E-Update for December 5, 2014

E-Update for December 5, 2014

E-Update for December 5, 2014


On November 25, the U.S. Department of Education announced proposed regulations to help ensure teacher training programs are adequately preparing educators for the classroom. The proposed regulations require states to implement several system changes with significant flexibility. These changes include the following:

  • Developing state systems to identify high- and low-performing teacher preparation programs across all kinds of programs, not just those based in colleges and universities;
  • Moving away from current input-focused reporting requirements, streamlining the current data requirements, incorporating more meaningful outcomes measures, and improving the availability of relevant information on teacher preparation;
  • Rewarding only those programs that states determine to be effective or better with eligibility for TEACH grants to ensure high-quality teacher education and preparation programs are supported; and
  • Offering transparency into the performance of teacher preparation programs, creating a feedback loop among programs and prospective teachers, employers, and the public, and empowering programs with information to facilitate continuous improvement.

States would be required to report annually on the performance of each teacher preparation program based on the following indicators, at minimum:

  • Employment outcomes: New teacher placement and three-year retention rates, including in high-need school;
  • Teacher and employer feedback: Surveys on the effectiveness of preparation;
  • Student learning outcomes: Effectiveness of new teachers as demonstrated through measures of student growth, performance on state or local teacher evaluation measures that include data on student growth, or both, during their first three teaching years; and
  • Assurance of specialized accreditation: Or evidence that a program produces candidates with content and pedagogical knowledge and quality clinical preparation, who have met rigorous entry and exit requirements.

This rulemaking was expected to come out early this year, before being delayed several times. New regulations have been overdue since 2012. The proposed regulations will undergo a 60-day comment period.  Comments must be submitted by January 25. The final rule is expected to be published in mid-2015.

EducationCounsel News

EducationCounsel LLC has expanded its mission-based education policy, law, strategy, and advocacy team with the addition of five new advisors, each with an area of distinct focus and all with years of experience and leadership in education settings ranging from the federal government and Capitol Hill to national nonprofit education and advocacy organizations to the classroom. We are thrilled about the addition of experience in the areas of early childhood education, human capital, school district management, and national and federal level education policy and advocacy. The new advisors include Bethany M. Little, former chief education counsel to Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), and more recently a managing partner with America Achieves, Danielle T. Ewen, the former director of the Office of Early Childhood Education at the District of Columbia Public Schools, Daniel S. Gordon, a former trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s Educational Opportunities Section, and more recently deputy chief academic officer for college and career readiness, early childhood education, language acquisition, and out-of-school time programs, at the District of Columbia Public Schools, Jennifer Castagna,  a long time  staff member for the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations working with the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies and previously serving in several leadership positions in the Office of U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Aviva C. Jacobs, most recently vice president of Teacher Leadership Development for Teach for America in Chicago. They join a growing education practice that welcomed three additional policy advisors earlier this year with experience and focus on social and emotional learning, school climate and discipline, special education, and teacher and leader evaluation.


On December 4, 2014, the White House hosted its second College Opportunity Summit, which convened about 600 individuals and organizations, including federal officials, college presidents, nonprofit administrators and other education leaders to discuss and commit to strategies to improve college graduation rates. The President announced two programs, including $30 million for AmeriCorps to create opportunities for corps members to advise, mentor, and support low-income students who want to attend college, and a $10 million investment to support research on improving college completion.

On December 8, the final meeting of the Task Force on Government Regulation of Higher Education will take place. The Task Force is made up of 16 higher education leaders appointed by a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators and staffed by the American Council on Education (ACE). The Task Force’s report and recommendations are expected to be delivered to the Senate in early 2015.

On December 9 at 9:30am, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host a conversation with Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools. Founded in Harlem in 2006, Success Academy Charter Schools has since become one of the fastest-growing and highest-performing charter-management organizations in New York City, currently educating more than 9,000 children in 32 schools.  Moskowitz and AEI’s Rick Hess will discuss the challenges and successes of scaling charter schools. RSVP here.

