Articles tagged with Obama

NSBA host State of the Union Twitter chat on education issues at #EdSOTU

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) will be hosting our third annual Twitter chat during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, starting at 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Jan. 28.

Join the Twitter chat by using hashtag #EdSOTU and share your thoughts about the president’s speech and his plans for K-12 education.

By using #EdSOTU in your tweets, you will become a part of this virtual conversation. To see the entire conversation stream just go to Twitter and search #EdSOTU.

Alexis Rice|January 27th, 2014|Categories: Announcements, Federal Advocacy, Legislative advocacy|Tags: , , , , |

NSBA to host State of the Union Twitter chat at #EdSOTU

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) will be hosting our second annual Twitter chat during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, starting at 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

Join the Twitter chat by using hashtag #EdSOTU and share your thoughts about the president’s speech and his plans for K-12 education.

By using #EdSOTU in your tweets, you will become a part of this virtual conversation. To see the entire conversation stream just go to Twitter and search #EdSOTU.

Alexis Rice|February 11th, 2013|Categories: Educational Legislation, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs|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: , , , , , , , , , |

The week in blogs

Pundits made a big deal about Rick Perry forgetting the name of one of the three federal departments he plans to eliminate if elected president– for the record, it was the Department of Energy — but blogger Frederick M. Hess of the American Enterprise Institute is more concerned about just what the Texas governor means when he says the Department of Education would also be “gone.”

“It isn’t clear that abolishing the Department would itself end any federal education programs (since they can migrate elsewhere),” Hess wrote. “So, specifically, which programs and activities will you eliminate?”

Then – wouldn’t you know it? – it gets complicated.

Would Perry try to eliminate federal funding for special education? Hess asked. How about Pell grants or Title 1?

“Many will think there are obvious right and wrong answers to these questions,” Hess writes after posing a few other queries “But I do want to know what the GOP candidate’s bold promises really mean.”

Remember nearly 10 years ago when Connecticut went to court over No Child Left Behind, claiming it would cost millions in unfunded mandates? Well, just look at what it could cost California in required “reforms” in order to be granted an NCLB waiver by the Obama Administration, writes This Week in Education’s John Thompson, and Connecticut’s decade-old legal gambit doesn’t seem that out of line.

Lastly, we turn to two timely blogs from NSBA’s Center for Public Education.  In one Mandy Newport, a former teacher, Center intern, and graduate student at George Washington University, takes the Heritage Foundation to task for it’s ill-conceived idea that paying teachers less will result in education improvements.

Then there is Research Analyst Jim Hull’s blog on Tennessee’s new teacher evaluation system, the title of which I absolutely love:

“Using research to inform policy without understanding the research.”

Sort of like, “Vowing to eliminate the Department of Education without understanding what the Department of Education does?”

Lawrence Hardy|November 19th, 2011|Categories: Center for Public Education, Educational Research, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Federal Programs, Week in Blogs|Tags: , , , , , , , |

WH sidesteps Congress, offering relief from NCLB

The Obama administration has unveiled its plans to offer states and local school districts some regulatory relief from the more onerous mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act—a policy move that NSBA calls encouraging.

First proposed this summer, the initiative will allow states to request waivers to specific NCLB mandates in exchange for “serious” reform efforts designed to close achievement gaps and boost accountability.

For local school boards, such waivers could offer greater flexibility in the use of federal funds—or the elimination of the highly unpopular requirement that local districts set aside 20 percent of Title I funds for school choice and supplemental tutorial services.

States also can seek relief from NCLB’s accountability system, with its unrealistic expectation that all students will be 100-percent proficient by 2014, and from such punitive sanctions as forcing a low-per-forming school to fire its principals and teachers or close down.

The waivers will come at a price. The White House says states and local school districts will need to embrace new accountability standards, create tougher and more meaningful teacher evaluation systems, and make greater efforts to ensure all graduating students are college and career-ready.

“The purpose is not to give states and districts a reprieve from accountability, but rather to unleash energy to improve our schools at the local level,” Obama said in a statement released Friday.

NSBA has long campaigned for federal policymakers to fix the flaws of NCLB, and NSBA officials welcomed the Obama administration’s latest initiative.

“The proposed NCLB regulatory relief plan is a positive step as it could provide much needed assistance to local school district efforts to improve student achievement,” says Anne L. Bryant, NSBA’s executive director.

Still unclear, however, is whether individual local school boards will see the regulatory relief they want.

“The effectiveness of the plan will depend upon the details of the application requirements, the specific locally needed relief states ask for, and whether the merit of a state’s application is judged adequate by the U.S. Department of Education to receive the relief that it asks for,” Bryant notes.

The administration’s waiver program might yet need to take another step forward, suggests Michael A. Resnick, NSBA’s associate executive director for federal advocacy and public policy.

“NSBA believes that federal requirements that are educationally, financially, or operationally counter-productive at the school house level should be eliminated as a matter of policy not as a condition for states qualifying to meet new conditions,” Resnick says. “We encourage the U.S. Department of Education to provide local relief along those lines should its state-based approach fall short of the local relief needed.”

