E-Update for March 10, 2014

E-Update for March 10, 2014

E-Update for March 10, 2014


EducationCounsel recently released guidance for state lawmakers on key elements for strengthening state laws and policies pertaining to student data use, privacy, and security.  Please click here to read the full guidance.

On March 4, the Administration delivered the President’s Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) Budget Request to Congress.  The president requested $68.6 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Education (a proposed increase of $1.3 billion compared to the current fiscal year).  Among other investments, the Administration asked Congress to provide:

o   $8.8 billion for Head Start (HHS)

o   $2.6 billion for the Childcare and Development Block Grant program (HHS)

o   $14.4 billion for ESEA, Title I

o   $2 billion for ESEA, Title II (educator professional development)

o   $11.6 billion for IDEA State Grants

o   $378 million for State Assessments (including acquiring technology for assessment)

o   $505.8 million for School Improvement Grants

o   $1.1 billion for Career and Technical Education

o   $70 million for State Longitudinal Data Systems

o   $22.8 billion for the Pell Grant program (supporting a maximum annual award of $5,830 when combined with mandatory funds)

The Administration elected to continuing pressing for major new investments in high quality early learning.  The budget proposal also seeks to continue funding for hallmark Administration competitive grant programs, such Race to the Top (with a new focus on “Equity and Opportunity”), Investing in Innovation (embedding the ARPA-Ed concept long championed by the Department), and the recently established First in the World program.  One notable new request for funding – the “ConnectEDucators” initiative – would provide $200 million to prepare teachers and leaders  to use technology and high capacity broadband access to improve instruction, create and use high quality open digital learning resources aligned to college and career ready standards, and use data to understand and improve student outcomes (among other purposes).


There will be a full committee field hearing for the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on “Doing What’s Right: Preparing Iowa’s Children for Success in School and Beyond” on Monday, March 10, in Des Moines, Iowa.  Witnesses include: The Honorable State Senator Herman C. Quirmbach (Iowa State Senate District 23, Ames, IA), Susan Guest (Director of Early Childhood Programs, Des Moines Public Schools, Des Moines, IA), Barbara Merrill (Executive Director, Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children, Des Moines, IA), Christi Regan (Head Start Director, Hawkeye Area Community Action Program, Inc., Hiawatha, IA), Gabriela Gallentine (Director of Hispanic Educational Resources, Conmigo Early Education Center, Des Moines, IA), and Douglas M. Pierce (Brigadier General, US Air Force (Retired), Mission: Readiness, Norwalk, IA).

The House Education & the Workforce Committee is holding a full committee hearing on “Raising the Bar: The Role of Charter Schools in K-12 Education” on Wednesday, March 12, at10:30 a.m. in room 2175 Rayburn H.O.B.  Witnesses include: Ms. Deborah McGriff (President of the Board, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools,  Milwaukee, Wisconsin), Mrs. Lisa Graham Keegan (Chair of the Board, National Association of Charter School Authorizers, Peoria, Arizona), Mr. David Linzey (Executive Director, Clayton Valley Charter High School, Oakland, California), Ms. Alyssa Whitehead-Bust (Chief of Innovation and Reform, Denver Public Schools, Denver, Colorado), and Mr. Alan Rosskamm (Chief Executive Officer, Breakthrough Schools, Cleveland, Ohio).

The House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training is holding a hearing on “Examining the Mismanagement of the Student Loan Rehabilitation Process” on Wednesday, March 12, at 2:30 p.m. in room 2175 Rayburn H.O.B. Witnesses to be announced.

There will also be a full committee field hearing on “Reviving Our Economy: How Career and Technical Education Can Strengthen the Workforce” on March 18in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Witnesses to be announced.

An additional full committee field hearing is scheduled for March 20 on “Reviving Our Economy: Supporting a 21st Century Workforce” in Mesa, Arizona.  Witnesses to be announced.

NASBE is holding its 2014 Legislative Policy Forum being held at The Ritz Carlton in Pentagon City, Arlington, Virginia from March 13 to 14.  

