool club or through school courses such as social studies, English, science and leadership.
By learning how to fundraise, advocate for solutions, and educate their communities, students build skills in collaboration, public speaking, leadership, civic engagement, peer relations, project management, cross-cultural communication and related key areas that prepare them for successful and productive lives.
Working in teams, middle and high school students identify and focus on a global project to address a significant issue facing communities around the globe. Issue areas include extreme poverty, universal primary education, gender equality, child mortality, maternal health, HIV/AIDS and other diseases, environmental sustainability, sustainable local economies, natural disasters and armed conflict.
The outcomes from New Global Citizens are indicative of the power of innovative learning opportunities. In the last five years, more than 10,500 students have formed over 430 school-based teams in 14 states across the U.S. Together, the teams raised $150,000, educated 450,000 community members and launched 280 advocacy initiatives to support 70 projects in 40 countries. Ninety percent of participants of shown an increase in global awareness and leadership skills. More than 85 percent of alumni continue to stay engaged in leadership and service activities.
This kind of transformative change occurs when students have tangible ways to get involved with and take action on issues of importance to them. In so doing, students are developing critical habits of mind such as those articulated in the Common Core.
With the march toward implementation of the Common Core, we must seek out and implement programs that foster students’ inherent dispositions to become critical thinkers, problem solvers, effective communicators and efficient collaborators. In so doing, we will nurture generations of socially and culturally competent leaders equipped with initiative, self-direction and responsibility.
In collaboration with the Hope Foundation and NEA, AASA is hosting How Schools Work: National Forum on School Improvement.
The meeting, to be held in Alexandria VA in December, is part of the How Schools Work series, which looks beyond what to do to assure student success and directly into how it is being done in schools throughout North America. Every school has excellent teaching going on, and every district has successful schools. The challenge has been in scaling that success. HOPE's past decade has been spent developing and field-testing a method for scaling successes already underway in schools. This meeting is your chance to see it in action!
Full details are available in the PDF linked above.
AASA was pleased to be an original support of the first annual Digital Learning Day (DLD) in 2012. The huge success of last year's event highlights how critical education technology is and the huge opportunity digital learning represents for our schools and the students they serve.
Digital Learning Day 2012 garnered support from nearly 2 million students and 20,000 teachers; more than 40,000 people who watched the Town Hall meeting online; more than 4,000 tweets; 25 national organizations; 39 states who hosted their own Digital Learning Day celebrations and 18 states whose Governor officially proclaimed February 1, 2012 as Digital Learning Day.
Join us for Digital Learning Day 2013!
From a school system point of view, nearly 500 of the DLD registrants were district-level administrators. Looking to build on that support, and as a Core Partner, we encourage you to engage your district!
There are a variety of ways to engage, whether at the classroom, school, district or state level. Check out all the options here, and give special attention to the section for district leaders.
Once you register your district, spead the word!
AASA is proud to support the National Runaway Switchboard's annual National Runaway Prevention month this month.
Check out these infographics on who else is participating in NRPM and what you can do!
History and Growth:
We have the registration information for the October 30 webinar on school improvement, as mentioned on the blog last week.
You'll recall that it features AASA member Bart Goering, superintendent of Spring Hill Schools in Kansas.
As noted in an earlier post, AASA is happy to share an opportunity for your district to receive feedback on your district's crisis plan. The opportunity to participate ends next week!
It's part of the research for a dissertation entitled The Impact of Demographics, Training and Resources on the Quality of School Crisis Plans.
It's a two-step process, a questionnaire and then the plan evaluation.
Access the questionnaire here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Schoolcrisisplanning
The school crisis plan will be evaluated using a recently developed checklist that helps to determine if essential components are included in plans. You can send the plan to the primary investigator’s email, which is provided below. If sending electronically, please ensure that your school’s name is on the plan or in the email so that plans can be matched with the appropriate questionnaires. If you would like to send a hard copy of your plan instead, please indicate this on an item towards the end of the questionnaire and a self-addressed, stamped envelope will be mailed to you.
Primary investigator: Erin Gurdineer, M.S. Doctoral Student Division of School Psychology University at Albany State University of New York Albany, NY 12222 email@example.com (845) 649-4542
In the world of all things that make me scratch my head or check the calendar to see if it is April Fools Day, this one pretty much takes the cake.
In a press release issued yesterday, Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-AL) responded to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service that found '...83 overlapping welfare programs that represented the single largest budget item in 2011.' Of most concern? 17 of those 'welfare' programs are education programs, representing federal funding for K-12 and higher education programs. Programs on this unfortunate roster include Title I, after school programs, reading, math/science/ teacher quality grants, school breakfast/lunch, migrant, and rural education, along with a handful of post-secondary programs, including federal aid to students and colleges.
It is important to draw a clear line between a discussion about how to invest federal education funding and a move to label it welfare spending. In fact, the sentiment of seeing education funding as anything but an investment is at odds with the Senator's own words. Part of the release reads "...No longer should we measure compassion by how much money the government spends but by how many people we help to rise out of poverty…the goal must be to help more of our fellow citizens attain gainful employment and financial independence. This is about more than rescuing our finances. It’s about creating a more optimistic future for millions of struggling Americans.”
This seems to beg for investment in education, as educational attainment is arguably one of the best ways to ensure our fellow citizens attain employment and financial independence. Beyond the benefit to the individual (higher earning and lower unemployment rates), society benefits as well, through increased tax revenues and decreased demand for true welfare programs.
The U.S Department of Labor has documented how education pays, with higher levels of educational attainment linked to both higher earnings and lower unemployment rates. Further, research demonstrates that an increase in student educational attainment is associated with substantial value for taxpayers over time. Even if tax payers do not have children in public schools, taxpayers benefit from programs and policies that increase educational attainment. In 2009, RAND* documented that more education is associated with at least 7 to 10 percent higher earnings per additional year of schooling and that these higher earnings translated into higher tax payments and higher payments to social support and insurance programs. Because increased educational attainment is linked with higher employment and wages for the individual, it is also linked with a decrease in the likelihood that the individual will draw from social support programs (such as TANF, unemployment insurance, housing subsidies, food stamps and Medicaid). Understanding there might be a concern that the societal benefits of educational attainment might be overstated, the researchers at RAND repeated their analysis, reducing the estimated effect by 25 percent. Even with that significant reduction, both the individual and society at large continued to benefit.
In short, education spending is an investment, and its ability to bolster the economic health and well-being of both the individual and society make it the exact opposite of a welfare program. As Congress and our country grapple with the nation's debt/deficit and the looming threat of sequestration, education remains one of the best bets for providing economic stability and growth. The federal education programs caught in this broad umbrella definition of 'welfare' have been crucial in supporting school districts' work to improve student achievement, close achievement gaps, increase high school graduation rates, and prepare students for an increasingly competitive global workplace. Investing in our nation’s education system and the students it serves makes good policy sense, arguably now more than ever.
Yesterday, the House Education and the Workforce Committee Republicans issued a press release detailing a letter they sent to the US Department of Agriculture, urging USDA to reexamine the new meal pattern and nutrition requirements for the National School Lunch/Breakfast programs.
In the letter, written by Reps. Noem (SD) and Roe (TN), the Committee Republicans focused on three concerns:
These issues bear strong resemblance to the concerns AASA articulated as the program was being reauthorized in 2010. This fall, as schools started the new school year, the new lunch program generated a lot of talk, and a very significant share of concern and frustration. Beyond the points included in the House letter, we at AASA have heard:
As part of our continued advocacy around school nutrition and our efforts to ensure that school lunch regulations are implemented in ways that support school efforts to provide school, AASA has coordinated a site-visit with House Committee staff, featuring a public school system in West Virginia. The site visit will focus on this district's success with its school lunch program, and provide hill staff with an opportunity to see the school and its program first hand.
As posted in an earlier entry, AASA's Executive Director Dan Domenech was recently nominated for a seat on the USAC Board. (The USAC Board oversees E-Rate). There are multiple nominations for the seat, and we are hopeful and optimistic that Dan, representing AASA and school system leaders across the country, will be the selected nominee.
Dan's nomination has received 35 letters of support, representing national, state and local organizations and education agencies.
Here's the list:
Thank you to everyone who submitted a letter!
Our friends at CEF provided a really quick verview of the House Appropriations Committee Democrats latest report, A Report on Consequences of Sequestration. Here is the excerpt on education:
AASA was pleased to help NPR with its latest installation of Fiscal Cliff Notes, a series looking at how the looming fiscal crisis will impact the economy.
In its latest installment, Cliff Notes looks at the effect of the sequester on schools receiving Impact Aid funding. (You'll recall that all but one federal K-12 education funding program will be cut in July, not January; the one program facing mid-year cuts is Impact Aid.)
You can listen to the feature here.
Our friends at FEA are happy to announce an upcoming webinar, Effective School Improvement: Integrating Real-Life Stories and Policy.
What does effective school improvement look like? Hear from Superintendent Bart Goering of Spring Hill School District, KS and retired school social worker and elementary school reform team leader Brenda Brinkes of Bellaire, OH tell their stories of school improvement. Gary Ratner, chair of FEA’s Committee on School Improvement and Capacity-building, will then explore how their strategies align with the Forum on Educational Accountability’s Policy Recommendations for school improvement.
When: October 30, 4:00 - 5:00pm Eastern time
Check back for registration details.
Please join the Alliance for Excellent Education for a webinar to learn more about how rural schools are overcoming the challenges of funding and support to provide students with the best education the twenty-first century has to offer.
Thursday, Oct.25 from 2-3 pm ET
Rural youth continue to be less likely than their urban counterparts to reach their educational goals, and evidence indicates that they continue to be disadvantaged in terms of school resources to prepare them for college and a career. Some of the most promising efforts around improving rural education are taking place in schools where digital media and technology resources are being effectively utilized to connect students to the world outside their community and building their skills to make them better citizens within it.Terri Schwartzbeck of the Alliance will moderate a conversation with two educators from rural Albemarle County, Virginia and Dr. Scott McLeod, who is currently serving as Director of Innovation in Ames, Iowa while on leave from his position as an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE). Superintendent Pam Moran will discuss some of her districtwide strategies for using digital tools and technology to improve student access to enriching educational experiences. Alison Dwier-Selden, principal of Walton Middle School will share her experiences working to provide better access to broadband for not just her school but her entire community. Chip Slaven of the Alliance will discuss efforts under way in rural McDowell County, West Virginia. Panelists will also address questions submitted by viewers from across the country.
AASA's Executive Director, Dan Domenech, has been nominated for the USAC Board (the body within the FCC that oversees the E-Rate Program).
He has been nominated for the seat that represents schools and libraries, a seat currently held by the retiring executive director of NSBA, Anne Bryant.
Dan's letter of nomination was submitted by EdLiNC, a group of 16 school and library groups that advocate for E-Rate and seek to expand the use of educational technologies in schools and libraries.
Additional letters of support have been filed, as well, including one by AASA and a joint letter from the National Rural Education Association, National Rural Education Advocacy Coalition, the Association of Education Service Agencies, and Organizations Concerned with Rural Education.
CALL TO ACTION: Individual school districts are submitting letters of support, as well, and we encourage you to do the same!
While we are confident in Dan being the final choice for the vacant spot, there is a competing nomination. Please take a few moments--whether as an AASA member, superintendent, E-Rate supporter, or education stakeholder--to submit a letter of your own. This could be a numbers thing when it comes down to it, and we'd welcome support from the field.
What to do?
When it comes to filing:
I know this is quick turn around, but we would appreciate any letters of support by COB this Friday.
FREE WEBINAR- Closing the Gap: Resources Supporting Effective Use of Data.
AASA is happy to make this webinar opportunity available to members. On Thursday, Nov. 8, join us (along with our friends at the Consortium for School Networking) to learn about brand new tools and resources that are being made available to the K-12 education community, including:· School District Case studies that examine the lessons learned from Student Information Systems (SIS) and Learning Management Systems (LMS) implementation and selection processes · SIS/LMS selection and implementation templates that will help you develop a data-rich culture and use data more effectively· A suite of professional development resources currently in the works.
DATE: Thursday, Nov. 8
TIME: 2-3 pm EST
Register today to reserve your space! http://www.cosn.org/ClosingtheGap/WebinarRegistration/tabid/9757/Default.aspx
A round up of a bunch of random items I’ve been meaning to share:
Administration and Sequestration
Last week, Assistant Secretary Deb Delisle hosted a group of education organizations for a discussion of what is going on in education at the state and local level, a conversation about the problems in education, the big issues/opportunities/obstacles, and what role the department of education may play in creating/addressing them.
Invitations were extended to the executive director and advocacy director of each organization, and those in attendance included AASA, the National School Boards Association, the Elementary and Secondary Principals groups, the National Association of State Boards of Education and the Council of Chief State School Officers.
Topics covered in the session included:
The Department used the meeting as an opportunity to tout its ESEA waivers, as well, sharing its ESEA Flexibility Milestones. It's a nice little chart detailing who has applied for (and received) what. That said, the wiavers--er, flexibility--are but a temporary patch on what needs to be a complete reauthorization. As much as Congress has a lead role to play in moving reauthorization bills, its widely recognized that these waivers remove pressure to reauthorize as some states are granted relief. The relief is being felt in those states. But what is being done for those states (or districts in those states) that do not pursue or are denied a waiver? Where is their relief?
There weren’t any actionable items coming out of the meeting, either in terms of steps the national groups would take to support efforts or in terms of what USED could do to shape/redirect the conversations. From an AASA point of view, given the impending funding cliff, giving the administration the benefit of a doubt in terms of re-election, a conversation around prioritizing Title I and IDEA in the President’s FY14 budget proposal would have been an strong step in supporting the efforts of state and local education agencies.
Noticeably absent from the meeting? Both AFT and NEA. I am under the impression there was a conversation with the unions, but for an administration that has so strongly pushed and supported its ‘Labor-Management Collaboration’ efforts, it seemed disjointed to not have all the groups at the table at the same time.
Earlier this year, a National Evaluation of Title III was completed that focused on state and local implementation. Most of the findings proved to be fairly straightforward; the number of ELL students is growing, ESL is the most common type of service for educating ELLs, districts have significant discretion in identifying and exiting EL students from the Title III program, and the vast majority of states use a home language survey to identify kids who could be eligible for EL.
However, there were 6 findings I came across that were of note and warrant further examination and consideration within an ESEA re-authorization: 1. Only 10 states met their state-level AMAOs for the 2008-2009 school yaer, but at the district level 55% of Title III districts nationwide reported meeting their AMAOs. However, all together, these districts served less than half of the nation’s EL population (39%). Thus, the majority of ELs are enrolled in districts that did not meet all three of their AMAOs in 2008-2009. 2. 11% of districts reported missing their AMAOSs for four consecutive years. Districts serving smaller numbers of ELs were much more likely to miss AMAOs for two or four consecutive years than districts that served more than 1,000 ELs. 3. Although Title III funds are disbursed by formula, the 2009 per-pupil funding levels ranged from $457 in PA to $86 in Alaska. While the per-pupil formula was less than $120 in seven states, it exceeded $300 in four states. This is attributed to the fact that Title III funding to states is determined based on data from the American Community Survey, which provides estimates on the number of ELs based on a sample, rather than state reports of EL and student enrollment. 4. In 2009-2010, funding for ELs was a challenge reported by Title III districts. 71% of district administrators said one of the most prominent challenges was “insufficient funds for EL services.” 5. 75% of all Title III districts reported that all teachers serving ELs were fully certified in their positions. However, “full certification” is not equivalent to “adequate expertise” from the perspective of district administrators: among those surveyed, 73% reported a “lack of expertise among mainstream teachers to address the need of ELs” as a moderate or major challenge. 6. 87% of Title III districts reported implementing at least one strategy to recruit/retain highly qualified teachers of ELs. The most frequently reported strategy was the provision of financial incentives to pursue advanced course work of current teachers.
Does this jive with what you are experiencing in your state and district? Would you like AASA to push for more equitable funding formulas for EL students? Read the complete report here: http://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/title-iii/state-local-implementation-report.pdf
The AASA sequestration toolkit was updated on December 4, 2012 to include district-specific data and resources.
All sequestration and fiscal-cliff related resources can be found here. <Link will go 'live' at 10 am Dec. 4, 2012>
Lsat month, AASA debuted its Courageous Leadership Conversations, featuring Dr. Hite. Today, we are pleased to release the second dialogue in the series, featuring Dr. Anres Alonso, from Baltimore City Public Schools. The conversation focuses on strategies Baltimore’s school leaders employ to increase college-access and success for all students and to build a college-going culture in the schools and in the community.
Check out the video!
Our friends at the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign released 5 Things You Should Know About the "Parent Trigger" Film.
National Opportunity to Learn shared the press release in response to the film Won't Back Down. You can read the original statement here, though the text is posted below:
"...The new film, which chronicles the fictional parent takeover of an underperforming school in Pittsburgh, is the latest creation of Walden Media, the same production firm responsible for Waiting for Superman.
Like Waiting for Superman, Won't Back Down's true corporate message hides behind a cascade of swelling music, ham-fisted dialogue, and cartoonish villains. The new film purports that by empowering parents through a "Parent Trigger" law to take over their schools, fire staff and turn public schools into privately managed charter schools, all the woes of our nation's education system can be solved, all children will succeed, and the world will be a better place and a beacon of free-market magic.
We don't agree with one iota of this "privatization equals a utopian education system" business. So here are 5 things you should know about the film, Parent Trigger laws, and the folks who promote them.
1. Parent Trigger laws have nothing to do with parent empowerment and everything to do with privatization.
The fictional Parent Trigger law in Won't Back Down is based on very real legislation being pushed in states across the country, which, in turn, is based on model legislation from the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The entire debate surrounding these bills is focused on parents turning a public school into a privately managed charter school. (Notice how parents taking over a charter school and making it a public school is never presented as an option. Privatization is a one-way street for ALEC.)
2. No one has actually completed a Parent Trigger to turn a public school into a charter.
Parents in two school districts, both in CA, have tried and failed. In the Compton Unified School District, courts threw out a parent petition to turn one school into a charter. The group who facilitated the signature collection, Parent Revolution, is funded by a charter school operator. (We're sure it's a coincidence.) In the Adelanto School District, a similar petition has become mired in a lawsuit over the rescinded signatures of parents who say they were misled about the nature of the petition they signed. Given the Parent Trigger's track record so far, Won't Back Down is fictional in more ways than one.
