Education Week - January 30, 2013 - (Page 19)
JANUARY 30, 2013
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
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.
“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
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
‘i3’ Raises Ante in Evidence, Research Push
Ed. Dept. takes step
to broaden standards
for other aid contests
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
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
Education, Labor, and
Pat Roberts, Kan.
Lisa Murkowski, Alaska
Mark Kirk, Ill.
Tim Scott, S.C.*
George Miller, Calif.
House Education and
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.*
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
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.
Bernie Sanders, Vt.
Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan,
Delegate, Northern Mariana Islands*
Glenn “GT” Thompson, Pa.
John Yarmuth, Ky.*
Tim Walberg, Mich.
Lamar Alexander, Tenn. (ranking
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
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
“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
“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
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
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
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