Education Week - January 30, 2013 - (Page 19)

EDUCATION WEEK GOVERNMENT n JANUARY 30, 2013 POLITICS By Michele McNeil Using the Investing in Innovation program as a building block, the U.S. Department of Education is taking the next formal step to make research and evidence far more important factors as it awards competitive grants. The goal is twofold: to reward projects that already have established a research-based track record of success and to encourage grant winners to produce rigorous evidence detailing the extent to which their project does—or does not—work. To make that happen, the Education Department is proposing significant changes to an arcane, bureaucratic set of rules known an edgar, or the Education Department General Administrative Regulations, as part of a governmentwide push to introduce more evidence into decisionmaking. Those rule changes, which are open for public comment, will serve as an umbrella over all the department’s competitive programs, potentially governing more than $2 billion in grants. They would not apply to large, hallmark grants—such as Title I for disadvantaged students—that are given to states under a formula set by law. But the proposed rules nonetheless signal to educators and policymakers that evidence matters. Staying Power “This has the potential to be a major step forward,” said Jon Baron, the president of the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, a Washington-based group of researchers working to increase government effectiveness through evidence. “The question is the extent to which this would be used. But for the first time, in many department programs, it would begin to institutionalize the development and the use of rigorous evidence.” It’s not that the Education Department could not have done this before on a piecemeal basis, but placing those rules in edgar gives the ideas more staying power. They can now be applied to any competitive-grant program without having to go through the cumbersome, rulemaking process each time a new competition is launched. The department has not yet indicated what competitive-grant programs, beyond i3, might begin to use the standards. Still, “this shows, again, that the Education Department has a preference for funding programs that have a very strong evidence base,” said Michele McLaughlin, the president of the Knowledge Alliance, a national association of research groups based in Washington. The groundwork for the rules was laid early in the Obama adPAGE 22 > GOP Players in Congress Step Forward on K-12 By Alyson Klein Two Republicans have ascended to key education roles in a Congress with a lot on its plate when it comes K-12 policy and spending: U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who has a long record on school issues, and Rep. Todd Rokita of Indiana, a relative newcomer to Washington. Sen. Alexander was selected this month as the ranking Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, where he could play a pivotal part in bringing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Democratic Senate and White House together on a bipartisan reauthorization of the longstalled Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Mr. Alexander is arguably more conservative than the panel’s previous top Republican, Sen. Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., who had a close working relationship with the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat who had chaired the committee. More recently, Mr. Enzi was the co-author of a bipartisan esea-renewal bill with Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the education committee’s current chairman. Like Mr. Enzi, Sen. Alexander has a history of working across the political aisle—he partnered, for example, with then-Sen. Jeff Bingaman, a New Mexico Democrat, on the America Competes Act of 2007, which bolstered math and science education. But in recent years, he’s been skeptical of a strong federal role in areas such as school improvement. Mr. Alexander brings distinct experience to his role, having served as U.S. secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush. During his two-year tenure, he helped press for national standards in core academic subjects UPDATED ROSTER: The 113th Congress has kicked off in earnest, with some new—and some familiar—faces on the U.S. Senate and House education committees. Partisan control of Congress remains split, with Democrats holding a majority in the Senate and Republicans having the edge in the House 19 POLICY BRIEF ‘i3’ Raises Ante in Evidence, Research Push Ed. Dept. takes step to broaden standards for other aid contests n Martha Roby, Ala. Joseph J. Heck, Nev. Susan Brooks, Ind.* Richard Hudson, N.C.* Luke Messer, Ind.