Articles tagged with NCLB

House approves NSBA-backed local flexibility measure in ESEA bill

The U.S. House of Representatives began debate on H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, the House’s version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The National School Boards Association (NSBA) was pleased that an amendment on local school district flexibility that includes key provisions of NSBA’s bill, the Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act, H.R. 1386, passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a 239-187 vote on July 18. The amendment was put forth by Reps. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) and Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), and additional provisions of NSBA’s bill were included in the bill the Committee on Education and the Workforce took to the floor.

H.R. 5, with local school district flexibility amendment, focuses on specifically ensuring that the U.S. Department of Education does not encroach on local school board governance.

On Wednesday, NSBA sent letters to all House members to urge them to support H.R. 5.

H.R. 5, “makes significant improvements to restore greater flexibility and governance to local educational agencies that will enable these agencies to better meet the unique needs and conditions of their local schools and students. It also re-affirms the appropriate roles and responsibilities between the Executive and Legislative Branches of government that are vital to the representative decision-making at the federal level that under girds public education as a democratic institution across all three levels of government,” the letter stated.

NSBA is opposed to Rep. Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) Title I portability amendment as it would require school districts to reallocate Title I funds on a per-pupil basis and set up a system of public school choice. The vote on that amendment is expected on July 19.

NSBA wants to thank school board members for contacting their members of Congress. On July 19, please call your representative at (202) 224-3121 (Capitol switchboard) and follow-up with a letter to vote NO on the Cantor Title I portability amendment and YES for final passage of the bill. The consideration of additional amendments continues through Friday.

Alexis Rice|July 18th, 2013|Categories: Educational Legislation, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Federal Advocacy, No Child Left Behind, School Boards, School Vouchers|Tags: , , |

Local flexibility is needed in ESEA reauthorization, says NSBA

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is asking the U.S. Senate to make changes in its legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), commonly known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). On Tuesday, June 11, the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) will mark-up this bill.

NSBA sent a letter to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Chairman of the HELP Committee, and Sen. Lamar Alexander, the ranking minority member. The letter notes NSBA is pleased that the Senate is taking action on the much-needed reauthorization. However, NSBA is concerned that some provisions in the bill would create a much larger federal role that would hamper school districts’ innovation and flexibility, and other provisions that would create additional bureaucracies at the expense of student achievement.

“NSBA is unable to support the legislation in its current form and urges that the bill be revised and brought back to committee,” the letter states. “Local educational agencies remain very concerned that this bill contains many requirements that must be redesigned or eliminated due to their negative impact on improving academic success as well as whether they are operationally and fiscally workable.”

Alexis Rice|June 10th, 2013|Categories: Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Legislative advocacy, No Child Left Behind, Policy Formation, School Boards, Student Achievement|Tags: , , , |

ESEA Reauthorization key for NSBA this year

Urging Congress to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)—and seeking sponsors for a bill to shield local school board control from federal intrusion —are key initiatives of NSBA this year.

That was the message delivered by Reginald Felton, NSBA’s assistant executive director for congressional relations, at a Monday policy briefing at the Federal Relations Network (FRN) meeting in Washington, D.C.

When school leaders visit Capitol Hill this week to meet with lawmakers, they need to emphasize the importance of putting the ESEA reauthorization back on track, he told conference attendees.

“They need to know how intensely you want to move the bill forward,” Felton said. “You have to give them a reason to help them get moving.”

In response to intense criticism over the use of sanctions, as well as other flaws, in the No Child Left Behind Act—the last reauthorization of ESEA—the U.S. Department of Education has responded with waivers to ease some of the excesses of the law. But that’s not enough, Felton insisted.

“We don’t want a quick fix. We don’t want reauthorization to go away [as a priority]. We need a bill that addresses what we need done so the law is more effective.”

At least one audience member expressed frustration with lawmakers, who offer their support yet have repeatedly failed to advance a reauthorization bill to a vote. Felton acknowledged the problem but said that, if school board members don’t make their voices heard, lawmakers certainly will put reauthorization on the backburner.

But when school leaders are face-to-face with lawmakers, he warned, they should not settle for a general statement of support—what’s needed is a specific commitment, whether it’s a promise to co-sponsor legislation or lobby fellow lawmakers to support action.

