E-Update for April 28, 2014

E-Update for April 28, 2014

E-Update for April 28, 2014


U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan revoked Washington’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act waiver on April 24 due to the state’s inability to comply with teacher evaluation requirements as a result of failed state legislation.  The state, however, will not be returning to an accountability system entirely like the one it had under NCLB, particularly when it comes to intervening in low-performing schools.  Like other waiver states, Washington will still single out “priority” and “focus” schools this spring, even as it largely reverts back to NCLB-style interventions, such as tutoring,.  The decision to pull the waiver came as no surprise to Washington state officials, who have said for weeks that they fully expected to lose the flexibility.  Currently, Washington does not require state test scores to be integrated into teacher evaluations; instead, districts can choose either state or local assessments.

The development means that, for starters, districts in Washington will lose control over nearly $40 million in federal money.  Schools will now have to begin setting aside federal money for NCLB-prescribed remedies for low-performing schools, such as tutoring and school choice.  The state will also have to return to No Child Left Behind’s “adequate yearly progress” accountability framework in which Washington must make AYP determinations based on the law’s 100 proficiency goal for the 2014-15 school year.  To decide where schools fall on the improvement timetable, the state will have to determine what the school’s status would have been prior to the waiver.  Under this retroactive labeling scheme, a school that would plan for “restructuring” might have to implement those interventions next year.   For more information, please review the U.S. Department of Education’s announcement by visiting https://www.k12.wa.us/Communications/PressReleases2014/FlexibilityWaiver.aspx.


The HouseEducation and the Workforce Committee is holding a full committee hearing on “Reviewing the President’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Proposal for the Department of Education.”  The hearing is scheduled at 10:00 a.m. in room 2175 Rayburn H.O.B.  The Honorable Arne Duncan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Education, is scheduled to testify.

On Wednesday, May 14, the National Center on Time & Learning and Teach Plus are releasing a report entitled, Time for Teachers: Leveraging Expanded Time to Strengthen Instruction & Empower Teacher.  It will be held from 10:00 am – 11:30 am (EDT) at The Pew Charitable Trusts, 901 E Street NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20004-2008.

To attend RSVP here.


Roberto Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the President, White House Domestic Policy Council


Scott Barton, Principal, The Preuss School UCSD

Geraldine Calhoun, 5th Grade Teacher, Nicholas S. LaCorte-Peterstown K – 8 School, Elizabeth, NJ

Celine Coggins, Chief Executive Officer, Teach Plus

Jennifer Davis, Co-Founder & President, National Center on Time & Learning

Claire Kaplan, Vice President, Strategy & Knowledge Management, National Center on Time & Learning

Paul F. Toner, President, Massachusetts Teachers Association

New Legislation

H.R.4455 : Learning Opportunities With Creation of Open Source Textbooks (LOW COST) Act of 2014
Sponsor: Rep Foster, Bill [IL-11] (introduced 4/10/2014)      Cosponsors (2)

H.R.4480 : Protecting Educational Loans for Underserved Students Act

Sponsor: Rep Richmond, Cedric L. [LA-2] (introduced 4/10/2014)      Cosponsors (36)

H.R.4481 : Head Start Improvement Act of 2014

Sponsor: Rep Salmon, Matt [AZ-5] (introduced 4/10/2014)      Cosponsors (None)

H.R.4483 : STEM Mentoring and Inspiration Act of 2014

Sponsor: Rep Shea-Porter, Carol [NH-1] (introduced 4/10/2014)      Cosponsors (3)

U.S. Department of Education

Obama Revives Long-Delayed Teacher Prep Rules: The Obama Administration will release draft accountability rules for the nation’s teacher preparation programs this summer. Among other things, they would require states to improve their procedures for identifying strong and weak teacher-preparation programs and would likely bar the worst from offering federal TEACH financial aid grants.  The plan is being billed as an executive action by President Obama to staff all classrooms with effective teachers. In reality, it is a revival of a long-delayed 2012 effort.  Details on what the agency will demand remain scarce; officials demurred when asked whether this summer’s draft would mirror those circulated in 2012.

April 25, 2014

2014 Investing in Innovation Competition Continues with Invitation for Scale-Up and Validation Applications: On April 23, USED announced the start of the 2014 grant competition for the Investing in Innovation (i3) program’s Scale-up and Validation categories. This competition will continue the Department’s investments in promising strategies that can help close achievement gaps and improve educational outcomes for our neediest students.  The i3 program aims to develop and expand practices that accelerate student achievement and prepare students to succeed in college and in their careers. As in years past, the program includes three grant categories: Development, Validation and Scale-up. This year, school districts and nonprofit organizations, in partnership with districts or schools, are eligible to compete for nearly $135 million across all three categories. The maximum grant amount available in each category is based on the evidence of effectiveness.

