NAFEPA’s mission is to support school leaders who work with federally funded programs in their local school districts and states. There are many ways that we do this, such as our newsletter, member benefit webinars, and conference. To get involved and let us know what issues you would like us to address, drop our team a line. Click here to send us that email.
Thank you for all you do to improve the education of America’s students.
Dr. Denise P. Ling,
This week’s newsletter begins with some housekeeping. Going forward, this newsletter will be weekly (every Thursday), punchier and more entertaining. We understand you get a lot of newsletters, so we aim to make it well worth your time.
We also want this to be a two-way communication. We will continue to ask you questions about how you manage your programs and policies, and what you would like to learn from others. We will dive into the topics driving the policy discussions at the national level, unless you ask for something different.
NAFEPA Wants to Know
This week we want to know how you fund your professional development programs, because the Senate has new language in the proposed ESEA reauthorization bill (see a Senate bill Title II cheat sheet here) and because how this money is spent is a big mystery to many of those trying to shape national PD programs and policies. The survey will take 3 minutes. Click here to participate.
The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) just released its State of Preschool 2014 report, which shows increasing momentum and funding behind early learning across the states. The Senate’s proposed reauthorization of the ESEA includes an amendment that would authorize competitive planning grants to help states expand quality early childhood education (read about it here). Does this mean that the time has come for early learning? We spoke to Laura Bornfreund, the deputy director for New America’s Early Education Initiative about it.
Yes, districts should get more serious about the issue and many have been. There are many districts that have been using Title I funding, because – as you know – that is an allowable and an encouraged use of Title I dollars. Some districts are capitalizing on the opportunity. They recognize that serving 3 and 4 year olds is a good investment for the kids and the district. The students tend to be more ready for learning and academic growth over the long term. The districts could see benefit from costs savings, such as reduced costs for special education, reduced suspensions and expulsions, fewer remediation costs and more student retention. And these are just some of the benefits. Unfortunately, [ED]does not require districts to report the use of the funds for early learning, so we do not have a clear picture of how it is being used, but we know that there are many good examples.”
“There are many states doing good work, and it has become a bipartisan issue. Oklahoma is doing a very good job, for example. So are Georgia, North Carolina, and New Jersey. These states have received a lot of attention for their work and they are worth looking at as examples. There are also examples of cities and school districts doing good work. Washington D.C. is leading the nation in access for 3-year-olds, according to the NIEER report. Tulsa has a strong record in Oklahoma. So does Boston in Massachusetts. Other newer local programs getting started are those in San Antonio and Seattle. Their early work is worth checking out. I would look to those states and programs to see who is doing this well.”
If NAFEPA members want to dive deeper into the issue, take a look at New America’s Ed Central page (http://www.edcentral.org/earlyed/). Take time to read the January 2014 report Subprime Learning: Early Education in America Since the Great Recession and its “next steps” follow-up, Beyond Subprime Learning: Accelerating Progress in Early Education. You can get them here.
Are you paying attention to data privacy yet? You should be. It may become one of the most critical aspects of your work in the near future (if it is not already). Congress sure seems to care about it, as three recent bill indicate. First, Representatives Luke Messer (R-IN) and Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced HB 2092, the Student Data Privacy and Parental Rights Act of 2015, on April 29. We have your summary and cheat sheet on the issue and bill right here. Second, Senators Markey (D-MA) & Hatch (R-UT) introduced a bill to revise and update FERPA on May 13. Read about it here. Third, Senator Vitter (R-LA) is planning to introduce his own (more restrictive) revision to FERPA soon.
ED will give New Mexico a waiver on requiring all classrooms to have “highly qualified” teachers. Instead, New Mexico will be able to categorize as highly qualified any teachers who receive “effective,” “highly effective,” and “exemplary” ratings according to the state’s new teacher evaluation system. Officials at the New Mexico Public Education Department say that the waiver will allow the state more flexibility in teacher requirements, and will help rural school districts with limited resources meet wider federal guidelines. The state’s current system requires district and charter schools to design their own evaluation plans, but they must also use student achievement to count for 50% of teacher evaluations if the teacher has three years’ worth of student data on growth. Besides the standard classroom observation, districts can also use surveys or attendance in their evaluation plans. This waiver is one of the first of its kind under NCLB – read more here.
Lunch room troubles. A recent audit of schools in several states, including Florida, found that many families whose children receive free or reduced lunch or breakfast at school may not actually qualify for the programs. According to the USDA Office of Inspector General, Florida has the fourth highest number of children participating in the free and reduced lunch program in the country, with more than 1.6 million participants in 2014. Read more about it here
An audit finds overpayment issues in Connecticut. “[The superintendent]blamed the overpayments in part on the district’s practice of paying employees two weeks in advance. That caused two teachers to be overpaid when they resigned or retired on payday, he said. Another teacher was paid at a master’s degree rate when they didn’t have the degree, he said.” Read more about it here.
