Education Week - March 30, 2016 - (Page 14)
GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
'Teach to Lead' Projects Face Uphill Climb at State Level
Modest gains seen after
gathering of state teams
By Ross Brenneman
With rain cascading outside, groups of educators
and administrators from seven states gathered in
a hotel conference room in Tyson's Corner, Va., last
May to discuss teacher leadership. If everything
went right, they would leave with plans to foster the
concept on a statewide scale.
The meeting in the Washington suburb fell
under the auspices of Teach to Lead, the thenfledgling effort of the U.S. Department of Education and the National Board for Professional
Teaching Standards that has aspired to develop
and support the roles of teacher-leaders in districts across the country.
While Teach to Lead had thus far focused on district-level plans, its organizers recognized a flaw in
that model: With states having major authority over
education policy, teachers needed to find ways to be
heard at that level as well.
But if the state groups walked into the meeting
with high hopes, their progress toward their goals
since then has been mixed or modest at best, demonstrating the difficulty in gaining policy traction
around ideas to give teachers more influence in
The seven states with representatives at the
Virginia gathering were Arizona, Connecticut,
Kentucky, Maine, New York, North Carolina, and
Washington. Each state had, through its respective
education department, brought together a group of
educators to work on teacher-leadership schemes.
While the plans each state brought had already
been in progress, the meeting represented an opportunity for the teams to collaborate with each other,
drawing on the expertise of teachers, administrators,
and policy experts.
The term "teacher leadership" is often vaguely
defined, but most of the state teams had highly
specific ideas in mind. New York's representatives,
for instance, were looking to refine its career-ladder system for teachers, which would be included
in the state's federally mandated teacher-equity
plan. North Carolina's team wanted to develop
a professional-advancement continuum that
matched various kinds of classroom roles to that
state's established teacher-leadership standards.
Many of the educators chosen had some familiarity with the Teach to Lead initiative, having attended one of the three regional conferences hosted
by the federal Department of Education earlier that
winter. As devised at those meetings, the Teach to
Lead developmental scheme involves outlining a
plan, called a "logic model," and receiving multiple
rounds of feedback from outside experts-"critical
friends"-and other attendees.
At the Virginia meeting, the state teams were
clearly starting on different footing. While Connecticut's group seemed to have a clear process in mind,
Arizona's delegation became mired in political concerns, with participants wondering how the plans
they devised would be received by varied interest
groups back home. The state group's goal was to develop, implement, and support teacher leadership as
a means to attract teachers, which has been a challenge for the state.
During one part of the summit, each participant
received a sticky pad with which to write notes of
advice and encouragement on other states' logic
models. At the end of the conference, groups came
away with a host of suggestions for researchers to
contact, teachers to consult, and affirmations of good
steps taken so far.
Tami Fitzgerald, then a Teaching Ambassador Fellow in the Education Department, highlighted the
main challenge facing the attendees as they headed
back to their jobs.
"One of the toughest things is bringing a group
together, getting something started, and then making sure it doesn't get lost in the shuffle," she said.
School System Challenges
Since the May gathering in Tyson's Corner, the
Teach to Lead itself initiative has notched several
organizational successes. The educational leadership group ASCD signed on as another full partner, bringing considerable tactical and financial
support, and 120 other organizations now sponsor
the program, providing expertise and monetary
support. Six cities have hosted regional Teach to
Lead summits, with three more planned. About
700 educators have attended those conferences.
Teach to Lead now also offers a guide for how educators can organize their own local events instead
of venturing to the larger, official ones.
But for the seven state-level teams, progress has
been more measured.
The major problem can be chalked up to what
Fitzgerald's said about the toll of day-to-day challenges in school systems.
"It is hard to do leadership activities outside of
Kline, R-Minn. the chairman of the
But Jane Hannaway, a professor of
committee, in opening remarks at a public policy at Georgetown University
Congress last week weighed the hearing last week.
in Washington, argued that allowing
concerns of parents, researchers,
parents to remove their child's data
and educators about the sensitive 'Informed Consent'
from state systems at their discretion
intersection of education data and
would turn the crucial material educastudent privacy, though several
Rachael Stickland, the co-chair- tion researchers need to study issues,
pieces of legislation on the topic woman of the Parent Coalition for such as the distribution of high-quality
have yet to gain traction.
Student Privacy, said parents should teachers, into "Swiss cheese."
Among the issues aired at a recent be informed up front about the type
Such studies, Hannaway said, are
House education committee hearing: of student data being collected and often important in enhancing underparents' desire for transparency and how they are used. She said, by way standing of public schools, especially at
more control over what data are col- of example, that the hundreds of data a time when sociological research into
lected and how they are used; the points that the Colorado longitudinal K-12 is attracting more interest.
need for researchers to have compre- data system collects on each student
"We would be coming to conclusions
hensive and varied data; and states' "effectively become lifelong dossiers." on faulty data," Hannaway said, if
work to safeguard the data they colStickland also said parents should parental opt-out became part of fedlect, while ensuring the information's be able to opt their children out of eral policy.
usefulness to schools.
Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., said
having their data stored in state
Over the past year, several law- data systems, asserting that states that while he wants student data to
makers have taken a crack at are often collecting information that be safeguarded appropriately, educarevamping federal rules for how doesn't directly relate to a student's tional research helped to establish
states and districts have to handle academic performance.
the link between poverty and edusensitive student information. The
In an exchange with Rep. Todd cational outcomes and subsequently
Family Educational Rights and Pri- Rokita, R-Ind., Stickland acknowl- paved the way for the Title I grant
vacy Act, passed in 1974, is widely edged that she was unaware of any program for low-income students.
seen as outdated because of its lim- student data from a state system
ited definition of a "student record" being sold and she noted that there District Involvement
in a world where states, educational hasn't been a serious breach of K-12
service vendors, and others are data at the state level. But that
Districts have played a key role in engathering new and diverse types of doesn't mean schools and officials suring that the state handles student
shouldn't do more to involve parents, data smartly and makes the informadata about students.
"More student information is being she argued.
tion useful for them and for schools,
collected than ever before, often
"There is no informed consent," said Robert Swiggum, the deputy suwithout the knowledge of parents Stickland said, adding later that par- perintendent of technology services for
and school officials," said Rep. John ents are the "ultimate stakeholders." the Georgia education department.
14 | EDUCATION WEEK | March 30, 2016 | www.edweek.org
I think people right
now are dealing
with much bigger
issues. Right or
wrong, I think
Arizona K-12 Center
PAGE 16 >
Hearing Weighs Student-Data Privacy Concerns
By Andrew Ujifusa
vendors must understand that their
data collection should only relate to
the academic services they provide.
Without comprehensive collection of
Whenever someone asks the state educational data, Campbell said, interto collect a piece of data, Swiggum ventions with students who are strugnoted, the department first has to see gling with reading in the early grades
if it's authorized by state government: would not have had any objective basis.
"We don't collect data just because
somebody wants to look at them." And Recent Overhaul Efforts
the department fends off thousands of
attempts to hack its student-data sysSo far in this session of Congress,
tem every year, he said.
there have been a few congressional
At the local level, Swiggum said, efforts to overhaul federal education
"research does help teachers practice law governing education data and
in the classroom much better."
student privacy, but they've failed to
Asked by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, get over the finish line.
D-N.Y., about whether parents put
Perhaps the most significant is the
much pressure on schools about data "Student Privacy Protection Act,"
collection and handling, Swiggum re- which was introduced in July by
sponded that it doesn't seem to be a Rokita, the chairman of the House
controversial issue for most parents.
K-12 subcommittee, and Rep. Marcia
Vendors, meanwhile, are increas- Fudge, D-Ohio. Although it would
ingly aware of the importance of alter FERPA in some ways, it's not
handling student data in a proper as dramatic a retrofit as that floated
way, said Neil Campbell, the direc- by Kline and Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va.,
tor of next-generation reforms at the and the House education committee's
Foundation for Excellence in Edu- ranking member, a draft of which
cation, a nonprofit advocacy group was circulated last April.
that backs school choice and digital
There's also the "Student Digital
education. Campbell pointed to the Privacy and Parental Rights Act,"
growing number of education tech- which the FERPA rewrite would
nology firms that have signed the complement, that was championed
Student Privacy Pledge. By signing by the White House. It's a bipartisan
the pledge, vendors say they will not proposal from Rep. Jared Polis, Dsell student data or target advertis- Colo., and Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind.
ing based on student data, among
And there are two proposals in the
Senate, introduced last year, to alter
"That shows they are taking the laws governing student privacy and
issue seriously," he said, adding that education data.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - March 30, 2016
Education Week - March 30, 2016
State Boards Feel New Need To Flex Muscles
Distress Call Issued On K-12 Facilities
Can ‘Micro-Credentialing’ Salvage Teacher PD?
Sanders Gets Educators’ Attention Despite Limited Specifics on K-12
Table of Contents
DAVID GAMBERG: What Makes a School?
News in Brief
Common Core: Is Its Achievement Impact Starting To Dissipate?
ACT’s New 10th Grade Test Provides Competition for PSAT
N.C. Law Restricts Transgender Student Restroom Access
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Group Probes Ed-Tech Pricing, Buying
Home Schooling Gains Popularity With Military Families
Blogs of the Week
‘Teach to Lead’ Projects Face Uphill Climb at State Level
Hearing Weighs Student-Data Privacy Concerns
High Court Weighing Birth-Control Mandate
ESSA Rule Negotiators Grapple With Issues of Flexibility, Equity
ROBERT EVANS: Principals, Get Your Irish On
PATRICK O’CONNOR: Why Good Teachers Don’t Have to ‘Like’ Teaching
JONATHAN ECKERT: Finding Joy in Teaching
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - March 30, 2016