April 23, 2014

2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools and District Sustainability Awardees Announced: Acting Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Mike Boots joined Sec. Duncan on April 22 to announce the 2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees. Forty-eight schools were honored for their exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways. In addition, nine districts were honored for the District Sustainability Award.  The schools were confirmed from a pool of candidates voluntarily nominated by 30 state education agencies. The list of selectees includes 39 public schools and nine private schools from 27 states. The public schools include ten early learning programs, three charter, one magnet and three career and technical schools. The schools serve various grade levels, including 29 elementary, 16 middle and 18 high schools, with several schools having various K-12 configurations. Twenty-one of the 2014 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body and 18 are rural. The list of all selected schools and districts, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here. A report with highlights on the 57 honorees can be found here.

April 22, 2014

Obama Administration Approves NCLB Flexibility Request for IllinoisOn April 18, the Obama administration approved Illinois for a waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), in exchange for state-developed plans to prepare all students for college and careers, focus aid on the neediest students and support effective teaching and leadership.  Since fall 2011, 45 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Bureau of Indian Education have requested waivers from NCLB in order to implement next-generation education reforms that go far beyond the law’s rigid, top-down prescriptions. The U.S. Department of Education has now approved requests from 43 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., with other applications still pending.  Iowa and Wyoming, plus the Bureau of Indian Education, have outstanding requests for waivers.  The five states that have not yet requested flexibility include: California, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota (request withdrawn), and Vermont (request withdrawn). The Department approved a separate request for waivers from the CORE districts in California.

April 18, 2014

U.S. Department of Education Awards More than $33 Million to Local Education Agencies and Community-based Organizations to Develop Physical Education and Nutrition Programs: The U.S. Department of Education has awarded 67 grants totaling more than $33 million to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and community-based organizations that plan to implement comprehensive, integrated physical activity and nutrition programs for their students through the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) on April 15. Funding is intended to assist these entities with initiating, expanding, or enhancing physical education and nutrition education programs, including after-school programs, for students in kindergarten through 12th grades. Through these programs, it is expected that students will develop an appreciation for lifelong, healthy nutrition and physical education habits, and make progress toward meeting their state standards for physical education.  Grant recipients must implement programs that help students make progress toward meeting their state standards for physical education. In addition, these programs must undertake the following: 1) instruction in healthy eating habits and good nutrition, and 2) physical fitness activities that include at least one of the following:

o    fitness education and assessment to help students understand, improve, or maintain their physical well-being;

o    instruction in a variety of motor skills and physical activities designed to enhance the physical, mental, and social or emotional development of every student;

o    development of and instruction in cognitive concepts about motor skills and physical fitness that support a lifelong healthy lifestyle;

o    opportunities to develop positive social and cooperative skills through physical activity participation; and

o    opportunities for professional development for physical education teachers to stay abreast of the latest research, issues, and trends in the field of physical education.

April 15, 2014

Congressional Headlines

Senators Harkin, Warren, Durbin and Congressman Miller Call on Education Dept. to Prohibit Harmful Banking Practices Targeting College Campuses: U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Congressman George Miller (D-CA), and colleagues in the House and Senate in sending a bicameral letter to Secretary Arne Duncan of the U.S. Department of Education in support of changes to Title IV’s cash management rules, which are currently under revision, on April 23. The letter urges ED to protect students from unfair banking practices, including campus-sponsored debit cards with terms that are not always good for students, and to preserve the integrity of federal student aid programs.  The letter was signed by 23 members of the House and Senate, including: Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Edward Markey (D-MA), and Representatives Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Peter Welch (D-VT), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Karen Bass (D-CA), Susan A. Davis (D-CA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), John F. Tierney (D-MA) and Jared Huffman (D-CA).

April 23, 2014

National and State Headlines

Arkansas State Education Chief Leaving to Take Over District in State: Arkansas Commissioner of Education Tom Kimbrell will be leaving his post July 1 to take over as superintendent of the Bryant school district in the state, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported on April 24.  Kimbrell was appointed by Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, back in 2009. He has previously served as a teacher, administrator, and superintendent, so his move to take over a district represents something of familiar territory for him.  This year, four other state education bosses have departed or announced their upcoming departures: Tom Luna of Idaho (not seeking re-election); Patricia Wright in Virginia (retiring); Diane DeBacker of Kansas (leaving for an education job in the United Arab Emirates); and Mick Zais of South Carolina (not seeking re-election). In addition, John Barge of Georgia is running for governor as a Republican.

