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. Making Plans 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 school systems. 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 | I think people right now are dealing with much bigger issues. Right or wrong, I think attentions are elsewhere right now." KATHY WIEBKE 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 other promises. 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
Report Roundup
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