Administration officials said they’ve acted because of delays in Congress over NCLB’s reauthorization. Under the law, schools are facing increasingly serious sanctions as they approach the 2014 deadline for bringing 100 percent of the nation’s students to proficiency levels in reading and math.

One federal estimate is that 82 percent of the nation’s schools will miss that target.

“The states are desperately asking for us to respond,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said last month.

Most states have indicated they will apply for waivers. The White House says the first waivers could be granted by early 2012.

 

Del Stover|September 23rd, 2011|Categories: Board governance, School Board News, School Boards|Tags: , , , , , |

The week in blogs

Should we be paying school board members who serve in large school districts? Lynne K. Varner, a columnist for the Seattle Times, thinks so. Citing the growing complexity of K12 education and the increasing demands on board members’ times, Varner says it’s time for Seattle to follow the lead of cities like Los Angeles, which pays board members $46,000 but requires that they not take other jobs. She cites NSBA’s School Boards Circa 2010 for her statistics.

I see where she’s coming from, but I doubt that the LA schools’ payment system has much to do with how well the system is governed. And $46,000 doesn’t sound like a lot to raise a family on in the LA area.

Have you heard any of NPR’s series this week on dropouts in America? It’s pretty disturbing but very well done. Joanne Jacob comments on it in her blog, “Linking and Thinking on Education.”

Elsewhere in the news, it’s been a tough week for President Obama, who can’t seem to get Congress to agree on a bill to increase the debt ceiling. Adding insult to injury, the leaders of the “Save Our Schools” rally in Washington apparently turned down a meeting with the president as well.

Speaking of the debt crisis and Congress’ apparent paralysis, The Onion, a satiric weekly, has the answer: Just air-drop in a team of 8th grade civics teachers to the nation’s capital for some serious remedial instruction.

Now that’s a plan!

Lawrence Hardy|July 29th, 2011|Categories: School Boards, Teachers, Uncategorized, Week in Blogs|Tags: , , , , |

Testing is useful tool, even if Obama labels it boring

1335-1243972165NX9TPresident Obama says testing makes education boring.

I’m not sure he’s right on that. When I was at school, I found nothing boring about a test.

In fact, I remember with great clarity sitting at my classroom desk, reading the questions on a test paper, and feeling the panic choke my throat.

Even when I knew the material, I was sweating heavily.

That’s because my parents expected good grades. They didn’t beat me if I got bad grades. I just knew that bad grades were not acceptable.

I knew there would be consequences—although, come to think of it, those consequences were never actually spelled out.

Now, I know the President, speaking recently at town hall meeting in Washington, D.C., was really talking about the dangers of today’s overreliance on standardized testing.
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Naomi Dillon|March 31st, 2011|Categories: American School Board Journal, Assessment, Policy Formation, Student Achievement|Tags: , , |

Obama hosts town hall meeting focusing on Hispanics and education

Yesterday President Obama spoke to Latino students and families about the role education plays in their community and their future. Watch an excerpt of the forum he held in Washington D.C.

Naomi Dillon|March 29th, 2011|Categories: American School Board Journal, Governance, Policy Formation|Tags: , |

Rhetoric around America’s biggest issues don’t always fall along party lines

alice-wonderland“Curiouser and Curiouser” – those words from Alice and Wonderland  popped into my mind today as I read page A8 of Monday’s New York Times.

First there was the story about the head of a major political party, who said of the war in Afghanistan: “This is not something the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in…. “that’s the one thing you don’t do, is engage in a land war in Asia.”

Green Party Platform?  Musings of the (new, old, resuscitated) Left? No. Michael Steele chairman of the Republican National Committee, letting his thoughts run on. And on. His GOP colleagues, understandably, were not amused.

Then, on to education and to Column Five:

“Today our members face the most anti-educator, anti-union, anti-student environment I have ever experienced,” Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, said at the union’s annual conference in New Orleans.
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Naomi Dillon|July 6th, 2010|Categories: American School Board Journal, Governance, Policy Formation|Tags: , , , |

308 days and counting

1209homepageartAsk seven experts about the economy, and you’ll get seven different answers. Same for health care, the war in Afghanistan, and other pressing national concerns that don’t lend themselves to simple “either/or” answers.

The same is true for education policy, as we illustrate this month in Year One, ASBJ‘s assessment of just where the Obama administration is headed with regard to public education and whether that direction is the right one.

To put it mildly, experts differ.

“I think there is more possibility of change today than anytime since A Nation at Risk,” says a cautiously optimistic Jack Jennings, president and CEO of the Center on Education Policy.

Diane Ravitch, by contrast, is resoundingly pessimistic. The university professor, education researcher, and Brookings Institution Senior Fellow says, “We are on the wrong track and headed in the wrong direction.”

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Lawrence Hardy|November 24th, 2009|Categories: American School Board Journal, Curriculum, Governance, Policy Formation, Student Achievement|Tags: , , |
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