On December 10, the White House will hold its Summit on Early Education. The Summit will bring together a broad coalition of philanthropic, business, education, advocacy, and elected leaders, as well as other stakeholders who are committed to expanding access to high-quality early education. During the summit, the President will announce the states and communities that will receive $250 million in Preschool Development Grants and $500 million in Early Head Start Child Care Partnership awards to enhance and expand preschool programs and to improve access to high-quality infant and toddler care in high-need communities. Attendance to the event is by invitation only.

U.S Department of Education

Education Department Clarifies Requirements for Offering Single-Sex Classes: The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released guidance for K-12 schools that offer or want to offer single-sex classes.  In response to numerous inquiries about the legality of single-sex classes, OCR issued guidance that charts a path for schools on how they can provide boys-only or girls-only instruction while remaining in compliance with civil rights laws.
December 1, 2014

U.S. Department of Education Approves NCLB Flexibility Extension Request for Oklahoma: The U.S. Department of Education announced that it is reinstating Oklahoma’s authority to implement flexibility from certain provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind, through the end of the 2014-15 school year.
November 24, 2014

Congressional Headlines

House Approves Education Tax Breaks: On December 3, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would restore a slate of expired tax breaks, including three education-related measures. These measures include an extension of qualified zone academy bonds, an extension of deduction for certain expenses of elementary and secondary school teachers, and an extension of above-the-line deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses.
December 5, 2014

New Legislation

S.2967 : A bill to prohibit the Federal Government from mandating, incentivizing, or coercing States to adopt the Common Core State Standards or any other specific academic standards, instructional content, curricula, assessments, or programs of instruction.
Sponsor: Sen Vitter, David [LA] (introduced 12/2/2014)
Committees: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Latest Major Action: 12/2/2014 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

S.2968 : A bill to include community partners and intermediaries in the planning and delivery of education and related programs, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Whitehouse, Sheldon [RI] (introduced 12/2/2014)
Committees: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Latest Major Action: 12/2/2014 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.


Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education Report: Recognizing College and Career Readiness in the California School Accountability System: How Californians determine school quality is shifting dramatically with the most significant education policy changes the state has seen in decades. The policies affect everything from school funding to classroom instruction to how learning is assessed. In this new climate, school and district staff must consider a range of critical questions: How well are students being prepared for careers, as well as college? Are districts offering high-quality programs of study that deliver these skills? Are assessments focusing on 21st century skills? Are we using the right assessments to measure what students can do? This report proposes effective approaches that policymakers and administrators can use to address these new questions and priorities. The report also proposes ways that student accomplishments illustrating career readiness can be included in graduation standards and conveyed to prospective colleges and employers.
December 2, 2014

U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services Report: RTT-ELC Two Year Progress Report: This report details progress from 14 states that were awarded Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grants in 2012 and 2013. It describes some of the initiatives that these states undertook in the first or second year of their grants, as reported in their Annual Performance Reports (APRs), to improve the quality of early learning and development programs for young children.
December 2014

Institute for Women’s Policy Research Report: Campus Child Care Declining Even As Growing Numbers of Parents Attend College:  Affordable, reliable child care is a crucial support for the 4.8 million college students raising dependent children, but is often tough to find. High child care costs, difficulty obtaining subsidies, and scheduling challenges often create significant obstacles for student parents, and may contribute to their relatively low rates of college completion. Postsecondary systems can play an important role in promoting college success by helping student parents locate and pay for the child care they need to succeed in school. Despite the growing number of postsecondary students with children, campus-based child care has been declining in recent years. The proportion of community colleges with child care on campus declined from a high of 53 percent in 2003-2004, to 46 percent in 2013. In public 4-year institutions, the proportion of campuses with child care decreased from 54 to 51 percent from 2002 to 2013.
November 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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