Education Week - January 28, 2015 - (Page 19)

K-12 Issues Given Short Shrift in State of the Union Address College access, child care are focal points By Alyson Klein Even as Congress has jumpstarted the most serious attempt in a decade to revise the No Child Left Behind Act with a heated debate over high-stakes testing, President Barack Obama stayed above the fray in his State of the Union address last week. He didn't mention the law-the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act-by name. In fact, he barely referenced K-12 education at all. Instead, Mr. Obama used the Jan. 20 speech to make his most prominent pitch yet for a sweeping proposal to make the first two years of community college free for most students. The plan, which he first unveiled at a community college in Tennessee earlier this month, would give about 9 million students an average of $3,800 a year to cover college costs. "By the end of this decade, 2 in 3 job openings will require some higher education," the president said. "Two in three. And yet, we still live in a country where too many bright, young, striving Americans are priced out of the education they need. It's not fair to them, and it's not smart for our future. "That's why I'm sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college to zero." The lion's share of the proposal's estimated price tag-about $60 billion over a decade-would be covered through a slew of changes to the tax system, including raising the top capital gains tax, hiking the amount of inherited money subject to taxes, and placing new fees on financial institutions. Republicans on Capitol Hill have already dismissed the plan. "We'll propose ideas that aim to cut wasteful spending and balance the budget-with meaningful reforms, not higher taxes, like the president has proposed," newly elected Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa said in the Republican response. NCLB Omission In one of his few nods to K-12 education, President Obama played up the progress that he says the nation has made through education redesign: "Our younger students have earned the highest math and reading scores on record. as the Race to the Top grant competition and School Improvement Grants. Scaling back the annual assessments in the current esea has bipartisan support in Congress. But U.S. Secretary of Education Our high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high." But otherwise, the president didn't engage in a debate over the federal mandate on student testing or reference the administration's signature programs, such " We still live in a country where too many bright, young, striving Americans are priced out of the education they need." PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA Arne Duncan has pushed hard for keeping the tests in place, and the White House has backed him up. In a statement released after the address, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn, the new chairman of the Senate education committee, noted the lack of attention to "fixing No Child Left Behind" in the speech, and said that most of the president's education proposals had no chance of becoming law. Focus on Young Children Early-education advocates found more to celebrate in the speech. For the third year in a row, Mr. Obama extolled the virtues of early education in getting children ready for K-12 schools. In the administration's proposed tax package, the White House is aiming to triple the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, which helps families cover the cost of caring for children under 13, to $3,000 per child, up from $1,000. "In today's economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality child care more than ever," the president said. "It's not a nice-to-have-it's a must-have. It's time we stop treating child care as a side issue, or a women's issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us." Though President Obama didn't name-check it in his speech this time around, the administration has used previous State of the Union addresses to promote a $75 billion proposal for ramping up early-childhood education. That idea has yet to gain traction in Congress, although lawmakers did enact a small piece of the plan in 2014 by offering states $250 million in preschool development grants. And with concerns growing about child privacy in today's datarich world, Mr. Obama reiterated his call for legislation to protect students' online information. Earlier this month, the White House pitched federal legislation along the lines of a California law that prohibits companies from selling sensitive student information collected in schools, and that bars them from using such data to target ads to children. "Tonight, I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyberattacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children's information," Mr. Obama said. "If we don't act, we'll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable." CELEBRATE MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. WAKING FROM THE DREAM The Struggle for Civil Rights in the Shadow of Martin Luther King, Jr. by David L. Chappell ocusing on the years after Martin Luther King's assassination, Waking from the Dream provides a sweeping history of the struggle to keep the civil rights movement alive and to realize King's vision of an equal society. Random House * HC * 978-1-4000-6546-2 * 272pp. * $27.00 F RADICAL KING by Martin Luther King, Jr. Edited by Cornel West A TIME TO BREAK SILENCE The Essential Works of A rranged thematically in four parts, The Radical King includes twenty-three selections, curated and introduced by Dr. Cornel West, that illustrate King's revolutionary vision, underscoring his identification with the poor, his unapologetic opposition to the Vietnam War, and his crusade against global imperialism. Beacon Press * HC * 978-0-8070-1282-6 320pp. * $26.95 Also available in e-book editions A Martin Luther King, Jr., for Students by Martin Luther King, Jr. Introduction by Walter Dean Myers Time to Break Silence presents Martin Luther King, Jr.'s most important writings and speeches- carefully selected by teachers across a variety of disciplines-in an accessible and user-friendly volume. Beacon Press * TR * 978-0-8070-3305-0 272pp. * $14.00 Teacher's Guide Available ED_WEEK_ad.MLK.JAN.2015.v1.indd 1 /High School@Random House @RHhighschool /commonreads 1/14/15 5:07 PM EDUCATION WEEK | January 28, 2015 | | 19

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 28, 2015

Education Week - January 28, 2015
Activists Learn Art of ‘Test Refusal’
Ed. School Deans Join Forces To Bolster Teacher Preparation
N.C. District Rebounds From Ed-Tech Meltdown
Poverty Data Signal Urgency for Schools
Report Roundup
News in Brief
Chicago’s Closures Drove Most to Higher-Rated Schools
More Districts Expected to Follow Boston on Longer Days
International Study Ranks Schools on Social Stress, Equity
Blogs of the Week
No Firm Direction on Testing Set At Senate Panel’s ESEA Hearing
As Job Description Grows, So Does Churn for State Chiefs
K-12 Issues Given Short Shrift in State of the Union Address
State of the States
Blogs of the Week
SUSAN H. FUHRMAN: Measurement Alone Cannot Propel Improvement
SAMINA HADI-TABASSUM: Too Much Discipline Hurts Majority-Minority Schools
GARRISON WALTERS: Dump Management ‘Science,’ And Change Learning Attitudes
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment

Education Week - January 28, 2015