Education Week - January 14, 2015 - 15

N.Y. Governor Taking Sharp Aim
In Fierce Education Policy Debate
"unacceptable" rates of proficiency
on English/language arts and math
tests and the share of students
deemed "college ready" as determined
by state exams. All are below
40 percent.
Mr. Cuomo also has criticized the
share of teachers who get high ratings
in contrast to the relatively low
test scores of New York students on
the common-core-aligned tests the
state shifted to in 2013. That ratings
system was agreed upon less than
three years ago between the state
education department and the state
teachers' union.
"As you know, the governor has
little power over education, which is
controlled by the board of regents,"
Mr. Malatras wrote to Ms. Tisch. "The
governor's power is through the budget
process, and he intends to introduce
the reforms during that process."
Chancellor's Response
In a Dec. 31 response, Ms. Tisch
floated her own proposals to satisfy
some of the governor's top concerns,
but rejected the idea from Mr. Cuomo's
office to overhaul how the state
regents are selected. (South Carolina
is the only other state where legislators
select state school board members,
according to the National Association
of State Boards of Education.)
However, Ms. Tisch also deflected
the governor's assertion regarding
power over policy, writing that Mr.
Malatras' letter dealt with matters of
state law "which are under the direct
control of the state legislature and
the governor" and not the regents.
One of the chancellor's prime targets
in her 20-page letter was local
collective bargaining. For example,
Ms. Tisch proposed eliminating "locally
selected measures" of student
achievement in the educator evaluations
that are determined through
negotiations between districts and
their respective unions. (These are
the evaluations for the 20 percent of
teachers that have student-growth
scores on state tests.)
Ms. Tisch argued that eliminating
those local measures of student
achievement could ultimately reduce
testing, "thereby addressing the most
frequent parent concern" with state
evaluation law.
In a separate but also highly contested
policy area raised in Mr.
Malatras' letter, Ms. Tisch suggested
extending the probationary period before
most appointed teachers receive
tenure to five years from three, "so
boards of education have additional
time to evaluate their performance."
Veto Puzzle
In public statements explaining
the veto of the "safety net" evaluation
bill, Gov. Cuomo said the high
share of teachers (97 percent) receiving
one of the top two ratings for the
2013-14 school year made his bill
Yet the governor's office pushed that
legislation after similar evaluation
results for the 2012-13 school year,
when (despite some differences from
the 2013-14 evaluation system) 95
percent of teachers in the state were
deemed either "effective" or "highly
effective." Gov. Cuomo's office did not
respond to requests for comment.
The bill had the support of the
600,000-member New York State
United Teachers, or nysut. In
response to the veto, the union
blasted the governor, saying, "We
can't understand why he is refusing
to sign his own bill."
The union, which is affiliated with
both the American Federation of
Teachers and the National Education
Association, also asked why teachers
were now not protected from the
tests' impact on their evaluations,
while students' ability to graduate
won't be affected by those tests until
the class of 2022.
But in a subsequent interview,
nysut President Karen E. Magee
struck a different tone. She said she
"wasn't surprised" by the veto because
the governor, along with Ms. Tisch,
continued to put a priority on "cookie
cutter" state politics over good policy
by raising the idea of reducing the
power of local unions.
"It's like someone else going out and
buying a pair of shoes for me," Ms.
Magee said. "This is a big indicator of
state government trying to take away
local autonomy."
On evaluations and other issues,
she hammered state officials for, in
her view, imposing their desires on
local communities and shortchanging
districts on state aid for the
past five school years through a formula-known
as the gap-elimination
adjustment-that has reduced each
district's allocation of state aid from
previous levels.
It remains unclear how the tense
atmosphere will affect business in the
state legislative session that opened
last week. Control of the New York
legislature is split, with Democrats
holding the Assembly and a Republican-led
coalition running the Senate.
"The governor has to decide, to an
extent, how much he wants to try to
change the relationship between the
branches of government," said Sen.
John J. Flanagan, a Republican and
chairman of his chamber's education
committee. "Does he want to have a
system that he wants to be more accountable
to the governor, at the end
of the day, not unlike mayoral control?
Or does he want to be hands-off?
Areas of Consensus
Mr. Albert, of the school boards association,
said there's a broad consensus
for the state "to go back to the drawing
board" on teacher evaluations to
address a variety of concerns. And Mr.
Henig, of Teachers College, said there's
a gap between the rhetoric and longterm
calculations by key players.
"They're all, I think, reasonably sophisticated
about this," Mr. Henig said
of Gov. Cuomo, Ms. Tisch, and others.
"They're not ideologues with visions
of vanquishing their enemies and implementing
a radically new agenda.
They see this as a game of inches and
But Mr. Albert conceded that the
prospect of a new slate of state-driven
policy changes on the heels of districts'
multiyear efforts to adjust to
the Race to the Top initiative, is a
challenging one: "It's hard when you
have a constantly moving target."
Head Start Partnerships Come With Federal Cash, Regulations
to reach out to community providers,
it wasn't sure if it would be
overwhelmed with responses, if few
centers would want to participate, or
what might motivate centers to be
interested in partnering.
"But the people who showed up
asked such good questions about
how this was going to benefit their
families," Ms. Stevens said. "Right
from the get-go, we had a really
good feeling about the partnerships
that we had."
New Conditions
Still to be determined is how the
partnerships will intersect with the
newly reauthorized Child Care and
Development Block Grant program,
which funnels federal money that
states disburse to low-income families
to pay for child care. Many of
the families that would be eligible
for day care in the partnership
would also be eligible to receive
child-care subsidies through the
block grant.
Congress embedded additional
quality standards within the childcare
block grant when it reauthorized
the program, and sought to address
other common problems, such as families
losing eligibility for the subsidy
more than once a year and thus being
forced to remove their children from
care. States will now assess eligibility
every 12 months.
"This is really about leveraging
those high standards of Head
Start," Hannah Matthews, the director
of child care and early education
at the Center for Law and Social
Policy, or clasp, in Washington,
said of the partnership program.
She noted that children who are
able to enroll in Early Head Start-
nationally, it serves about 4 percent
of those eligible-get access to a robust
menu of support services. Lowincome
children served through the
child-care subsidy, on the other
hand, have the same high needs as
children in Early Head Start but
can end up in child-care programs
that are barely regulated.
"Not only does Early Head Start
have this full array of standards, it
also has training and professional
development and an opportunity
to meet those standards," Ms. Matthews
said. "Very often, we are imposing
these standards without giving
[providers] support."
Regulatory Burden
But are the standards high-or
just onerous? Katharine B. Stevens,
a research fellow in education policy
studies at the American Enterprise
Institute, wrote in a Wall Street Journal
opinion piece last month that the
new grants are starting on the wrong
track by "focusing on teacher credentials
rather than effectiveness, holding
programs accountable for compliance
rather than outcomes, and
advocating centralized control rather
than innovation."
In an interview, she said, "It just
seems like the Head Start culture
has become very compliance-oriented.
The whole concept of complying
with these standards can be
very distracting from focusing on
your impact on kids."
Previous attempts to connect Early
Head Start and child-care providers
have shown "suggestive" evidence of
improved quality. But there has not
yet been a rigorous evaluation to
prove that, said Diane Paulsell, the
associate director of human-services
My sense is that, together as a community,
we can do better with leveraging more
resources and each other's expertise."
Next Door Foundation
research for Mathematica Policy Research
in Princeton, N.J.
Mathematica has been awarded
a grant to study the partnerships,
and as part of that work, reviewed
78 studies of those early-childhood
One key area is how each partnership
divides its responsibilities, Ms.
Paulsell said. For example, Early
Head Start requires children to
have developmental assessments.
Would day-care staff be trained to
give those assessments? Will the
Early Head Start partner send its
staff to different centers instead?
"There's benefits to both ways of
doing that, so they'll need to negotiate
who is doing what," Ms. Paulsell
across the different early-childhood
Partnerships Still Unfolding
Applicants for the partnershipgrant
funds could submit an application
without a partnership
component. Of the awards currently
announced-$435 million of the
$500 million allocated to the program-74
percent of the agencies
proposed 100 percent partnership
arrangements, according to the office
of Head Start. Twenty percent proposed
a mix of expanding their own
programs and partnering with other
providers, and 6 percent proposed
only to expand their own programs.
The review of research, which was
released in November, indicated
that strong partnerships correlated
with well-defined structures, including
formal agreements and staff assigned
to oversee the partnership.
Barriers included regulatory differences
across funding streams and
discrepancies in program standards
The entire $500 million is expected
to be awarded by March.
About $2.9 million in grant funds
is slated to go to the Puget Sound
Educational Service District in
Renton, Wash. Luba Bezborodnikova,
the district's associate superintendent
for early learning,
said the agency was also strategic
in how it recruited partners; for
example, it looked for those that
would be able to maintain financial
stability even after bringing their
child-to-adult ratios down to Early
Head Start standards.
"It's not only about bringing a child
to the specific facility and being safe
and comfortable leaving the child,"
she said. "It's also knowing that ...
the child will also have meaningful
interactions with adults. There will
be books read, there will be games
played, there will be exposure to different
types of activities."
Heather Singleton, the program
director of the Gladiolus Learning
and Development Center in Fort
Myers, Fla., said she welcomed the
extra oversight, as well as the resources,
that will come with partnering
with the Lee County district.
The center already receives
child-care subsidies and money
through the state's voluntary
pre-K system, and thus is used to
additional oversight, she said. The
partnership will allow the center
to serve eight additional infants
and toddlers.
"I personally feel it creates more
accountability," she said. "And it
makes sure we're doing the very
best that we can for these children."
EDUCATION WEEK | January 14, 2015 | | 15