There is a bit of an internal control issue in San Benito, California. According to the coverage, quoting the auditor: “‘So the county treasurer is saying you have $1.2 million dollars more than you have in the ledger,’ explained David Randel, the certified public accountant who presented a report to trustees Monday. ‘And that makes me kind of nervous.’” I would think so. Read more about it here.
CCSS, PARCC, Smarter Balanced, Next Generation Science, testing
- EdSource – School districts start receiving early results on Smarter Balanced tests – 12 May 2015
- U.S. News & World Report – Tennessee Governor Signs Bill Stripping Common Core – 12 May 2015
- Education Week – Common-Core Testing Drives ‘Tech Prep’ Priorities – 12 May 2015
- Gridley Herald – Sycamore adding GO MATH to Common Core curriculum – 13 May 2015
Competency based learning, blended learning, alternative education
- eSchool News – The alternative school program getting most at-risk students to graduate – 12 May 2015
Education technology, ed tech
- Campus Technology – Laptops Expected To Be Biggest Higher Ed Expense in 2015 – 13 May 2015
- EdTech Magazine – Amazon’s New Service Eases Schools’ Transition to E-Textbooks – 13 May 2015
- Huffington Post – Improving Millennials’ Financial Literacy With Mobile Technology – 13 May 2015
- edSurge – EdSurge’s California Summit: A Meeting of Great Minds – 13 May 2015
- ABC7 (CA) – Intel to spend $5 million to expand education at Oakland schools – 12 May 2015
- The Santa Clarita Valley Review – COC recognized for leadership in promoting ‘Open Educational Resources’ – 12 May 2015
- PR Newswire – Chobani and Discovery Education Partner to Educate Thousands of K-12 Students on Entrepreneurship and Nutrition – 12 May 2015
- PR Newswire – TIME For Kids Releases TIME Edge, a New Digital Literacy Platform for Middle School Classrooms – 12 May 2015
Data privacy, student data, FERPA, COPPA
- Education Week – Guide to Data Privacy Issued for Parents – 12 May 2015
- Huffington Post – Education as a Data-Driven Enterprise – 12 May 2015
- Education Week – Privacy Ratings Underway for Ed-Tech Products – 12 May 2015
- Deseret News – What will your college degree do for you? Big data could answer the question, but only if we let it. – 13 May 2015
Early childhood, special ed, ELL
- Education Week – ‘Building a Grad Nation’ Report Outlines Challenges in Special Education – 12 May 2015
- New America EdCentral – 2014 Preschool Yearbook: Slow and Steady Is Not Good Enough – 12 May 2015
- New America EdCentral – Introducing the Dual Language Learners Reader: Post #1 – 11 May 2015
Federal – Senate HELP, education bills, elections
- SF Gate – New Mexico gets waiver on federal teacher requirements – 13 May 2015
- Seattle Times – Feds deny Seattle school district’s request for its own No Child waiver – 12 May 2015
- Education Week – Legislative Relationships: A Senator and a Teacher – 13 May 2015
- The Hill – Senators unveil student data privacy bill – 13 May 2015
- Education Week – Researchers: Measures of Traits Like ‘Grit’ Should Not Be Used for Accountability – 13 May 2015
State (and DC) news
- Education Week – Washington State Lawmakers Clash on K-12 Funding – 12 May 2015
- Albany Times Union – Gov. Andrew Cuomo seeks $150 million education tax credit – 12 May 2015
- The Times-Picayune – What’s happening in the Louisiana Legislature: Day 32 – 13 May 2015
- The New York Times – Public Schools Fund, Under de Blasio, Is Struggling to Lure Wealthy Donors – 12 May 2015
- The Dallas Morning News – Abbott signs bill exempting thousands of high school seniors from graduation exams – 11 May 2015
- MLive.com – School Reform Office to review Education Achievement Authority’s role in Detroit education – 12 May 2015
- Education Commission of the States – Free and compulsory school age requirements – May 2015
- Education Week – Report: More Books for Rural Kids, Classrooms, May Decrease Summer Learning Loss – 12 May 2015
- Education Week – Stanford Professor: Stop With the Math Memorization – 12 May 2015
- The New York Times – More in School, but Not Learning – 12 May 2015
- NPR – The Future Of Education: Truth, Lies And Wishful Thinking – 12 May 2015
- OECD – Universal Basic Skills: What Countries Stand To Gain – May 2015