3. Charters aren't a cure all, but they're presented as such.
Won't Back Down and proponents of Parent Trigger laws want you to believe that charter schools are the shining future of America's education system. In truth, charters only educate roughly 4% of American students, and studies have shown that most charter schools don't perform any better than their public school counterparts. Moreover, they're less accountable and use selective enrollment practices or school policies that push struggling students out of the classroom. Charters, on the whole, don't represent the systemic change we need to ensure all students have an opportunity to learn, not just a tiny fraction.
4. Unions have a track record of working with communities to improve schools.
As Won't Back Down would have it, failing schools are the result of lazy teachers, bureaucracy and teachers unions. But as the recent teachers strike in Chicago shows, unions are fighting alongside students, parents and community members for the resources they need to teach and for their students to learn. The unconscionable teacher- and union-bashing in the film will weaken, not strengthen our schools, and is a distraction from solving the real problems of inequitable resources in our education system.
5. Films like Won't Back Down and Waiting for Superman are the work of corporations with privatization agendas.
Walden Media is owned by conservative billionaire investor Philip Anschutz, who funds ALEC and some of its members on the Education Task Force. Here's a longer analysis of the film's corporate backers, including the film's distributor, 20th Century Fox, which has ties to, you guessed it, big money with an interest in education privatization.
Earlier today the National Center for Education Statistics announced an update to the CTE Statistics website.
The CTE Statistics website includes tables describing CTE at three levels: (1) secondary/high school CTE, (2) postsecondary/college career education, and (3) adult education for work. These tables are updated periodically to incorporate new CTE-related topics and data from new surveys. In this update, two tables were added to the secondary/high school tables, with one table updating information on CTE high schools as of school year 2007-08, and one new table summarizing CTE teachers’ perceptions of and satisfaction with their jobs. Six tables were added to the postsecondary/college tables, replacing tables on student persistence and attainment as of 2001 with updated tables on persistence, attainment, and labor market outcomes as of 2009.To view the CTE site, please visit: http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/ctes/
AASA always welcomes the opportunity to highlight the success of the nation's public schools. This blog post is no exception.
Dr. Tom Trigg (Superintendent of Blue Valley Schools in Kansas) is an active AASA member. His district recently produced a video to celebrate public schools. Set to the beat of a recent Jay-Z/Alicia Keys tune, the video features two young students singing/rapping about what is right about public schools, trends in policy, and the most important message of all: "Education is where dreams are made, there's nothing you can't do".
Public School State of Mind
Check out the video here, and feel free to send me similar good news stories from your district!
The National Conference of State Legislatures recently released a document looking at what it tales to prepare a pipeline of effective principals. Divided in to three sections, Preparing a Pipeline of Effective Principals: A Legislative Approach starts with an examination of background information and the state legislative role, moves on to feature six policy areas states are currently using to improve principal prep, and closes with specific suggestions for actions state legislatures can take to improve principal prep.
Beyond the AASA Sequestration Toolkit and our earlier webinar, AASA is pleased to share the latest sequestration webinar, featuring AASA member Tom Shelton, superintendent of Fayette County Schools in Lexington, Kentucky.
PanelistsPhillip Lovell, Vice President of Federal Advocacy, Alliance for Excellent EducationJoel Packer, Executive Director, Committee for Education FundingTom Shelton, PhD, Superintendent, Fayette County Kentucky Public Schools (Lexington, KY)
As school districts across the country continue to grapple with budget shortfalls of their own, many are unaware of and unprepared to deal with federal education funding cuts that are scheduled to take effect on January 2, 2013.
Last year, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, also known as the Supercommittee, failed to reach an agreement on how to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion. As a result, a process called sequestration, across-the-board spending cuts to nearly all government programs will take effect unless the U.S. Congress acts. If sequestration is implemented, it could have a tremendous and detrimental impact on early childhood, K–12 and higher education, with far-reaching consequences at the state and local levels.
The Alliance for Excellent Education, Committee for Education Funding, and Coalition for a College- and Career-Ready America held a webinar on September 14, during which panelists discussed the impact of the federal budget debate on education. The webinar (1) provided an explanation of the overall budget process; (2) explained how sequestration would be implemented and its potential impact on early childhood, K–12 and higher education; and (3) discussed what advocates can do to discourage Congress from making major cuts to education programs. Panelists also addressed questions submitted by viewers from across the country.
In case you missed it, check it out:
Sequestration: Are Major Cuts to Education Around the Corner?
Are You Working to Improve Data Use and Common Core Planning for Math?If so, you are invited to an upcoming webinar hosted by the School Turnaround Learning Community.
Using Data to Support Effective TurnaroundUpcoming Webinar: Data Use and Common Core Planning in School Turnaround: Focus on MathematicsOctober 3 1:00-2:15pm EDT
This webinar builds on last year's webinar by Russell Gersten and Ben Clarke on Data Use in School Turnaround-Mathematics that focused on different types of assessments, their purposes, what the results imply, and how they can be used in school-based decisions to improve mathematics instruction in the classroom setting.
In this session, we will examine data from one state's end-of-year assessment data in the area of fractions to learn:
If you are not familiar with the School Turnaround Learning Community, you can learn more and join here, schoolturnaroudsupport.org
Our friends at the National School Boards Association recently announced the creation of the National School Boards Action Center (NSBAC). NSBAC is an organization designed to strengthen school board advocacy at the federal and national level for the advancement of public education, local school board leadership, and excellence and equity in our nation's schools.
NSBAC has already produced a series of informational documents for school board members and the general public, including a recent report detailing the presidential candidates' positions on K-12 education.
Full details here.
Attention AASA Members: We need your help!
Accurate and current information on the salaries and benefits paid to American public school superintendents is extremely important to school system leaders and the communities they serve across the nation. Though Education Research Service (ERS) has been a reliable source of much of this information for several decades, ERS recently closed its doors and will no longer conduct its surveys.
As the national organization representing school system leaders, the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) is committed to filling that void through the development of a nation-wide, comprehensive data bank of superintendent compensation and contract information.
Earlier this week you should have received an email invitation to complete the inaugural AASA superintendent salary survey. We hope you will take the time to complete the survey.
If you are a school superintendent and have yet to receive an invitation, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I will send you the survey link.
Thanks, in advance, for your help with this!
AASA’s newest toolkit is designed to tell the good news of our nation’s schools and the students they serve. This toolkit is created to highlight the successes our students are experiencing in and out of the classroom, including academic gains, school safety, lifestyle choices and more. The toolkit includes information on responding to media inquiries and delivering powerful speeches/presentations.
With the 2012-13 school year successfully underway, AASA is pleased to provide you with a toolkit designed to help you tell the good news of your district. Teachers and students across the country have been hack at it for several weeks now, and its never too soon to start shining a light on what’s right in public education, using the resources in this toolkit. Feel free to share the resources in the toolkit with your staff, your school board, parents, community members, business leaders, news media and other audiences important to you and your school system.
Welcome letter from Benny L. Gooden and Daniel A. Domenech, introducing and explaining this year’s toolkit
Talking Points and Presentation Materials
Media Resources and Materials
Background: Earlier this summer, the Department of Education released a letter that was the first bit of clarification regarding the impact of the sequester on our nation’s public school. The letter clarified that the cuts won’t be felt in schools until the 2013-14 school year. The letter was a much-needed point of clarification, and came—in part—as a response to AASA’s sequestration survey, which reported a complete lack of meaningful information on the sequester.
Late this summer, the President signed the Budget Transparency Act, which required the President to issue a report for discretionary appropriations. The report would detail, among other things, an estimate for each category of the sequestration percentages and amounts necessary to reach the required savings/reduction, including program-specific projections. Anticipating the likelihood of a CR (continuing resolution), the report was to also include a list of the accounts to be sequestered and estimates pursuant to the CR levels. The report was to be issued on September 6.
This so-called transparency report represented an opportunity to provide more definitive guidance about program-level impact for our nation’s schools and was to come on the heels of a flurry of sequestration-related data this summer, much of it covered on this blog:
Better Late Than Never: Today, eight days late, the administration released the OMB Sequester Transparency report. Given the automatic, across-the-board nature of the sequester, the published numbers are not all that surprising. The report is based on a handful of assumptions/projections:
It should be noted—and has been reported in this blog—that the six-month CR that will be in effect when the sequester kicks in (1/2/13) includes a small increase (roughly 0.6%) over FY12 levels. Final FY13 numbers remain unknown. Between the funding gap of the FY13 CR and the yet-to-be-determined final FY13 numbers, the only certainty is that the sequestration percentages issued in this report are most certainly subject to change. Take them as a framework, not an absolute number.
Looking more closely at education, the cuts to USED will total $4.113 billion. In the full report, you can find the education-related items on pages 60-64. That’s about where the detail ends. While program-specific detail isn’t available in the report, one can apply some basic algebra to determine that an 8.2% cut would mean a loss of roughly $1 billion to IDEA (funded at $12.6 billion) and a loss of approximately $1.3 billion to Title I (funded at $15.8 billion).
Room for Improvement: The Sequestration Transparency Act included a requirement to detail the cuts at the program/project/activity (PPA) level, the report does not delve that far. PPA level reporting would have indicated the specific cuts to Title I, IDEA, Perkins, REAP, etc (like those I calculated in the previous paragraph). Why are the PPA calculations missing? Check out page 9 of the report: “…because of the STA’s reporting deadline of just 30 days, the large number of PPAs across all agencies and budget accounts, and inconsistencies in the way PPAs are defined, additional time is necessary to identify, review, and resolve issues associated with providing information at this level of detail.”
As a number wonk, I can sympathize with the task of projecting cuts for the 897 budget accounts included in the report. Providing PPA-level reporting and projecting cuts across thousands of programs/activities is a heavy lift, and the report cites this work burden and quick turnaround as the reason for the lack of PPA-level detail.
On the other hand, as an advocate for school system leaders who have to pass annual budgets, PPA level projections prove crucial to having some basis around which to start planning their budgets for the 2013-14 school year. Budget-account-level cuts, like those included in this report, are not that informative to the general public. I’m not sure they’re really even all that helpful for the average Congress member. It appears this transparency report—designed to help shed light on the issue of sequestration—isn’t all that clear to the audience it was intended for or helpful to the discussions it could inform.
As a numbers person, one thing sticks out: We already know—given that the FY12 used to calculate the numbers in the report is already below the FY13 CR numbers that will be in place on January 2—that the numbers in this report are not final, include a margin of error and will vary slightly from the actual cuts. I find it hard to believe that calculating to the PPA level would provide a margin of error much beyond the one already inherent in today’s report.
A little extra math would go a long way toward providing some type of planning framework for state and local governments that receive federal funding. Sequestration is across-the-board, blind to program effectiveness or value. As such, a rough estimation is as simple as multiplying the base funding level by the projected percentage cut. That is, for each program/project/activity:
Estimated Cut of Sequester = (FY12 funding level) x (8.2% sequester)
If we want to get tricky and attempt to address the funding increase included in the FY13 CR, it’s just one additional step:
Est. Cut of Seq = (FY12 funding level) x (0.612% CR increase)x(8.2% sequester)*
*This is a literal application of sequestration. There are certainly nuances to be considered. I simply provide this calculation to highlight that a little extra math could provide information that might be more helpful to the average American.
What Next: This week, Education Service Agency administrators were in town for their annual legislative conference. When sequestration came up in their discussion, it pretty quickly focused on what is certain to become a big issue: sequestration and maintenance of effort. The federal government is blatantly reducing federal funding to both Title I and IDEA, programs that have maintenance of effort provisions for state and local agencies. What flexibilities can/will be made available to state and local agencies so they are not left on the hook for this federal shortfall?
Also, what about programs like Title I, that have four separate formulas (basic, concentrated, targeted, and EFIG)? Should we assume all four will take the same cut, or will one of the programs (like basic) take the cut?
Beyond this, there’s the general question of ‘What next?’: Will Congress let the sequester happen? Will the Congress take action to address the consequence it assigned itself, picking up the work of the failed Joint Deficit Committee to identify a blend of spending cuts. Revenue increases and mandatory program reforms that will get the nation on track to save $1.2 trillion over the next ten years? Will there be some sort of middle ground, perhaps a plan to kick the timeline down the road, address the amount of cuts needed in one year, or some other half-way approach?
Just a quick analysis. We will continue to cover sequestration information as it becomes available.
Check out this information on the Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission. They work to expand adoption of an interstate compact that would replace the widely varying policies affecting transitioning military students. The compact addresses key educational transition issues encountered by military families, including enrollment, placement, attendance, eligibility and graduation. To date, 43 states have joined the compact.
This compact represents an opportunity for school districts and the military families they serve to smooth student transitions between schools when military families relocate.
Here are some related materials for your review, whether you are in a state that has already adopted the compact or in a state that is considering the opportunity:
Earlier this summer, AASA partnered with NAFIS to examine the deep reductions the Impact Aid program would feel as a result of the across-the-board cuts of sequestration. AASA members receiving Impact Aid funding completed the NAFIS survey, and AASA and NAFIS are happy to today release the results of that study.
Impact Aid and Sequestration: The Impact of the Budget Control Act on Federally Impacted Schools details how schools districts will respond to the cuts of sequestration and how those responses will impact the programmatic and personnel offerings the schools can provide.
Here is the press release for the report:
(WASHINGTON, DC) – After Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011, the clock started ticking for public school districts. First, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (often referred to as the “Supercommittee”) was tasked to find $1.2 trillion in savings which it failed to do. The failure then triggered what is known as “sequestration,” an across-the-board spending cut on all discretionary programs that will take place on January 2, 2013.
While the U.S. Department of Education recently announced that the majority of school districts won’t feel the effects of sequestration until the 2013-2014 school year, for one set of schools – those who are affected by a federal presence in their community –sequestration will hit them in the middle of this school year. “Time is running out on federally impacted schools,” said National Association of
Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS) Executive Director John B. Forkenbrock. “If the sequester actually goes through, our schools will see an immediate impact right in the middle of this school year. The fact that the federal funding these schools rely on is not ‘forward-funded’ will mean some may even have to close their doors completely.”
These school districts rely each year on an appropriation from Congress called Impact Aid. Impact Aid is a payment in lieu of federal taxes these schools use to supplement their budgets and stay on a level playing field with other non-impacted public schools. Many of these school districts are responsible for educating children of military personnel and those children who live on Indian Trust and Treaty land, while others live in public housing.
Because the threat of sequestration singles out these school districts that are already disadvantaged, NAFIS, in coordination with the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), conducted a survey of more than 400 public school districts in the first half of 2012 to try to measure just how devastating sequestration will be within these schools.
“Sequestration represents a very real threat to the nation’s schools,” said AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech. “We welcomed the opportunity to partner with NAFIS and illustrate how the cuts to Impact Aid will negatively impact 1,400 (10% of the nation’s) public school districts. Consistent with school district responses to the recession and general preparation for other sequestration cuts, Impact-Aid receiving districts would absorb the cuts by deferring technology maintenance/purchases, eliminating staff positions, increasing class size and reducing professional development. These are cuts that directly undermine the hard work of these schools to prepare students to be college and career ready, able to compete in an increasingly global economy.”
The survey results, posted on both the NAFIS (www.nafisdc.org) and AASA (www.aasa.org) websites today, show that of the 334 school districts that responded, 36-percent have budgeted the sequester cut into the 2012-13 school year. “Those who have budgeted for the sequester are choosing to put off school building maintenance and are eliminating both non-instructional and instructional staff,” said Forkenbrock. “Many of these buildings are already in disrepair; and these decisions are now putting students at risk…a risk that can be tied directly to Congress’ failure to act. And federally impacted schools, our military and Native American children, will continue to face the effects of impending cuts in coming years unless sequestration is avoided.”
To see the entire survey results, please visit www.nafisdc.org or www.aasa.org.
The American Association of School Administrators, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. The mission of AASA is to advocate for the highest quality public education for all students, and develop and support school system leaders. For more information, visit www.aasa.org. Follow AASA on twitter at www.twitter.com/AASAHQ.
The National Association of Federally Impacted Schools is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization of public school districts throughout the United States. NAFIS is organized primarily to educate Congress on the importance of Impact Aid and to ensure school districts affected by a federal presence receive the basic resources necessary to provide an education for their students. NAFIS strives to ensure that the Federal obligation to replace lost revenue for eligible school districts impacted by a Federal presence is met. Follow NAFIS on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/National-Association-of-Federally-Impacted-Schools/246376665411225 and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nafisschools.
Earlier this evening, the House Rule Committee released details on the FY13 CR. You'll recall (from earlier blog posts) that Congress was unable to complete its appropriations work before adjourning for August recess. Instead of planning to wrap the work before the start of FY12 (Oct. 1), preliminary groundwork was laid for a short-term continuing resolution, which would level fund the government for six months.
As a school system leader, how would you like to receive feedback on your school’s crisis plan? Here is an opportunity for you to share your district plan and receive a completed checklist used to evaluate the crisis plan for each participant.
I (Noelle) graduated from SUNY Albany, and a fellow Great Dane—a doctoral student studying school psychology—is working on her dissertation, The Impact of Demographics, Training and Resources on the Quality of School Crisis Plans. Her dissertation work involves the above mentioned opportunity. We at AASA are happy to share this opportunity with you.
A note from the candidate:
ATTENTION SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS
Would you like feedback on your school’s crisis plan?
I am asking seeking participants for my doctoral dissertation titled, “The Impact of Demographics, Training, and Resources on the Quality of School Crisis Plans.” This is a two-part study that includes completing a questionnaire and sending a copy of the school’s crisis plan for evaluation. The questionnaire asks about school variables related to crisis prevention and intervention planning and can be completed on a survey website by using the web address below.
The school crisis plan will be evaluated using a recently developed checklist that helps to determine if essential components are included in plans. You can send the plan to the primary investigator’s email, which is provided below. If sending electronically, please ensure that your school’s name is on the plan or in the email so that plans can be matched with the appropriate questionnaires. If you would like to send a hard copy of your plan instead, please indicate this on an item towards the end of the questionnaire and a self-addressed, stamped envelope will be mailed to you. Your time is greatly appreciated.
This questionnaire will only take 10-15 minutes to complete, and it is completely voluntary. Although many survey requests seem to have a purpose that does not impact your practice, this research will yield important information on the preparedness of schools. As an incentive for your participation, I will be sending back the completed checklist used to evaluate the crisis plan for each participant. This will ensure that you receive feedback on a document that is essential to keeping your school safe.
