E-Update for October 16, 2014

E-Update for October 16, 2014

E-Update for October 16, 2014


The Obama Administration announced on October 9 that Arizona, Massachusetts, Missouri, Oregon, Rhode Island and Utah have 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). In order to receive an extension, states must demonstrate that they have resolved any state-specific issues and next steps as a result of the Department’s monitoring, as well as any other outstanding issues related to ESEA flexibility. So far, twenty-nine states—Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin—and the District of Columbia have been granted extensions since July 3. Read the Department’s announcement here.


On October 16, the Center for American Progress will host an event on “The Need for Better, Fairer, Fewer Tests.” Discussion will focus on new research on the state of testing, including issues of over testing, the quality of current state exams, and the roll-out of new next-generation Common Core tests. Ulrich Boser, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, will present his findings. Panelists will include: Nancy DePalma (Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, West Hartford Public Schools), Maura Henry (Teacher, The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria),  and Jeffrey Nellhaus (Chief of Assessment, Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, Inc.). RSVP here.

On October 16, the Alliance for Excellent Education will host a briefing on Rethinking Accountability to Support College and Career Readiness. This briefing will focus on a broader vision of accountability to support higher and deeper levels of learning for all students and to provide greater flexibility for schools and districts. The event will include the release of a new report, Accountability for College and Career Readiness: Developing a New Paradigm, which explores how states might construct accountability systems that are well-aligned and that assure a high-quality education for all students. Using an imaginary “51st state” as the model, authors Linda Darling-Hammond and Gene Wilhoit will set out some principles for effective accountability systems that are better able to “foster a culture of inquiry and continuous improvement at all levels of the system.” Speakers will include: S. Dallas Dance, Superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools; Paul Leather, Deputy Commissioner of Education at the New Hampshire Department of Education; Carmel Martin, Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress. RSVP here.

On October 16 and 17, the New America Foundation, Young Invincibles, and the Roosevelt Campus Network will explore the challenges facing Millenials and policies to help them succeed at “Millenials Rising: Next Generation Policies for a Thriving Next Generation.” This invitation-only symposium seeks to engage a diverse group participants across a range of policy perspectives for this conversation and elevate the voices of those in the room as the experts on how to achieve this vision. Featured keynote speakers include: Anne-Marie Slaughter (President and CEO, New America), James Bullard (President of the St. Louis Federal Reserve), and Wendy Spencer (CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service). Register here.

On October 22, the First Five Years Fund and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills will host “Today’s Skills Start with Early Learning: A Panel Discussion” at 11am. The event will focus on a discussion on the importance of expanding high quality early learning and how it can promote school readiness and set children on a path for career and life success. Panelists will include: Dr. Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek (the Stanley and Debra Lefkowitz Faculty Fellow in the Department of Psychology at Temple University), Cheri Sterman (Director of Content & Consumer Relationships, Crayola), Dr. Kathleen Kremer (Head of Preschool Research, Fisher-Price), and Dr. John Holland (National Board Certified Head Start Teacher). RSVP here.

Department Headlines

U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights Announces Resolution of Civil Rights Investigation of California’s Downey Unified School District: The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that it has entered into an agreement with California’s Downey Unified School District to resolve a complaint about the harassment and discriminatory treatment of a transgender student. The complaint alleged that the District discriminated against a transgender student by failing to respond adequately to complaints that the student was subjected to verbal harassment by peers and that staff at the student’s school disciplined her for wearing make-up, discouraged her from speaking about her gender identity with classmates and suggested that she transfer to another school.
October 14, 2014

Education Department Awards Nine Partnerships of School Districts and Nonprofits to Help Bolster Academic, Social and Health Services: The U.S. Department of Education awarded $4.7 million to nine partnerships to help improve the quality of elementary and secondary education and bolster community-wide, comprehensive services for students, families and their communities. The Full-Service Community Schools (FSCS) program supports partnerships between schools, school districts, and community-based and nonprofit organizations.
October 9, 2014


New America Foundation Report: Beyond the Skills Gap: Making Education Work for Students, Employers, and Communities: In this paper, author Mary Alice McCarthy identifies five ‘gaps’ in the Higher Education Act that make it too easy for institutions to provide high-cost, low-quality career education programs while also making it too difficult for institutions to build the partnerships and programs that will facilitate student transitions to jobs and careers. The paper calls for a reframing of the Higher Education Act to support all forms of postsecondary learning, including students on non-degree paths and those seeking specific skills and credentials. Recommended reforms include strengthening the role of programmatic accreditors as gatekeepers to financial aid, removing barriers to better data collection on student outcomes, and expanding eligibility for financial aid to a broader range of students and activities, including competency-based education and short-term training.
October 16, 2014

American Council of Trustees and Alumni Report: What Will They Learn? A Survey of Core Requirements at Our Nation’s Colleges and Universities: This report grades 1,098 four-year colleges and universities based on the single most important issue facing students: what will they learn? The report showcases those institutions that hold their students to high standards by requiring a thorough general education curriculum—and to challenge those that do not. It also includes graduation rates and tuition prices.
October 15, 2014

Cato Institute Policy Analysis: The Evidence on Universal Preschool: This report reviews the major evaluations of preschool programs, including both traditional programs such as Head Start and those designated as “high quality.” The report argues these evaluations do not paint a generally positive picture. The most methodologically rigorous evaluations find that the academic benefits of preschool programs are quite modest, and these gains fade after children enter elementary school.
October 15, 2014

Institute of Education Sciences Regional Educational Laboratory Program Report: Coordination of Instructional Services by Washington State’s Educational Service Districts: This REL Northwest study looked at the funding, delivery, and coordination of instructional services offered by Washington state’s network of nine Educational Service Districts (ESDs). REL Northwest examined 13 statewide teaching and learning support areas, including the percentages of districts served, the funding for each service, and ESD perceptions of coordination of services. The study showed that while the network believes it’s desirable to coordinate their services, the structures needed to do that aren’t always in place. The findings can help inform similar education service agencies around the country, which provide services to 79 percent of public schools.
October 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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