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Earlier today, the US Education Department shared a letter they sent to all 50 state chief state school officers. In the letter, Secretary Duncan outlined increased flexibility for states to postpone using student growth on state tests as a factor in staffing decisions. In particular, the waiver would allow states to delay the timeline one year, to the 2016-17 school year.
VERY HELPFUL: Flexibility Fact Sheet
AASA applauds USED for this step towards flexibility. We remain optimistic that this round of waiver flexibility will be direct and non-conditional, and that states pursuing the potential flexibility will be granted said flexibility in an equal, timely manner. AASA is opposed to any effort that would tie policy conditions or priorities to states receiving the potential flexibility.
USED also used the letter to offer states flexibility in avoiding 'double testing'. As some states begin trial-runs of the new assessments aligned with the common core, they would be in the position of using both the new test and the state-wide accountability test. Under this waiver, states could choose one or the other (in the 2013-14 school year) and freeze their accountability for 2013-14 at the same level reported in 2012-13.
The waiver on teacher evaluation will only apply to states who received their ESEA flexibility prior to 2012. That means that Alaska, Hawaii and West Virginia will not receive the flexibility, but that is largely attributable to the fact that their later approval already includes a later timeline.
How educator evaluation flexibility will work
How double-testing flexibility will work
Related Coverage: USED Blog, EdWeek Politics K12 and AP
Later this week, the House Education and the Workforce Committee will mark up its ESEA reauthorization proposal.
You can read AASA's letter of response.
HR 5, The Student Success Act, was introduced earlier this month. The proposal is virtually identical to what the committee passed out of mark up last Congress. (You'll recall that AASA supported that bill, as well.
For further information, you can check out Fact Sheet, Short Bill Summary, Detailed Bill Summary, Bill Text, and Summary of Changes for the 113th Congress.
On Wednesday, the Senate HELP committee passed its ESEA proposal out of committee. As such, I am pleased to share AASA’s comprehensive four-piece analysis detailing the Strengthening America's Schools Act, as introduced and adopted by the HELP committee. The four-part analysis is everything you need to know as it relates to the bill, and includes a quick overview of what is in the bill, what it means for your district, steps you can take in communicating with your Senators and a summary of the amendments.
There is a lot of material on the blog this week related to the Senate HELP ESEA mark up. In an effort to make things easier to find, this post puts them all in one spot.
First, something brand new: an overview/analysis on the mark up and amendments as considered. Still coming is an overview document of what the amended bill looks like/what it will mean for districts. Till then, here are the other related materials:
Bruce combed through the Senate ESEA bill that passed the Senate HELP Commitee yesterday and came up with a pretty frightening list of all the new data collection requirements for schools.
First, each school district receiving Title I funds complete an Equity Report card that reports for each school:1. Student achievement data at each performance level for each category of students disaggregated2. Individual school funding by source, including Federal, State, and local funding and grants; 3. The 4-year adjusted cohort graduation rate and the rate at which students graduating from the high school in the preceding year enrolled in institutions of higher ed4. Data on prekindergarten and full-day kindergarten opportunities for children 5. Data on opportunities for Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate course work that may include such opportunities as dual enrollment, gifted programming, and other educational programming6. Data on student survey results7. school discipline data, which may include information such as the incidence of school violence, bullying, in-school student suspensions, out-of-school student suspensions, expulsions, referrals to law enforcement, school-based arrests, disciplinary transfers (including placements in alternative schools), and student detentions
In addition to the equity report card, each school district must report:
1. Student achievement at each performance level on the State academic assessments2. %of students who do not take the state tests3. 3 year trend in each subject tested4. Comparison with the state average for each subject5. 3 year trend for each subject by grade level6. # of students taking the alternate assessment7. # of ELLs and their language proficiency8. # of students in foster care 9. # of military connected-students 10. High school graduation rate for each high school11. # of students enrolling in IHEs12. % taking remedial coursed in IHEs13. The evaluation results for teachers and principals (4 level scale)14. Discipline data, expulsions and suspensions15. Rate of students getting college credit for HS courses16. # of pregnant and parenting students in secondary schools17. Rates and % of pregnant and parenting in mainstream schools18. Rates and % of pregnant and parenting students in alternative schools19. # and % of pregnant and parenting students achieving proficiency by grade and subject20. Graduation rates for pregnant and parenting students 21. Incidence of bullying, violence, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, in school suspensions, out of school suspensions, expulsions, referrals to law enforcement, disciplinary transfers, and student detentions for each disaggregated category22. Average class size by grade23. Schools categorization under accountability system24. Most recent NAEP results disaggregated25. # of districts using PBIS26. # of students served in early intervening27. # of students moved in SPED after early intervening28. # of districts that have school mental health programs29. A listing of the school’s interscholastic sports teams and for each team, the total number of male and female athletic participants, disaggregated and cross-tabulated by gender and race30. The season in which each interscholastic sports team competed in a post-season competition and the total number of competitive events scheduled31. The total expenditures from all sources, including expenditures for travel, uniforms, facilities, and publicity for competitions32. The total number of trainers, coaches, and medical personnel and for each such individual, an identification of each individual’s gender, employment status, and duties other than providing coaching, training or medical assistance.33. The average annual salary of the head coaches of boys’ interscholastic sports teams, across all offered sports, and the average annual salary of the head coaches of girls interscholastic sports teams, across all offered sports team.
