Education Week - February 10, 2016 - (Page 16)

STATE of the STATES Here are summaries of recent annual addresses by governors around the country. governor's office would cut $52.9 million from the $1.8 billion that had been allotted to the education department. About $3.6 million would be pared from the state's $116 million budget for the earlychildhood office. CHRISTINA A. SAMUELS - ALABAMA DELAWARE Molly Riley/AP GOV. ROBERT BENTLEY (R) * FEB. 2 Danny Harris, the chief information officer for the U.S. Department of Education, testifies on Capitol Hill over an Inspector General's report that looked into his personal business and tax issues. Ed. Dept. CIO Grilled By Oversight Panel Allegations involve taxes, conflict of interest Associated Press Lawmakers on the House Government and Oversight Committee are probing tax and conflict of interest allegations against the U.S. Department of Education's chief information officer-and that could create headaches for acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr., who was called to testify in Congress on the issue last week. Danny Harris, the department's CIO, ran a side business installing home theaters and detailing cars, according to the Associated Press. He didn't report about $10,000 in income from that business in public disclosure forms, or on his taxes. And he made a $4,000 loan to one of his subordinates and allegedly helped a relative get a job at the department, according to the Education Department's Inspector General. Harris was asked about those issues by lawmakers on the House oversight committee Feb. 2, and after the hearing concluded, he collapsed and was taken to the hospital for a time. Cybersecurity Team Harris is a part of a team that oversees cybersecurity at the department, an issue that the House oversight panel looked into in November. The committee found that while the department holds 139 million Social Security numbers, it is "vulnerable to security threats," according to an Inspector General's report. The department's system also failed a key part of a test performed as part of an audit. Harris-who is a career civil servant, not an Obama administration appointee-was investigated for the tax issues by the IG a few years ago, he told the committee, according to prepared testimony. In written testimony, Harris also said he didn't help a relative get a job at the department, just inquired to see if there were positions available. He also said he didn't use his influence to get a friend a contracting position. And he's refiled his tax forms. Harris has been counseled by the department about his actions, but isn't expected to receive further punishment. King said in prepared testimony that Harris' actions reflect "a serious lack of judgment." And even though King's predecessors had already taken action, King also talked to Harris about these "serious matters." Harris, he said, "expressed profound remorse" for his actions. Committee Pushback But that didn't fly with some lawmakers. "It's your leadership that's on the line. Is it appropriate to have outside income and not report it?" Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, the chairman of the committee, asked King. And at least one Democrat wasn't satisfied with King's answers. "Where's the stick as opposed to just the pat? How do people know that they can't be involved in this behavior?" asked Democrat Stacey Plaskett, the delegate from the Virgin Islands. "That's just a way to keep your job." In response, King noted, "after the counseling, the activities ended" and that the department's general counsel's office had found no violation of law, regulation, or policy. He also said the department has "made tremendous progress" in the area of cybersecurity. King is also facing challenges in other corners of Congress-Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., is unhappy that he hasn't been officially confirmed. King has said it's up to the president to decide whether to submit his nomination to the U.S. Senate. And he has noted that an acting secretary has all the same powers as one that's been confirmed. Assistant Editor Alyson Klein contributed to this article. 16 | EDUCATION WEEK | February 10, 2016 | GOV. JACK MARKELL (D) * JAN. 21 The governor pitched lawmakers on a new Alabama Future Ready Scholarship program to improve postsecondary preparation in the state. The program, which would begin first in Alabama's neediest communities, would connect 7th graders with an "education adviser" charged with coaching the student through high school graduation and the transition to postsecondary. Students would receive help from local community colleges, including tutoring, visits to college campuses, and financial planning. Those who complete the program would get two years of free community college. "The results will be a well-trained, welleducated new generation of Alabamians," Bentley said. The governor is also pushing to expand the state's First Class preschool program. Ideally, over the next three years, Bentley would like to give every interested parent the chance to enroll his or her 4-year-old in the program. "Children who attend pre-K are more likely to read at grade level quicker, their math scores are higher, and they are less likely to need special education services," Bentley said. "We know this program