No school names will be used in the data software or the write up of this research. I can also send the crisis plan back to you (if you are sending a hard copy) if this is a concern. If you wish to have the plan returned, please indicate this on the form sent to you with the stamped envelope. You may also leave out phone trees or other direct identifying information of faculty and students if this is a concern. However, the plans and questionnaires will be kept strictly confidential and seen only by members of the research team. Hard copies of plans will be shredded upon completion of this study (unless you opt to have the plan sent back to you) and all information will be kept on password protected computers or in a locked file cabinet.
If you have any questions or concerns about this study, feel free to contact me, or my advisor, Dr. Amanda Nickerson. Please keep this form in case you need to reference our contact information. All procedures of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) have been followed, and the IRB has deemed this study to be exempt from review. I will be collecting surveys until October 15th, 2012 and crisis plans until October 31st, 2012.
Faculty Advisor: Amanda B. Nickerson, PhDAssociate ProfessorDirector, Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse PreventionDept. of Counseling, School, & Educational PsychologyGraduate School of EducationUniversity at Buffalo, State University of New York428 Baldy Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260-1000Tel: (716) 645-3448 Fax: (716) 645-6616E-mail: email@example.comWebsite: gse.buffalo.edu/alberticenter
This report is several months old right now, but I just found it this week and wanted to bring it to your attention.
The Education Commission of the States (ECS) issued 12 for 2012: Issues to Move Education Forward in 2012. The brief is based on ECS’ scrutiny of reports and research, as well as their analysis of drivers of change. They make no claims that their list is exhaustive or designed to dictate education policy priorities for 2012. Rather, its designed to stimulate thinking around strong, powerful policy across states.
The 12 areas are:
The Sequester Transparency Report is officially late. You will recall that the report was due on September 6, which came and passed last week. The report did not come out today and isn’t expected until at least Wednesday.
Congress is back in session this week and is expected to carry a very abbreviated work load. Much attention will focus on the annual appropriations process, which is expected to take the form of a six-month CR. Check the blog in a bit for a details analysis of what is in the CR and how it will impact education.
Information Round Up (from our friends at CEF):
Policy Insider Fall 2012: This issue outlines the importance of preserving Medicaid as an entitlement program and the critical role school-based Medicaid reimbursement plays in school funding. This issue also contains Part II of a three-part series on digital learning and connectivity in schools. This edition’s installment explores current practices and trends in digital learning, asking what it looks like and the challenges states and districts face as they expand digital learning in their classrooms to change the face of education.
To subscribe to Policy Insider, email Noelle Ellerson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
AASA is proud to release the debut edition of the AASA Legislative Trends Report. This report was requested by AASA’s Governing Board at their meeting in July and serves as a tool for members who want to keep up with state education policy trends. The reports will be published on a quarterly basis. The first issue will explore trends and outliers in the 19 states that passed legislation from Jan 2012 to August 2012 related to charter schools, including virtual charter schools. A few trends that became obvious from an examination of state legislation are below:
To subscribe to receive these quarterly reports, email Sasha Pudelski at email@example.com
Assessment Webinar by Forum on Educational Accountability
The Forum on Educational Accountability presents a free webinar, “High Quality Assessment for Instruction and Accountability” on Weds, Sept 17, 2012, from 3:30-4:30 EDT.
High-quality assessment is an essential part of teaching and learning and provides valuable information about school quality and progress. This webinar will present two methods for gathering detailed information – the Learning Record, and performance assessments developed by the New York Performance Standards Consortium. These provide rich feedback to students and teachers, summarize student progress, and in aggregate provide valid and reliable information for public reporting and accountability. We will also discuss how these proven approaches to assessment can inform state and federal policy. The more comprehensive information they provide is more useful than relying heavily on standardized tests. The webinar will begin with three short presentations, followed by questions and discussion.
Presenters include Ann Cook, Executive Director, New York Performance Standards Consortium; Sally Thomas, former director, Center for Language in Learning/Learning Record; Monty Neill, Executive Director, Fairtest, and Chair, Forum on Educational Accountability; and moderator: Tom Zembar, Senior Policy Analyst, NEA.
For more information including how to participate, see http://www.edaccountability.org/EVENTS.html.
As part of our work on IDEA, AASA participates in the IDEA Partnership. One of AASA's liaisons with the partnership is Mary Summers, who passed along this great Common Core resource:
Achieving the Common Core is a resource bank for Common Core State Standards (CCSS) implementation, with tools and resources developed by Achieve and other organizations that are targeted for educators.
Included in the resource bank are advocacy and communication resources; instructional support and alignment resources; implementation planning tools; and state materials and websites. The Achieve resource bank also includes links to CCSS resources developed by external groups such as the IDEA Partnership’s CCSS Collection. AASA contributed to the development of the IDEA Partnership’s CCSS Collection.
Achieve is a bipartisan, non-profit organization that helps states raise academic standards, improve assessments, and strengthen accountability to prepare all young people for postsecondary education, work, and citizenship.
Mary Summers, Liaison to the IDEA Partnership
Just getting back from a beach vacation, here's some additional information on the Race to the Top District competition.
You'll recall that in mid-August, the Department issued the final application criteria for RttT-District. One of the first timelines associated with the application was the Notice of Intent to Apply. School districts intending to apply were requested to notify the Department by Aug 30. With that day come and gone, we now know that nearly 900 (893, to be exact) plan to apply. (It should be noted that is was not a requirment to submit an NIA, and that schools filing an NIA may not submit an application).
You can read the full list (summary chart or detailed list). Nearly half (433) are small districts who will compete for the smallest awards (valued at $10 to $20 million). Roughly one-quarter (roughly 200) will pursue the largest award ($30-40 million). Potential applicants represent 48 states and the District of Columbia (Wyoming and North Dakota are the two states without an application).
893 districts out of the roughly 13,500 in the nation, though, means just 6.6% of schools may apply, leaving an even smaller amount to receive the final award.
Featuring AASA Governing Board Member Tom Shelton (Fayette County Public Schools, Lexington, KY)
Sequestration:Are Major Cuts to Education Around the Corner?Friday, September 14, 20122:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (ET)
Last year, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, also known as the Supercommittee, failed to reach an agreement on how to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion. As a result, a process called sequestration, across-the-board spending cuts to nearly all government programs will take effect unless the U.S. Congress acts. If sequestration is implemented, it could have a tremendous and detrimental impact on early childhood, K–12 and higher education, with far-reaching consequences at the state and local levels.
Please join the Alliance for Excellent Education, Committee for Education Funding, and Coalition for a College- and Career-Ready America for a webinar on Friday, September 14 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. (ET), during which panelists will discuss the impact of the federal budget debate on education. The webinar will (1) provide an explanation of the overall budget process; (2) explain how sequestration would be implemented and its potential impact on early childhood, K–12 and higher education; and (3) what advocates can do to discourage Congress from making major cuts to education programs. Panelists will also address questions submitted by viewers from across the country.
Register and submit questions for the webinar online at http://media.all4ed.org/registration-sep-14-2012.
NOTE: If you are unable to watch the webinar live, an archived version will be available at http://www.all4ed.org/webinars and http://www.collegeandcareerreadyamerica.org/ approximately one or two days after the event airs.
The 2012 bus tour marks the third consecutive year Secretary Duncan and senior staff have promoted education on a back-to-school bus. As mentioned last month, this year’s bus tour will begin in California’s Silicon Valley on Sept. 12th and conclude on the evening of Friday, Sept. 21st at the Department’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Additional stops include: Las Vegas, Reno, and Elko, Nevada; Salt Lake City; Rawlins, Rock Springs, and Cheyenne, Wyo.; Denver, Colorado Springs, and Limon, Colo.; Topeka and Emporia, Kan.; Columbia, St. Louis, and Kansas City, Mo.; Mt. Vernon, Ill.; Evansville, Ind.; Lexington, Ky.; Charleston and McDowell County, W.Va.; and Roanoke and Richmond, Va. More details are available here: http://www.ed.gov/blog/topic/bustour/
Private school vouchers in your district? NIMBY you may say—but think again! School choice advocates are using effective tactics to build and expand private school choice programs at both the state and district level. More than $800 million in dedicated funding was available for school voucher and scholarship tax credit programs nationwide in 2011-12.
Since the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Cleveland’s school voucher program as well as Arizona’s tuition tax-credit program, voucher advocates have been emboldened to find craftier ways of funneling more public education dollars to private schools. By aggressively targeting state legislatures and creating tax credits or voucher programs aimed at traditionally difficult populations of students to vote against (such as students from low-income families, students with disabilities, foster care children, and children of military personnel) advocates are now pushing for voucher opportunities for any public school student, even those attending high-wealth, high-achieving local school-districts.
In AASA’s newest webinar, you will have the opportunity to hear from advocates and lawyers who have spearheaded strong messaging campaigns and shaped robust legal arguments in states grappling with varied voucher and tuition tax credit programs.
Time and Date: September 26, 2012; 2 p.m. ET
Register here: https://knowledgecenter.webex.com
PanelistsSasha Pudelski, Government Affairs Manager at AASA will moderate the discussion as well as provide background on the current school choice programs across the country as well as what trends are emerging. She will also discuss the push at the federal level for an expanded school voucher program in D.C. and how new governance in the White House in Congress could dramatically increase the likelihood of a federal voucher program
Joe Bard is a spokesman for Pennsylvanians Opposed to Voucher Coalition and has had mixed success in fighting vouchers and tuition-tax credit programs in PA. Joe will share what he’s learned about his opponents, and what strategies have been most effective in stemming statewide school voucher legislation.
Ryan Owens is the General Counsel and Director of Legislative Services for the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administrators where he has been actively involved in litigation originating from a voucher program for special education students in Oklahoma. In addition, Ryan was on the front-lines opposing a statewide corporate and individual scholarship tax credit program that was passed in 2011.
Liz Harris is an attorney at Husch Blackwell LLP. Liz recently co-authored an amicus brief on behalf of AASA and AFT opposing a first-of-its-kind county-wide voucher program in Douglas County, CO. She will discuss the unique aspects of the case and why a finding of the program’s constitutionality could have huge implications for a push towards district voucher programs throughout the country.
The Military Child Education Coalition recently released Education of the Military Child in the 21st Century, the wrap up for a 3-year study of military-connected children and the impact school policies, processes, programs and systems have on the children's education. The report covers a variety of topics, including deployment, home schooling, children with special needs, assessment, and graduation requirements.
As you'll recall, the only federal K12 education program that will feel the impact of sequestration in the 2012-13 school year is Impact Aid.
In an effort to coordinate advocacy efforts around the potential damage of these cuts, AASA partnered with the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS, the group that represents Impact Aid school districts). Part of that effort included making a NAFIS survey available to AASA members that receive Impact Aid funding. The preliminary results of that survey are now available and were released in NAFIS' 2012 Fall newsletter. We're able to share the preliminary results here:
Over 300 NAFIS members and superintendents of the American Association of Schools Administrators completed the “Impact Aid and Sequestration” survey. NAFIS is still analyzing your responses, but one thing is clear: sequestration is having and will continue to have a significantly negative impact of federally impacted schools nationwide. About 35% of districts have already budgeted the sequester into their budgets for the 2012-2013 school year. The results of those cuts are detailed in this PDF. (The top five: delay maintenance and technology purchases, eliminate instructional staff, eliminate non-instructional staff, increase class sizes, reduce professional development).
Here is what some of you had to say about sequestration:
Our friends at First Focus recently released a factsheet detailing the impact of sequestration on kids. It estimates that investments in kids will be cut by nearly $6.5 billion if/when the sequester becomes a reality.
These cuts include $3.3 billion in education, $937 million in early childhood, $926 million in housing, $557 million in nutrition, $376 million in health, and further cuts in child welfare, military education and safety.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 1 pm EDT, Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Janey Thornton will host a live Twitter chat focusing on the new nutrition standards for school meals in order to kick off USDA’s “The School Day Just Got Healthier” back to school campaign.
Take the opportunity to ask Secretary Thornton your questions (or express your concerns/support) about the changes to the school lunch program.
Date and Time: Wednesday, August 29, 2012, 1 p.m. EDT
What: USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Janey Thornton will answer questions about the new nutrition standards for school meals.
Where: Tune in online by following the @USDA Twitter account. Use hashtags #AskUSDA and #SchoolFoodsRule to submit questions in advance and during the live Twitter chat.
Yesterday, the Republican National Convention approved the 2012 Republican Party Platform. You can check it out online or as a PDF. Education-related components start on page 35.
School Choice: We support options for learning, including home schooling and local innovations like single-sex classes, full-day school hours, and year-round schools.School choice—whether through charter schools, open enrollment requests, college lab schools, virtual schools, career and technical education programs, vouchers, or tax credits—is important for all children, especially for families with children trapped in failing schools.
Block Grants and Regulations: We support its concept of block grants and the repeal of numerous federal regulations which interfere with State and local control of public schools.
Title I and IDEA Portability?: The bulk of the federal money through Title I for low-income children and through IDEA for disabled youngsters should follow the students to whatever school they choose so that eligible pupils, through open enrollment, can bring their share of the funding with them. The Republican-founded D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program should be expanded as a model for the rest of the country
Supporting DC Voucher Program: We deplore the efforts by Congressional Democrats and the current President to kill this successful program for disadvantaged students in order to placate the leaders of the teachers’ unions.
Teacher Quality: We support legislation that will correct the current law provision which defines a “Highly Qualified teacher” merely by his or her credentials, not results in the classroom. We urge school districts to make use of teaching talent in business, STEM fields, and in the military, especially among our returning veterans. Rigid tenure systems based on the “last in, first out” policy should be replaced with a merit-based approach that can attract fresh talent and dedication to the classroom. All personnel who interact with school children should pass background checks and be held to the highest standards of personal conduct.
Budget/Appropriations/Sequestration (Starting on page 3)
AASA is pleased to release the first of what will be a series of videos aimed at capturing conversations with AASA members covering a broad range of education leadership topics.
In our inaugural video, AASA's Bryan Joffe (Project Director, Ready by 21) talks with Dr. Hite, superintendent of Philadelphia City Schools, about college access and school reform.
AASA's Courageous Leadership Conversation: Dr. Hite
Earlier this summer, President Obama announced a new immigration policy that would allow temporary relief to some undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children. This temporary relief, also known as deferred action, postpones the deportation of certain undocumented immigrants for two years. To be eligible for deferred action, an undocumented immigrant is required to produce evidence that they are “in school” or have graduated from high school or obtained a certificate of completion from high school such as a GED. It is realistic that former and current students may be approaching your central office staff requesting documents such as diplomas, GED certificates, report cards, and school transcripts for this purpose.
Our friends at TESOL just put together a short policy brief on the deferred action that explains who is eligible, what it does, and how someone can apply. This information may be useful for staff to have on-hand in case students in your district could qualify for this relief. A link to the brief is available here: http://www.tesol.org/docs/advocacy/tesol_policy-brief_august-2012_8-15_final-final.pdf?sfvrsn=2 Official information from the Department of Homeland Security can be found here.
In case you missed it:
Over the last two weeks, AASA advocacy has participated in webinars related to two of the 'hottest' topics when it comes to federal education policy: sequestration and Race to the Top (District) competition.
Both are an hour long and worth a listen/review:
On May 22, 2012, the Department of Education announced a new Race to the Top - District grant competition, which is the first ever Race to the Top competition for school districts. The Department began soliciting qualified individuals to serve as peer reviewers in early July and set an application deadline of July 18. We received applications from more than 200 individuals interested in serving as peer reviewers by the initial deadline. Due to the uncertain number of grant applications, however, the Department is continuing to accept peer reviewer applications.
If you are interested in being considered to serve as a peer reviewer for the Race to the Top - District program, please submit your resume/curriculum vitae to firstname.lastname@example.org and complete the questionnaire at http://www.mikousa.com/surveys/index.php?sid=68846&lang=en
REVIEWER QUALIFICATIONSIn order to ensure a successful competition, we are seeking qualified individuals with expertise in some or all of the following areas to serve as peer reviewers:
AVAILABILITY We anticipate that reviewers will need to commit to the following review process:
FURTHER INFORMATIONAs with other Federal grant competitions, reviewers will receive compensation for their time and effort, contingent upon satisfactory completion of the review requirements and consistent with the required schedule. Travel costs to the events in Washington, DC will also be covered.
IF INTERESTEDIf you are interested in being considered to serve as a peer reviewer for the Race to the Top District program, please submit your resume/curriculum vitae to email@example.com and complete the questionnaire at http://www.mikousa.com/surveys/index.php?sid=68846&lang=en no later than 11:59 pm (ET) on September 4, 2012.
By Bruce Hunter
The type of scientific polling done by the Gallup organization sometimes finds clarity in public opinion—and sometimes confusion. Each year, the questions asked of respondents reflect a world view of the questioners, so the answers provide insight only into that world view. The 2012 version of the Gallup/PDK poll reflects the framework in which today’s “reformers” view public education. This makes the 2012 poll results more complicated, more frustrating, and more interesting. READ MORE at http://www.aasa.org/headlinecontent.aspx?id=24478.
Two new public opinion polls released this week asked the American public their opinion on public education.
Gallup Work and Education Poll: In a poll released on Monday, more than 1,000 adults from all 50 states were asked how they perceive the federal education law No Child Left Behind and its impact on the nation's schools. When asked if they find NCLB to have worsened or improved education, more respondents reported 'worsened' (29%) than 'improved' (16%). The results come from Gallup's annual Work and Education poll, which was conducted Aug. 9-12 and are consistent with the last time Gallup asked this question in 2009. There are not glaring differences between adults with children in school and those without, though adults in households earning less than $30,000 were more likely (22%) to respond that the law has improved education than those from higher-income househodls (15%).
Annual PDK/Gallup Poll: Today, PDK/Gallup released the 2012 Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. The annual survey is well-known for allowing education leaders and stakeholders to follow public opinion about the nation's public schools. In an increasingly political federal policy climate and heated election year, this year's PDK poll highlights several areas where the public is torn, reporting conflicting positions on the direction, management and investment of public education:
Digging beyond the general trends of division among public opinion, I wanted to highlight some of the findings that caught my eye:
Another good analysis: Our friends at EdWeek put together a great analysis looking more deeply at the federal-policy related items. Check it out!