April 24, 2014

Despite Common-Core Politics, Chiefs Say Standards, Accountability Will Remain: Four state education chiefs said at a conference that in spite of heated politics surrounding the Common Core State Standards, they remain committed to using the standards and holding schools and teachers accountable for their progress.  The four directed frustration at critics who they say remain either ignorant of the standards themselves or seek to render them toothless for political reasons.  Tennessee Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman, New Mexico Secretary-Designate Hanna Skandera, North Carolina Superintendent June Atkinson, and Maryland Superintendent Lillian Lowery all detailed the work their states have put in over multiple years to transition schools to the common core.  Huffman highlighted the $20 million his state used for training 40,000 teachers and creation of a state website for common-core resources. The results, he said, show that Tennessee teachers who’ve received in-depth training in the standards show a greater effect on student achievement through test scores than those who haven’t gotten the training.  Other chiefs also detailed their outreach efforts to parents and how the standards have been different than other previous overhauls to content standards. In North Carolina, for example, the state revised all of its content standards in addition to adopting the common core back in 2010 Atkinson noted. Skandera said that she is working in New Mexico to ensure that the standards alone aren’t expected to improve schools, but that they combine with other policy changes like new teacher evaluations and accountability systems to improve schools.

April 23, 2014

Anxieties About Data Privacy Spell End of the Road for inBloom: After months caught in the crosshairs of parents, advocates, and educators concerned about student-data privacy, controversial nonprofit inBloom announced on April 21 that it will close its doors.  Founded in 2011 with $100 million in support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, inBloom aimed to serve as a data repository for states and districts, storing and cleaning a wide range of student information, then making it available to district-approved third parties to develop tools and dashboards so the data could more easily be used by classroom educators.  The nonprofit company sparked a high-profile backlash, prompting withdrawal of planned partners in Louisiana, Colorado, New York, and elsewhere.  In the organization’s emailed announcement, the full text of which is provided below, CEO Iwan Streichenberger decried “mischaracterizations” of inBloom’s work and security protocols and called it “a shame that the progress of this important innovation has been stalled because of generalized public concerns about data misuse, even though inBloom has world-class security and privacy protections that have raised the bar for school districts and the industry as a whole.”

April 21, 2014

S.C. Chief Declares State Will Leave Smarter Balanced After All: Though the South Carolina Board of Education’s vote last week was to stay with the Smarter Balanced assessments for the Common Core State Standards, which many thought had settled the issue, state Superintendent of Education Mick announced he made the decision to withdraw the state from the Smarter Balanced testing consortium.  In an April 14 letter to state board Chairman Barry Bolen, Zais announced that the board’s April 9 vote to stick with the group is legally irrelevant.  The April 9 vote countermanded an April 3 letter the state education department sent to districts telling them to suspend the field-testing of Smarter Balanced because the state was withdrawing from the consortium.  Zais said he is dropping Smarter Balanced after consulting with both the legislature and the office of Gov. Nikki Haley, a fellow elected Republican.

April 14, 2104


Public High School Four-Year On-Time Graduation Rates and Event Dropout Rates: School Years 2010–11 and 2011–12
This report includes four-year on-time graduation rates and dropout rates for school years 2010-11 and 2011-12. A four-year on-time graduation rate provides measure of the percent of students that successfully complete high school in 4-years with a regular high school diploma. This report includes national and state-level Averaged Freshman Graduation Rates, which NCES has been producing for many years as an estimator for on-time graduation. New to this year’s report, NCES builds off the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education’s release of state-level Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate data required under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

April 28, 2014

Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2012 U.S. Restricted-use Data File

This CD-ROM contains PISA 2012 restricted-use data for the United States, including variables unique to U.S. data collection (e.g., student race/ethnicity). The CD-ROM includes the data file, a codebook, instructions on how to merge with the U.S. public-use dataset, and a cross-walk to assist in merging with other public datasets, such as the Common Core of Data (CCD) and Private School Survey (PSS). A restricted-use license must be obtained before access to the data is granted. Click on the restricted-use license link below for more details.

April 16, 204

Out-of-Pocket Net Price for College

This Data Point uses data from four administrations of the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:2000, NPSAS:04, NPSAS:08, and NPSAS:12) to briefly present trends in out-of-pocket net price for college, the amount that students and their families must pay to attend college after subtracting grants, loans, work-study, and all other student aid from the total price of attendance. It also presents out-of-pocket net price by income levels for the most recent data available (2011-12). For comparability, findings are presented for undergraduates attending full time for a full year and also trends are presented separately for key institution types (public 2-year, public 4-year, private nonprofit 4-year, and for-profit institutions).

April 15, 2014 

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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