E-Update for April 10, 2015

E-Update for April 10, 2015

E-Update for April 10, 2015

On April 7, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a bipartisan draft bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  The “Every Child Achieves Act of 2015” will be marked up by the Senate HELP Committee beginning April 14, with a number of amendments expected. The HELP Committee’s press release is available here.


On April 14, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) Subcommittee will hold a hearing on early childhood education. Witnesses will include: Dr. Walter S. Gilliam, Director, The Edward Zigler Center at Yale School of Medicine; Diana Mendley Rauner, President, Ounce of Prevention Fund; and Debra Andersen, Executive Director, Smart Start Oklahoma. Details here.

On April 14, Achieve will host a webinar titled, “Towards a Better Test: Communicating Assessment Results to Families and Educators.” Achieve has developed sample student assessment reports to help states, districts, and schools better communicate student assessment results to teachers, school leaders, and families. This webinar will highlight these new model reports and will feature a conversation with state education leaders who are putting effective reporting into practice. Register here.

On April 15, the American Enterprise Institute will host a panel titled, “Cage-busting teachers: Who are they and what can they teach us?” The panel will discuss Rick Hess’s new book, “The Cage-Busting Teacher,” and the role of teachers in school and system transformation. Participants will include: Lily Eskelsen Garcia, National Education Association; Jason Kamras, DC Public Schools; Rebecca Mieliwocki, 2012 National Teacher of the Year; Evan Stone, Educators 4 Excellence; Irvin Scott, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and Maddie Fennell, 2013 US Teaching Ambassador Fellow. RSVP here.

On April 16, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Fiscal Year 2016 Department of Education budget in Room 124 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Details here.

On April 16, Lumina Foundation and Gallup will host a discussion on their new study, which shows that Americans believe that higher education is the key to better jobs and better lives, but contend that challenges make it difficult for many to realize this premise. The event will feature a panel discussion with Cheryl Hyman, Chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago; Eduardo Padron, President of Miami Dade College; and Jamie Merisotis,  Lumina Foundation President and CEO. Gallup’s Executive Director of Education, Brandon Busteed, will present the results. RSVP here.

U.S Department of Education

Secretary Duncan Responds to Senate ESEA Reauthorization Bill: Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released the following statement on bipartisan efforts to reauthorize ESEA: “No law matters more in ensuring excellence for every student and ensuring civil rights for the most vulnerable. A good bill must prevent harmful funding cuts, ensure families and teachers know how students are doing each year, and ensure commitment to closing gaps of achievement and opportunity. The bill must provide more flexibility for state and local innovation, ensure that parents, teachers, and communities know how their children’s schools are doing each year, provide support for educators and not further exacerbate resource inequities for our neediest students and schools. We must do more to expand opportunity for the most vulnerable children, including low-income students, racial and ethnic subgroups, students with disabilities, and English-language learners. At a time of vital progress for vulnerable students, we must work to continue that progress. That means in schools where groups of students are not getting the education they deserve, there must be meaningful action to improve student learning; and we must provide more resources and ask for bold action in the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools. I also believe any bill must support innovative and evidence-based efforts to address educational challenges and improve access to high-quality preschool.”
April 8, 2015

Secretary Recognizes 50th Anniversary of ESEA: Secretary Duncan recognized the 50th anniversary of Congress passing the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) with remarks and a conversation with civil rights leader Wade Henderson, D.C. Public School Principal Rachel Skerritt, and local students.
April 9, 2015

USED Releases First-Ever Guide for Ed Tech Developers: Secretary Duncan announced the first-ever guide for developers, startups, and entrepreneurs from the department’s Office of Educational Technology (OET). The Ed Tech Developer’s Guide: A Primer for Developers, Startups, and Entrepreneurs is a free guide that addresses key questions about the education ecosystem and highlights critical needs and opportunities to develop digital tools and apps for learning.
April 7, 2015

Department Releases New Report Emphasizing Need for Access to High-Quality Preschool: USED released a new report detailing the unmet need across the country for high-quality preschool programs. According to the report, A Matter of Equity: Preschool in America, of the approximately 4 million 4-year olds in the United States, about 60 percent – or nearly 2.5 million – are not enrolled in publicly funded preschool programs, including state preschool programs, Head Start and programs serving children with disabilities.
April 7, 2015


American Enterprise Institute Report: Measuring Mastery: Best Practices for Assessment in Competency-Based Education: This paper introduces a set of best practices for high-stakes assessment in competency-based education (CBE), drawing from both the educational-measurement literature and current practices in prior-learning and CBE assessment. The paper argues that CBE programs have dedicated most of their attention to defining discrete competencies and embedding those competencies in a broader framework associated with degree programs. Moving forward, CBE programs should focus on providing evidence that supports the validity of their assessments and their interpretation of assessment results.
April 8, 2015

American Institutes for Research Report: Getting College and Career Ready During State Transition toward the Common Core State Standards: This study provides a first look at how student college- and career-readiness have progressed in the early years of Common Core implementation. It is motivated by concern that changes triggered by the standards transition might be disruptive to student learning in the short run, even when those changes may become beneficial once fully implemented. Using longitudinal administrative data from Kentucky, an early adopter of the CCSS, the report follows three cohorts of students from the end of the 8th grade to the end of the 11th grade and found that students exposed to the CCSS—including students in both high- and low-poverty schools—made faster progress in learning than similar students who were not exposed to the standards. Although it is not conclusive whether cross-cohort improvement was entirely attributable to the standards reform, the report finds that students made large gains in proficiency in the years immediately before and after the transition. 
April 7, 2015

Regional Education Laboratory Program Report: A Guide for Monitoring District Implementation of Educator Evaluation Systems: This guide was developed to provide guidance to states or districts wishing to monitor implementation of educator evaluation systems. It describes a three-step process: develop state guidelines for educator evaluation systems; develop data collection methods; and determine adherence criteria and review data against criteria. The process was developed by REL Central, working with personnel from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MO DESE). MO DESE is using the resulting process and tools to collect data about how districts are implementing educator evaluation systems as aligned to their principles of effective evaluation systems. The guide includes a description of how the process was implemented in Missouri, as well as tools developed to collect information about policies and practices in districts related to their educator evaluation systems. The tools include: Missouri’s principles of effective evaluation systems; a Policy Data Collection Checklist; surveys to collect practice data from teachers, principals, mentors, and district administrators; rating guides to assess implementation against criteria; and templates for reporting the results.
April 2015

The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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