works, we've seen the statistics, but more importantly, we've seen the results in the lives of our students." - ALYSON KLEIN In his eighth and final State of the State address, the governor lauded the growth in Delaware's high school graduation rates, which he said represents the largest increase in the country. Graduation rates have reached an alltime high nationally, at 82 percent, and federal data show that Delaware's four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate is at 87 percent, up from 80 percent the year prior. More high school students than ever are now taking computer science courses, participating in Advanced Placement programs, and attending college classes, Markell said in the speech. And over the past two years, he said, "all of Delaware's college-ready students have applied and been accepted to college. Virtually all have enrolled. Previously, as many as 1 in 5 had not." The governor gave much of the credit for those accomplishments to Delaware's teachers, whom he vowed to continue to support by working to raise their salaries, pilot teacherleadership programs, and provide stipends for those with national-board certification. "One of the best things we can do to ensure the prosperity of the generation to follow is to ensure our children have great teachers today," he said. LIANA HEITIN - ILLINOIS GOV. BRUCE RAUNER (R) * JAN. 27 ALASKA GOV. BILL WALKER (I) * JAN. 21 In his annual address to legislators, the governor touched on education at the end, saying that falling oil prices continue to affect education spending. Alaska's department of education had to cut its budget by a third last year, and Walker is proposing the state's first income tax in 35 years. "Even in these challenging times, Alaska's students are a source of optimism and confidence," Walker said in his address. "Their enthusiasm for tomorrow is not diminished by today's oil prices. State education leaders are developing a sustainable plan for Alaska's public education system based on input from Alaskans statewide." Beyond that, Walker said his three priorities for improving academic achievement in the state are strengthening local control, securing high-quality educators, and modernizing the state's education system. ARIANNA PROTHERO - CONNECTICUT GOV. DANNEL P. MALLOY (D) * FEB. 3 The state has to face "new economic realities," and that means making budget reductions to reflect lower revenue projections, the governor told state legislators as he introduced a budget aimed at closing a $570 million deficit. "Families and businesses do not set their budgets based on the amount of money they want to have next year. Neither can the state of Connecticut," Malloy said. "This budget is based not on how much we want to spend, but how much money we actually have to spend." The proposed state budget adjustment from the Education was a significant piece of the governor's annual address to legislators, in which he outlined 10 long-term goals including expanding school choice for children attending academically struggling schools, building a "comprehensive, consistent, objective student-growth measure not necessarily based on the [Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers] exam," and growing the state's early-childhood education programs. To better assure what he called "a highquality, fully integrated education system," Rauner said " we are committed to eliminating wasteful bureaucracy, putting more money into our classrooms, freeing up our teachers to teach, and holding our schools truly accountable for results." He didn't give much detail on the initiatives, however, or any budget specifics. Last month, Rauner and several Republican legislators proposed a bill that would allow the state to take over the financially struggling Chicago school system. Most notably, the bill would allow the district to declare bankruptcy and establish that the state would not be liable for the school district's debt. DAAREL BURNETTE II - MARYLAND GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R) * FEB. 3 In his second State of the State speech, the governor praised his state's fiscal health, but gave little attention to K-12 issues-devoting less than a minute of his 25-minute address to education. Hogan congratulated lawmakers on funding the K-12 system at historic levels by adding $830 million to the precollegiate budget, and

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - February 10, 2016

Education Week - February 10, 2016
Federal Trade Regulators Target Brain-Training Product Claims
In States Hungry for Teachers, Policy Menu Expands
PARCC Scores Lower On Computer Exams
Equipping Parents on Spec. Ed.
News in Brief
Report Roundup
In Chicago, Schools’ Financial Crisis Deepens Divisions
Advocates’ Report Hits States For Overtesting, Other Policies
Blogs of the Week
Digital Directions: Partnership Boosts Data Privacy
Kindergarten: Less Play, More Academics (infographic
‘Proficiency’ Bars on State Tests Are Seen Heading Upward
Views Clash On K-12 Law Rulemaking
Blogs of the Week
Ed. Dept. CIO Grilled By Oversight Panel
State of the States
America’s ‘Edu-Masochism’
I’m Tired of ‘Grit’
Why Small Steps Are Better for Small Schools
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
In Low-Income Schools, Teachers Need Guidance

Education Week - February 10, 2016