E-Update for November 12, 2014

E-Update for November 12, 2014

E-Update for November 12, 2014


The midterm election shifted federal and state power-centers in ways that could have long term implications for public education. For the first time in eight years, Republicans will control the U.S. Senate and the party will also enjoy a larger – though still internally contentious – majority in the House. As of November 11, two Senate races (AK, LA) remain undecided and the Republican majority could grow to as many as 54 seats, leaving prospective Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) within striking distance of the bipartisan 60 votes needed to pass contentious bills, including promised efforts to update the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and more. Republicans also gained ground in governorships, including winning races in three usually reliably blue states – Maryland, Massachusetts, and Illinois – and winning nine out of ten open governors’ seats. In the seven states with chief state school officer races, Republicans carried six of the seats, including wins in Arizona and Georgia by Common Core opponents. Still undetermined state board of education appointments will further alter the governance landscape and impact the selection of schools chiefs in 2015. For example, nine newly elected governors have responsibility for appointing state board of education members who in turn have responsibility for selecting their chief state school officer.

In addition to these leadership changes, 14 states considered 19 education ballot initiatives, some with national significance. For example, Missouri voters roundly defeated a new teacher evaluation system, New York approved a $2 billion bond for education technology and pre-K investments, and Hawaii defeated a proposed early learning investment, which would have relied heavily on private providers. This memorandum further discusses these and other developments and provides an early analysis of the election’s possible impact on the education policy agenda of the 114th Congress and the Obama Administration. Read more here.


On November 12, the PreK-3rd Grade National Work Group will host a webinar on “Racial Equity at the District and Classroom Level” at 3pm. This webinar is focused on the idea that schools and PreK-3rd grade classrooms can be laboratories of innovation to confront the racial, class, and gender inequities woven into educational systems. This webinar will feature four initiatives focused on racial equity in districts: Austin Independent School District (AISD); St. Paul Public Schools (SPSS); Erikson Institute’s New Schools Project; and FirstSchool. RSVP here.

On November 13, OpportunityAction is hosting a Capitol Hill briefing on “Resource Equity and Student Success” at 9am. This briefing will examine the types of federal supports necessary to address the needs of a record number of students living in poverty, an increasingly diverse student population, and a growing number of second language learners and students with disabilities, while demand is growing for more ambitious learning outcomes for the world and workforce. In particular, the briefing will cover the Core Opportunity Resources for Equity and Excellence (CORE) Act, which would help ensure every student has access to essential school resources like small class sizes, college counselors, up-to-date textbooks, and well-prepared and competent educators. Speakers will include: U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Congresswoman Martha Fudge (D-OH11), Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond (Professor, Stanford University; Faculty Director, Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education), and Randi Weingarten (President, American Federation of Teachers). RSVP here.

On November 13 and 14, the Education Trust National Conference, “Become the Change: Closing Gaps in Opportunity and Achievement,” will be held in Baltimore, Maryland. Speakers will include: Catherine Lhamon (Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education; Susan Cordova (Chief Schools Officer, Denver Public Schools); Sonja Brookings Santelises (Vice President of K-12 Policy and Practice, The Education Trust); and more. RSVP here.

On November 17, the Alliance for Excellent Education will host a webinar on “The Students’ Voice: Empowering Transformation” at 3:30pm. In a discussion with Tom Murray (State and District Digitial Learning Director, Alliance for Excellent Education), classroom teacher and author Pernille Ripp will discuss how to empower students, give them a voice, and make changes that will directly affect them every day. Mrs. Ripp will discuss ideas for including the students’ voice in classroom setup, planning, and outcome; technology tools to bring the students’ voice out into the world; and stories of how the students’ voice can transform education. RSVP here.

U.S Department of Education

U.S. Department of Education Released Guidance for States to Ensure Equitable Access to Excellent Educators: The Department’s guidance—State Plans to Ensure Equitable Access to Excellent Educators—is intended to help each state education agency (SEA) prepare a comprehensive plan that meets the requirements of ESEA section 1111(b)(8)(c) and helps ensure that all students have equitable access to excellent educators. Each SEA must submit a State Plan to Ensure Equitable Access to Excellent Educators to the U.S. Department of Education on June 1, 2015.
November 10, 2014

Obama Administration Approves NCLB Flexibility Extension Request for New Jersey: The Obama Administration announced that New Jersey has received a one-year extension for flexibility from certain provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Forty-three states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico currently have ESEA flexibility, 35 of which expired this summer. Of those, 34 submitted an extension request.
November 7, 2014

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Announces Highest-Rated Applications for Investing in Innovation (i3) 2014 Competition During Visit with High School Students in North Carolina: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced on the 26 highest-rated applications for the U.S. Department of Education’s $129 million Investing in Innovation (i3) 2014 competition aimed at developing innovative approaches to improving student achievement and replicating effective strategies across the country. These 26 potential i3 grantees selected from 434 applications and representing 14 states and the District of Columbia, must secure matching funds by Dec. 10, 2014, in order to receive federal funding. All highest-rated applications in previous years have secured matching funds and become grantees.
November 6, 2014


National Center for Education Statistics Report: Findings From the First-Grade Rounds of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11: This brief report provides a first look at the overall first-grade reading, math, and science achievement of the students who were attending kindergarten for the first time in the 2010-11 school year and who advanced to first grade for the 2011-12 school year. The report uses new data from the first-grade rounds of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11. Reading, mathematics, and science assessment scores in the fall and spring of first grade are shown, both overall and by selected child and family characteristics.
November 6, 2014

Child Trends Hispanic Institute Report: Math Scores Add Up for Hispanic Students: States and School Districts Notable for Recent Gains by Hispanic Students in Mathematics: This report shows significant gains in math achievement by Hispanic fourth- and eighth-graders across the nation—the equivalent of one grade level in the last ten years (2003-2013). Using data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, Child Trends reviewed and compared fourth and eighth grade math scores in the nation, states, large cities, and select school districts. The report highlights those regions with top scores and the largest increases.
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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