Acess the full report. (PDF)
This past Saturday, President Obama used his weekly radio address to call attention to the urge Congress to back a plan to hire teachers.
The call to action was part of a one-two punch that included the radio address and a new White House report that collectively show the need for Congress to pass proposals to help states reduce teacher layoffs. The report, Investing in Our Future: Returning Teachers to the Classroom, concludes that 300,000 educator jobs have been lost since the official end of the recession in 2009 and that student-to-teacher ratios increased by 4.6 percent between 2008 and 2010.
The report cites AASA data detailing the impact of the recession on districts. Section III (Teacher Layoffs Force Districts into Difficult Choices) starts on page 8 and uses AASA data on job cuts, increased class sizes, summer school reductions, and non-academic program reductions.
Want to read more? Check out the Associated Press story.
Education Insider is a monthly survey published by Whiteboard Advisors where they survey current and former White House and U.S. DOE staff, current and former congressional staff, state education leaders like state school chiefs, and leaders of education organizations, think-tanks, etc. on key education topics. This month's survey asked their group of “Insiders” to interpret what each presidential candidate's election might mean for education, the chances of ESEA re-authorization, as well as what perceptions are around the common core. Here are a few of the survey findings:
The complete survey which contains many more questions and quotes, is available here:http://www.whiteboardadvisors.com/files/Aug%202012%20-%20Education%20Insider%20%28Election%20Check%20In%29.pdf
Secretary Arne Duncan has announced ED’s third back-to-school bus tour. The Education Drives America tour will take Duncan and senior ED leaders across the country.
The bus tour will begin on Sept. 12 in Redwood City, California, and conclude at the Department of Education’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., on the evening of Sept. 21. Additional stops include, Sacramento, California; Reno and Elko, Nevada; Salt Lake City, Utah; Rawlins, Rock Springs, and Cheyenne, Wyoming; Denver and Limon, Colorado; Topeka and Emporia, Kansas; Kansas City and Columbia, Missouri; Mt. Vernon, Illinois; Evansville, Indiana; Lexington, Kentucky; Charleston and McDowell County, West Virginia; Roanoke and Richmond, Virginia.
The tour will highlight education successes and bring communities together to talk about P-12 school reform, college affordability and the link between education and jobs.More details on each stop will be announced in the coming weeks. To receive updates about the tour, SIGN UP for our Education Drives America email list.
This Sunday, August 19, Fox News Reporting will air "Fixing Our Schools" at 9 pm (and again at 12 am). Mooresville Graded School District (NC) will be featured in this documentary for its Digital Conversion and the academic gains that have occurred since implementation.
Today there was an article in the Wall Street Journal by Mr. Juan Williams previewing the newscast.
In receiving the note about the good work (and coverage!) of Mooresville, the success of MGSD and its Digital Conversion were attributed to all the different stakeholders involved, including teachers, administrators, staff, students, parents and community members.
Should you have a similar experience/story you would like to feature on the blog or AASA Connect, send an email to Noelle.
In follow up to last week's blog post on the Department release of the Race to the Top District Competition, some more details and information.
First, the Department is encouraging all districts that plan to apply to notify USED by Aug. 30. That is a tight turnaround. The following paragraph relates to the Notice of Intent to Apply and was pulled from the RttT-D Application:
Second, some more details on what's in the competition, and what's out:
AASA will be represented in an upcoming webinar on RttT-D. Weigh in with me (Noelle) to let me know if this is a competitive grant your district will pursue, and why/why not. Thanks!
The US Education Department today (Aug. 10) released the final criteria and application materials/timeline for its Race to the Top District competition. Generally speaking, while there were some changes from the Department's proposed criteria, the final criteria remain largely unchanged. You can review AASA's response to the propsoed criteria here. Based on AASA's major comments, the enrollment threshold was lowered (from 2,500 to 2,000), the ESA definition was NOT adjusted, and we are still reviewing the NIA for clarification re: the poverty threshold, evaluations, and more. Check back next week for further analysis. For now, though, here are the crucial bits of information:
Timeline: In a word, it is tight. All dollars need to be distributed by December 2012. Seeing as it is already the middle of August, that means school districts have an extremely tight window for committing to apply and submitting and application and the department has a tight window for receiving and processing applications.
A few random things....
Earlier this week, AASA held its Sequestration Webinar. You can view an archived copy of the presentation or download the slides here. During the webinar, AASA was able to announce that the President had signed the Sequestration Transparency Act in to law. The law calls on the President to issue the report within 30 days (in this case, by Sept. 6). Among other things to be included in the report for discretionary appropriations, there will be an estimate for each category of the sequestration percentages and amounts necessary to reach the required savings/reduction. Given the likelihood of a CR, the report must also include a list of the accounts to be sequestered and estimates pursuant to the CR (continuing resolution) levels. This is a lot of wonk; just know that shortly after Labor Day, there will be a report that will start to clarify the confusion about/answer the bajillion questions that surround the sequester.
Second, you'll recall that AASA is working in coordination with the Non-Defense Discretionary (NDD) Coalition in our efforts to advocate against the sequester. (NDD-generated information is already available in the Updated AASA Sequestration Toolkit.) Earlier this week, NDD released its new grassroots toolkit.It is a great complement to the AASA toolkit: the AASA resrouce is education-specific, and drills down from the more general, discretionary angle that the NDD toolkit covers.
The NDD tooliti includes:
While AASA and this blog tend to focus solely on education-related issues, many of you are working in states and districts dealing with the record-setting drought conditions now impacting much of the country.
As such, I wanted to share a recently-released document with information and helpful resources regarding the ongoing drought. it's a compilation of resources and flexibilities the administration is working to provide to help farmers and the communities they live in persevere through the drought conditions. Check out the USDA Current Drought Resources and Information (PDF)
This is but a starting point; for further--and the latest--information, check out the USDA drought website.
As you all begin kick off for the 2012-13 school year, I wanted to share two Common Core teaching resources I came across in the last week. They have a lot of information that could be helpful to you, the principals in your districts and your teachers.
Check them out today.
AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech is joined by Advocacy Team Members Bruce Hunter and Noelle Ellerson. Together, AASA will provide an overview of sequestration, including the latest updates from USED and what school districts can do in August to raise awareness and understanding in Congress for the important work of avoiding sequestration.
Check out the specific webinar webpage, download the presentation, or download the slides!
PS: This webinar is the latest addition to AASA's sequestration toolkit and resources!
With the aggressive push at the federal level for legislation mandating school districts enact polices to prevent cyberbullying and punish students who engage in this behavior, it would seem reasonable to think the rate of cyberbullying was increasingly exponentially. Well, that doesn’t seem to be the case according to new research by the longtime bullying researcher Dan Olweus of the University of Bergen, Norway, who presented his findings at a conference last week. His research on 450,490 students in 1,349 American schools surveyed between 2007 and 2010 found that cyberbullying "is a low-prevalence phenomenon, which has not increased over time and has not created many 'new' victims and bullies, that is, children and youth who are not also involved in some form of traditional bullying." His results show that on average, 18 percent of American students said they had been verbally bullied; those who said they had been cyberbullied was about 4.5 percent. Of the forty-nine states with bullying laws (Montana is the only outlier), only 3 of these states laws does not include cyberbullying in its definition of bullying.
IDEA data collection has always been incredibly burdensome for districts, but the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs has made a few preliminary tweaks to its data collection requirements to temporarily ease the burden on districts and states. Earlier this week they announced that they will stop requiring districts to report on the under-representation of students by race and ethnicity in special education, a change that AASA has vigorously advocated for. The revision is long overdue given the fact that it is difficult for school districts to justify the underrepresentation of minorities in low-incidence disability categories, where the disability is clearly due to factors that school personnel cannot alter. The elimination of the underrepresentation indicators will go into effect for the reporting due in February 2013, or for the 2011-2012 reporting period.
While OSEP did not go as far as AASA would have liked in reducing the data collection burden, OSEP recently announced they were going to “re-think” district special-education accountability system in order to “shift the balance from a system focused primarily on compliance to one that puts more emphasis on results.” They are currently seeking input on their blog as to how this new framework should operate.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is conducting a detailed study on testing improprieties and is asking for AASA members’ active participation in documenting any testing misconduct that has occurred in your district. Specifically, they are trying to get a sense of whether cheating incidents are school-wide, singular, accidental, a result of fraud by the testing company, etc. If you have a few moments, please fill out this 2-minute survey on the GAO website: https://tell.gao.gov/csa59
Now that the extremely optimistic title of this blog post has caught your attention, it's time to play catch up on a lot of the moving parts related to education funding.
CONTINUING RESOLUTION (Updated: the third bullet was updated to correct inverted numbers)
While there’s been a national trend toward the adoption and expansion of private school voucher programs, particularly for students with disabilities, AASA members in New York were successful in convincing New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, to veto legislation that would have forced school districts to pay for many more students to attend religious schools. Currently, nine school voucher programs in seven states specifically provide vouchers for families with disabled children. The legislation in NY would have required administrators to take into account the “home life and family background” of special education students when placing them in schools. AASA members were aggressive in lobbying the Governor to veto the voucher legislation and we commend them for their efforts. Way to keep up the good fight, guys!
USDA Food and Nutrition Service2012 Back-To-School Campaign Introductory WebinarTuesday, August 14, 2012, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Eastern TimeWednesday, August 15, 2012, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM Eastern Time
Session Description: These webinar sessions will introduce The School Day Just Got Healthier back-to-school campaign aimed at helping prepare students, school staff and leadership, and parents for the changes to school meals. The webinar will include an overview of the resources available to help get the word out and build support for healthy eating in schools. All sessions will contain the same information.
Target Audience: State Agency Staff, School Food Service Personnel, School Administrators
Participation: These sessions will be available via Microsoft Office LiveMeeting (Webinar) and are free to all participants. You will need access to a telephone line and a computer with internet access for this webinar. To participate, please complete the online registration. Further information will be forthcoming to registered participants. You must register to receive additional information. Connection instructions will be sent prior to the session in which you register for, to the email address you provide in the registration.
Registration Link: https://www.research.net/s/HealthierSchoolDayWebinar
Recording: All sessions will be recorded and posted online and on-demand soon following the completion of the webinar. All sessions will be posted on the USDA “The School Just Got Healthier” website coming soon.
Additional information: Additional information on the USDA FNS Back-To-School Campaign can be found USDA “The School Just Got Healthier” website coming soon.
Please feel free to forward this invitation on to any interested parties, as appropriate.
Questions?If you have questions regarding this event, please contact:Kiev Randall|USDA FNShealthierschoolday@fns.usda.gov
The U.S. Department of Education has declared August Connected Educator Month. Throughout August, more than 100 of the nation's leading education organizations, communities, and companies will come together online to celebrate and explore the power of professional online communities and networks to meet the needs of education professionals - novices and leaders alike.The Connected Educators initiative is being coordinated for the Department of Education by the American Institutes for Research with key support from its partners, including the Consortium for School Networking, Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, Forum One Communications, Grunwald Associates LCC, and the State Educational Technology Directors Association, in collaboration with a wide range of educational organizations and grassroots networks, including AASA
AASA is please to be a participating organization. You can see ALL participating organizations at: http://connectededucators.org/cem/participating-organizations/.
For the 2008 presidential election, AASA tracked the education platforms of all candidates through the primary and general elections.
The field was notably thinner this year, and only one side had a primary to track. While we aren't providing the full platforms as in 2008, we have covered it before in this blog, and I wanted to make available a collection of links that outline President Obama and Governor Romney's stand on education and other issues"
Join AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech, Associate Executive Director Bruce Hunter and Assistant Director for Policy Analysis & Advocacy Noelle Ellerson for this can’t miss webinar with everything you need to know about sequestration.
Dan, Bruce and Noelle will give you the complete story of sequestration, from how we got here and where it will take us to what school system leaders can and should be doing to both prepare for the devastating cuts and to work with their Congressional delegation to avoid sequestration. They’ll answer your questions and detail the various sequestration resources AASA has made available to its members.
Topics to be covered:
DATE: Tuesday Aug. 7, 2012TIME: 3:30-4:30 PM ET
THIS BLOG POST HAS BEEN UPDATED. While you can still access the links below, the latest edition of the sequestration toolkit can be found here.
CAUTION: The information below may be outdated.
AASA is happy to re-release an updated version of its sequestration toolkit. In addition to the original overview slideshow and initial sequestration analysis, this updated version includes AASA’s latest economic impact survey, a Congressional Call to Action Invoice and updated resources and talking points from fellow advocacy groups.
AASA filed comments in response ot the USDA interim rule Certification of Compliance with Meal Requirements for the National School Lunch Program Under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
The interim rule provides performance-based cash assistant to school food agencies compliant with meal pattern/nutrition standards. AASA found the interim rule proposed a method that is cumbersome, confusing, complicated, ineffective and cost-prohibitive.
AASA has received some questions about the appropriateness of exclusive partnerships or other arrangements between schools and/or school districts and institutions of higher education. Coupled with recent media coverage about these agreements, AASA partnered with the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the National Association for College Admission Counseling to provide guidance to school districts as they consider and navigate these types of arrangements.
Read Guidance on Overseeing High School/College Partnerships: (PDF)
Recently, National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) have received questions about the appropriateness of exclusive partnerships or other arrangements between schools and/or school districts and institutions of higher education, particularly when such arrangements involve sponsorships or other financial considerations that may not be transparent to students, families, or other stakeholders. Schools and school districts must exercise great care in entering arrangements with other entities, as school and school district participation with outside organizations conveys endorsement of a specific product, service, or institution. Accordingly, we urge school leaders and administrators to consider the following guidance when evaluating a partnership proposal.
Establish Consistent Procedures Involving Key Stakeholders
Develop a set of standardized procedures for evaluating potential partnerships with institutions of higher education. In developing and implementing such procedures, involve key stakeholders, including district-level administrators, principals, and school counselors, among others. Core procedures include:
We recommend identifying a single point of contact for institutions seeking partnerships. Administrators, teachers and counselors should all be made aware of the formal procedure for developing institutional partnerships, and all institutions seeking partnerships should be immediately referred to the point person or office. The details of partnerships should also be formally established, agreed to by all involved parties, and made available to students, parents and the public.
Yesterday, a bipartisan handful of Representatives sent a joint letter to Secretary Duncan, weighing in with their thoughts on the Department's proposed rules for the Race to the Top District competition.
AASA would like to extend a thank you to the House Rural Education Caucus for drafting and circulating the letter, and to Reps. Sam Graves (R-MO), David Loebsack (D-IA), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Aaron Schock (R-IL), NicK Rahall (D-WV), Bobby Schilling (R-IL), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Bill Owens (D-NY) for signing the letter.
You'll recall AASA filed comments on the proposed rules, and that the Senate sent a similar letter (echoing many of AASA's concerns!) earlier this summer.
In a statement released yesterday, American Association of School Administrators executive director, Daniel Domenech, called the recent announcement from the U. S. Department of Education, “good news!”On Friday last week, Department of Education Deputy Secretary Anthony Miller issued a clarification to the Chief State School Officers regarding the impact of sequestration on those federal education programs with advanced funds (Title I, Title II, IDEA and Perkins). According to Secretary Miller, “If Congress does not act to avoid sequestration, and assuming the 2013 appropriations for these four accounts are structured similar to past appropriations,….the Department will take the sequester funds from the funds that will be available July 2013 for the school year 2013-14,” not from funds for the 2012-13 school year.“This means school districts will not have to begin now making plans for cuts for the coming school year,” said Domenech. “However, we remain concerned about the possibility of further deep cuts to education when schools are already suffering from years of economic downturn. We urge Congress once again to find a way to avoid this disaster.”AASA has been advocating for a policy solution to avoid sequestration and has been asking the administration to provide information to schools to support their efforts to prepare for deep cuts. On July 10, AASA released a new study, Cut Deep: How the Sequester Will Impact Our Nation’s Schools demonstrating the potential harm that the cuts will have on schools across the nation. In conjunction with the release, AASA also sponsored a panel discussion on Capitol Hill with educators and legislators on the potential effects of sequestration.Sequestration is the name of the automatic, across-the-board, federal funding cuts, established by the Budget Control Act of 2011, which will go into effect on January 2, 2013, if Congress does not agree on a balanced deficit reduction plan. For more information, including the text of Secretary Miller’s memo, are available on the AASA’s The Leading Edge blog.
From Student Achievement Partners:
In order to support district and school leadership in their transition to the Common Core, Student Achievement Partners has developed four professional development modules, including presentations, facilitator’s guides and activities. The modules are designed to be incorporated into summer professional development sessions or during back to school planning.
The four modules cover the following topics: the Common Core Shifts in Math, the Common Core Shifts in ELA/Literacy, Text Dependent Questions in ELA/Literacy, and Instructional Leadership in the Context of the Common Core. We are hopeful that these will serve as a valuable resource for districts and states as they prepare for the coming year and would appreciate your help in sharing them broadly. All the modules can be accessed via achievethecore.org or directly at http://www.achievethecore.org/steal-these-tools/professional-development-modules.
Check out the Dell Foundation blog posts (and embedded infographics) that are great illustrations of some of the myths associated with the use of data in the classroom:
Better late than never in sharing this good news:
Kudos are in order to the trio behind AASA's The School Adminstrator, the monthly publication provided to AASA members.
Jay, Liz and Betsy do all the heavy lifting that comes with producing an excellent monthly magazine. Their work doesn't go unnoticed: AASA members rely on The School Administrator and its excellent features and articles.
Beyond its in-house fans, though, the magazine receives outside recognition, including an award earlier this month. Conratulations to Jay, Liz and Betsy for a job well done, and an award well-earned. Here is the notice from NSPRA:
AASA Magazine Earns Publication Contest Honor
School Administrator, AASA’s monthly magazine, has been named an Award of Excellence recipient in the magazine category of the National School Public Relations Association’s 2012 Publications and Electronic Media Contest.
The award of excellence represents the highest honor in each category. As its contest entry, AASA submitted the September 2011 issue of School Administrator, an issue that mostly focused on the role of courage in school system leadership by sharing self-reflections by 10 superintendents.
NSPRA received 701 entries in this year's nationwide contest, including 537 in the publications’ portion. As an Award of Excellence winner, the magazine was on display at NSPRA’s national conference in Chicago earlier this month, according to an award notification letter from Richard Bagin, the association’s executive director.
