Education Week - January 9, 2013 - (Page 24)

24 EDUCATION WEEK n JANUARY 9, 2013 n Top State Ed. Positions Turn Over as Year Ends chief, after consistent speculation that he would seek and be a favorite Several top state education jobs for the job. Gerard Robinson had rechanged hands as 2012 came to a signed from the post in August, after close, with Florida welcoming a high- about a year. He had previously been profile chief recently ousted by voters Virginia’s state superintendent. in Indiana, the surprise firing of West Virginia’s superintendent, and the de- High Profile parture of the Massachusetts chief in a state cabinet shake-up. Mr. Bennett is the president of Florida’s new commissioner, Tony Chiefs for Change, a group of suBennett—one of the nation’s most perintendents who push for school prominent and most controversial state choice, accountability through testeducation chiefs—proved that losing ing, and revamped teacher evaluahis re-election bid for the Indiana job he tions. The group is affiliated with the first won in 2008 did not put a damper Tallahassee, Fla.-based Foundation on his career prospects. for Excellence in Education, which Despite a significant fundraising advocates those same policies and advantage and the energetic back- which former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush ing of groups devoted to revamping leads. teacher evaluations and expanding The state school board praised school choice, Mr. Bennett, a Repub- Mr. Bennett’s work on the Common lican, was defeated by Glenda Ritz, a Core State Standards, among other teacher in the Indianapolis area who things. But Andy Ford, the president criticized what she called excessive of the Florida Education Association, testing and the voucher program in- the 140,000-member state teachers’ stituted during Mr. Bennett’s tenure. union and an affiliate of both the On Dec. 12, Mr. Bennett was se- National Education Association and lected by the Florida board of edu- the American Federation of Teachers, cation as the state’s next education blasted the move and specifically crit- By Andrew Ujifusa icized Mr. Bennett for adopting the same policies that Mr. Bush touted, including “testing mania.” A report critical of West Virginia’s K-12 bureaucracy appeared to be the undoing of former state schools superintendent Jorea Marple, who was dismissed by the state school board first on Nov. 15 and then on Nov. 29 after concerns arose about the process behind her initial termination. She was replaced by James Phares, a district superintendent in the state. Ms. Marple took the top job in March 2011 after previously serving as deputy superintendent, but the turning point may have come last January, when, at the direction of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat, West Virginia released an “efficiency audit” of the state’s K-12 system, 10 months after Marple became superintendent. The audit criticized the unwieldy education bureaucracy, among other concerns. Ms. Marple argued that her department was demonstrably increasing expectations for students, and has plans to sue the state school board for damages and to return to her superintendent’s position. Meanwhile, the top education official in Massachusetts, Secretary of Education S. Paul Reville, departed his position for the final two years of Gov. Deval Patrick’s term. Mr. Reville had overseen the K-12 commissioner, Mitchell D. Chester, as well as the state’s early-child-care and higher education systems. Mr. Reville declined to give a two-year commitment to serve in Mr. Patrick’s cabinet the rest of his term, as the governor had requested. Tony Bennett Florida Bay State Selection Mr. Reville’s career in education policy included time as chairman of the state’s board of elementary and secondary education, as well as president of the Cambridge, Mass.-based Rennie Center for Research and Education Policy. His replacement, Matthew Malone, has been a superintendent, principal, and teacher in the Boston area. He is a 2003 graduate of the Broad Superintendents Academy, part of the Broad Foundation in Los Angeles, that trains superintendents to run urban public school systems. James Phares West Virginia Matthew Malone Massachusetts K-12 Funding Forecast Remains Hazy CONTINUED FROM PAGE 22 next debt-ceiling debate may result in more turmoil, since it was the last deal to raise the debt ceiling, back in August 2011, that put sequestration in play. While lawmakers in both parties have voiced alarm over the threatened sequestration cuts, which would hit defense as well as domestic programs, some Republicans have said they oppose raising the debt ceiling without reducing government spending. “I kind of expect that for the next month or so, we’ll see lots of rhetoric without much movement,” said Michael Casserly, the executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, a Washington-based coalition of large urban districts. The final deal on the “fiscal cliff ”—which included various tax provisions, such as a hike Down to the Wire The compromise measure was crafted at the 11th hour by Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the Senate minority leader, after negotiations between President Obama and Speaker of the House John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, sputtered to a halt. The legislation received overwhelming bipartisan support Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, at center, looks toward House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., as they walk to a meeting at the Capitol on the fiscal-cliff issue. Fiscal Forecast The 2014 fiscal year could prove to be even more difficult than the current one, Mr. Packer of the Committee for Education Funding said, in part because of the reduced domestic spending in the fiscal cliff budget agreement, which calls for $6 billion in domestic discretionary cuts in order to help pay for postponing sequestration, and in part because the Pell Grant program, which helps low-income students cover the cost of college, continues to eat up a big share of education funding. That program, which is exempt from sequestration, faces a structural deficit, in part because of higher demand for the grants as more students enroll in postsecondary education. If the sequestration cuts do end up going through in March, most school districts wouldn’t feel the pinch until the start of the 201314 school year, because of the way that key programs, such as Title I grants for districts and special education aid, are funded. But other programs, such as the Head Start preschool program for low-income children, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, would be cut right away. And the $1.29. billion impact-aid program would feel the sequestration sting in April, when districts receive their next payments. The program helps districts with lots of federal land or facilities, such as military bases, make up for lost tax revenue. Still, there are some bright spots for education in last week’s deal. Certain tax provisions, including the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which helps families pay for college, were extended. The agreement likewise extended a revamped version of the child tax credit, which aims to better help low-income parents cover the cost of caring for their families. And it included an extension of the Qualified Zone Academy Bond program, which helps cover the cost of fixing schools, as well as a tax credit that helps teachers buy supplies for their classrooms. J. Scott Applewhite/AP in the income-tax rate for high earners, along with the postponement of sequestration—was approved by Congress on New Year’s Day. Action came after a host of tax cuts had already expired, and just hours before the country might have begun feeling the economic impact of tumbling over the cliff. Education and other domestic programs would have been cut by 8.2 percent. in the Senate, where it was approved 89-8 in the wee hours of Jan. 1. It ran into trouble in the gop-controlled House, which ultimately approved it 257-167 late that night. Nearly every House Democrat voted for the bill, while 85 Republicans supported it. Sixteen Democrats and 151 Republicans voted against it. Jason Glass, the director of the Iowa education department, commended Congress on reaching a bipartisan accord, but added that “striking a celebratory tone may be premature.” “In the days ahead, all sides will need to continue to work together,” he said, “to avoid catastrophic reductions in services to some of the nation’s neediest children: those with disabilities and those living in poverty.” For now, school districts, some of which have already begun working on their budgets for the coming academic year, are being careful not to count too much on future federal funding. “We will err on the conservative side, no doubt,” said Chris Gaines, the superintendent of the 1,500-student Wright City R-II district on the suburban fringe of St. Louis. His district, he said, is just beginning to get out from under the “Great Recession” and would have a tough time absorbing cuts, particularly to special education.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 9, 2013