New Legislation

H.R.4086 : Afterschool for America’s Children Act
Sponsor: Rep Kildee, Daniel T [MI-5] (introduced 2/25/2014) Cosponsors (1)

H.R.4136 : IDEA Full Funding Act
Sponsor: Rep Van Hollen, Chris [MD-8] (introduced 2/28/2014) Cosponsors (5)

H.RES.495 : Encouraging people in the United States to recognize March 3, 2014, as Read Across America Day.
Sponsor: Rep Davis, Rodney [IL-13] (introduced 2/28/2014) Cosponsors (1)

H.R.4151 : Veterans Education Survey Act of 2014
Sponsor: Rep Bilirakis, Gus M. [FL-12] (introduced 3/5/2014) Cosponsors (1)

H.R.4159 : To provide for investment in innovation through research and development and STEM education, to improve the competitiveness of the United States, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Johnson, Eddie Bernice [TX-30] (introduced 3/6/2014) Cosponsors (19)

H.R.4172 : To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to clarify when certain academic assessments shall be administered.
Sponsor: Rep Gibson, Christopher P. [NY-19] (introduced 3/6/2014) Cosponsors (1)

H.RES.498 : Expressing support for designation of the week of March 2, 2014, through March 8, 2014, as “School Social Work Week”.
Sponsor: Rep Moore, Gwen [WI-4] (introduced 3/4/2014) Cosponsors (5)

S.RES.362 : A resolution supporting the goals and ideals of “Career and Technical Education Month”.
Sponsor: Sen Kaine, Tim [VA] (introduced 2/26/2014) Cosponsors (2)

S.2060 : TEACH Act
Sponsor: Sen Warren, Elizabeth [MA] (introduced 2/27/2014) Cosponsors (1)

S.RES.367 : A resolution designating March 3, 2014, as “Read Across America Day”.
Sponsor: Sen Reed, Jack [RI] (introduced 2/27/2014) Cosponsors (1)

S.RES.372 : A resolution supporting the goals and ideals of the Secondary School Student Athletes’ Bill of Rights.
Sponsor: Sen Menendez, Robert [NJ] (introduced 3/5/2014) Cosponsors (None)

U.S Department of Education

Secretary Duncan Appoints Member to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity:Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced the sixth and final appointment to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI).  The committee’s new member, appointed to a six-year term, is John Etchemendy, Provost, Stanford University.  NACIQI advises the secretary on accreditation issues and the eligibility and certification process for institutions of higher education.  It is charged with recommending to the secretary which accrediting or specific state approval agencies should be recognized as reliable authorities for judging the quality of postsecondary institutions and programs.

March 6, 2014

FACT SHEET: Opportunity for all: President Obama Launches My Brother’s Keeper Initiative to Build Ladders of Opportunity For Boys and Young Men of Color: Pointing to the large achievement gap between black or Hispanic boys and their white peers, the Obama administration announced a collection of initiatives called “My Brother’s Keeper” to help improve the lives of boys of color.  The initiatives include a new presidential task force that will, among other things, develop a website maintained by USED that will assess, on an ongoing basis, critical indicators of life outcomes for boys and young men of color in “absolute and relative terms,” according to the White House.

February 27, 2014

U.S. Department of Education and Indianapolis Public Schools Reach Agreement to Provide Equal Access to Interscholastic Athletics for Female Students:USED announced that its Office for Civil Rights has reached an agreement with the Indianapolis Public Schools in Indiana to ensure that the district provides equal athletic opportunities for girls. OCR independently initiated the investigation to examine whether the district discriminated against female students by denying them an equal opportunity to participate in its high school interscholastic athletics program.  OCR found the district to be in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which requires schools to effectively accommodate the athletic interests and abilities of its male and female students but offers schools more than one means of demonstrating compliance, and also requires schools to provide equal benefits to male and female athletes.

February 26, 2014

Department Releases New Guidance on Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services:USED’s Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) released new guidance to help school systems and educators interpret and understand the major laws and best practices protecting student privacy while using online educational services. The guidance summarizes the major requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) that relate to these educational services, and urges schools and districts to go beyond compliance to follow best practices for outsourcing school functions using online educational services, including computer software, mobile applications and web-based tools.