AASA will receive a plaque that honors the magazine’s work. School Administrator’s staff consists of Jay P. Goldman, editor; Liz Griffin, managing editor; and Betsy Samson, editorial assistant.
A full list of winners is available on NSPRA’s website (www.nspra.org) in the section titled Awards, Contests and Scholarships.
Last week at the AASA Governing Board meeting, the Governing Board adopted a resolution to oppose federal block-granting of Medicaid. Restructuring the Medicaid program into a block grant system would, in the opinion of most experts, eliminate reimbursement funding for school-based health services. Under a block grant system, the Governor of any state could choose to leave the school-based reimbursement program in the mix, but could also chose not to. In light of the fact that Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, House Speaker John Boehner and Chairman of the House Budget Committee Paul Ryan all favor block-grants for Medicaid, AASA decided to adopt this position. Read a one-page factsheet on the importance of preserving Medicaid funding for schools.
As part of AASA's advocacy against sequestration, we partner with our friends at the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) who have, in turned, partnered with other coalitions representing the non-defense discretionary portions of the federal budget. Collectively, the NDD portions have already absorbed more than $1 trillion in state, local and federal cuts during the recession, cuts that would be made even deeper should the sequester become a reality.
NDD programs are core functions of government and provide for the benefit of all. Examples of NDD programs include medical research, public health, education and more.
AASA was happy to sign on to the NDD's recent letter to Congress, which compiled more than 3,000 organizations at the local, state and federal levels, urging for a balanced approach to deficit reduction.
You can access the full suite of NDD sequestration resources on their website. I've pulled a few to feature here:
As reported earlier this morning, the Department has issued clarifying guidance related to how advance-funded programs (including ESEA Title I, ESEA Title II, IDEA and Perkins) would be impacted by the sequester.
The Department's letter clarifies--contrary to what we and others, including education funding coalitions and several state education departments, have been saying--that if the sequester is triggered, the cuts for the advance-funded programs will NOT occur in the 2012-13 school year. ALL sequester cuts will impact schools during the 2013-14 school year. The depth of the cut for the advance-funded programs would be equal to the percentage cut for all other non-exempt discretionary programs.
Exception: Impact Aid is a current-year funded program and as such would take the cut is the sequester takes place in the 2012-13 school year.
Our friends at CEF have provided quick charts that highlight how the sequester would work for these programs:
On January 2, 2013, the vast majority of federal nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs will face deep, across-the board cuts. These cuts will impact core government functions that support economic growth, strengthen safety and security, and enrich the lives of every American in every state and community across the nation. Affected programs include medical and scientific research, education and job training, transportation and infrastructure, public safety and law enforcement, public health, and weather monitoring and environmental protection, among others.
These indiscriminate cuts can be avoided—but only if Congress can come together and find a balanced approach to deficit reduction. Please lend us your voice in support of this effort!
To RSVP, contact Sean O’Shea at firstname.lastname@example.org, And forward this invitation far and wide!
Please also review the guidelines for participating in a rally, including specifications for signs, here.
UPDATED: This post now includes a link to the text of the letter.
On Friday afternoon, the Department issued the following memo to Chief State School Offices as clarification regarding the impact of the impending sequester on the four education programs with advance funding (Title I, Title II, IDEA and Career/Tech). While the full text of the memo is below, I wanted to clarify some things that are noteworthy:
The Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011 established a Joint Select Committee in Congress charged with the task of developing a proposal to achieve at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction. Unfortunately, last November, the Joint Committee announced that it could not reach agreement on a deficit reduction plan. This failure triggered enforcement via automatic funding cuts, called sequestration, for fiscal year 2013, unless Congress prevents this from taking place by sending the President a balanced deficit reduction plan that does away with sequestration before it goes into effect on January 2, 2013.
Many of you have asked technical questions about how the Department of Education would implement the BCA sequestration in our four appropriations accounts that receive fiscal year 2013 budgetary resources from both 2012 advance appropriations and 2013 regular appropriations. The 2012 advance appropriations become available in October 2012 for school year 2012-13. The 2013 regular appropriations become available in July 2013 for school year 2013-14. Most of the funds in the four accounts with advance appropriations—Education for the Disadvantaged (Title I, ESEA), School Improvement Programs (Title II, ESEA), Special Education (IDEA Part B), and Career, Technical, and Adult Education—get distributed by formula to States and then to local school districts or other entities.
If Congress does not act to avoid sequestration, and assuming the 2013 appropriations for these four accounts are structured similarly to past appropriations (which they are under the pending House and Senate appropriations bills), the Department will take the sequester from funds that would become available in July 2013 for school year 2013-14, not from the 2012 advance appropriations available in October 2012. The amount of the reduction will be calculated by applying the sequester percentage (to be determined by the Office of Management and Budget) to the fiscal year 2013 budgetary resources from both the 2012 advance appropriations and the 2013 regular appropriations that are available for the four accounts. The calculated sequester amount will then get subtracted from the July 2013 funding. The net effect will be to cut the funding level for the programs in the four accounts with advance funding by the same percentage as all other programs, projects, and activities.
It has come to our attention that some States may have urged school districts to hold back on spending for the 2012-13 school year because of the possibility of sequestration. Assuming Congress enacts a 2013 appropriations bill that is structured similarly to the pending House or Senate bills—a reasonable assumption based on past practice—there is no reason to believe that a sequestration would affect funding for the 2012-13 school year.
While a large sequestration of education appropriations would decrease funding for schools and students across the country, the potential for sequestration should not upset planning and hiring decisions for the immediately upcoming 2012-13 school year. Federal funds have already been appropriated and will be provided for this school year, through grants made in July 2012 and advance funds that will be obligated in October 2012.
Most other Department elementary and secondary programs award funds late in the fiscal year for the following school year, either through a formula or following a competition for discretionary grants, so the impact of the BCA on these programs will not be felt until the 2013-14 school year as well. However, the major exception where the BCA sequester could reduce funds for the 2012-13 school year is the $1.2 billion Impact Aid program. Impact Aid provides funds to some 1,192 school districts serving about 949,000 students. About 52,000 of those students are in districts that rely heavily on Impact Aid for a large share of their funds. These districts could experience more significant short-term funding problems due to sequestration than other districts.
Although most of the harm from the sequestration would not be felt in education programs until the 2013-14 school year, the damage from across-the-board cuts in that year would be severe. The Administration has submitted a balanced plan to Congress to avoid a sequestration, and continues to urge Congress to act on that policy. The sequestration was not meant to be implemented; it was meant to drive Congress to enact a balanced deficit reduction plan through the threat of destructive cuts. Time remains for Members of Congress to produce such a balanced plan, and we urge Congress to do so. Secretary Duncan will be testifying on July 25th before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies on the potential harmful impact of sequestration on schools, teachers, and students and will be urging Congress to take action to avoid the deep and indiscriminate cuts in education and other Federal programs that sequestration would entail. However, while we wait for Congressional action, based upon past practice in appropriations, there is little reason to delay hiring for school year 2012-13 due to the threat of sequestration.
In conjunction with today's advocacy conference and to support today's education media panel, Education Week's superstar reporter Alyson Klein provided this brief blog:
Education Week puts out a free daily e-newsletter, keeping you informed of the latest K-12 developments.
Register for the newsletter here http://www.edweek.org/newsletter.html
Be sure to check-out Alyson’s Politics K-12 blog, http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/, an indispensible resource for anyone who needs to understand how policy developments in Washington impact school districts around the country.
In conjunction with this summer's advocacy conference and related to today's education media panel, Education Writer's Association Executive Director Carolyn Hendrie provided the following information:
EdMedia Commons is an online community gathering EWA members who want to discuss ideas, issues and insights from all corners of the education policy world. For its first year, EMC’s content was accessible exclusively to members of the Education Writers Association. But on July 23, the community will open, allowing non-members to view all the great content, the site has to offer, from newsmaker interviews to expert roundtables.
EdMedia Commons is a major part of EWA’s online presence, but it’s only the beginning of our offerings to our members on the web.
We hope you’ll take a look at some of these great resources and even join the discussion yourself. Thanks for your interest in EWA.
Here are the meeting materials I have from the first day of the conference:
As reported earlier today, the House LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee released its FY13 appropriations bill.
Given our advocacy conference, I won't be attending the LHHS markup tomorrow. The numbers and analysis below may be slightly modified after seeing the committee report and table. For now though, here is some additional detail:
It's a busy day here in DC! AASA kicks off its 2012 Advocacy Conference and the House LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee released its FY13 proposal in advance of tomorrow's mark up.
I will get you a more thorough analysis later. Here's what I have for now, though:
You can access the bill online and the education portion can be found on pages 94-115.
Department of Education – The bill funds the Department of Education at $70 billion, which is $1.1 billion below last year’s level and $2.9 billion below the budget request. The bill eliminates many duplicative, inefficient, or unauthorized education programs, including the Administration’s “Race to the Top” program. The bill also includes limitations that prohibit the Department of Education from moving forward with regulations that define “gainful employment” and “credit hour,” or dictates on how states must license institutions of higher education.
In follow up to AASA’s well-receive sequestration survey, Cut Deep: How the Sequester Will Impact Our Nation’s Schools, AASA is today issuing a call to action, urging AASA members to take ten minutes to send a note to Congress detailing the impact of the cuts of sequestration.
The timing couldn’t be better: AASA’s advocacy conference is this week, meaning school administrators just like you will be in Washington, D.C. to share these stories in person. Further, Congress is rapidly approaching its August recess, meaning now is the time to get the information to the hill as Congress wraps its final weeks of activity before the recess and fall election.
The approach is two-fold: an excel-driven invoice and a customizable letter. The invoice quantifies the cuts; the letter allows you to qualify the cuts, detailing what it would mean to your district in terms of job cuts, program reductions, and service elimination. All you need to get started is your district’s 2011-12 school year funding level for federal programs, including Title I, IDEA, Title II and Perkins.
Once you enter your district’s funding level into the spreadsheet, a formula will automatically calculate the dollar cut that would mean to your district. From there, personalize the template letter with details about your district and what the cuts of sequestration would do to your district’s budget and ability to support education programming and personnel.
We've assembled everything you need to complete this call to action:
If you have any questions about sequestration, the AASA survey or the resources in this call to action, don’t hesitate to reach out to Noelle (email@example.com).
Today, the Institute of Education Sciences released America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2012.
From their press release: "America’s Children in Brief, 2012--a compendium of indicators depicting the latest data and recent trends among today’s children--is now available online at ChildStats.gov. Prepared by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, the report highlights 14 of the report’s 41 key indicators on important aspects of children’s lives and features 7 domains--family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health. All indicator tables and figures are available online at ChildStats.gov.""According to this year’s report, the infant mortality rate, the preterm birth rate, and the adolescent birth rate all continued to decline, average mathematics scores increased for 4th and 8th grade students, and the violent crime victimization rate among youth fell, as did the percentage of young children living in a home where someone smoked. The report is the 16th in an ongoing series of reports on the well-being of children and families.
AASA today released the second survey in a multi-part study on the use of seclusion and restraint in public schools. The study, Keeping Schools Safe: Ensuring Federal Policy Promotes School Safety, contains new data on the use of these practices in schools and compares current federal policy proposals with state legislation crafted in collaboration with superintendents.
The study, completed in April 2011 and based on responses from 389 superintendents from across the country, found that• 94 percent of school districts monitor students at all times when they are in seclusion.• 97 percent of school administrators end the use of seclusion and restraint as soon as the emergency ends.• 97 percent of survey participants responded that they do not use mechanical restraints on students under any circumstances.• 80 percent of all school personnel trained in the use of seclusion and restraint are also trained in nonviolent intervention techniques.
“This study demonstrates that school administrators do not need state or federal law to mandate that they act in the best interest of students when using seclusion and restraint techniques. Administrators are implementing these policies on their own,” said AASA executive director Daniel A. Domenech. “AASA opposes current federal policy proposals. We do not feel that these bills are based on good-faith efforts to craft common-sense, helpful policies.”“No one is advocating the use seclusion and restraint as a standard practice or as a means of punishment,” Domenech continued. “The goal of state and local policy should be to end the inappropriate use of these practices. We know that many states are trying a variety of approaches to learn what is effective. We need to support these efforts and learn which ones are working, rather than rush to pass federal policy without this information.”
The study cites a statute recently passed in Wisconsin—developed with broad support from both school leaders and disability advocates—that offers a model of clear, commonsense standards. In comparing current practices with legislation proposed by Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa (S.2020) in December 2011, the study found that the Senate bill:• Lacks a reasonable option of intervening when a student’s behavior is dangerous or unmanageable.• Creates onerous reporting requirements for school districts without improving school practice or policy.• Forbids school personnel from secluding a student for any reason, even if the technique has already proven effective.
Keeping Schools Safe praises the U.S. Department of Education’s recently released Resource Document, which outlines principles for schools to consider as they craft local seclusion and restraint policies. Because of the fiscal constraints of the current economy, however, many school districts cannot afford to comply with particular training and procedural suggestions outlined by the Department. According to the study,
3% of school administrators indicated the elimination of the Safe and Drug Free Funding has made it “considerably more difficult” to fund professional development, training, or programs like positive behavioral support systems and nonviolent crisis intervention and 91% of respondents said their school district would benefit from funding to implement school-wide positive behavioral support and intervention systems and nonviolent crisis interventions. AASA hopes Congress will act to fill this gap.
“If Congress wants to make seclusion and restraint safer and more effective,” commented AASA government affairs manager and author of the study, Sasha Pudelski, “then Congress should provide funds to implement more professional development and training for school staff members on evidence-based practices that reduce the inappropriate use of these techniques. Grants to districts to support appropriate intervention practices, such as positive behavior interventions and supports could make a huge difference in student safety and in school districts’ ability to use these practices wisely.”
AASA will continue to monitor and report on changes to state seclusion and restraint policies and legislation. The complete study, in addition to the first report in the series, is attached and also posted at www.aasa.org/seclusionrestraint.aspx.
It's a busy day for sequestration and education. In addition to AASA's latest economic impact survey (looking at sequestration), the NEA has also updated its sequestration-related information.
The in-depth analysis looks at the overall impact of the potential cuts of sequestration on education (and head start). You can access the full document, and I've excerpted some highlights:
In a survey released today, AASA provides the first nation-wide look at how schools are responding to and will be impacted by sequestration.
Cut Deep: How the Sequester Will Impact Our Nation's Schools looks at how schools are preparing for the potentially devastating cuts of sequestration and how the cuts would impact the nation's schools. The survey was released in a press conference on the hill, and featured Superintendents and AASA member Patrick Murphy (Arlington County Public Schools, Arlington, Va.) and Pam Heaston (Assistant Superintendent, Talbot County Schools, Easton, Md.), along with comments from Rep. Walz and Rep. Chris Van Hollen.
“Sequestration represents a very real threat to the nation’s schools, the students they serve and the fragile economic recovery starting to take hold at the state and local level,” said Daniel Domenech, AASA executive director, in releasing the report. “Complicating the threat of sequestration even further is the virtual lack of information about what the sequester would mean, when the cuts would start, which programs would be impacted, and how deep the cuts would be. This report clearly documents a lack of communication between the entity implementing sequestration—Congress—and those who will feel the impact—individuals at the local level.”
AASA President Benny Gooden (Superintendent, Fort Smith Schools, Fort Smith, Ar.) weighed in as well :“AASA recognizes the challenges Congress faces in addressing spending, revenues and mandatory programs,” said AASA President Benny Gooden. “AASA firmly believes that the blunt cuts of sequestration run counter to the widely stated and broadly supported goal of putting our nation on the path to economic health and well-being. The blind cuts of sequestration are not consistent with expectations for the careful use of resources to address critical needs. Instead of a targeted and strategic process, the economic equivalent of carpet bombing is being applied to federal spending. Cuts made regardless of program demand or effectiveness represent poor, short-sighted policy. Many affected programs have been mandated by Congress. Cut Deep illustrates that sequestration is a problem, not a solution; a mistake that dismantles any hope of long-term, sustained economic well-being and growth for our nation’s students and economy.”
A few select excerpts:
Ok, perhaps the title of this blog post is a bit of an oxymoron. Regardless, there are some recent reports that I wanted to put on your radar:
The Center for American Progress released two sequestration-related reports that are worth a once-over. The second one, in particular, references the impact of the sequester on Title I.
Census Bureau Report on School Funding: Late last month, the U.S. Census Bureau issued Public Education Finances: 2010, a report that provides tables and figures on revenues, expenditures, debt and assets (cash and security holdings) of the nation's elementary and secondary public school systems for the 2010 fiscal year. The tables include detailed statistics on spending — such as instruction, student transportation, salaries and employee benefits — at the national, state and school district levels. Itt shoudl be noted that the report details an increase in federal funds, which in large part should be attributed to the one-time ARRA funds that became available in 2010.
K12 Database: The Laura and John Arnold Foundation in Houston has announced the launch of a Web-based education database system that provides an overview of the national education reform landscape. “Free and open to the public, the Education Resource Information Navigator Project offers data, resources, and other information in five categories — top funders, current policy, research papers, reform organizations, and technology — across thirteen topics, including assessment, charter schools, curricula and programs, data, school funding, and teachers. Each topic is further divided into specific issues such as recruitment and selection, training, teacher certification, and evaluation. Users have the option of suggesting content to be added to the database.”
This Foundation education work “currently focuses on four major levers for change:
Join the American Association of School Administrators on July 10 as we release Cut Deep: How the Sequester Will Impact Our Nation’s Schools. In this survey, 13th in AASA’s Economic Impact Series, AASA asked school administrators across the nation how their districts are preparing for the sequester, how the sequester would impact their schools and the cuts and eliminations that they would make should the sequestration cuts become a reality.
AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech will open the briefing with an overview of Cut Deep, going in to detail about the way school districts are planning and preparing for the deep cuts of the potential sequester. He will then facilitate a panel conversation with current superintendents and AASA members who will share their direct experiences in planning for the sequester.
RSVP Required: Respond to Noelle Ellerson (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Friday, July 6.
In a blog post last week, I wrote about the inclusion of a one-year extension of the forest counties program in the transporation bill. Our friends at the National Forest Counties and Schools Coalition just released their monthly update, which includes a more detailed review of what was included in tre transportation bill (as it relates to Forest Counties) along with a look at other moving vehicles related to the long-term solution we are still advocating for.
