E-Update for November 19, 2014

E-Update for November 19, 2014

E-Update for November 19, 2014


On November 13, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) released guidance for states interested in renewing their ESEA flexibility waivers, pursuant to ESEA §9401.The Department announced that ESEA waiver renewals are available to all state education agencies (SEAs) with an approved request that will expire at the end of the 2014-2015 school year. The new waiver renewal process requires states to submit requests by March 31, 2015 and offers states a three-year extension of ESEA flexibility through the 2017-2018 school year. States that were approved to implement ESEA flexibility beginning in the 2012-2013 school year (Windows 1 or 2 SEAs) and are fully meeting their commitments to the timelines and principles of ESEA flexibility are eligible for a four-year renewal option through the 2018-2019 school year. These states also have the option to participate in an expedited review process, for which they must submit their requests by January 30, 2015.

EducationCounsel News

On November 18 and 19, EducationCounsel hosted a convening of states and experts entitled, “Quality is the Key: Implementing Evaluation Systems to Support Improved Instruction.” Through support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, EducationCounsel convened 14 states to meet individually with experts who provided timely support and feedback on top-of-mind teacher evaluation issues selected by the state. States also engaged in cross-state consultancies with similar states and discussed high-priority topics, including improving the rigor and accountability of student learning objectives, strengthening inter-rater reliability of classroom observations, and using evaluation to improve instruction at the school level and decision-making at the district and state level.

On November 20 and 21, Gov. Jeb Bush and the Foundation for Excellence in Education will host their annual National Summit on Education Reform. As ExcelinEd’s flagship initiative, the National Summit annually convenes the best and brightest from around the world to share strategies to improve the quality of education for all children, everywhere. This year’s strategy sessions will focus on topics such as autonomy and accountability in school choice programs, comprehensive K-3 reading policies, and innovation in the teacher certification process. Of special note is a session on new learning opportunities through state “Course Access” programs (the FEE/EdCounsel white paper on the topic is available here). Registration is now closed, but the full agenda is available here.


On November 20, TechFreedom, New America’s Open Technology Institute, Progressive Policy Institute, and the Heritage Foundation will host a briefing on “The Great Net Neutrality Debate: Should the FCC Ban Paid Prioritization?” There is broad policy consensus about transparency and no-blocking rules, but experts differ on whether paid prioritization can be good for consumers. Should the FCC ban paid prioritization, or merely police it? What authority, if any, should the FCC use? Speakers will include: Marvin Ammori (Fellow, New America), Jonathan Baker (Professor of Law, American University), Hal Singer (Progressive Policy Institute), and Berin Szoka (TechFreedom). RSVP here.

On November 20, the Center for Law and Social Policy will host a forum on “Helping Low-Income students Cross the Finish Line: Innovations that Support College Completion.” This forum will hone in on one of the biggest barriers to students’ college completion: financial burdens, particularly for independent students who may be raising a family and combining education with low-wage work. Along with leading economic thinker Jared Bernstein, a panel of higher education experts, front-line college leadership, and national policy leaders will discuss strategies for reducing financial burdens and increasing college completion, including better connecting students to food assistance, health insurance, and other crucial benefits. RSVP here.

U.S Department of Education

Obama Administration Approves NCLB Flexibility Extension Request for New Mexico: The Obama Administration announced that New Mexico 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-one states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico currently have ESEA flexibility, 34 of which expired this summer. Of those, 33 submitted an extension request.
November 14, 2014

White House Conference on Digital Learning to Bring Together Educators from Across the Country: More than 100 school superintendents have been selected by the U.S. Department of Education to participate in “ConnectED to the Future,” hosted by President Obama on Wednesday, Nov. 19 at the White House. The event will bring together superintendents and other educators from across the country who are leading their schools and districts in the transition to digital learning. A list of superintendents attending the event can be found here.
November 18, 2014

Congressional Headlines

Kline, Miller Praise Senate Passage of Bill to Update Child Care Program: House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), senior Democrat on the committee, praised the Senate’s passage of a bill to improve and reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant. House and Senate leaders negotiated the bipartisan agreement in September, and the House approved the legislation shortly thereafter. The bill will now head to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.
November 17, 2014

New Legislation

H.R.5704 : Master Teacher Corps Act
Sponsor: Rep Holt, Rush [NJ-12] (introduced 11/13/2014)
Committees: House Education and the Workforce
Latest Major Action: 11/13/2014 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

S.2936 : A bill to provide that in the case of leases to local education agencies and elementary and secondary schools, consideration may be at or below fair market value or for no consideration.
Sponsor: Sen Scott, Tim [SC] (introduced 11/18/2014)
Committees: Senate Armed Services
Latest Major Action: 11/18/2014 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Armed Services.

National and State Headlines

FCC Chairman Released Plans to Reboot the E-rate Program: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced that he will be circulating a draft order to his fellow Commissioners for consideration at the December Commission Meeting to take the next step in his comprehensive effort to modernize the E-rate program. The Chairman released a press fact sheet, which provides a succinct description of the Internet connectivity gaps and the Chairman’s proposal to adjust the program’s spending cap to a level that will enable long-term E-rate connectivity targets to be met. The order the Chairman circulates this week will also propose a series of targeted rule changes designed to ensure that the nation’s students and life-long learners can get the 21st Century educations required to keep the nation globally competitive.
November 17, 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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