Education Week - January 16, 2013 - (Page 19)
JANUARY 16, 2013
tion employees and is affiliated with both the
National Education Association and the aft.
“The bullet we dodged was the commission jumping on the bandwagon of alleged
reformers who are taking us down misguided
directions,” said Mr. Iannuzzi, citing a school
voucher program passed in Louisiana and a
tax-credit scholarship program in Florida as
two examples of such “gimmicks” in policy.
Still, nysut’s “glass half empty” members,
Mr. Iannuzzi added, were concerned that the
proposed changes in policy would either not
be funded adequately or would siphon off
enough K-12 state aid that they would damage other classroom work.
“More needs to be said about the equitable
funding of education in New York,” he said.
Although documents related to the extended learning time proposal say such initiatives would be funded by a competitive
grant program, in his speech, Mr. Cuomo
said if school districts choose to expand their
learning time, the state would pick up the
entire cost for the district as an incentive. He
was not as explicit, however, as to whether
the state would pay for the salary increases
in the master-teacher program.
Other practical complexities of implementing changes like extending the school day
should not be overlooked, noted David Albert,
a spokesman for the Latham, N.Y.-based New
York State School Boards Association.
“There’s also a community component. Will
parents support that move?” he said.
But harsher critics of the commission’s
recommendations say that given a chance
to propose more fundamental K-12 changes
to Mr. Cuomo, its members ducked.
“Instead, what he got was a pack of watereddown reforms, all good ideas, mind you, but
nothing dramatic that’s going to increase
student achievement and dramatically reform the state’s educational system, which is
needed,” said B. Jason Brooks, a spokesman
for the Clifton Park, N.Y.-based Foundation
for Education Reform and Accountability,
which supports “parent trigger” legislation,
more charter school options, and tax credits
for private school tuition.
Mr. Brooks took some solace in the fact
that the commission is set to release final
recommendations in the fall. But he said Mr.
Cuomo—widely eyed as a 2016 presidential
candidate—may have missed a chance to become the Democratic version of former Florida
Gov. Jeb Bush, a prominent Republican in education policy circles.
Separately, the state has made progress on
a significant, if controversial policy initiative
from last year involving teacher evaluations.
As of Jan. 2, and with a Jan. 17 deadline looming, 533 of 682 districts had their evaluation
plans approved by the state education department, and only nine had not submitted plans
at all. Districts that miss the deadline could
lose state aid increases. Approval of the evaluation plans is necessary to satisfy conditions
attached to the $700 million federal Race to
the Top grant the state received in 2010.
Although Mr. Cuomo said the state’s approach to teacher evaluations had proved successful, as of Jan. 10, New York City teachers
had still not reached a deal with city education
department officials on an evaluation plan.
Mr. Cuomo also connected schools to
tougher gun-control policies he plans to pursue this year. Specifically, he said that he
wants stiffer penalties in state law for those
who bring guns on school grounds.
Md. Gets Scolding
Over Race to Top
Fiscal Realities Dog States
By Andrew Ujifusa
The best strategies to forge stronger
connections between education and
states’ economies during lingering budget difficulties is “the question of the day
for many states,” Delaware Gov. Jack
Markell said in the first “State of the
States” address on behalf of the National
Governors Association here last week.
The address was designed to highlight
states’ “collective vision” and a review of
current challenges states face, the nga
Many students who dropped out of
school, Mr. Markell, a Democrat, pointed
out, had told him that “they believe that
what they’re learning is not connected
to what they’re going to do with the rest
of their lives.”
Both Gov. Markell and the nga’s vice
chairwoman, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican elected in 2010, also
told those at the Jan. 9 event that states
continue to be concerned about the uncertain fiscal climate in Washington
and that the possible automatic cuts in
spending later this year totaling $1.2
trillion make their work for fiscal 2014
and beyond more difficult.
“It’s hard for us as governors to be able
to write a budget. ... It keeps having to
be adjusted,” Ms. Fallin said at the event
held in Washington.
Mr. Markell said states’ budgets are
“slowly recovering” after state officials
cut $337 billion collectively over the past
On the issue of links between education and the workforce, Ms. Fallin said
Oklahoma lawmakers are examining the
Here are summaries of recent annual
addresses by governors around the country.
GOV. MAGGIE HASSAN (D) • JAN. 3
In her inaugural address at her swearing-in
ceremony, Gov. Maggie Hassan noted a desire
to reverse course on spending cuts affecting
education over the past few years. “It hurt our
young people and, if not quickly addressed,
will impair our future economic prosperity,”
she said in prepared remarks. She urged the
state’s university system to boost the number of
students admitted and freeze in-state tuition.
Ms. Hassan, the daughter of educators
and the wife of the head of Phillips Exeter
Academy, a private, college-preparatory school,
applauded the state’s community college
system for its adaptation to the needs of New
Hampshire residents who choose paths other
extent to which degrees and certificates
match what the actual needs in the
labor market are, and also trying to ensure that a high school diploma signifies
that graduates have certain useful skills
in the economy. Mr. Markell asked that
federal lawmakers restore the 15 percent of federal funding in the Workforce
Investment Act that can be used at the
discretion of states, for example, to set
up a training “pipeline” between public
schools and manufacturing jobs.