February 25, 2014

U.S. Department of Education Announces Awards to Nine States to Continue Efforts to Turn Around Lowest-Performing Schools: Sec. Duncan announced that nine states will receive more than $71 million to continue efforts to turn around their persistently lowest-achieving schools through awards from the Department’s School Improvement Grants (SIG) program. The states that will be using the funds to make new awards are: Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Dakota. Wyoming will use the funds to make continuation awards.

February 20, 2014

Congressional Headlines

U.S. Senate to Consider Child Care and Development Block Grant Bill: The Senate is going to take up a bill to revise the Child Care and Development Block Grant program, which has not been renewed since 1996, as soon as next week.  A bill to reauthorize CCDBG sailed through the Senate HELP committee over the summer. That legislation would help states focus the block grant dollars on improving the quality of child-care programs, not just bolstering access. At the recent House hearing on early childhood programs, Rep. John Kline (R-MN), the Chairman of the House education committee, praised the measure.

February 27, 2014

Spate of GOP Bills Take Aim at Common Core: Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) has introduced a resolution that makes it clear education is a state issue, and that the U.S. Secretary of Education should not coerce states into adopting common education standards.  The resolution, introduced Feb. 5, also states that the federal government should not give states who adopt the Common Core an edge in any future grant competitions.  The language has been endorsed by eight GOP senators, including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming.  The companion version of the bill for the House was sponsored by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) on February 12 and has been endorsed by more than 40 lawmakers. The legislation joins at least two other recent GOP bills—one by Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia and one by Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, that each take aim at the common core.

February 13, 2014

Miller and Minority Lawmakers: NCLB Waivers Hinder Educational Equity: Top House Democrats, including Rep. George Miller, sent a letter to the Obama Administration on February 12 regarding waivers from the No Child Left Behind Left Behind Act, which they assert have allowed some states to back off the core goal of the NCLB law—educational equity for poor and minority students.  The letter marks the most pointed criticism yet from inside the Beltway of the impact of the waivers on English Language Learners, students in special education, and minority children, and it comes from a group of the Obama administration’s most powerful allies in Congress.

February 12, 2014

National and State Headlines

Kansas K-12 Funding Unconstitutional, Supreme Court Rules; Orders Review: In a high-profile legal battle over school funding, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the state’s funding system was unconstitutional because it did not provide equity in public schools, and ordered a lower court to go back and determine proper levels of funding. The Supreme Court did not, however, set a deadline for this determination.  Plaintiffs in Gannon v. Kansas have sought major boosts to school funding on the order of $440 million in additional annual funding. The state’s highest court did not order any specific increase in K-12 funding in its March 7 ruling, but it did require a state district court panel to make sure that inequities in the current funding system are changed.  It also required legislators to restore funding to two programs aimed at providing additional aid to relatively poor districts.

March 7, 2014

California Wins Prized NCLB Testing Waiver:California has successfully negotiated a waiver from USED that will allow it to replace its state tests this spring with only Common Core-aligned field tests to about 3 million students.  California was on a path to scrapping its state testing system anyway, regardless of what federal officials decided, so this waiver means that state officials will not run afoul of the Education Department or risk losing its Title I money for violating the law.  Later this month, the state will give the full version of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium field tests to a small portion of students, and a shortened version to the rest of its students.  The waiver would allow California, the largest state with the largest population of English-learners, to largely deviate the No Child Left Behind model of producing data and holding schools and districts accountable for student performance annually.  The field tests are not designed to easily produce data that can be used for accountability.  By design, field tests are largely experimental and used, in part, to “test the tests.”  State officials argue they are not throwing away data, but instead using it how it is supposed to be used – to help the consortium develop a fully operational test for use in the Spring 2015.  USED signaled earlier that it was open to states conducting only field tests when it granted waivers to Idaho and Montana, much smaller states that also won permission to ditch their entire state testing regimen.

March 6, 2014

Common Core Delay Approved by N.Y. Assembly, Challenging Gov. Cuomo: The New York Assembly approved a bill delaying the impact of the Common Core State Standards and its aligned tests on teacher evaluations and other aspects of public education.  The beginning of Assembly Bill 8929 allows for the test scores from Common Core-aligned tests to not factor into teachers’ and principals’ evaluation scores. If this provision requires the state education commissioner John King to apply for a federal waiver in order to make it effective, the bill says that King must do so. This ban would be in effect for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years.  Those same Common Core tests also cannot be the sole or primary factor in decisions affecting students’ placement or promotion. In addition, those test score cannot appear on student transcripts.  The state education department cannot offer any student data to third-party vendors that would send that data to “dashboards” until July 1, 2015.

