E-Update for October 29, 2014
E-Update for October 29, 2014
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced on October 27 that 35 states and Puerto Rico have applied for grants under the new $250 million Preschool Development Grants program. Over 25 high-need communities in approximately 12-15 states will benefit from Preschool Development Grants funding by significantly expanding their preschool programs so that a large portion of their at risk 4-year-olds start school prepared. States will agree to uphold standards for high-quality preschool programs in the communities that are funded.
U.S Department of Education
U.S. Department of Education Announces Resolution of South Orange-Maplewood, N.J., School District Civil Rights Investigation: The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced today that it has entered into an agreement with the School District of South Orange & Maplewood, New Jersey, to resolve a compliance review that examined whether black students are provided an equal opportunity to access and participate in advanced and higher-level learning opportunities. OCR’s investigation revealed that the school district’s nearly 2,500 black students are significantly underrepresented in advanced and higher-level learning opportunities at the district’s elementary, middle and high school levels.
October 28, 2014
National and State Headlines
Big Suburban District Leaders Favor Staggered Testing for NCLB Waiver States: The U.S. Department of Education is expected to unveil its No Child Left Behind Act waiver-renewal guidelines as early as the middle of next month, so advocacy groups are getting their ideas in now. The latest proposal comes from the 16 superintendents who make up the Large Countywide and Suburban District Consortium. The group argues waiver states should get at least two years before they have to incorporate student-growth data, the Department should allow states and districts to experiment with competency-based systems, and grade-span testing at key points should be an option for districts. Read the full letter here.
October 29, 2014
Civil Rights Groups Demand Accountability for Equity in Public Education: Eleven civil rights groups released recommendations to President Obama, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, congressional and state educational leaders urging increased educational opportunity and equity for students of color through improvements to local, state, and federal accountability systems. Signatories included NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
October 28, 2014
American Enterprise Institute Report: Launching New Institutions: Solving the Chicken-or-Egg Problem in American Higher Education: A new brief from the conservative American Enterprise Institute proposes a provisional status that would allow students to receive federal financial aid before an institution is accredited. It’s designed to address the classic chicken- or-egg problem: If you are a college or university and want to become accredited so you are eligible to receive federal financial aid, you must first enroll students for a fixed amount of time. But in order to attract and enroll students, it would help to be eligible for federal financial aid. The AEI proposal would require an intensive review of the institution’s plans, processes and resources, and institutions would still have to seek full accreditation to obtain full eligibility. But the provisional status would help students, maintain the integrity of the accreditation process and possibly lead to more innovation in the higher education market.
October 29, 2014
Center for American Progress Report: Effects of State Higher Education Cuts on Communities of Color: This report argues that economic opportunities eroded faster for communities of color during the recession compared to non-Hispanic whites and that the opportunities that have returned during the recovery are arriving slower for communities of color. The report stresses the importance of states investing in the educational future of communities of color.
October 27, 2014
Mathematica Policy Research: High Salaries for Teachers and Significant Impacts on Student Achievement: Mathematica’s Evaluation of The Equity Project Charter School: This report examines the Equity Project (TEP) Charter School, which received widespread attention before it opened in 2009 because of its unique approach to rewarding and developing high-quality teachers—including salaries of $125,000 and substantial professional responsibility—while reciving only the standard public funds available to any new York City charter school. The report finds that by the end of the 2012-13 school year, TEP’s impacts on student achievement were consistently positive across subjects and cohorts, with especially large effects in math, and TEP’s cumulative effect on student achievement over four years is approximately equivalent to 78% of the Hispanic-white achievement gap in math, 17% of the Hispanic-white gap in English language arts, and 25% of the Hispanic-white gap in science, using another relevant benchmark.
October 22, 2014
National Women’s Law Center and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Report: Unlocking Opportunity for African American Girls: A Call to Action for Educational Equity: This report shines a spotlight on the significant barriers African American girls face, including lack of access to educational opportunities, pervasive racial and gender stereotypes that affect the decisionmaking of school leaders and educators; discriminatory discipline practices that disproportionately push them out of school; high rates of exposure to sexual harassment and violence; juvenile justice system involvement; and lack of support for those who are pregnant or parenting while still in school. It contains recommendations for educators, school leaders, communities, advocates, policymakers, and philanthropic organizations to take action to advance the success of African American girls.
Center for American Progress Report: For Women and Girls, the Common Core Is a Step Toward Greater Equity: This report argues the Common Core State Standards represent an important step toward closing achievement gaps and opening the door to higher-paying STEM fields for millions of girls. By establishing uniform and more-rigorous academic standards, the Common Core helps ensure that all students—both girls and boys, regardless of their income levels and backgrounds—are taught to the same high expectations.