Education Week - January 6, 2016 - (Page 32)

COMMENTARY As Feds Step Back, The First State Steps Up ed O NOT Chris Whetzel for Education Week W By Paul Herdman ith the dust finally settling on the passage of ESSA-the Every Student Succeeds Act-the implications are clear: The pendulum has swung. No matter who becomes our next president, we are entering an era in which the federal government is loosening its grip on public education policy. Without that backstop, the onus of school accountability will rest squarely on the states with the start of the 2017-18 school year. As a result, public and private leaders at the state and local levels will need to fundamentally rethink their roles. This has been a long time coming. The No Child Left Behind Act, the ESSA predecessor passed by Congress in 2001, created a fairly muscular federal role in public school accountability. Through legislative authority and funding allocations, the federal government inspired a shift toward rewards and sanctions based on student assessments developed by each of the states. The Obama administration's Race to the Top challenge, in 2009, took things further. By offering hundreds of millions of dollars of grant funding in exchange for important but hard-to-implement state strategies, the U.S. Department of Education catalyzed higher standards; aligned assessments; stronger teacher and school accountability; better college access; classroom innovation; and a raft of efforts to support these ideas at the classroom level. Today, 14 years after No Child Left Behind was signed into law and six years after Race to the Top-its dollars spent and scrutinized-the country has repositioned | INSIDE | the role of the federal government in education. Despite several unknowns about the path ahead, the left and the right seem to agree that power and influence should swing from the feds to the states. Without a strong federal role, how will states avoid exacerbating the divides between the haves and the havenots? How will we make real progress on complex issues and avoid the typical policy churn at the state and district levels? (Charismatic leader arrives, lots of new initiatives are introduced, field says "too much, too fast," leader moves on, or gets moved on, the patina on the machine changes, the machine itself changes little.) The reality is that any of the meaningful changes we hope to address in education will take longer than any one political cycle. If we want to address early learning systemically, fundamentally redesign a funding system, strengthen the teaching profession, or re-evaluate the delivery of education via personalization, we need a consistent vision that is owned by the public and private stakeholders and that can endure multiple political cycles. While public-private partnerships exist in many states, the breadth and longevity of one particular state coalition is pretty unusual: that of Delaware. Since 2005, education stakeholders in the First State have maintained a collaboration of public and private leaders called the Vision Coalition, of which I was a founding member. This group includes a leadership team of 12 with members from the following sectors: labor and business, districts and charters, nonprofits and corporations, higher education and early learning. Back in 2006, we released a report called "Vision 2015"-a 10-year vision for the state's work ahead. Fast-forward to today. More than three-quarters of the recommendations from that plan have been implemented, 25 RTI WORKS (WHEN IT IS IMPLEMENTED CORRECTLY) 32 | EDUCATION WEEK | January 6, 2016 | 26 TO CHANGE EDUCATION, CHANGE THE MESSAGE " How will we make real progress on complex issues and avoid the typical policy churn at the state and district levels?" thanks in no small measure to funding from two federal government competitions-$119 million through Race to the Top in 2009 and $49 million for the Early Learning Challenge in 2011. Our early-learning structure statewide has been transformed. Our higher standards, in the form of the common core and the Next Generation Science Standards, have been implemented statewide. The state built a data system that is arguably the best in the country. We revamped teacher preparation, created a stronger teacher-evaluation system, and piloted personalized-learning models throughout the state. As a result, our students are better off. In-state indicators have moved aggressively, particularly in areas like early learning, high school graduation, and college access and completion. Delaware, like many other states, saw its National Assessment of Educational Progress scores dip this year, but between 1992 and 2011, we had the third-fastest student-achievement growth trajectory in the United States, according to a 2012 study by Erik Hanushek, Paul E. Peterson, and Ludger Woessmann. We've been fortunate, but the landscape is changing. The federal funding is nearly gone. Gov. Jack Markell, a champion of education, will see his tenure end a year from now. And, as in much of the nation, the political environment around education in Delaware is fractious and tense. It's why our Vision Coalition remains more important than ever. The personal relationships that have developed over the last decade among charter and district leaders, and PAGE 27 > PAUL HERDMAN is the president of the Rodel Foundation of Delaware and a founding member of the Vision Coalition leadership team. He is a former teacher and a parent of three public school children. 27 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 6, 2016

Education Week - January 6, 2016
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Wash. Ruling Could Inspire Charter Opponents Elsewhere
As New SAT Looms, Anxious Students Ramp Up Testing
Digital Directions: U.S. Ed-Tech Plan Calls Attention to ‘Digital-Use Divide’
Standards for Principals’ Bosses Sharpen Focus on Role
Blogs of the Week
Inside ESSA
High Stakes in Union-Fee Case Before Supreme Court
New K-12 Law Adds to Buzz as State Legislatures Set to Convene
Ed. Dept. Budget Sees Slight Boost In FY 2016 Deal
Blogs of the Week
Amanda VanDerHeyden, Matthew Burns, Rachel Brown, Mark R. Shinn, Stevan Kukic, Kim Gibbons, Ggeorge Batsche, & W. David Tilly: RTI Works (When It Is Implemented Correctly)
Ron Wolk: To Change Education, Change the Message
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Paul Herdman: As Feds Step Back, The First State Steps Up

Education Week - January 6, 2016