March 6, 2013

Indiana House Repeals Common-Core Adoption; Bill Moves Closer to Gov.’s Desk: The Indiana House of Representatives voted on February 28 to repeal its 2010 adoption of the Common Core State Standards, following the state Senate’s approval of the bill.  The House’s 67-26 vote to approve Senate Bill 91, which means that the legislation now heads to a conference committee. If approved by that committee, the bill goes to Gov. Mike Pence (R), who seems likely to sign in.  Indiana has written draft standards to replace the Common Core, which will undergo further revisions based on public comments at the hearings and those gathered online. The state board of education is slated to vote on the draft standards April 9, following a recommendation by the Indiana Education Roundtable.

February 28, 2014

Bipartisan Support Clear for Early Education at Governors’ Gathering:Secretary Duncan described early-childhood expansion efforts as inevitability, not merely an aspiration, during his Sunday presentation to a receptive group of governors gathered here for the winter meeting of the National Governors Association.  A broad coalition of business leaders, law enforcement officials, parents and school officials are asking for these efforts; kindergarten-readiness assessments are showing that many children are far behind their peers when they start school; and, he said, there’s a “enormous and persistent unmet need” for early-childhood programs.  Education and career training was also a focal point of the three-day meeting, with Jeffrey M. Immelt, the chief executive officer of General Electric, addressing the state leaders on “training for tomorrow’s jobs.”

February 24, 2014

New NCLB Waiver Reports Show More Issues With Struggling Schools, New Tests: The U.S. Department of Education released waiver monitoring reports for three more states February 21 that show continued struggles with low-performing schools and new tests aligned to the common core.  Kansas was dinged because the interventions for its focus schools do not seem to line up with the reasons those schools were selected for this designation in the first place.  This is a common problem among many waiver states. The state also has not shown that it is appropriately flagging schools that are not among the lowest-performing, but are still not making progress toward their academic targets.  South Dakota was also red-flagged for not providing appropriate supports for other Title I schools, besides the lowest-performing, that aren’t making progress.  Oklahoma was cited for dropping out of the PARCC assessment consortia, then submitting its own plan for administering common-core-aligned assessments that so far is not up to federal standards. Also, its state and local report cards do not contain all the information that’s required.

February 21, 2014


New College Graduates at Work: Employment Among 1992–93, 1999–2000, and 2007–08 Bachelor’s Degree Recipients 1 Year After Graduation: This Statistics in Brief investigates the employment outcomes of college graduates 1 year after earning a bachelor’s degree using nationally representative data collected in three administrations of the Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study. The Brief first examines the overall employment and enrollment status of all college graduates 1 year after earning a bachelor’s degree and then offers detailed information on key aspects of employment, including employment intensity (whether employed full time, part time, or in multiple jobs), occupation, and salary of those who were employed and not enrolled 1 year after graduation. The analysis indicates that employment outcomes vary for male and female graduates, and by age group, race/ethnicity, and undergraduate major field of study.

March 6, 2014

Projections of Education Statistics to 2022: This publication provides projections for key education statistics. It includes statistics on enrollment, graduates, teachers, and expenditures in elementary and secondary schools, and enrollment and earned degrees conferred expenditures of degree-granting institutions. For the Nation, the tables, figures, and text contain data on enrollment, teachers, graduates, and expenditures for the past 14 years and projections to the year 2022. For the 50 States and the District of Columbia, the tables, figures, and text contain data on projections of public elementary and secondary enrollment and public high school graduates to the year 2022. In addition, the report includes a methodology section describing models and assumptions used to develop national and state-level projections.

February 27, 2014

GAO: Half of Nearly $1 Billion in i3 Funds Being Spent on Professional Development: Sixty-two of 92 i3 projects awarded money in 2010 through 2012 by the U.S. Department of Education use teacher and principal professional development as a key strategy, the GAO found.  Of those, half of the projects use professional development as the “primary or sole method underlying their innovations,” the report says.

February 7, 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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