Check out the June NFCSC Newsletter.
On Friday, five additional states were granted ESEA waivers, giving them flexibility from key provisions of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in exchange for state-developed plans to prepare all students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students, and support effective teaching and leadership.
The five states receiving waivers on Friday were Arkansas, Missouri, South Dakota, Utah and Virginia, and it brings the total number of states having received waivers to 24. There are 13 applications still under review, and a third round of applications to be submitted just before Labor Day.
Our friends at EdWeek Politics K12 covered it pretty well. Note that the VA waiver is a good example of a state not having to adopt Common Core to receive the flexibility.
Our friends at CALDER have shared their most recent working paper, looking at portability of teacher effectiveness across school settings. I thought you might find it interesting. Here's the abstract, and a link to the full paper is below:
Abstract: Redistributing highly effective teachers from low- to high-need schools is an education policy tool that is at the center of several major current policy initiatives. The underlying assumption is that teacher productivity is portable across different schools settings. Using elementary and secondary school data from North Carolina and Florida, this paper investigates the validity of this assumption. Among teachers who switched between schools with substantially different poverty levels or academic performance levels, we find no change in those teachers’ measured effectiveness before and after a school change. This pattern holds regardless of the direction of the school change. We also find that high-performing teachers’ value-added dropped and low-performing teachers’ value-added gained in the post-move years, primarily as a result of regression to the within-teacher mean and unrelated to school setting changes. Despite such shrinkages, high-performing teachers in the pre-move years still outperformed low-performing teachers after moving to schools with different settings.
Access the full paper.
This month, the What Works Clearinghouse released three reports that may be of interest to you. The following list is excerpted from a recent IES/WWC email:
Sato, E., Rabinowitz, S., Gallagher, C., & Huang, C.-W. (2010). Accommodations for English language learner students: The effect of linguistic modification of math test item sets (NCEE 2009-4079). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. View the report at http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/SingleStudyReview.aspx?sid=10004Finkelstein, N., Hanson, T., Huang, C.-W., Hirschman, B., & Huang, M. (2011). Effects of Problem Based Economics on high school economics instruction (NCEE 2010-4002rev). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. View the report at http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/SingleStudyReview.aspx?sid=10006
Fabiano, G. A., Vujnovic, R. K., Pelham, W. E., Waschbusch, D. A., Massetti, G. M., Pariseau, M. E., ...Volker, M. (2010). Enhancing the effectiveness of special education programming for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder using a daily report card. School Psychology Review, 39(2), 219–239. View the report at http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/SingleStudyReview.aspx?sid=10008
I don't know the last time I was able to write a blog title that came anywhere near indicating Congress wrapping up some deals. It is amazing what the threat of absolute deadlines and the potential of cutting into their July 4th recess can do to motivate people!
Today is a busy day on Capitol Hill:
It's amazing how productive Congress can be when faced with an absolute deadline (student loans!) and the start of their July 4th recess.
Our friends over at the Pearson Foundation have launched Five Things I've Learned, a collection of insights from education leaders whose daily efforts are improving outcomes for students both in and out of the classroom. Five Things chronicles personal lessons from each contributor, drawing from their decades of experiences in classrooms and with education leadership as well as their collective wisdom about learning, teaching and helping others.
AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech contribued his five lessons. Check them out!
Here's a complete list of everyone who has contributed their Five Lessons.
The Gordon Commission has released the first issue of Work in Progress, introducing the commission, its members, purpose and work.
You'll recall that the Commission was created over a year ago, designed to be a two-year group of thought leaders and innovators from academia, research and policy who cosider what educational assessment will look like and what it should be able to do both now and throughout the 21st century, especially in a world where both knowledge and technology are constantly changing.
Work in Progress is the second type of document created by the commission, and the first edition introduces the commission, its members, purpose and work.
In its first year, the commission released four issues of Bulletin: Assessment, Teaching and Learning:
In early July, AASA will release its latest economic impact survey. This survey--13th in the series!--is focused solely on sequestration and asked respondents to describe how they are planning/bracing for sequestration, what the cuts would mean on their school budget, and how those cuts would impact school operations, from teacher jobs and academic offerings to technology and program reductions.
In advance of the survey release, we're just refreshing sequestration resources AASA has made available to its members. We hope you find these helpful!
This earlier blog post also includes information specific to IDEA and sequestration, along with a handful of sequestration-related reports.
In advance of tomorrow's markup, AASA sent a letter to the House Budget Committee, supporting HR 5872. AASA urged the committee to adopt the bill--which calls for increased transparency related to the impact of sequestration--but only after revising the bill to more closely mirror that of the recently-passed Murray-McCain amendment.
WASHINGTON, DC (June 21, 2012) – In collaboration with the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), Gartner, Inc., has released the third report from the Closing the Gap: Turning Data into Action program titled, “The U.S. SIS and LMS Solution Market.” The report aggregates information about Student Information Systems (SIS) and Learning Management Systems (LMS) vendor offerings.
The report aims to help district, school and technology leaders understand the complex market of vendors with SIS and LMS solutions as well as geographical and customer-size offerings. The research is not meant to provide an exhaustive list of SIS and LMS vendors, but rather an overview of commercial, off-the-shelf SIS and LMS applications. The report presents the vendors positioning by district size, which is where vendors’ customers fit into student population tiers, and how vendors support alternative delivery methods of providing the application, whether they be on-site, hosted by the vendor or in the cloud.
“These reports aggregate objective information on a broad group of SIS and LMS solutions for K-12 districts and education agencies in a single location for the first time. Education agencies will find value in having ready access to this information as a way to navigate the confusing array of SIS and LMS solutions providing source data to help improve instructional practices. This is critical for today’s cash-strapped education agencies,” said Ivy Anderson, Gartner Managing Partner, and lead for the Closing the Gap program.
Detailed information on the individual vendors and their respective SIS or LMS product offerings accompanies the report. The information is presented in a user-friendly format that allows readers to easily compare product offerings as part of their investigation into solutions to meet their needs. Seven SIS and six LMS vendors participated in Gartner’s market survey by providing in-depth information on their SIS and LMS product strategy, functionality, implementation process and technical architecture. The report and all documents – the vendor overview report, vendor solution overviews and detailed solution offerings – can be found on the Closing the Gap: Turning Data into Action website. All of the information is available free of charge.
“This initiative provides school district leaders an important decision-making tool in a fast-changing industry,” said AASA executive director Daniel A. Domenech. “In today’s classroom, having good data is key to teaching and learning. But having the right data, in a timely manner and in a user-friendly format, depends largely on having the right delivery systems. Closing the Gap helps superintendents choose wisely.”
“As SIS and LMS technologies continue to evolve, it is essential that there is a comprehensive resource that pools together information on these solutions so education leaders can determine what best meets their school’s or district’s needs. Effectively capturing data is an important and necessary step toward leveraging it to achieve educational goals and improve outcomes,” said CoSN CEO Keith Krueger.
Closing the Gap is funded through the generous support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
About AASAThe American Association of School Administrators, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit www.aasa.org. Follow AASA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AASAHQ or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AASApage.
About CoSNCoSN is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. The mission of CoSN is to empower educational leaders to leverage technology to realize engaging learning environments. Visit www.cosn.org or phone 866.267.8747 to find out more about CoSN’s Leadership Initiatives, annual conference and events, policy and advocacy, membership, and resources.
About Gartner, Inc.Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is a valuable partner to 60,000 clients in 11,500 distinct organizations. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Gartner has extensive experience assisting K-12 and higher education organizations address opportunities and business challenges utilizing information technology. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A., and has 4,600 associates, including 1,250 research analysts and consultants, and clients in 80 countries. For more information, visit www.gartner.com.
AASA's advocacy team is happy to share the Spring 2012 Policy Insider.
In this edition, Noelle Ellerson begins a three-part series on digital learning examining where schools are now and how shifts in federal policy are helping and hurting schools. Sasha Pudelski reviews various assessment options for students with disabilities and questions whether advocates should shift their focus from creating appropriate tests to whether these students are given the best opportunity to learn the curriculum.
Senator Murray introduced an amendment to the Senate Farm Bill that would require OMB to create a report detailing the impact of seuqestration on both defense and non-defense programs. AASA supports this amendment, and sent a joint letter of support with AESA, NREAC and NREA.
Read the joint letter here.
Yesterday, GAO released a report studying why charter schools enroll fewer students with disabilities than public schools. While the report makes clear that charter schools do enroll a lower percentage of students with disabilities (on average 11% are enrolled in public schools compared to 8% in charters) little is known about the factors contributing to these differences.
GAO referenced that they were aware of anecdotal evidence that charter schools are intentionally choosing to counsel-out or directly deny access to students with disabilities, but said they could not substantiate those claims with data. They also stated that parents’ preferences and students’ needs may play a role in contributing to differences in enrollment levels, such as whether the charter school’s mission best serves their child’s needs or what services and transportation are available to them. Interestingly, the report suggested traditional public schools districts may play a role in why students with disabilities are less likely to be enrolled in charter schools because in states where charters are part of larger school districts, the responsibility of providing FAPE belongs to the districts, not the individual charter. In those cases, school districts overseeing charters could "determine that traditional public schools, not charter schools, are in a better position" to serve the needs of a student, depending on the disability, and counsel the parent to remain in the public school. Also of note is that many charters interviewed in the report stated that they did not have the space or funding to have self-contained classrooms. This could indicate that charters are serving students who do not, or are less likely to have, severe disabilities that require this kind of educational setting.
The GAO recommended that the Education Department provide more guidance to schools about charter schools' responsibilities to students with disabilities under federal laws that ban discrimination on the basis of a disability, which the Department has agreed to do.
A new report released by the Education Law Center on school funding formulas finds that many states continue to unfairly allocate education funding relative to the needs of their most disadvantaged students and schools serving high numbers of those students.The Second Edition of the National Report Card on public school funding, Is School Funding Fair?, published by the Education Law Center rates every state on the basis of four separate, but interrelated, “fairness indicators” – funding level, funding distribution, state fiscal effort, and public school coverage. Using a thorough statistical analysis, the report provides in-depth analysis of state education finance systems and school funding fairness across the nation. Here are a few of their recent findings:
See how your state is ranked and read the full report here.
In follow up the LHHS subcommittee earlier this week, the Senate Appropriations Committee today considered and adopted the FY13 LHHS appropriations bill. Read the letters AASA sent to the subcommittee and full committee.
The subcommittee's bill was subject to amendment. Many of the amendments under consideration were related to labor or health care. I've narrowed the summary to the education related amendments:
The full appropriations committee also voted on the Financial Services Appropriations bill. AASA monitors this bill as it is the vehicle for providing funds for DC schools, including the annual appropriation for the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program.
Last week, the Department of Education released it's Education Data Initiative, designed to serve "as a central guide for education data resources, including high-value data sets, data visualization tools, resources for the classroom, applications created from open data and more. These datasets have been gathered from various agencies to provide detailed information on the state of education on all levels, from cradle to career and beyond." Datasets are available by category:
You'll recall that the Senate Appropriations LHHS Subcommittee marked up its FY13 LHHS appropriations bill yesterday. AASA sent a letter to the full subcommittee, applauding their broad approach to funding education in FY12 and urging them to tweak their FY13 proposal to prioritize new funding to existing federal programs, including Title I and IDEA.
While text of the full bill and report language won't be available until tomorrow morning, information from an available bill summary and limited statements in yesterday's mark-up sheds some light on the Senate subcommittee's priorities.
The bill provides program-level funding totaling $166.011 billion for FY13. Discretionary program funding available for the Departments of Education is $68.52 billion for FY13, up from $68.112 billion in FY12. This is an increase of $408 million (0.6 percent).
The majority of education programs were level-funded. Our friends at CEF are ahead of the curve and have created a chart, current as of June 18, with a program-by-program list of funding levels. Here are the programs that are slated for increase, with the proposed increase over FY12 levels:
The following programs were cut: Math and Science Partnerships, Transition to Teaching, Safe/Drug-Free Schools/Communities Program, National Assessment (NAEP) and National Assessment Governing Board.
Related article: Check out the Politics K-12 blog for another overview.
In advance of a June 12 mark up, AASA sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations LHHS Subcommittee, urging them to prioritize Title I and IDEA funding as they move to mark up the FY13 LHHS appropriations bill. Read more.
As a point of reference, you can check out this earlier blog post, the full AASA response to President Obama's FY13 budget proposal.
Late last month the Department released its proposed priorities for its latest Race to the Top Competition. As the professional organization representing school district leaders, it is important AASA works to ensure that the RttT-D competition and its funds are structured in such a way that the program can succeed.We reviewed the proposed criteria and shared our response, including areas of support and areas of improvement, with the Department.
Please take a few moments to respond to the draft criteria. You can draft your own response; or, feel free to refer to AASA's comments. Here's how you can help:
Call to Action
As noted in an earlier blog post, the Department released its proposed priorities for the latest round of Race to the Top applications. This round, funded with FY12 dollars, includes $390 million for a district-level Race to the Top competition (RttT-D).While AASA advocates for federal funding to be directed toward formula programs like Title I and IDEA, RttT continues to receive funding. As the national organization representing school administrators and the districts they lead, we follow the criteria around RttT as it continues to represent funding available for schools. AASA’s advocacy team reviewed the criteria for the district-level competition and shared several concerns and recommendations for improvement. See PDF version or text (below).
AASA CommentsOn behalf of the American Association of School Administrators, representing more than 13,000 school system leaders across the nation, we submit the following comments in response to the Department of Education (Department) proposed criteria for the FY12 Race to the Top District (RttT-D) Competition.
AASA applauds the Department’s efforts to make its Race to the Top competition accessible to districts. The proposal to allow districts to apply in consortia, including with Education Service Agencies, is a positive step toward making competitive grants more accessible to all schools. AASA supports the Department’s continued focus on and support of program that enhance college and career readiness for all students. Further, focusing assistance on non-school barriers, including social-emotional, behavioral and other needs, is crucial to learning. It is an important link in education the total child, and AASA applauds the Department’s preference for applications that integrate additional family and student supports. AASA also supports the Department’s efforts to submit proposed competition criteria to public comment. Our comments are offered as ways to improve the functionality of and opportunity for success for the RttT-D funds. Therefore, we submit the following comments in response to the Department’s proposed criteria:
General CommentsThe Department asserts that innovation starts at the district level, and AASA hopes the Department will seriously consider our comments, intended to strengthen RttT-D by reinforcing local school district authority to implement reforms. That said, AASA remains committed to the belief that the best investment of limited federal education dollars remains in the flagship, formula programs that help level the playing field for disadvantaged students. The hundreds of millions of dollars that have been redirected to Race to the Top came at the direct expense of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) programs and undermine federal efforts to create a level playing field in our nation’s schools by reinforcing the positions of ‘winners’ and ‘losers’. AASA will continue to advocate for prioritizing additional federal monies into Title I and IDEA and only weighs in here because the FY12 funds for RttT are appropriated and, as the professional organization representing school district leaders, it is important we do what we can to ensure that the RttT-D competition and its funds are structured in such a way that the program can succeed.
AASA applauds the Department’s public release of proposed criteria for the RttT-D competition. We strongly urge the Department to not only review and consider comments and feedback from the field, but to ensure that the final criteria and competition reflect suggestions from education practitioners. School system leaders, principals, teachers and educators are the ones who are ultimately left with the work of implementing any education priority. They are the ones who will apply for and implement the grants, and are clearly best suited to provide meaningful insight on how the department’s proposed criteria either supports or undermines the department’s goals. If ever there were a time to ensure that their feedback is prioritized in structuring a program, it is the district-level round of Race to the Top. We hope the Department’s final criteria will support areas applauded by practitioners and reconsider areas that are noted as ‘of concern’ or ‘problematic’.
Specific Comments: Eligibility Criteria
Specific Comments: Application Requirements
Specific Comments: Absolute Priorities
Specific Comments: Competitive PriorityAASA applauds the Department for the competitive priority that responds to the ongoing movement in the field and the reality that districts face in seeking reform and large-scale school improvement. The integration of public and private resources to augment the schools’ core resources particularly those that provide additional student and family supports, such as addressing the social-emotional, behavioral, and other needs of the participating students is an excellent use of the competitive priority. It benefits districts and consortia able to leverage resources without penalizing smaller districts that may not have the same access to private investment/resources. AASA works with districts across the country to assist them in the development of coherent and sustainable partnerships with public and private organizations, such as public health, after-school, and social service providers; businesses, philanthropies, civic groups, and other community-based organizations; early learning programs; and post-secondary institutions and is pleased that the Department is similarly encouraging districts and, in turn, communities to work together on behalf of children.
Specific Comments: District Capacity & Success Factors
In closing, AASA supports continued federal investment in the nation’s public schools. The additional support of RttT-D is an opportunity to provide additional resources to students with the greatest need. RttT-D has the potential to be a catalyst for innovation, though AASA remains committed to the belief that the full benefit of competitive funds cannot be realized until the education playing field is level, meaning continued and increased investment in federal flagship formula programs like Title I and IDEA. Much of the content within the RttT-D criteria represent uncharted territory and are precedent setting. The success of this round of RttT will hinge largely on how much the Department adopts feedback from the field. RttT is a grant program, and a heavily prescriptive federal role in a district-level grant competition would undermine the programs intent and circumvents LEA authority and responsibility.
Last week, National Journal ran an article comparing the education and workforce positions of President Obama and Governor Romney. Check out the article and a side-by-side graphic.
In following the implementation of Common Core, there is a lot of speculation of what the true price tag is and how that price tag is shouldered by state and local education agencies.
Earlier this year, the Pioneer Institute released National Cost of Aligning States and Localities to the Common Core Standards, a report that estimated implementation of Common Core will cost $16 billion over seven years. In part as a response to this report, which some think to be a doomsday cost estimation, the Fordham Institute yesterday released Putting a Price Tag on the Common Core.
The latest report finds that states could spend as much as $8.3 billion in implementing the Common Core. The authors looked at the net costs of three hypothetical paths to implementing Common Core: a 'business as usual' approach assumes the purchase of hard-copy texts, providing paper-based tests and delivering in-person professional development. The 'bare bones' approach would use open-source materials, computer-based tests and online professional development. The third path is 'blended', balancing traditional and money-saving elements.
It should be noted that in assessing the costs of implementing the common core, the authors took a short-term approach in determining the transition costs and do not account for the technological costs of moving to online assessments.