“If they say, ‘I’m with you,’ then define what ‘I’m with you’ means,” he said.

Meanwhile, Felton also encouraged school leaders to seek co-sponsors for NSBA’s new legislative proposal to protect local school district governance from unnecessary and counter‐productive federal intrusion from the federal education department.

The bill would require the Education Department to establish that new regulations, grant requirements, and other regulatory material is consistent with the intent of federal law and are “educationally, operationally, and financial supportable at the local level.”

The bill is a response to the Obama administration’s increasing practice to guide local and state education policy by tying access to federal funds to new rules and regulations designed to advanced administration policies—and not based on federal legislation that, at least, is more subject to public and legislative deliberation.

“We don’t want local school board authority to continue to be eroded because of what’s happening at the federal level.”

Del Stover|January 28th, 2013|Categories: Educational Legislation, Federal Advocacy, FRN Conference 2013, Governance|Tags: , , , |

Washington group analyzes K-12 initiatives and predicts future steps

Obama administration initiatives such as the Race to the Top (RTTT) competitive grant program and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)/Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waivers have generated more innovation in a shorter time than any other K-12 education reform in recent memory, according to an influential Washington group.

The Center for American Progress (CAP) hosted a forum on July 27 “The State of State Education Reform: What’s Happening, What’s Next?” At the event, the panelists singled out:

  • A wide variety of school improvement strategies
  • Removal of the caps on charter school creation
  • Widespread adoption of college- and career-ready standards
  • A build up of human capacity in the education sector
  • A determined focus on education reform creating a coherent vision of goals to achieve, the means to achieve them and the obstacles that need to be overcome

The National School Boards Association has been following developments in all of these areas because of the critical role school boards will play in implementing these programs, as well as monitoring the role of the federal government. Representatives from NSBA’s legislative advocacy department attended the event.

At the event, panelists John King, New York State Commissioner, Michael Yudin, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Strategic Initiatives in the U.S. Department of Education, and Alex Johnston, adviser to the Bloomberg Philanthropies and Chair of the Board of Directors, Policy Innovators in Education, agreed that the RTTT funding was a huge incentive to jump start much-needed reforms and help accelerate reforms many states had already embraced; increase charter school development; and bring an evaluation system into labor-management relations.  The process of developing applications brought together governors, state superintendents/commissioners and state boards of education, and ultimately state legislatures.

King was critical of local school boards for not being more proactive on the innovation front and avoiding interventions with failing schools.  He said he is seeking legislation in the upcoming New York 2013 legislative session to empower the state to remove local boards that have not addressed chronically underperforming schools.

“We’ve been missing that tool,” said King, whose experience before joining the New York Department of Education was with charter school management.

Johnston noted that Connecticut has been identified as having the greatest achievement gap between children in poverty and those from families with more affluence. But the state’s failure to secure RTTT funds motivated both gubernatorial candidates to make education a top campaign issue and continues to be a driving force.

Brown and panelists noted the current widespread diminished and limited capacity of state departments of education in leading change.  Their embedded monitoring and compliance approach, dictated by NCLB and the enforcement of state aid policies, was shifted to an agenda marked by change, school improvement, and increased standards.  The Common Core State Standards have also motivated states to work together on evaluating curriculum, on developing new, upgraded assessments, and on developing a system that relies more on technology for delivering professional development to teachers and principals.  The emphasis on building regional teams has also been reinforced.

The event was in tandem with the CAP’s analysis of the second round of applications for the NCLB waiver program.

This report was compiled by Roberta Stanley, NSBA’s director of federal affairs.

Erin Walsh|July 30th, 2012|Categories: Educational Legislation, Governance, Legislative advocacy, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, School Boards, School Reform, Student Achievement|Tags: , , , , |

NSBA urges action on ESEA, organizes “call-in day”

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is urging the U.S. Congress to complete its reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act before it adjourns later this year.

Through its “ESEA Now” campaign, NSBA is urging school board members and other educators to contact their Washington representatives on Wednesday, May 9 to push for an overhaul of the law, which is now five years past due. The House and Senate education committees have passed bills that, while not perfect, would be a large improvement over the existing law. NSBA is calling on both chambers to pass these bills and quickly reconcile their differences.