Mr. Markell stressed that the new
Common Core State Standards (adopted by 46 states in English/language
arts and by 45 states in math) would be
“higher, cleaner, and fewer” and benefit
students and teachers. The common core
was developed by the nga and the Council of Chief State School Officers.
Asked about the biggest challenge in
putting the common core into effect, Mr.
Markell said that implementing the new
standards at the classroom level would
take a lot of work. He also downplayed
political and ideological opposition to the
common core, saying that states have
been free to adopt or not adopt it.
In his prepared remarks, Mr. Markell
also said governors whose states had won
Race to the Top grants from the U.S. Department of Education were attempting to
share what they had learned “so that we
can strengthen all of our public schools.”
In response to a question about gun control in the wake of the school shootings
Dec. 14 in Newtown, Conn., both governors
stressed the need for schools to review security plans and make sure first responders have relevant information. Ms. Fallin,
however, said her state would continue to
“respect our Second Amendment rights.”
than traditional universities. “We must continue
to support their efforts to build the strong
workforce that our businesses need,” she said.
She specifically mentioned that the state must
work with the education system and the business
community to ensure a “robust and rigorous
education” for all students, including in stem
fields, noting the state’s colleges and universities’
goal of doubling the number of science,
technology, engineering, and math graduates by
2025. “We should embrace that goal and make
achieving it a state priority,” she said. —NIRVI SHAH
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R) • JAN. 8
In a year dominated by the Garden State’s efforts
to recover from Hurricane Sandy, education had a
low profile in Gov. Chris Christie’s third State of the
The Republican executive made sure, however, to
highlight his work last year to expand school choice
and to rework teacher tenure.
Despite “entrenched resistance,” Mr. Christie said,
the state passed “the first major reform of tenure in
PAGE 20 >
Add Maryland to the list of
Race to the Top states that have
gotten into trouble with the U.S.
Department of Education.
In a sternly worded letter
from the Education Department
to Maryland last month, federal
officials placed several major
conditions on $37.9 million of
the state’s $250 million Race to
the Top grant.
If the state fails to make good
on conditions tied to its teacherevaluation system, it risks losing
that part of the grant.
“The department is concerned
about the overall strategic
and evaluation of the state’s
teacher- and principalevaluation system, including
the quality of the [school year]
2011-2012 seven-lea pilot as
well as communication with
and supports provided to
participating leas,” the letter
says. (Leas are local education
The Dec. 6 letter approves
several changes to Maryland’s
Race to the Top plan. But it
indicates that federal officials
have major concerns about the
capacity of school districts to
implement these evaluations
and the shift away from using
test data as one component of
educator evaluations at the high
Letters like these are meant
to send a warning signal both to
state officials and to the public.
“They are making a relatively
significant shift in their
approach,” said Ann Whalen,
who oversees Race to the Top
implementation, in an interview.
“As they put these changes into
action, we will look to them to
be thoughtful about how they
execute their work.”
Maryland had to turn in
by Jan. 7 a plan for how it is
field-testing and evaluating its
And it met that deadline, said
state schools Superintendent
Lillian Lowery, the former
Delaware chief who inherited
Maryland’s plan when she
became its chief in July. (She
replaced longtime chief Nancy
By the time Ms. Lowery
assembled her Race to the
Top team in October, the state
was six to 10 months behind
schedule. “We had to take a plan
that was conceptual and put it in
high gear to get it on track,” she
said in an interview.
Now, the state is working
quickly to field-test its teacherevaluation plan and get outside
experts on board to help
evaluate how it’s working.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 16, 2013
Education Week - January 16, 2013
Is Education Facing a ‘Tech Bubble’?
Multiple Gauges Best for Teachers
Model Common-Core Unit Piloted for ELL Teachers
Gun Concerns Personal for Duncan
News in Brief
Fla. Data Link Suspension To Lower Graduation Rates
Anti-Poverty Program Found To Fall Short In Studies
New Science-Standards Draft Incorporates Feedback
With Common Core in Mind, Schools Turn to E-Rate
Survey Tool Aims for Fresh Eye On Parents
Study Dissects Gender Effects In Math Teaching
Funders and N.C. District Team Up To Run Schools
Blogs of the Week
State of the States
N.Y.’s Cuomo Moves Ahead On K-12 Ideas
Crush of Ed. Laws Awaiting Renewal In Congress
Fiscal Realities Dog States
R. BARKER BAUSELL: Putting Value-Added Evaluation To the (Scientific) Test
GARY HUGGINS: It’s Time for Summer Learning
JEFF CAMP: Let’s Remove Self-Righteousness From the K-12 Debate
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
MIKE ROSE: Giving Cognition a Bad Name
Education Week - January 16, 2013