Worth the read.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities issued a new report detailing the fiscal squeeze still happening in many states. States Continues to Feel Recession's Impact (PDF).
And two edtech related reports:
Earlier today, the Obama adminsitration announced eight states receiving ESEA waivers. Twenty-six states had applied in the second roung (this follows the 11 that applied for--and received--waivers in the first round). A third round of applications will be accepted right after Labor Day.
For those states applying for but not receiving their waiver today, there are apparently some states still working on their application with the department.
The eight states announced today were Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island.
Additional information regarding specific state requests can be found here: http://www.ed.gov/esea/flexibility/requests
EdWeek has a good blog post on the winners.
Achieve today released a report laying out a blueprint for increased engagement between state education leaders and the career and technical education (CTE) community. The report, Common Core State Standards & Career and Technical Education: Bridging the Divide between College and Career Readiness, was developed in partnership with the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc).
With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) by 46 states and the District of Columbia, there is a tremendous opportunity to rethink the role of literacy and mathematics not only within academic classes but also within CTE courses and pathways and encourage more collaboration and integration between educators across disciplines.
The paper outlines a set of strategies state and district leaders can leverage to ensure the implementation of CCSS engages, informs, and benefits from the career and technical education community as a partner in the broader college- and career-ready agenda. Strategies highlighted include examples of practices currently employed in states across the nation, such as forming cross-disciplinary teams for planning and implementing the CCSS, enhancing literacy and math strategies within CTE instruction, and fostering CTE and academic teacher collaboration.
Commissioner Jack Buckley, National Center for Education Statistics, released The Condition of Education 2012 The 49 indicators presented in The Condition of Education 2012 provide a progress report on education in America and include findings on the demographics of American schools, U.S. resources for schooling, and outcomes associated with education.Report findings include:
View the full report.
Reports released earlier this month by ED outline Year 1 activity by the two consortia -- the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) -- designing new assessments aligned with college- and career-ready standards.
The state-led effort moves into Year 2 with an ambitious agenda, including releasing sample questions and piloting the new assessments in spring 2013. Once the new assessment systems are completed, participating states will use them in place of existing statewide tests. The tests will also be available for non-participating states to use.
Forty-five states and the District of Columbia are members of PARCC or Smarter Balanced. The two consortia have received $350 million in federal Race to the Top funds. Learn more: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/performance.html.
AASA’s advocacy team asks you to participate in an annual survey to capture the extent to which Response to Intervention (RTI) has been adopted and implemented in school districts across the country. This survey is a critical tool AASA uses for advocating for additional IDEA Part B funds for early-intervening services and the need to extend resources to school districts to implement these promising RTI practices.
We already know RTI is making a difference when it comes to reducing the number of special-education referrals and evaluations, but we need more data on how RTI is being implemented and funded in your district. Please help us continue to advocate for funding for RTI by taking this 15-minute survey today.
To take the survey, visit http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RTI2012Survey
Check it out: here's the executive summary of the Dept's proposal for the proposed criteria for a district-level competition of Race to the Top. Full details are available on the department's RttT District Competition website.
Join a conference call today at 3 pm ET for a chance to hear from Secretary Duncan. Details in an earlier blog post.
Full details on the Dept website.
That said, the Department is TODAY releasing proposed criteria for the district competition of Race to the Top. Check out this top-notch overview of the criteria at the EdWeek Politics K12 blog.
There is $400 million at stake, and it will go to 15-20 awardees, to be determined through a competitive appliation process that will be shaped by the competitive priorities being released today.
It's worth your time to read the proposed criteria and respond. Stay tuned to the AASA blog for our response to the proposal and to read what we submit to the department.
Call in information:
WHEN: 3 pm ET
Today, the Senate Commerce Committee held an oversight hearing of the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC administers the E-Rate program, and AASA had been actively involved in meetings with Commerce Committee staffers in advance of the meeting to raise awareness about the FCC's proposed Digital Literacy Pilot. (Covered in earlier blog posts.)
Side Note: A BIG thank you to all the school districts and entities who filed comments on the proposed pilot. The overwhelming majority of comments that were filed took a position similar to that of AASA and EdLiNC (the coalition we participate in when advocating for E-Rate). Such an overwhelming voice sends a clear message to the FCC; thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to help us!
In his opening statement, Chairman Rockefeller demanded in his very first question that all five FCC Commissioners, appearing as witnesses, swear not to use E-rate funds or funnel funds through E-rate for digital literacy. All 5 agreed, with only Commissioner Clyburn stating, "Yes, in principle."
Chairman Rockefeller's opening statement hit hard on protecting the E-rate: "Senator Snowe and I were responsible for establishing the E-Rate program, which has done a fantastic job of providing schools and libraries with affordable access to telecommunications and the Internet. No other program has been as singularly effective at closing our educational digital divide. As you know, annual demand for E-Rate funds from schools and libraries exceeds supply by a ratio of two to one. That is why I am troubled by proposals that indicate you will consider using E-Rate funds or authority to support digital literacy initiatives...Let me be clear – I support broadband adoption and digital literacy efforts. It is vital that we make sure that broadband is both widely deployed and adopted in rural and urban communities nationwide. But let me be unequivocally clear – I believe any digital literacy initiatives should not compromise the E-Rate program."
Based on conversations with other Senate staffers, it appears that Senators Snowe (R-ME), Begich (D-AK) and Klobuchar (D-MN) will seek written responses from FCC Chairman Genachowski on the Digital Literacy and E-Rate issue.
While it remains to be seen whether Genachowki will continue to pursue the idea of running a digital literacy program through E-Rate, today's hearing did show clearly that Chairman Rockefeller is opposed to the idea, and the comments received by the FCC echo a similar sentiment from school leaders.
Register TODAY for AASA's annual Legislative Advocacy Conference, to be held July 17-19 in Washington D.C.
The timing of this year's conference couldn't be better: Take advantage of the top-nothc panels and speakers we have scheduled, and then weigh in with your Congressional delegation in July, as they wrap up their work before adjourning for the August recess and home-stretch of the election season.
Make your voice heard on the broad range of topics that are likely to be in motion (though not necessarily progressing!), including ESEA reauthorization and waivers; appropriations and funding; the debt ceiling and sequestration; education technology and virtual learning; charter schools; education media and reporting; and more.
Tuesday's schedule opens with a Maree Sneed leading a disucssion on cyberbullying; followed by a state education policy panel featuring three different national organizations representing state officials, sharing their thoughts on ESEA, waivers, and more; and closing with a panel featuring Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research and expert on polling data and election trends.
Wednesday includes panels discussing district-level waivers and Race to the Top competitions with invited USED staff; a panel on the trials and tribulations of education media and reporting; Gary Miron speaking about virtual schools; ESEA and education funding panels featuring hill staff; the Fordham Foundation's Mike Petrilli; and closing quick brieifngs aon everything you'll need to know for successful hill visits on THursday.
We open Thursday with a Congressional breakfast. Confirmed speakers already include Chiarman John Kline (R-MN) and Representative Hanna (R-NY). You'll spend the latter half of the day on the hill meeting with your COngressional delegation.
It's a whirlwind two and a half days, well worth every minute. Join us this summer!
The Senate has just completed voting on several alternative Budget Resolutions. Each vote was on the motion to proceed to consideration. In each case the motion to proceed was rejected:
Just a quick heads up on this (Sasha will have more when she returns from travel):
Earlier today, the Department of Education released Restraint and Seclusion: Resource Document. The document outlines principles for educators, parents and other stakeholders to consider when developing/refining policies and procedures to support positive behavioral interventions.
Full press release
For Every Child, Multiple Measures: What Parents and Educators Want From K-12 Assessments Date: Thursday, May 17, 2012 Time: 3-4 p.m., EASTERN >> REGISTER HERE <<
What are parents, teachers and district administrators — those with the most practical and personal experience with the day-to-day impact of assessments and accountability — looking for in K-12 assessments? Find out in an upcoming webinar focused on a new report: For Every Child, Multiple Measures: What Parents and Educators Want From K-12 Assessments. The study comes at a pivotal time, as policymakers are considering a new blueprint for education improvement and significant education reform initiatives are currently underway. Join AASA, NWEA and Grunwald Associates, LLC and share your thoughts as we explore this study on actionable assessments in education.
AASA is proud to offer this toolkit, Driving K-12 Reform Through a College-Access and Success Agenda, to school and district leaders across the country. The toolkit offers resources and strategies to use college enrollment data to, in our words, 'Own It, Understand It, and Act On It' for the purpose of improving K-12 and post-secondary outcomes. The toolkit has a self-assessment to gauge the current college going culture in your district, case studies, articles, and, on the final page, bold text links the reader to AASA webinars, federal regulations, and other resources that can help you and your team.
AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech’s video introduces the toolkit and encourages school leaders to embrace the use of college-going data to improve K-12 outcomes and drive more students to college persistence and success.
Webinar: The Condition of Education 2012
Bottom Line: While the House did pass the bill, it is not expected to go anywhere (meaning the Senate won't pass it and the President would veto this House-passed bill). That said, there is a host of important information in the rest of the post that helps clarify why this proposal is short-sighted and other budget-related talking points.
AYP Results for 2010-11 — May 2012 Update is a revised version of the December, 2011 report “AYP Results for 2010-11” that includes AYP data from school year 2010-11 for New York State. Several numbers throughout the report have changed as a result of the new data from New York. Most notably, the estimated percentage of all public schools in the nation that did not make AYP for 2011 has been revised from 48% to 49%, an all-time high and an increase from 39% in 2010.
Major Accountability Themes of Second-Round State Applications for NCLB Waivers analyzes the NCLB waiver applications submitted by 26 states and Washington, D.C. to the U.S. Department of Education in February 2012. Among the findings in the report is that, like the first round of applications, these states are proposing new accountability systems that will lead to greater complexity both within states and between states, but at the same time will be more integrated with states’ own existing accountability systems. Nearly all the state applications propose annual achievement targets and performance levels that are more nuanced than what is currently in place under NCLB. On the other hand, 19 of the 27 applications analyzed will use a combined subgroup for accountability decisions, rather than all of the student subgroups mandated under NCLB. None of the states analyzed will continue to require school choice and SES in schools identified for improvement.
Seeking Input on Common State Standards for CTEIn 2011, state leaders from across the nation united to spearhead an initiative to develop a Common Career Technical Core (CCTC), a set of shared state standards for Career Technical Education (CTE) to help ensure all CTE students have access to high-quality, rigorous career-focused learning opportunities in every state, and every community across the nation.Beginning today, the public will have an opportunity to review and comment on the draft of the CCTC standards.The public comment period will run from April 30 – May 11, 2012. All CTE stakeholders, including educators, administrators, and industry are urged to provide input online using the CCTC Public Comment Webpage at: http://www.careertech.org/career-technical-education/cctc/publiccomment.html.The public has the opportunity to review and comment on one or all of the sets of CCTC standards designed for each of the Career Clusters ™, including the Standards for Career Ready Practice. The amount of time to review and provide feedback will vary, but it is estimated to take approximately 10-20 minutes per Career Cluster ™. More detailed guidelines for review and input, as well as direct links to each set of standards can be found online at the CCTC Public Comment Webpage .The public comment period is a critical component of the standards development process of the CCTC. Please share this announcement with your partners and key constituents to ensure a broad spectrum of input is considered.Forty-two states have declared support for the development of the CCTC. Each of the 42 states; Washington, DC and Palau nominated experts from a range of sectors -- from business and industry to education -- to participate in working groups charged with the development of the CCTC in the spring of 2012. The CCTC initiative is being facilitated by the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Consortium (NASDCTEc). More information about the CCTC can be found online at: http://www.careertech.org/career-technical-education/cctc/.Once the public comment period ends on May 11, 2012 the state-nominated working groups will review the public feedback and incorporate changes to the draft standards. The final standards are slated for public release at the National Career Clusters ™ Institute on June 19, 2012. Provide public comment on the CCTC today.For more information, contact Dean Folkers, Deputy Executive Director, email@example.com
ADVISORY: Education & Civic Leaders to Launch Major Coalition to Expand Learning Time in Schools across U.S.
Mayor Cory Booker, AFT President Randi Weingarten, Other Leaders to Discuss How More Time Gives Students Education They Need to Succeed
Education and civic leaders will hold a news teleconference on Thursday, May 10, 2012 to announce the launch of a new national coalition, co-chaired by the Ford Foundation and the National Center on Time & Learning, that will push for additional learning time in high-poverty schools across the U.S.
During the call, speakers will discuss how additional learning time enables educators to redesign the school day, week, or year, giving students the opportunities they need to succeed. They will also highlight successful examples from schools around the country. And they will discuss the coalition’s broad support: Over 100 education, civic, business and policy leaders, representing a wide range of viewpoints, have signed onto the coalition.
WHAT: News teleconference to announce national coalition on expanded learning time
WHEN: Thursday, May 10, 2012, 11:00am ET
WHO: Cory Booker, Mayor, City of Newark, NJ; Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers; Luis Ubiñas, President, Ford Foundation; Chris Gabrieli, Chairman, National Center on Time & Learning; Roland Fryer, Professor of Economics, Harvard University; and Jeff Smith, Superintendent, Balsz Elementary School District, Phoenix, AZ
DIAL-IN: To RSVP for the call and request dial-in information, please contact Nicole Weissman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every once in a while, there is a blog post or series of postings where what I think I will read is completely not what I end up reading. I was surprised after the first installment of a five-piece series being shared by EdWeek, looking at the role of the federal government in education. When I read the second installment today and was again (pleasantly!) surprised, I knew I had to blog about it. While you can access the full five-part series here (as they become available), I wanted to start with some thoughts on the first two installments.
When Washington Focuses on Schools: The author really generalizes what has happened in public education--decade by decade--as a result of federal policy. As much as public education takes a beating in the media these days, there is one paragraph in particular in this article that spoke to me, summarizing the strength of a checked role of federal government, one that sets agendas and drives priorities (best served with appropriate funding, but that's a whole separate conversation):
'America desegregated its schools, with respect both to race and handicap. It inaugurated big-time federal aid to K-12 education, initially in the name of equitable opportunity, now more targeted on academic achievement and gap-closing. It devised new ways of assessing, judging, and comparing achievement across the states—and prodded those states to make politically difficult changes to reform a system that wasn't producing satisfactory results. And in the process, unsurprisingly, Washington evolved from funder and equalizer into enforcer and regulator.'
The first part of the paragraph speaks of the promise and opportunity of federal education policy, and the last sentence clarifies much of what is troubling with the current trends of overreaching and overprescribing, the very strong shift of the pendulum of education control away from the state and local authority.
Bribery, Blackmail, and Implementation: Thoughts on Federal Policy: The opening paragraph of this article reminds me of one the the most candid conversations I've had on the hill. A hill staffer (formerly a high school civics/social studies teacher) was relaying her exasperation over how the process of how a bill became a law as she taught her students was so drastically different from the reality she saw as she worked on the hill. Echoing this same sentiment, this article looks at how making a law is so much more than just passing statute, and how there are competing and complementary forces at work through the entire process, from policy formation and draft legisaltion to to regulation and implementation. Simply listing the reality of the environment shaping education polcy and the players was more than overwhelming; when I think about the highly political climate of today's federal education policy environment, it makes me cringe.
The U.S. Department of Education and Jobs for the Future (JFF) will conduct a webinar on dropout prevention in rural areas on Thursday, May 3 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET.
“Utilizing the Village: Building Community Support for Dropout Prevention and Recovery Work in Rural Communities” will present the scope of the dropout problem in rural localities and features two community mobilization strategies that have been effective in building support for addressing the issue. The webinar will provide participants with new ideas for launching or strengthening local reengagement efforts; practical resources to plan community conversations to build a shared focus on dropout prevention; and examples of model practices and considerations for working with rural communities to share with colleagues.
This webinar will be the first of three in a Rural Webinar Series sponsored by the Department and JFF. The other two webinars are tentatively scheduled for early October 2012 and late January or early February 2013. JFF identifies, develops, and promotes education and workforce strategies that expand opportunity for youth and adults who are struggling to advance in America today. In more than 200 communities across 43 states, JFF improves the pathways leading from high school to college to family-sustaining careers.
The presenters of the webinar will be Doris Terry Williams, executive director, Rural School and Community Trust and Linda Carrillo, principal, College, Career, and Technology Academy, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo School District in Pharr, Texas.
More than 1,200 education professionals and students from 50 US states and territories, and 16 countries participated in yesterday's National Rural Education Technology Summit 2.0. Recorded sessions and resources from the virtual conference are available online. Log-on to www.ed.gov/rural-education for details.
This First Look, Numbers and Types of Public Elementary and Secondary Local Education Agencies From the Common Core of Data: School Year 2010-11, presents findings on the numbers and types of public elementary and secondary local education agencies in the United States and the territories in the 2010-11 school year. Findings include:
The Common Core of Data and this report are products of the National Center for Education Statistics at the Institute of Education Sciences.
To view the full First Look report please visit http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012326
In mid-April, a group of 13 education organizations launched a national resolution on high-stakes testing. In less than one week, more than 200 orhanizations and 5,000 individuals have endorsed the resolution.
AASA is happy to make the resolution available to you. AASA is a signe of the Joint Organizational Statement on NCLB, authored by a coalition of groups collectively known as the Forum on Education Accountability (FEA). FEA is leading the effort behind the resolution. Feel free to share it in your district and community.
In April, the Education Commission of the States held the 2nd annual National Summit on the Role of Education in Economic Development in Rural America.
I covered it in an earlier blog post, and am sharing a summary ECS put together, including links to some of the powerpoints from the meeting as well as other photos.
Just a few items to round out your list of sequestration resources:
Last week, AASA learned that the House and Senate conferees for the Surface Transportation Bill were considering adoption of a Senate-passed amendment to extend the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRSC) for one year. This one-year extension is critical to providing a sustainable solution for students, schools and communities in federally-impacted forest counties. If you live in a state or district represented by one of the following conferees, please email your Senator and/or Representative and urge them to support including the Secure Rural Schools Act as part of the transportation bill.
The conferees in the Senate are: Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Max Baucus (MT), Jay Rockefeller (WV), Dick Durbin (IL), Tim Johnson (SD), Chuck Schumer (NY), Bill Nelson (FL), Robert Menendez (NJ). James Inhofe (OK), David Vitter (LA), Orrin Hatch (UT), Richard Shelby (AL), Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), and John Hoeven (ND).