“Nobody believes that the No Child Left Behind law is working the way it was intended, and Congress needs to complete its work and relieve all schools from its flawed accountability measures,” said NSBA President C. Ed Massey, a member of the Boone County Board of Education in Kentucky. “We need to move toward a system that emphasizes 21st century skills and common core standards rather than testing and ineffective sanctions.”

Working with a coalition of nine other major organizations of state and local government officials, NSBA also is calling on Congressional leaders to move forward now on a floor vote for ESEA reauthorization.

A resolution passed by NSBA’s Delegate Assembly, which includes state association leaders representing the more than 90,000 school board members across the country, last month urges Congress to include the following provisions in a comprehensive reauthorization:

  • Ensure states and local school districts have greater flexibility to make educationally sound decisions, and be free of mandates that unnecessarily or counterproductively hinder school districts from achieving their goals (i.e., mandating the expansion of charter schools and standardized tests as a measure of accountability, and conditioning federal funding on the adoption of state-led common core standards);
  • Ensure the accountability systems accurately and fairly report student, school, and school district performance; Ensure high-quality, valid, and reliable assessments for all students, including English language learners and students with disabilities;
  • Support the use of multiple measures of academic achievement that will more accurately determine students’ knowledge and performance that reflect a well-rounded education necessary to be successful in the 21st century economy, as opposed to judging success on their performance on a single assessment;
  • Permit the use of growth models and other measures of student achievement that more accurately reflect student and school performance; Facilitate strategic interventions that are designed at the local or state level and are targeted to students and schools most in need, rather than impose ineffective and costly sanctions;
  • Provide support to states and school districts and ensure their flexibility to establish programs to enhance teacher/principal quality focusing on preparation, recruitment, retention, and evaluation;
  • Provide support to school districts to give all children, including migratory children, the opportunity to reach their full potential;
  • Support efforts by school districts, through a separate funding stream, to develop, expand, coordinate, and enhance the quality and availability of voluntary preschool programs for all 3- and 4-year old children; and
  • Fully fund the law, along with other federal assistance programs that are critical to successfully achieving the goals of the new law, and limit the expansion of competitive grants where such expansion would result in level funding of formula-based grants so critical to students in poverty.

 

Alexis Rice|May 8th, 2012|Categories: Elementary and Secondary Education Act, High Schools, Policy Formation, School Boards, School Reform, Student Achievement|Tags: , , |

The week in blogs: Obama’s education budget (abridged)

Want to get the high points of President Obama’s K12 budget — that is, without sifting through all the numbers and the fine print? Read the Quick and the Ed post by Rikesh Nana on the “three key takeaways” from the Administration’s proposal. It’s an excellent synopsis of what the president is proposing and what it all means.

So what are those takeaways? In order: consolidation of Department of Education programs (something that’s been tried in past budgets but never adopted): continued funding of Race to the Top and other competitive grant programs; and — in the absence of congressional action — an administration-sponsored overhaul of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

OK, sports fans, this next column is not about Jeremy Lin. (But if we find one on the New York Knicks sensation that has to do with K12 education, we promise to include it next week.) Instead, Eduwonk’s Andrew Rotherham looks at the firing — and quick rehiring by another team — of NHL hockey coach Bruce Boudreau and what that says about the importance of professional “fit.” Hint: It applies to teaching as well as big-time sports.

Been to Cleveland recently? Even if you haven’t, or have no plans to do so, you’ll want to check out another interesting Quick and the Ed blog on the city’s “portfolio” system of managing schools. Schools would operate with greater or lesser autonomy depending on their performance. “Charter schools as well as district-operated ones would participate,” says the blog by Richard Lee Colvin, “with the goal of giving families a real choice among several good options in every neighborhood.”

Lastly, check out Mark Bauerlein of the Chronicle of Higher Education on the attitudes and academic habits of college freshman. Here’s an interesting paradox (actually a bunch of paradoxes): more than 70 percent of students placed their academic ability in the “highest 10 percent” or “above average,” but only 45 percent felt that confident about their math ability, and just 46 percent believed they were that stellar in writing.