Education Week - January 14, 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 14, 2015

Education Week - January 14, 2015
Mandatory State Testing on Thin Ice
Feds Confront Doubts in Plan To Fix Tribal Schools
TFA-Like Corps Places Advisers In High Schools
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Pittsburgh Collaboration Seen as Model
News in Brief
Report Roundup
With Common Core, More States Sharing Test Questions
New Study Plan Set on Down Syndrome
Blogs of the Week
Growth of Md. Advising Program Runs Into Familiar Controversy
N.Y. Governor Aims to Flex Muscles On Education Policy
Head Start Partnerships to Provide New Resources, Standards for Day Care
State of the States
Blogs of the Week
FREDERICK M. HESS: The 2015 Edu-Scholar Rankings
How Does an Edu-Scholar Influence K-12 Policy?
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
WILLIAMSON M. EVERS: Exit, Voice, Loyalty—and the Common Core
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Pittsburgh Collaboration Seen as Model
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - 2
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - 3
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - Report Roundup
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - 5
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - New Study Plan Set on Down Syndrome
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - Blogs of the Week
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - Growth of Md. Advising Program Runs Into Familiar Controversy
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - 9
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - 10
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - 11
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - 12
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - Head Start Partnerships to Provide New Resources, Standards for Day Care
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - Blogs of the Week
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - 15
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - 16
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - 17
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - FREDERICK M. HESS: The 2015 Edu-Scholar Rankings
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - How Does an Edu-Scholar Influence K-12 Policy?
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - Letters
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - 21
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - 23
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - WILLIAMSON M. EVERS: Exit, Voice, Loyalty—and the Common Core
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - Cover1
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - Cover2
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - Cover3
Education Week - January 14, 2015 - Cover4