House Conferees are John Mica (FL), Don Young (AK), John Duncan (TN), Bill Shuster (PA), Shelley Moore Capito (WV), Rick Crawford (AR), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA), Larry Buschon (IN), Richard Hanna (NY), Steve Southerland (FL), James Lankford (OK), Reid Ribble (WI), Fred Upton (MI), Ed Whitfield (KY), Doc Hastings (WA), Rob Bishop (UT), Ralph Hall (TX), Chip Cravaack (MN), Dave Camp (MI) and Patrick Tiberi (OH), Nick Rahall (WV), Peter DeFazio (OR), Jerry Costello (IL), Jerrold Nadler (NY), Corrine Brown (FL), Elijah Cummings (MD), Leonard Boswell (IA), Tim Bishop (NY), Henry Waxman (CA), Ed Markey (MA), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX), Earl Blumenauer (OR) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC).
Read AASA's letter of support, sent to both House and Senate conferees.
Earlier today, the department announced the next conference call in their series of ongoing conversations with school administrators. This call will be held May 8, 2012 at 2 pm ET. This call will focus on district initiatives, Race to the Top, and highlight certain districts' efforts with school climate and homeless students.
CONFERENCE CALL/WEBINAR INFORMATION
DATE: Tuesday, May 8, 2012
TIME: 2:00-3:00 p.m. EST / 1:00-2:00 p.m. CST / 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m. MST / 11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon PST
CALL IN #: 1-888-390-8568
PASSCODE: EDUCATION (given verbally)
WEBINAR ACCESS: Information on webinar access will be provided at a later time.
RSVP: Please RSVP to Intergovernmental@ed.gov by COB Friday, May 4, if you or a designated representative will be able to join the call. NOTE: In order to accommodate a large number of participants, please only use one line per office. Also, please call in 10-15 minutes early.
Overview: The FCC is proposing a Digitial Literacy Pilot. Within the broad proposal is a call to administer the program through E-Rate. While AASA understands the importance of expanding Digital Literacy, we cannot support the dilution of already oversubscribed E-Rate resources (whether fiscal or adminsitrative) to support the pilot.
I have put together a background memo with everything you need to know about the issue, along with a draft/template letter you can use as you file your own comments with the FCC. Links are below.
Why is it so important members weigh in? This is one of the times that voices from the field will make a difference. Please take 15-20 minutes to read the background memo and personalize the template letter (linked below). While it is nice the national organizations submitted joint comments, support of the same position from the local level will be crucial to getting the FCC to rescind its proposal to run the pilot through E-Rate. Comments are due by May 2.
Background Memo (PDF)
Template Letter (Word)
Summary: In response to an FCC proposal for a digital literacy pilot that would impact the E-Rate program, AASA is asking for your help in making the voice of school administrators heard at the FCC as they weigh the pros and cons of their proposal in the context of feedback from the field. While we support and understand the need for a digital literacy pilot, we have concerns that the pilot, as structured, has negative implications for the E-Rate program.
Background: Earlier this month, you’ll recall that AASA filed comments in response to an FCC proposal that would make changes to the universal service Lifeline program. Within the broad comments was a proposed digital literacy pilot (‘the pilot’). The pilot would provide $60,000 grants to K-12 schools and libraries, lasting four years, to hire trainers, conduct training courses and provide resources/materials to those who lack digital literacy skills. While the FCC does not propose to fund the pilot using E-Rate funds, it does propose implementing and administering the program through the same division that oversees the E-Rate program. Specifically, the FCC proposes implementing/administering the program through the Schools & Libraries Division of the Universal Service Administrative Company.
AASA supplemented its initial comments by filing an additional set in partnership with other major K-12 national associations and the American Library Association. The group is collectively known as Education and Library Networks Coalition (EdLiNC). EdLiNC Member Organizations. EdLiNC’s comments are complimentary to AASA’s comments and reiterate that while we are supportive of the decision to fund the initiative using non-E-Rate funds, we are opposed to the proposal to operate the pilot through E-Rate. The concern is that operating the pilot through E-Rate will cause delays in the E-Rate application and appeal processes, result in auditing problems and have negative implications for E-Rate’s eligible services.
Call to Action (What Can I Do?): While it is good that national organizations have weighed in individually and collectively, it is even more important that state associations, independent districts and other non-profits reiterate their concern for protecting E-Rate. Help us clarify that that E-Rate program (including its administration) is not unduly burdened and/or negatively impacted by the shifting of Digital Literacy pilot funds through E-Rate’s administrative framework. Comments are due by May 2. Instructions on how to file your comments are included below.
Talking Points/Comments Summary
How to File Comments with the FCC
COMMENTS ARE DUE MAY 2
If you have any questions (or trouble uploading your file to the FCC site), just send me (Noelle) an email. (nellerson at aasa dot org).
Earlier this year, the Center for American Progress and the American Enterprise Institute commissioned a series of papers looking at various aspects of ESEA. In particular, the series of seven papers look at less-popular, but perhaps more impactful, aspects of Title I that, if addresses in reauthorization, could have far-reaching impacts for our nation's schools.
Start with this great overview of the papers, and then read each of the seven, covering:
Earlier this week, the House appropriations committee released its proposed FY13 320(b) allocations. 302b allocations are the total amount of funding/money available for each of the specific appropriations bills. We follow the LHHS appropriation most closely, and the 302b for LHHS is $6 billion BELOW FY12 levels. The House subcommittee is expected to meet today to accept these levels.
Here is a quick comparison of the FY13 LHHS 302b comared to FY12 levels and Senate FY13 levels (all in billions):
“How much did the federal government collect in individual income taxes in fiscal year 2011? How much did it spend on health care programs or on defense? To provide ready answers to those questions, CBO has prepared three infographics examining the following components of the federal budget” :
The U.S. Department of Education released today the 2012 application for the Promise Neighborhoods program, which will provide $60 million to continue support for existing implementation grantees and award a new round of planning and implementation grants. Applications for this third round of funds will be due July 27, 2012. Winners will be selected and awards will be made in December 2012. The Department will provide around $27 million for up to 7 new implementation grants with an estimated first-year grant award of $4 million to $6 million. Implementation grantees will receive annual grants over a period of three to five years. An additional $7 million will fund up to 14 new one-year planning grants with an estimated grant award of $500,000 each. Remaining funds will provide year-two funding to the 5 implementation grantees awarded in 2011.
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) are hosting a discussion forum this week to allow organizations to share reactions and feedback to the Administration’s release of its Perkins reauthorization priorities -– “Investing in America’s Future: A Blueprint for Transforming Career and Technical Education.”
Many groups worked together during the last reauthorization and hope this conference call will provide an opportunity to connect with groups that may be working on similar issues as Perkins moves forward and lay the ground work for future partnerships.
The call will be held on Wednesday, April 25, at 4:00 Eastern time. Please e-mail Alisha Hyslop (email@example.com) if you would like to participate; she will send you the dial in information.
Amy F. Sichel, superintendent of the Abington, Pa., School District, has been elected the 2012-13 president-elect of the American Association of School Administrators. "As AASA president, I will be a strong advocate for superintendents and school administrators and for high quality public schools," said Sichel. "We need to support reforms that improve educational opportunities for all students, promote innovative accountability systems and advocate for the reauthorization of ESEA." Read more here.
Related to the earlier post about protecting the E-Rate program and its limited resoruces (both fiscal and administrative), the entity that oversees E-Rate reports that program demand grew 25% in FY12:
USAC Files Estimate of 2012 Demand for Schools and Libraries Mechanism
USAC sent a letter to Sharon Gillett, Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau, on April 20, 2012, providing USAC's estimate of demand for Schools and Libraries Universal Service Support Mechanism discounts for Funding Year 2012. USAC said the estimate is $5.237 billion, and is based on total funds requested in 46,838 FCC Form 471 applications received by March 20, 2012, the close of the FCC Form 471 filing window. USAC also provided a table showing demand by service type and discount band.
Our friends at Education Week stumbled across a little gem of a resource produced by the Education Commission of the States, a tool that looks at the content of all of the State of the State addresses (from 2005 thru today, except for 2010) and tallies the frequency with which certain education-related words and/or phrases were mentioned. The speeches are categorized by state, issue and year.
Andrew at Ed Week explored the resource much further than I did (check out his story). Some highlights:
Earlier today, USED released its blueprint for reauthorizing the Perkins Act. There are a host of related documents, including a press release, the full text, and summary. The administration's plan for reauthorization focuses on four key areas: alignment, collaboration, accountability and innovation.
Check out a blog post from earlier today with AASA's intial analysis/response.
Further, the department will host a webinar on the Perkins Blueprint next week. Details below:
FY 13 302(b) Allocations
The Senate Appropriations Committee this morning approved its FY 13 302(b) allocations.
Here is the Labor-HHS-ED allocation total:
Without cap adjustments (in billions):
With cap adjustments (in billions):
Of political significance is that Minority Leader McConnell and all but two committee Republicans (Moran (KS) and Johnson (WI)) voted for the allocations, even though they are $19 billion above the House Republican level.
Today, the Obama Administration is releasing a new blueprint for how they would like to revise the Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. Congress, at the behest of the Administration, has cut funding for Perkins substantially in the last few budget cycles, but now the Administration suggests a new structure for Perkins that would make it considerably more difficult for school districts to receive funding for CTE programs.
AASA is very concerned by several of the “reforms” outlined by the Administration. In particular, we do not support:• the shift from formula driven dollars to competitive grants• the requirement that only consortia of LEAs and post-secondary institutions are eligible for Perkins funding• the requirement that states meet a match requirement using private-sector resources in order to receive Perkins funding• allocating additional funding exclusively to LEAs with proven CTE programs
There are several proposals that AASA would consider supporting within the Administration’s blueprint including:• a requirement that states to pinpoint "high-growth" jobs and industries on which to focus Perkins dollars• a requirement that states use common definitions for participation and performance indicators. The definitions used for the performance indicators would be aligned with those under other Federal laws, like ESEA, WIA and HEA.
A fascinating new infographic was released by the Urban Institute, looking at how the policy environment has changed from 1968 to today. The graphic compares a handful of metrics, including US population, foreign born population, percent of families headed by female, percent of women in paid jobs, and more.
SPOILER ALERT: My favorite factor is the comparison of federal spending, comparing discretionary and mandatory. The split has inverted: in 1968, 66% of federal spending was discretionary and 34% was mandatory. In 2011, the numbers were reversed, with 63% of federal spending in mandatory programs and 37% in discretionary.
This bolsters the argument that balancing the budget and solving the deficit/debt problem cannot be achieved on the back of non-defense discretionary spending.
The Fordham Institute's Mike Petrilli, who is speaking at AASA's legislative advocacy conference this July, has released a new policy brief looking at steps school district can take--and steps they should avoid--as they look to stretch their district dollars.
While the ideas aren't necessarily ground breaking or earth shattering, Petrilli's brief is a concise write up of ideas and actions that many districts may have considered, and can serve as a conversation piece as schools move forward with budgets.
Worth the read. Check it out: How School Districts Can Stretch the School Dollar
Earlier today, I attended the ECS 2nd National Summit on the Role of Education in Economic Development in Rural America. (Summit Agenda)
When I registered for the conference, I was really looking forward to some in-depth conversations with practitioners, policy makers, education leaders and others about the unique opportunities and obstacles facing rural America and the critical role that our nation's rural communities--and their schools--play in supporting economic development. I have to admit that I was left wanting more as I left the summit. Here's a quick run down of each of the sessions, and I close with some general thoughts. My colleague Sasha was there, as well, and I think she plans on posting about some unique grant opportunities that may be of interest to rural educators.
Opening Session with Secretaries Duncan and Vilsack: The opening comments from Secretary Duncan were nothing we hadn't heard before. I was glad to hear from Secretary Vilsack, who was quick to admit that the role of USDA in education is much less direct than that of USED. He made reference to the school nutrition act, but most of the information from Sec. Vilsack and his colleagues from USDA throughout the rest of the day related to the housing and equipment grants/loans that are available to teachers and/or schools.
Federal Program Updates: This section wa sa bit dry, a '101' approach to four specific rural programs being run by USED, USDA, the Department of Labor and the Department of Health/Human Services. I didn't jot anything down as note worthy. if you are interested in any of the four programs covered (Promise Neighborhoods/Choice Neighborhoods, Strike Force, Health Information Technology and Trade Adjustment Assistance CCTE Grants), you can see I just linked out for you. Click away!
Successful Models of Partnerships: The next sessions were the most worthwhile, in my opinion, highlighting four specifc successful models of partnerships. The four program feature rural communities that have excellent private/public partnerships, with amazing results. In fact, it was these two sessions that made me even want to blog about the event, so I could share the following four links:
As the partnership summaries and the meeting wrapped, I had several questions that remained unanswered. I am sure there were answers, but as a representative of K-12 school adminsitrators, I was honestly surprised at how absent the information seemed in all four presentations.
I stepped out before the closing panel. Sasha was able to stay all day. I'll update this post as appropriate.
The White House is hosting a series of state-specific calls to discuss the FY13 budget, with a particular focus on the Ryan budget (as passed out of the house earlier this month).
All of the information you need (info for the date, time, dial in info and how to RSVP) for your specific state is listed here.
Whether you’re on a farm, in a small town, or at home in your slippers, USED invites you to join them on Monday, April 30, from noon to 6 p.m. ET for the National Rural Education Technology Summit 2.0, as they use the power of technology to overcome distance, bring resources to rural schools, and engage administrators, teachers, and students in this free virtual conference.
To join the summit, visit www.ruraleducationtechsummit.org and register today. After registering, you will be able to view the program, which will include live STEM sessions ideal for classroom participation, afternoon professional development opportunities,and messages from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Smithsonian Institution Secretary G. Wayne Clough, and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski,
You will also learn more about college and career-ready standards implementation, and utilizing the Department of Education’s online communities of practice.
In between sessions, visit the virtual resource hall for information on a variety of federal programs, loans, and grant funding opportunities. Most of all plan to participate with presenters and each other, chatting at the Summit and live on Twitter using hashtag #ruraled. See you at the Summit!
AASA and College Summit are hosting a free webinar, Driving School Improvement through a College Access and Success Agenda, on April 30th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST. Registration is open now at https://knowledgecenter.webex.com.
Description: Research demonstrates that when school leaders emphasize post-secondary preparation and matriculation rather than high school graduation, drop-out rates decrease and academic performance increases. In a school with a college-going culture, students understand the relevancy of high school to their future. They are able to “connect the dots” between their high school studies and their hopes, dreams and aspirations. High Schools dedicated to launching all of their students to career and college success – what some call “Launchpad High Schools” - measure their success on post-secondary attainment and employ structures that provide the kind of meaningful connection all adolescents need to set goals and persevere through obstacles. AASA and College Summit have held regional meetings across the country, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on building a college-going culture and using college-going data to drive reform. This webinar will share lessons learned from the field and best practices for driving K-12 improvement through a college access and success agenda.
As the Department moves forward with its RttT District competition, Senator Murray (D-WA) is circulating a letter in the Senate, addressed to Secretary Duncan, urging the department to ensure that rural districts across the country have the capacity to write competitive applications and are not disadvantaged in the scoring or selection process to receive grant awards.
What can you do?
Text of Letter:
Dear Secretary Duncan,
We write in regards to the recently-announced fiscal year 2012 Race to the Top competition for districts. Specifically, as you develop the competition’s parameters, we urge you to ensure that rural districts across our country have the capacity to write competitive applications and are not disadvantaged in the scoring or selection process to receive grant awards.
Rural districts in our states are constantly innovating and doing more with less. This experience makes these districts good candidates for programs that allow them to further stretch their ability to provide an outstanding education to their students. However, rural districts have unique challenges that include constrained fiscal and community resources, struggling local economies, and increasing rates of poverty, diversity, and students with disabilities. Because of these challenges, we are concerned that rural districts lack capacity to successfully tackle a complex federal grant process and successfully compete against large districts that may have dedicated grant-writing teams. To address this concern, we urge the Department of Education to provide ample technical assistance as may be needed to boost the ability of rural districts to compete for Race to the Top district-level grants.
Additionally, we strongly encourage you to allow two or more districts to apply together in consortia, as well as to allow educational service agencies (ESAs) to apply as fiscal agents in conjunction with interested local districts. At a time when federal funding is scarce, it makes sense to ensure grants provide the highest return on investment possible. Rural districts are adept and experienced at working together to make the most of limited resources, and ESAs even further support this capacity.
Finally, we urge you to release the Notice of Funding Availability for the Race to the Top district-level grant as soon as possible. Doing so will allow rural districts with less grant-writing capacity as much time as possible to develop thoughtful, high-quality applications.
One in three schools in the U.S. is rural, one in five children in the U.S. attend rural schools, and four in ten rural students live in poverty. We urge you not to leave these children behind as you develop the Race to the Top district-level competition, and we look forward to continuing to work with you on issues related to rural schools.
The National Center on Intensive Intervention (NCII) is a new national technical assistance center funded by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). NCII’s mission is to help stakeholders across the country learn about and implement intensive interventions to enhance academic and behavioral outcomes for students with disabilities in kindergarten through 12th grade. NCII will provide intensive technical assistance primarily targeted to local education agencies (LEAs) and schools. LEAs and schools participating in NCII’s intensive technical assistance will receive onsite and distance support from technical assistance providers who have experience delivering and researching components of intensive interventions. NCII currently is accepting Letters of Interest for intensive technical assistance support. Letters of Interest are due on May 30, 2012. Click here for all the information on the technical assistance program and full details about the center and its work.
The IDEA Money Watch blog posted a great look at how sequestration will impact students, with a state-by-state map showing the reduction to school-age and preschool programs, the number of students being served by each program and the cut per student (from sequestration).
Last week, the Vice President's blog posted a write up on the impact of the Ryan budget for education and head start in each state. Check out the state by state analysis here.
The High School Graduation Initiative (HSGI) Team at the U.S. Department of Education is hosting a webinar, Utilizing the Village: Building Community Support for Dropout Prevention and Recovery Work in Rural Communities, which will be held on May 3rd from 1:30-3:00 p.m. ET.
This webinar will explore the unique nature of dropout prevention and recovery in rural communities and feature two community mobilization strategies that that have resulted in increased support for this critical work.
To learn more, or to register for this free event, please visit http://ruraldropoutprev