Lawrence Hardy|February 17th, 2012|Categories: 21st Century Skills, Budgeting, Charter Schools, Educational Legislation, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, School Reform, Student Achievement, Teachers, Week in Blogs|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

NSBA: NCLB waivers are not enough

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) was encouraged on Thursday by President Barack Obama’s announcement to waive problematic and burdensome regulatory requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) from ten states.

However, NSBA cautions that this is not enough and is calling for Congress to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary School Education Act (ESEA).

“The NCLB waiver program will give ten states additional flexibility but also imposes new conditions and program criteria on states and school districts requiring them to engage in activities that do not necessarily improve student achievement.” said Anne L. Bryant, NSBA’s Executive Director, who was at the White House for the announcement. “The waiver process should not be viewed as an acceptable substitute for ESEA reauthorization, as all U.S. school districts must be free of unnecessary or counterproductive federal mandates that hinder our goals of increasing student achievement. Congress cannot continue to delay, now is the time to reauthorize ESEA and fully replace the current accountability system that neither accurately nor fairly reflects the performance of students, schools, or school districts.”

The first ten states to receive the waivers are Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. The next submission deadline to request waivers is February 21, 2012. As of February 6, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education reports that 28 additional states, D.C., and Puerto Rico have submitted an intent to request waivers for the February deadline. For those states that do not choose to apply or whose application is rejected, their local school districts will continue to suffer under the existing NCLB regime.

Bryant additionally noted, “If Congress waits until next year to reauthorize ESEA and decides not to include these conditions or decides on a different set of requirements, school districts could have spent unnecessary time and financial resources to comply with the waivers.”

Where state applications are approved for waivers, local school boards will be offered far greater flexibility in the use of federal funds to address their own unique needs. Of great significance to local school boards experiencing declines in their own revenue streams is the elimination of requirements to set aside 20 percent of Title I funds for public school choice and supplemental tutorial services. While local school boards may continue to fund additional tutorial and open enrollment programs, these funds may be used to support school improvement strategies that can more effectively address local conditions.

Additionally, the waivers allow states to request relief from NCLB’s other badly flawed policies and regulations. This includes an accountability system requiring all students and groups of students to be 100 percent proficient by 2014 and a one-size-fits-all system of punitive actions against schools and school districts such as the firing of principals and teachers or closing of schools that rarely resulted in consistent improvement in student achievement.

Alexis Rice|February 10th, 2012|Categories: Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Policy Formation, School Boards, Teachers|Tags: , , , |

Passing ESEA is critical, NSBA says

Under the banner of “ESEA Now: Our Schoolchildren, Our Economy, and Our Future,” NSBA leaders outlined the past year’s legislative successes and upcoming issues at the opening session of the Federal Relations Network (FRN) Conference on Sunday.

Pushing for a comprehensive reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) will be the most critical action school board members will take this week in Washington, D.C., NSBA Associate Executive Director Michael A. Resnick told the more than 700 FRN participants attending the three-day meeting. Closely tied to that action is adequate funding for core federal programs including Title I and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Educators have been working tirelessly for five years to get a new version of the now decade-old No Child Left Behind Act passed, and the House and Senate are finally moving toward passage of ESEA legislation in the respective chambers, NSBA President Mary Broderick said.

“Congress’ timing is particularly fortunate for us to make a mark on the process,” Broderick said. “While both bills make significant improvements over existing law, neither is perfect, and this stage of the legislative process is the ideal time to make those changes.”

Having successfully overcome proposals to make large-scale cuts in the education budget this year, FRN participants must be aware of initiatives such as the Budget Control Act, which would instill a 7.8 percent across-the-board cut in federal programs. Further, proposals within the ESEA reauthorization would create formulas for future program funds that do not take into account the increasing numbers of students living in poverty and students with special needs.

Resnick reminded attendees that national polls during this election year show that the majority of voters are largely ambivalent about whether their members continue to serve, and some 90 House representatives coming up for reelection for the first time. Keeping this in mind, school board members should push the importance of passing an ESEA reauthorization as a major achievement.

