Education Week - January 22, 2014 - (Page 21)

BLOGS calendar is antiquated both educationally and culturally. ... These children need more time in school, some to catch up, some to excel," said the governor, who gave no details of his proposal. Gov. Christie praised the superintendents of the state-run school systems of Newark and Camden for the improvements they're trying to make in those embattled districts. And he drew attention to education changes for which he led the charge in the last few years, including limiting teacher tenure and expanding charter schools. -CATHERINE GEWERTZ RHODE ISLAND GOV. LINCOLN CHAFEE (I) * JAN. 15 In his State of the State address, Gov. Lincoln Chafee pledged to continue investing in education, proposing an additional $38 million for fiscal 2015 through the state's K-12 funding formula. All told, the governor's budget requests more than $1.2 billion in education spending on K-12 and higher education, including money to enable a freeze in tuition at the three state higher education institutions. "There is no better or smarter investment we can make," he said of education funding. "It will pay dividends and help close an equality gap that threatens our future." -STEPHEN SAWCHUK VIRGINIA GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFE (D) * JAN. 13 In his first speech to the legislature, newly sworn-in Gov. McAuliffe put assessment reform high on his list of priorities for K-12 education. Speaking only five days after his predecessor, Republican Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, gave his last State of the Commonwealth address, the new Democratic chief executive called for "thoughtful, meaningful, and effective reforms" to the state's Standards of Learning exams. Gov. McAuliffe suggested that instead of sticking with a multiple-choice exam, the state should consider "essay testing and other ways to measure knowledge and cognitive reasoning." Gov. McAuliffe also expressed his support for expanded access to prekindergarten education and for helping the state attract teachers. He said he would introduce a budget amendment that includes $5 million to help Northern Virginia cities compete for good teachers. Read online compilation & links to full speeches at Despite Posting Best Score, Success For All Program Falters in 'i3' Grant Contest -C.G. | POLITICS K-12 | For two years in a row, the Baltimore-based school turnaround organization Success for All has earned the top score in the scale-up category of the federal Investing in Innovation contest, only to be passed over, U.S. Department of Education records confirm. There was no question that in 2012 Success for All got the top score in that category and didn't get an award, because the Education Department put that information online. But in the 2013 contest, the Education Department refused to disclose who got the top scale-up score. Only after Politics K-12 filed a federal Freedom of Information Act request did the Education Department confirm that Success for All got the top score of 77.83 this time around. It's worth reiterating that Education Department officials, although they advertised for applications in each of the three i3 categories, were not obligated to make awards in each of them. (The winning grants in the separate "validation" and "development" categories all had scores above 80.) So why should it matter that Success for All got the top score in the scale-up category, then got passed over two years in a row? * First, there's the fact that, for whatever reason, Education Department officials apparently don't want to give money to an organization that received the top score two years in a row, fair and square, in the very important category that's supposed to find and scale-up educationimprovement ideas with the strongest record of past success. (Success for All has already won a couple of i3 grants in various categories, including one large scale-up grant.) * Second, it appears Success For All is not only very good at grant-writing, but also has a strong evidence base that is impressive to outside judges. That will probably make it tough for any other organization to post the top score in the scale-up category if Success for All keeps competing, as it is likely to do. * And third, two years of no awards may well discourage folks from applying in the scale-up category. Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, a Democrat, told state lawmakers in his State of the State speech that he intends to funnel more money into K-12 education to meet basic education funding mandates in state law. Wash. Governor Pledges School Aid Boost By Katie Ash In his annual speech to lawmakers, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee called on the legislature to pour several billion dollars in additional dollars during the next five years into K-12 education in an effort to meet basic education funding mandates as ordered by the state's Supreme Court. The push, unveiled in the Democratic governor's State of the State address in Olympia, was spurred by a ruling Jan. 9 from the court that although the state had taken meaningful steps to fully fund basic education by 2018 as required by law-lawmakers, for example, voted to provide nearly $1 billion of additional funds to public education in the 2013 session-it still was not moving fast enough. K-12 public education makes up about 45 percent-or around $15 billion-of the total state budget of $37 billion for the 2013-15 biennium. Gov. Inslee said he was rethinking his strategy of making 2014 a "hold steady" year to prepare for coming fiscal challenges. Instead, he said he would be proposing an investment of $200 million to fund cost-of-living ad- Success For All, for its part, is grateful for the money it has already gotten from i3, said its founder, Robert E. Slavin. However, he said, "The fact that it keeps being the same organization that receives the highest scores is perhaps politically awkward, but for children and for evidence-based reform, supporting scalable, effective programs, whatever their source, seems important." justments for educators, including administrators and community and technical college workers, in the 201415 school year and for basic education costs. Last June, the legislature voted to suspend cost-ofliving raises for educators last June through mid-2015 in order to pass a budget deal agreed upon by the House and Senate. Gov. Inslee encouraged lawmakers to close tax breaks and direct those funds toward the state's public education system. He called for an additional $4 million to fund pre-K programs for about 500 more Washington state youngsters. In addition, Gov. Inslee called on state senators to pass a Washington state version of the DREAM Act, which would allow all Washington high school graduates who are eligible for state-sponsored college scholarships to receive them, regardless of whether they are legal U.S. residents. The state House of Representatives passed the bill on Jan. 13. "Students who work hard and succeed in school should know there is a slot in our higher education system for them and their financial aid will be available to them if they need it," he said. -MICHELE McNEIL Common-Core Test Group Losing Alaska as Member | CURRICULUM MATTERS | Alaska is pulling out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, and will instead design its own tests, a spokeswoman for the group confirms. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that the state has hired the University of Kansas to design new assessments. Alaska had planned to use tests being designed for the standards by one of two federally funded testing consortia, but it had never adopted the underlying Common Core State Standards. (The school district of Anchorage actually adopted the standards.) An official of the Alaska department of education noted that the agency decided it was best to have tests designed for its own state standards. The last state to withdraw from Smarter Balanced, Kansas, is using the University of Kansas' tests, as well; the testing-development institute there has made Kansas' tests for years. Alaska's move brings Smarter Balanced membership to 23. -CATHERINE GEWERTZ EDUCATION WEEK | January 22, 2014 | | 21 Elaine Thompson/AP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 22, 2014

Education Week - January 22, 2014
50 Years Later, Verdicts Are Mixed On the Nation’s War on Poverty
A K-12 Titan in Congress to Move On
Fla. Pushes Longer Day With More Reading In Struggling Schools
Personal Danger of Data Breaches Prompts Action
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Funds to End For Little Rock Desegregation
Union, District Clash in Pittsburgh Over Teacher Evaluation
Revised GED Ushers in New Era With More Testing Competition
In Five States, Districts Bail Out on Race to the Top Grants
K-12 Publishing, Ed-Tech Markets Experiencing Rising Revenues
Blogs of the Week
Still Segregated After 50 Years: A Visit To Cincinnati’s West End
Among States, Spending Gaps Have Widened
Spending Plan Aims to Relieve Some K-12 ‘Sequester’ Pain
Calif. Transgender Law Takes Effect In Schools, Amid Efforts to Repeal It
State of the States
Wash. Governor Pledges School Aid Boost
BRUCE FULLER: Is Small Beautiful? New York’s tiny high schools lift kids, harden segregation
RUFINA HERNÁNDEZ: A Common Cause for the Common Core
JEFFREY D. WILHELM & MICHAEL W. SMITH: Don’t Underestimate the Power of Pleasure Reading
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
XU ZHAO, HELEN HASTE, & ROBERT L. SELMAN: Questionable Lessons From China’s Recent History of Education Reform

Education Week - January 22, 2014