Next week is the House GOP ESEA bill mark-up and we're expecting few, if any, repeats when it comes to data collection mandates. If these bills both move through the floor and into conference (a BIG if), it will be one heck of a negotiation!
Earlier this month, Senate HELP Democrats and Republicans released nearly 2,000 pages of legislative proposals aimed at reauthorizing ESEA. The effort is partisan, meaning the Democrats introduced their bill (a light 1,150 pages in length) and the Republicans had their own proposal (a mere 220). Making it even more fun, there are 40 amendments for consideration as the committee moves in to mark up today. I will be at the hearing all day. Follow me on twitter (@Noellerson) for live updates.
AASA has endorsed neither bill. The Republican bill comes closer to garnering our support, as it most closely mirrors the 2011 proposal that represented a significant investment in state and local leadership as it related to standards, accountability and assessment. The Senate Democrat bill carries on the heavy-handed, federal overreach of current law, codifying the role of the Secretary, making RttT law, and providing states without waivers with very limited flexibility as it relates to federal education policy.
Here are AASA's response items to the both proposals and the amendments:
For both bills, AASA emphasizes the critical nature of the Senate actually completing reauthorization this year. AASA urges the committee to work together to strike the appropriate balance between federal authority and state/local autonomy.
AASA is a proud member of the Learning First Alliance, a partnership of national education organizations representing more than ten million parents, educators and policymakers. Earlier this week, the 15 member organizations released thefollowing statement:
The Learning First Alliance believes that the Common Core State Standards have the potential to transform teaching and learning and provide all children with knowledge and skills necessary for success in the global community.
To meet this potential, teachers, administrators, parents and communities are working together to align the standards with curriculum, instruction and assessment. Their work – which includes providing the pre-service and professional learning opportunities educators need to effectively teach the standards, making necessary adaptations to implementation plans as work progresses and field-testing efforts to ensure proper alignment – will take time.
Rushing to make high-stakes decisions such as student advancement or graduation, teacher evaluation, school performance designation, or state funding awards based on assessments of the Common Core standards before the standards have been fully and properly implemented is unwise. We suggest a transition period of at least one year after the original deadline in which results from assessments of these standards are used only to guide instruction and attention to curriculum development, technology infrastructure, professional learning and other resources needed to ensure that schools have the supports needed to help all students achieve under the Common Core. Removing high-stakes consequences for a short time will ensure that educators have adequate time to adjust their instruction, students focus on learning, and parents and communities focus on supporting children.
During this time, we urge a continued commitment to accountability. We recommend that states and districts continue to hold educators and schools to a high standard as determined by the components of their accountability systems that are not solely based on standardized tests, including other evidence of student learning, peer evaluations, school climate data and more.
We have seen growing opposition to the Common Core as officials move too quickly to use assessments of the Common Core State Standards in high-stakes accountability decisions. Such actions have the potential to undermine the Common Core – and thus our opportunity to improve education for all students. We must take the necessary time to ensure we succeed in this endeavor.
LFA Member Organizations
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