“Why shouldn’t they want to deliver for America’s children? Why shouldn’t they want to deliver for America’s future?” he asked.

Resnick also announced plans for the National School Boards Action Center, a 501-c4 organization, which will help further push NSBA’s advocacy agenda and allow for more targeted lobbying and endorsements. One of the center’s first issues will be promoting NSBA priorities and education issues for the 2012 campaigns.

Joetta Sack-Min|February 5th, 2012|Categories: Budgeting, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Federal Programs, FRN Conference 2012, Legislative advocacy, School Boards|Tags: , , , , , |

The week in blogs: A gentleman’s C?

Education Week’s Quality Counts 2012 came out this week and with it the annual State of the States report card.  So how did the nation do?

“Overall, the nation received a grade of C across all policy and performance areas, which remained the same as a year ago,” writes Jim Hull, senior policy analyst for NSBA’s Center for Public Education.

 That’s the average. But if you want to know whether that’s a half-full C or half-empty one, you’ll need to read the details, which Hull summarizes in his EDifier blog. The good news: states have been taking steps to improve their standards. The not-so-good news: states haven’t been especially innovative in terms of teacher policies.

One big teacher policy issue, value-added teacher evaluations, received a boost this week from a Harvard/Columbia study of teacher effectiveness, writes Hull in his second blog this week. For another look at the study, read Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times. And for background, see the Center’s report “Building a Better Evaluation System.”

One critic of value-added is education historian and former Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch, who says in a recent blog that they “never” should be used.

Also read Ravitch’s post “NCLB Death Star,” which you have to admit — however you feel about the federal law that turned 10 this month — has a great title.

The Big Questions kept coming this week with a rather brave post by Jay Mathews, of the Washington Post’s Class Struggle blog, who revisits the issue of Intelligent Design and says (for a second time) that he thinks it should be taught alongside evolution.

After his first blog on the subject, Mathews received 400 not-so-nice e-mails. “Seventy percent of them said I was an idiot,” Mathews quipped. “Many added that I was a dangerous idiot.”

However, Mathews has an interesting reason for wanting Intelligent Design included. And — as you might expect — his post sparks a lively discussion.

 

 

Lawrence Hardy|January 13th, 2012|Categories: 21st Century Skills, Assessment, Center for Public Education, Educational Legislation, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Student Achievement, Week in Blogs|Tags: , , |

Ten years into NCLB’s backlash

It has been ten years since President George W. Bush was signed into law No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.

Over the weekend, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan had an opinion piece in The Washington Post where he noted:

Unfortunately, the law is unintentionally creating barriers for these reforms. States that have chosen to raise standards will soon need to explain why student scores are dropping. Instead, they should be able to highlight students’ academic growth. School districts are stuck using NCLB’s definition of a highly qualified teacher based solely on paper credentials, without taking into account the teacher’s ability to improve student learning. And the law continues to encourage schools to narrow curriculum at the expense of important subjects such as history, civics, science, the arts and physical education. After 10 years of these flawed policies, our nation’s teachers and students deserve better.

NCLB has created a measurement framework that bases its assessment of school quality on a student’s performance on a single assessment and mandates a series of overbroad sanctions not always targeted to the students needing services, and, to date, has not yet proven to have a significant impact on improving student performance and school performance.

After ten years of enactment of the federal law, local school districts continue to struggle to comply with the language of the law at a time when the unintended consequences of this complex law are imposing far more dysfunctional and illogical implementation problems than had been anticipated by the sponsors of the legislation. Additionally, federal and state lawmakers have become increasingly aware that successful attainment of the desired national goals is very much dependent upon the capacity of the state departments of education and the capacity of local school districts.

In September 2011, the National School Boards Association was encouraged by the Obama administration’s announcement to waive problematic and burdensome regulatory requirements of NCLB but cautioning that the waiver process should not be viewed as an acceptable substitute for Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization.

Let us know what you think about NCLB. Speak out by submitting a comment.

Alexis Rice|January 10th, 2012|Categories: Assessment, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, High Schools, Legislative advocacy, Middle Schools, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, School Reform, Student Achievement, Teachers|Tags: , , |
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