* Boost Teachers’ Pay, Urges Fla. Governor Florida Gov. Rick Scott has announced a proposal to raise the pay of his state’s teachers, but the idea must pass muster with the legislature first and could face other complications at the district level. The Republican said that his fiscal 2014 budget request includes funding for a $2,500 salary increase for classroom teachers, a total of $480 million. “I can think of no better investment for our state than investing in those teachers who work on the frontline of Florida’s future every day by teaching our children,” Mr. Scott said last week in a statement announcing the proposed pay hike. However, he acknowledged in the same statement that the state legislature (controlled in both chambers by fellow Republicans) would have to approve the budget request. Teachers’ union reaction in the state has been mixed. Richard Smith, the president of the Brevard County Schools union, told the Associated Press that Mr. Scott can’t simply impose the raises, even if teachers appreciate the idea, since they would have to be collectively bargained. DEMOCRATS Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Pat Roberts, Kan. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Mark Kirk, Ill. Tim Scott, S.C.* George Miller, Calif. (ranking member) DEMOCRATS House Education and Workforce Committee Rubén Hinojosa, Texas Tom Harkin, Iowa (chairman) Barbara A. Mikulski, Md. Patty Murray, Wash. Robert Casey, Pa. Kay Hagan, N.C. Al Franken, Minn. Michael F. Bennet, Colo. Sheldon Whitehouse, R.I. Tammy Baldwin, Wis.* Chris Murphy, Conn.* REPUBLICANS John Kline, Minn. (chairman) Thomas E. Petri, Wis. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, Calif. Joe Wilson, S.C. Virginia Foxx, N.C. Tom Price, Ga. Kenny Marchant, Texas n Robert Andrews, N.J. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, Va. Carolyn McCarthy, N.Y. John F. Tierney, Mass. Rush D. Holt, N.J. Susan A. Davis, Calif. Raúl Grijalva, Ariz. Timothy H. Bishop, N.Y. Dave Loebsak, Iowa Joe Courtney, Conn.* Marcia Fudge, Ohio Jared Polis, Colo.* Elizabeth Warren, Mass.* Duncan Hunter, Calif. David “Phil” Roe, Tenn. INDEPENDENT Bernie Sanders, Vt. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, Delegate, Northern Mariana Islands* Glenn “GT” Thompson, Pa. John Yarmuth, Ky.* Tim Walberg, Mich. REPUBLICANS Lamar Alexander, Tenn. (ranking member) Mike Enzi, Wyo. Richard Burr, N.C. Johnny Isakson, Ga. Rand Paul, Ky. Orrin Hatch, Utah Frederica Wilson, Fla.* Matt Salmon, Ariz. Suzanne Bonamici, Ore.* and a $500 million federal voucher plan, which was not enacted. And as governor of Tennessee from 1979 to 1987, he made education policy a cornerstone of his time in office, championing such measures as merit pay and career ladders for teachers in the early 1980s. Brett Guthrie, Ky. Scott DesJarlais, Tenn. Todd Rokita, Ind. Larry Bucshon, Ind. Trey Gowdy, S.C. Lou Barletta, Pa. Sen. Alexander wasn’t in Congress when the No Child Left Behind Act was passed in 2001. He initially lent rhetorical support to some aspects of the law, but soured on it as a whole, as did many in Washington. Recently, he has put increased energy behind a push, which he * Denotes members who did not serve on the committee during the previous Congress. SOURCES: House Education and Workforce Committee; Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee favored as governor, to give the federal government broader authority in funding Medicaid, which helps cover the cost of health services for low-income people, in exchange for giving states much more control over K-12 spending and policy. PAGE 22 > Ruth Melton, the director of legislative relations for the Florida School Boards Association, noted that the salary increase would only apply to full-time classroom teachers, not guidance counselors, media specialists, and other school employees. Those other workers may feel that their districts should also increase their salary or other benefits, she said, if teachers end up with the salary increases. “There are certainly equity concerns among employees other than the full-time teachers [who] work just as hard,” Ms. Melton said. A political calculus could be behind the proposal from Gov. Scott, who is up for re-election in 2014 and has clashed in court with teachers about his policy on their evaluations, but so could a sincere desire to respond to constituents, she noted. “He recognizes that parents and communities are unhappy with cuts that have been endured by the education community,” Ms. Melton said. Mr. Scott increased K-12 funding by $1 billion in fiscal 2013, up to $17.2 billion, but critics said it only partially made up for cuts he approved the previous year. —ANDREW UJIFUSA

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 30, 2013

Education Week - January 30, 2013
Grad Rate At Highest Since 1970
Teachers Differ Over Meeting Nonfiction Rule
States Soon to Weigh Science Standards
News in Brief
Report Roundup
New Scrutiny as Head Start Centers Recompete for Aid
Flu-Related Absenteeism Prompts School Closures
FOCUS ON: CAREER READINESS: Internships Help Students Prepare for The Workplace
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Competitions Connect Tech. Startups With Educators
School Choice Advocate to Lead Private Schools’ Group
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: Digital Technologies Fuel Continued K-12 Acquisitions
Blogs of the Week
‘i3’ Raises Ante in Evidence, Research Push
GOP Players in Congress Step Forward On K-12
Policy Brief
Inauguration 2013
State of the States
LAURA C. MURRAY: Mental Health Is Part of the School Safety Equation
HELEN BRUNNER: Why Equal Internet Access Is an Education Essential
VICKY SCHIPPERS: Let’s Overhaul How We Teach History
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
CHARLES J. RUSSO: Armed Teachers And Guards Won’t Make Schools Safer

Education Week - January 30, 2013