Education Week - January 9, 2013
State Lawmakers Gear for Action On Broad K-12 Issues Menu
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: Teachers Seek Specialized Peer Networks
Shootings Revive Debates on Security
Student-Press Ruling Resonates From 1988
News in Brief
Report Roundup
FOCUS ON: INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE: IB Supporters Tout Program’s Links With Common Core
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: Federal Effort Aims to Bridge Ed. Tech., Learning Sciences
U.S. Students Exceed International Average, But Lag Some Asian Nations in Math, Science
New Global Results Spark Questions On Finland’s Standing
Head Start Gains Found to Fade By 3rd Grade in Latest Study
Testing Group Selects Exam to Gauge ‘College Readiness’
State Chiefs Pledge Teacher Prep, Licensing Upgrades
Blogs of the Week
Post-Tragedy, Difficult Choices Loom
At Sandy Hook, Grim Day Unfolds
Legal, Logistical Concerns Seen In Call to Arm Adults
Tragedy Sets Off Fresh Debate Over Federal Gun-Policy Role
Advocates Worry Shootings Will Deepen Autism’s Stigma
K-12 Aid Outlook Murky, Despite ‘Cliff’ Deal
District Race to Top Winners Split $400 Million Pot
Policy Brief
Top State Ed. Positions Turn Over as Year Ends
CAROLYN LUNSFORD MEARS: After the Tragedy, What Next?
DAVID YOUNG & J.B. BUXTON: Language Education We Can Use
W. JAMES POPHAM: Formative Assessment’s ‘Advocatable Moment’
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
JEFFREY R. HENIG: Reading the Future of Education Policy

Education Week - January 9, 2013